Brent Maher: Sets Up a Country Music Talent Incubator with Moraine Records
March 22, 2005 - By Jim Patterson

It's a portrait of a man in his natural element. Brent Maher is grinning ear-to-ear sitting in his recording studio at Moraine Music Group, listening to a new recording by one of his protégés, Sean Locke. "If you smoke a cigarette, they'll be talking about your breath/In a town this size/There ain't no place to hide," Locke's voice rings out while producer Maher listens intently before giving the engineer instructions to tweak the mix.  "Now THAT'S a Country song," Maher exclaimed about the song written by Kieran Kane. "We're going for a sort of Don Williams vibe with this one."  Kansas native Locke, who wrote... Read full story
Charlie Daniels - March 15, 2005
By Crystal Caviness

Charlie Daniels. Mere mention of the name conjures as many images as the musician has Gold and Platinum albums on the wall - and that's quite a few.  Fiddle player. Unapologetic American patriot. High-energy entertainer. Country artist. Legendary songwriter. Sincere and devout Christian. Southern rocker. Gospel musician. Benevolent humanitarian. International star.  Daniels and the music he makes with The Charlie Daniels Band have long defied easy definition. Neither has his music fit into a neat box with a tidy label.  "I've always been a challenge for record label executives," Daniels said.... Read full story
Craig Morgan finds a home on Broken Bow - March 8, 2005
By Lorie Hollabaugh

"Almost Home," Craig Morgan's hit about a homeless man dreaming about returning home, paints quite a picture in a few verses. The images from the song are so vivid one can see them along with the main character. To Morgan, it's a key element of a good Country song.  "I think our format does that better than any other," Morgan said. "We tend to tell stories and attempt to do it in an image-driven way. That's what I strive to do with songs like 'Almost Home.' (co-written with Kerry Kurt Phillips) I want to be the guy... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Miranda Lambert - February 22, 2005
By Amanda Eckard

Miranda Lambert is a seasoned Country Music veteran at 21.  Growing up in Lindale, Texas, Lambert learned about Guy Clark, Merle Haggard and Jerry Jeff Walker at the feet of her father Rick, a guitarist and songwriter.  After attending a Garth Brooks concert when she was 10, Lambert decided that music was her calling.  She entered talent competitions and began attending CMA Music Festival/Fan Fair® in Nashville every year.  At 16, Lambert started singing demos, which led to wanting to write her own songs.  Her dad taught her three chords on the guitar, and she completed her first song.... Read full story
Ed Hill: Persistence & Inspiration - February 1, 2005
By j.poet

Inspiration plays a big part in our romantic visions of a songwriter's life. We imagine the writer jumping out of bed, fumbling for the guitar in the darkness and playing that million-dollar lick, or singing the line that will soon be a national catch phrase. The day-to-day life of a professional songwriter isn't quite so magical.  Ed Hill, who has had No. 1 cuts with Faith Hill (no relation) ("It Matters To Me"); Tracy Lawrence ("Runnin' Behind"); Reba McEntire ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter") and John Michael Montgomery ("Be My Baby Tonight"); doesn't discount inspiration, but he hasn't got the time to...  Read full story
Stephen Foster: Discovering America's First Great Songwriter - January 18, 2005
By Rob Patterson

"The songwriter is the fuel that drives the car that is the Country Music industry," said Beth Nielsen Chapman, one of the artists featured on Grammy-nominated Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster.  "If you don't put gas in the engine, the car isn't going anywhere," Chapman said.  Beautiful Dreamer, which is nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Folk Album, takes listeners back to the beginning of American songwriting. Foster was America's first full-time professional tunesmith. He died 140 years ago with 38 cents in his pocket, but a rich legacy lives on in the hundreds of songs.... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Keni Thomas - March 22, 2005
By Tamara Saviano

Stand in front of the post office in Downtown Columbus, Ga. with Keni Thomas and chances are you'll hear someone drive by and yell out, "Hey, Keni Cornbread!"  It's a nickname the singer picked up in the Army as he was the only soldier who liked the pre-cooked cornbread the chow hall fed the troops every week.  His comrades pelted Thomas with the stuff while chanting, "Here you go, Cornbread."  Folks in the Southeast know Thomas and his band well. They've been touring constantly through the region and the band has sold more than 10,000 copies of its independent albums. And they were the featured...  Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: George Canyon - March 15, 2005
By Amanda Eckard

George Canyon sees the loss of his lifetime dream of being a pilot as God's way of leading him to the career he was born to pursue.  Growing up in Nova Scotia, Canada, Canyon loved the music of Charley Pride, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley.  When he was 5, Canyon's parents built him a three-quarter-sized acoustic guitar and taught him the basic chords. He performed in school talent shows and music was a big part of his life, but Canyon's dream was to fly. Canyon joined the Air Cadets when he was 12, but his hopes for joining the Air Force were dashed when he was diagnosed with... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Kevin Maines - March 8, 2005
By Amanda Eckard

Louisiana native Kevin Maines is out to give Country Music fans a taste of the variety the music genre has to offer. His debut album offers traditional Country songs, power ballads and everything in between.  Maines grew up listening to Merle Haggard, Travis Tritt, Richard Marx and Steve Perry fronting the rock band Journey.  To make ends meet, he worked on offshore oilrigs off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.  At 18, Maines entered the True Value Country Music Showdown in Louisiana. He won the local and state rounds. Maines developed a loyal following throughout his home state and East... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Jason Aldean - February 15, 2005
By Amanda Eckard

Jason Aldean believes that Country Music is in his blood.  Aldean's father, a performer, filled their Macon, Ga. house with music.  At 14, Aldean entered local talent contests and in just a year he was a regular at Nashville South, a local Country bar.  He toured the United States as part of a band before deciding to try his luck in Nashville.  Capitol Records Nashville signed Aldean less than a year after he hit town.  But an executive shuffle at the label led to his leaving without releasing an album.  Aldean soldiered on, writing with songwriters Steve Bogard, Terry McBride, Marv Green and Jeff... Read full story
CMA Announces First Round of Artists Appearing At 2005 CMA Music Festival
February 8, 2005 - By Wendy Pearl

Trace Adkins, Steve Azar, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Brad Cotter, Cowboy Troy, Billy Currington, Josh Gracin, The Jenkins, Jo Dee Messina, Montgomery Gentry, Jon Randall, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Julie Roberts, Trick Pony, Keith Urban, Phil Vassar, Jimmy Wayne, Mark Wills, Gretchen Wilson, Darryl Worley And Michelle Wright To Appear Four days, 30 hours of autograph signings, 70 hours of live music, more than 200 Country Music artists and celebrities, and more than 130,000 fans add up to one major musical event - 2005 CMA Music Festival "Country Music's Biggest PartyT," held...  Read full story
Ronnie Milsap: Inspired by Ray Charles on New Album of Standards - January 25, 2005
By Keith Ryan Cartwright

Country legend Ronnie Milsap has waited a long time to record Just for a Thrill, his new album of standards.  "I've wanted to do this for 15 years," Milsap said.  The classic songs on the Image Entertainment release include "I Don't Want Nobody to Have My Love But You,"  "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" and "But Not for Me."  "A lot of this probably comes from Ray Charles," Milsap said. "Honestly, I miss him."  Recorded in Los Angeles at the famous Capitol Studios, the album was produced by Rob Galbraith and Jerry Sharell.  Sammy Nestico, who has a long list of credits including Natalie Cole and... Read full story
Pat Green: Growing Up and Having Fun - February 22, 2005
By j.poet

Pat Green is sitting in his tour bus with his band, ready to drive to the next gig on his never ending tour, and while he still plays good-time music for his fans, he's also looking for ways to deepen his music and his songwriting.   "I think songwriters keep going back to places they're comfortable with and don't typically push the envelope," Green said. "If the backing musicians are creative they can work through that. A good musician is a bit of a magician, there's a lot of slight of hand and distraction you can use so the listener doesn't notice [that you're repeating yourself]. But there are other places you can go that ... Read full story
Even with Fame and Riches, Wilson Says She's Still a "Redneck Woman'' - Feb. 15, 2005
By Amy Green

It is the first week of January, and Gretchen Wilson has taken down her Christmas lights.
But that doesn't mean Wilson no longer is the "Redneck Woman" she proclaimed to be on her triple-Platinum debut album that has set records for its meteoritic rise in the charts. It means only, she said, that she is remodeling her suburban Nashville, Tenn. home.  Wilson has built her career on being herself - with her autobiographical song material and stripped-down image - and she is not about to change now that she is a star. Not only does she still shop at Wal-Mart and dine at McDonald's, but said she has... Read full story
Little Jimmy Dickens: Iconic - March 1, 2005
By Rick Kelly

Webster's Dictionary defines the word "icon" as: 1) an image or representation; 2) an important or enduring symbol.  While American popular culture is rich in icons, from Marilyn Monroe to James Dean to Albert Einstein, very few represent an institution as effectively as Little Jimmy Dickens represents the Grand Ole Opry. It is nearly impossible to conjure an image of the Opry without seeing the diminutive Dickens in his sparkling rhinestone suits and Stetson cowboy hat, dwarfed by his enormous Gibson J-200 guitar.   He was born James Cecil Dickens in 1920 in the town of Bolt, W.Va., the oldest of 12... Read full story
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Country Music Has Strong Year In 2004 With Double Digit Sales Increase Over 2003
January 11, 2005 - By CMA Communications Staff

Early predictions of increased album sales of Country Music in 2004 proved true with 77,912,000 units sold from Jan. 5, 2004, through Jan. 2, 2005 - a 12 percent increase over 2003, which had sales of 69,311,000 units, according to figures released today by Nielsen SoundScan.  The news was promising with a 1.6 percent rebound of the total music industry following a four-year period of steady decline, which was stemmed slightly in 2003 once Internet and digital track sales were factored into the equation by Nielsen SoundScan research. Overall music purchases in 2004 exceeded 800 million for the.. Read full story
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