Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Steve Martin & Band Lands Gig at the White House, 4th of July

According to the AP the comedian turned musician will play a show with his band in Washington D.C. for the 4th of July concert “A Capitol Fourth” on the White House’s west lawn. During the event, Martin and his group will play a new song titled “Me & Paul Revere,” which talks about Revere's infamous ride during the battle of Lexington and Concord from his horse's perspective.

Broadway star Kelli O’Hara, Josh Groban, Little Richard, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and Glee star Mathew Morrison will also be performing at the 4th of July event. Jimmy Smits hosts the concert, which will be broadcast on PBS.

Steve Martin is a comedian unlike any other in his generation. Martin was famous for his roles on SNL, his performance in The Step Father, and his character Navin R. Johnson from The Jerk. Not only has he made people laugh for 4 decades, but he is still performing live for thousands a year. Steve Martin plays banjo with The Steep Canyon Rangers. Martin’s band performs Bluegrass music, and like his comedy acts, the music is flawless.

Martin was born in Waco, Texas, and raised in Southern California, where his early influences were working at Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm and working magic and comedy acts at these and other smaller venues in the area. His ascent to fame picked up when he became a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later became a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. In the 1970s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. Since the 1980s, having branched away from stand-up comedy, he has become a successful actor, playwright, pianist, banjo player, and juggler, eventually earning Emmy, Grammy, and American Comedy awards.

Awards and honors
    1969 Emmy Award - The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
    1978 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album - Let's Get Small
    1979 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album - A Wild and Crazy Guy.
    1989 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Cal State Long Beach
    2001 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance - banjo
    2005 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
    2005 Disney Legend award
    2007 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors
    2009 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for his album "The Crow"


Monday, May 23, 2011

Nashville Ramps up for star-studded Fan Fest.

CMA Music Festival is the ultimate destination for Country Music fans from around the globe, featuring non-stop concerts, autograph signings, celebrity events, and more. In 2011, Nashville’s signature music event will celebrate 40 years of providing unique artist/fan interactions since starting as Fan Fair in 1972. Plans are underway for surprises and special events to commemorate the occasion.

The reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert, Male Vocalist of the Year Blake Shelton, and Vocal Group of the Year Lady Antebellum join Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band, Sara Evans, Little Big Town, Josh Turner, Easton Corbin,the JaneDear girls, Ashton Shepherd, and Chris Young and Keith Urban scheduled to performers during the Nightly Concerts at LP Field during CMA Music Festival. This will be Sheryl’s first performance at CMA Music Festival.

Photo by Raymond L. Tharaldson
All rights reserved 2000

“This is an excellent collection of superstar artists to launch 2011 CMA Music Festival, continuing the legacy started 40 years ago by artists such as Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette at the first Fan Fair,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

 Photo by Raymond L. Tharaldson
All rights reserved 2000

The artists announced thus far for CMA Music Festival have won a total of 52 CMA Awards and earned 240 CMA Award nominations."This is the first time that our Nightly Concerts lineup at LP Field includes the current Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist, Vocal Group, and New Artist of the Year, as well as a new inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. We are excited to present the fans with the opportunity to enjoy this outstanding group of performers."

According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, direct visitor spending generated by the Festival totaled more than $23 million. CMA Music Festival is a four-time winner of the International Entertainment Buyers Association’s LIVE! Award for Festival of the Year (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010)CMA

“We are excited to celebrate 40 years of CMA Music Festival and Fan Fair in 2011, and look forward to the fans joining us for all the fun,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chairman of the Board. “We were fortunate that CMA Music Festival sold out completely in 2010 for the first time. The event drew a record-setting 65,000 fans from all 50 states and 26 nations. Due to this strong demand, we suggest that fans buy their tickets now rather than waiting until it is too late.”

The legendary four-day event takes place Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12, in downtown Nashville.  Four-day ticket packages go on sale today, Monday, Aug. 23 at 10:00 AM/CDT. Fans can purchase their tickets through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com or 1-(800)-745-3000. They can also purchase them through CMAfest.com or 1-(800)-CMA-FEST. Ticket prices are based on the level of seating at LP Field for the Nightly Concerts, and range from $115 to $325 plus handling fees. Since the 2010 CMA Music Festival sold out in advance, fans should order their tickets for next year now in order to reserve their place at what USA Today named “the crown jewel of Country Music festivals.”

CMA Music Festival celebrates the unique relationship between Country Music artists and their fans in the heart of Music City USA. The artists participate for free, and on their behalf, CMA donates half the net proceeds of the Festival to support music education in Metro Nashville Public Schools through the Keep the Music Playing program. To date, more than $4.7 million has been donated to purchase musical instruments and supplies. The total also includes an annual endowment gift for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Words & Music program.

Artists currently scheduled to appear at LP Field:

Thursday, June 9:
Jason Aldean (with a special guest performance from Kelly Clarkson), Easton Corbin, Sara Evans, Brad Paisley, and Zac Brown Band (with special guest performance from Alan Jackson).

Friday, June 10
CMA Award-winner and multi-Platinum-selling artist Dierks Bentley will perform at 2011 CMA Music Festival as part of the Nightly Concerts at LP Field.

“Dierks has been highly requested by our fans, and we are excited to welcome him back to CMA Music Festival this year,” said Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

Music Festival will once again be filmed for a national television special to air on the ABC Television Network late this summer. This is the eighth consecutive year that the event has been filmed for a network television special, a feat no other music festival has achieved. CBS aired the first CMA Music Festival special in 2004, with ABC airing it from 2005 onward. “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock” will be executive-produced by Robert Deaton.

 Fans can stay in the loop by visiting the official website of the CMA Music Festival


Monday, May 23, 2011

Three Oklahomans inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame

Nashville: Three Oklahomans to be inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame. Reba McEntire was inducted into in the “Modern Era Artist” category. Grand Ole Opry legend Jean Shepard was inducted in the “Veterans Era Artist” category and songwriter Bobby Braddock ('He Stopped Loving Her Today,') was inducted into the new "Songwriter category.

Reba McEntire took a moment to give special thanks to fellow inductee Jean Shepard after being inducted by Dolly Parton.

“Thank you for coming before me and paving the way for girl singers, I couldn’t have done it 
without you and I’m honored beyond words to be inducted with you.” 

Those two pioneering women and Bobby Braddock, an iconic songwriter whose inclusion begins to right a wrong, were welcomed in a star-studded and humor-filled ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Parton surprised McEntire with her appearance and celebrated the redheaded spitfire who has had more than 50 top 10 hits and more No. 1 albums than any other female country artist.

"Reba and I kind of feel like sisters," Parton said. "We both through the years have had enough hair to stuff a mattress."

The 56-year-old McEntire has been a consistent force in Nashville for three decades and remains one of country music's most recognized and beloved stars. She's been name-checked as an influence in both music and business by virtually every young female country singer of note.

She started charting songs in 1976 and rode a string of No. 1 hits to a Country Music Association entertainer of the year award in 1986 and remains a presence at the top of the charts and on every nominations list. She also succeeded on television, where her self-titled sitcom still runs daily in syndication, on Broadway and is the face of several product lines.

She was celebrated by fellow Oklahomans Garth Brooks, who sang her Grammy-winning "Whoever's in New England," and Vince Gill, who sang "Somebody Should Leave." And Martina McBride and Kelly Clarkson performed "Does He Love You?" together in one of the evening's more powerful performances.
            Photo by Raymond L Tharaldson all rights reserved

McEntire, whose induction has been colored by her father Clark's recent illness, choked up briefly talking about the championship rodeo rider. She said she once asked him what was more fun, the winning or the journey to get there. He told her it was the journey, of course. "I agree with dad 100 percent," she said.

Without Shepard, the path McEntire and today's legion of hit-making women would have had it much tougher. Shepard broke into country music's male-dominated world in the 1950s by kicking down the door with an outsized personality and voice to match.

Of women in country music at the time, the 77-year-old Shepard said: "There wasn't none of us. I was happy to do my part. I hung in there like a hair on a grilled cheese."

Shepard, one of 10 children born to a poor sharecropping family in Oklahoma that eventually moved to California, sang from the female point of view. Her honkytonk style and plain-spoken approach won her fans "ignored in Washington and dismissed by Madison Avenue," said hall of fame director Kyle Young, who served as the evening's host.

"Together Jean and her fans were myth busters who effectively created the climate change that parted the clouds for Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette in the next decade and beyond," Young added.

Reba McEntire's country music career began with her first chart hit, 'I Don't Want to Be a One Night Stand,' in 1976. She earned her first Top 10 hit four years later and her first No. 1, 'Can't Even Get the Blues,' two years later. Since that time she has sold more than 56 million records worldwide, branching out into feature films and her own successful TV sitcom. Today, Reba ranks among the most influential artists on the crop of younger female artists in country music.

Jean Shepard was discovered by country legend Hank Thompson at 14, singing and playing bass in an all-girl band. Signed to Capitol Records in 1952 and scored her first hit, a duet with Ferlin Husky called 'A Dear John Letter,' in 1953. A string of honky-tonk-flavored-tunes followed, including 'Second Fiddle to a Old Guitar,' 'Don't Fall in Love With a Married Man' and 'The Root of All Evil (Is a Man).' In 1955, she joined the Grand Ole Opry and continues to perform there to this day.

Bobby Braddock, who becomes the first inductee in the newly-created "Songwriter" category, was 24 when he relocated from his native Florida to Nashville. He became the piano player for country star Marty Robbins, who had a hit with a song Bobby wrote, called 'While You're Dancing.' In 1968, Tammy Wynette recorded one of his compositions, and one of her biggest hits, 'D-I-V-O-R-C-E.'

Other artists who have recorded his songs include Tanya Tucker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mark Chesnutt and Tracy Lawrence.

Photo by Raymond L Tharaldson all rights reserved    
              Photo by Raymond L Tharaldson all rights reserved  

His 1980 tune, 'He Stopped Loving Her Today,' considered by many (including participants in a BBC/Country America magazine poll, to be the greatest country song of all time, was a comeback hit for George Jones and the CMA Song of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Bobby has also played an important role in the success of Blake Shelton, producing or co-producing the singer's first five albums. 
   Photo by Raymond L Tharaldson   all rights reserved    

 Our thoughts and prayers out to Reba and her family, along with our congratulations to 
Reba, Jean and Bobby for a well deserved honor.