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Charlie Worsham – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up by Bob Doerschuk – On Nashville Rocks

Charlie Worsham

 

Charlie Worsham

Born in Mississippi, Charlie Worsham learned enough banjo by age 10 for bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin to invite him onstage at the Ryman Auditorium. Two years after that, he joined Mike Snider on the air at the Opry. After attending Boston’s Berklee College of Music, he headed to Nashville and eventually earned himself a deal with Warner Bros. Records.

 

On his new album, Rubberband, released today, Worsham distinguishes himself by his unerring taste and musical subtlety. As co-producer with Ryan Tyndell and co-writer on all 11 tracks, he knows his way into each lyric. He does play some burning leads, but most of the album is toned down, rich in acoustic texture. His banjo stays in the background, enhancing the Country flavor. Drums are often muted and minimal.

 

This gives Worsham room to tell his stories. Starting with solo guitar and vocal, “How I Learned To Pray” (written by Worsham, Tyndell and Jeremy Spillman) points not to church services “with a chapter and a verse” but to small epiphanies in everyday life as sources of redemption. On “Love Don’t Die Easy” (Worsham, Tyndell and Steve Bogard), metaphor mixes with clear-eyed observation to mourn broken souls haunted by love long or recently lost. Worsham finds daylight too, stirring cautious hope for the future during a morning after on the album’s first single, “Could It Be” (Worsham, Tyndell and Marty Dodson). His gift is to be able to whisper intimately one moment and, with minimal effort, rock the house the next — and that’s something they don’t teach at Berklee.Charlie Worsham

 

For more on Worsham, visit www.CMACloseUp.com.

 

IN HIS OWN WORDS

 

SONG YOU WOULD LOVE TO COVER

 

“I’d really love to cover a Katie Perry song – maybe ‘I Kissed a Girl’?”

 

MUSICAL HERO

 

“I grew up on Vince Gill and Marty Stuart. Earl Scruggs is in that category too, as is Jimmy Martin.”

 

SONG YOU WISH YOU HAD COVERED

 

“Any songwriter would say they wish they had written ‘The House That Built Me.’”

 

ACTOR TO PORTRAY YOU IN A BIOPIC

 

“Christian Bale – although I’d really get a kick out of hanging with Jack Nicholson.”

 

MOMENT YOU’D LIKE TO RELIVE

 

“I could relive playing at the Opry when I was 12 a million times.”

 

On the Web: www.CharlieWorsham.com

 

On Twitter: @CharlieWorsham

 

© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

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Breelan Angel – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up by Bob Doerschuk on Nashville Rocks

Breelan Angel

Breelan Angel

Breelan Angel

You’re a strong young woman who loves going out with friends. Yet you know that even this simple plan can be like weaving between roadblocks, many of them strangers asking for your phone number.

 

Breelan Angel’s It’s My Turn offers a map through this obstacle course. Produced by Dwight Baker for MisBhavin’ Records, it suggests that empowerment is a major draw to the “girls’ night out” experience, whether as a declaration of well-earned independence on the title cut (written by Angel, Greg Barnhill and Joanna Cotten), anticipation of an upcoming San Marcos, Texas, idyll in “Feeling No Pain” (Angel and Clay Mills), a confrontation with a rival for her man’s attention on “Walk of Shame” (Angel and Shane Stevens) or going face-to-face with a barfly who’s being just a little too friendly on “Real Good Night” (Angel and Rachel Thibodeau).

 

But that last song is deceptive: When the beat slows and stops and Angel speaks directly to the guy, her message is optimistic about what may — or may not — follow. It’s more about hope than hostility. Her treatment of this encounter is surprising — and assuring. The Baytown, Texas, native appears to be co-writing from experience on each of these 10 tracks. (Of course, Angel could have written as well about the time she spent at Southern Methodist University or mulling over the idea of studying law, but that somehow sounds less inspirational.) And if it’s imagination more than real-world events that underlies her songs, that says even more about her insight and empathy.

 

IN HER OWN WORDS

 

SONG YOU WOULD LOVE TO COVER

 

“‘Crazy,’ by Patsy Cline. I’m a sucker for the oldies!”

 

PET PEEVE

 

“I hate when people leave wet towels on the floor.”

 

DREAM DUET PARTNER

 

“Definitely George Strait. It would be the biggest honor to get to sing with him.”

 

PHRASE YOU FIND YOURSELF SAYING OVER AND OVER

 

“’Good goat’ – it’s something I always say instead of ‘good grief’ or ‘oh, my gosh.’”

 

TITLE FOR YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

 

Glass Half Full.”

 

On the Web: www.BreelanAngel.com

 

On Twitter: @BreelanAngel

 

© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

 

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Rachele Lynae – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up by Bob Doerschuk

Rachele Lynae

Rachele LynaeRachele Lynae

 

The daughter of a fisherman, Rachele Lynae was raised on Alaska’s Kodiak Island. From the start, she set her eyes far beyond the snow-capped mountains that towered on the horizon, toward the Lower 48 and a career in Country Music. She began singing in church at age 5, did her first show at 11 in the Kodiak Lions Club, started writing songs at 12 and embarked on her first tour at 17. Enrolled after that in Belmont University, she polished her chops at Tootsies Orchid Lounge and other Lower Broadway venues.

In her senior year, Lynae cut an EP that soon made its way to Jamie O’Neal. The celebrated Country artist took Lynae under her wing, eventually producing her self-titled, six-song “party pack” digital EP on O’Neal’s Momentum Label Group imprint. Her single, “Fishin’ for Something” (written by Lynae and Hannah Bethel) dropped July 2, immediately receiving five new adds on Mediabase.

“Party ‘Til the Cows Come Home” (Lynae, O’Neal, Stephanie Bentley and Jimmy Murphy) is a full-bore barn burner, complete with a high-impact guitar lick, internal rhymes and a powerful chorus that summons the listener to join the fun. Equally impressive, Lynae employs multiple arrangement devices — sing-along riffs, sudden breaks and other elements that change constantly yet never impede the groove.

And, oh, yeah, she can sing too. On the power ballad “Done Is Done” (Lynae and Luke Sheets), check out how her intensity varies from delicate to resonant and assertive within the space of a few bars, making it all sound easy and never losing focus. Even in these few moments, Lynae’s fiery delivery could illuminate the Northern Lights.

IN HER OWN WORDS

BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND

“My Bible is sitting next to a copy of Pride and Prejudice.”

PET PEEVE

“Driving under the speed limit.”

FAVORITE FOOD ON THE ROAD

“When I’m on the West Coast, I have to hit up In-n-Out Burger at least once! Other than that, does coffee count as food?”

WHAT YOU HOPE PEOPLE WILL SAY ABOUT YOU 50 YEARS FROM NOW

“I want people to say that I have always been inspiring and empowering – a cheerleader for love.”

On the Web: www.RacheleLynae.com

On Twitter: @RacheleLynae

 

© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

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The Henningsens – New Artist Spotlight – CMA Close Up by Bob Doerschuk

The Henningsens

The Henningsens by LeAnn MuellerThe Henningsens

These are halcyon times for Country vocal groups. So how does a new group stand out? The Henningsens have at least two ways of making an impression in this crowded field.

One involves songwriting: On American Beautiful, their Arista Nashville debut, Brian Henningsen, son Aaron and daughter Clara, as a trio or in various combinations, join with various co-writers on all 10 tracks, with consistently pleasing results.

Match that with singing that exceeds today’s standards for technique, expression and emotion, and you’ve got a winner on your hands. Producer Paul Worley captures every nuance of Clara’s phrasing and then pulls back to reveal their three-part power in all its glory. The title cut (written by all three with Brett Beavers) anchors on a punchy power-guitar riff and soars on a catchy, sing-along chorus. It’s no surprise that this single totaled 77 Country Aircheck and Billboard radio adds in its first week.

But dig into the album and you’ll discover other levels of artistry. A nostalgic fiddle and dreamy waltz setting take us deep into “Arkansas” (Brian and Clara with Cactus Moser), whose story of aged siblings gathered for a brother’s funeral casts a spell that lingers after the last chord dies. (Recollections of “kerosene nights and innocent days” draw us back into a nearly forgotten past.) And when they join voices to celebrate the light that guides them through stormy times on “To Believe” (all three with Jimmy Yeary), even doubters have to be left feeling a little less alone.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND

BRIAN: “Jayber Crow, by Wendell Barry.”

CLARA: “The Bible, Sense and Sensibility.”

AARON: “The Bible.”

WHAT YOU WOULD BE IF NOT A MUSICAL ARTIST

BRIAN: “A farmer.”

CLARA: “A marine biologist.”

AARON: “A senator.”

MUSICAL HERO

ALL: “Our producer, Paul Worley.”

SONG YOU’D WISH YOU’D WRITTEN

ALL: “‘The House That Built Me’ or ‘Wichita Lineman.’”

SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU

ALL: “We get along really well but we love to argue. We call it debating.”

On the Web: www.TheHenningsens.com

On Twitter: @TheHenningsens

 

NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: The Henningsens

By Bob Doerschuk

© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

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Angie Johnson – New Artist Spotlight

Angie Johnson by Alan Matthews

Angie Johnson

– New Artist Spotlight
Apparently, it’s not enough for Missouri-born Angie Johnson to have served as an intelligence analyst in the United States Air Force; she also sang and toured with The Air Force Band. Then, following an initial attempt to find a break in Nashville, she studied psychology at Columbia State Community College in Franklin, Tenn., to help children and veterans struggling with PTSD.

When a soldier posted his video of Staff Sgt. Johnson performing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” for troops in a spirited acoustic performance on YouTube, it eventually drew more than 3 million views. Millions more watched her during Season 2 of “The Voice.”

That’s only the beginning. On May 21, Sony Music Nashville released her debut EP, Sing for You, produced by Josh Leo. On these four tracks, she doesn’t just sing the lyrics – she inhabits them. On “Grandpa’s Farm” (written by Brent Cobb, Adam Hood and Jason Saenz), a slide guitar shimmers like heat from a sun-baked field as Johnson evokes a lazy day, which transforms on the bridge, as the drums drop out, into a whispered promise, as if behind Grandpa’s back, to turn up the temperature in a different way.

In dramatic contrast, the deep feeling of the title track (Johnson, Catt Gravitt and Leo) chills the listener. Here, Johnson offers a different gift, a soft and soothing song, to a young man bloodied and broken most likely in battle. Never mind her impressive technique; Johnson has a gift for bringing beauty to a story, even one of unfathomable sadness.

IN HER OWN WORDS

DREAM DUET PARTNER

“Garth Brooks or Keith Urban. I have harmonized with both of them repeatedly via the CD player in my car, and I can already tell you that we sound fabulous together!”

MUSICAL HERO

“I can’t name just one. The people who inspired me early on and made me really want to pursue a career in music were Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Reba McEntire and Wynonna Judd, in that order.”

FAVORITE FOOD ON THE ROAD

“First, carbs. Next, carbs. And then probably carbs. Did I mention carbs?”

BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND

“My CMA notebook that I got in my CMA membership package!”

On the Web: www.OfficialAngieJohnson.com

On Twitter: @AngieJohnson

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