Here’s your round-up of all the latest country news:
One of the more unusual news items came courtesy of CNN, who reported that Faith Hill was releasing a duets album with Notorious B.I.G. Most country fans are becoming accustomed to off the wall collaborations but Faith Hill with Biggy Small sounded a little difficult to process. What next? Florida Georgia Line with the Backstreet Boys? Now that would be stretching credibility too far. We didn’t have too long to wait however before the correction was forthcoming. Substitute Hill for Evans and it makes a little more sense! Faith Evans is the ex-wife of the late Biggy who was murdered 20 years ago.
As a post script, Ms Evans has suggested a bonus duet with Mrs Hill!
The Band Perry
It seems that The Band Perry are about to turn their backs on country music with the release of their first pop album, ‘My Bad Imagination’, which hasn’t been given a release date but is expected later this year.
It’s been a year since they left their recording deal with Republic Nashville and signed with Interscope Records. Previous suggestions that they would be reverting to a pop sound were denied, but on 2nd February the band released a statement confirming that their new album would be a change of genre.
“Creating it has been the most exciting thing we’ve ever done”
The first single ‘Stay In The Dark’ was released last Friday. It would be fair to say that this news has not been universally applauded and it remains to be seen whether the fans will also make the transition with them. It’s been almost 3 years since they had their last top 10 US country hit with ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely’. Their last single ‘Comeback Kid’ didn’t break the top 30.
News reaches us today that Charlie Worsham has announced 4 headlining shows in the UK in March. Great news unless you happen, like us, to be based in the West Midlands. His Birmingham date is to be held on 15th March at O2 Academy 3. On the very same night, Canaan Smith will be appearing at O2 Institute 3 which is about 2 miles away. Country music fans will be forced to chose between two stars when they would almost certainly wish to attend both (we certainly would!!).
Is it really so difficult to avoid these situations happening? Can we not expect that the promoters of these gigs check that they don’t have such an obvious clash? Canaan Smith’s gig has been announced for weeks and tickets have been on sale for some time. Can’t Charlie’s gig be reallocated?
Eric Church Goes VR
There’s nothing better than a bit of country tech news to whet your appetite. Eric Church’s sold-out, full-length 2016 Stagecoach Country Music Festival performance can now be viewed in virtual reality.
The 13-song set is available via vantage.tv, which offers 180 and 360-degree views from the audience and the stage itself using an eight-camera set up. It is a US based service but seems to be available to UK viewers who have the correct viewing medium.
This on-demand experience can be purchased by fans for $19.99, or upgraded to include VR viewer bundle for $34.99 at vantage.tv. Virtual concert goers using either their iPhone or Android phone via Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR can choose either the multiple camera director’s cut, front row of the concert, or a full 360 view.
Any doubts that Sturgill Simpson wouldn’t appear at this Grammys seem to have been removed. The show that takes place on 12th February will also feature Maren Morris, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town.
Simpson initially suggested that he might not appear, due in part to the fact that his wife is due to give birth to their second child, but this week’s confirmation will be welcome news to those of us who greatly enjoyed his recent Saturday Night Live performance.
Randy Travis Tribute
This week’s big event in Nashville is a tribute to veteran Randy Travis which takes place on 8th February at the Bridgestone Arena. An all-star cast has been lined up, headlined by Garth Brooks but also featuring performances from over 30 artists including Alabama, Rodney Atkins, Kane Brown, Mark Chesnutt, James Dupre, Jeff Foxworthy, Montgomery Gentry, Ben Haggard, Chris Janson, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Neal McCoy, Scotty McCreery, William Michael Morgan, Joe Nichols, Paul Overstreet, Shane Owens, Michael Ray, Collin Raye, Ricky Skaggs, Kenny Rogers, Daryle Singletary, Michael W. Smith, The Bellamy Brothers, The Randy Travis Band, Ricky Traywick, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Josh Turner, Phil Vassar, Chuck Wicks, Wynonna and Chris Young, with more still to be announced.
Part of the proceeds will go to the Randy Travis foundation which supports stroke research and rehabilitation. Now that’s one show we hope will be televised.
Upcoming Album Releases
Old Crow Medicine Show – ‘Best Of’
Alison Krauss – ‘Windy City’
Nikki Lane – ‘Highway Queen’
Little Big Town – ‘The Breaker’
Aaron Watson – ‘Vaquero’
Josh Turner – ‘Deep South’
Sunny Sweeney – ‘Trophy’
Trace Adkins – ‘Something’s Going On’
The Mavericks – ‘Brand New Day’
Charlie Worsham – ‘Beginning of Things’
Angaleena Presley – ‘Wrangled’
Willie Nelson – ‘God’s Problem Child’
Lady Antebellum – ‘Heart Break’