Zac Brown Band Spent Months Creating and Recording Top-Selling New Album, “Jekyll + Hyde”

Image Courtesy Varvatos/Southern Ground/BMLGZac Brown Band‘s new album, Jekyll + Hyde, is shaping up to be one of the biggest country albums of 2015, so the group members can rest assured they didn’t waste any time writing and recording the eclectic project. Most of the project was written on the road late at night following the band’s 2014 concert dates. They narrowed the batch of tunes down to the 16 songs that made the final cut, but the guys didn’t head straight to the recording studio at that point.

Lead singer Zac Brown says, “We spent a full week down at the beach arranging the record with all the guys getting all the harmony right, getting everything ready.”

After all that work, Zac Brown Band still took four months in the recording studio creating Jekyll + Hyde.

“We’ve never spent that much time working on the album, and I think that you can tell on this one,” Zac says. “There’s that much detail in every single one of these songs, so you really have to listen to it a bunch of times to really kind of catch all the different nuances of what’s happening.”

He goes on to describe Jekyll + Hyde as the “most extravagant painting that we’ve ever done as a band.”

Zac Brown Band is on the road touring in support of Jekyll + Hyde all summer long. Go to ZacBrownBand.com for dates.


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Tim McGraw Leaves Mother’s Day Planning to His Three Teenage Daughters

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsTim McGraw‘s three daughters with Faith Hill are all teenagers now, so he doesn’t have to help them get their presents ready for Mother’s Day anymore.

Tim tells ABC Radio, “They always pretty much are pretty good at taking care of that.”

Still, Tim likes to show his appreciation for Faith on Mother’s Day, too. He adds, “You know, I try to find something that’s interesting for my wife. Of course, breakfast in bed’s always pretty good.”

As for their daughters, Tim and Faith’s oldest, Gracie, just turned 18 and will graduate high school later this month. Their middle child, Maggie, will be a high school senior next year, and Tim is philosophical about watching his daughters start dating and developing lives of their own.

“At first, you start off, you say, ‘I’m gonna have a shotgun across my lap and I’m gonna sit in the front door,’” Tim says of watching his daughters enter the dating scene. “But as they get older, you sort of grow along with that. You just want them to be happy and you want them to go out and experience life in the best ways. You feel like you do your best to raise them with good values and to respect themselves and respect other people.”


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A Thousand Horses Books Major TV Appearances Thanks to Debut Hit, “Smoke”

Image Courtesy Joseph Llanes/Republic NashvilleNew group A Thousand Horses‘ career is on fire thanks to their debut top-five hit “Smoke.” The song’s popularity has earned the band performance slots on NBC’s Today on May 11 and Fox News’s Fox & Friends on May 13. After years of struggling to make it big, A Thousand Horses is now “humbled” by the big welcome they’ve gotten from both country radio and their new fans.

Lead singer Michael Hobby says, “To know this band’s journey and the side-jobs we all had, the gigs we took for no money, the memories we made while all traveling in one van while we took turns driving overnight for years just to get our sound perfected and the music right, just makes this moment so incredible.”

A Thousand Horses’ debut album, Southernality, is due out June 9. They join Darius Rucker’s Southern Style tour starting May 14 in Holmdel, New Jersey.


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Eric Church Pays No Attention to Country Radio When Choosing His Opening Acts

Image Courtesy John Peets/Capitol NashvilleUnlike most country headliners, Eric Church doesn’t pay attention to country radio when choosing his opening acts. Instead, he books musical acts he’s passionate about, whether or not they could ever fit in the country format. That’s why you’ll see everyone from hard rock group Halestorm to Americana group The Lone Bellow on the road with Eric this year.

He tells the Lexington Herald-Leader, “I just thought it was cooler than who everybody else takes on tour. Everybody just repackages tours. That’s what happens in country music. That’s what happens in all kinds of music. They just take the same four or five people, whoever had a hit this year, whoever’s hot, and sticks them on the bill.”

Eric’s approach to booking supporting acts comes from his experience as a brand-new act opening for rock legend Bob Seger. Eric got the gig because Bob liked his music, an opportunity Eric wants to pass that opportunity on to his favorite up-and-coming acts.

“There is just so much music out there I love that doesn’t have the outlet,” Eric explains. ” You know what? We didn’t used to have the outlet, either”

He adds, “Going forward, this is something we’re going to continue to do.”

Check out Eric’s full tour schedule at EricChurch.com.


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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Miranda Lambert‘s boutique with locations in Tishomingo, Oklahoma and Lindale, Texas? ANSWER: The Pink Pistol.


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Ashley Monroe Releasing New Album July 24 Featuring Latest Single, “On to Something Good”

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleAshley Monroe‘s new, as-yet-untitled album will be out July 24 featuring the lead single, “On to Something Good.” The video for the track is now airing on CMT. Ashley’s new album is the follow-up to her 2013 critically acclaimed release Like a Rose.

Here’s the track listing for Ashley’s new album:

“On to Something Good”
“I Buried Your Love Alive”
“Bombshell”
“The Weight of the Load”
“The Blade”
“Winning Streak”
“From Time to Time”
“If Love Was Fair”
“Has Anybody Ever Told You”
“Dixie”
“The Devil Don’t Want Me”
“Mayflowers”
“Good at Leavin’”


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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockMiranda Lambert and her horse, Ellie, picked up a few ribbons at the Red River Welsh Pony Association Horse Show in Oklahoma over the weekend. You can check out the photos on Miranda’s Instagram account.

 

 

Eli Young Band’s new video for “Turn it On” is now airing on Vevo.


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Miranda Lambert Rose to the Challenge of Writing Songs for New Movie, “Hot Pursuit”

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert wrote the new song, “Two of a Crime,” specifically for the new Reese Witherspoon-Sofia Vergara comedy, Hot Pursuit. After seeing the trailer for the film, Miranda got to work on the song, which was a bit of a change for her.

She explains, “When you’re a songwriter, you write your own story, but to write for a movie, you sort of have to go and dive into the characters, ’cause they already have a story. So, it was a really unique experience as a songwriter.”

It helped that the story and setting of Hot Pursuit were right up Miranda’s alley.

“It was a Thelma and Louise theme and it was filmed in Texas,” Miranda explains.

Even though writing “Two of a Crime” was a different experience for Miranda, it won’t be the last song she writes for a movie.

She adds, “I’m proud of it, and I’ll definitely do it again.”

“Two of a Crime” is now available for download at iTunes. Hot Pursuit hits theaters Friday.


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Hit Songwriter Chris Stapleton Reveals His Own Powerful Voice on Debut Project, “Traveller”

Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleChris Stapleton is the songwriter behind big hits for everyone from George Strait and Kenny Chesney to Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker. He’s also one of the most celebrated singers in the Nashville music community, and now the rest of the world can enjoy Chris’s talent on the brand-new album, Traveller. The title track was written on a trip Chris took with his wife, Morgane, in 2013 following the death of his father.

Chris tells ABC Radio, “My wife had the presence of mind to know that I needed a little head-clearing space. So, she bought me an old Jeep out in Phoenix, Arizona, and we flew out there and drove back across the country in it. Along the way, I wrote that song kind of thinking about life and how we’re all just passing through it.”

Chris’s wife was also instrumental in picking the 14 songs that made the final cut on Traveller. The sound of the album took shape after Chris heard a bit of singer/songwriter Sturgill Simpson‘s critically acclaimed 2014 release, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.  That project’s modern take on a vintage country sound led Chris to seek out Sturgill’s producer, Dave Cobb, to work on Traveller.

Speaking of Dave’s work on Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Chris says, “The sound of it was so striking to me. I didn’t know that it was something that could still be done sonically, ’cause we had lost a lot of whatever that is in modernity and technology. So, I really set out to find Dave and I said, ‘I gotta at least meet this guy,’ and go, ‘Hey man, I like the sound of that record.’”

With Dave in the producer’s seat, Chris called on his long-time band members, bass player J.T. Cure and drummer Derek Mixon, to play on Traveller. Chris has been playing with J.T. for two decades, and he says, “It’s a unique thing to get to play music with people that know you that well.”

Chris’s small band is rounded out with Waylon Jennings‘ longtime steel guitar player, Robby Turner, and Willie Nelson‘s harmonica player, Mickey Raphael.

He says of adding those two legendary musicians to the lineup, “I got to have those little tips of the hat to that kind of music kind of quietly infused into the record.”

Chris has an album release show Tuesday night in New York City. Check out ChrisStapleton.com for a full list of tour dates.


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Jana Kramer to Star in Musical Drama

Warner Music GroupJana Kramer has signed up for a role in an upcoming musical film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Country Crush will focus on a city girl named Nancy Taylor who falls for a guy, Charlie, she meets while en route to a party in the country. He joins her in New York City as her music career takes off.

Kramer will play Charlie’s sister-in-law in the drama. The lead role of Nancy Taylor will be filled by newcomer Madeline Merlo.

Kramer’s most notable film credits include Click and Prom Night. She also had roles on the TV series One Tree Hill, 90210, Friday Night Lights and Entourage.


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