Keith Urban and Little Big Town are among the artists set to honor to Sir Elton John during a tribute concert, taking place January 30th at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Miley Cyrus, Kesha, John Legend and Sam Smith will also take part in the show, Elton John: I’m Still Standing – A Grammy Salute, which will be recorded for CBS TV for a special airing later this year. Tickets go on sale Monday (December 18th).
Sam Hunt recorded “This Land Is Our Land” for the Bright movie soundtrack released on Friday (December 15th). The film, starring Will Smith, will be released to Netflix on December 22nd.
Dierks Bentley, who is the father of three children (Evie, Jordan, Knox), says you revert back to your childhood at Christmas when you start having a family of your own.
“Christmas didn’t lose any of its real meaning, as far as its religious meaning with Jesus’ birthday,” says Dierks. “But as far as like the whole tree and all of the Christmas spirit stuff, the secular stuff, it just kind of goes away, to be honest. But then you have a family, and all of a sudden it’s like I’m all Clark Griswold out there decorating the tree, putting lights up around the house, you know. So, all of those things that you did as a kid and appreciated as a kid, you get a chance to do over again when you have kids, because you kinda become one again.”
He says his middle child, daughter Jordan, sometimes gets a raw deal since her birthday falls on Christmas. “It’s tough kind of for Jordan because her birthday IS on Christmas, so it’s kind of one of those things where we try to give her an extra present or two,” says Dierks. “It’s kind of tough to share your birthday with Jesus. You can get a little overshadowed on that one, but she’s good about it, but we just tell her, ‘All these Christmas trees and lights, these are all for you.’”
It was just announced that Dierks will be honored at the Country Radio Seminar with the 2018 CRS Artist Humanitarian Award. Dierks is receiving the honor based on his 10-year run of his Miles & Music for Kids event, raising more than $4 million for children’s hospitals, as well as for various other exceptional humanitarian efforts during his career.
Dierks Bentley (Christmas is for kids) OC: …one again. :29
“You know, Christmas didn’t lose any of its real meaning, as far as its religious meaning with Jesus’ birthday. But as far as like the whole tree and all of the Christmas spirit stuff, the secular stuff, it just kind of goes away to be honest. But then you have a family, and all of a sudden, it’s like I’m all Clark Griswold out there decorating the tree, putting lights up around the house, you know. So, all of those things that you did as a kid and appreciated as a kid, you get a chance to do over again when you have kids, because you kinda become one again.”
Dierks Bentley (Christmas tough for Jordan) OC: …for you! :21
“It’s tough kind of for Jordan because her birthday IS on Christmas, so it’s kind of one of those things where we try to give her an extra present or two. It’s kind of tough to share your birthday with Jesus. You can get a little overshadowed on that one, but she’s good about it, but we just tell her, ‘All these Christmas trees and lights, these are all for you.’”
Dierks Bentley (Christmas in the desert) OC: …in Arizona. :32
“I grew up in Arizona, so we didn’t have like a white winter kind of deal. It’s kinda…once you experience that, it’s hard to go back and like celebrate Christmas in the desert but…for us, we would…me and my family and a couple other families would go out to the desert and bring a big turkey and just kinda have a cookout in the middle of the desert…and drink beers and ride four-wheelers and…well, I wouldn’t drink beers, but they would. We’d ride four-wheelers and horses and just kind of spend it out in the middle of the desert, which was kind of a cool way to spend Christmas. So whenever I think of Christmas, I always think of the desert, which is a little weird, but that’s just the way we did it out in Arizona.”
Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and his brother John hit Top Golf in Nashville, in which Charles once again wins the round. We think John probably came out a winner as he donned a Santa suit when they went to entertain the children at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Check out all the action in the latest installment of “The Hook” below.
— Topgolf (@Topgolf) December 14, 2017
Brandon Lay goes home to West Tennessee for Christmas. His family throws a big dinner in which his extended family all take part. ““We usually do a big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, and that’s more of the extended family,” says Brandon. “That’d be the hardest event to miss, I’ll put it that way, just because everybody’s so spread out these days. But that’s one night that everybody finds their way back home.”
During his time at home, he and his family are certain to catch his favorite Christmas movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, at least once or twice.
Brandon, whose single “Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers” is climbing the country charts, recall his favorite Christmas gift that he still uses today. “My favorite Christmas present is a Craftsman toolbox that my Mom got for me. I think I was 17? And I love it, because I’ll have it forever and pass it down and anytime I get downtime and get that time to tinker with stuff, I think of her. So, that’s the one that stands out the most.”
Brandon Lay (big Christmas Eve dinner) OC: …is fun. :22
“We usually do a big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, and that’s more of the extended family. That’d be the hardest event to miss, I’ll put it that way, just because everybody’s so spread out these days. But that’s one night that everybody finds their way back home. It’s a special time. That’s just kind of been the way we’ve done it since I can remember. Every Christmas Eve is fun.”
Brandon Lay (favorite Christmas movie) OC: …a staple. :11
“My favorite Christmas movie [is] probably Christmas Vacation. I feel like that one’s usually on repeat around Christmas time, even if it’s on in the background. It’s kind of a staple.”
Brandon Lay (favorite Christmas present) OC: …the most. :21
“My favorite Christmas present is a Craftsman toolbox that my Mom got for me. I think I was 17? And I love it, because I’ll have it forever and pass it down and anytime I get downtime and get that time to tinker with stuff, I think of her. So, that’s the one that stands out the most.”
As the curtain closed on a sold-out show at New York City’s Town Hall last night (December 14th), multi-PLATINUM singer/songwriter Kip Moore took a bow to 2017, for what can only be described as a benchmark career year. Moore is wrapping up an overwhelming year on multiple “Best Of 2017” lists by Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, UpRoxx, Bobby Bones Show, Taste Of Country, Sounds Like Nashville, The Boot, PopMatters and Whiskey Riff for his revered third studio album SLOWHEART, while reflecting on his 4th career No. One for his “rousing” (UpRoxx) single “More Girls Like You,” sold-out headlining shows, national TV appearances and more.
Moore kicked off the year with the release of his now No. One smash hit “More Girls Like You” in February. Moore released the wanderlust-inducing music video for the single exclusively with Travel & Leisure as he offered an unfiltered look into his trip to Costa Rica, one of many stops during an extended break to Iceland, Australia and more, that he also gave further insight to during a feature with Conde Nast Traveler.
The momentum continued into the summer as Moore announced his highly-anticipated third studio album SLOWHEART, which was released on Sept. 9. Leading up to the release, Moore teased fans offering advance listens to the album via NPR’s First Listen, song premieres with Noisey and American Songwriter, as well as live sessions with Billboard and Paste & Daytrotter Music. Upon release, critics were quick to praise the collection.
“SLOWHEART is his most complete, cohesive declaration of his artistic sensibilities yet.” – American Songwriter
“Kip Moore has been up all night, he’s been a wild one, but in 2017, he’s a slowheart. The titles of his albums have always been at least somewhat indicative of where he’s at in his life, and his third LP, SLOWHEART, shines a light on his more sensitive side” – Billboard
“The most thrilling set of his career.” – Entertainment Weekly
“[Moore’s] strongest, most artistic album” – Forbes
“A thoroughly vital, 13-song collection…It’s not that Moore avoids contemporary country conventions. He enlivens them by injecting self-awareness or playing up the tensions between country and rock’s various masculine ideals.” – NPR
“As much influenced by a longtime love of Southern rock as traditional country music, SLOWHEART is the sound of an uncompromising, genre-defying artist firing on all cylinders.” – Noisey
“Between the rough edges of Americana, rock and the evocative storytelling of country, produced to let every guitar lick ring true and every edge and wail of Moore’s voice reverberate raw but strong” – Rolling Stone
“With his grizzled voice, and the hint of humor lurking behind every roiling guitar solo, Moore was a shoo-in to dominate the sweet spot between radio hits and diehard old school fans.” – UpRoxx
“Moore blends the passion and connection for which he’s known with a new self-awareness that will speak to both commercial and underground audiences.” – USA Today
While undertaking his headlining PLEAD THE FIFTH fall tour in November, Moore celebrated his 4th No. One by performing “More Girls Like You” live on national TV on TODAY. In a milestone-heavy year, Moore also celebrated his breakout debut album UP ALL NIGHT, which spawned three No. One hit singles, being certified PLATINUM by the RIAA.
Following the release of SLOWHEART, and in a year filled with reflection and honesty, Moore also delved into the process of making the album with his vulnerable documentary THE JOURNEY TO SLOWHEART, available to watch via VEVO now. The refreshingly raw piece follows Moore as he returns to his hometown of Tifton, GA, as he looks back on his childhood and the importance of his family in shaping the artist he is today. Moore’s upbringing also sparked and influenced his charitable initiative “Kip’s Kids Fund,” which this year saw him team up with international skateboarding champion Tony Hawk to host “MUSIC CITY SKATE JAM” in an effort to raise funds for hurricane-affected communities.
Last night (12/14) in New York City, marked the final show on a limited acoustic-storyteller run, alongside fellow singer/ songwriters Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen, the stop marked the last of many capacity-crowd houses Moore has played to this year including his recently wrapped PLEAD THE FIFTH TOUR and a headlining sold-out stint across the pond earlier this fall, with CMT praising “it’s the way he expresses what’s on his mind that draws sold-out audiences around the world.” As Moore looks toward a stacked 2018, with the recent release of his “smoldering” (Rolling Stone) new single ”Last Shot,” he will hit the road again in February with Luke Bryan in Springfield, MO on 2/16 and will then head back across the pond for a highly-anticipated return to Europe’s Country To Country Festival taking place March 9-11 in London, UK, Glasgow, UK, and Dublin, I.E. For more information and a full list of tour dates visit kipmoore.net.
L-R: Interscope Geffen A&M Records Chairman & CEO John Janick, Kassi Ashton, UMG Nashville Chairman & CEO Mike Dungan
Promising newcomer Kassi Ashton recently signed to UMG Nashville in conjunction with Interscope Records. The California, Missouri native has been making a name for herself in music thanks to her authentic songwriting, soulfully rich voice and commanding stage presence.
“You don’t have to be around her very long before you are struck by the ‘otherworldly spirit’ that rides alongside what is an otherwise kooky, fun soul,” shares UMG Nashville’s Chairman & CEO Mike Dungan. “And after about 90 seconds of hearing her sing, you know that you are in for a ride. The music is fresh, unique, and rich in lyrical landscape far beyond her years. Hallelujah!”
“I knew within seconds of meeting Kassi that she’s the real thing,” comments Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman and CEO John Janick. “A talented, driven singer and songwriter who pours her soul into her music. She’s a badass.”
“Within 5 minutes of meeting the people at Universal Nashville and Interscope, I knew that together they were the perfect team to help me move the needle,” says Kassi. “My happiness and readiness are beyond words.”
New music is expected in early 2018 with MCA Nashville servicing a single to country radio. Visit www.KassiAshton.com for more.
Kassi Ashton is represented by Creative Nation for both management and publishing.
Photo Credit: Katie Kauss
Luke Bryan will have a house full of family at Christmas. The Georgia native and his wife will host several, including their sons, nephew, nieces, Luke’s mom, and others, and they will all take part in the Bryan tradition by having chili dogs on Christmas Eve.
Find audio below of him talking about the unique tradition, his most meaningful Christmas gift, his favorite Christmas movie and much more.
By the way, if you’re looking for a great stocking stuffer, Luke’s new album What Makes You Country, is available now.
Luke Bryan (Bryan Christmas tradition) OC: …pretty special. :41
“We have a pajama night and we do chili dogs on Christmas Eve, and we’ve always done that. My mother comes up and we go shop. She makes me go shop with her so we have to pick out all the right stuff. We have to get the proper buns, the proper wienersIt’s very important. All beef wieners for the chili dog cooking. It’s a ritual. So, we’re eating chili dogs in pajamas, and so it’s special anytime you can come up with fun traditions and hold true to them. Yeah, so cooking chili dogs in a onesie is pretty special.
Luke Bryan (Most meaningful Christmas gift) OC: …turkey hunting. :55
“By far the best Christmas present I have ever gotten and will ever get was when my wife Caroline went and found my brother’s old pickup truck from 1996 that they found the VIN number and it was down in Louisiana and it was still on the road. And her and my dad went down, they picked it up, brought it to Nashville and Christmas Eve night pulled into the driveway with it, and let’s just say that yes, the tears were flowing and it will never be topped. I don’t know how you’ll ever top it. What an amazing moment for me and my family and it was pretty special. And that truck is when we do our turkey hunting; it’s the turkey hunting truck. So, all my turkey hunting gear stays in there, and when the boys see me pull up in my brother’s truck they know we’re fixing to go turkey hunting.”
Luke Bryan (favorite thing about Christmas) OC: …special time. :32
“My favorite part of the holidays obviously is watching the kids – watching the boys’ excitement for what they may or may not be getting and watching them tear open Christmas presents on Christmas morning. You got the fireplace going. You got Christmas music on the TV. You’ve got – you get up at 6am. You’re exhausted and you’ve got all your family there. It doesn’t get any better than certainly waking up on Christmas mornings and just having that special time.”
Luke Bryan (Christmas movie) OC: …Vacation. :06
“Hey, it’s Luke Bryan! My favorite Christmas movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
Eric Paslay grew up in Texas with much of his extended family in the same town, so there were many toys to play with at Christmas time.
“I remember always [on] Christmas Eve, we’d go to my Mom’s mother’s house, my grandmother, and we’d open up gifts kinda from the family,” he says. “And my great-aunt, lived across the street, so all of those cousins, we’d go over there and hang out and steal some more cookies and kind of show…what’cha got and play with the toy for five minutes and move on to the other cousin’s toys.”
Eric Paslay (Christmases growing up) OC: …and football. :37
“I remember always [on] Christmas Eve, we’d go to my Mom’s mother’s house, my grandmother, and we’d open up gifts kinda from the family. And my great-aunt, lived across the street, so all of those cousins, we’d go over there and hang out and steal some more cookies and kind of show…what’cha got and play with the toy for five minutes and move on to the other cousin’s toys. And then the next morning, maybe when we were younger, open up some more presents, you know, and then go to my other grandparents’ [house], my dad’s parents and hang out with that family, and it was always fun. We’d always have turkey, ham and football.”
Eric Paslay (Christmas Song) OC: …Christmas. :07
“My favorite Christmas song is ‘Away in a Manger.’ The melody’s so beautiful, and I think it’s the true meaning of Christmas.”
The New York Times touted, “Bryan’s omnivorous approach to country production is arguably more ambitious and musically progressive; it’s certainly more in tune with the genre’s younger listeners.” And the Associated Press shares, “Bryan’s country is playful, inclusive, flirty and good-natured on the album.”
Luke began his album launch week with a performance at the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors gala in Washington, D.C. in honor of his good friend and idol Lionel Richie, who was among the five 2017 icons recognized for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The show will air on Dec. 26, 9/8CT on CBS. On Friday, Luke performed two songs from his What Makes You Country album on Good Morning America live from Opry City Stage in the heart of Times Square and sang the title track on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Tomorrow Luke will perform “Most People Are Good” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Luke made his first stop in New York City at Lennox Hill Hospital with Musicians On Call, to meet and perform for the staff and patients bedsides. Last week, Luke also performed songs from the new album for fans at events hosted by Pandora, NASH-FM and Samsung.
What Makes You Country was produced by Jeff Stevens and Jody Stevens and contains 15 songs, seven of them co-written by Luke including the title track.
About Luke Bryan
CMA New Artist Of The Year and reigning ACM New Male Vocalist Jon Pardi wrapped his headlining “CMT On Tour Presents Jon Pardi’s Lucky Tonight Tour” this past weekend tallying all sold-out shows, record-breaking numbers and a total of 66,319 tickets sold overall. Stops along the way on his third headlining tour included Grayson Stadium in Savannah, GA, which sold-out with the most tickets sold since Bob Dylan in ‘05 (Peachtree Ent.) and Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, TX, which sold out days in advance – a rare feat considering the last show to sell out in advance was Florida Georgia Line in ‘13 (Chris Spinks, Marketing Director, Billy Bob’s). Pardi’s live show was named a Boston Globe “Top 15 folk or country concert this fall,” The Houston Press said, “Pardi would have easily been labeled a throwback if he didn’t strike such a chord with today’s fans” and the Minneapolis City Pages said, “…Pardi will be at or near country music’s forefront for years to come.” Pollstar shared an in-depth interview HERE. The “CMT On Tour Presents Jon Pardi’s Lucky Tonight Tour” featured Midland and Runaway June and was CMT’s fastest and best-selling CMT On Tour series to date. View a recap video of the tour, here: https://youtu.be/S2eq0gsbOiE.
Pardi’s current single “She Ain’t In It” is currently Top 40-and-climbing the country music charts and was the most-added song on country radio with more than 50 first-week stations. “She Ain’t In It” is an easily identifiable traditional country song. Sounds Like Nashville said Pardi is, “Known as one to not back away from the traditional elements that defined Nashville’s country music decades ago…” and “She Ain’t In It” “…revives the good ol’ days of the format…” Saving Country Music noted that the song “…might be the most hard country song released on a mainstream country record in years, or at least from someone whose career is more ahead of them than behind…” and Billboard called it “…a stone-cold weeper that would make George Strait nod with approval.” “She Ain’t In It” follows Pardi’s three consecutive chart-topping hits “Dirt On My Boots,” “Head Over Boots,” and “Heartache On The Dance Floor” from GOLD-certified album California Sunrise (Capitol Records Nashville).
Pardi is currently nominated for the 2017 Rare Country Awards in the New Artist Of The Year category and will be heading back out on the road with Miranda Lambert’s Livin’ Like Hippies Tour in 2018. For a full list of tour dates and more information, visit http://www.jonpardi.com/.
ABOUT JON PARDI
Jon Pardi’s GOLD-certified album California Sunrise (Capitol Records Nashville) debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart earning him CMA’s New Artist Of The Year and ACM New Male Vocalist Of The Year. Pardi dominated the top of the country music charts with consecutive #1 hits including “Dirt On My Boots,” Platinum-selling “Head Over Boots” and “Heartache On The Dance Floor” (#1 on Mediabase). Fourth single “She Ain’t In It” is currently Top 40-and-climbing. California Sunrise (Capitol Records Nashville) is the follow up to Write You A Song (Capitol Records Nashville), which debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and yielded Top 10 GOLD-selling song “Up All Night,” “What I Can’t Put Down,” “MIssin’ You Crazy” and “When I’ve Been Drinkin” (all co-written by Pardi). Pardi made major National TV appearances on NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” and landed on several ‘Best’ lists including the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone Country, Rhapsody and more. Since then, he’s toured with country music forerunners; Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band and Dwight Yoakam. Pardi’s third headlining tour “CMT On Tour Presents Jon Pardi’s Lucky Tonight Tour” marked the fastest-selling CMT Tour series to date with record-breaking numbers featured in Pollstar Magazine. This past year, the West Coast native and fast-rising newcomer received multiple first-ever nominations at the CMA Awards, CMT Awards, ACM Awards and AMA Awards. For more information, visit www.jonpardi.com.