Problem Solved: Remastered 25th Anniversary Edition of David Ball's Thinkin' Problem Album Rolls Out November 15th - Unreleased Bonus Tracks Include Alternate Version of Thinkin'
It's that time of year again. No, not Christmas (back it up a step, TV movies - at least slip us in some Golden Girls)! But yes I admit I may be posting some Christmas tour news soon-ish) - - the time when we're supposedly given the festive gift of an extra hour of sleep (#DaylightSavingTime #DaylightSavingsTime #TurnBackTime #Etc.) when in actuality a lot of us inexplicably just stay wide awake for that time instead. Take a minute (pun intended) and you'll find plenty to support the thought that this season's greeting of a 4 p.m. sunset is often the onset of a little something known as "seasonal depression." Not exactly the barrel of laughs one likes to envision for their bucket (might even be more at home with a certain couple of words which rhyme with "bucket") list.
Now that I'm settled into the darkness of dark days, let's keep with the theme. The music of lovely and talented singer/songwriter Allison Moorer has always turned my head (maybe yours too). In fact it's done so for the better part of 20 years...dating back to pre-Viacom CMT (don't get me wrong - they're good again but it WAS a different time in country music TV land and hey despite my efforts, they're already not hiring me). But now Allison wants you to turn her pages, too in her new memoir simply/complexly titled Blood. (Oh and by the way she has a Master's of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing). I always adored her beautiful late-night/early-morning plea on "Send Down An Angel" from 2000's The Hardest Part, still do. But I had no clue then that The Hardest Part was based upon the story of her parents and their murder+suicide that ultimately befell the family. (She told No Depression magazine in 2000: "This record was inspired by the things I saw my mother go through. It’s not the true story, but it’s inspired by the true story."). Lately I'm pretty embarrassed by my then-cluelessness as Allison's story is being seen and told in not only expected outlets but also all throughout mainstream media - if you'd had told me 20 years ago that I would see Allison Moorer giving interviews and bandying about the word Blood on outlets such as CBS This Morning and Yahoo! News I would have called you crazy. But that's just how determined the ACM/Americana Music Award/Grammy nominee is to get her heart's message out there for anyone else who may have grown up with any sort of similar tragedy - and still find themselves praying for healing. For all of those (though most assuredly not without its hardships) the hope is that Allison's book Blood and its album of the same name shine a little light and even might just make for a soft place to fall. -Melissa Coker
Buy Blood on eBook and preview pages (including a powerful featured foreword by Allison's sister Shelby Lynne) here: https://amzn.to/2JLgIAQ
Listen to an Amazon Audible (audiobook) sample as read by Moorer and Lynne here (full book is free with Audible trial of $6.95 a month for 3 months): https://amzn.to/2PIxggS
Or hardcover here.
Blood audio CD ("There was always music," attests its Amazon entry): https://amzn.to/2C7SbSA
About the CD: The album Blood serves as a song cycle featuring ten tracks that directly connect to the people, emotions, trauma, and state of mind that are all detailed so eloquently in the memoir. Shortly after their parents passing, Shelby Lynne found the unfinished lyrics to a song in their father’s briefcase, which she wrote the music for. “I’m The One To Blame”, recorded bare, with only Moorer’s vocal and acoustic guitar, is a powerfully moving confessional. Moorer addresses depression and heartbreak (“Bad Weather”), terrified young sisters clinging to each other for support (“Nightlight”), the deep rooted character of their Mother (“The Rock And The Hill”), unfulfilled voids that resides within (“All I Wanted”) and the emotional finish line she hopes to reach one day (“Heal”). In 1999, Moorer penned “Cold Cold Earth”, a song about her parent’s last hours on earth but she was not ready to address the topic, let alone release it to the public. Her longtime producer Kenny Greenberg, who produced Blood, convinced her to release it as an unlisted hidden track on the album The Hardest Part (2000). Moorer chose to reclaim the song on Blood and officially reveal it to the public as a narrator with a voice of wisdom, life experience and a new perspective.
Watch the CBS This Morning interview below.
Country Hitmakers to Embark on Co-Headlining Holiday Tour
Unwrap your early Christmas present, folks: Following fans' overwhelming demand, Phil Vassar and Lonestar will co-headline a Christmas tour for the second year, with the 'Holiday & Hits' tour. The 13-city tour will kick off the first week of December and take the country hitmakers coast to coast (full list of dates available below). Tickets are on sale now at PhilVassar.com and LonestarNow.com. ***NOTE: Although not listed on the official tour dates, both Lonestar and Phil Vassar will be joining in at The Ryman in Nashville, TN on November 25th as part of the annual "Christmas 4 Kids" benefit. Tickets are available at Ryman.com. Christmas 4 Kids tickets benefit a local nonprofit that provides roughly 400 underserved Middle Tennessee children with a holiday season shopping spree.
Throughout each show, audiences will have the chance to hear Christmas standards as well as the artists' hits, including their original Christmas single "Not So Silent Night"(see shenanigan-filled video above). Prior to this years' tour, Vassar and Lonestar will re-record their single with the help of some friends, donating all the proceeds to the Salvation Army.
Lonestar, comprised of Richie McDonald, Michael Britt, Keech Rainwater and Dean Sams, released their first Christmas album, This Christmas Time, in 2000. The ACM and CMA award-winning group recorded 11 songs for the Dan Huff produced project, which featured new material such as the title track co-written by Sams and the touching “Reason For The Season” co-written by McDonald.
Vassar, who has headlined Christmas tours since 2009, released his first Christmas album, Noel, in 2011. The ten-track collection, co-produced by Vassar and Dane Bryant, showcases four of the ACM award-winning and ASCAP Songwriter of the Year’s original songs, including the humorous “Santa’s Gone Hollywood” and “Big Ol’ Texas Christmas,” a duet with Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson. Previously, Vassar and Kellie Pickler headlined a sold-out holiday tour.
HOLIDAY & HITS TOUR DATES
Dec. 4 Angel of the Winds Casino Resort - Arlington, Wash.
Dec. 5 Admiral Theatre - Bremerton Wash.
Dec. 6 Chinook Winds Casino Resort - Lincoln City, Ore.
Dec. 7 Chinook Winds Casino Resort - Lincoln City, Ore.
Dec. 9 Bankhead Theater, - Livermore Calif.
Dec. 10 The Cascade Theatre - Redding, Calif.
Dec. 12 Pikes Peak Center - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Dec. 13 Isleta Resort & Casino - Albuquerque, N.M.
Dec. 14 Emporia Granada Theatre - Emporia, Kan.
Dec. 15 Paramount Theatre - Denver, Colo.
Dec. 19 Oxford Performing Arts Center - Oxford, Ala.
Dec. 20 Brown County Music Center - Nashville, Ind.
Dec. 21 Niswonger Performing Arts Center - Van Wert, Ohio
Dec. 22 Community Center Auditorium - Punxsutawney, Pa.
Hallmark Goes to the Dogs with Airing of Special Country Music Hall of Fame Theater-Taped Benefit Concert
Dogs, if you're listening: Hunter Hayes and his friends want to make you feel wanted. Really. There's a rumor going 'round that loving you is fun. (And if you don't have a pedigree - don't worry - that won't stop Pedigree from being a sponsor of the show). -MC/TCC
Hallmark Channel and PEDIGREE Foundation teamed up for a television special to help the millions of shelter and rescue dogs across the country find loving homes. The Love of Dogs Benefit Concert will air October 21st on Hallmark Channel at 9:00 CST. The concert special (taped on October 10th) will feature country artists Lee Brice, Hunter Hayes and Easton Corbin from the Country Music Hall of Fame CMA Theater. Rising country artist Jillian Cardarelli performed during the Sponsor Reception prior to the show taping while Hallmark Channel's own Larissa Wohl served as emcee for the evening.
The television special will help raise much needed grant funds for PEDIGREE Foundation as part of Hallmark Channel's Adoption Ever After initiative. The initiative has helped over 40,000 pets find their forever homes. With estimated totals from the two-day event, that also included a golf tournament, at $325,000, PEDIGREE Foundation and Hallmark Channel are hoping to raise even more funds through tonight's airing with the Text to Donate option. Viewers can make a donation by texting "Dogs Rule" to 615-392-1626 or visit their website at www.PEDIGREEFoundation.org. See more photos here.
Hallmark Channel's Adoption Ever After works in collaboration with the country's leading animal rescue and welfare organizations, activists, distribution and advertising partners, and celebrity influencers, Hallmark Channel's Adoption Ever After aims to dismantle common misconceptions about shelter animals, provide resources, inspire the public to adopt, and ultimately create a future where every pet has a loving home. The initiative shines a spotlight on the countless lovable pets in our nations shelters through annual on-air programming specials like Kitten Bowl, Cat Bowl, Hero Dog Awards, and American Rescue Dog Show, as well as strategic partnerships, consumer marketing campaigns, public service announcements, and grassroots efforts.
"We were honored to partner with Hallmark Channel and these incredible country artists to do this television special that we know will bring much needed awareness to the millions of dogs that end up in shelters every year," said Deb Fair, Executive Director of PEDIGREE Foundation. "Our mission is to support shelters and rescue organizations across the nation - including those in your backyard - to make it a little easier for them to help these dogs find loving homes."
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.
((As an Amazon affiliate The Country Club can at times earn a small commission through qualifying purchases)).
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.
Hi. I'm a member of the country club. Country Music is what I love.