Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleFrankie Ballard isn’t afraid to climb up and play his guitar on top of a stack of speakers or stand on the edge of a theater balcony during his shows. It’s all part of his plan to bring the excitement of a rock show to his country audiences.
Frankie says, “The fans, they love it. That little element of danger, it happens in rock and roll all the time — people climbing up, jumping off stuff, breaking their arms and stuff. Country music needs a little bit of that, I think.”
So, what’s going on in Frankie’s head when he’s standing on the balcony with no net?
“I’m just hoping that there isn’t, some like, ex-girlfriend that’s gonna push me off the edge there,” Frankie says with a laugh. “No, it’s just so much fun.”
Being out in the crowd offers Frankie to get extremely close to his fans, too.
He adds, “The coolest part about climbing up on anything is looking down over at the crowd and you can get the perspective of the whole audience. That’s really cool, ’cause sometimes on stage you can’t really see everybody together, but up there you can.”
Frankie’s live show includes his latest hit single, “Sunshine and Whiskey.” Frankie has tour dates now through December 20 when he wraps up his 2015 trek in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Chris HolloCarrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band marked Veterans Day Tuesday by performing at the Concert for Valor on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Carrie performed “See You Again,” “Something in the Water” with the Singing Sergeants Choir, and closed with “Before He Cheats.”
Zac Brown band deliver a stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful” and were joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl for a performance of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit “Fortunate Son.”
The concert aired live on HBO and also included performances from Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Metallica, Eminem and others.
Meryl Streep, Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Bryan Cranston, George Lopez, Reese Witherspoon and other celebrities were also on hand to introduce the performances and narrate vignettes highlighting veterans.
The Concert for Valor was staged to increase awareness of veterans’ support groups, raise funds for veterans’ charities and honor the troops.
Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittleBig Town chose Brett Eldredge and Brothers Osborne to open their Pain Killer tour this fall, and those newcomers should take the invitation to hit the road with LBT as a big compliment.
The group’s Phillip Sweet tells ABC News Radio, “I think we take it very seriously. For us to offer a platform for these other artists, we’re fans of them. You know, we love what they’re doing and wanna show the world.”
Little Big Town gives a big shout out to Keith Urban and George Strait as two of the stars who treated them extremely well as opening acts. Now that they’re the headliners, LBT strives to find opening acts who are great onstage and off.
“It all comes out of selfishness,” band member Karen Fairchild admits. “It’s like people that we want to tour with. I’m not lying. I mean, it’s people that we love their music and we want to be around them and with them.”
She adds, “We know how much fun it is when you’re on tour with people that you love, it can be really, really good.”
Image Courtesy Capitol Nashville/Nino MunozDierks Bentley hit the recording studio with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley this week. He posted a photograph of the session on Twitter with the caption, “Still processing. got to sing a ralph stanley song with…ralph stanley! look him up kids. #firstgenerationbluegrass.”
Dierks continues his Riser tour Thursday night in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryGarth Brooks has been reunited with the breast cancer patient and longtime fan who brought one of his recent Minneapolis concerts to a stop. Theresa Shaw was serenaded by Garth after he saw her sign about undergoing chemotherapy earlier in the day before the concert. Garth even gave Theresa a guitar.
Entertainment Tonight brought Garth and Theresa together again, and he got emotional recalling their exchange at the show. They were performing two shows that day, so Garth and his team were feeling a little worn down. Then Garth saw the sign that said, “Chemo This Morning. Garth Tonight. Enjoying ‘The Dance’,” and his perspective totally changed.
Garth says, “You’re like, ‘Am I really [complaining] about anything? Really?’ It put it all in perspective. Caught me off guard, but [Shaw] was so sweet and her face just said it all…No walls, no barriers, that’s when magic happens, that’s it.”
Garth’s reunion with Theresa Shaw airs on Entertainment Tonight Tuesday. Check local listings for air time and channel.
In other Garth news, he’s sold more than 201,000 tickets for his 11 shows in Minneapolis at the Target Center. That’s the most tickets Garth has ever sold for a single city in North America. Tickets are on sale at AXS.com/Garth for the remaining three shows in Minneapolis coming up this weekend.
Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleScotty McCreery has posted a video of his song, “The Dash,” on YouTube paying tribute to fallen U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Andrew Carpenter. Carpenter was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was fatally wounded on Valentine’s Day 2011. He died five days later leaving behind his wife Chrissie, who was pregnant with their first child, Landon, at the time. Chrissie’s cousin, Nathan Thomas, is the bass player in Scotty’s band.
Scotty says, “When Nathan told me the story about his cousin’s husband, I knew it was a very personal way to connect our audiences to the song ‘The Dash.’ On this day when we honor our military veterans, I could think of no better way to show my respect than to make sure my fans have a chance to know Andrew and his story.”
“The Dash” is included on Scotty’s latest album, See You Tonight.
Image Courtesy Sony/Blue ChairKenny Chesney has added Jake Owen, Cole Swindell and Chase Rice as opening acts on select dates of The Big Revival tour next year. He’s already teaming up for stadium shows with Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Brantley Gilbert along the way. Finding the best opening acts for his fans is a responsibility Kenny takes very seriously.
“It’s about fresh faces people need to know,” Kenny explains. “If I can turn people on, or remind them of an artist like Jake, I know they’re gonna get a show that rocks them, but also opens up some new music.”
Look for another big tour announcement from Kenny in the coming days.
Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood’s hit song “See You Again” has become an anthem for military personnel serving overseas and their families as they wait to be reunited. The song is also a source of hope for the family members of those who’ve lost their lives in battle.
One family in particular sticks out in Carrie’s mind. A young girl and her mother bought three tickets to see one of Carrie’s shows thinking the girl’s father would be able to join them. He died in the line of duty, but the mother and daughter still came to see Carrie’s show.
Carrie arranged to meet them at her show. She writes in Time magazine, “I am still amazed at how strong they both were. They might have found a little comfort in one of my songs. But because of their story and the many others like it that I have heard since, I’ll never sing that song the same way again.”
Carrie is performing “See You Again” on HBO’s Concert for Valor Tuesday night.
Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleJosh Turner is back on country radio with a brand-new single, “Lay Low,” and a new studio album to follow in 2015. While he’s sticking to his guns musically, Josh has paid more attention than ever before to recording potential hit songs for the new album.
Josh tells ABC News Radio, “We’ve had radio in mind with every tracking session that we’ve done so far, which is pretty unheard of with a Josh Turner session. That’s not really the way I’ve ever approached a record.”
It’s not that Josh is chasing the rock and hip-hop influenced sounds dominating country radio these days.
“I don’t pay too much attention to what’s going on out there,” Josh explains, “and I don’t let what other artists are doing influence really what I do. I kind of look back at what I’ve done thus far and try to figure out how I can keep all those important elements and continue to evolve and improve.”
Josh’s last album, Punching Bag, came out in 2012 featuring the most-played song of that year at country radio, “Time Is Love.” He also put out a book, Man Stuff: Thoughts on Faith, Family and Fatherhood, earlier this year.
As for people calling this new project a “comeback,” Josh says, “I’ve been pretty busy. I haven’t been taking time off.”
Josh has been performing four brand-new songs in his live shows lately. Go to JoshTurner.com to see where he’s playing next.