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Billy Currington has come a long way from working construction and living in a tiny attic apartment during his early days in Nashville. In the decade since he made his debut with the top ten hit “Walk a Little Straighter,” the Georgia native has parlayed his rich, emotion-laden tenor and unerring song sense into some of the country format’s most memorable hits, including such No. 1s as “Good Directions,” “Must Be Doin’ Something Right” and “People Are Crazy.”
Currington’s songs have always been snapshots of life. His music is steeped in truth and possesses a relatability that makes his audience feel like they could drink a beer or catch a few fish with the curly-haired country boy. Currington has that heartfelt everyman quality that lends emotional weight to whatever he’s singing whether it’s a tender ballad or a rollicking party anthem. He demonstrates his ability to render both those scenarios and all points between on his fifth studio album We Are Tonight.
Led by the fast-climbing single “Hey Girl,” We Are Tonight is filled with songs that evoke both wistful reflection and boisterous revelry with equal conviction. Throughout the collection, Currington exudes the easy going charm that has become his trademark yet also possesses a maturity and confidence that comes from a decade of churning out hits and earning accolades. He won the “Hottest Video of the Year” honor at the fan-voted CMT Music Awards for “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” in 2006, the same year he received an ACM nod for Top New Male Vocalist. His hit duet with Shania Twain, “Party For Two,” earned nominations from both the CMA and ACM, and “People Are Crazy” proved to be a career-defining hit that earned Grammy nominations for Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song in addition to being nominated for Single and Song of the Year from the Academy of Country Music, as well as Single, Song and Video of the Year from the Country Music Association.
Billy’s album #WeAreTonight is available on iTunes now!
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Innsbrook Welcomes Alison Krauss
Alison Krauss’ new album Windy City is her first effort away from her band Union Station since Raising Sand and her debut for Capitol Records. The album features Alison performing 10 classic songs that she carefully selected with producer Buddy Cannon.
Following Raising Sand, her platinum 2007 album with Robert Plant that won six GRAMMY Awards including Album of the Year, and 2011’s Paper Airplane with her longtime collaborators Union Station, which won the GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album and topped Billboard’s Folk, Country and Bluegrass charts, Alison began to feel the tug of inspiration.
“Usually it’s just all songs first,” she says. “It was the first time I’d ever not had songs picked out, and it was just about a person.” That person was veteran Nashville producer Buddy Cannon. Alison had always enjoyed the occasional recording sessions she did for Buddy. But something else happened when she came in to sing her lead lines on Hank Cochran’s “Make The World Go Away” for Jamey Johnson’s 2012 album Living For A Song. “That was absolutely the moment,” she says. “Wow! Buddy really makes me want to do a good job.”
Buddy has used his playing, songwriting and production skills to bring out the best in a wide variety of artists since the early 70’s. He has written award-winning and chart-topping songs for artists such as Vern Gosdin, Mel Tillis, George Strait, Glen Campbell, George Jones and Don Williams. He has also won the ACM’s “Producer Of The Year” award and produced albums for Willie Nelson, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Alabama, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Chesney, and even Merle Haggard’s final solo album.
At the beginning Alison thought the songs chosen should be older than herself. “I wanted it to be earlier than I remembered,” she explains. And although the two of them subsequently decided to relax those boundaries just a little, it was only to allow in songs that somehow had the same kind of feeling as the others. Mostly, it turned out, these were songs of heartache, but of a distinct and particular kind.
What she and Buddy have created is an unusual and invigorating chimera – an album suffused with sadness that somehow rarely sounds that way. “It’s almost like you didn’t know it was sad,” Alison says, “because it doesn’t sound weak. It doesn’t have a pitiful part to it, where so many sad songs do. But these don’t. And I love that about it. I love that there’s strength underneath there. That whatever those stories are, they didn’t destroy. That that person made it right through it. I love that.”
Alison inhabits – and liberates – the very essence that makes each of the songs eternal. While they span different eras and musical genres, there is a unifying sensibility. Some of the songs are familiar – like “Gentle On My Mind,” a signature song of Glen Campbell’s, and “You Don’t Know Me” which was a hit for Eddy Arnold and Ray Charles. Others were lesser known, like Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared For You” and “All Alone Am I,” originally recorded by Brenda Lee. Some were songs she’d never heard before; some were songs she’d known nearly her whole life, particularly those she brought in from the bluegrass world. Alison had no idea when she suggested to Buddy that they record “Dream of Me,” a song she recalled from childhood, that he had written it. It took some persuasion, but he agreed to sing backup on the track, along with his daughter Melonie Cannon.
For more than fifty years, The Temptations have prospered, propelling popular music with a series of smash hits, and sold-out performances throughout the world. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
The history of The Temptations is the history of contemporary American pop. They are an essential component of the original Motown machine and their hits include “The Way You Do the things You Do,” “My Girl,” “It’s Growing,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is only Skin Deep,” “I Wish It Would Rain,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, and “Psychedelic Shack” still smolder today.
The current lineup consists of Otis Williams, Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Larry Braggs, and Willie Greene Jr.
One of Motown’s most consistent hitmakers and its longest lived lineup (40 years), the Four Tops are among the most stable and consistent vocal groups.
They helped define the Motown sound with hits like “Baby I Need Your Loving,”“ I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” “It’s The Same Old Song,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Standing In The Shadows Of Love,” “Bernadette,” “Walk Away Renee,” and “If I Were A Carpenter,” “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got),” “Are You Man Enough (from the movie Shaft In Africa),” “Sweet Understanding Love,” “One Chain Don’t Make No Prison” (later covered by Santana), “Midnight Flower” and the disco perennial “Catfish.”
In 1990, with 24 Top 40 pop hits to their credit, the Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Artist Website: http://thefourtopsenterprises.com/
“I feel so humbled and blessed to be where I am right now,” says Travis, who will release the album on his own Post Oak Records. “My voice has never been stronger, I’m constantly playing and working to become a better guitar player, banjo player, vocalist and songwriter. I am honestly as excited about the creative process and performing now as I was the day I signed my first record deal.”
The highly abbreviated Tritt timeline has the Georgian incorporating lifelong influences in Southern Rock, blues and gospel into his country during a honky-tonk apprenticeship that led him to Warner Bros. His 1990 debut Country Club and its succession of hits put him in the vanguard of the genre’s early ’90s boom, dubbing him as one of “The Class of ‘89,” which included Country music superstars Garth Brooks, Clint Black and Alan Jackson; all whom dominated the charts in the early ‘90s.. At the same time, his conspicuous lack of a cowboy hat and musical aggressiveness set him apart. The next eight albums and scores of hit singles led him to amass more than 25 million in career album sales, two Grammys, three CMA Awards and a devoted fan base that filled venues coast-to-coast. He’s also become a force in Atlanta sports, performing at the 1996 Olympics, two Super Bowls, a World Series Game, the opening of the Georgia Dome, the final Braves game at Atlanta-Fulton Country Stadium and, in 2013, the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
A 2006 recording session for a Sam Moore album proved fateful when producer, musician and American Idol judge Randy Jackson complimented Travis on his vocals. The meeting led to co-production collaboration on Tritt’s next album, which would eventually be titled The Storm. The name, unfortunately, fit in ways no one would have expected.
Released in 2007 on the independent Category 5 Records, The Storm soon became embroiled in one. The company founder was funding the label through ill-gotten revenue in his principle business. “Because of the legal problems he ran into, which eventually led to him going to jail, the promotional push dried up and the label eventually failed,” Travis explains. “The album never really got an opportunity to see the light of day. We did release a single and we got great response with reviews, but there was never a properly executed marketing or promotion plan.”
Great response is putting it mildly. People wrote, “Jackson effectively brings out the soul in the country singer on cuts that venture into gospel and blues terrain.” The Associated Press said, “Tritt roars back with The Storm.” Boston Phoenix called the album “proof that even today the difference between rural blues and rural country is just a matter of pigmentation.”
Nevertheless, the label’s demise sank the project and led to years of litigation. The final settlement, reached in 2012, remitted master recordings for The Storm to Tritt. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. “I’ve been talking about starting my own record label for five years, and it all hinged on having those masters back in my control so we could kick off with that.” Hence, The Calm After ….
Pleased as Travis was at the opportunity to re-introduce music he’d poured himself into, he was also intent on fulfilling his initial vision. Originally a 12-track release, the album’s sessions actually yielded 14 finished recordings, with the two unreleased selections being Tritt’s take on the band Faces’ “Stay With Me” and the Patty Smyth-Don Henley duet “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.” The latter had been intended as a pairing with an established female country artist. “When we were closing out the album, the timing was off because the scheduling just didn’t work out for the short list of women I thought had the soul to make that song special. So we basically shelved it.”
Fast forward several years, and Tritt discovered that if the perfect duet partner doesn’t materialize, you can always grow your own. On a family car trip, the unreleased track came up on his iPod. “My 15-year-old daughter Tyler Reese, who had never heard the song, started singing along in the backseat. When it ended she had me play it again five or six times. I was listening to her sing it and I was impressed, but I didn’t say anything. When we got home, I told my wife that I thought she could really do a great job on this song. We agreed, so I took her in the studio last year and had her sing the female parts. I know I sound like a biased parent, but she really did nail it and the proof is in the track.”
As his daughter’s voice takes wing, Travis Tritt finds his own career enjoying a new spring. He already has plans to follow the initial release with a variety of music projects, including a new, mostly acoustic project with former No Hats Tour chum Marty Stuart. “We’ve got four tracks done on sort of a throw-back project that is on the exact other end of the spectrum from The Calm After …, which is very heavily produced,” Travis explains. “I’m playing acoustic guitar, Marty is on acoustic and mandolin, there’s an upright bass, keys, light percussion and that’s it.”
Tritt had a busy 2013 with a full-band production tour in 2013, following three years of well-received solo-acoustic shows, and 2014 is proving to be just as busy. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of his music career, Tritt is touring the U.S. and Canada promoting his new album.
Through it all, music is still what gives him joy. “I turned 50 years old this year, strictly going off the date my mother told me that I was born,” he laughs. “I need to go back and check my birth certificate, because I don’t feel that old. In my head, I still feel like I’m 28-years-old. I have the same energy, the same amount of love for live performance and for working in the studio that I had when I was first getting started.”
“The odd thing is, and I can’t explain this, but I think I’m singing better than I did in my 20s and 30s. I know it’s not supposed to be that way, but there’s just a control that comes with maturity. Plus, I’ve got a higher range now than I had when I was in my early 30s. And since we started doing the acoustic shows, people come up to me commenting on my singing or, more often, my guitar playing.
“I get that a lot. In fact, that’s how I ended up working with Randy Jackson. After I came out of the vocal booth on that Sam Moore session, Randy looked at me and said, ‘Man, I had no idea that you had that blue-eyed soul thing going on.’
“We’ve even joked about having t-shirts made up that say, ‘I Never Knew Travis…’ followed by phrases like, ‘Played The Banjo Like That,’ ‘Can Sing Like That,’ ‘Had That Many Hits,’ ‘Is That Good A Guitar Player.’, etc. You know, it’s fun,” he smiles. “At 50, to still have a career and be able to surprise people with music – I’m humbled and very thankful. It’s a God given gift.” Which is another way of saying that for Travis Tritt, it’s nothing but clear skies, open windows and dry pavement ahead.
Ziggy Marley Biography
A six-time Grammy winner, Emmy Winner, humanitarian, singer, songwriter and producer, Ziggy Marley has released twelve albums t much critical acclaim. His early immersion in music came at age ten when he sat in on recording sessions with his father, Bob Marley. As front man to Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, the group released eight best-selling albums that garnered three Grammys, with such chart-topping hits as “Look Who’s Dancing,” “Tomorrow People” and “Tumbling Down.” Ziggy’s first solo album, Dragonfly (RCA Records), was released in 2003. His second solo release, Love is My Religion (Tuff Gong Worldwide), won a Grammy in 2006 for “Best Reggae Album.” His third solo album, Family Time (Tuff Gong Worldwide), scored him a 5th Grammy award for “Best Children’s Album.” In 2011, Ziggy released his critically acclaimed 4th studio album Wild And Free, which earned him a Grammy nomination, as well as his first ever comic book entitled MARIJUANAMAN. Ziggy Marley Organics, a GMO-free product line including flavored coconut oils and hemp seed snacks, was started in 2012. The products are distributed throughout the US and are available in over 1000 stores nationwide. His 2012 live album “Ziggy Marley In Concert,” recently earned him his 6th Grammy award for “Best Reggae Album.” To coincide with the release of his latest album “Fly Rasta,” Ziggy is putting out his debut children’s book “I Love You Too,” a coproduction of Akashic Books and Tuff Gong Worldwide on April 15th, 2014. The multicultural picture book is based on one of Ziggy’s most beloved songs of the same title from his Grammy Award-winning album “Family Time,” which explores a child’s relationship with parents, nature and the unstoppable force of love.