• KASSI ASHTON AND TRAVIS DENNING HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED AS RECIPIENTS OF THE FIRST-EVER CMA KIXSTART ARTIST SCHOLARSHIP.

    The Country Music Association has selected rising stars Kassi Ashton, Travis Denning and Jameson Rodgers as recipients of the first-ever CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship. Throughout the next year, CMA and its staff will provide support for the three artists, helping connect each with professionals within the industry as well as providing unique opportunities to participate in CMA-related events during CMA Fest, CMA Awards and C2C: Country 2 Country festival in the U.K. Get to know the artists through introduction videos at CMAworld.com/KixStart.

    The scholarship program is the brainchild of artist managers and 2017 CMA Board Artist Relations Committee Chair Marion Kraft (ShopKeeper Management) and Vice Chair Mary Hilliard Harrington (Red Light Management). The program saw more than 100 interested artists through the application process, with 48 eligible finalists vying for a spot.

    “The CMA board is continually looking for ways to grow our format and help support our artist community. The idea behind KixStart was to focus on emerging artists who are already out there working hard but could use a boost that these extra resources might provide. And I think we found out from the high number of artists who applied for the scholarship program that CMA has identified a real need,” said Harrington. Adds Kraft, “Our goal is to give artists an opportunity to learn best practices in an industry that has no structure on teaching someone how to become a successful working artist. We are excited that the CMA KixStart scholarship is highlighting three talented and unique artists like Kassi, Travis and Jameson.”

    On Tuesday evening, Denning and Rodgers performed for CMA board members during a private dinner held at BMI, while Ashton is currently overseas, participating in the CMA Songwriters Series U.K. tour.

    Kassi Ashton is one of Nashville’s most compelling rising stars. Signed to UMG Nashville in conjunction with Interscope Records, the California, Missouri singer/songwriter has been making a name for herself on the music scene thanks to her authentic songwriting and soulful, rich voice. The Tennessean recognizes “her distinct husky, powerful voice and self-assured take-me-or-leave-me attitude put her in her own lane in country music” while Huffington Post gives Ashton “mad props for her songwriting and stage presence” and CMT calls Ashton “fearless” and notes “her point of view is inspired and her storytelling knows no bounds.” Ashton released her auto-biographical song “California, Missouri,” where she paints an unconventional portrait of life growing up in her small town. Named “Who to Watch” by Huffington Post, The Tennessean and radio personality Bobby Bones’ Class of 2018, Ashton also caught the attention of Country superstar Keith Urban. Describing her as “such a unique, original creature,” Urban featured Ashton on his song “Drop Top” for his latest album Graffiti U. Ashton brings a certain swagger and take-no-prisoners attitude to her music, especially with her latest, “Taxidermy” – available HERE. Read more at KassiAshton.com.

    A native of Warner Robins, Georgia, Mercury Nashville’s Travis Denning vividly remembers the moment he realized he wanted to pursue music for a living. He was seven years old sitting in his Dad’s truck and heard AC/DC for the first time. From then on, he was hooked and devoured all types of music from Country, pop, rock and heavy metal. Denning started playing local bars at the age of 16 and built a solid following from his distinctive songs and raucous guitar licks. He moved to Nashville in 2014 and within a year signed a publishing deal with Jeremy Stover’s RED Creative Group. After securing outside cuts by Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Michael Ray and Chase Rice he caught the attention of Universal Music Group where he eventually signed a record deal in 2017. Denning just released his debut single “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs,” an upbeat coming-of-age song that paints a picture of a young man reminiscing on his carefree college memories. The singer/songwriter has previously opened shows for Cole Swindell, Alan Jackson, Moore and Rice and is set to hit the road with LANCO on the “Hallelujah Nights” tour this fall. When Denning is not touring, he is in the studio working on his debut album. Read more at TravisDenning.com.

    Raised in Batesville, Mississippi, singer-songwriter Jameson Rodgers brings together electrified rock & roll and Country songwriting on his new self-titled EP, released in January of 2018, with songs featured on Spotify’s New Boots and Wild Country playlists as well as Sirius XM’s On The Horizon. This year, Rodgers also received the AIMP (Association of Independent Music Publishers) Nashville Rising Artist-Writer of the Year nomination for the third annual AIMP Nashville Awards. The former college baseball player, who landed a publishing deal with Combustion Music in 2014, scored his first songwriting cuts with Florida Georgia Line’s “Wish You Were On It” and “Talk You Out Of It” in addition to co-writing Chris Lane’s new single “I Don’t Know About You.” His debut EP, released in 2016, features the streaming hit “Midnight Daydream.” In addition to opening shows for Sam Hunt and Old Dominion, Rodgers has been selling out clubs throughout the south and Midwest this year. He will join Luke Combs’ “Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour,” kicking off in January. Read more at JamesonRodgers.com.

    The CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship is named after former CMA Board Chairman and long-serving board member Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn. An artist advocate, Brooks drove the creation of the CMA Board of Directors’ Artist Relations Committee in 2006.

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  • TRAVIS DENNING MAKES MORE MUSIC AVAILABLE TO FANS.

    Fans of Travis Denning can now purchase “Red, White and Blue,” one of their favorite songs he performs live in concert. Since people are consuming music at an exponential rate, artists are making more music available to them, even before they release an album.

    Travis, who hits the road with LANCO next week, is currently making his way up the country charts with his song “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs.”

     

     

  • FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRAVIS DENNING.

    Travis Denning is making his way up the country charts with his debut single, “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs,” and while you know the song and possibly the artist, we’re here to help put the two together with “Five Things You Need to Know About Travis Denning.”

    “Well, first off, number one, I’m left-handed. Number two, I’m unapologetically a Georgia Bulldog fan. Number three, the Allman Brothers are the pinnacle thing in my life musically. Number four, take me to Bass Pro Shops I’ll be happy. And number five, if you come see us live, you will absolutely not be disappointed,” says Travis.

    The Georgia native will hit the road with Lanco on their Hallelujah Nights Tour October 24th in Columbia, Missouri.

    Audio / Travis Denning reveals five things you need to know about him.

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    Travis Denning (5 things to know) OC: …not disappointed. :23
    “Well, first off, number one, I’m left-handed. Number two, I’m unapologetically a Georgia Bulldog fan. Number three, the Allman Brothers are the pinnacle thing in my life musically. Number four, take me to Bass Pro Shops I’ll be happy. And number five, if you come see us live, you will absolutely not be disappointed.”

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  • HALLOWEEN 2018: Adam, Alan, Billy, Brothers O, Clare, Darius, Dierks, Eric, Jon, Jon, Jordan, Luke, Maddie & Tae, Travis

    Halloween is Wednesday, October 31st, and the holiday has some of your favorite country stars getting into costumes, while others are recalling memories of Halloweens past.

     

    Audio / Adam Hambrick talks about one of his favorite Halloween costumes as a kid.

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    Adam Hambrick (Halloween) OC: …five-years-old. :10
    “My grandmother made me a Ghostbusters jumpsuit, and I had the proton backpack and I went as Peter Venkman, the Ghostbuster, when I was five-years-old.”

    Audio / Alan Jackson used to take his now grown daughters trick-or-treating when they were young children, but he recalls one costume that he hated. It was an infant costume that made one of the girls look like a little peapod.

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    AJ (Halloween) OC: …cute, but…[laughs] :17
    “Aww, I remember some, when they were infants, they had like these little, they looked like a little pea pod, you know, or something. It’s like a little green pea or something. And I thought man, that’s awful. But Denise liked it, and I guess it was cute, but…(laughs).”

    Audio / Billy Currington reminisces about his childhood Halloween memories.

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    Billy Currington (Halloween) OC: …Halloween. :17
    “You know, when I was a kid, I loved the trick and the treat. I loved dressing up. I was always wanting to be Dracula. That was my favorite guy. But, of course, who doesn’t love going door-to-door and getting these buckets of candy? [laughs] So, love, love Halloween.”

     

    Audio / JOHN AND TJ OSBORNE TALK ABOUT THEIR FAVORITE HALLOWEEN CANDY.

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    Brothers Osborne (Halloween candy) OC: (John) …go stale. [laughs] :34
    TJ: “I would say, Snickers, Baby Ruth, Kit Kat and Reese’s too.” JOHN: “I always hated those houses that would give you bad candy, though. You’re like, ‘C’mon. Step it up.’ Spend the extra dollar on a bag, you know?” TJ: “A house when we were growing up used to give out whole candy bars. It was the best. You were like, ‘That house – that’s the honey hole of candy.’” JOHN: “I love it, and I love like at the end, like three or four days after Halloween you would see what candy was left, and it was always like those crappy cheap candies, and they would just go stale.” [laughs]

    Audio / Brothers Osborne’s John Osborne talks about carving pumpkins with their dad when they were growing up.

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    Brothers Osborne (carving pumpkins) OC: …or something. :25
    “With our dad every year, we would go looking for pumpkins, and we would all get our own pumpkin to carve, and he would buy the biggest pumpkin that they had. It was huge. I mean, it was way too big for any one person, but he would love carving. He’s kind of an artsy guy. He was a great drawer and stuff, and he would carve the most terrifying, vicious looking, scary pumpkin you’d ever seen in your life, and it would be massive. It would be like on a 50-pound pumpkin or something.”

    Audio / Brothers Osborne’s TJ and John Osborne talk about dressing up like zombies for Halloween.

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    Brothers Osborne (zombie costume) OC: (John) …was so fun! :29
    TJ: “Literally, you can dress up like a zombie and drag your foot behind you all day and make weird noises, and everyone finds that completely acceptable.” [laughs] JOHN: “One year I dressed up as a ‘90s redneck zombie with a mullet wig and an Alan Jackson denim coat. I never once broke character. That’s part of the thing — you can actually not break character and get away with it. And everywhere I went, even when I ordered a drink, I ordered it like a zombie that was falling apart. [laughs] It was so fun!”

    Audio / Brothers Osborne’s TJ Osborne talks about one of his favorite childhood Halloween costumes.

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    Brothers Osborne (Halloween costume) OC: (TJ) …I love it. :37
    TJ: “There was a costume I had when I was a kid that my dad made. I was a caterpillar, no, you were a caterpillar and I was a spider. And so I don’t know if you’re familiar with pipe insulation? It’s like these black tubes, and so I had these little black pipe insulators as my legs.” JOHN: “There were strings attached to him that would hold some of the black pipe insulators under his hands, and he’d put working gloves on the end of them and so when he’d raise his arms, all of the little spider legs would raise up with it. [laughs] I’m telling you, our parents were total hippies. They were just…” TJ: “Artsy-fartsy hippies. I love it.”

    Audio / Growing up on a working ranch where the nearest neighbor was about five miles away, Clare Dunn says trick-or-treating was hit-or-miss.

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    Clare Dunn (Halloween) OC: …and stuff. :23
    “Halloween was always hit and miss. I mean it’s five miles to my nearest neighbor. So, for us if we wanted to go trick-or-treating or whatever, some of the country kids a couple of years would all band together and we’d drive around in vehicles from house to house to house. So, we’d all pile into a pickup and then we’d go annoy our neighbors for candy and stuff.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker loves Halloween, especially because it’s his kids’ favorite holiday.

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    Darius (Halloween) OC: …I’m into. :06
    “Halloween’s big for me, because the kids love it. It’s my kids’ favorite holiday, so anything they’re into, I’m into.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley talks about the Halloweens of his childhood.

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    Dierks Bentley (Halloween) OC: … …around home. [laughs]  :23
    “Oh, when I was a kid, I was all into fireworks. Growing up in Arizona, we couldn’t get ’em, so we’d have ’em shipped in illegally. I still remember the name of the guy we’d call. His name was Joe, and he’d bring in, ship ’em in a package with no writing on ’em. We were all about M-80s in the mailboxes and bottle rocket wars. To me, as a kid, Halloween was fireworks, was blowing up stuff around home. [laughs]”

    Audio / Eric Church recalls his favorite Halloween costume.

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    Eric Church (Halloween) OC: …Franklin Street. 1:18
    “My favorite Halloween costume really came, I remember when I got a little older my first year of college, there’s this thing they do every year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Halloween on Franklin Street. We drove down from Boone, North Carolina. I had a bunch of friends that went to University of North Carolina, and we didn’t have costumes and didn’t realize until we were on the way that we had to have costumes. So, we stopped at a costume place in Greensboro, North Carolina. It’s Halloween, so there’s a run on everything and couldn’t find anything. And we end up getting sent around, driving  around town. We end up finding this hole in the wall place, but they had the full costume, Sesame Street outfits. The real deal. The real ones [with] feathers and fur. We were Elmo, Cookie Monster and I was Big Bird, and the Big Bird was the actual Big Bird. It’s about 7-foot-4, and yiou looked out of the body and then you had these straps that went on since the head was a lot higher. There’s a lot of beer involved in Franklin Street, so we get down there and as the night went on, my straps broke, so the head would pivot. And so, I would be walking one way and the head would be facing the other, and it just became this funny…I didn’t know the head was on backwards. I had no idea. I see out of the body, so I’m just kinda walking around and people were talking to my ass-end. [laughs] The whole time peiople’d come up and start talking and go, ‘Hey, turn around.’ And I’d turn around, and they’d go, ‘No turn around.’ It was a mess. That year, there was no other Big Bird on Franklin Street.”

    Audio / Jon Langston talks about his most memorable Halloween.

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    Jon Langston (Halloween show) OC: …memorable Halloween. :59
    “So we played a show a few years ago in Baton Rouge and I go off stage and I come back on stage for the encore. I don’t know this until midway through the song, I’m just into the crowd, like I’m engaged. I’m in the zone, and I just see everyone, like everybody else behind me but me and I’m like what’s going on. I turn around and each of them has a different huge mask on, like one of those stuffed animal masks, like my drummer has a dinosaur head on. My guitar players, one of ‘em has monkey head on, the other has a unicorn head on. And my bass player has like a, I think a dog or cat head or something like that. I couldn’t finish the song I was laughing so hard just seeing them playing with these like over-sized huge mask heads on Halloween night. That was funny. It was a good prank, so that was probably the most memorable Halloween.”

    Audio / Jon Pardi reveals his favorite Halloween candy.

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    Jon Pardi (Halloween candy) OC: …during Halloween. :06
    “Man! The candy corn is pretty good, and that’s seasonal, so it only kinda pops out during Halloween.”

    Audio / Jon Pardi talks about his favorite Halloween costumes as a child.

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    Jon Pardi (Halloween) 1 OC: …the Superman. :15
    “Man, I went through phases of costumes – the Superman costume, then it was a ninja, then I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle one year. I remember rockin’ the Superman.”

    Audio / JORDAN DAVIS TALKS ABOUT HIS FAVORITE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES OVER THE YEARS.

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    Jordan Davis (Halloween costumes) OC: …jet black. :49
    “I can remember being really big into Power Rangers. I always liked the Red Ranger. I remember being Red Ranger one Halloween. I remember me and my brother being big into the Ninja Turtles. I was Donatello one year, which I think was the purple turtle. I think, though, my favorite Halloween was I was in college and I went as Luigi from Mario and Luigi, and I actually grew a legit mustache and dyed it jet black and ran into an e-girlfriend at the costume shop and completely forgot I had the mustache on. So, when Is saw her, she was like, ‘So, you’re going with a mustache nowadays, huh?’ [laughs] I remember being like, ‘I swear this is part of my Halloween costume.’ [laughs] When I dyed my mustache, my top lip was black for a week. Like I really did dye it jet black.”

    Audio / JORDAN DAVIS TALKS ABOUT HIS FAVORITE HALLOWEEN CANDY.

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    Jordan Davis (Halloween candy) OC: …some Starbursts. :21
    “My favorite Halloween candy [is] probably Reese’s or M&M’s, although I love the variety of Starburst. It’s one that I feel like I only eat at Halloween, because I feel like at Halloween one of the popular ones is the two-piece Starburst things. So, probably Reese’s, M&Ms and throw in some Starbursts.”

    Audio / CANDY CORN IS A PRETTY POLARIZING CANDY THAT ONLY COMES OUT AROUND HALLOWEEN. SOME LOVE IT; SOME HATE IT AND NEITHER OPINION IS WRONG. JORDAN DAVIS SIDES WITH THE HATERS (DON’T BLAME HIM), SINCE HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO CANDY CORN.

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    Jordan Davis (no candy corn) OC: …they’re awful. :05
    “You know what I never got? The candy corns. I’ve never been a candy corn guy. I think they’re awful.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan says you can tell a lot about your neighbors from what kind of Halloween candy they hand out.

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    Luke Bryan (Halloween) OC: …your teeth. :21
    “You can find out a lot about your neighbors by what kind of candy they put out. So, well, like full bars of Snickers bars, that’s what, and Reese’s cups, [but] the old chocolate popcorn ball of stuff, that’s no good either, like Dots – you get Dots one time of year and they pull your teeth.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan says his wife Caroline usually pick out his Halloween costumes.

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    Luke Bryan (Halloween costumes) OC: …always has. :20
    “Me and Caroline did one year where I dressed up as the old lady, and she dressed up as, she called herself a dirty old man. So, she went around acting like an old man saying snide comments to everybody. That was a fun one. The main thing is Caroline is big, she loves Halloween and always has.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan talks about his Halloween traditions.

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    Luke Bryan (Halloween) 2 OC: …with all that. :33
    “My tradition for Halloween is Caroline picks the outfit. I never know what I’m wearing. So that day, I’ll talk to the neighbors ‘cause I have a tractor back there and I’ll go get my tractor and get a big long trailer, and then I’ll run down to…a couple miles from the farm, we’ve got a big hay farmer that keeps hay and you run in there and pay him for his hay bales. And I’ll load the hay up and get the hayride ready and we’ll take all the kids behind the tractor and have a fun Halloween with all that.”

    Audio / Maddie & Tae sit on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to scary movies.

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    Maddie & Tae (Halloween) OC: …princesses. :24
    TAE: “Oooooh, Halloween [is] my favorite holiday. Anyone who knows me knows I love all things scary and gory, so especially on Halloween all the scary movies that come out in theaters, I am there every single time.” MADDIE: “And I never go with her because I hate scary things.” TAE: “You know what’s funny? As little girls, everyone wants to dress up as princesses, and I think I was a witch like six years in a row. I just wanted to be scary.” MADDIE: “Girl, I was like Jasmine and you know [other] princesses.”

    Audio / Travis Denning talks about his favorite – and probably most embarrassing – Halloween costume.

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    Travis Denning (Halloween costume) OC: …Busch Light. :21
    “Honestly, I think one of my most proud and embarrassed Halloween costumes is I went as Terry from Reno 9-1-1. I had the roller skates, the short-shorts, the tied-up shirt. Looking back, it wasn’t the manliest thing I ever did, but it got a lot of laughs. And I think that year my favorite candy I ever had was Busch Light.”

  • TRAVIS DENNING SHINES UNDER SOME FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.

    Travis Denning lives, breathes and dies by music, but he also feels the same way about football. He was a huge supporter of his high school football team, so the fact that the “Friday Night Lights” theme would seep into many of his songs is no surprise. He does attribute his love of football to his beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs (or “the Dawgs” as most Georgians would call them).

     

    “The passion I had for high school football all came down to how much I loved the University of Georgia and the Bulldogs. I don’t think a lot of people understand that my first game I went to I was three-years-old. My dad had season tickets my whole life. My grandfather had season tickets, and it’s still probably the biggest part of my life other than country music,” says Travis. “There’s a lot of football, there’s a lot of that Friday Night Lights, that Saturday Night Lights, all that, a lot of that’s in my music, even when I’m not singing about football. I think just that passion and that romance for, man, when those lights come on and the pressure’s on and you’re in the stands – that feeling is in a lot of different spots in my music.”

    Travis, who is making his way up the country charts with “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs,” will hit the road with Lanco beginning October 24th in Columbia, Missouri.

    Audio / Travis Denning explains why the theme of Friday Night Lights seeps into his music.

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    Travis Denning (Friday Night Lights) OC: …in my music. 1:19
    “The passion I had for high school football all came down to how much I loved the University of Georgia and the Bulldogs. I don’t think a lot of people understand that my first game I went to I was three-years-old. My dad had season tickets my whole life. My grandfather had season tickets, and it’s still probably the biggest part of my life other than country music. I’ve been to about 95-100 home games. I love that team, like I love them through everything. It was such a family event too. I mean, Saturdays, I didn’t get to sleep in. I had to wake up at 7:30 and we drove to Athens, set up and tailgating by nine just to make a noon game. But looking back, I would literally never trade those memories for anything because I got to spend time with my folks, my sister and my cousins, and it was such a family affair all around a love for football. There’s a lot of football, there’s a lot of that Friday Night Lights, that Saturday Night Lights, all that, a lot of that’s in my music, even when I’m not singing about football. I think just that passion and that romance for, man, when those lights come on and the pressure’s on and you’re in the stands – that feeling is in a lot of different spots in my music.”

  • TRAVIS DENNING IS THE COOLEST UNCLE.

    If you follow Travis Denning on his socials, you’d know how proud he is to be an uncle to his nephew Jameson.

     

    “I fell in love with him immediately. He’s just the cutest thing,” says Travis. “It’s disappointing I don’t get to see him as much, but it makes the moments I do get to see him incredible. And thanks to Snapchat and Facebook, I get to see pictures of him every day, so it’s the coolest thing in the world. It’s the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.”

    Travis even enlists Jameson’s help in selling his merchandise.

    Travis is in the Top 35 on the country charts with his true-to-life debut song, “David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs.”

    You can catch Travis in Nashville on Tuesday (September 18th), followed by shows in Fresno and Riverside later this week.

    Audio / Travis Denning says his life changed when his nephew Jameson was born.

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    Travis Denning (nephew) OC: …happened to me. :35
    “When Jameson was born, my nephew, it was an unbelievable moment where people always tell you it’s going to be incredible. It’s going to blow you away, and you don’t take it seriously but then you don’t understand the gravity of it until it happens. I fell in love with him immediately. He’s just the cutest thing. It’s disappointing I don’t get to see him as much, but it makes the moments I do get to see him incredible. And thanks to Snapchat and Facebook, I get to see pictures of him every day, so it’s the coolest thing in the world. It’s the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.”

     

     

  • TRAVIS DENNING RELEASES ACOUSTIC VERSION OF “DAVID ASHLEY PARKER FROM POWDER SPRINGS.”

    Travis Denning has released an acoustic version of his debut single, “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs.”

    Acoustic version buy link: http://strm.to/DAPFPSAcoustic

    For information on tour dates and more, go to travisdenning.com.

     

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  • TRAVIS DENNING LOVES WAFFLE HOUSE FOOD.

    One of Travis Denning’s favorite restaurants is Waffle House, especially late at night (or early morning, if you want to get technical). The Georgia native could actually be a model spokesperson for the chain, since he knows all the good eats…and the best times to eat there.

    “I’ve been ordering the same thing at Waffle House for the past 25 years pretty much, since I’ve been born. I get cheese and eggs, hash browns – scattered and smothered – raisin toast, bacon crispy, and a coffee and water. So, pull 1, bacon well-done, scrambled cheese plate, scattered smothered, raisin toast, boom. I could call the order if I had to,” says Travis. “Waffle House is my favorite restaurant in the whole world, because you can eat it Christmas morning. It’s fantastic. You can eat it on a late-night road trip, and you can eat it when maybe you’re not in the most sober mind of thoughts, and it’s always delicious and it’s always good.”

    Travis, who is making his way up the country charts with “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs,” has a full weekend of shows ahead including Point Pleasant, New Jersey on Friday (August 31st), followed by shows in Thornville, Ohio on Saturday (September 1st) and Buena Vista, Colorado as part of Dierks Bentley‘s Seven Peaks Festival on Sunday.

    Audio / Travis Denning says Waffle House has always been his favorite restaurant.

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    Travis Denning (Waffle House) OC: …always good. :43
    “I’ve been ordering the same thing at Waffle House for the past 25 years pretty much, since I’ve been born. I get cheese and eggs, hash browns – scattered and smothered – raisin toast, bacon crispy, and a coffee and water. So, pull 1, bacon well-done, scrambled cheese plate, scattered smothered, raisin toast, boom. I could call the order if I had to. Waffle House is my favorite restaurant in the whole world, because you can eat it Christmas morning. It’s fantastic. You can eat it on a late-night road trip, and you can eat it when maybe you’re not in the most sober mind of thoughts, and it’s always delicious and it’s always good.”

  • LABOR DAY 2018: AJ, BILLY, BRANDON, CARRIE, CLARE, DARIUS, DIERKS, ERIC, JON, JORDAN, KEITH, KIP, LADY A, LUKE, MADDIE & TAE, TRAVIS

    For many decades, Labor Day was seen as a day for workers to voice their complaints and discuss better working conditions and pay.

    U.S. Congress declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, and on Monday, September 3rd, we will once again celebrate the people in every occupation whose work and dedication make this nation great. Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers.

    Labor Day weekend also signals the unofficial end to summer, and many of the hottest country stars are taking a look back at some of the toughest jobs they had prior to making their mark in music or talking about their dream job now.

    For Labor Day Liners, click here.

    Audio / Alan Jackson says that working man values have always been a part of his music.

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    AJ (working people songs) OC: … appreciate that. :28
    “I’ve always written songs and recorded songs, other people’s songs, about workin’ people, and workin’, the workin’ life ’cause I mean, that’s where I’m from. I mean, I worked…I’d already had jobs and worked as a grown person before I ever even thought about bein’ in the music business, so I come from that background, and…although I hadn’t had a job in a long time (laughs), I still remember a lot about it, you know, and I remember what the lifestyle is, and I still appreciate that.”

    Audio / Billy Currington recalls some of the jobs he had before landing his record deal in 2003.

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    Billy Currington (Labor Day) OC: …record deal. :40
    “I started working like at [age] 12, landscaping. This was summer, every summers, and roofing. I started when I was about 16 roofing houses, and that was probably one of my toughest jobs because down there in south Georgia, it gets hot, so doing that every day all summer long. The pawn shop when I moved to Nashville was one of my favorites, even though it was one of my least favorites. The concrete job was my least favorite of all – six years of that, and I couldn’t take it no more. After that job, that was my turning point. Either I’m going to do something else for a living [laughs] or quit and try to really focus on music and get this record deal.”

     

    Audio / Brandon Lay says he’s always enjoyed the Labor Day Weekend.

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    Brandon Lay (Labor Day) OC: …a good one. :13
    “You know, I can’t complain too much about Labor Day, ‘cause usually doing landscaping and it had slowed down a little, but the water’s still warm enough to hit the river. I’ve gotten to spend some time out on the lake for Labor Day, so Labor Day’s a good one.”

    Audio / Carrie Underwood talks about the jobs she had growing up and her best job -- performing for her fans.

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    Carrie Underwood (Labor Day) OC: …born to do. :59
    “I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad job. I’ve had hard jobs. I’ve had jobs that worked random hours. My first job was at a gas station, and that was a lot of fun actually. While I was working at the gas station, I took another job at a hotel down the street. There was nobody else working there. I had one day of training and then the next day I came in, and the lady that had worked there the longest and was training me just didn’t show. So, the second day at work I was now in charge ‘cause I was now the senior member that was working at the hotel. So, I feel like that one was really challenging to figure my way through it, but I did. My best job is definitely what I do now. I really like being on stage. I really like performing for people and just having fun and singing, because that’s what I feel like I was born to do.”

     

    Audio / Clare Dunn gets emotional when talking about driving a silage truck in Texas to make enough money to move to Tennessee to follow her dream.

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    Clare Dunn (Labor Day) OC: …had to do. 1:05
    “I was coming for school. I remember I was two weeks late for school [at Belmont], because I had stayed in Texas longer to drive a silage truck for harvest. Harvest was still going on and I needed the money, so I stayed down there. I called all my professors. I explained what I was doing. I said, ‘I’m not going to be there for the first two weeks.’ They all were very, I told them why, and they were all very accepting of that. So, I got home. I was worn out from driving this truck in Texas, and I remember getting home in like the morning or the night before and I left the next day. I literally just chucked as much stuff in a U-haul as I could, and my family was helping me get it all ready while I was on the truck. I remember, everybody cried. I’m probably gonna cry just talking about it, because it was so many unknowns, and I just drove myself out to Tennessee. It was very emotional for me, obviously, just seeing that Tennessee state line sign and being scared to death, but knowing that’s what I had to do.”

     

    Audio / Darius Rucker recalls one of his worst jobs before turning to music.

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    Darius Rucker (Labor Day) OC: …pizza. :15
    “I was fifteen, and I worked at a pizza place, and the guy decided that at fifteen, that I could not only clean the floors and wash the dishes, but I also had to make pizza. So, for two months, he taught me how to make pizza.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley makes a living performing for his fans, and he can’t say enough about them.

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    Dierks Bentley (Labor Day) OC: …generosity. :26
    “Personally, the fans give me amazement. That’s the only word to really sum it up. I look out in the crowd, you know, usually see a lot of faces and fans are cheering. I know each one of these like from the road-the signs are from California…Michelle and Kayla live up in the Ohio area. They’re all, I just see them, and I’m like, ‘Wow!,’ they’re all from different regions. You know when you’re in a different region of the country and you just see certain fans. These people are way more hard core than I am, and I’m just amazed by their generosity.”

    Audio / Eric Church talks about one of his worst job.

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    Eric Church (Labor Day-odd jobs) OC: …bought at 2am. 1:27
    “I had an awful job. I’ve had a lot of awful jobs…my worst one was when I first came to Nashville. I got a job at the Shop at Home Network. I worked midnight, graveyard, midnight to eight. That was bad enough but then I would work all night, go home, shower and then I had writing appointments all day because I was trying to get a career started. I’d go write songs and get meetings just trying to get signed. And end up getting done at 3 of 4 with all of that, I’d go home, take a shower or sleep for a little bit and then I had to be at work again at midnight. So the schedule was bad enough, however, what I had to do at the job…I sold knives from midnight to 7 or 8am. And, anytime somebody calls you at 3 or 4am and needs 200 knives for $19.95, it’s automatically an alarming situation. And I just, I was young and I’d been in a lot of these people’s shoes, I had done this…I knew they were drunk. I knew what they had done. They’d just come home from the bar, flipped on Shop at Home and said, ‘You know what? I need that.’ So the reason the job didn’t last long for me is that I was maybe the worst salesmen in history because I ended up talking a lot of these people out of it, I’d say, ‘I’ll tell you what man, go to bed, call me, I’ll be here in the morning. If you get up in the morning and want these knives you call me back.’ Because I knew what was going to happen, you know. They bought 200 knives for $19.95…first of all some of these people you didn’t know whether you should call the cops. What do you need 200 knives for? Even though I’m selling them…what do you need them for? So, it was awful doing that job. And then they got rid of me because, they were like, ‘You’re the worst. I can’t believe you’re talking people out of it.’ I was like, ‘Man I know…I’ve been there.’ [laughs] I’d want some to talk me out of buying some of the stuff I’ve bought at 2am.”

    Audio / Jon Pardi talks about his worst job, which was at a grocery store.

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    Jon Pardi (Labor Day) OC: …so bored! :17
    “The worst job I ever had was at Hometown Grocery Store. I didn’t want to work. I was 15, and I did not want to work at the grocery store. Bagging was fun, but they sent me down the aisles to pull up cans and turn ‘em around and face ‘em, and I would just get so bored!”

    Audio / Jordan Davis, whose debut single is making its way up the country charts, talks about his worst job.

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    Jordan Davis (Labor Day) OC: …worst job. :41
    “[My] worst job was probably whenever I got out of school I started working for an environmental group in Baton Rouge, and I was doing actual environmental work at first. I went to my boss probably about four months in and told him that I was going to move to Nashville and write songs. Luckily enough, he let me stay on, but I became the weedeater guy for the landscaping side of the business. I seriously weedeated eight hours a day. The only break I would get would be in-between yard to yard. So, like we would be in the car and I would try to doze off for like 10 minutes. I was covered in grass in the middle of the summer in Baton Rouge. It was awful. That was definitely the worst job.”

    Audio / Keith Urban talks about performing for fans.

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    Keith Urban (Labor Day) OC: …amazing. :22
    “Seeing people connect to the music is absolutely, hands-down the biggest reward for me, especially when you go to a place you’ve never been to before and it’s all these people, I mean lots of people out there. You’ve never met a single one of ‘em and they’re singing every word, and you realize that it’s not just a pretty melody and everything, but they get the songs. It’s amazing.”

    Audio / Kip Moore recalls his worst job...ever.

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    Kip Moore (Labor Day-worst job) OC: …than that. :21
    “I’d have to say my worst job ever was laying sod in the south Georgia heat. There’s nothing than that, especially when somebody would think that you’re waiting for the next sod patch to be thrown to you and you got your back turned, and all of a sudden, that big ole piece of sod hits you right on the back. You got nowhere to clean up, and you’re just stuck with dirt on your back for the rest of the day. It doesn’t get any worse than that.”

    Audio / Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum tells us what he used to do to make a buck before finding success as a musician.

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    Lady A (Labor Day) OC: …I had a lot of crummy jobs. :31
    CK “I used to…” HS: “… knock out asbestos walls.” CK: “I did that for a long time. But even before that, I used to do lawn care every summer. Oh, man, I do not miss that. Just glad those days are over. I get out here and play music for a living. It’s a lot more fun. But yeah, I used to do that, and I used to work as a bag boy at a golf course once. I did that for a couple of summers. I had a lot of crummy jobs.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan talks about the different jobs he worked in and around Leesburg, Georgia, before heading to Nashville to pursue a career in music.

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    Luke Bryan (Labor Day-jobs) OC: …Nashville… 1:07
    “At age 12 thru 13, I worked at Rubos IGA Supermarket in Leesburg, GA. I worked during the summers on Monday and Tuesday. I stocked and cleaned up the produce.  They paid me under the table…I peeled off all of the brown lettuce. Let’s see, when I was 15, I was a cashier at K-Mart for two months. I worked at K-Mart for two months, and then I reverted back to Rubos because it didn’t really make sense for me to drive all the way into Albany and work for K-Mart. The benefits were great though-you’d get an hour-long on the blue light special. So I started back at Rubos, and then I quit Rubos and worked for my Dad-just awful just driving tractors through cotton all day, and spraying pesticides that eventually would turn your hair green. And then at some point, I started playing guitar. And well, after college I went back and worked for my dad and continued to spray and haul fertilizer around. And then I moved to Nashville…”

    Audio / Travis Denning has never had another job other than playing music.

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    Travis Denning (Labor Day) OC: …right for it. :13
    “I’ve always played music. I mean, my first gig was when I was 16-years-old. That was what I did. And as soon as I found out I could make money doing it, I thought I’d much rather make money doing this than anything else, so I went right for it.”

  • LABOR DAY 2018 LINERS: Billy, Brandon, Brothers, Carrie, Clare, Darius, Eric, Jon, Jordan, Kacey, Keith, Kip, LBT, Luke, Maddie & Tae, Sam, Travis

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    LINER Billy Currington (Labor Day)
    Hey y’all! It’s Billy Currington, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Brandon Lay (Labor Day)
    Hey y’all! This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Brothers Osborne (Labor Day)
    This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Carrie Underwood (Labor Day Weekend)
    Hey everyone! I’m Carrie Underwood, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Clare Dunn (Labor Day)
    Hey! What’s up? This is Clare Dunn, and I hope you have a Happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Darius Rucker (Labor Day)
    Hey! It’s Darius Rucker, and I hope you have a have a happy work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Eric Church (Labor Day)
    Hey! It’s Eric Church, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Eric Paslay (Labor Day)
    Hey! It’s Eric Paslay, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Jon Pardi (Labor Day weekend)
    Hey! It’s Jon Pardi, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Jordan Davis (Labor Day)
    Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Kacey Musgraves (Labor Day weekend)
    Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Keith Urban (Labor Day weekend)
    Hi everybody! This is Keith Urban, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Kip Moore (Labor Day)
    Hey—what’s happening guys? This is Kip Moore, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day Weekend.

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    LINER LBT (Labor Day)
    Hi! We’re Little Big Town, hoping you have a work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Luke Bryan (Labor Day)
    Hey! It’s Luke Bryan, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Maddie & Tae (Labor Day)
    Hey everybody! I’m Maddie, and I’m Tae, and we’re Maddie & Tae, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Sam Hunt (Labor Day)
    Hey everybody! I’m Sam Hunt. Have a great and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Travis Denning (Labor Day)
    Hey y’all. It’s Travis Denning, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.