Casting Crowns with Carrie Underwood at Grammys

[Photo Caption: Casting Crowns with Carrie Underwood: Members of Casting Crowns pause for a photo with GRAMMY-winner Carrie Underwood at the SONY BMG post GRAMMY party at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunday evening. Pictured (L-R): Hector Cervantes, Carrie Underwood, Chris Huffman and Mark Hall.]

Christian music’s top-selling, top-touring and multi-platinum artist Casting Crowns hit the red carpet with three nominations for the 50th GRAMMY Awards ceremony held Sunday, Feb. 10, at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The group received high-profile media attention during red-carpet arrivals interviewing with national outlets including The Tonight Show, CNN, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard and ABC, FOX, Extra and the Associated Press.

Casting Crowns led the Gospel categories with three nominations recognized in the Best Gospel Performance and Best Gospel Song categories for its No.1 song “East to West” and a nod for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album for the group’s blockbuster third album The Altar and The Door. The GRAMMY nominations follow Casting Crowns’ recent win at the 2007 American Music Awards in November and the 2006 GRAMMY win for previous album Lifesong.

With the release of the band’s new album The Altar and The Door, Casting Crowns ended 2007 as the No.1 top-selling Christian music artist according to the Billboard music charts. The GRAMMY-nominated album has sold more than 580,000 copies and was certified RIAA Gold in the first 10 weeks following its historical debut at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 chart in Sept., second only to High School Musical 2, setting a new record for a Christian artist without crossover promotion in the mainstream market. The album held at No.1 for 11 weeks on SoundScan’s Top Christian Albums chart and 13 weeks at No.1 on iTunes. The first radio single “East to West” spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on Christian AC radio. Plus, more than 200,000 fans attended the fall leg of Casting Crowns’ The Altar and The Door Fall Tour claiming the top-grossing Christian music event of the year grossing 4.4 million in ticket sales. The spring leg kicked off Jan. 31 and will hit 48 cities.

Read our interview with Casting Crowns here.

Read our review of The Altar and the Door here.

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Relient K drummer Dave Douglas leaving band

According to the band’s website, drummer Dave Douglas is leaving the band. Says the band:

After seven years of touring, recording, and rehearsing, Dave Douglas has decided to leave Relient K. His final show will be 12/29. As a part of Relient K, he has been an amazing drummer, singer, collaborator, and friend. Before Dave joined the band, we were plagued with drummer turnover. Although he was the fifth drummer in two years, the moment he joined was the first time we ever felt like a complete band. He will be missed on the stage and on the road, and we wish him all the best.


I know that there have been some rumors and speculation about my future in Relient K. I suppose I should clear that up. The time has, in fact, come for me to leave the band. This has been a very difficult decision, but I know that this is the right one. Relient K has been a huge part of my life and I’m sure that it is going to take a long time to get used to not being a part of the band any more. I’ve had a lot of good times, met a lot of great people, and been able to go a lot of places. it’s been a blessing and a pleasure to work with Matt, Matt, John, and Jon. Also, I want to thank everyone else who has been involved with the band, especially those who have been on the road with us. Our fans are amazing and I want to thank all of you for your support and enthusiasm.

I am moving on to new music projects, and I hope that I will still have all of your support. Come the first of the year I will be devoting most of my time to Gypsy Parade . Feel free to look us up and say hi. Until then I will playing with Relient K, so I’ve got a few more shows left in me. I suppose that this is my "farewell tour." hopefully I, and the rest of Relient K, will see you at one of them.

Thanks to all of you.

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Michael W. Smith Christmas album

Happy Birthday Smitty!: With the release of his 20th album, It’s A Wonderful Christmas, Oct. 16, Michael W. Smith finds himself globe trotting, with tour stops in Glasgow, Scotland; Horsens, Denmark; Milan and Naples, Italy after which he heads to South Africa for a run of four shows before returning home for a small break. While in Holland recently, Michael performed before 17 thousand fans who helped make his birthday extra special by singing “Happy Birthday” to him during the sold out Oct 7 show.

Smith’s Christmas single, “Merry Christmas,” a duet with special guest Mandisa, goes for radio adds on Nov. 16 while his It’s A Wonderful Christmas Symphony tour featuring Melinda Doolittle and The Katinas kicks off November 29.

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ACM Announces New Board Members

Here is the new Board Members of the Academy of Country Music....

Directors are elected from each category based on the number of members in that category. Each director serves staggered two-year terms, with half the board membership changing each year.

ACM Board Members:
Tony Brown/TBE, John Briggs/ASCAP Nashville
Craig Morgan, Dave Pomeroy/American Federation of Musicians, Blake Shelton
Ed Warm/Joe’s Bar, Mark Hartley/Fitzgerald Hartley
Music Publisher
Pat Higdon/Universal Music Publishing
Record Company
Fletcher Foster/Universal South, Butch Waugh/Sony Music Nashville

Directors At Large

Scott Borchetta/Big Machine Records-The Valory Music Co, Duane Clark/Flood Bumstead McCready & McCarthy
Benson Curb/Curb Records, Steve Dahl/PARADIGM
John Esposito/Warner Music Group Nashville, Matt Fischer/iTunes
Pete Fisher/Grand Ole Opry, Gary Gilbert/Manatt Phelps & Phillips
Gary Haber/Haber Corporation, Gayle Holcomb/William Morris Endeavor
Wade Jessen/Billboard, Bill Lardie/Anderson Merchandisers
Ken Levitan/Vector Management, Eddie Montgomery/Montgomery Gentry
Fran Romeo/Romeo Entertainment Group, Ben Vaughn/EMI Music Publishing

ACM Lifting Lives Chairman Gary Haber and President Gayle Holcomb and their new Board:
Lori Badgett/Sun Trust Bank
Debbie Carroll/MusiCares
Mike Dungan/Capitol Nashville
Ann Edelblute/19 Entertainment
Fletcher Foster/Universal South
Gary Gilbert/Manatt Phelps & Phillips

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Kenny Chesney’s Summer In 3-D

This April, Kenny Chesney will be on the big screen, and no, not the those big ones that you are used to seeing him on at his sold-out shows. The movie theater big screen, but it will be a lot like those big screens at the concert venue... the movie is titled "Kenny Chesney's Summer In 3-D."

This special event movie will bring Kenny Chesney's concert right to you in your local movie theater as a limited engagement. The 3D footage for the movie was shot over six nights in five locations -- Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Seattle, Foxboro, and Indianapolis -- using a total of 22 3D camera rigs.

The 3-D movie concert experience is set for release in April 2010. You can get more information and sign-up for alerts at for when tickets will go on sale in your area.

Sounds and looks very cool to me...

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Miranda Lambert Four The Record Special Edition Details

Miranda Lambert To Release Special Edition of Upcoming Album! Miranda Lambert ’s much anticipated upcoming album, Four The Record , is set to release November 1st . In case all of Miranda’s fans were not excited enough, it has been announced that a special edition deluxe version of the album will also be made available. This edition will include a bonus track as well as a DVD featuring Miranda sharing stories and details about each of the tracks. The bonus track would be enough, but the DVD footage is sure to offer some terrific insight into the song-writing process! Lambert is definitely excited to share her new music with fans. “I’m so ready for the fans to hear it! ‘Baggage Claim’ is such a groovy song and I’m glad it’s the first single. But just like Revolution, not one song represents the whole album. There are ‘All Kinds Of Kinds’ of music on the Record, and I’m so excited for it to get out there.” -Miranda Lambert Keep a look out for Four the Record (and the limited deluxe edition!) to release in November!

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George Strait Here For A Good Time Review

George Strait Does It Again With His Newest Album Here For A Good Time! George Strait released his album Here For A Good Time last week and it is exactly what I expected it to be, fabulous! George and his son Bubba Strait worked on 7 songs together showing us that songwriting is one of many things that they do great together! Other writers were Al Anderson , Chris Stapleton , Dean Dillon , Chuck Cannon , Allen Shamblin , Gary Nicholson , Delbert McClinton , Jesse Winchester , and Bobby Boyd . In the past Strait has done iconic love songs (“ I Cross My Heart “, “ The Chair “, “ Carrying Your Love With Me “), songs about a broken heart (“ Ocean Front Property “, “ You Look So Good In Love “, “ Baby Blue “), songs about life (“ I Saw God Today “, “ Amarillo By Morning “, “ I Hate Everything “), fun songs (“ Fireman “, “ All My Ex’s Live In Texas “, “ Twang “) and everything in between (“ El Rey “, “ The Seashores of Old Mexico “, “ How Bout Them Cowgirls “). This album is no different, we have broken hearts, love, fun, spiritual, emotional, everything! It is a great album that solidifies that he is and always will be “ King George “! The first song, “ Love’s Gonna Make It Alright “, is such a classic George, good-timing, love song that makes you want to grab somebody and hit the dance floor! Sometimes all you need to hear is everything thing will be alright from that special person in your life and this song does just that! The second song, “ Drinkin’ Man “, is a sad song about a man who has had problems with the bottle since he was a young boy, 14 to be exact. Country music doesn’t sugar coat or hide real issues that people deal with on a day to day basis. Alcohol has kept the man in this song away from being close to his family, friends, and love. Even though it has a not so happy meaning behind it, the song is really well written! The third song, “ Shame On Me “, is another (what I call) classic George song! George Strait’s voice sounds amazing, the song is fun and was written by George and Bubba. There isn’t much to say other than go listen now! The next song, “ Poison “, is another one of them deeper meaning songs. It tells us there are a lot of poisons in life and they can be disguised as anything. This is one of my favorite songs on the entire album and probably one of my new favorite songs period, can’t stop singing it! The title track, “ Here For A Good Time “, is such a happy, fun, sing-along type song! It’s something to live by “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time”, it was the best pick for his first single! The next song, “ House Across The Bay “, is another love/sad one. It is about a man losing the one he loved too soon, it is such a bittersweet song. The seventh song, “ Lone Star Blues “, is exactly what it sounds like, a guy who can’t catch a break in Texas. He’s been all over north, south, east and west and can’t seem to get settled and keep a job. It’s a good song with some killer fiddle playing in it! The eighth song, “ A Showman’s Life “, is an easy going song to listen to. It features Faith Hill and talks about the unexpected downside of being in show business. I really like this one and the two country stars sound great in it! The ninth song, “ Three Nails and a Cross “, takes a more spiritual side. Every once in a while country artists like Randy Travis and George will give us a bit of a Christian song, without straying away from the country side and each time the songs become a way of seeing the big picture. Good song! The next one, I’ll have to say isn’t my favorite. “ Blue Marlin Blues ” is a song about not being able to catch fish. I thought maybe if I heard it a lot it would grow on me, but it didn’t happen. It’s not that it is a bad song, it just isn’t my cup of tea. The last song, “ I’ll Always Remember You “, is obviously dedicated to the fans! It talks about Mr. Strait’s long journey in the country music world and how he’s not quite done (thank goodness), but when the time comes for him to hang up the towel he will always remember all the people who cheered for him along the way, the fans! Here For A Good Time is a great album, that I assume will do great things on the charts! If you haven’t got it yet I suggest you do! Track Listing 1. Love’s Gonna Make It Alright 2. Drinkin’ Man 3. Shame On Me 4. Poison 5. Here For A Good Time 6. House Across The Bay 7. Lone Star Blues 8. A Showman’s Life 9. Three Nails And A Cross 10. Blue Marlin Blues 11. I’ll Always Remember You.

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Randy Rogers Band Interview

The Randy Rogers Band Takes Some Time Before A Show To Answer A Few Questions! Last Friday I had a 6:30pm appointment to have a sit down with the guys of the Randy Rogers Band (“ Kiss Me In The Dark “, “ In My Arms Instead “, “ Interstate “, “ Buy Myself A Chance “, “ Down and Out “) in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the 1st annual Festival On The Border . It was a great day, so I have decided to start this piece from the VERY beginning… With my notepad and press pass in hand I arrived at the Riverfront Amphitheater on September 9 . I got to the venue in plenty of time to pick up my ticket and all access pass, as well as make my way to the backstage area. I asked for my envelope of goodies and the nice women working the ticket booth were sad to report they had nothing for me. Not worried, I called the tour manager (Kyle) and told him my predicament. He assured me not fret and wait right where I was. A few minutes later I was picked up in a golf cart by a nice man and jetted to the opposite side of the grounds where crew members were busily working away. There I was escorted to one of two tour busses, where my new friend and I knocked on the door. While waiting for a bus driver or manager to invite me in, I was surprised when out walked Dierks Bentley ! He greeted us, drink in hand, and headed towards his own bus. Knowing this was going to be a great night I climbed aboard the bus eager to get my interview started! Brady Black (fiddle), Geoffrey Hill (guitar), Les Lawless (drums), Jon Richardson (bass) and Randy Rogers (lead vocals, guitar) were all ready and gracious enough to answer some questions for me. Here are some things I thought you, the readers, would be interested to learn… This was the bands first time to play Fort Smith, let alone the amphitheater, and they were really excited for the show! I asked about life on the road and they all agreed it can be rough at times, but they find ways of passing the time. When in cities with history such as Fort Smith, they walk around and check out the sites and museums. At the points of a tour where they find themselves playing a show in a field somewhere they play “Washers” and hang out with the other bands. No matter where they are or what they do in their spare time, Randy believes that everything is worth it for the show, “My favorite part of the day is the 90 minutes on stage.” I believe that statement, especially since the guys had two shows the next day. They planned on hitting the road around midnight to head to Texas. There they would play in College Station and then Texas City , both events were festivals. Along with many others, the band is working on a fundraiser of some sort for everyone affected by the Texas wildfires. They couldn’t imagine not helping out, especially since most of the fires have practically been in their backyards. Fiddle player Brady Black has even taken some of his free time to volunteer and encourages anyone with firefighting experience to help out if they can. When I asked them how they felt about being looked up to by numerous bands and fellow artists they laughed. At first they said it was because they were older, but then humbly expressed how they were appreciative for such a compliment! They too have bands they look up to and enjoy playing with including Dierks, Robert Earl Keen , Reckless Kelly and many others. Something they are pretty excited about is their upcoming tour with fellow Lone Star native, Miranda Lambert ! When I saw the color guard walking by through the windows of the bus I decided that it was time to say goodbye! I thanked the guys for their time and headed toward my spot on the lawn. Luckily, I didn’t miss a word of the National Anthem ! It was a great show and by the reaction of the crowd I’m going to say everyone there enjoyed it! At the moment writing and recording are taking place for their next album. Their label hasn’t given them an exact release date, but be looking for it sometime in 2012!

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Brantley Gilbert Releases Halfway To Heaven Deluxe Edition

Brantley Gilbert Offers Fans a Deluxe Edition of Halfway To Heaven. Earlier this year, Brantley Gilbert signed with Valory Music Company, and Tuesday, September 13th marked his first album release date with his new label. Gilbert has released a deluxe edition of his Halfway to Heaven album that is packed with lots of features fans will surely appreciate. All of the 12 original tracks have been remixed and remastered to create the sound Brantley was originally aiming for. Additionally, this deluxe version will also include 3 newly recorded songs, music videos for current hit single “ Country Must Ben Country Wide ” and “ Kick It In The Sticks “, and a behind-the-scenes interview with Gilbert. To promote his new release Brantley will be traveling from Atlanta to Indianapolis on a week long promotional tour with radio interviews and in-store appearances. Also, he will be the opening act for Alan Jackson ’s BOK Center performance in Tulsa, OKC on September 16th . For a complete list of Brantley’s promotional activities see the list below! Brantley Gilbert’s September 13-17 Promotional Tour Atlanta 9/13 - Morning radio visits to WUBL and WKHX - 12:00 PM: In-store with Kicks (WKHX) at the Best Buy (850 Cobb Place Blvd NW Kennesaw, GA) - 6:00 PM: In-store with The Bull (WUBL) at Best Buy in the Mall of Georgia (3205 Woodward Crossing Blvd, Suite A, Buford, GA) Charlotte 9/14 - Morning Satellite Radio Tour - 12:00 PM In-store with The Kat (WKKT) at Best Buy (10600 Centrum Pkwy Pineville, NC) - 6:00 PM In-store with WSOC Charlotte at Best Buy in Monroe (10221 Perimeter Pwky Charlotte, NC) Dallas 9/15 - Morning Satellite Radio Tour - 6:00 PM in-store with KSCS/Dallas…Wal-Mart (North Richland Hills 6401 NE Loop 820 Dallas, TX ) Tulsa 9/16 - 8:00 AM In-studio interview with KVOO/Tulsa - 7:00 PM Brantley opens for Alan Jackson at BOK Center in Tulsa, OK (200 S Denver Ave, Tulsa, OK) Indianapolis 9/17 - 6:00 PM In-store with Hank FM (WLHK) at Best Buy in Greenwood (562 W Fry Road Greenwood, IN).

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Trace Adkins Featured on CMT’s Invitation Only

Trace Adkins will be featured on the next episode of the concert series “ Invitation Only ” set to air on CMT on Sunday, September 25th . This performance series is a pre-taped show which showcases country’s superstars in an special performance in front of a small live audience. Adkins’ episode will feature performances of “ You’re Gonna Miss This ”, “ Songs About Me ” and “ Hot Mama “, as well as “ Million Dollar View ” and “ Just Fishin ’” off his latest album, Proud to Be Here . This episode will also include a questions and answer session with fans where Adkins’ reveals little known tidbits about himself like his most embarrassing moment and which of his songs he would like to be remembered by.

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Opry Live Returns to GAC

The Grand Ole Opry will be making a return to television with a line-up of six star-studded episodes of “ Opry Live ” on GAC this fall. The first of the six episodes, and 80th birthday commemoration for George Jones , will be airing on October 4th and will include performances by Alan Jackson , Jamey Johnson , The Oak Ridge Boys , Lee Ann Womack and others. Other episodes will include performances by a string of country favorites like Trace Adkins , Lauren Alaina , Dierks Bentley , Eric Church , Sara Evans , Martina McBride , Ronnie Dunn , Scotty McCreery , Kellie Pickler , Rascal Flatts , LeAnn Rimes , Randy Travis , Josh Turner , Carrie Underwood and more. Airdates and details on the other five shows will be announced at a later date. So, make sure you catch the first episode on October 4th and stay tuned for more details. I mean if you can’t make it to Nashville to see these types of performances live, I guess the next best thing would be watching them in the comfort of your own home.

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