Archives for category: Country Radio

Bridgestone Arena, photo – Brad Hardisty

First shots of the new rising sun, CMA morning in Nashville where the day will be invaded by Country Music fans from all over the world looking for show hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley as well as big radio stars Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town.

GMA Stage after Reba, CMA 2012, 9AM, photo – Brad Hardisty

Today started off with the announcement that Taylor Swift’s new album, Red, is on pace for the biggest first week sales in a decade with 1.208 million copies moved.

Ryman, CMA 2012, 9AM – photo – Brad Hardisty

Early winners were announced on Good Morning America, with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw winning Musical Event of The Year for ”Feel Like A Rock Star.”  Although that may have been the mainstream duet, the real reach was Snoop Dogg’s collaboration with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson called “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” that was up for an award in the same category.

Tootsies, CMA 2012 – 9AM, photo – Brad Hardisty

Toby Keith and director Michael Salomon won the Music Video of the Year category for their viral video smash “Red Solo Cup.”

Tear down at Bridgestone, CMA 2012, photo – Brad Hardisty

Reba McEntire performed bright and early just an hour ago from in front of tonight’s awards venue, The Bridgestone Arena which was simulcast on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Legends Corner, CMA 2012, early morning, photo – Brad Hardisty

After the quick set and early award announcements, the stage outside the arena was quickly tore down with roadies moving road cases and setting up for the next free set.

Lower Broad, CMA 2012 early morning, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nashville is a town that almost never sleeps with live music down Broadway almost 24 hours a day.

Just across the street from Bridgestone, there were Chevy trucks with wraps celebrating the show out in front of Tootsie’s while right around the side of Legends Corner, Big & Rich was bigger than life with a special mural for the show celebrating their return.

The day has just begun.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Nashville, Tenn. (May 1, 2012) — 98.1 WBUL The Bull has announced Montgomery Gentry to headline the Kentucky Cares Concert on May 9 to benefit victims from the recent tornado that ripped through eastern Kentucky in early March. The concert will be held in Lexington, KY at Busters Billiards & Backroom with proceeds to go to the local American Red Cross. Presented by 98.1 The Bull, tickets are on sale now at Fellow Kentuckian Laura Bell Bundy will also be performing.

Laura Bell Bundy also to perform.

“Our hearts went out to all those family and businesses that were affected by the storms,” says Eddie Montgomery.  “We’ve been trying to organize something for a while so we’re real glad this worked out with The Bull.  This is our home and we want to do everything we can to help.”
Troy Gentry adds, “We were devastated to hear of the destruction that went through Kentucky.  We are honored to help out and look forward to a big hometown party and raising much needed funds for these communities that need it.”

This event would be worth the drive for our Kentucky neighbors, we all know what we went through with the flooding just two years ago in Nashville.
The dynamic duo, known for their hard-core country anthems, have released “So Called Life” as the second single from their seventh studio album, Rebels On The Run. This is the duo’s first album release on powerhouse indie label Average Joes Entertainment. Written by Sean Patrick McGraw and Bruce Wallace, “So Called Life” is the follow-up single to Montgomery Gentry’s Top 10 radio smash “Where I Come From.”  The guitar driven, in-your-face lyrics resonate with every hard-working American. Troy Gentry explains, “It’s about putting your nose to the grindstone and busting your butt everyday—doing what you have to do.”
Eddie Montgomery says, “ This (song) is for everybody that works for a living, gets a paycheck and half of it is already gone.  It’s just your ‘so called life’ and hell, they want to get to the weekend and have a damn good time.”
The new single has garnered outstanding reviews, receiving four ½ stars from Billy Dukes from Taste of Country. Dukes commented that the new song is “evidence that Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery Gentry are back” going on to say, “‘So Called Life’ bares teeth fans haven’t seen in five years. With cut-throat guitar and organ solos towards the end and a rhythm section that grabs hold of you early on and never lets go, this song promises to provide one of the louder slots on the radio this summer.”
Billboard reviewed the new single as a “high-octane number brimming with the edge and attitude country fans have come to expect from the rowdy Kentucky duo.” Referring to “So Called Life” as a “fiery anthem” saying its “relatable lyrics ensure the song’s success.”
Montgomery Gentry have recently been nominated for “Duo of the Year” for the upcoming 2012 CMT Music Awards to be held on June 6.  Fans can vote now at

 Nashville band, The August, are winners of The Greenbrier Resort’s first annual “Got Country Class” music competition resulting in a $5000 cash prize and the band opening for Toby Keith and Lionel Richie on July 4th at the Greenbrier Classic, a nationally recognized PGA Tournament held in West Virginia at the State Fairgrounds. 

 The event was hosted on April 26th-28th at the esteemed Greenbrier Country Club known as “America’s Resort” which has been welcoming guests since 1778.

Now this is what I am talking about!  They say that cream always rises to the top and Jacky Dustin and the boys know how to put on a show!

 Hundreds of contestants entered this month long contest and the final 30 were invited to the Resort to perform and be judged in front of five prominent music industry veterans including: 6 time Grammy winner Bill Miller, George Thorogood Manager, Michael Donohue and seasoned music industry visionary Charlie Lico. 

 The contest was divided into three rounds and each artist or band had 3 minutes to play one song (8 minutes in the final round) followed by feedback from the judges, similar to the American Idol format. 

 The August solidified their victory in the final round from a competitive field, which included another Nashville artist Katie Admire, by performing an original country ballad called “Outside” about the trials of leaving home to go to a new city in search of their dreams (a sentiment plenty of Nashville can relate to) and then followed by a “funk-country” version of “Me and Bobby McGhee” where The August received the only standing ovation of the night. If you have been able to catch The August with Jacky Dustin on vocals at Douglas Corner Café, y’all should know this one. 

 The August is an Americana/Country Rock band formed in 2006 originally from Chicago, IL but relocated to Nashville in 2009 to further entrench themselves in their musical careers. Their next show in Nashville will be on Friday May 11th at Douglas Corner Cafe.  


Thistle, Sparrow and the Tall, Tall Grass (2006)

The Uptown Sessions (2009)

Dear Chicago, Love Nashville (2011)

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN


Nashville, TN (April 4, 2012) – Country music Icon Dolly Parton just released her latest project, “An Evening with… Dolly”, which is a two-disc DVD/CD set available exclusively at all Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations. 

The double-disc set includes live performances of Dolly’s biggest hits, including 9 to 5, Jolene, Coat of Many Colors, Here You Come Again, Islands in the Stream, and I Will Always Love You, among others.  The package retails for $11.99 and is also available online at

Cracker Barrel has seen an influx of Bluegrass, Old Time Gospel and Classic Country stars in recent partnerships in the last few years, much like the Starbucks Music Marketing concept, Cracker Barrel is both a restaurant and a store and is very popular with fans of down home food and down home music.

Most recently, the most award winning Bluegrass duo, Daily & Vincent, has been successful with Cracker Barrel promotions.   

I’m jealous of Dolly’s guitar on the cover. It looks like a PRS SE single cutaway hollow body, but, it could be a custom build. If anybody knows, let me know.  The price point of the DVD-CD combo is ridiculous. Everybody should have a copy of this. Dolly started with promotion this week on Nightline and Inside edition and has upcoming appearances scheduled.

Friday April 6th, catch Dolly online for a special one-on-one question and answer session with as well as on the entertainment news magazine show EXTRA!

Saturday, April 7th, Dolly sits down with Rebecca Jarvis on CBS This Morning and Katie Cook for CMT Insider.

On Wednesday, April 11th Dolly will be featured on the mid-day syndicated The Better Show.

On Saturday, April 14th Dolly sits down with Governor Huckabee for Fox News Channel’s HUCKABEE.  The show will re-air on Sunday, April 15th.

In the coming weeks, Dolly Parton will also appear on ABC’s The Revolution with Tim Gunn, The Dr. Steve Show, Lifetime Television’s national morning show The Balancing Act, among others.

On the same date, a major announcement came from one of the last true rebels, and I wasn’t talking about Hank III, I was talking about Junior!

Mike Dennison, President of Blaster Entertainment, Hank Williams, Jr. and Tom Porter, CEO of Blaster Entertainment, sign exclusive agreement to distribute Hank's new CD.

Nashville, TN (April 4, 2012) – Blaster Entertainment, one of the country’s leading talent management and entertainment labels, and award-winning Country music recording artist Hank Williams, Jr. announced that they have entered into a worldwide exclusive three year licensing agreement. The new partnership comes only months before Williams’ highly anticipated new studio album release, which will hit retail in June.   The deal, which was signed this week, licenses Blaster Records, a division of Blaster Entertainment, to distribute Bocephus Records’ new release for the next three years.

“When I started Blaster Records a bit over five years ago, my goal was to create an entertainment company that became home to some of country music’s biggest stars,” said Tom Porter, CEO of Blaster Entertainment. “Hank Williams Jr. is a giant in the business and we are beyond excited to welcome him into the Blaster family.”

“I’m excited about this new album we’ve been working on,” Hank Williams Jr. said.  “When looking at labels, I had several choices.  When my team brought me the opportunity from Blaster and with the soon to be announced distribution deal, it was the best deal in town.  My fans will be able to find my music in places that common folks shop.  This is gonna be fun!” 

With more than 70 albums to his credit, sales of 55 million records, countless awards including 5-time Entertainer of the Year awards (ACM & CMA), BMI Icon Award, a Grammy, and most recently in 2009 the Academy of Country Music “Pioneer Award,” Williams is a living legend. His discography chronicles a bold profile of growth from adored offspring of a legendary father, to titan of the modern country rock movement in his own right. For two decades, America came to its collective feet each fall Monday night when this larger than life superman of a musician looked into the camera and unleashed the national anthem for viewers of Monday Night Football – ‘Are You Ready for Some Football.?’ Those simple words have won Williams an entirely new generation of fans and given him the distinction of being the first country performer to ever win an Emmy.
Blaster Entertainment is known for their unconventional, untraditional and by most people’s perception just plain fun way of doing business. The blending of Blaster and Williams is a perfect pairing. The mission of Blaster Entertainment is to service and support artists in all aspects of the business while creating new outlets for their music. The company prides itself on the ability to provide one-on one attention to all of their artists while developing new opportunities and alliances along the way.

A partnership with a combination, promotional and distribution arm seems to be the way to go nowadays.  Hank Jr. was able to stay in the news with, so-called controversy and right or wrong, he stuck to his guns and has to be admired for that.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Acklen Park, Nashville skyline, Photo- Melody Hood

 Acklen Park kicked off the radio launch of “Great American Song” on Otter Rapids Music with co-writer, Shantell Ogden, at The Nashville Downtown Indigo Hotel on January 24th. It was a low key evening with friends for a song that has already taken off on radio.

The single was released a couple of weeks early to selected stations and was included in the “Starting to Rumble Facebook Face Off,” at Thunder 102. After going up six times against other new Music Row Charts singles and winning, the song was retired undefeated and included into regular rotation a week before the official drop date on January 26th. Marcum Stewart states, “We ended up winning six face offs in a row. We recorded the most votes in Thunder 102 history.” Andrea Villareal, the other side of Acklen Park joins in, “The first round we went up against Warner Brothers artists, Her & Kings County. We also won against Bucky Covington who has been out for a couple of years now. We couldn’t be more excited. “

The same is happening everywhere the song is turning up. Most recently “Great American Song” won another contest at KBOE in Oskaloosa, Iowa by votes from local listeners. As an independent release, the success of the single will be dependent on the ears of smaller market DJ’s that have some flexibility as well as listeners calling in and requesting the new single.

“Great American Song” is really a summer anthem, originally intended for a later release,but, Acklen Park’s radio promotions team were anxious to release the feel good upbeat anthem that goes hand in hand with celebrating our freedoms laying a foundation for the potential of a big summer hit.

Marcum was given some serious advice, “Our Promotions team made a lot of really valid points and they’re the pros. They do this every day, their advice was, “Well, honestly it takes a good seven to eight months to really get big action to even have a chance to even make it to the top 30 so if you even want a chance to do that by the time its seven months from now it’s going to be July anyway. “We took these thoughts to our Producer, Chris Utley and he said, “I couldn’t agree more.”

Acklen Park, Benchmark, Great American Song, background vocal session, me on the back row.

“Great American Song” was recorded at Benchmark Sound, one of the best studios on Nashville’s Music Row today with Chris Utley in the Producers chair. There was one big difference going in this time around. Although, the last album released early last year was a great project, Chris Utley and Acklen Park decided to kick it up a notch with some of Nashville’s best session players that have performance credits on Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and other big time records. The sound is phenomenal with great lyrics, upbeat Country Rock with a solid hook.

Acklen Park has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the video for the song. In its first week, the campaign has reached 20 percent of its goal. Kickstarter mainly known for funding Indie Rock releases is starting to see some Independent Country Artists such as Kelly Willis looking to fund projects. It gives the opportunity for fans to be backers and even be a part of a project.

Marcum has a clear picture of what they want to do, “Alright we need to make a video so how about we just go with that. We need funds to make the video. Radio station promotion costs a lot of money. Publicity costs a lot of money. Videos cost money so we just kind of went with what Kickstarter would allow us to do. I’m actually happier with that. I think that people are going to enjoy doing the video more than radio promotion anyway. We’re going to enjoy that more. We can allow people to be in the video.”

As they say at NSAI, “Every great song will find a home.”

Photo Courtesy - Meldoy Hood

Country fans can make this a big song if they want to the old fashioned way by supporting their local Country station and requesting “Great American Song,” purchasing the song for themselves and being a part of “The Making of The Great American Song Video.”

If you want to be a part of the making of the video you can go to their Kickstarter page by clicking here I want to be a part of The Making of The Great American Song Video by Acklen Park.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN