Review: Shelly Rann "Afterwords"

Life isn't fair. That's what competing female country singers must think when they see and hear Shelly Rann perform for the first time. The talented singer-songwriter has a pure country voice that other singers can only dream about, and she puts her talent on full display with the new album "Afterwords."
The first cut "Lotta Love" is both sultry and smooth and showcases Rann's amazing voice. However, the title track "Afterwords" is even better, and the ballad is a beautiful representation of contemporary country music that can be enjoyed by hardcore country fans and mainstream audiences as well.

The upbeat "I'm All Over That" may be Rann's best chance for country radio chart hit, and the melodic chorus is both memorable and hummable. By far the best song on the album is the pleading "Unloved," which offers an authentic vocal performance by Shelly Rann and is later revisited at the end of the album.

The traditional country track "Like There's No Yesterday" is no doubt a popular live concert favorite, but it is the soulful "Somebody Else's Business" which is the album's biggest surprise and shows the artist's playful side. This barn burner is a smile-inducing charmer.

The 12 tracks that make up "Afterwords" show an artist that has the talent to make it to the top of the country music business. The key to success for Shelly Rann is finding the perfect song that will take her to the top, and the evidence presented here suggests that this is one artist who just might do it.

Live blogging the Academy Of Country Music Award

It's time again for the Academy Of Country Music Awards, and Country Chart Magazine will be live blogging throughout the night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on
7:05 pm (Central Standard Time): Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton are doing an able job calling out to fine folks like Kelly Clarkson, the Duck Dynasty cast and Carrie Underwood.

7:09 pm: Kenny Chesney has a wild flag-waving performance of "Pirate Flag." Chesney doesn't have his typical awards "look." He's dressed in a well-worn wife-beater with jeans and a casual cowboy hat.

7:18 pm: Back at the Orleans Arena with the Band Jam. The celebration starts of with ACM Legend Brad Paisley along with Dierks Bentley and Hunter Hayes. Paisley's album "Wheelhouse" drops this week.
7:21 pm: Capable performance by Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley. Hunter Hayes guitar work is equally impressive. It really is a jammin' performance.

7:24 pm: The Eli Young Band introduce the great Texas and country music legend George Strait. The country crooner's voice is in fine form on "Give It All We Got Tonight." He sings: "Drink up," and I think I will. Great song from a classy guy.

7:34 pm: Wow. Eric Church is sounding great. His new live album drops Tuesday.

7:37 pm: Florida Georgia Line takes the stage with their hit "Cruise." Really makes you want to go outside and take a drive in a convertible.

7:43 pm: Lady Antebellum - nominee for Vocal Group Of The Year take the stage with a Rainbow Brite.

7:47 pm: Vocal Duo Of The Year is a tough category this year. With nominees Big & Rich, Florida Georgia Line, Love and Theft, Sugarland and Thompson Square, it was a surprise that Thompson Square won. This should boost their image with the new album out this week.

7:50 pm: New Artist nominee Jana Kramer's fiance Brantley Gilbert gets some ACM love. Great performance.

7:58 pm: Luke Bryan says the best country singers come from Oklahoma while introducing Carrie Underwood. She takes the stage with a black Cadillac.

8:02 pm: Album Of The Year is presented by Miranda Lambert and John Fogerty. Eric Church wins and can't believe he just met John Fogerty. Church wants to hang out later with Fogerty and confesses that he has a kid at home that is probably raising hell.

8:05 pm: Blake Shelton gives a very good performance of "Sure Be Cool If You Did." It is an assured performance in the middle of the crowd.

8:10 pm: The Band Perry is introduced by Blake Shelton. It is a big week for the group and predicts a #2 Billboard Chart entry for the country threesome with sales of probably more than 100,000.

8:12 pm: The rollicking performance from The Band Perry may help drive more sales for the second sales week of its new album "Pioneer."

8:13 pm: The beautiful Jana Kramer seems somewhat nervous, but her voice is in good form. Kramer's fiance Brantley Gilbert performed earlier.

8:19 pm: Who will win New Artist Of The Year??? Award up next.

8:21 pm: Last year's New Artist Of The Year Scotty McCreery presents New Artist Award from Kohl's to Florida Georgia Line.

8:22 pm: Florida Georgia line thanks the Lord, fans, country radio, Republic Nashville, Big Loud Shirt and their team for the New Artist Of The Year Award.

8:24 pm: Jason Aldean sings "1994." Blake Shelton jokes that Hunter Hayes was still breast feeding in 1994. Great painting of Joe Diffie in the background of Jason Aldean's performance.

8:27 pm: Jake Owen and Kaley Cuoco present Vocal Group of the Year to Little Big Town. "Pontoon" really is a party making song. There will be some partying tonight by Little Big Town. Major comeback.

8:33 pm: CBS previews Jeff Foxworthy on the new show "American Baking Competition. Looks pretty good - they did something similar in the UK.

8:35 pm: Miranda gives a startlingly brilliant performance. She makes a big stage seem like an intimate venue.

8:37 pm: Kacey Musgraves and Sheryl Crow present Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert the ACM for Song Of The Year - "Over You."

8:39 pm: They keep asking who will be the Entertainer of the Year. Will it be: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton or Taylor Swift. Miranda and Blake may cancel each other out, so the smart money might be on Taylor Swift who has a young female audience that might be power voting tonight.

8:45 pm: We're back at the #ACMs in Las Vegas with Little Big Town - the country music biggest comeback of the 2010s.

8:48 pm: Great vertical bedroom gymnastics on #ACMs Little Big Town performance "Your Side Of The Bed."

8:51 pm: A mustached Chris Young and entertainment correspondent Nancy O'Dell present Miranda Lambert with Single Record of the Year for "Over You."

8:58 pm: Blake Shelton says Tim McGraw has one of the best bodies in country music, but Luke Bryan said that the best body is Faith Hill.

 8:58 pm: Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift perform with Keith Urban on guitar on the ACMs. Faith Hill introduces her husband.

9:02 pm: Could Brantley Gilbert & Jana Kramer (both nominees for New Artist) be the next Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert? It certainly seems like it could happen. Jana Kramer had an interesting cameo on Bravo's "Tabatha Takes Over" involving an African American salon in East Nashville, Tennessee. She is slowly raising her profile, and Brantley Gilbert's creative prowess is at its best.

9:03 pm: LL Cool J tells about Brad Paisley's tour of the Ryman. LL Cool J introduces Brad Paisley with special guest John Mayer.

9:06 pm: Brad Paisley welcomes several stars on his new album "Wheelhouse." LL Cool J also does a guest spot. The performance by Mayer and Paisley is a subdued affair, but the musicality and instrumentation is stellar as usual.

9:09 pm: Blake Shelton says eye protection needed for the ultra white  teeth of Luke Bryan singing "Crash My Party." This is the new single from his remarkably accomplished new album.

9:20 pm: Trisha Yearwood introduces Kelly Clarkson at the ACMs. Kelly, engaged to Reba McEntire's step-son Brandon Blackstock, looks happy and sounds great.

9:25 pm: CBS Vegas star Michael Chiklis thanks nations' military. He says Las Vegas went country this week with Party For a Cause. Country Chart Magazine can confirm that it was a great week.

9:26 pm: Jewel performs a mix of songs, including her hit "Hands" for an effort to fight child hunger. Jewel is amazing live, and this performance is no exception.

9:30 pm: Duck Dynasty stars take the stage to award Male Vocalist of the Year to Jason Aldean. Big surprise as Blake Shelton or Eric Church were expected by many to win. Aldean's image has been fully rehabilitated with this award.

9:35 pm: Country queen Reba McEntire gets a rousing and sincere standing ovation. She gives tribute to Dick Clark by renaming the Artist of the Decade Award - the Dick Clark ACM Artist of the Decade Award. Former Artist of the Decade winners Garth Brooks. Brooks sings his hit "The Dance." George Strait and Garth Brooks duet in an incredibly powerful performance with pictures of Dick Clark flashing in the background.

9:36 pm: Hunter Hayes performs with Dick Clark friend Stevie Wonder - up next on the ACMs.

9:43 pm: Miranda Lambert is having a HUGE night. She won Female Vocalist of the Year, even though she said she thought Carrie Underwood deserved it. Miranda Lambert gives a moving speech that says she went from a girl singing with a hairbrush to a star singing with Kelly Clarkson and other country stars.

9:51 pm: Stevie Wonder hits the stage - looking fit and healthy - and sounding great. Hunter Hayes seems to be having a blast.This prime performance spot should help Hunter Hayes' name recognition within the country community. "Wanted" is a huge hit, but some stars never come back with equally successful music after mega-blockbuster tracks.

9:55 pm: Shania Twain is back on the ACMs for the first time in 10 years to present the Entertainer of the Year.

9:58 pm: Luke Bryan wins Entertainer of the Year. Major surprise - but it's a good one! Luke is breaking down a little bit and he seems like he is having trouble comprehending it. Luke Bryan says every time he steps on stage it is a blessing. He thanks country radio and says this award is the defining moment of his life.

10:00 pm: Stevie Wonder closes the show with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." Great performance with help from Blake Shelton and new Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan.

10:02 pm: Great ACM Awards show with touching speeches by Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan. Those were the two big moments. Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan were great hosts.

10:02 pm: Thanks for reading the live blog from the ACM Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

This Week's New Country Music Albums

New this week are releases from Steve Owen with "Stand Up Eight" and "Nobody Loves You When You're Down" from Owen Mays & The 80 Proof Boys.  The Charlie Daniels Band is back with "Hits Of The South" and "Where Do You Want It?" from The Beaumonts.

Emily Grace Berry has released "Canyon Music" and Royal Wade Kimes has a new offering titled "Proud Land" Rounding out the new music this week are imports from Johnny Cash with "Greatest Songs" and Brenda Lee with "All The Way."

Stand Up Eight by Steve Owen (2013)

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Nobody Loves You When You're Down by Owen Mays & The 80 Proof Boys (2013)

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Hits of the South by The Charlie Daniels Band (2013)

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Proud Land by Royal Wade Kimes 

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Greatest Songs by Johnny Cash - Import

Single Review: Blake Shelton "Sure Be Cool If You Did"

The talented Blake Shelton, otherwise known as Mr. Miranda Lambert, has released the debut single from his seventh studio album (excluding EP and Christmas albums). And, yes, our friend Blake Shelton has hit another grand slam with "Sure Be Cool If You Did," which is about as close as you can get to a sure thing for a Country Chart Number One.

Blake Shelton has a golden touch on country radio, and the song "Sure Be Cool If You Did" was cowritten by The Voice Season 2 alumni Nicolle Galyon. She also wrote two songs for new country artist and American Idol alum Lauren Alaina as well as the well-received cut "Boyfriend" from fellow Voice alum Raelynn. Galyon's other collaborators on "Sure Be Cool If You Did" are Jimmy Robbins and Chris Tompkins.

The new single has a fresh country vibe that fully showcases Shelton's confident vocal performance, and this is one country pop ballad that might find mainstream radio acceptance following the country star's second year as the winning coach on the hit NBC show The Voice. Indeed it may follow a similar chart trajectory as Scotty McCreery's hit country single "The Trouble With Girls," which was also co-written by Chris Tompkins.

Win 14 Prizes in the Rebecca Linda Smith Christmas Sweepstakes Giveaway

For seven days, Country Chart Magazine and Renewed Records are offering you the chance to win 14 prizes in the Rebecca Linda Smith Christmas sweepstakes giveaway. As an award-winning vocalist, Rebecca Linda Smith's music has touched people around the world. Her unique inspirational country music will warm your heart.

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