country

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.

TG Sheppard and Wayne Mills Collaborate to Remake Sheppard's Hit "I Loved 'Em Everyone"

Wayne Mills and country legend, TG Sheppard head into Ocean Way Studios along with famed producer Denny Diante to remake Sheppard’s 1981 hit “I Loved ‘Em Everyone” which will be featured on Mills highly anticipated new album Long Hard Road under Diesel Records. Other musicians rounding out this all-star cast include Johnny Neel on the keyboard, formerly with the Allman Brothers, Chris Powell on drums, “Cowboy” Eddie Long, Jason "Rowdy" Cope, all with Jamey Johnson’s band, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, from Willie Nelson’s band, Gary Craig on bass and Luke Davis on guitar, both from Mill's band, and seasoned studio musicians Brent Mason and Steve Rutledge on lead and rhythm guitars.

“I came into the studio to record with Wayne because I believe in him. I hope our collaboration on this song is as good to Wayne as it was for me when I began my career,” says Sheppard when asked about remaking his hit “I Loved ‘Em Everyone.”

“Working with a country music legend like TG Sheppard is an incredible honor on both a personal and professional level,” says Mills. “I am humbled and grateful to have him on my record.  I am sure that all of our fans will enjoy the remake of ‘I Loved ‘Em Everyone,’” adds Mills.

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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. Wayne, a native of Arab, AL, pushes the boundaries of contemporary country with tracks including “I Need the Country, Whiskey Bent and Jail Bound” and the title track “Long Hard Road” which chronicles the lonesome tale of a man making bad decisions and working through the consequences. With more than fifteen years of touring experience, Wayne has proved himself the consummate performer with a huge following in the Southeast while gaining influence in other markets. This singer/songwriter’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.

Country Mice Announce Summer Tour Dates

What does Country Mice front-man Jason Rueger have in common with less than 300 people in the US?  Growing up in Beattie, that’s ruralest of rural Kansas. On a farm of course, that was passed down through three generations of his family and old enough to be on the Pony Express route. “Family, friends, and working the land gave us a good wholesome life”.
Walking dirt road paths, working and living off the land, squinting his eyes at the sun, but with headphones on, it is not the bucolic atmosphere but music that most inspires him.  At an early age, Rueger sets his sights for something different than the surrounding dirt and milo that stung his eyes and cut his hands.
Breaking away from the close-knit ties of friends and family, Rueger moves east, not to Nashville, where you might expect a country boy to venture, but to Brooklyn.  It doesn’t take long to hook up with fellow Midwest transplants Ben Bullington (guitar) and Kurt Kuehn (drums) as they all quickly band together, finding comfort in their shared sense of displacement.  Eventually, as the trio becomes more assimilated to their new surroundings, they recruit upstate New Yorker Mike Feldman (bass).
As Country Mice, they rally together to craft apocalyptic ballads through amplifier hazes that thicken into funnel clouds, drums that stomp-clap sedately before the storm peaks, and bass tones that thicken the bloodstream. Rueger draws on his small town rearing with sophistication beyond the ordinarily romantic and reductive Americana troubadour, and his songwriting is anything but dime a dozen.
Strong traces of Neil Young and Wilco are mixed into modern experimental guitar sounds that any fan of mid-90’s Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. will love. Living and gigging in Brooklyn, Country Mice begin to fully develop their sound, which becomes by influenced the other hardworking bands of Brooklyn's fast-paced scene.
Their debut album Twister is out now.It's a record that sonically chisels through the calloused shell of glossy rock & roll to find the dissonant live wire beneath and play it for all its worth. It tells a tale of strained memory: the hardships, joys, and love of growing up in a small town in the Midwest, with the hopes and dreams of traveling the world – a record for every kid seeing the big world from his small bedroom window.
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Summer Tour Dates:
July 5 Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands
July 9 Brooklyn NY @ Cameo Gallery
July 13 Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
July 15 Chicago, IL @ Cal's Bar
July 16 N. Manchester, IN @ The Firehouse
July 17 Indianapolis, IN @ Melody Inn
July 18 Louisville, KY @ Sunergos
July 19 Little Rock, AR @ Vino's
July 20 Mobile, AL @ Alabama Music Box
July 21 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight
July 22 Austin, TX @ Stubb's
July 23 Oklahoma City, OK @ Blue Note Lounge
July 24 Tulsa, OK @ Sound Pony
July 25 Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
July 26 Columbia, MO @ Mojo's
July 27 St. Louis, MO @ Ciceros
July 28 Cincinnati, OH @ Southgate House
July 29 Atlanta, GA @ The Drunken Unicorn
July 30 Savanna, GA @ The Jinx
July 31 Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
Aug. 1 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

Jason Aldean & Ludacris Collaboration Available On iTunes!

Last night at the 2011 CMT Music Awards, top nominee Jason Aldean and rapper Ludacris brought the house down with an unexpected collaboration of Aldean’s current Top 10 hit “Dirt Road Anthem.”  The remix of the song is now available on iTunes for download.  Additionally, the performance video will be available on Mon., June 13.

"Ludacris absolutely killed his verse of the song," said Aldean.  "He name checks Kenny Rogers and talks about drinking cold beer…that's pretty country, if you ask me!   I think Luda said it best last night at the close of the song when he told the crowd 'History has been made.'  It really did feel like one of those one-in-a-lifetime television moments, and the CMT Music Awards was the perfect show for it.  The fans were crazy!"

To watch Aldean and Ludacris’ performance of “Dirt Road Anthem” from last night’s CMT Music Awards, click here.

Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” is currently the No. one song on the iTunes Country Songs chart, and it plowed its way into the Top 10 on the radio charts this week.  The fan-favorite track is the third single off MY KINDA PARTY that has already spawned two smash hits ( “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson and "My Kinda Party).  The album hit big out of the gate, setting a record as the highest first week debut by a male artist in 4 years, and the now PLATINUM disc it has remained planted at the top of the chart since its Nov. release. 

Suzy Bogguss Revives Folk Favorites with New Release

Suzy Bogguss had a revelation on stage with Garrison Keillor in 2008. Everyone loves to sing along on “Red River Valley” – except the children who somehow don't know the song. Folk songs are the scrapbook of the American experience, but as music education fades from our public schools, she worried; these beautiful melodies are in danger of being overlooked. She resolved to record these timeless songs in an updated but reverent way – so that everyone can sing along on “Red River Valley.”

And who better than the golden throated Suzy? The platinum selling songstress already has a full bookshelf of Grammy and CMA awards and now with the release of American Folk Songbook she can put her own book up there too. The CD and companion Songbook will be released on July 18, 2011 at all Cracker Barrel Country Stores followed by a wide release to other fine retail and digital outlets on August 2, 2011.

As Suzy writes in the introduction to the book: “Music has always been my purest joy even as a child. One of my favorite memories is my grade-school music teacher pounding on the piano and leading the class in rousing renditions of folk songs from all around the world. In the summer of 2008 I toured with the brilliant and engaging Garrison Keillor. The energy that passed between the audience and Garrison was overwhelming at times. Several thousand people standing and singing together—old songs, hymns, the Beatles and the Everly Brothers. People of all ages, sharing music. Ahhh, pure joy."

But Bogguss was not content to present the songs as dusty museum pieces, instead she chose to breath new life into them with contemporary arrangements and a crack squad of Nashville's acoustic A-Listers. Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Pat Bergeson, Charlie Chadwick and Jeff Taylor all join the band for Suzy's self-produced project. Ultimately though it's the voice that lovingly weaves through the guitars and mandolins to find the new in these old songs. As John Lomax III writes in the forward to the book, 'Prepare yourself for enchantment! ...This work is, in a word, delightful!"

Suzy says she modeled the songbook after her "good old 5th grade songbook." The hardcover, 96-page book is filled with illustrations, fascinating historical stories about the songs, easy to read sheet music arrangements for piano, voice and guitar as well as personal insights and anecdotes from Bogguss. Her intent from the beginning was to make the book attractive to music lovers and musicians at every level. Again from her introduction: "that way, younger generations could share these slowly fading gems with their families and tell their stories of how they learned a few chords on the guitar or a couple of favorites to play at family gatherings.”

Cracker Barrel, with its devotion to families and appreciation for authentic Americana was the obvious choice for the initial release.

American Folk Songbook is the natural progression of an artist who has demonstrated skill and passion for all types of music in her career. Songs like “Aces,” “Drive South,” “Someday Soon,” “Outbound Plane” and "Letting Go" took her to the top of the country music charts. Along the way she won raves from critics and peers including winning a GRAMMY in 2005 for Traditional Folk Album, the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 1992 and album of the Year Award in 1994.

2007’s Billboard Jazz Chart topping Sweet Danger, the universally praised album, Swing recorded in 2003 with Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel and Simpatico, her beloved collaboration with Chet Atkins showed the world Bogguss was willing to both embrace tradition while continuing to grow and challenge herself as an artist. However, it is an appreciation for tradition that really shines through on American Folk Songbook.  The album is filled with songs that are the very fabric of American musical history and Bogguss reclaims this history and revives it with a fresh and beautiful take on classics like “Shenandoah,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Ol’ Dan Tucker,”  “Beautiful Dreamer” and of course, "Red River Valley." Everybody sing along!

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Upcoming Appearances:
Suzy is currently on tour in the UK with Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg as part of Wine, Women & Song 2011. When you put these three critically acclaimed, award winning singer-songwriters with years of friendship on stage together you can expect an evening of laughter and exceptional music. For more on the tour visit www.suzyboggus.com. The ladies will be appearing on BBC 1 Breakfast on June 7 and they will make a special appearance on BBC Radio 2 on June 22 when the network turns its schedule upside down for 2DAY – a 12 hour on air celebration of everything the station has to offer.
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US Tour Dates:
07/06/2011 - Boothbay Harbor, ME - Opera House at Boothbay Harbor

07/07/2011 - Ogunquit, ME - Jonathan's

07/08/2011 - White River Junction, VT - Tupelo Music Hall

07/09/2011 - Londonderry, NH - Tupelo Music Hall

07/10/2011 - South Hiram, ME - Ossipee Valley Fair

07/19/2011 - Lake City, CO - Sportsman's BBQ Station & Backyark

07/22/2011 - Moses Lake, WA  - Moses Lake Summer Series

07/29/2011 - Toronto, ON - Hugh's Room

07/30/2011 - New York, NY - City Winery

07/31/2011 - Norfolk, CT - Infinity Hall

08/13/2011 - Logan, UT - Cache County Fair

08/20/2011 - Dubois, WY - Dubois High Country Cowboy Gathering

08/25/2011 - Kent, OH - The Kent Stage

08/26/2011 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark

09/02/2011 - Highlands, NC - Highlands Performing Arts Center

09/03/2011 - Clinton, AR - World Champion Chuck Wagon Races

09/22/2011 - New Hope, PA - New Hope Winery

09/23/2011 - Annapolis, MD - Ram's Head Tavern

09/24/2011 - Staunton, VA - Fortune Williams Festival

Connie Smith's Long Long Of Heartaches | Out 8/23

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, set for release on August 23rd, her first full album of new material since 1996 (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 Frazier.  Frazier’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.

Jason Aldean Sells Over 66,000 Tickets in 3 Shows!

As the “My Kinda Party Tour” shifts into high gear for the nation’s biggest summer amphitheatre dates, PLATINUM selling country rocker Jason Aldean is already posting capacity crowds well in advance of each concert.  In the upcoming two runs, Aldean has sold out three shows a week in advance, including the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Indianapolis, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Mo. and the Jiffy Lube Live in Washington, DC for a total of over 66,000 tickets sold for the three dates.

"It is exciting to see Jason's shows selling out, but the fact that they are selling out A WEEK IN ADVANCE is nothing short of amazing,” said Brian O’Connell, Live Nation's President of Country Touring.  “Jason is taking his rightful place at the top of the touring world in all genres as a major superstar.”

Fans can now vote for Aldean for the 2011 CMT Awards where he leads the nominations with four for Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year for “My Kinda Party,” Collaborative Video of the Year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson and Best Web Video of the Year for “My Kinda Party” Live from the CMT Webcast.  He will also perform on the June 8 live broadcast.

Additionally, Aldean’s fourth album which was released on Nov. 2, continues to hold strong in the No. one spot on the Billboard Country Albums chart selling nearly 30,000 copies again this week.  The current single, the fan-favorite “Dirt Road Anthem” is driving up the radio charts parking in the Top 20 only five weeks after release. The track follows MY KINDA PARTY’s two previous No. one hits “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson and it’s title track.

For a full list of tour dates and upcoming appearances, visit www.jasonaldean.com.

STS9 @ Hangout Festival 2011

STS9 kicks off a summer of massive touring, performing at a dozen festivals, including Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores Alabama, amphitheatres and more in support of their upcoming summer EP release on 1320 Records.

Since forming in Atlanta over a decade ago, instrumental electronic rock band STS9 has experienced a meteoric rise to the forefront of the electronic-rock music scene. Recently ranked #25 among Pollstar’s list of top-grossing touring acts for Summer 2010, STS9 averaged more than 4,200 tickets sold per city on a 25 city tour that boasted opening acts such as Ghostland Observatory, Thievery Corporation and Big Boi of Outkast. The band’s tour culminated with two sold out performances at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, with 18,000 fans on-hand to experience the audio-visual force that is STS9.

STS9 truly does it all; from headlining stages at festivals such as Austin City Limits Festival, Lollapalooza and Electric Daisy Carnival, to selling out shows around the country in opera houses and amphitheatres alike, to performing with Jay-Z in arenas, to running their own record label, 1320 Records, to using their voice as a platform for change and raising significant amounts of money towards funding for their activism efforts (including $150,000 this past year to The Make it Right Foundation, paving the way to rebuild a house in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans). Pushing boundaries is all in a day’s work for STS9.

In addition to the release of their latest studio album, Ad Explorata (the tenth in their full discography), and in keeping with XLR8R Magazine’s notion that STS9 is "one of the country's most intriguing, innovative outfits around,” June 2010 brought the release of Axe the Cables (1320 Records), a live album featuring STS9’s first ever acoustic performance recorded in late 2009 at the Gates Opera House in Denver, Colorado. These electronic virtuosos got back to their roots, performing on all acoustic instruments to absolutely rave reviews, and inspired additional “unplugged” events at various noteworthy stops across the country during their summer tour – including sold out performances at the Gramercy Theatre in New York, Atlanta’s Tabernacle and the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

STS9’s self-owned record label, 1320 Records was founded on the principles of collaboration, cooperation, and community. The goal is clear: bring the music to the people in the most conscious, unique innovative and savvy ways possible. By doing so, the distance lessens between artists and fans, putting the power back in the hands of those that make music and those that live for it.

Gary Nicholson's New CD, Texas Songbook

Gary Nicholson is a musical renaissance man — a number one hit songwriter, a two time Grammy winning record producer, a guitarist, singer, and recording artist. A consistent presence on the upper reaches of the country chart hit parade for the last three decades, his associations and collaborations read like an honor roll of notable talent in country and beyond: George Strait, Ringo Starr, Garth Brooks, Jeff Bridges, Robert Plant, B.B. King, Fleetwood Mac, Gregg Allman, The Judds, Buddy Guy, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Del McCoury, The Neville Brothers, Vince Gill, Delbert McClinton, Etta James, John Prine, Keb’ Mo’, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson among them. His songs have been heard in the movies Crazy Heart, Major League, City of Hope, Message in a Bottle and Where the Heart Is. “I’m always curious about working with different people and styles,” he says.

He is also a true blue son of the Lone Star State whose love and pride for the place he calls home brims from every track of his Bismeaux Records album, Texas Songbook, due out June 21, 2011. Recorded in Austin with some of the finest players in the state, it features such guest stars as Joe Ely, McClinton, Marcia Ball, Randy Rogers, Ray Benson and Jason Roberts of Asleep at the Wheel on songs inspired by or about Texas by Nicholson himself and penned with Texans like the late Stephen Bruton, McClinton, Guy Clark, Lee Roy Parnell and others. It’s sure to satisfy anyone with a taste for swinging, two-stepping, and dancehall and honky-tonk style Lone Star country music.

The album leaps into a Lone Star state of mind from the opening track, “Texas Weather,” and keeps the theme dancing though “She Feels Like Texas,” “A Woman in Texas, A Woman in Tennessee,” “Lone Star Blues” (with Ely and Benson singing along, and just recorded by George Strait for his next album), “Talkin’ Texan” and “Texas Ruby” (with Ball on piano). The set includes the signature song “Fallin’ & Flyin’” from Crazy Heart, the infectiously swinging “Messin’ With My Woman” (with backing vocals by Benson and Roberts), “Same Kind of Crazy” (written with McClinton, who plays harmonica on the track and cut the song, as did George Strait on his Twang album), and “Listen to Willie” (a tribute to the Red-Haired Stranger with Stoney LaRue and Benson on vocals and Mickey Raphael on harmonica). It wraps up with “Bless Them All” (with the McCrary Sisters), “Live, Laugh, Love” (previously recorded by Texan Clay Walker), and the closing grace note of “Some Days You Write the Song” (the title song of the Grammy-nominated Guy Clark album, co-written with Clark and Jon Randall Stewart).

Nicholson’s impetus for making Texas Songbook was his recent induction into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame. “I’ve always wanted to make a truly country record,” he says of his fourth release in his own right. “So I figured, okay, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this in Texas with all Texas players and with songs co-written by Texans. I’m just going to make the most Texas record I can possibly make and have fun doing it.”

To do so, the first and only choice was to “go straight to Ray Benson.” Recorded at Benson’s Bismeaux Studio, the disc features Asleep at the Wheel members and associates Roberts (fiddle), David Sanger (drums), Floyd Domino (piano) and Kevin Smith (bass) as well as steel guitarist Tommy Detamore and accordion player Joel Guzman. “I couldn’t have made this record in Nashville and gotten this music,” notes Nicholson, a Music City resident for now more than three decades. “I could have come close. But I knew I could only make this album in Texas.” Plus for good measure include in the creative mix some honorary Texans from the state’s “north 40” of Oklahoma like guest singer and Lone Star/Red Dirt music scene hero LaRue and Kevin Welch, co-writer of “Listen to Willie” and now residing in the Hill Country town of Wimberley.

The trail that led Nicholson to becoming an integral and pervasive presence in the Nashville music industry and scene — and 26 ASCAP songwriting awards and nomination to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame — begins in Garland in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where he came of age within the fertile musical context of the mid 1950s.

He soon took up the guitar and started playing folk and country music, making his public debut in his school’s eighth grade talent show and winning it. Then along came The Ventures and Nicholson took up electric guitar. When he later came to believe that the Beatles “were the greatest thing ever” and heard area resident Freddie King, his fate was sealed. As a teen he played in such British Invasion-inspired bands as the Valiants, the Catalinas and the Untouchables.

While studying at North Texas State University in nearby Denton, Nicholson fell in with such other musical students as soon-to-be Eagle Don Henley and pianist/producer/arranger Jim Ed Norman, later president of the Warner Bros. Nashville label. He stayed busy by night in club bands, and was also recruited to tour with the Nazz after Todd Rundgren left the group. “They hired me because I had a Marshall stack and a Les Paul,” Nicholson recalls with a chuckle. Following a night in 1971 hanging out with Gram Parsons on a swing through Dallas by the American-music pioneer, Nicholson left college and, urged on by Parsons, moved with his band to Los Angeles.

His friends Henley and Norman soon followed as Nicholson went on to win his first publishing deal, scored his debut recorded cover by bluegrass star Doug Dillard, and inked a record deal with Kapp/MCA with his band, Uncle Jim’s Music. They rehearsed in the same building as budding star Linda Ronstadt, whose producer John Boylan helmed the first of the band’s two albums of Nicholson’s songs (with Norman on keyboards for the second), prized by collectors.

Not long after watching Henley join forces with Glenn Frey in Ronstadt’s band and then soar to superstardom in The Eagles, Nicholson married his college sweetheart Barbara and headed back to Texas in 1973. Despite the artistic boom in California, “I liked the music back in Texas better,” he notes. One reason why was an album by locals and fellow expatriates to L.A. who would also return home, Delbert & Glen (Clark).

Nicholson wound up doing stints as a guitarist in McClinton’s band throughout the rest of the 1970s. He also started a group called Hot Sauce that melded country-rock and blues and were sometimes joined by his guitar hero Freddie King at their weekly Sunday residency at Mother Blues in Dallas. He also sharpened his Western swing and country chops taking gigs throughout North Texas, and continued to hone his songwriting skills.

Then Norman tapped a Nicholson song, “Jukebox Argument,” for a recording by Mickey Gilley that ended up on the Urban Cowboy 2 soundtrack. His friend then invited him to relocate to Nashville to write for his publishing company in 1980. By 1984 he had joined the roster of legendary writers at Tree Publishing and nabbed his first No. 1 cut with “That’s the Thing About Love” by Don Williams. He has since written or co-written scores of country chart songs including such Top 10 gems as “One More Last Chance” (Vince Gill), “The Trouble With the Truth” (Patty Loveless), “She Couldn’t Change Me” (Montgomery Gentry) and Reba’s “When Love Gets a Hold of You.”

Nicholson showcased his skills as a producer on his 1995 solo debut, The Sky Is Not the Limit. Four albums for McClinton followed, two of them Grammy winners (Best Contemporary Blues Album) and another nominated, and to date the longtime friends have written some 40 songs together that Delbert has recorded. His other noteworthy productions include T. Graham Brown’s acclaimed Wine Into Water, New Day Dawning by Wynonna and the landmark Reunion by the Judds as well as discs by Chris Knight, Seth Walker and Pam Tillis plus Marcia Ball’s latest album, among others.

Soon after arriving in Music City Nicholson did his first session as a guitarist. His credit can be found on numerous albums since, especially when a taste of Texas C&W and blues is called for. He toured out of Nashville in his early years there with Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Tracy Nelson and Gail Davies until Bobby Bare advised him to leave his band and better spend his time at home writing songs. Now that his sons are grown, Nicholson is back out on the road and with his band Fortunate Sons, who put out an album in 2010, as well as gigging and making a record under his nom de blues Whitey Johnson. As Texas Songbook hits the market, he also gathers together a country band to share stages with Asleep at the Wheel over the summer of 2011.

Texas Songbook follows the form of his previous Nashville Songbook album that collected a number of Nicholson’s top country covers in his own versions. Given his Lone Star State roots, his latest disc is a truly special endeavor for the multi-talented musical artist. “I’m really proud of it,” he concludes. “It’s very important stuff for me. As great as Nashville is and has been to me, it will never take the place of Texas in my heart."

Marty Stuart Reveals Lineup For 10th Annual Late Night Jam

GRAMMY award winner Marty Stuart will host a special 10th Anniversary Late Night Jam on June 8 beginning at 10:00 PM at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.  Country music icons Dolly Parton, Mel Tillis and Connie Smith, along with The Quebe Sisters Band, Doug Kershaw and more surprise guests will be joining Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives for this year’s event.  The Late Night Jam has become the unofficial kick-off of the CMA Music Festival and prior to any lineup information being released, tickets for this year’s event have sold faster than ever before. Proceeds will benefit MusiCares with a portion also going to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“It's hard to believe that the Late Night Jam is ten years old,” said Stuart.  “I can't help but think back on the first one.  I was nervous; pacing and hoping that we'd have enough people show up.  The show ended up being a sell-out and we’ve been going strong ever since.  That first show was over 25,000 people ago, and it was also many good deeds ago from MusiCares, and a lot of really magical performances ago from some of my dearest musical friends. Every year I say, ‘How can I top that show?’  Somehow it happens and good things result from it. This year will be no different.”

Over the past 10 years, Stuart has brought artists such as Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, Porter Wagoner, Neko Case, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jerry Lee Lewis and more to the Ryman stage for a one of a kind marathon jam session all in the name of charity and country music.

Stuart, a stalwart of traditional country music, recently received his fifth career GRAMMY award for “Best Country Instrumental” for “Hummingbyrd,” from his critically acclaimed album GHOST TRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS).  His TV show, The Marty Stuart Show, continues to bring traditional country music into living rooms across the country every Saturday night on RFD-TV.   Upcoming episodes will feature Brad Paisley, Old Crow Medicine Show, Keith Urban, Paul Shaffer and Travis Tritt.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.martystuart.net.