Exclusive: Record Highs, Lows, and In-Betweens: Old School Country Singer-Songwriter Erin Enderlin Wraps Up EPs & Readies New Album Faulkner County
By Melissa Coker
Her heroes, though, have always been cowboys—and they still are, it seems. She’s been a featured performer on Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown tour and has written songs about him (“World Without Willie,” which received heavy rotation on CMT). But she wasn’t always living high. So what’s it like to break on through to the other side?
“I love being able to connect with people more as an artist,” she says. “I’ve gotten some really great compliments from folks about my videos; it’s really cool to see my music connecting people. I love music videos and it’s really cool to get to see mine on CMT. I feel so lucky to be able to make records that I absolutely love, and to get to work with some of the most amazing writers, musicians and of course producers of our time. It’s the kind of thing that makes me feels like all the years, and miles and struggle have been worth it.”
Enderlin’s had songs recorded by Rhonda Vincent (the recent No. 1 “Like I Could”), Grand Ole Opry icon and multiple hall-of-fame member Bill Anderson, Lee Ann Womack (“Last Call”), on recent albums by Rodney Crowell, Reba McEntire, Terri Clark (for whom she’s also opened) and more. “I met Bill Anderson in his Fan Fair line in 1998. I was so nervous that I forgot to get a picture! That being said he did not immediately want to write songs with nerdy 16-year-old me even though I was carrying around a Trapper Keeper full of all the songs I’d written in case anyone did.”
Not only has Whisperin’ Bill since changed his tune and written with Erin, she even sweet-talked him into featuring her alongside him with the likes of Tanya Tucker and Opry star Jeannie Seely in his 2018 video for “Waffle House Christmas” (co-written by Enderlin).
“Bill got together with Alex Kline and me,” she says “and I had this crazy idea for a song about having Christmas at Waffle House. At the time I didn’t realize that Bill is from the home of Waffle House in Georgia—so I guess it was meant to be! I believe the video was the brainchild of Bill’s manager Lee Willard, and it was so cool that Bill let me sit right up next to him in it,” Enderlin says. “I think the best advice from Bill is more in what he does than what he says. For example, the first time I wrote with him he was still pushing for the right lines at 7 p.m. He doesn’t have to do that, but he loves the music and he takes a lot of pride in what he does. He’s one of a kind.”
Those days of carrying around a Trapper Keeper led Enderlin to be somewhat of a dream weaver—literally. She can add co-writer on a number-one-charting bluegrass song to her credit, as her dreams recently became even more vivid when Opry star Jeannie Seely (“after bugging her for years to write with her”) rang Enderlin up one night to inform her, “Okay, I had a dream we were writing so I guess we better do it!”
It just so happened that Enderlin was working with hit writer Bobby Tomberlin (a Grammy, ACM, CMA nominee) when the call came in. So, soon making good on her promise, the three—Enderlin, Tomberlin and Seely—gathered together and out came “If I Could.”
“She had that great idea and we wrote it in an hour or less,” recalls Enderlin. “Jeannie ended up with Rhonda Vincent at an event and told her about the song. She ended up playing it for her and Rhonda loved it and said ‘I’m cutting that!’ I actually got the call from Jeannie that Rhonda was cutting it on my birthday, which was extra special,” Enderlin adds. “I just love how Rhonda did it, she’s just amazing and has been so kind to have us all out at the Opry and places when she’s been singing it.”
Following Enderlin’s self-titled release, 2013’s I Let Her Talk, 2017’s concept record, Whiskeytown Crier, and a quartet of passion-project EPs, Enderlin’s much-anticipated full-length 14-track project, Faulkner County, will be available Nov. 1. Produced by Jamey Johnson and Jim “Moose” Brown, it features the songs from her EPs plus two new to Faulkner.
“[With the EPs] my fans get new music more often, and I get to be putting out new music. I’ve enjoyed getting to spread it out and kinda savor it a little at a time.”
Enderlin wrote Faulkner’s two new tracks, “Hell Coming Down” and “Run, Baby, Run” with Ryan Tyndell and Felix McTeigue and (album co-producer) Jim “Moose” Brown, respectively. “I love both songs—lots of fiddle and steel and some great harmonies too,” she says. Among the special guests to appear on the album are Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Terri Clark and Cody Jinks.
Enderlin was a featured act on Jamey Johnson’s SiriusXM Outlaw Country Tour, AmericanaFest and CMA Fest, and crossed the Atlantic for her first UK run (“There are some great people over there . . . and I’m never driving on the left side of the road, ever!” she says). In June, she took home three Arkansas Country Music Awards including Female Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. From Whiskeytown to Faulkner County, the local world traveler continues to create just the right mix of strong songs to savor.
“I gravitate towards songs and production that make me feel something—and like Reba says, if it speaks to you, it will probably speak to someone else."
CLICK TO ORDER FAULKNER COUNTY on MP3, CD, or VINYL.
**This article is an edited version of the same interview which originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Murfreesboro Pulse.
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Puzzle image provided by Melissa Coker.
Check Phil out as he gets stripped down and transform your night into just another day in paradise. 2019 marks TWENTY YEARS of hits for the artist. -MC/TCC
Singer-songwriter Phil Vassar is bringing his 20 years of hits to venues across the country with an intimate, acoustic show in 14 cities from coast to coast (full list below). Brett Sheroky will be supporting Vassar on select shows throughout the tour. The Stripped Down tour coincides with an EP launch by the same name, and features new material, exciting artists collaborations, and "Postmarked Birmingham" (written by Vassar with Don Sampson & originally recorded by BlackHawk). Tickets go on sale August 16 at PhilVassar.com and the EP will be available January 2020.
"We're peeling back the music to the core with just a piano and guitar, so we can give fans an intimate evening of conversation and music. It's how these songs were written and I think it will be a fun, unique experience," Vassar shared.
2019 marks 20 years since the release of Vassar's debut single "Carlene". Vassar recently performed "Carlene" along with a set list of fan-favorites on "Fox & Friends All-American Summer Concert Series." Vassar brought his Hitsteria tour through New York and is continuing to play dates across the country (See tour dates below by clicking "read more").
New album features classic country standards, plus a highly anticipated trio with sisters Loretta Lynn, and Peggy Sue Wright
Pre-sale & first single "Ribbon of Darkness" available Aug. 9
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Grammy® award winning country music singer and Grand Ole Opry member Crystal Gayle is delighted to announce the release of her first new album in nearly 16 years, You Don’t Know Me. Available everywhere September 6, with a pre-sale beginning August 9.
Co-produced, recorded and mixed by Crystal's son Christos Gatzimos, You Don’t Know Me is a collection that finds the acclaimed stylist exploring the songs of such country legends as George Jones, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens and Eddy Arnold. The album might come as a surprise to those who associate Crystal with an uptown sound that made her a star on both country and adult-contemporary pop charts. But she has known this repertoire of hardcore country standards all her life.
“This wasn’t a stretch at all,” says Crystal. “This project is a labor of love that my son, Christos, and I produced together. It is filled with country classics that I grew up singing. They are very much a part of my history and I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. I feel very lucky to have known and worked with many of the artists who had the original hits.”
Each of the selections was chosen because it played a role in her musical development. Two of them point to the importance that her family had in bringing her to fame.
The album’s opening track is “Ribbon Of Darkness,” a song originally written by Gordon Lightfoot. Originally released in 1965 as a single by Marty Robbins, it became his eleventh #1 hit. The song holds a special place in Crystal’s heart because it was the first song she performed at her Grand Ole Opry debut.
"This was the first song I ever sang on the Grand Ole Opry. I was 16," said Gayle. "Loretta was sick. Mooney [Lynn] did something; I don’t know what. But they let me sing in her place. In my early years in Nashville, when I was on Decca, I opened for Marty Robbins. So I’ve heard him sing this many times. Connie Smith also had a hit with it. So the night I was inducted into the Opry cast in 2017, I asked Connie if it was okay with her that I sing “Ribbon of Darkness."'
Another popular classic country hit on the album is “Crying Time,” a song originally written and recorded by Bakersfield sound pioneer Buck Owens. The song was also recorded by Ray Charles, who won two Grammy Awards in 1967 for his version.
"I do a medley of Buck Owens songs in my shows," says Crystal. "When I was a kid, he worked Buck Lake Ranch in Indiana. I would go whenever he was playing there, and he’d let me sing on his show. When I was 16, he wanted me to become a regular on his TV show. He asked me, but it didn’t work out."
The album's closing track is “Put It Off Until Tomorrow” which brings Crystal together with her sisters Peggy Sue Wright and legendary country music icon Loretta Lynn for a highly anticipated first-ever recorded trio of them together. The song also just happens to be co-written by another country music legend, Dolly Parton.
"Loretta and Peggy made this album very special by singing "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" with me. It is a song that we have performed together throughout the years. This is the one and only trio performance on record. We’ve done the Boston Pops together. We performed together in Lake Tahoe and Reno and a few things like that. But we’ve never actually made a record together. Peggy Sue still comes out on the road with me, singing backup harmonies. I recorded the track, then Patsy, Loretta’s daughter, asked her to sing on my album. Loretta is such an incredible singer. She got through the song right away and then went, “What’s next?” We should have recorded the whole album together! Loretta had her stroke not long after we recorded this."
Track listing information after "read more" break.
The Highwomen is an all-female fo(u)rtress of songstresses delivering classic-esque country sounds via their own special style (and as it so happens in their quirky character-filled just-premiered video for single "Redesigning Women" that hard-hitting unconventional style features the not-quite prima-donnas donning some mighty fine hard-hitting firefighting hats as they "design" and put out old flames). The cutting-up and carrying-on group is comprised of Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, and Natalie Hemby - and if this morning's YouTube video premiere (complete with countdown clock) is any indication no one can hold a torch to the fired-up foursome. Take a look at those live numbers in the screen capture above. As of this writing in the less than one hour since its debut those numbers have traveled to over 4,000. Oh, and speaking of numbers? It features a special guest or two. --Melissa Coker
Pre-order the album on Amazon NOW (expected 9/6). #Highwomen #Women #Design #DoItAll #NoOneElseOnEarth
Feeling hot, sticky, sweet? Lewis Brice has partnered with Waffle House® Restaurants and TouchTunes to slather, smother and cover "Summertime Vibes" across the U.S. A little bit Alan Jackson, a little bit Uncle Kracker (but still a bit in between); the song is now available to play on TouchTunes jukeboxes in more than 1,900 Waffle House locations nationwide.
In fact, as further proof it's hip to be square - fans can post a picture of themselves playing "Summertime Vibes" on a Waffle House jukebox to Instagram with #WHvibes or #LewisWH to enter for a chance to win an exclusive Waffle House prize. Now THAT's keeping things on the sunny side (up). The contest will run through August. Lewis's previous singles "Blessed" and "Messing With My Mind" have also been added to TouchTunes jukeboxes in all Waffle House locations.
Lewis will be hitting the road this summer with a full tour schedule including select dates with his brother, Lee Brice where he will be playing his new single as well as fan-favorite hits that have amassed the singer with more than 7 million streams across all streaming platforms.
"This song was co-written with my buddies Nick Norman and Ben Simonetti. I got the idea from when I was a kid and was always told 'When it’s cold outside, think warm thoughts.' This song was written in the winter and we were thinking about summer," said Lewis.
The new music video for “Summertime Vibes” will debut in mid-July. For more information and the latest news on Lewis, follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and go to LewisBrice.com.
LEWIS BRICE ON TOUR
July 12 Five Star Dive Bar - Elkhart, In.
July 13 Blarney Island - Antioch, Ill.
July 20 South Shore Music Circus - Cohasset, Mass. *
July 21 Bold Point Pavilion - East Providence, R.I.*
Aug. 23-24 Pigeon Forge, TN
Nov. 15-21 Carolina Country Music Cruise - Charleston, S.C.
*Tour date with Lee Brice
ABOUT LEWIS BRICE:
Lewis’s debut self-titled EP, produced by himself and his brother Lee Brice, was released on July 14th, 2017, landing at No. 11 on the US iTunes Country chart. Since, Lewis has been named one of Rolling Stone Country’s “New Country Artists You Need to Know” and Billboard’s “Country Artists to Watch in 2018”. Tracks from the EP were featured on SiriusXM The Highway, CMT Music, and Spotify’s New Boots & Wild Country playlists, and its lead single 'Best Ex Ever' reached the Top 40 of MusicRow’s Country Breakout radio chart. The next chapter of Lewis’s music was unveiled in November 2018 as the first single from his forthcoming second collection of songs, titled ‘Blessed’, was introduced to the world by a special Thanksgiving acoustic performance with his brother Lee. Rumor is 2019 will be his best year yet.
Brett Eldredge Helps Freedom Sing - CMT to Broadcast Brett's Entire Downtown Nashville Performance (AND Will Re-Air It)
CMT's “Red, White and Blue Week” continues with the exclusive 90-minute special, CMT Let Freedom Sing! on Thursday, July 4 at 10 pm ET/9 pm CT. Fans are treated to a front row seat to one of the biggest Independence Day celebrations in the country, and a concert by hit-maker Brett Eldredge. Eldredge, who recently celebrated his seventh #1 single, kicks off the live event with a one-hour musical set, which is followed by a half-hour, commercial free presentation of the NCVC’s Fourth of July fireworks presentation. The entire 90-minute program will encore immediately following the premiere telecast.
“Let Freedom Sing!”is produced by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp for the city of Nashville. This is the 15th annual celebration produced by the NCVC and the 35th in the city. For more information on this fireworks spectacular, visit https://www.visitmusiccity.com/media/press-release/2019/july4th-funfacts.
****With plenty of clips as well as the all-out full celebratory special available (subject to certain TV provider terms) to watch on CMT.com and on TV re-air dates throughout the weekend; CLICK HERE FOR SPECIFICS.
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