Make That a Double - Directors Who Shoot Videos and Still Photography Tie Themes Together - By Mark Crawford - May 17, 2005

Marketing a Country song through a three-minute music video is an art form in itself. It is no easy task to seamlessly meld the artistry of performer, photographer and video director together to create a final product that feels intimate and familiar to the listener. All of this is usually accomplished in a few jam-packed days of shooting, when schedules and budgets are tight.  To streamline costs of film crews, hair and makeup, stylists/wardrobe specialists and the artists for a video, some record companies hire video directors who can also shoot still photography for the CD cover, packaging and publicity use.  Lyric... Read full story
Sawyer Brown: Twenty Years After Winning CMA Horizon Award, Multi-Platinum Band is Still Thriving - By j. poet - May 10, 2005

In these days of instant celebrity, an artist can go from an unknown amateur to a superstar, seemingly overnight. So it's odd to remember back in 1984, when hard-working, experienced band Sawyer Brown won first place on "Star Search," only to find that respect didn't seem to come along with the honor. The band had already logged many miles backing singer Don King, and lead singer Mark Miller's song "Over Under and Around" had been cut by MCA Nashville recording artist Reba McEntire.  Still, Sawyer Brown's flashy clothing and Miller's energy put some people off. "We were all young and... Read full story
Kenny Greenberg: Nashville's In-Demand Everyman - May 3, 2005
By Rick Kelly

For many years, musicians, writers and singers have flocked to Nashville seeking fame and fortune as Country Music stars. However, other genres of music have played an important part in the music community, and their practitioners are important players in the overall business of making music in Nashville. One of the best current examples of Nashville's diversification - how it benefits Country Music - is the career of 2004 CMA Musician of the Year nominee Kenny Greenberg.  Greenberg was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Louisville, Ky.  The Greenberg family was not an intensely musical one... Read full story
Jamie O'Neal's Brave New World - April 26, 2005
By Crystal Caviness

The name and the voice are the same, but most everything else about Jamie O'Neal has changed since No. 1 hits "There Is No Arizona" and "When I Think About Angels" were standard radio fare in 2001.  "It kind of feels like I'm starting over, in a way. It all feels really new and exciting," O'Neal said about the activity surrounding her new album, Brave, released March 1 on Capitol Records Nashville.  The album's first single "Trying To Find Atlantis," written by Zach Turner and Chris Waters, made its way to the Top 15 of the Country charts and you can watch her perform it live on the "Emeril Live"... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: The Grascals - April 5, 2005
By Amanda Eckard

The music of The Grascals both honors the past and forges into the future, bringing a breath of fresh, yet familiar air.  The Grascals includes Terry Eldredge (vocals); Jimmy Mattingly (fiddle); David Talbot (banjo); Jamie Johnson (harmony vocals); Danny Roberts (guitar, mandolin); and Terry Smith (bass).  Indiana native, Eldredge started his career playing bass for Opry regulars Lonzo and Oscar and in 1988 joined the Osborne Brothers' band. In the 1990s, he played with Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time and recorded with Dolly Parton, Benny Martin and Dierks Bentley.  Mattingly played... Read full story
"Nashville Star" Gave Buddy Jewell and Miranda Lambert Big Career Boosts - March 29, 2005
By Ed Morris

On May 3, 2003, Buddy Jewell stepped off the stage and into a whirlwind.  That was the night he won the "Nashville Star" talent contest. His life has been pretty hectic - and starry - ever since. The prize he won was a contract with Columbia Records, and wanting to take advantage of his television exposure, the label rushed him into the studio to record an album with Equity recording artist Clint Black as his producer.  They cut the album in eight days.  One of the cuts was "Help Pour Out The Rain (Lacey's Song)," Jewell's lyrical account of a conversation with his daughter.  The song was quickly.... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Blaine Larsen - May 17, 2005
By Amanda Eckard

A moving letter from Blain Larsen's classmate to a Nashville songwriter/producer provided the high school student with the chance to follow his dreams to Music City.  Larsen's classmate used a family connection to songwriter Rory Lee Feek to introduce him to Larsen's music. Feek invited the 15-year-old Larsen to record an album with he and songwriter Tim Johnson as producers. Seattle radio station KMPS-FM started playing his single, "In My High School," and a BMG distribution representative in Seattle took notice and called RCA Label Group Chairman Joe Galante. After visiting...  Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Van Zant - May 10, 2005
By Gary Voorhies

The Van Zant name has been linked to a rock 'n' roll legacy that spans more than 30 years.
Brothers Johnny and Donnie Van Zant have collectively sold more than 50 million albums. Johnny replaced his late, legendary brother Ronnie Van Zant as lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Donnie was one of the lead singers and rhythm guitarist for 38 Special.  After collaborating on two independent CDs as a duo, Van Zant recently signed with Columbia Records Nashville.  "People ask us if we've gone Country," Johnny said. "We ain't gone Country, we were born Country."  Donnie chimed in: "Our Dad was a truck... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: The Wrights - May 3, 2005
By Tamara Saviano

It's fitting that the debut spot on Alan Jackson's new record label, ACR (Alan's Country Records) belongs to an act featuring his nephew Adam Wright.  The co-release with RCA Records, Down This Road, showcases the husband-and-wife harmonies of Adam and Shannon Wright.  The couple met in 1998 when Adam filled in as lead guitarist for Shannon, a club performer in Atlanta. Immediately they began building on their diverse musical backgrounds - everything from Hank Williams to Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan - by writing songs, developing their vocal blend and recruiting a band.  They... Read full story
Deana Carter: The Story of Her Life Continues to Write Itself - April 19, 2005
By j.poet

Deana Carter's new album, The Story of My Life, lives up to its title with 11 largely autobiographical tunes full of the spunk and subtle humor we've come to expect from her. It's her first album for Vanguard Records, an indie known for its strong roster of singer-songwriters. And while the self-produced set has pleasing crossover sheen, it's still a Country album.  There's an old fashion cheatin' song and aggressive love songs including "The Girl You Left Me For" and "Ordinary" that celebrate what the old timers used to call the wild side of life.  "I've always been a fan of the real stuff," Carter said... Read full story
Manuel: A Country Music Treasure is Exhibited at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts
April 12, 2005 - By Lorie Hollabaugh

In a quiet old building on Nashville's west side, a few blocks from the bustle of Music Row and Downtown, sits a hidden treasure - the shop of noted Western wear designer Manuel. Walk in the door and you'll feel like you've reached the end of the rainbow. Brilliantly colored jackets and garments that gleam and sparkle like diamonds are hung all about, daring the eyes to dance from color to color and leaving you feeling as if you might have glimpsed a Supernova. Then there are the photos of legendary entertainers that line the walls, silent testimonies to the artistry and popularity of a man who has...  Read full story
LeAnn Rimes: Comfortable in Her Own Skin, the Little Girl with a Big Voice is All Grown Up April 5, 2005 - By Bobby Reed

As LeAnn Rimes puts it, she is no longer "that kid with a big voice."  Similar to former child stars Brenda Lee and Tanya Tucker, Rimes has successfully made the transition from gifted prodigy to mature artist.  When Curb Records released Rimes' new album, This Woman, in late January, fans snatched up 101,000 copies in the first week. The disc debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 chart and at No. 2 on the trade magazine's Top Country Albums chart.  The lead single, "Nothin' 'Bout Love Makes Sense," is one of the early hits of 2005, and has propelled the 22-year-old Rimes back into... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Shelly Fairchild - April 19, 2005
By Amanda Eckard

"I've got a lot of sass, and I think you can hear that on some of my songs," said newcomer, Shelly Fairchild. "I wanted this album to be sexy and swampy."  Fairchild caught the attention of iconic motorcycle company Harley Davidson, who invited her to perform at their national convention, numerous bike rallies and have generously provided Fairchild with Harley stage clothes.  Infused with the rock and soul of her native Mississippi Delta, Fairchild shares her history every time she sings. She grew up in a musical family and her "Paw Paw" bought Fairchild her first guitar on her sixth birthday... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Fanny Grace - April 12, 2005
By Tamara Saviano

Here is the tale of an Irish Catholic refugee seeking his musical destiny in Los Angeles, and a bright and talented California girl who, together, leave the Mecca of the entertainment world to find fame and fortune in Oklahoma.  Paul Reeves and Carmen Mejia formed Fanny Grace more than a decade ago. In that time, the band released five independent albums, bused coast-to-coast and played the main stage at Lilith Fair.  They've been profiled on scores of television broadcasts, played a major national political rally and have performed at some of the biggest radio stations in the country without a nationally... Read full story
New Artist Spotlight: Keith Anderson - April 26, 2005
By Amanda Eckard

Before he signed with Arista Nashville, Oklahoma native Keith Anderson earned an engineering degree, caught the eye of a scout from the Kansas City Royals baseball club, placed second in the Mr. Oklahoma bodybuilding competition, started a singing telegram service, and learned to play guitar from his rocket scientist brother.  To call Anderson an overachiever may be an understatement.  He earned an engineering degree at Oklahoma State University.  An all-star baseball player, Anderson was approached by the Kansas City Royals until a shoulder injury ended his sports career.  On a Christmas.... Read full story
CMA Close Up News Service
© 2005 CMA Close Up News Service / Country Music Association, Inc
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"Nashville Star" Enters Third Season - March 29, 2005
By Ed Morris

"Nashville Star," the popular USA Network television talent search, is now in its third season of spinning straw into Gold records.  At least that's the aim.  The 2005 edition of the nine-week series, which began airing March 1, has a new host, correspondent and judges, a new record-company affiliate and, as might be expected, some new rules of play.  One element remains constant though - the nail-biting possibility that any week, your favorite contestant might be voted off the show and back to obscurity.  During the first two seasons, the top winners each earned a recording contract with Sony... Read full story
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