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.
Chris Stapleton’s new song “Cold” is out today (listen HERE). Written by Stapleton along with producer Dave Cobb and longtime bandmembers, J.T. Cure and Derek Mixon, “Cold” is the second song unveiled from his anticipated new album, Starting Over, out November 13th on Mercury Records Nashville (pre-order/pre-save).
“Cold” follows the album’s title track, which was released last month and is already receiving widespread acclaim—Rolling Stone calls it a “Song You Need to Know,” while Billboard praises, “designed for this moment, an exhalation in the middle of an anxiety-stricken year, with Stapleton’s gruff voice providing hope for a better future.” Watch the official music video for the song, which was directed and filmed by Becky Fluke, HERE.
“Starting Over” begins an album of startling prescience—completed in late February only days before the shutdown began. Across its fourteen tracks are songs that examine life’s simplest joys and most serious struggles. Alongside eleven written by Stapleton with both longtime friends and new collaborators are three carefully chosen covers: John Fogerty’s “Joy Of My Life” and Guy Clark’s “Worry B Gone” and “Old Friends.” The resulting album—both timely and timeless—speaks to and transcends the current moment in ways unimaginable even while it was being created.
The album finds Stapleton back in his second home, Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A (with additional work done at Muscle Shoals Sound and Compass Sound Studio), surrounded by his trusted collaborators as well as some new faces. Produced by Dave Cobb (who also plays acoustic guitar), the record features his beloved wife, Morgane Stapleton (vocals, tambourine), with J.T. Cure (bass) and Derek Mixon (drums). Special guests include legendary musicians Mike Campbell (electric guitar), Benmont Tench (Hammond B3 organ) and Paul Franklin (pedal steel) as well as the All Voices Choir who are featured on “Watch You Burn,” written by Stapleton and Campbell.
Kentucky-born Stapleton is a 5x Grammy, 10x CMA and 7x ACM Award-winner and one of the country’s most respected and beloved musicians. Following 2015’s quadruple platinum breakthrough solo debut album Traveller, Stapleton released two No. 1 albums in 2017. Both From A Room: Volume 1 (certified platinum) and From A Room: Volume 2 (certified gold) take their name from legendary RCA Studio A, where they were recorded with Cobb. Released to overwhelming critical acclaim, The Tennessean praises, “Both are rich with the textures of Stapleton’s vocals that make him one of country music’s most beloved artists, classic country sounds and thoughtful articulate lyrics about love, life and pain.” He was recently announced as the first-ever “Artist-Songwriter of the Decade” recipient by the Academy of Country Music and, next year, will be the subject of a new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Stapleton’s “All-American Road Show” tour is planned to resume next year. Highlights include headline shows at Washington State’s Gorge Amphitheatre, Chicago’s Wrigley Field, New York’s Madison Square Garden and “A Concert for Kentucky”—a special performance benefitting his newly created Outlaw State of Kind Hometown Fund to be held at University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field on April 24. Presented by Live Nation, the performance is the first concert ever held at UK’s Kroger Field and will feature very special guests Willie Nelson & Family, Sheryl Crow and Yola. 100% of the concert’s net proceeds will go toward Chris and Morgane Stapleton’s Outlaw State of Kind Hometown Fund. Established in partnership with the Blue Grass Community Foundation, the fund will specifically support local and national organizations directly impacting Kentucky, with initial grant distributions focusing on music and arts education. See below for complete itinerary.
Seven-time GRAMMY® Award winner Carrie Underwood, releases her first-ever Christmas album, My Gift, today, listen HERE.
My Gift features a combination of beloved traditional favorites celebrating the spiritual nature of the holiday, as well as several originals. Two of the new original songs are written by Underwood, frequent collaborator Brett James (“Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Something In The Water”), and her Cry Pretty co-producer, David Garcia. In addition to a very special appearance by Underwood’s 5-year-old son, Isaiah Fisher, on the holiday classic that inspired the album title, “Little Drummer Boy,” My Gift also features her first collaboration with Emmy, GRAMMY®, Oscar, and Tony Award-winner John Legend, on the original track, “Hallelujah,” written by Legend and Toby Gad (“All of Me”).
Yesterday, Carrie appeared on NBC’s TODAY to discuss My Gift as well as her historic ACM win and how she’s spending time with family this year, watch HERE. Carrie also shared that with the release of My Gift, she helped celebrate the season of giving through her C.A.T.S. Foundation (Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation). She recently donated $100,000 worth of Chromebooks and other supplies to the students in her hometown Checotah, Oklahoma school system (K-12) to help during the pandemic, and has set up a website for fans to share their own stories about acts of kindness as well as examples of how we can all inspire others by paying it forward. Go to umgn.us/SeasonOfGiving for more information.
Carrie is also set to star in an all-new holiday special, which will be available exclusively on HBO Max. She will appear with a live orchestra and choir, performing a combination of beloved traditional favorites celebrating the spiritual nature of the holiday, as well as new original material from My Gift. The Max Original special will be executive produced by Gary Goetzman and Tom Hanks for Playtone, along with Underwood and her manager, Ann Edelblute. The streamer will premiere the event this holiday season.
Fans can purchase new merchandise bundles in the Official My Gift store. My Gift is set to be released on vinyl October 30th.
My Gift Track List:
1. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Traditional)
2. O Come All Ye Faithful (Traditional)
3. Let There Be Peace (Carrie Underwood, Brett James, David Garcia)
4. Little Drummer Boy (featuring Isaiah Fisher) (Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati, Katherine Davis)
5. Sweet Baby Jesus (Carrie Underwood, Brett James, David Garcia)
6. Hallelujah (with John Legend) (John Stephens aka John Legend, Toby Gad)
7. O Holy Night (Traditional)
8. Mary, Did You Know? (Buddy Greene, Mark Lowry)
9. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)
10. Away In A Manger (Traditional)
11. Silent Night (Traditional)
About Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood emerged from the promise of her 2005 American Idol win to become a true multi-format, multi-media superstar, spanning achievements in music, television, film, and now books, as a New York Times bestselling author. All seven of her albums, including her Greatest Hits album, have been certified platinum or multi-platinum, and she has sold more than 64 million records worldwide. She has also recorded 27 #1 singles, 14 of which she co-wrote, and continues to sell out arena tours across North America and the UK. Carrie starred as Maria von Trapp in NBC’s three-hour 2013 holiday blockbuster, the Emmy®-winning The Sound of Music Live!, whose airings attracted 44 million viewers, and she returns this Fall for her eighth season as the voice of primetime television’s #1 program, NBC’s Sunday Night Football. This past November, she hosted the CMA Awards for the 12th consecutive year. Apple Music recently announced Underwood’s own monthly radio show, which she hosts and produces and premiered on the newly launched Apple Music Country. Underwood released her sixth studio album in 2018, Cry Pretty, which has been certified Platinum and marks the first time she has co-produced her own album. 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, as of 2020, the only female ever to win three times), 20 CMT Awards where she holds the record for the most award wins ever for the show, 7 CMA Awards, and 15 American Music Awards with her 7th win for Favorite Female Artist – Country and 6th win for Favorite Country Album for Cry Pretty, breaking the AMA record for Most Wins in the Favorite Country Album Category. She is a proud member of the Grand Ole Opry and founder/lead designer for her fitness and lifestyle brand, CALIA by Carrie Underwood. In March 2020, HarperCollins/Dey Street books published Carrie’s first book, FIND YOUR PATH: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life, a fitness lifestyle book in which she shares her belief that fitness is a lifelong journey, providing a common-sense approach to staying active, eating well, and looking as beautiful as you feel, 52 weeks a year. That same month, Carrie also launched her new fitness app, fit52, which is a holistic wellness platform designed to encourage and support users on their personal wellness journey, and is available on the App Store and on Google Play.
Carrie Underwood (what fans can expect from Christmas album) OC: …like Christmas. :24
“I think fans can expect this album to just put them in the mood for Christmas. We go traditional. We go new. We sing songs about love. We sing songs about Jesus. We sing happy songs about Christmas. Hopefully, it just takes them on a journey and makes them feel a certain way, makes it feel like Christmas.”
Keith Urban performs “Forever” from THE SPEED OF NOW Part 1 on Late Night With Seth Meyers this week. Check out the performance below.
Keith just released his new single, “One Too Many” with P!NK, and it goes for ADDS at radio on Monday (September 28th).