Festivals Q&A

Poll of the Week: Which CMA 2009 Interview Do You Want to Read?

This week is country music week on You Sing I Write. I’ll be attending Lady Antebellum, Laura Bell Bundy and Taylor Swift concerts throughout the week and figured it makes perfect sense to introduce you to some up-and-coming country acts too. Stay tuned to Twitter for live reporting and recaps of each show!

As far as this week’s poll, I have some press room interviews of last year’s CMA Music Festival that I haven’t gotten up on the blog yet and I want to know which one you’re dying to read. I’ll transcribe the artist that gets the most votes for you the end of the week. (And, if you’re lucky maybe the rest next week!)

Which CMA 2009 Interview Do You Want to Read?

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Reba McEntire
Zac Brown Band
Need You Now
Song of the Week

Song of the Week: “American Honey”

Lady Antebellum have been taking over the airwaves with their chart-topping hit “Need You Now.” The Nashville-based trio just released the second single off their sophomore album, Need You Now and it’s bound to reach similar success.

Reminiscing of days gone by, on “American Honey” Lady A sing, “Nothing’s sweeter than summertime and American honey.” I couldn’t agree more. Watch the video below for a taste of summer.


Related Links:
Q&A; with Lady Antebellum
CMA 2009: Six Artists to Watch
Friday Song Addiction: Country Music Edition
You Sing I Write’s Top 5 CMA Week Songs
Artist of the Week

Artist to Watch: Laura Bell Bundy

She’s starred in numerous television series and movies as well as acted in on and off Broadway musicals including Legally Blonde, where she was nominated for a Tony Award for her role as Elle Woods. Going back to her love and passion for music, Laura Bell Bundy is releasing Achin’ and Shakin’ and has country fans and critics raving.

A concept album, Achin’ and Shakin’ is two separate albums within one project. Achin’ is a collection of slow and sultry country songs while Shakin’ is a group of sassy songs that are equal parts humor, confidence and attitude.

“I have two different sides of my personality,” she explains. “I have a crazy, wild, humorous, outspoken personality, and then I have a depth that only opens up when I am alone or with one other person, and that is captured with this album. I really couldn’t do one without the other.”

The first single off Achin’ and Shakin, “Giddy On Up” is just a taste of what’s to come for the singer-songwriter. Her first music video, “Giddy On Up” is an entertaining, choreographed tale about a cheating lover. Having already earned comparisons as the Katy Perry of country music, I’m interested to see what the future holds for this country songstress.

Watch the video for “Giddy On Up” below. For more on Laura Bell Bundy, visit her Web site.

Laura Bell Bundy
More CMT Music
More CMT Music Videos

Related Links:
Band of the Week: The N Result
Artist of the Week: Michael Nappi
Artist of the Week: Akiva
Artist of the Week: David Ryan Harris


Taylor Swift Wins Entertainer of the Year

The youngest country star to ever win Entertainer of the Year and first female solo artist to do it since Shania Twain a decade ago, Taylor Swift took home the CMA award beating out her all-male nominees, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and George Strait.

“I will never forget this moment because in this moment everything that I have ever wanted has happened to me,” Swift said in between tears during her acceptance speech before bringing her band to the stage.

Kanye West was the bud of many jokes last night, and after what went down at MTV’s VMA Awards earlier this year, it was expected. “Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be Kanye,” sang co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood at the start of the show.

Swift even cracked a joke about it. While making her acceptance speech after winning Female Vocalist of the Year, she said, “I want to thank every single person in this room tonight for not running up on the stage during this speech.”

For a complete Taylor Swift run down of the night, watch CMT’s video below. Did you watch the show? What do you think is in store for Taylor after winning Entertainer of the Year?

Related Links:
Q&A; with Taylor Swift
Hundreds of Fans Camp Out to Meet Taylor Swift
CMA 2009: Six Artists To Watch
Artist to Watch: Taylor Swift


CMA Awards Air on ABC Tonight!

Taylor Swift will kick off the CMA Awards tonight with her performance at the Sommet Center in Nashville. Hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, the awards show will air tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC. Will you be watching?

Swift is up for Entertainer of the Year award along with Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait and Keith Urban. Who do you think will win?


Carrie Underwood Featured on Walmart Soundcheck

For all you country music lovers, last week Walmart Soundcheck debuted their series with country’s very own soulful songstress Carrie Underwood. Watch the promo below and to view videos of Underwood performing some tracks off her new album as well as previous hits like “Before He Cheats,” “Jesus Take the Wheel” and a live interview click here.

If you like what you hear, be sure to pick up her new album, Play On, due in stores November 3.


Related Links:
Relive Nashville’s Country Music Festival with Jake Owen
Martina McBride and Former Miss America Speak Out on Domestic Violence
CMA 2009: Six Artists to Watch
CMA Music Festival Recap

Festivals Videos

Relive Nashville’s Country Music Festival with Jake Owen

You all followed my adventures covering the festival this summer, now you can get a musician’s take. Travel to Nashville with Jake Owen as he reports live from the ground of this year’s CMA Music Festival. Watch the video series on below as Jake describes the history behind some of the town’s greatest venues, shows off his wakeboarding skills and performs live.

For more on Jake Owen, watch my interview with him below.


Festivals Interviews

Martina McBride

Martina McBride‘s career is what dreams are made of. Each release garners more recognition and her fan base is greater than it has ever been. A veteran to the country music scene, McBride has been belting out hits for the past 17 years. Not to mention her current single, “I Just Call You Mine,” from her tenth studio album, Shine, has been referred to as the wedding song of the summer.

With over 18 million album sales, 22 Top 10 singles, and raising thousands of dollars for YWCA, a domestic violence shelter in Nashville aimed at empowering women and eliminating racism, McBride is an inspiration to women everywhere. “It’s so important for women to support other women. It should be like a family. We should be out there rooting for each other and helping each other out,” she says.

I was lucky enough to chat with McBride at the YWCA auction as well as sit in on her press conference at this year’s CMA Music Festival in Nashville. Of her YWCA celebrity charity auction, McBride said, “This event goes to help women and children really start over and rebuild there lives in a positive way and I just think that that’s important.”

Read on for more on Martina’s musical collaborations, her signature wine, and upcoming fall tour.

Can you tell us about your Twittering frenzy?
Is it really a frenzy? I discovered it about 2-3 months ago. It’s really fun. I’m really enjoying it. I don’t try to overdo it, I check in a couple times a day. It’s a cool way to keep in touch with your fans.

You’re not a big fan of flying. How does touring in the UK go for you?
You know, I’ve gotten better. There was a period of time when I was really paralyzed by it, but I’ve gotten a lot better. I flew to Italy last year. Especially when there’s something really worthwhile on the other end and it’s worth the plane flight, I’m okay with it.

Your single “I Just Call You Mine” is the wedding song for the summer.
Well, I hope that it’s the wedding song of the summer! It’s just a love song. I don’t know that I’ve done a straight-up love song like this since “Valentine.” I’m excited about it, it’s beautiful.

Your YWCA fundraiser is this Saturday.
We’re doing the YWCA celebrity auction on Saturday. It’s our 13th year to do it and it just gets bigger and better every year. All the proceeds go to the domestic violence shelter here in Nashville. I’ve heard testimony after testimony that it’s really changed a lot of lives. It’s a place where women and children can go and get a fresh start and get the support that they need to start rebuilding their lives. So, I’m proud to help with that.

I heard you’re putting a tour together. Will it be more arena based?
Yup, we’re going to be going back to arenas. Last summer we did the amphitheaters outside. This fall of course we wouldn’t be outside in amphitheaters in November, so we’re going to be in arenas. I haven’t really started or seen any drawings yet or anything. The thing that is cool, is usually I put out an album and we go right out on tour. This time I do really feel like I have a lot of time to really plan and create a whole new show. We toured so extensively on Waking Up Laughing, even went back to markets a couple times. I really want to create something that’s a whole new experience for the fans.

You recently released the 2006 Martina McBride “Signature Series” wine. What made you take your passion for wine to the next level to have your own line?
It’s funny. We have Blackbird Studios and there’s a Blackbird Vineyard. So, when we were in Napa we stopped by and checked it out and met with the owner. And, really just sat down over a glass of wine and said, “We have the same name. It’s kind of a coincidence. If you ever want to do a signature wine, we’d love to do that.” About a year went buy and he called and said it was the right time to do that.

Can you explain your wine?
It’s really good! I’m not really a good wine speaker, but it’s a lot of fruit. It’s a Cab. It’s a blend of Cab and Merlot and some other kinds of wines. I love it because it has a little bit of chocolate. It’s just a little bit sweet, lots of jam and fruit. A fruit forward is how I think I’d say it.

You had the Jonas Brothers in the studio. Was that a business decision or were you trying to impress your children?
Well, we’re so happy that he came to record in the studio. Of course Delaney and Emma were very, very excited. John said right up front, “I want to tell you, we will try for our daughters not to stalk you while you’re here.” They were actually really good. They ran into each other, but Delaney was very poised. It was great to have him there.

How did you become collaborative with them?
Well, I got to sing with them when they were here in Nashville at the Ryman. They asked me to come sing with them onstage so I got to go to rehearsal, hang out a little bit. They’re really serious about their music, really sweet kids. Got to meet their parents. I wouldn’t say we hang out and are really close friends, but we have connected quite a few times.

How has music festival changed or evolved since you started?
Well, there is the obvious change that it’s not at the Fairgrounds anymore. Sometimes I miss that. There is a certain charm about it being at the Fairgrounds. It’s gotten bigger, we obviously can have more and more fans come every year. So that’s exciting, that we have more room for fans to enjoy what I will always call Fan Fair.

What is your advice to women accomplishing goals and overcoming obstacles?
Perseverance and support. If you can get support from your friends or from your family, that’s important.

You’ve been in the music industry for a while. What keeps you motivated?
I love it. This is my dream, ever since I was a little girl. For me, every minute that I get to do this is a dream come true.

When you’re writing your material, do you feel a song comes out better when it’s based on a real person or experience or fantasy?
I think it’s a little bit of both. I’ve done songs that are obviously about my life and I’ve done songs that are story songs about someone else. The most important thing is that you connect with the lyrics and it feels honest when you sing it.

Be sure to visit Martina’s Web site for upcoming tour dates and for more on YWCA, visit their site here.


CMA Music Festival Airs on ABC Tonight!

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

Tonight ABC will showcase highlights from the CMA Music Festival I attended and covered in June in Nashville. You can watch the special, “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” from 8:00 – 11:00 PM/ET with performances, interviews and fan interaction.

Sets include artists like Kenny Chesney, John Rich (photo above) Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum (below), Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Jake Owen (you can watch my interview with him here), Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band and many more. Additionally, get behind-the-scenes access to bands on their tour bus, meeting fans and shopping.

If you haven’t watched my video interviews from the CMA Music Festival with Holly Williams and David Nail, check them out on YouTube.

Features Festivals News

Martina McBride and Former Miss America Speak Out on Domestic Violence

For the thirteenth year, Martina McBride’s charity fundraiser in Nashville auctioned off thousands of dollars of celebrity memorabilia. Items like Darius Rucker’s autographed guitar sold for $775 while popular garments, such as Reba McEntire’s black sequined top went for much more. All the money raised was donated to support YWCA, an organization with the goal of eliminating racism and empowering women.

This year has seen the rise of relationship abuse portrayed by A-list stars in the media. Just take Chris Brown and Rihanna’s ongoing coverage and it’s clear that married women with families are not alone when it comes to abuse. YWCA’s mission is to support women and with popular artists like Martina McBride and former Miss America Ericka Dunlap providing needed awareness, much more can be accomplished to combat domestic violence. However, McBride and Dunlap aren’t the only ones who can help. “We can have it all if we work together. Girls are so competitive and catty and it’s not necessary to be mean girls,” said the former beauty queen.

More can be done. No woman is alone.

“If I had one message for women, it would be that we have the ability to reach out and help other women,” said Patricia Shea, President and CEO of YWCA. “When women help women, we change the world and we change the future. I want women to know that we are so powerful and we can change the world so we have to step up.”

Chart-topping and four-time winning CMA Vocalist of the Year, Martina McBride has a similar message. “It’s so important for women to support other women. It should be like a family. We should be out there routing for each other and helping each other out. This event goes to help women and children really start over and rebuild their lives in a positive way and I just think that that’s important,” McBride said.

Although new to the music business, aspiring country singer-songwriter Ericka Dunlap is familiar to the entertainment scene. Former Miss America 2004, Dunlap talked of how she first became involved with the YWCA. “I have become friends with some folks who are involved in the YWCA. I love the mission, it’s very clean and clear and it’s just so obvious that we all need to be a part of the issue of domestic violence and solving these problems,” Dunlap said.

While being an African-American country star may turn some heads, Dunlap had an important message for young women making their way in the world. “I think one of the most important things that young women can learn is to really pay attention to who you are. Find out who you are. Ask yourself some of the deeper questions about life that really are simple,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that people just don’t know about themselves and when you’re tested and when you’re tempted in certain situations, if you don’t know the little things about yourself, you’re not going to be able to handle the really big things that come along.”

She continued with a shoe analogy every girl can relate to. “Don’t ever devalue yourself. If you go into a shoe store, it’s great to get a pair of designer shoes on clearance, but you’re only going to get it somewhere else. You’re not going to get it from the designer for a discount because they always know the worth. So, make sure you know your worth and don’t discount yourself for anyone. Your parents, boyfriends, best friends.”

For more information on the YWCA be sure to visit them at or call their domestic violence 24-hour hotline at 1-800-334-4628.