What We're Listening To: Joe Nichols "Old Things New"

Today only, download Joe Nichols "Old Things New" for only $2.99. Nichols is back in a big way with his Number One Single "Gimme That Girl," and the other 11 songs on the album will not disappoint.

The title track "Old Things New" is reminiscent of the best country songs of days gone by, and the album ends with a terrific new version of "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off." At less than $3, the whole album costs less than a beer, and the album's enjoyment will last a whole lot longer.

Blake Shelton Pops The Question And Miranda Lambert Says "Yes"

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton are officially slated to be married after he popped the question over the weekend. The couple have dated for about five years.

Lambert is very excited about the engagement. She said: "He called my dad and got his blessing first. That was so Southern and old-school and perfect. I was so proud of him. We've been together five years, so he knew exactly what I wanted but it's [the ring] so much more perfect than I could have picked out myself."

The bride-to-be also said that 2010 would be a year to remember. She said: "Weddings are great and engagements are great and diamonds are especially great. But I'm just excited to be married because I want to tell Blake I really can love him the rest of my life and be happy and make him happy. CountryChart.com

2010 CMT Nominations Announced - Full List Of Country Music Award Nominees

Nominations for the 2010 CMT Awards have been announced. Fans can vote online at CMT.com through June 8 to choose who wins. The final nominees for Video of the Year will be announced at the start of the live show, and fans can then vote via text message and at CMT.com throughout the live broadcast (ET/CT only) to determine the night’s big winner.

Female Video of the Year
• Miranda Lambert – "White Liar"
• Reba McEntire – "Consider Me Gone"
• Taylor Swift – "You Belong With Me"
• Carrie Underwood – "Cowboy Casanova" 

Male Video of the Year
• Jason Aldean – "The Truth" • Billy Currington – "People Are Crazy"
• Toby Keith – "American Ride"
• Tim McGraw – "Southern Voice"
• Keith Urban – " 'Til Summer Comes Around"

Group Video of the Year
• Gloriana –"How Far Do You Wanna Go?"
• Lady Antebellum – "Need You Now"
• Rascal Flatts – "Here Comes Goodbye"
• Zac Brown Band – "Toes"

Duo Video of the Year
• Brooks & Dunn – "Indian Summer"
• Steel Magnolia – "Keep On Lovin' You"
• Sugarland – "Keep You"
• Sugarland – "Nightswimming/Joey"

USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year
• Luke Bryan – "Do I"
• Laura Bell Bundy – "Giddy On Up"
• Easton Corbin – "A Little More Country Than That"
• Steel Magnolia – "Keep On Lovin' You"

Collaborative Video of the Year
• Jason Aldean and Bryan Adams – "Heaven"
• Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews – "I'm Alive"
• Kellie Pickler featuring Taylor Swift – "Best Days of Your Life"
• Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins – "Hillbilly Bone"

CMT Performance of the Year
• Lady Antebellum – "Lookin' For A Good Time"
• Reba McEntire – "Consider Me Gone" • Tim McGraw – "Southern Voice"
• Brad Paisley – "Then"
• Carrie Underwood – "Temporary Home"

Video Director of the Year
• Deaton Flanigen (eligible videos include: Jason Aldean's "The Truth" and Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home")
• Chris Hicky (eligible videos include: Miranda Lambert's "White Liar" and Justin Moore's "Small Town USA")
• Shaun Silva (eligible videos include: Kenny Chesney's "Out Last Night" and Rascal Flatts's "Summer Nights")
• Roman White (eligible videos include: Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" and Kellie Pickler's "Best Days of Your Life")

Video of the Year
Final nominees to be announced during live telecast, with final voting held online at CMT.com during the show.
• Jason Aldean – "The Truth"
• Kenny Chesney – "Out Last Night"
• Toby Keith – "American Ride"
• Lady Antebellum – "Need You Now"
• Miranda Lambert – "White Liar"
• Brad Paisley – "Welcome to the Future"
• Taylor Swift – "You Belong With Me"
• Carrie Underwood – "Cowboy Casanova"
• Keith Urban – " 'Til Summer Comes Around"
• Zac Brown Band – "Toes"

Album Review: The Running Kind "The Girl For All The World"

If positive energy translated to cash, The Running Kind would have more money than Bill and Melinda Gates. With the alt country band's new album "The Girl For All The World," The Running Kind offers a comfortable, heart warming sound that fills the soul with joy. In short, it's a big success.
The album begins with the easy-going "Life To Go," which offers stellar vocals and a melodic beat. It's followed by the title track "The Girl For All The World." This Americana track is especially noteworthy because of the clever vocal performance of Leslie Bosson. She and her husband, Matt, formed the band.

However, the album picks up the beat with "Two Roads," which is a traditional country gem with infectious harmonies and interesting lyrics. The biggest surprise on the album is the honky-tonk cut "Seemed Like A Good Idea."

The Running Kind also have a chance for a Texas country chart hit with the album's final cut "Don't Cry No Tears." The song offers a unique blend of alt country and hard-edge Red Dirt that works on all levels. It should be released immediately to Texas country stations.

Other songs include the quiet "A Okay" and the bluegrass-infused "Don't That Make No Sense," "Old Girl," "I Still Love You (Like I Loved You Before)" and "Return Of The Grevous Angel." Many of the album's tracks could also find a home on Sirius-XM satellite radio, internet radio and specialized broadcast radio stations. Plain and simple, The Running Kind deserve media attention and radio airplay anywhere and everywhere.

"The Girl For All The World" is a fitting title, because The Running Kind's upbeat brand of alt country seems destined to find a willing audience in America, Europe and beyond. CountryChart.com

Single Review: Bruce Robison "Heartache To Houston"

A new Bruce Robison single always brings a smile to the face of radio program directors. The Bandera, Texas native has a reputation of solid country music standards. "Heartache To Houston" is no exception, and it's another winner for Bruce Robison.
"Heartache To Houston" starts out as a quiet love song and slowly builds to a comfortable beat that is well suited to Robison's reassuring country voice. The track was written by Robison, Miles Zuniga, and Gary Massey. Zuniga also produced the cut.

As always, the vocals are impeccable, and the instrumentation is top notch. At its root, the song is a beautiful goodbye message to the woman he loves, and the fine lyrics deserve special attention. However, Bruce Robison's vocal interpretation elevates the song to an even higher level. He is a storyteller, and we're his anxious students. But we already know that because of songs like "Travelin' Soldier."

"Heartache To Houston" belongs on the country music playlists of mainstream and Texas country radio stations. The only problem is that it's hard to get upset about heartbreak when it sounds this darn good. CountryChart.com

Album Review: Dierks Bentley "Up On The Ridge"

Country music fans have reason to celebrate. Dierks Bentley is back with a unique bluegrass and roots music album titled "Up On The Ridge." This concept album is a major departure for the country music superstar who routinely sells out arenas all over the USA. But fans cannot help but reward Bentley for staying true to his artistic vision and creating a country music masterpiece.
"Up On The Ridge" begins with the title track that is already blazing a trail up the country music charts. It has a rugged country sound and a powerful musical beat. The melody is reminiscent of the best music of Josh Turner. It's followed by the alt country love song "Fallin' For You." Bentley's hard vocals combined with the biting lyrics make the song sizzle.

"Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" finds Dierks Bentley in more familiar territory. This track (featuring Chris Thile) is a musical gem that hits on all cylinders. But the pace really picks up with "Rovin' Gambler," which is bluegrass through and through. Dierks Bentley is doing his fans a favor by introducing traditional bluegrass music to a new audience.

"Draw Me A Map" has definite country chart potential. It has a consistently solid melody and memorable lyrics. Radio might also embrace "Bad Angel" featuring Miranda Lambert. Every country bar in the nation should be wearing this cut out faster than new boots at the rodeo. However, the best song on the album is the Red Dirt country track "Love Grows Wild." Dierks Bentley hits the ball out of the park with an understated cut that deserves to be Number One on the country charts.

"Fiddlin' Around" also has a winning sound that mixes country and bluegrass. The gospel-tinged "You're Dead To Me" has biting lyrics, and could become a fan favorite. But the most interesting song on the album is the last cut "Down In The Mine." Dierks Bentley has crafted a track that can be only be described as a mixture of the best elements of Chris Knight and George Strait. That's a big compliment, and Bentley sings the lyrics with a quiet intensity that is palpable.

"Bottle To The Bottom" featuring Kris Kristofferson adds an outlaw country element to an already fine album. Both Kristofferson and Bentley have fun with an infectiously toe-tapping track. However, the biggest surprise is the U2 cover "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" Surprisingly, it works.

Taking chances on a concept album is risky in the music business, but Dierks Bentley has dotted every "i" and crossed every "t." In fact, "Up On The Ridge" might be Dierks Bentley's best complete album to date. And with a back catalog as strong as his, that's saying something. So if music up on the ridge is this good, then it's about to get a little crowded up there for Dierks Bentley. CountryChart.com

Album Review: John Hartford Stringband "Memories Of John"

John Hartford was known worldwide as a master of the fiddle and banjo. Even though he passed in 2001, his music lives on through the five musicians who appeared on his last several albums on Rounder Records. And 10 years after his death, "Memories Of John" is a fitting tribute to one of the most talented musicians ever to grace a bluegrass festival stage.
The album features Chris Sharp (guitar), Bob Carlin (banjo), Matt Combs (fiddle), Mark Compton (mandolin) and Mark  Schatz (bass). It begins with the upbeat "Three Forks of Sandy" which brings back great memories of John Hartford. It's followed by a truly brilliant performance of  "M.I.S.I.P."

The laid back melodic gem "Love Grown Cold" is a winner, but the album really sizzles with "Madison, Tennessee," but the best track on the album is "Half Past Four." This cut is bluegrass perfection that has a musical relevancy and urgency that is not often seen on tribute albums of this kind.

Special guests on the album include Bela Fleck, Alison Brown, Tim O'Brien, Alan O'Bryant and Eileen Carson Schatz.  But the biggest surprise is that John Hartford himself also appears on banjo, guitar and vocals.

The traditional "Delta Queen Waltz" offers a passionate vocal interpretation by Alan O'Bryant. However, the most unique track on the album is "For John," which is a riveting poem honoring John Hartford. Mark Schatz's vocal and syncopated feet provide a moving tribute. It's followed by "Homer The Roamer," which may be the most pleasurable cut on the entire album and is a fitting bookend to the unique poem in song "For John."

The bluesy fun of "Bring Your Clothes Back Home" is infectious, and "Lorena" shows why Tim O'Brien is a widely sought after vocalist. George Buckner also deserves special praise for his 3 finger skills on the track. Next, the lyrics of "You Don't Notice Me Ignoring You" could penetrate even the hardest of hearts. And, finally, the album ends on a high note with John Hartford himself on "Fade Out." It is a reflective and memorable performance.

The album also features the rowdy bar song "She's Gone (And Bob's Gone With Her)," the traditional country "The Girl I Left Behind Me" and "Royal Box Waltz." Of all the songs on the album, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" has the best chance to become a radio chart hit. With Chris Sharps' vocals, Bela Fleck's 3 finger and the Stringband's instrumentation, the track hits on all cylinders and offers a memorable melody.

John Hartford is now in the clouds, but his spirit can rest easy. His friends have honored his memory in the best possible way. They have created a remarkable album that breaks new ground while exploring the music of a legend. Indeed, a new generation of music buyers will now be wanting to seek out the music of John Hartford. "Memories Of John" will also allow John Hartford's fans to reflect on his rich musical heritage. Thank you, John. CountryChart.com

Album Review: Gary P. Nunn "Taking Texas To The Country"

Finding an album that a grandson, father and grandfather can enjoy together on a hunting or fishing trip is almost impossible. However, Gary P. Nunn has done it. He's crafted a near perfect Texas country album with "Taking Texas To The Country." It offers a cool Texas country vibe mixed with traditional country sensibilities.
The album begins with the melodic "Deja Vu" which allows listeners to step back in time and think of simpler days. It's followed by the Texas country track "The Girl Just Loves To Dance," which deserves to be at the top of the country charts. Gary P. Nunn's vocals have never sounded better.

The honky-tonk track "A Two-Step Away" proves that Nunn knows where his bread is buttered. Country bar patrons will slurp up this track faster than Corona on a Saturday night. The love song "Denver" shows the singer's more sensitive side, and the cut builds to a rousing chorus. "It's Not Love" is a more upbeat country love song with a funky beat.

Gary P. Nunn really shines with classic country songs like "The Likes Of Me" and "One State Of Mind."  However, the biggest surprise on the album is the title track "Taking Texas To The County." This is a robust, full flavored country hit that will have you dancing between the tables. It is destined to be a crowd favorite and deserves to be a Number One Country Chart hit. The album ends on a high note with the reflective "The Rest Of My Life."

Other songs on the album include the high energy "Down To Louisiana," the beautiful "Mexican Boulevard," the classic country "I'm Not That Kind Of Guy" and the cowboy song "Lonesome Lone Star Blues."

Gary P. Nunn should receive high praise and thanks for creating 13 diverse songs that stir the soul. He's definitely taken Texas down a country path. All artists should try to emulate his fine example, and every country fan should download or buy this new country classic. CountryChart.com

Album Review: Stone River Boys "Love On The Dial"

Uniquely wonderful lyrics and a funky, alt-country sensibility await listeners of the Stone River Boys debut album "Love On The Dial." Indeed, the Austin, Texas band pushes the envelope and will be warmly embraced by country music aficionados as well as fans of the members' previous bands, which include the Hacienda Brothers (guitarist Dave Gonzalez), the Hollsiters (vocalist Mike Barfield) and the Paladins (Gonzalez).
The album (clocking in at about 53 minutes) begins with the rockin' "Bluebonnet Blues." The Stone River Boys label the band's music as "country funk," and the moniker really fits. The vocals have a rockabilly spirit that permeates through the entirety of the album. It's followed by the easy going "Can I Change My Mind" and the bluesy "The Struggle."

However, the album hits its stride with the classic country track "40 Acres." The vocals are pitch perfect, and the instrumentation is country music gold. "Still Feel The Feelin'" is another cut that offers passionate intensity and terrific vocals.

The country bar crowd will appreciate the honky tonk track "Special." And lovers of classic funk will be pleasantly surprised at "Boomerang" which illustrates the full range of the Stone River Boys talent.

However, the best song on the album is a more subdued affair - the alt-country love song "Martha." Radio program directors should take notice of the truly engaging lyrics and melodic chorus. Other tracks include the outlaw country cut "Think I'm Gonna Make It," the toe-tapping "Lover's Prison," the retro cool "Love On The Dial," "Take A Giant Step," the Johnny Cash-esque "Love's Gonna Make It" and the high energy "Steel City."

"Love On The Dial" takes listeners on a wild musical journey which constantly shows sparks of brilliance that highlight the Stone River Boys varied career in the music industry. In short, this is not your average debut album. In fact, the fourteen songs prove that the Stone River Boys will have to continue to love being on the radio dial for a long, long time to come. CountryChart.com

Album Review: The Chapmans "Grown Up - A Revisionist History"

Bluegrass fans can celebrate the tight vocal harmonies of The Chapmans on the band's new album "Grown Up - A Revisionist History." Brothers John, Jeremy and Jason have teamed up with their dad, Bill, to create a gospel-tinged bluegrass treasure that deserves to be revisited over and over again.
The album begins with the acapella "Why Did You Lie" with a sound rivaling any quartet in southern gospel music. It's followed by the bluegrass ballad "She's The One" with lyrics as sweet as grandma's peach pie. "Jenny Dear" and "Bubble Gum Baby" share many of the same positive qualities.

The album picks up the pace with the toe-tapping "Love's Gonna Live Here" with special guest Rhonda Vincent. "She's Never Coming Back" is another hand clapper that works on all levels. However, nothing on the album compares to the wonderfully fast-paced instrumentals of "El Cumbanchero." It will get the blood flowing.

The Chapmans hail from Colorado but now call Springfield, Missouri home. While the band members are relatively youthful compared to their contemporaries, they have been a fixture at bluegrass festivals for over 20 years.

The biggest surprise is the album's final track "I Wanna Be Loved Like That." This cut deserves to be a hit country chart single and proves that The Chapmans could have a major mainstream country radio career. The lyrics are sung with passionate intensity and the instrumentation pierces the soul. The fine lyrics of "Small Exception Of Me" also deserve special attention as well as the rockin' band performance on "Rolling Away On A Big Stern Wheeler."

Other songs on the album include "Please Momma Please," "River Of Sorrow" and the beautiful acapella cut "Bring It On Home To Me."

It takes bands a long time to find the perfect blend, and The Chapmans have more than done it with "Grown Up - A Revisionist History." While the album clocks in at only 44 minutes, the band will have you jumping with joy one minute and longing for a lost love the next. However, the album is well-produced, and listeners are taken on a cohesive musical journey.

Indeed, The Chapmans are definitely "grown up," and they have succeeded beyond all expectations with "Grown Up - A Revisionist History." This magnificent recording belongs in the collection of any true fan of bluegrass or country music. CountryChart.com

Coming Out: Country Singer Chely Wright Tells People Magazine She's Gay

Chely Wright is one busy lady. Not only does she have a new album and a new book coming out this week, she is set to come out as gay in next week's People Magazine (according to TMZ). The 39-year old will release "Lifted Off The Ground" this week along with her new book "Like Me." Amazon.com is offering a special CD/DVD exclusive version of the album, and Wright's book will set the record straight on her life as a musician and a gay woman. 
Chely Wright was born born October 25, 1970 in Kansas City, Missouri. She is best known for her Number One country chart hit "Single White Female." In the interview with People Magazine, Wright is expected to detail her hidden lesbian life. Her new book "Like Me: Confessions Of A Heartland Country Singer" will discuss the struggles faced by a closeted country music singer.

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