Artist of the Week – Lynyrd Skynyrd

On their Facebook they asked:  “It’s been 40 years since Skynyrd’s debut album We want to see how long you’ve been a Skynyrd fan, post a picture on the page with a story about your love for the band and we might feature yours in our #40YearsOfSkynyrd series.”

Last night, after a few days of thinking about how I could say what I wanted to say, I posted a short version of why I love Lynyrd Skynyrd. I’m long-winded at times, so even my short version is long.

I figured that it was no better time than to elaborate and make Lynyrd Skynyrd my artist of the week this week for I started this feature to highlight my vast music collection, learn more about artists I like and maybe discover new artists along the way. Some are short and quick. Others, like this one, will be long and detailed.

When there is an artist I really dig, I can go on for hours and maybe even days about the things I like or love about them. With Lynyrd Skynyrd it could be weeks or months.

Believe it or not, even after of loving this band the way I have for the last three years, I still have albums and songs I haven’t heard yet. I’ve read a few books, I’ve read the articles in magazines and online, I’ve watched and listened to interviews, and I’ve seen them live several times. I still have lots and lots to learn about this band, its legacy and its music.

Unless you’ve never heard of or about Lynyrd Skynyrd, you have no idea how many members have come and gone in this band. Founding members Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins have both passed on and the third founding member Gary Rossington is the only remaining member from the Lynyrd Skynyrd that most people remember from the 1970s.

Current members include Rickey Medlocke, who played drums for the band in the very early 70s, is in the band as one of the guitar players. Johnny Van Zant has replaced his older brother Ronnie as the lead vocalist and Peter Keys has replaced Billy Powell who passed away in 2009. Mark “Sparky” Matejka replaced Hughie Thomasson who passed away in 2007. The current drummer is Mark Cartellone and the current bass player is Johnny Colt.

In October of 1977, the private plane carrying the band members crashed en route to a show. Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup vocalist Cassie Gaines died in the crash. For some, that was the end of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Surviving members took time off, did their own thing for a while and just took time to recover.

In 1987, surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, plus an additional musicians came together for a tribute tour celebrating the legacy, the lost members, and the music of one of America’s most iconic groups. That tribute tour was the catalyst for the reformation of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The list of musicians that have been a part of Lynyrd Skynyrd since 1987 is long and something I haven’t even had the chance to research fully. The line-ups since 1997 are the ones I am most familiar with through video tapes and DVDs. Although I never got to see the 1970s Skynyrd in concert, or even the 1997 Skynyrd, the 2009 Skynyrd, I’ve enjoyed watching those concerts on the Internet or DVD or even VHS. I have seen the 2010 – 2013 line-ups and I love these guys.

Every line-up has had their own chemistry and they have all given every ounce of their being to each and every performance. While, I’d give anything to have witness the 1970s line-up or even the line-up with Hughie Thomasson live and in person, this 2013 line-up is by far my favorite.

It’s the one I’ve seen the most live and in person, so I guess that’s the fairest assessment to make. There is no denying Ronnie’s a musical genius and that he has no equal in music, but experiencing his legacy through video and other people’s words is all I have to go by. He was a tremendous writer and lyricist. To listen to Rickey explain how Ronnie worked is thrilling, and to hear those who’ve worked with him talk about him – I do feel I know him fairly well. But I never got to experience it personally. If I could go back it time, it is definitely something I would do, if only just to see the music and the bands, like Skynyrd and Ronnie, that shaped the music that I listened to as I grew up.

The year I really dived into all things Lynyrd Skynyrd was 2010. Very late to the party, I know. I wished I had joined a little earlier….well a lot earlier. The only problem with that is I was born in 1971, in Pennsylvania. That’s a long way from Jacksonville, Florida. My Mom loved music, we almost always listened to the radio in the car. My Mom, though, was into singers, not bands. She was a big Elvis Presley fan, but she listened to a variety of artists. At some point in my life, I’ve listened to every one of her records and the 8-tracks she had. Standards, country – a variety of music — just not rock music.

I have always listened to and loved music. I played an instrument in school. In the early 80s, I listened to pop, rock, disco, country – everything. Radio stations were different back then. They weren’t so focus on a single genre or the same 40 artists. So to say I never heard Skynyrd growing up is probably not true. I’m sure somewhere, I heard it on a radio, a television show or something. From my recollection, I first remember Skynyrd music leaving an impression on me in the early to mid  90s. At that point, I was listening to country music almost exclusively. I spent the 80s listening to mainly rock, hard rock and what they called hair metal. After high school and during college is when things shifted to country music.

Skynyrd’s Frynds was released in 1994. My favorite country artists at the time performed Skynyrd classics. Fast forward to later in the 90s / early 2000s and Chris Cagle covered “Don’t Ask Me No Questions” for the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Then Montgomery Gentry did a CMT Crossroads with Lynyrd Skynyrd. I had my opportunities to join the Skynyrd Nation during those years, but with a move to California and later a move to Tennessee, finances and free time were tight.

Fast forward to 2010, my boss toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd and 38 Special that summer. He was the opening act. Opening for his musical heroes and friends. As I do every year, I like to get to know the bands he’s touring with. Most of the time, I know the band, but this was one of those tours where I wanted to see what I was going to see when I went out to a show. I bought a DVD and my life as a music fan changed.

I fell in love with Lynyrd Skynyrd. The line-up on the first DVD I saw – Rickey Medlocke, Mark Matejka, Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Johnny Van Zant, Ean Evans, Carol Chase, Dale Krantz Rossington, and Michael Cartellone. It was the Live From Freedom Hall CD/DVD. It was so much fun to watch them interact with each other and the audience on that DVD. It’s hard not to notice Rickey Medlocke on stage, and if I had to pick one favorite member from the line-ups I’ve seen in person he’s it. As a whole, these guys have fun on stage. They interact with each other and all the while play and sing some amazing music.

The next DVD, my favorite of all the DVDs, is the Vicious Cycle tour. That’s the line-up before the one listed above, which includes Hughie Thomasson. That’s the first line-up I want to go back and see – Rickey, Hughie and Gary had an amazing chemistry together. More than anything else, the way and artist or band performs live is what will win a fan over. There is no other band or artist, for me, that best exemplifies that than Lynyrd Skynyrd. Now, my boss will win you over – I’ve seen it happen and I’ve read the stories about him doing it. He won me over enough that I eventually started working for him. Then came Lynyrd Skynyrd and I’ve lost my musical heart again.

There has to be more than a pretty face or a catchy song to win me over like Skynyrd did. There has to be a passion, a catalog of songs that I can listen to endlessly and never tire of, and there has to be that magic. That last bit, the magic, is the part you can’t explain. It’s the human element of the band. It’s the part you can’t create if it’s not there. It’s what fuels the passion and lastly, the music.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is the band that best exemplifies why I love music. It’s not about one genre, how good you look on the cover of a magazine or how many records you can sell – to paraphrase Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr. It’s all about the music and the passion to make that music.

I did say I was long-winded, right? Well more than 1500 words into this and I haven’t yet touched on the music. I really don’t know where to start with the music. From the early Muscle Shoals recordings to the most recent album, Last of A Dyin’ Breed, I have more favorites than I could ever list. My playlist has probably over 300 Lynyrd Skynyrd songs and up to six different versions of several songs – live, demo, 1976, 1997, etc. There are probably a bunch of songs missing from that playlist, but most streaming services limit how many songs you can have and since I’ve also included Blackfoot and Blackberry Smoke and a couple of other artists in my playlist, my limit has been reached.

What are my favorite songs on my playlist? The shortlist is Sweet Home Alabama, Free Bird, All I Can Do Is Write About It, Four Walls of Raiford, Skynyrd Nation, That’s How I LIke It, Pick ’em Up, Floyd, Ready To Fly, Simple Man, You Got That Right, Needle and the Spoon, and well, I could go on for days.

As for recommending where a new Lynyrd Skynyrd fan should start, I would say the box set that come out in 1991 and the Muscle Shoals album are two good places to hear an amazing mix of everything that is Lynyrd Skynyrd. If you want a feel for what you would here live right now, The Vicious Cycle Live DVD or the Live from Freedom Hall is a good place to start. These days, you can go on YouTube and watch full concerts from overseas, too.

From there you should listen to both the classic Skynyrd records and the last two records that have been released. It will give you a good mix of everything that encompasses Lynyrd Skynyrd. The last three records are among my favorites – Vicious Cycle (2003), God & Guns (2009) and Last of A Dyin’ Breed (2012). Of the classic line-ups I love the compilation sets of the Muscle Shoals recordings and the 1991 box set. (Links are to Rhapsody.)

Here are some YouTube videos –





The best way, in my humble opinion, to enjoy Lynyrd Skynyrd is live. No matter what line-up you have seen live, they put on a killer show. They love what they do, put 500% into every show every night. They have more energy than any other band I’ve ever seen live and you can’t help but fell that energy.

There is a Lynyrd Skynyrd song for every mood, every day, every occasion and for everyone. The songs are about real life, the human experience. You can relate to the songs, you can dance to the songs, you can laugh, you can cry and everything in between.

Here are my photos from the last concert I attended this past July, along with a future artist of the week, Bad Company.

Here’s my latest drawing in tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd:

© 2013 Christine A Ellis /
© 2013 Christine A Ellis /


Source: Webster PR


Nancy comic strip Illustrator Guy Gilchrist
brings inspiration to new Bearly Angels series

Nashville, Tenn. (August 14, 2013) — Singer, songwriter, author and artist Guy Gilchrist works from the heart – and thanks the Lord every day in everything he does.  The all-new, original Bearly Angels Figurine Collection reflects the heartfelt beliefs by which he lives.  With your help, these darling little angels will earn their wings by lifting your spirits every day!

Sure to warm your hearts, the adorable collection of innocent little bears brings timeless messages of love, faith and inspiration.  The all-new Bearly Angels figurines are expertly hand-sculpted, hand-painted in soft pastels and brimming with love … from their golden halos to the pink pads on their feet!  Pink hearts on their ears, noses and wings, plus heartwarming messages and even a hidden one-word inspiration are part of what make the Bearly Angels so endearing.  They’re on a mission to bring love from above.

Bearly Angels are created and available for the first time ever only from The Bradford Exchange!

About Guy Gilchrist:
Best known for his work as the writer and illustrator of one of the longest-running internationally syndicated daily comic strips, NANCY (a character created by Ernie Bushmiller in 1933), Guy Gilchrist took over the strip in 1995. After high school, Guy was already working in NYC for Disney and others, as well as full time for Weekly Reader Books. At the age of 24, he was hand-selected to create Jim Henson’s Muppets Comic Strip (which was wildly successful and printed worldwide in over 660 newspapers daily from 1981 – 1986). Throughout the years, Guy has set his hand to such notable cartoons as Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Fraggle Rock and The Pink Panther (to name a few), and was the instrumental in the creation of The Muppet Babies.  Guy is the two-time winner of the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Category Award for Best Illustrator and the three-time recipient of the International Reading committee of United Nations Children’s Choice Awards for Best Book of the Year

Gilchrist currently resides in Gallatin, Tenn. (a suburb of Nashville, which he proudly calls home).  Gilchrist’s work is currently on exhibit at the Nashville International Airport, Museums around the world, the Walt Disney Museum in Marceline, Mo., as well as permanently enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution.  For more information on NANCY or Guy Gilchrist, please

2013 Inspirational Country Music Awards Finalists Announced

Source: Webster PR Press Release

Finalists Include Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood,
Vince Gill, Darius Rucker and more


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 19, 2013) – The Inspirational Country Music Association is excited to announce the finalists for the 2013 Inspirational Country Music Awards. Voted on by members, the categories include entertainer, artist, new artist, song, songwriter, group, duo,  musician, radio, radio station, film and television honors, as well as newly-added categories Mainstream Country Male, Mainstream Country Female and Mainstream Country Group/Duo. This year’s finalists feature country music superstars, Bluegrass favorites and Inspirational Country music staples alike, including Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, Chuck Day, Alan Jackson, The Roys and more. The 2013 ICM Faith, Family and Country Convention and Awards will take place at Two Rivers at Opryland in Music City on Oct 20-24, 2013; with the 19th annual Inspirational Country Music Awards taking place onOctober 24, 2013, at Two Rivers.

The 2013 ICM Faith, Family week includes the annual ICM Faith, Family and Country Talent Show, The Power Source #1 Party and Media Appreciation Luncheon, the annual membership breakfast, seminars, incredible live music and much more.  The Inn at Opryland will serve as this year’s host hotel and is centrally located to great food, shopping and downtown Nashville.Every year, this week draws music fans, media and the industry’s top artists to Nashville where they showcase music and discuss industry related issues. The Annual ICM Faith, Family & Country™ Awards Week is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent among artists who perform Inspirational and Christian Country music which is inspired by Faith, Family, and Country ™.

2013 Inspirational Country Music Awards Finalists

Chuck Day
Dennis Agajanian
Guy Penrod
Jeff Bates
Kali Rose
Steve Richard

Chuck Day
Chuck Hancock
Daniel Alan
Lucas Hoge
Tommy Brandt

Aubree Bullock
Kali Rose
Laura Dodd
Mary James

Aaron & Amanda Crabb
Steve Richard & Laura Dodd
The Roys

CrossCountry the Band
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Jayc Harold Band
Kristina Craig Band
Sunday Drive

“Changed” – Rascal Flatts
“I Drive Your Truck”- Lee Brice
“Old King James” – Scotty McCreery
“See You Again” – Carrie Underwood
“Touchdown Jesus”- Tim McGraw

Alan Jackson
Andy Griggs
John Berry
Scotty McCreery
Vince Gill

Carrie Underwood
Dolly Parton
Lauren Alaina
Martina McBride
Reba McEntire

Diamond Rio
Joey + Rory
Oak Ridge Boys
Rascal Flatts
Thompson Square

“Hey Do You Know Me” – Kali Rose
“Meanwhile Back At the Cross” – Tommy Brandt
“They Don’t Stay Little Long Enough” – Chuck Hancock
“Unknown Soldiers” – Russ Murphy
“You Can Always Come Back Home” – Chuck Day

Chuck Hancock
Greg McDougal
Paul Staggs of Branded
Russ Murphy
Tommy Brandt

This award has already been determined.

Changed – Rascal Flatts; Directed by Carl Diebold
See You Again – Carrie Underwood; Directed by Eric Welch
Time is Love – Josh Turner; Directed by Peter Zavadil
Toothbrush – Steve Richard; Directed by Shawn Foster
True Believers – Darius Rucker; Directed by Jim Wright

Dennis Agajanian
Greg McDougal
Jayc Harold
Ricky Skaggs
Vince Gill

Aaron Wilburn
Bruce Mullen
Chonda Pierce
Johnny Lee Cook
Tim Hawkins

HLE Radio
Inspirational Country Radio Network
WEKC AM 710 – Corbin, KY
WSM AM 650
WTYS 94.1 FM

Adrienne Haupt
Charee White
Hunter Cook
Jennifer Nickerson
Rachel Dampier

Emily Faith
Hunter Cook
Isaac Cole
McDougal Kids
Tommy Brandt Jr.

42 – Warner Bros. Pictures
Home Run – Hero Productions
Last Ounce of Courage – Veritas Entertainment
Spirit of Love, the Mike Glenn Story – Film It Productions
Unconditional – Harbinger Media Partners

Hunter Logan
JR Pitsenbarger
Marty Smith
Mona Faith
Rich Miller

Bruce & Betsy Mullen
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Rhonda Vincent
Ricky Skaggs
The Roys

Chuck Day
Greg McDougal
Mary James
Russ Murphy
Tommy Brandt

Gospel Music Channel (Now UP TV)
Great American Country
Hallmark Channel
TCT Networks

For more information on the ICM Faith, Family and Country Convention and Awards, visit or like them at to stay updated.

THE ROYS Nominated For Two Inspirational Country Music Awards

Source: So Much Moore Media Press Release

Duo Up For Inspirational Bluegrass Artist of the YearAnd Vocal Duo & Performance of the Year

Nashville, TN (August 19, 2013) – Bluegrass brother/sister duo THE ROYS are nominated for two 2013 Inspirational Country Music AwardsInspirational Bluegrass Artist of the Year and Vocal Duo & Performance of the Year.  “Once again we are humbled by the support and appreciation of our music by the ICM voting body,” states Lee Roy, who along with his sister Elaine, has received five previous honors from the organization.  “Win or lose we are truly blessed,” Elaine Roy adds.  “It is an honor to be included with such great artists and to be a part of this wonderful genre.”

The 2013 ICM Faith, Family and Country Convention and Awards will be held at Two Rivers Fellowship at Opryland in Nashville Oct 20-24.  The19th annual Inspirational Country Music Awards show, hosted byMegan Alexander, will take place on Thursday, October 24.

While Lee and Elaine consider themselves Bluegrass “to the bone,” the positive message of their music appeals to the masses.  They recently wowed a crowd of 30,000 Country fans at Wisconsin Country Thunder. Upcoming dates include:

Aug 23 – Outer Banks Jubilee –  Kitty Hawk, NC

Aug 24 – Ribz 4 Kidz –  Lewisburg, PA

Aug 25 – Craig Civic Center –  Kingwood, WV

Aug 28 – Bluegrass in the Park –  Staunton, VA

Sep 01 – Kentucky Bluegrass and Bourbon Festival – Louisville, KY

Sep 07 – Renfrew Fair – Renfrew, Ontario, Canada

Sep 14 – Midnite Jamboree – Nashville, TN

Sep 20 – Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival –  Morehead, KY

Sep 21 – Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival –  Kodak, TN

Sep 24 – IBMA Showcase – Raleigh, NC

Sep 28 – Willies Locally Known – Lexington, KY

Sep 29 – Washington County High School –  Sandersville, GA

Oct 04 – Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival – Manteo, NC

Oct 18 – The Listening Room – Nashville, TN

Oct 19 – Orange Blossom Opry – Weirsdale, FL

Oct 20 – Orange Park Fall Festival – Orange Park, FL

Oct 24 – The 5 Star Theater – Hot Springs, AR


THE ROYS’ current CD, GYPSY RUNAWAY TRAIN (Rural Rhythm Records) recently reached the #2 spot on the BILLBOARD Bluegrass Album Chart and debuted at #1 on AirPlay Direct’s APD Global Radio Indicator Charts.


The siblings have recently been featured by various media outlets as well.  Fans who missed their PBS Jubilee appearance (which includes performances from their previous two Top 5 BILLBOARD Bluegrass Album Chart projects, LONESOME WHISTLE and NEW DAY DAWNING), can view the show HERE and can read their interview with Chuck Dauphin at


THE ROYS’ previous ICM honors include:

* 2012 Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Bluegrass Artist of the Year

* 2012 Inspirational Country Music (ICM) No. 1 Inspirational Country Single (“I Wonder What God’s Thinking”)

* 2011 Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Bluegrass Artist of the Year

* 2009 & 2010 Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Duo of the Year


Stay social with Lee and Elaine at www.theroysonline,Facebook andTwitter.

Guy Gilchrist, Famed Illustrator & Writer of NANCY Comic Strip Honors GRAMMY, CMA, and ACM Award-Winner Steve Wariner & Grand Ole Opry’s 88th Birthday Celebration

Source: Webster PR Press Release

Guy Gilchrist, Famed Illustrator & Writer of  NANCY Comic Strip Honors GRAMMY, CMA, and ACM Award-Winner Steve Wariner & Grand Ole Opry’s 88th Birthday Celebration

Nashville, TN (August 22, 2013) – GRAMMY, CMA, and ACM Award-winning Opry member Steve Wariner and the Grand Ole Opry will receive a one-of-a-kind recognition for their contributions to Country Music in the daily comic strip NANCY.  The strip is syndicated internationally in 80 countries (approximately 400 newspapers), and viewed by 57 million readers around the world. Guy Gilchrist, famed illustrator and writer of NANCY, will sometimes slip his favorite music icons within the frames of his work (most often with their names emblazoned on characters’ tee-shirts or in storefront signage). On rare occasions, Gilchrist will pay tribute to these artists, and make them a centerpiece of the strip. Such was the case in the Sunday, August 25 edition of NANCY. Gilchrist will personally present the strip to Steve Wariner and the Grand Ole Opry on Sat., Oct. 6 during a 3:00 p.m. Wariner concert at the Opry House, part of the Opry’s Birthday Bash Weekend.

“Over the years, Steve Wariner and I have become good friends. I’ve always admired his work and he mine, so when I heard he had a new album coming out, I wanted to do something for him,” explains Gilchrist. “That’s when I found out he was the featured act during the Opry’s 88th Birthday Bash afternoon concert on Oct. 6 and I knew that I just had to do a full feature strip that focused on him and paid tribute to one of the cornerstones of Country Music, the Grand Ole Opry.”

“I think being in the ‘Nancy’ comic strip is one of the coolest things that has happened in my career,” said Wariner. “I was thrilled to learn that the super talented Guy Gilchrist included me in the strip that honors the 88th birthday of the Grand Ole Opry, which happens to be one of my favorite places to perform.”

Gilchrist, who resides in the Nashville area, has embedded his love for music within the strip, honoring artists such as Elvis, The Beatles, Charlie Daniels, Taylor Swift, Patti Page, George Jones, Don McLean, and many more. A collection of these music-related strips were donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. They are currently on display as part of the larger, ongoing exhibit, “Nancy Loves Nashville,” at the Nashville International Airport which will run through 2015. For more information on NANCY, please visit

Country music legend Steve Wariner will release It Ain’t All Bad, his first non-instrumental album in more than eight years, on Sept. 10. The acclaimed singer/songwriter/guitar virtuoso has received four GRAMMY Awards, four CMA Awards and one ACM Award, among other honors, and has been a member of the Grand OIe Opry since 1996. Wariner has achieved 14 No. 1 hits, including “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” “The Weekend,” “I Got Dreams,” “Lynda,” “Tips of My Fingers,” “Life’s Highway,” “Some Fools Never Learn,” “The Domino Theory,” and more. He is also well known for songs such as “I’m Already Taken,” “Two Teardrops,” “Leave Him Out of This,” “Kansas City Lights,” and more. In addition to writing many of his own songs, Wariner has written hits for other artists including “Longneck Bottle” (Garth Brooks), “Where the Blacktop Ends” (Keith Urban), and “Nothin’ But the Taillights” (Clint Black). For more information, visit

About Guy Gilchrist:
Best known for his work as the writer and illustrator of one of the longest-running internationally syndicated daily comic strips, NANCY (a character created by Ernie Bushmiller in 1933), Guy Gilchrist took over the strip in 1995. After high school, Guy was already working in NYC for Disney and others, as well as full time for Weekly Reader Books. At the age of 24, he was hand-selected to create Jim Henson’s Muppets Comic Strip (which was wildly successful and printed worldwide in over 660 newspapers daily from 1981 – 1986). Throughout the years, Guy has set his hand to such notable cartoons as Looney TunesTom & JerryFraggle Rock and The Pink Panther (to name a few), and was the instrumental in the creation of The Muppet Babies. Guy is the two-time winner of the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Category Award for Best Illustrator and a three-time recipient of the International Reading Committee of United Nations Children’s Choice Awards for Best Book of the Year.

Gilchrist’s work is currently on exhibit at the Nashville International Airport, museums around the world, the Walt Disney Museum in Marceline, Mo., as well as permanently enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution.  For more information on NANCY or Guy Gilchrist, please visit

Kathy Mattea to host new NPT series on Issues Affecting the Aging and Those that Care For Them

Source: Sugar Hill Records Press Release

Kathy Mattea to host new NPT series on Issues Affecting the Aging and Those that Care For Them

‘NPT Reports: Aging Matters’ to spend more than three years exploring significant factors surround an aging population
Nashville, Tenn. (August 22, 2013) — Kathy Mattea, the GRAMMY® and CMA Award-winning singer-songwriter and advocate for a number of causes, including AIDS awareness and research, global warming and Appalachian mining practices, will host a new Nashville Public Television (NPT) series focused on the issues that surround an increasing older population. The series, “NPT Reports: Aging Matters,” premieres on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. on NPT with “End of Life,” an episode exploring the difficult though important topic of end-of life-care. A national version will be distributed through American Public Television (APT) later this year.
Following in the footsteps of NPT’s previous two multi-year, socially engaged and award-winning projects, “Next Door Neighbors” and “NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis.” “NPT Reports: Aging Matters” is a major multi-year initiative designed to open a community-based conversation about what Middle Tennessee’s older citizens need to optimize their quality of life and what the community needs to do to prepare for a coming explosion in our aging population.  Over a three to five year period NPT will focus on these issues — caregiving, finances, end-of-life issues, dementia and Alzheimer’s among them —  through at least six documentaries, televised town hall or panel discussions, “Aging Matters” updates, community engagement conversations, a project website, interactive OVEE screenings and DVD distribution.
“Children’s Health’s Crisis” shared a wealth of information with the community, and proved there was an interest in extensive in-depth coverage of issues affecting Middle Tennessee,” said Beth Curley, president and CEO of NPT. “As a generation ages, they and those that care for them — both personally and institutionally — will have important decisions to make. Now is the time to be informed.”
Mattea will introduce and close each episode, providing context from a trusted voice in the community, and from someone who herself has had experience with caring for the elderly. Her late mother Ruth and two of her aunts had Alzheimer’s. It’s that personal connection that led Mattea to lend her name, voice and image to the Alzheimer’s Association and to Abe’s Garden, a non-profit Alzheimer’s and dementia care facility planned in Nashville. Her song “Where’ve You Been,” co-written by her husband Jon Vezner, earned her a Grammy in 1990 for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. The song has become a source of strength for families of loved ones with Alzheimer’s.
“I have had firsthand experience with loving someone while they walk through the stages of Alzheimer’s,” said Mattea. “I’m honored to be part of NPT’s thoughtful and timely coverage of this and other issues surrounding our aging population.”
Twice named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association, West Virginia-native Mattea carved out a role for herself in the late 1980s and 1990s as a sensitive yet energetic artist at ease both with country tradition and free-ranging innovation. With close to 30 Top 40 country hits, including 15 Top 10s and four No. 1s, five gold albums and a platinum-selling greatest hits compilation, she is among the most successful women in the genre’s history.
Her creative spirit continues to lead her to explore musical territory extending well beyond its confines. Her latest release, Calling Me Home, an exploration of the music of her native Appalachia and a follow up to 2008’s critically acclaimed Coal, was released in the fall of 2012 on Sugar Hill Records.
“Mattea’s work with the Azheimer’s Association and locally with Abe’s Garden, in addition to her role advocating for numerous causes during her career, indicate her strong commitment to respect, dignity and the value of the human spirit,” added Curley. “She is an inspiration to singers, songwriters and anyone aspiring to live an engaged life.”
“NPT Reports: Aging Matters: End of Life” is made possible in part through the generous support of Cigna HealthSpring, West End Home Foundation, Jeanette Travis Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
About Nashville Public Television:
Nashville Public Television, Nashville’s PBS station, is available free and over-the-air to nearly 2.4 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area, through its main NPT and secondary NPT2 channels, and to anyone in the world through its stable of NPT Digital services, including, YouTube and the PBS video app. The mission of NPT is to provide, through the power of traditional television and interactive digital communications, high quality educational, cultural and civic experiences that address issues and concerns of the people of the Nashville region, and which thereby help improve the lives of those we serve.


THE STETSON FAMILY Delivers Bluegrass “Australian Style”

Source: So Much Moore Media Press Release





New CD, O WINDING RIVER, Available Now

Nashville, TN (August 26, 2013) – THE STETSON FAMILY brings Australia’s best new Bluegrass to the States with the release of their newest disc, O WINDING RIVER.  The 12 original story-driven songs, range from ballads to up-tempos.  Infused with the lush harmonies that are in keeping with the roots of Bluegrass, the tracks feature fresh, progressive instrumentation and free-wheeling lyrics that resonate with subject matter both new and timeless.  The CD, available now online, is a collection of the most-popular songs sourced from the band’s two previous Australian releases distributed by Vitamin RecordsHEY SISTER MARY (2009) and THE DEVIL IN HISSUNDAY BEST (2011).


O WINDING RIVER, the CD, is a journey of discovery – an exploration of the brightest – and darkest corners of the heart; the weakness and triumph of man, and the celebration of joy in our lives and in music.  From the opening notes of the banjo to the haunting vocal of Nadine Budge, the title track cues the listener that this is one metaphorical river best navigated with eyes wide open.


“O Winding River where do you lead me

Through mountains and hollers to I don’t know where

I float on my back and pray that you’ll hold me

Deliver me safely till the morning is here”

(N. Budge, B. Hartley, T. McNeil, L. Sinclair)


Highlights abound, but the poignant “Traces Of You” is a lullaby for the heart worn, recalling bridges burned and embers of a love that are nothing more than ashes now.  “Brother Harlan” recounts a tale reminiscent of darkest “Gothic” Appalachia featuring snake-bit lovers, a runaway woman and scarring family jealousies.  The dark theme continues with the mid-tempo “Hey Sister Mary, Where’d You Get That Gun” and “Dark Side Of Town,” two more tunes that Budge handles with an easy vocal confidence.  The group’s strong male lead vocalist, John Bartholomeusz, takes over on “Every Dusty Road,” a foot-stomping throw-down to all-nighters and good times “gone wrong.” “Hell Hath No Fury” is a searing reminder of the power of a woman scorned – be it Mother Nature or someone a little closer to home.


stetson familicyThe quintet, comprised ofNadine Budge (Vocals, Guitar, Dobro), John Bartholomeusz (Vocals, Guitar), Andrew Carswell (Mandolin, Backing Vocals), Colin Swan (Banjo, Backing Vocals) and Luke Richardson (Double Bass, Backing Vocals) has earned a stellar reputation and a sizeable following Down Under.  In 2012 Budge was invited to Nashville for theIBMA World of Bluegrasssongwriter showcase for her song (and the disc’s title track), “O Winding River.”  For Budge, that appearance was just the “nudge” she needed to bring the group’s music stateside.  “We’ve played some big festivals and events in our country,” notes the outgoing singer/songwriter.  “But we’d never actively pursued a U.S. fan base.  Silly when you think on it, especially since this style of music crosses so many boundaries.”
The band performs regularly on the Australian national touring circuit, playing major festivals and cultural events including: Broadbeach Country Music Festival, Jamgrass, Mullumbimby Music Festival, Gympie Muster, Moomba Melbourne, Apollo Bay Music Festival, The Brisbane Festival, and many more.


If THE STETSON FAMILY’S Australian success is any indicator, the group can look for instant acceptance in the U.S. and beyond.  Their album HEY SISTER MARY was voted #1 Best Roots/Alt-Country Albumon Mystery Train (Bay FM), while THE DEVIL IN HIS SUNDAY BEST was described as “A landmark Australian roots album” by the prestigiousRhythms Magazine.  The group has been nominated for Best Song andBest Group by the Victorian & National Country Music Awards (2012) and “O Winding River” was included on Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC Favorites of 2012 compilation disc.  Two of the band’s songs were chosen for inclusion in the national television documentary, LAST CHANCE SALOON (Renegade Productions).


“O WINDING RIVER allows us to show a bit of stretch material-wise, I think,” comments Budge, the group’s spokesperson.  “Like any artist, we develop over time and this project is a nice mix of where we’ve been and where we’re going.”


Click HERE to get social with The Stetson Family, or find them onFacebookTwitter and SoundCloud.



“O Winding River”
“Fool’s Gold”
“That’s How Much I Miss Your Love”
“Traces of You”
“Brother Harlan”
“Crooked Highway
“Hey Sister Mary, Where’d You Get That Gun”

“Dark Side of Town”  “Smokey Valley”
“Every Dusty Road”
“Hell Hath No Fury”
“Old Black Canoe”



Source: Webster PR Press Release

Nashville, Tenn. (August 26, 2013) – Multi-Platinum and seven-time GRAMMY winning icon Randy Travis is set to release his 21st studio album October 1ston Warner Bros. Records titled Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am. Travis and his music has been a major influence to other country artists throughout his celebrated career thus far. In his new album, Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am, Travis looks back at some of the songs and artists that were instrumental in crafting his musical career, including Merle Haggard, George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, among others. After releasing his 25th Anniversary Celebration album and going back through his repertoire of collaborations with artists including Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Don Henley, Alan Jackson, Jamey Johnson, Josh Turner, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, Travis reflected on the icons and their music that have inspired him over the years.

“When I think of my musical heroes of yesteryear, or the younger stars of this year, I am reminded that it is true we learn from the ones ahead of us, and teach the ones that follow.  They are the reason I chose to make this album,” says Randy Travis.

Earlier this year, Travis released a duet with Joe Nichols paying tribute to his longtime friend, George Jones, titled “Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum,” which he debuted at the 2013 CMA Music Festival in June.

Songs on Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am include:
1. Someday We’ll Look Back
Influence: Merle Haggard
Songwriter: Merle Haggard
Original Performer: Merle Haggard
Originally Released: 1971

2. Big Butter And Egg Man
Influence: Merle Haggard (1985)
Songwriter: Percy Venable
Original Performer: Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
Originally Released: 1926

3. What Have You Got Planned Tonight Diana
Influence: Merle Haggard
Songwriter: Dave Kirby
Original Performer: Merle Haggard
Originally Released: 1976

4. Ever Changing Woman
Influence: Merle Haggard
Songwriters: David Kirby, Curly Putman
Original Performer: Merle Haggard
Originally Released: 1980

5. Pennies From Heaven
Influence: Merle Haggard (1986)
Songwriters: Arthur Johnston (music) Johnny Burke (lyrics)
Original Performer: Bing Crosby
Originally Released: 1936

6. Thanks A Lot
Influence: Ernest Tubb
Songwriters: Eddie Miller and Don Sessions
Original Performer: Ernest Tubb
Originally Released: 1964

7. Trouble In Mind
Influence: Merle Haggard (1996)
Songwriter: Richard M. Jones
Original Performer: Thelma La Vizzo
Originally Released: 1924

8. My Mary
Influence: Merle Haggard
Songwriters: Stuart Hamblen, Jimmie Davis
Original Performers: Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson
Originally Released: 1983

9. Saginaw, Michigan
Influence: Lefty Frizzell
Songwriters: Don Wayne
Original Performer: Lefty Frizzell
Year Released: 1964

10. Always On A Mountain (When I Fall)
Influence: Merle Haggard
Songwriter(s): D. Kerran & Chuck Howard
Original Performer: Merle Haggard
Year Released: 1978

11. (Because) You Asked Me To
Influence: Waylon Jennings
Songwriter(s): Billy Joe Shaver & Waylon Jennings
Original Performer: Waylon Jennings
Year Released: 1973

12. Why Baby Why
Influence: George Jones
Songwriters: Darrell Edwards & George Jones
Original Performer: George Jones
Year Released: 1955

13. Tonight I’m Playing Possum (Duet With Joe Nichols)
Songwriters: Keith Gattis
Original Performer: Randy Travis
Year Released: 2013

Warner Bros. Records has been home to Randy Travis for the majority of his recording career; and together they have accumulated lifetime sales of his music in excess of 20 million units to date. Travis is one of the biggest record sellers in music industry history, with 18 No. 1 singles, 29 Top 10 chartings, certification of the rare quintuple platinum album (Always and Forever,released in 1987), one triple platinum album (Storms of Life, released in 1986), two double platinum’s (Old 8×10, released in 1988, and No Holding Back, released in 1989), eight platinum albums, and 10 gold albums. In 2011, Travis released 25th Anniversary Celebration, marking his phenomenal silver milestone in the music industry, and included a star-studded cast of collaborators. Major industry career awards include seven GRAMMY Awards, five Country Music Association Awards (CMA), 10 Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM), 10 American Music Awards (AMA), two People’s Choice Awards, and eight Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association. He is a three-time recipient of CMA Award’s “Song of the Year’’ honors (“On The Other Hand,” “Forever and Ever Amen,” and “Three Wooden Crosses”). Randy Travis has appearances in more than 40 feature film productions and major television projects to his credit. In 2004, he was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the midst of every major career award and accolade, he considers his honored induction as a member of the famed Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville, in 1986, as a shining highlight of his legendary accomplishments. Travis’ latest digital single release “Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum” was recorded as a tribute to the late George Jones, and included two versions; a Travis only version and a duet collaboration with Travis and Joe Nichols.


Source: Webster PR Press Release


Definitive Document of Megadeth’s Acclaimed 2012
Countdown to Extinction 20th Anniversary Tour”

“(Countdown to Extinction) may just be the
finest thrash-metal album ever made” – SPIN



Los Angeles, Ca. (August 28, 2013) – Last November and December, Megadeth blazed hot on the band’s “Countdown to Extinction 20th Anniversary Tour,” ripping through their entire double platinum 1992 album from start to finish before performing other classics from their recorded catalog.  OnSeptember 24 (September 23 outside of North America), Tradecraft/UMe will release Countdown to Extinction: Live, a definitive document of the acclaimed, sold-out tour.  Recorded and filmed at Los Angeles’ Fox Theatre last December,Countdown to Extinction: Live will be available in several video and audio configurations, including deluxe Blu-ray/CD, DVD, CD, Digital Album, Mastered for iTunes Album, and Longform Digital Video.

In addition to Megadeth’s blistering performance of the entire Countdown to Extinction album, including the essential “Symphony Of Destruction,” “Foreclosure Of A Dream,” “Sweating Bullets,” and “Skin O’ My Teeth,”Countdown to Extinction: Live features all of the other Megadeth classics the band performed at the epic concert, including “Holy Wars” and “Hangar 18” from 1990’s Rust in Peace, “Peace Sells” from the band’s influential, platinum certified 1986 album, Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?, and “Trust” from 1997’s platinum certified Cryptic Writings.

Megadeth’s fifth studio album, Countdown to Extinction was recorded in Los Angeles in 1992.  American tensions weren’t limited to LA, as the Gulf War was still fresh in people’s minds, the state of the environment was becoming headline news, and out of this turmoil, Megadeth was inspired to createCountdown to Extinction, considered by many to be the band’s best and most accessible album. None of their previous records were as polemical as the sonic missiles launched by ‘Countdown.’  Megadeth laced the songs with acid-tongued commentary about subjects ranging from the futility of war (“Architecture of Aggression”) to the senseless brutality of caged hunting (“Countdown to Extinction”).  “Foreclosure of a Dream” sampled George Bush’s infamous “Read my lips” speech, making a statement about taxation endangering the American Dream.

Thanks to a perfect balance of hard-rock song structures, epic choruses, and fleet-fingered guitar work, Countdown to Extinction became an instant classic, benefiting from copious MTV and radio play. SPIN magazine raved that ‘Countdown’ “may just be the finest thrash-metal album ever made.”  The album shot to No. 2 on the Billboard chart (it may have hit No. 1, if not for Billy Ray Cyrus’ long chart-topping reign with Some Gave All), and it was certified double platinum in the U.S. within two years.

Megadeth was in top form, with Dave Mustaine, the band’s then 31-year-old singer and guitarist leading the album’s assault with lyrics like “You know your worth when your enemies praise your architecture of aggression,” not to mention his venomous rhythm guitar attack with his longtime bandmate completed the picture, as bassist David Ellefson jammed dizzying arrays of low-end thunder. Megadeth sounded hungry, and the band was rewarded when the album earned a GRAMMY Award nomination (Best Metal Performance) and when its title cut garnered a Genesis Award from the Humane Society for raising awareness for animal rights issues.

In November 2012, Capitol released an expanded and remastered 20th Anniversary Edition of Countdown to Extinction, personally overseen by Mustaine.  The 2 CD lift-top box and digital release pairs the remastered original album with an exclusive, previously unreleased 1992 concert, recorded live at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.

In a career nearing 30 years, Megadeth has sold more than 38 million albums worldwide, earning five consecutive platinum albums and numerous accolades along the way, including 11 GRAMMY® nominations.  The band’s latest studio album, Super Collider, reunites Mustaine once again with guitarist Chris Broderick, bassist David Ellefson, and drummer Shawn Drover.  Released in June, Super Collider debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, Megadeth’s highest chart debut since 1994’s Youthanasia.

Megadeth: Countdown to Extinction: Live
Hangar 18
Public Enemy
Skin O’ My Teeth
Symphony of Destruction
Architecture of Aggression
Foreclosure of a Dream
Sweating Bullets
This Was My Life
Countdown To Extinction
High Speed Dirt
Captive Honour
Ashes In Your Mouth
She Wolf
Peace Sells
Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

09/03 Raleigh, NC / Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek
09/05 Nashville, TN / Bridgestone Arena *
09/07 Kansas City, MO / Sprint Center *
09/08 Maryland Heights, MO / Verizon Wireless Amphitheater *
09/10 Austin, TX / Tower Amphitheater *
09/12 Las Vegas, NV / Mandalay Bay Events Center *
09/13 San Bernardino, CA / San Manuel Amphitheater * “Battle of San Bernardino”
09/14 Sacramento, CA / Discovery Park “Monster Energy Aftershock Festival”
10/04 Santiago, Chile / Estadio Monumental **
10/06 Buenos Aires, Argentina / Estadio Unico de la Plata **
10/09 Proto Alegre, Brazil / Fiergs **
10/11 Sao Paulo, Brazil / Pama (Campo de marte) **
10/13 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil / Apoteose **
10/15 Belo Horizonte, Brazil / Esplanada Do Mineirao **
10/19 Bogota, Colombia / Parque Simon Bolivar **
10/22 San Jose, Costa Rica / National Stadium **
10/26 Mexico City, Mexico / Foro Sol **
10/30 Phoenix, AZ / Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum “Arizona State Fair”
* Appearing with Iron Maiden
** Appearing with Black Sabbath Artist of the Week: Buddy Guy

If you haven’t had the opportunity as of yet to check out Buddy Guy’s new CD Rhythm & Blues, you should check out out through your favorite streaming service or download service. It’s a definite add to your music collection.

Here’s a link to listen to the album on Rhapsody, but it’s available everywhere:

From the second the first song started, I was in love with this album. That’s the to the point review. Every song after was as good as the first and the one before it. Not a bad tune in the bunch. It’s really that simple – an excellent album from an amazing musician.

Take a listen for yourself. Check out more information about Buddy Guy here –>