Some said this moment would never happen. But in spite of 30 wasted years
and countless bad decisions, the ’90s influenced country band Hot Country Knights has
come riding in to save Country music from itself, after signing a worldwide recording deal
with Universal Music Group Nashville (UMGN). The Knights promise to bring real ’90s
Country music back to a format that’s been drowning in male sensitivity, cashmere
Famous for never giving up on the dream of the ‘90s, the Knights spent the last few
decades watching as country morphed from a proudly vigorous genre into something
almost unrecognizable. But lead singer Douglas (“Doug”) Douglason, lead bass player
Trevor Travis, lead guitarist Marty Ray (“Rayro”) Roburn, keytar/fiddle player Terotej
(“Terry”) Dvoraczekynski, steel guitarist Barry Van Ricky and percussionist Monte
Montgomery have the antidote as The K Is Silent puts the “T” back in country.
“Some artists out there tried to put the ‘O’ back in country, that was a thing for a while….
but what it’s really missing is the ‘T,’” band leader Douglas (“Doug”) Douglason said.
“Country music has Low-T right now…it could use a pick me up, if you know what I mean.
Those record label people over at Universal finally realized that only the Knights could be
up to a task this big and hard.”
With a forthcoming project built on the bounding rhythms and bright, organic euphoria of
live Country music – with truly gratifying lyrics. The Knights are adamant about the fact
they could have done it themselves. Instead, they allowed longtime admirer Dierks
Bentley to produce – a partnership born from a deep sense of man-to-man pity.
“Boy he sucks, basically,” says lead guitarist Rayro. “I didn’t want to have to be the one
to say it, but we’re helping him out, let’s just be clear there.”
“When [Dierks] first moved to town he was struggling, and he saw us crushing a big
venue,” Douglason adds, although he can’t recall which Hooters’ parking lot it was. “We
inspired him, so he thinks he’s paying us back in some way by offering to produce us –
but we all know what’s really going on here. He’s trying to grab onto the old mullet and
ride it as hard as he can.”
Despite Bentley’s involvement, the Knights emerged with a collection they predict will
have fans lined up around their local Tower Records and Sam Goody locations, with the
first single “Pick Her Up” featuring Travis Tritt to get the action started.
A classic barnstormer featuring rollicking guitar solos and a freewheeling guest
appearance by ‘90s icon Travis Tritt, it’s a sound the band has dubbed “Hot Country
Knights 101.” “We wanted to introduce our fans to what actual, real country music is,”
Douglason explains. “None of that snap-track shit that’s out there now. So this is just
straight ahead, balls-to-the-wall slapping out that tempo.”
Other unforgettable moments include the modern-day drifter’s lament, “Asphalt,” a
touching ballad about the band’s curve-hugging motivation. As dedicated road warriors,
they’ve basically lived out of a van their entire existence – even when they weren’t
“The road calls and you answer,” says the Russian born Terry. “You go town to town, you
meet pretty lady, share boiled-rabbit soup, glass of wine, and then you must move on to
next town. It’s just the way it is.”
“It’s really well rounded,” Douglason says of the track’s ample emotional cushion. “It’s a
tender song, and my mom loves it.”
“We’re just keeping it ‘90s, the way it’s supposed to be,” says Travis, the band’s lead bass
player and sometimes co-lead singer.
After all this time, some may ask “Why now?” It comes down to something much more …
substance. According to the band, they couldn’t just sit back and watch Country let its
proud heritage droop and sag.
“See, we were out on the road singing a lot of other people’s hits, and we called
them Greatest Hits because by us singing them, it made them great,” Douglason
explains. “But this is a step beyond our Greatest Hits. This is all original material, and it’s
the best stuff to come out of Nashville since like, 1999. I’m excited for the fans to hear it.”
“And I’m excited for them to buy it,” Rayro adds.
Eric Church is taking fans behind-the-scenes of his music video for “Heart On Fire” and how they created the whirlwind journey down memory lane by going back through many of his previous music videos, including “How ‘Bout You,” “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Homeboy,” ‘Drink in My Hand,” “Springsteen,” “and “Record Year,” among others.
Reid Long directed the video which included a lot of video special effects, similar to Deepfake, a type of technology used to manipulate images. The crew shot Eric singing each portion of the song and matched the lens, camera position and angle of Eric’s head with the original content, plus doing some digitally de-aging and adding more or less facial hair depending on the era of the older video. In other words–a lot of technology, time and energy was involved in the making of the “Heart On Fire” video.
Eric, the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, is on the road with his Gather Again Tour, which is making stops in Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington this weekend.
Seven-time GRAMMY® Award winner and three-time ACM Entertainer of the Year Carrie Underwood has added two new career milestones with the Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) 9x Platinum certification of her 2005 debut album, Some Hearts, and the 7x Platinum certification of her global smash hit single from that album, “Before He Cheats.”
The superstar was surprised with plaques to commemorate the certifications by Jackie Jones, RIAA Vice President, Artist & Industry Relations at her October 23 performance at the Grand Ole Opry.
Underwood has sold more than 66 million records worldwide, recorded 28 #1 singles (14 of which she co-wrote), and has seven albums that are certified Platinum or Multi-Platinum by the RIAA. In just over 15 years, she has already skyrocketed to the top of Gold and Platinum history with over 70 million certifications. Additionally:
- Underwood continues her reign as the number one certified Country female artist in music history for digital singles.
- Some Hearts, which was released by Arista Nashville in 2005 and produced by Mark Bright and Dan Huff, is the 6th, and most recent, Country album to achieve 9x Platinum. Underwood now joins Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift as the only three Country artists to release and certify an album that high in the past 16 years.
- “Before He Cheats,” written by Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins, is the 11th, and most recent, Country song to achieve 7x Platinum.
Most recently, five singles from Cry Pretty have been certified by the RIAA, including the Platinum-certified singles “The Champion featuring Ludacris” and “Southbound” and the Gold-certified “Cry Pretty,” “Love Wins,” and “Drinking Alone.” All nine of her consecutive album releases (two of which she co-produced) from the beginning of her career debuted #1 on the Billboard Country Chart, making her the only artist to accomplish that feat.
Underwood’s ninth album, My Savior, was released in March, featuring the beloved gospel hymns she grew up singing in church, which she co-produced with a multi-platinum selling, four-time GRAMMY® Award-winning record producer and songwriter David Garcia. Her Christmas album, My Gift (Special Edition), was released September 24, featuring three additional tracks, and debuted at #1 on Billboard’s first Top Holiday Albums chart of this holiday season. HBO Max is currently streaming “My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood,” which premiered in December 2020, a musical holiday special, with Carrie performing songs from My Gift with a full orchestra and choir, becoming an instant holiday classic. Her hit duet with Jason Aldean, “If I Didn’t Love You,” is currently #1 at Country Radio and she recently collaborated for the first time with Dan + Shay on “Only Us” from the Dear Evan Hansen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).
About Carrie Underwood:
Carrie Underwood is a true multi-format, multi-media superstar, spanning achievements in music, television, film, and as a New York Times bestselling author and successful entrepreneur. She has sold more than 66 million records worldwide, recorded 28 #1 singles (14 of which she co-wrote), and has seven albums that are certified Platinum or Multi-Platinum by the RIAA, all while continuing to sell out arena tours across North America and the UK. All nine of her consecutive album releases (two of which she co-produced) from the beginning of her career debuted #1 on the Billboard Country Chart, making her the only artist to accomplish that feat. She has won over 100 major awards including 7 GRAMMY® Awards, 15 ACM Awards including three for Entertainer of the Year (the first female in history to win twice and the only female ever to win three times), 23 CMT Music Awards (holding the record for the most award wins ever for the show), 7 CMA Awards, and 15 American Music Awards. She has also built a successful business portfolio inspired by her passion for health and wellness, including her fitness and lifestyle brand, CALIA by Carrie Underwood, bestselling book, FIND YOUR PATH, her fit52 app, and a partnership with BODYARMOR Sports Drink. She recently announced her first-ever residency, REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency, at The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas, which will begin December 1.
Last week it was announced Parker McCollum is the latest addition to Apple’s Up Next program, their monthly artist initiative geared towards identifying, showcasing and elevating rising talent. The Up Next film has Parker talking about his start, his No. 1 song “Pretty Heart” and his track to success. Check it out below.
Parker began building a following in his native Texas with 2015’s The Limestone Kid. The album track “Meet You in The Middle” became a hit on Texas’ regional radio chart, but it was the album’s widely-acclaimed follow-up, Probably Wrong, that helped Parker find national success. Bridging the gap between Texas’ homegrown music scene and Nashville’s country-industry headquarters, Parker’s songwriting earned him a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Nashville in May 2018 and a recording deal with Universal Music Group Nashville in June 2019. In 2020, Parker released Hollywood Gold, the highest-selling debut country EP of 2020, which includes debut No.1 hit single “Pretty Heart,” and was certified Platinum, as well as playlisted across Apple Music top tier playlists, Today’s Country, and Don’t Mess With Texas. Parker followed with his 2021 major label debut, Gold Chain Cowboy, which was the top Country album in 17 countries on Apple Music, including the US, since its release. Earlier this summer, Parker played his first sold-out show at the Dallas, TX Dos Equis Pavilion to a crowd of 20K fans and this fall he played the famed Woodlands (The Cynthia Wood Mitchell Pavilion) in Woodlands, TX, to a sold out crowd which broke attendance records for the venue.
“All I ever wanted was a real shot in country music. To be an Apple Music Up Next artist is an incredible honor and it means so much to me to have a platform like Apple believe in me,” says Parker McCollum. “I always try to keep my head down and earn every little thing so to have this spotlight for a little while is nice. I do not take it for granted. Now back to work. Mad love.”
Additional Up Next campaign moments include a Jimmy Kimmel Live! performance on November 23rd, and a sit down interview with Apple Music Country’s Kelleigh Bannen, where he discusses his Gold Chain Cowboy album, being inspired by Pat Green, playing the Ryman, and the one song that defines him.
In the meantime, he’s making his way up the country charts with “To Be Loved By You” from his Gold Chain Cowboy album.