Joshua Radin. Hotel Cafe Tour. 2008
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Kenny Chesney Recalls Speed Bumps on Road to the Top

It’s hard to believe, given his record-breaking sales and countless accolades, but Kenny Chesney’s career path was not always smooth sailing.

“We all get caught up in the idea of, ‘We want this now,’ and I was no different,” Kenny recalls to Billboard of his anxious early days in the business. “I had a few hit records, and there were other people having hit records and they were getting paid $2500 more than I was getting paid … I remember talking to [my manager] Dale Morris going, ‘Why are we doing this? Why are we doing that? Why isn’t this happening?’ That mentality was one of the reasons that we’re doing what we’re doing today. That taught me patience and that everybody is in this together, and we’re going to take this and make it wonderful and not just live for the moment. Dale called it: ‘We’re betting on what’s to come, not what’s right now.’ And that’s hard. When you’re a kid, you want it all right now.”

Kenny soon channeled his energy into making his live show “something special.” “Whether it worked or whether it didn’t, I was going to do it,” he said. “It wasn’t safe and it wasn’t probably the smartest thing to do, but it was the smartest thing to do for me. I got a taste of the George Strait stadium tours and I was going to do whatever it takes.”

For my complete writeup, visit The Boot.

July 7, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Kenny Chesney Raises a Glass to His Fans

As Kenny Chesney’s first headlining tour progressed, he became more and more intrigued watching his fans tailgate before his show. One day, in 2002, he decided to join them.

“It started purely out of boredom. There are only so many hours you can sit on the bus and watch TV or play basketball or whatever we do to pass the time before we go out onstage,” Kenny admits to Billboard.

“One day we were playing the Amphitheater in Pittsburgh, and it was about halfway through my first year of headlining. My bus was parked on this hill, and I could see all the tailgaters and everybody out there. It was this whole other world out there, so I said, ‘I’m gonna go out there in the middle of it and see it!”

For the complete writeup, visit The Boot.

June 28, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Photo of the Week: Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson
CATEGORIES: Festivals, Photos

I was lucky enough to be in the photo pit just as Kelly Clarkson joined Jason Aldean onstage at LP Field for their duet on “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” Stay tuned for more CMA Music Festival coverage and photos later this week!

June 19, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Kenny Chesney Reflects on Strait-ening Out His Career

A country icon, George Strait has millions of admirers, none bigger than Kenny Chesney. In Nashville for Billboard’s Country Music Summit last week, Kenny expressed his respect for King George. The Tennessee native also explained how he found his own path and unique style in country music.

“Like a lot of people did, and I was guilty of it, George Strait was the guy who was the model that everybody at the time, and still today, wanted to be like. They wanted to emulate him,” Kenny said. “As much as I love him and respect him, the moment that I quit trying to be him was the moment my life changed.”

Kenny explained that soon after he started being himself onstage, he became more honest in his songwriting.

For the complete article, visit The Boot.

June 16, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Carrie Underwood's Penchant for Punctuality 'Frightens People'

While it’s normally a given that celebrities are never on time, Carrie Underwood proves this stereotype wrong. In Nashville for Billboard’s Country Music Summit last week, Carrie gave credit to her parents for her work ethic.

“I honestly thank my awesome parents,” said Carrie. “It actually frightens people when I’m on time.”

She went on to explain that during awards shows she takes many by surprise with her punctuality.

For the complete writeup, visit The Boot.

June 15, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Blake Shelton Parties With Fans and Famous Friends
CATEGORIES: Concert Reviews, Festivals

Country music’s favorite funny guy, Blake Shelton, hosted his fan party Friday (June 10) night at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Blake took the stage to screams and greeted his fans with, “Hello, everybody! Welcome to CMA Music Fest. I know you all came here to see all your favorite artists. I’m here to tell you that I don’t give a damn about any other artist you came here to see, because it’s all about us in here tonight.”

A fitting start to his two-hour performance, Blake segued into the upbeat ‘All About Tonight’ with fans singing along word for word. He followed with hits spanning his decade-long career and a few surprises: buddies Nan Kelley, Laura Bell Bundy, Frankie Ballard and Mel Tillis, who all shared the stage with Blake at various points in the evening.

“Man, I love y’all so much. I don’t know if you have been to many of these fan parties before, but I have been known to get drunk. I don’t care if that’s bad. I don’t care if it’s offensive. This is a party. So here’s to y’all,” Blake said, raising his glass before asserting, “We’re going to play country music for a long time.”

For complete coverage of Blake’s fan party visit The Boot.

June 13, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Carrie Underwood Admits Becoming a 'Sentimental Weenie'

Carrie Underwood’s mega-hits ‘Before He Cheats,’ ‘Cowboy Casanova’ and ‘Last Name’ don’t exactly showcase her softer side. Songs about guys who’ve done her wrong, each track is powerful and in-your-face, a part of the country superstar’s repertoire that grabs the fan’s attention right away.

“I’ve never been one for mushy songs ever. I just don’t do mush,” said Carrie during a Q&A session at the Billboard Country Music Summit in Nashville this week. “I can do mad. I can do sassy. I can do high heels and sparkles.”

Carrie admits that she’s not as good at sappy songs, nor at letting herself open up to people. However, she says her husband, Nashville Predators hockey player Mike Fisher, has helped her become more sentimental.

For the complete article, visit The Boot.

June 12, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Jason Aldean Talks Music, Moving and Motivation

Jason Aldean took the stage at Billboard’s Country Music Summit in Nashville Monday (June 6) afternoon, to share the story of his long road to success. The singer moved to Nashville in ’98, but it took him seven years to see the release of his debut single, ‘Hicktown.’

“For me, as a teenager I knew this was ultimately where I had to be if I wanted to do what I was trying to accomplish,” Jason explains. “I knew it was going to take me moving to this town to make that happen. As far as moving here being what I thought, it was not at all what I thought. I figured I would come to town and be met with open arms, sign a deal, cut a record, go out and start touring, and it was nothing like that. I moved here and I didn’t know anybody and my producer, Michael Knox, took me under his wing and showed me around.”

For the complete article, visit The Boot.

June 11, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Brad Paisley Had Carrie Underwood 'Waitin'' on a Duet

Brad Paisley is one of Carrie Underwood’s best friends, so it was only a matter of time before the two collaborated on a song. However, the process took longer than both expected. Carrie recently explained just how ‘Remind Me’ came about and why Brad’s ‘Waitin’ on a Woman’ may not be about the person you think.

In Nashville for the Billboard Country Music Summit, Carrie revealed that doing a song together had been on the radar of the two superstars for a while, but she doesn’t like to force things. “We’re not gonna sing ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ just because we both know it and we need to sing together. We both wanted to do this.”

Once Brad pushed back the release date of his album, ‘This Is Country Music,’ the two were finally able to set up a time to meet.

For the complete article, visit The Boot.

June 9, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
Country Music by the Numbers
CATEGORIES: Features, Festivals

A staggering statistic, the Country Music Summit stressed on numerous occasions that 42% of the US population are country music fans. With that said, certain stereotypes about the average country music fan are still prevalent, but they shouldn’t be.

During two breakout panels at the Country Music Summit on Tuesday in Nashville, Greg Fuson, market research director of Country Music Association, let attendants know that the country music fan is not always who you think. His research was based on two separate studies: MRI data, a study of American consumers based on 50,000 respondents, and CMA proprietary research, a survey sent to CMA music festival attendees each year. Below are 8 statistics that might surprise you.

95 million listeners.

This is how many people in the United States consider themselves country music fans. For a better gauge, this number accounts to 2.5x the total population of Canada.

For the complete article, visit Billboard Pro.

June 8, 2011 | | (0) comment comment
"See Through You"
Willie Shaw's sultry new song mesmerizes upon first listen.
Music Reviews, Interviews, Concert & Album Reviews
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