Country

V - from KENNY VAUGHAN out TODAY - 9/13 on Sugar Hill

Sugar Hill Records is proud to announce the September 13th release of V, the long-awaited solo debut from Nashville’s not-so-secret weapon: Kenny Vaughan.

Jason Aldean's "PARTY" Is DOUBLE PLATINUM!

Only 10 months after its release, Jason Aldean’s MY KINDA PARTY has been certified DOUBLE PLATIUM by the RIAA for sales of over two million units.  The disc is 2011’s best selling country album and has already spawned three consecutive No.

Connie Smith's Long Line of Heartaches Released Today!

New recordings by the country music legend Connie Smith, long acclaimed as one of the greatest singers in the history of the genre have been as rare as the voice and knowing singing she brings to them.  Long Line of Heartaches, her first full album of new material since 1998 (and only her second since 1978) is an event in the making. That’s not just for the rarity, or because her legions of fans have so long awaited this news, but because in its range of undiluted traditional country moods, themes, rhythms and sound, this new Sugar Hill release is simply, unmistakably a new Connie Smith masterpiece, offering the pleasures of the very best that saw release during her remarkable run of recordings during the 1960s and ‘70s.

“And that,” she says. “is exactly what I wanted to accomplish.  I’ve had people ask me what this album was going to be like, since it’s been a long time since they’ve heard me on record, but my musical tastes have remained the same. I wanted this to be traditional country, and it is.”

“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this recording, and it’s a personal reason, is that I have such a deep love for traditional country music. We can talk about the music slipping away, or we can do something about it.  The only way I know to do something about it is to keep singing what I’ve always loved.”

The album’s dozen new tracks, potent songs of heartache, joy, and spirit recorded at Nashville’s celebrated RCA Victor Studio B, where Connie recorded most of her chart-topping hits in her first years as a recording artist, include five new traditional country songs co-written by Connie and husband Marty Stuart, the project’s producer.  Memorable songs come from long favored Smith sources such as icons Harlan Howard, Foster & Rice, Kostas`, Johnny Russell and Smith’s + longtime collaborator Dallas FrazierFrazier’s song “A Heart Like You” becomes the 69th Frazier composition that Smith has recorded – breaking his 30 years of songwriting silence, an event within itself.
Having become an overnight country sensation in 1964 when her first single, “Once a Day”, became a number one hit, the first time a female country singer’s debut single accomplished that.  Connie Smith enjoyed a string of hits in the following years that have become country standards, including “Ain’t Had No Lovin’”, “Just One Time”, “Run Away Little Tears” “I never Once Stopped Loving You” and “The Hurtin’s All Over”. She became a star whose iconic voice has influenced other singers for decades. She has recorded a string of 53 albums notable for their quality and range.
To this legacy she now adds Long Line of Heartaches, featuring her band The Sundowners and, for the first time, her three daughters, Julie, Jeanne and Jodi who add striking family harmonies on the contemporary hymn “Take My Hand.”
“I still love to sing as much as I ever did.  I could sing at the kitchen sink and I’d be happy. I feel it is my destiny to sing.”  Country music fans everywhere should rejoice in the fact that we get to be a part of that destiny.
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CONNIE SMITH TOUR DATES

08-26     Louisville, KY - Ear-X-Tacy
08-27     Knoxville, TN - Disc Exchange
09-01     Du Quoin, IL - DuQuoin State Fair
09-07     Nashville, TN - Music City Roots
09-16     Idabel, OK - Choctaw Idabel Casino
09-17     Pocola, OK - Choctaw Pocola Casino
09-23     Pigeon Forge, TN - Country Tonite Theatre
10-01     Sandstone, MN - Midwest Country Music Theater
10-08     Renfro Valley, KY - Renfro Valley Entertainment Center - New Barn
10-12     Americana Music Convention - Showcase time tba
01-14     Weirsdale, FL - Orange Blossom Opry
02-03     Pace, FL - Farmer's Opry
02-04     Weirsdale, FL - Orange Blossom Opry
04-17     St. Cloud, MN - Paramount Theatre

Buck Owens pre-Capitol 1950s recordings reissued on RockBeat

Buck Owens is synonymous with the Bakersfield sound of country music that also gave rise to the Maddox brothers and Rose, Tommy Collins, Ferlin Husky and in later years Merle Haggard.

Owens’ earliest recordings for independent labels in Southern California — ahead of his lucrative career on Capitol Records in the ’60s and ’70s — have been collected on Buck Owens — Bound for Bakersfield 1953-1956: The Complete Pre-Capitol Collection, scheduled for release on September 27 on RockBeat Records through e0ne Entertainment. The suggested retail price is $14.98.

The 24-song reissue opens with selections from his first known session in 1953 in Hollywood, which produced two singles (“Down on the Corner of Love” b/w “It Don’t Show on Me” and “The House Down the Block” b/w “Right After the Dance”) on Claude Caviness’ Pico Rivera-based Pep Records. It closes with a 1956 Bakersfield session that produced singles on Chesterfield Records and an album on La Brea Records. Included are previously unreleased alternate takes including an overdubbed version of “Hot Dog.”

Liner notes for Bound for Bakersfield were written by Rich Kienzle, a music historian with special expertise in West Coast country. RockBeat VP or A&R James Austin and Jim Shaw of Buck Owens’ Buckaroos compiled the collection.

According to Kienzle’s notes, “Buck Owens was 21 when he rolled into Bakersfield from Phoenix in May, 1951, a part-time musician and laborer who had his eye on a musical career. It would take some time. There were lessons to be learned and dues to be paid. But in the final analysis, the Buck of legend, of the raw honky-tonk vocals, catchy commercial tunes, twangy Fender Telecasters and churning, aggressive ‘freight train’ rhythms was forged in Bakersfield's honky tonks and recording studios there and in L.A. from 1951 to 1957.”

Owens is best known for his later Capitol Records hits like “Tiger by the Tail,” “Foolin’ Around” and “Act Naturally.” But his ’50s pre-Capitol recordings find him working in a honky tonk milieu (except for the rockabilly tracks such as the 1957 single “Hot Dog”). One can hear early flashes of the distinctive sound he'd perfect at Capitol, the sound that made him famous.

With his indie singles earning him both regional recognition and buzz from A&R departments at both Capitol and Columbia Records, Owens passed on New York’s Columbia (whose producer told Owens to “hold on” until he could come to the West Coast) in favor of Hollywood-based Capitol Records, which made him an offer on the spot. Owens was known to Capitol from his work on sessions by one of the originators of the Bakersfield sound, Tommy Collins. Buck’s own first Capitol session in 1957 aimed for a pop-rock audience, trying, as he later said, “to make the biggest hillbilly in Bakersfield into somethin’ he wasn’t.” In 1959, he was recorded as his true, honky-tonking self, with great success.

Kienzle notes, “Buck Owens was always known for his spot-on instincts. Clearly, his expectation that he’d have no recording career beyond Pep and the odd demo or two was a rare miscalculation. These raw, primal performances, blended with hundreds of hours onstage at the Blackboard (club in Bakersfield), were essentially part of a long rehearsal for the fame that came soon enough.”

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Track List:

1.            Blue Love (with Studio Chatter) (1953)
2.            Down on the Corner of Love (Alternate Take) (1953)
3.            Down on the Corner of Love (1953)
4.            It Don’t Show On Me (Alternate Take) (1953)
5.            It Don’t Show on Me (1953)
6.            The House Down the Block (Alternate take) (1953)
7.            The House Down the Block (1953)
8.            Right After the Dance (Alternate Take) (1953)
9.            Right After the Dance (1953)
10.         Hot Dog (1955)
11.         Hot Dog (Overdubbed Single) (1955)
12.         Rhythm & Booze
13.         There Goes My Love (Alternate Take) (1956)
14.         There Goes My Love (1956)
15.         Sweethearts in Heaven (Alternate Take) (1956)
16.         Sweethearts in Heaven (1956)
17.         Honeysuckle (1956)
18.         Country Girl (Leavin’ Dirty Tracks) (1956)
19.         You’re Fer Me (1956)
20.         Blue Love (1956)
21.         Please Don’t Take Her From Me (1956)
22.         Three Dimension Love (1956)
23.         Why Don’t My Mommy Wanna Stay with Daddy & Me? (1956)
24.         I’m Gonna Blow (1956)

Christian Kane's "Let Me Go" Blazes to No. 1 on CMT.com

Country music‘s newest renegade Christian Kane (Bigger Picture Group) raised the temperatures on the already-hot summer with the release of the video for his sophomore single “Let Me Go.” The steamy, angst-ridden song coupled with Kane’s first-rate acting skills brings the song to life, and fans are eating it up. The Roman White-directed love story debuted on Friday, August 5 at No. 2 and quickly rose to No. 1 on CMT.com and remained there throughout the weekend, beating out country video heavy hitters and their co-stars, including Brad Paisley (featuring Carrie Underwood); Jason Aldean;  Kenny Chesney (featuring Grace Potter); and Miranda Lambert. “Have You Seen Christian Kane's New Video? Fans can't get enough of his sexy new video, 'Let Me Go,'" advocates CMT’s feature block.

The country power ballad from Kane’s rowdy, debut album, “The House Rules,” tells a vivid and relatable story of the challenges and surprises that come with being in love. “I believe this ballad speaks to everyone,” says Kane. “Women are always smarter than us, but we never listen…they seem to always know what's better for us than we do.”

Shot on location in the desert of East Lancaster, California, the video was directed by the legendary Roman White, whose credits include videos for Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Reba McEntire, Justin Bieber and Martina McBride, as well as the 2011 CMT Music Award for “Video of the Year” for Taylor Swift’s hit “Mine.” Passionate about storytelling, White has been nominated for 11 Emmy awards and has taken home three. White and Kane previously worked together on the 2007 Carrie Underwood video for “So Small.”

The video highlights the beautiful desert landscape of Southern California, which creates a distinctly vintage tone, while the moving lyrics coupled with Kane’s powerful narrative vocals create an effect that is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful. The visual response to the song hits all the right notes, depicting a couple very much in love, but on the brink of big changes.

“[Let Me Go”] is one of my favorite powerful songs on the album,” says Kane. “I never sing about stuff I don't know about. It's just not me.” While Kane’s acting credentials are second to none, it is clear that his performance in the video goes beyond acting.  “This one hits way close to home,” confirms Kane.

“Let Me Go” is holding strong on the fan-voted site, CMT.com, and Kane says he is grateful for the support of loya

Lady Antebellum Takes "Just A Kiss" to #1!

Reigning CMA and ACM Vocal Group of the Year Lady Antebellum celebrate their career fifth No. one song this week as the lead single “Just A Kiss” tops the Billboard Country Singles chart. The track simultaneously earns PLATINUM certification and spends a third week at No. one on the Billboard Canada Country chart. “Just A Kiss” is setting the pace for the multi-platinum group's upcoming third album OWN THE NIGHT due out Sept. 13.

“Seeing country radio and the fans embrace the first single off our new album like this has been amazing and also a little relieving,” said Lady A’s Charles Kelley. “There are definitely some nerves and anxiousness involved when you are introducing new music, and this reaction has been beyond what we hoped for.  It just makes us even more excited for Sept. 13 to get here."

“Just A Kiss” resonated with fans immediately, debuting at No. seven on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart to become the highest debut by a country group in the chart’s 52-year history. OWN THE NIGHT follows the band’s GRAMMY winning second disc NEED YOU NOW. Since its release in Jan. 2010, the album has sold over five million copies across the globe, spawned three multi-week No. one hits (“Need You Now,” “American Honey,” “Our Kind of Love”), taken home five GRAMMY Awards (a career total of six) and scored over a dozen other award show trophies.

For updates on OWN THE NIGHT, visit www.ladyantebellum.com.

Wayne Mills Band Releases New Single

Alabama-based Wayne Mills Band will release their first single, "She Knows the Words to Every Song," to radio August 16. Mills co-wrote the track to be featured on his new album, Long Hard Road, which will mark the first project for new Nashville record label Diesel Records.  "She Knows the Words to Every Song" will also be available on Itunes and www.waynemillsband.com August 16. Seasoned producer, Denny Diante, produced the track for the label's flagship artist.

"This song is a reflection of the emotions anyone, who works out of a suitcase, may go through while they are away from the one they love," says Mills. "My wife has been my biggest support system through the years and I wanted to express to her what she means to me and how I can't wait for us to just getaway with 'She Knows the Words to Every Song.'"

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Wayne Mills Band

Wayne Mills will soon release his 7th studio album, Long Hard Road, where he worked with powerhouse producer Denny Diante under new Nashville record label, Diesel Records. Mills, a native of Arab, AL, showcases his versatility as a singer/songwriter with tracks including “I Need the Country, Whiskey Bent and Jail Bound” and the title track “Long Hard Road” which tells the lonesome tale of a man making bad decisions and working through the consequences. With more than fifteen years of touring experience under his belt, Wayne has proved himself the consummate performer with a huge following in the Southeast while gaining influence in other markets.  This outlaw's traditional country style blended with an edgy rock sound will please new and old country music fans alike with Long Hard Road. His music is the soundtrack to his life: leaving no stone unturned when it comes to lyrics and his life.

Nashville's Coolest Cat Kenny Vaughan to release V - 9/13

Sugar Hill Records is proud to announce the September 13th release of V, the long-awaited solo debut from Nashville’s not-so-secret weapon: Kenny Vaughan. Since first arriving in Music City in the late ‘80s from his home state of Colorado, Vaughan quickly set himself apart as a different breed of guitar-slinger—technically assured and, more importantly, armed with a deeply felt reverence for a wide range of musical traditions encompassing vintage country, classic pop, hard bop, and beyond. The ten tracks that comprise V dip toes in all of these waters, forming a handy crash course in the trademark wit, flash, and unfailing musicality that has kept Kenny Vaughan so in-demand for the past quarter-century.

Starting in 2001, Vaughan has been a member of Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives, a multi-faceted outfit capable of delivering anything from rollicking bluegrass to classic honky tonk to simmering gospel soul. Aside from one track featuring Vaughan’s Nashville-based organ trio, the Fabulous Superlatives back him throughout V, which opens with the show-stopping Superlatives rave-up “Country Music Got a Hold On Me” and continues through an eclectic program that touches upon western swing (“Hot Like That”), evocative low-twanging instrumentals (“Minuit Sur La Plage,” “Mysterium”), Rockpile-inflected country-pop (“Things I Do”), and even a bit of gutbucket swamp-funk featuring the Oak Ridge Boys (“Okolona, Tennessee”), before concluding with a righteous gospel shuffle, “Don’t Leave Home Without Jesus.”

Recipient of the 2006 Instrumentalist of the Year award from the Americana Music Association, Vaughan is one of the most prominent guitarists of today’s ongoing roots music renaissance. An early pupil of fellow Coloradoan (and fellow eclectic roots alchemist) Bill Frisell, Vaughan has since performed and recorded with an array acclaimed artists, including Lucinda Williams, Kim Richey, Rodney Crowell, Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Elizabeth Cook, Greg Garing, and too many more to list. Equally comfortable on stage or in the studio, Vaughan can be relied upon for hot, twitchy country leads, bittersweet melodic jangle, and everything in between—all dispatched with the utmost taste and subtlety.

And, as V so aptly demonstrates, Kenny Vaughan is no slouch as a frontman, either. His songs and singing are charmingly conversational, with no shortage of memorable hooks and clever verbal volleys. His cohorts in the Fabulous Superlatives (including bossman Marty Stuart on guitar and mandolin) offer honest, road-tightened support that is honest and heartfelt. Sterling confirmation of the potential implied by each sideman gig, session, and walk-on, V may have been a little too long in arriving…but, after all, Kenny’s a busy guy.

Asleep At The Wheel @ Boulder Theater | 7/24

Can a wheel reinvent itself while it’s still rolling?

Sounds like an impossible task -- but you never want to say “impossible” to Asleep at the Wheel, the famed western-swing, boogie, and roots-music outfit that’s, amazingly, still on the upswing. That’s saying something, too, considering the group’s been around for nearly 40 years, turning out an incredible 25+ albums while playing an unrelenting schedule of one-nighters that would make a vaudevillian dizzy.

“In terms of how many people we played for, what we accomplished, and how much money we made – well, we didn’t make any money – this year was absolutely our best year ever,” says Wheel founder and front man Ray Benson with a chuckle.

And even as the Wheel rolled on, the reinvention had begun. You could see and hear it in their live shows, where new vocalist Elizabeth McQueen invited comparison with the classic female vocalists of the band’s earlier era, and fiddler-singer Jason Roberts gave the band a second male lead voice to complement Benson’s immediately identifiable baritone.

These days, the reinvented Wheel is also rolling down a couple of new avenues. One involves to the critically acclaimed musical play, A Ride With Bob, which stars Benson as himself -- encountering the ghost of Bob Wills on a tour bus – Roberts as the young Wills, and McQueen as Minnie Pearl and other famed entertainment figures, with the rest of the band members featured as well. Originally designed as a one-off celebration of Wills’ 100th birthday in ’05, A Ride With Bob quickly took on a life of its own and, notes Benson, “it’s absolutely a part of what we do now.” Another success has been the adaptation of the Wheel’s repertoire for pops symphony. Performances with Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth & Amarillo symphonies have drawn record crowds.

The Wheel’s new look is also spotlighted in several new discs – the first called, appropriately enough, Reinventing the Wheel. The 12-cut celebration of American – particularly Southwestern – music features guest appearances by gospel’s Blind Boys of Alabama (with a splendid reworking of the old Wills tune “The Devil Ain’t Lazy”) and banjoist Rolf Sieker, along with lead vocals by McQueen and Roberts as well as Benson, whose voice has been synonymous with Asleep at the Wheel for decades.

The second is 2009’s Willie and the Wheel; a collaboration with Willie Nelson that was originally envisioned by famed producer Jerry Wexler in the 1970s. Unfortunately before they had a chance to cut it, Nelson had left Atlantic Records. But over the ensuing decades Wexler kept the idea alive and even gave Ray his entire collection of western swing vinyl that included his notes on song choices and treatments. In late 2007 the idea was revived and Jerry and Ray reconnected by phone. Always the producer with a vision, Jerry was involved in every way. He insisted that some of the tracks should include horns as well as a return to traditional fiddles and lap steel guitar associated with western swing. As the sessions concluded and Willie finished his vocals the tracks were sent to Jerry. “To my delight and relief,” says Ray, “he loved them.” In fact, Wexler heard most of the finished tracks prior to his passing in August 2008. "Jerry wanted us to do this album and I'm glad we got to do it for him, “says Willie Nelson. “And that he heard it before he passed on."

The success of the Willie and the Wheel album release was quickly followed up by a tour and even a taping of the 35th anniversary of Austin City Limits for PBS (for broadcast in Fall of 2009), a fitting double-bill as Willie had taped the pilot and Asleep at the Wheel appeared in the very first regular episode of the legendary live music television program.

And now in contemplating the 40th anniversary of Asleep at the Wheel in 2010, Ray remains focused on the original concept. “I carried the load for many, many years, but I’ve always just wanted to have a band, as opposed to Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel,” Benson explains. “That’s what we had in the ‘70s – a band, a revue kind of deal, which was the whole concept. But trying to replace a Chris O’Connell was very difficult. And then Elizabeth walks up, and boom – here’s my girl singer. And then I kept pushing Jason, both through the play and through the band, saying, `Man, you’ve got talent. You can sing. You’ve got the golden ear – just apply it to your singing and songwriting.’”


Roberts, who’s been the Wheel’s full-time fiddler since early ’96, welcomed the opportunity to be a part of the revamped, revue-style Wheel. “I think everybody got a chance to put their two cents in, and bring to the table what they had, ” he adds. “God bless Ray Benson for allowing us to do that..”

Adds McQueen, “One of the things about Asleep at the Wheel is that they always have great musicians. That’s what they’re known for. So for them to ask me to join and then to keep me in the band, and to let me step out a little more and stand in the shoes of Chris O’Connell and Maryann Price, who were amazing singers – that’s an incredible honor. It’s above and beyond my greatest expectations.”

So, whether your next encounter with Asleep at the Wheel is at a dance or concert, or backing up Willie Nelson via the new disc, or at a live production of A Ride with Bob, you’ll be witnessing something very special -- a band that’s not only been entertaining audiences with its own genre-busting music for four decades, but also a group that’s never been afraid to try something new -- including a reinvention, inspired by the past, that rolls joyously toward a long and shining future.

More Info / Buy Tickets

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Date/Time: July 24, 2011, 8:00 pm

Audience: All Ages

Seating: All Seated Reserved/GA

Ticket Availability: Yes

General Admission: $32.00

Reserved Tickets: $37.50

Gold Circle: $48.50

Jason Aldean Scores 3rd Consecutive #1 with "Dirt Road Anthem!"

Country rocker Jason Aldean scores his seventh No. one song as “Dirt Road Anthem” drives into the top slot on the Billboard Country Songs chart this week.  The third consecutive PLATINUM release off Country’s best-selling album of 2011, MY KINDA PARTY, the track also tops the Country Digital Singles Chart again this week with over 1.3 million singles sold to date.

"We definitely knew when we recorded this song, we'd turn some heads.  Thankfully, when they turned, they also started nodding along," laughs Aldean.  "It's been a great song to play live and also to be able to do some experimenting with for tv performances and things like that.  I love being able to put out a big ballad like our duet with Kelly and come back with something a little different the next time.   I don't want anyone to ever think they've got me figured out exactly!"

Simultaneously, Aldean's duet with pop powerhouse Kelly Clarkson "Don't You Wanna Stay" continues to climb the AC, Hot AC and Top 40 charts.  Both songs follow the success of the lead single "My Kinda Party," making this the third consecutive No. one hit from Aldean's fourth studio effort.

Aldean spent this last week in Phoenix at the Major League Baseball's All Star Week, where he played in the Celebrity and Legends softball game and performed on ESPN's broadcast of the 2011 Homerun Derby.  He is also featured this month in ESPN magazine's celebrity series "Fans Like Us" with Justin Timberlake, John Legend and more.  Click here to see behind the scenes of the photo shoot with Aldean and Kenny Mayne:

Aldean's MY KINDA PARTY TOUR continues to crisscross the country selling out the nation's biggest amphitheaters with openers Chris Young and Thompson Square.  For more information and a full list of tour dates, visit www.jasonaldean.com.