To listen to Drake White’s music is to fully experience the soul and rhythm of his upbringing in the Appalachian foothills of Northeastern Alabama. The undeniable sound of his soulful voice has whipped concert audiences across the country into a frenzy as Drake and his band, The Big Fire, raise the roof and summon spirits to life onstage. It’s equal parts Baptist tent revival and amped-up southern rock festival. As you watch Drake crank the energy level up higher and higher throughout the night, you feel as if you’d walked in on a live gospel album backed up by all-stars from The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Of course those acts hit musical pay dirt recording in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, a little over two hours west of Drake’s tiny hometown of Hokes Bluff.
The same fire that drives Drake to pour his entire being in to those performances also demands that he continue exploring and refining that country soul sound, which the world first heard on his debut album, 2016’s SPARK (Big Machine Label Group). In the spirit of propelling his music forward, Drake teamed up with a crew of Nashville’s most creative musicians in an effort to, as he says, “Bridge that gap between Nashville and Muscle Shoals.” It’s in the crossroads of those two musical worlds that you’ll find Drake White’s new five-song EP, PIECES (BMLG Records) . The new project is helmed by hit producer busbee, best known in country circles for his work with Maren Morris and Keith Urban.
Coming from a pop and jazz background, busbee challenged Drake to dig in deep in the studio and explore the nuances that come to light when the singer uses his all-consuming vocal power a bit more sparingly. “Some songs just call for a barn-burning vocal,” Drake says, “but it’s about knowing when to pour into that vocal and when to back off it. Those are things that hours and hours in front of a mic in the studio have molded in me, and I’m very thankful for that.” It’s a move that pays off handsomely as you hear Drake easing into the laid back feel of the opening track, “Girl in Pieces.” The tropical vibe is inspired by Drake’s love for Bob Marley’s music, but the song’s message hits a bit closer to Drake’s Alabama hometown. Drake and his wife, Alex, first started dating after she’d been through a bad romance. They’d known each other for awhile, and Drake saw firsthand how that relationship just left her in pieces. He stepped in and was there to help mend her broken heart.
It’s exactly the story that plays out in “Girl in Pieces,” which floored Drake since he didn’t write this one. He says, “There’s even a line in the song, ‘The green in your eyes is all over the floor,’ and Alex has green eyes. It is my story, and I think it’s a message a lot of people need to hear to get out of a negative situation. Everybody needs that friend to kick ‘em in the butt and say, ‘Hey, you only live once.’” The influence of Alex’s love and the ever-present pull of Drake’s home state are felt strongly throughout the five-song project. You’ll want to listen closely to catch the poetry he employs to weave the vivid and sexy stories of a man and woman going “slow dancing in the darkness on this blanket made of stars” on “The Best Is Yet to Come” and then finding something to do while killing time “where the world is greener” on “Grandpa’s Farm.” Then there’s the slow burn of “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight,” which finds Drake finally unleashing his full vocal power while singing these sultry lyrics: “I take your hand and we dance down the hall/To the rhythm of our own love song.” You’ll find those lyrical sparks sprinkled throughout PIECES, and they really connect you straight to Drake’s heart and history as a son of the South steeped in the timeless works of William Faulkner and Mark Twain. Drake says, “I love writing that’s very simple, but it’s like, ‘Oh, I know exactly what you’re talking about.’ I’m infatuated with words and trying to arrange them in a way that would make my heroes proud and that would make Alabama proud and make that geographical location where I learned how to read and write make sense.” While Drake is committed to remembering and honoring his roots, he’s also keeping a clear eye on the future. That’s especially true as it relates to his relationship with his fans and his music. Packed in the lyrics of the project’s closing song, “The Best is Yet to Come,” you’ll find a clear statement of Drake’s belief that all the work he’s putting into connecting with fans and perfecting his musical craft is leading to something really big. It’s all captured in the line, “Trying to stay lost in the moment while we know it’s flying past/We’re just getting started/It’s gonna be a long, long run.” “I do this because it makes me happy,” Drake explains. “I have a great life. I have a great band, and we’re going to be doing this the rest of our lives. I feel it.”
Country singer and songwriter Randy Montana started off with a pretty good pedigree. Born September 25, 1985 in Albany, New York, Montana is the son of singer and songwriter Billy Montana, who penned number one singles for the likes of Garth Brooks, Sara Evans, and Jo Dee Messina. Montana moved to Nashville in 1988 when Billy signed a record deal with Warner Bros., and he grew up around the music scene there, attending his father’s gigs and learning how the business worked. The younger Montana started playing guitar when he was 10, began writing songs at the age of 16, and first performed publicly at one of his father’s writers’ nights at the age of 17. A high school athlete, Montana earned a college football scholarship, but opted to play soccer instead when he attended Nashville’s Trevecca Nazarene University. He eventually transferred his studies to Middle Tennessee State University. He played in a band called "Homestead" during his college years, gigging at local fraternity parties and bars; eventually music won out, and he left college, working odd jobs while he wrote songs and looked for a publishing deal. He found that deal in 2008 when he signed with Sony Music Publishing, where his song catalog caught the attention of Universal Music Group Nashville's Joe Fisher. Montana soon signed a recording deal with Mercury Nashville, a division of Universal Music Group Nashville, who released an impressive first single, “Ain’t Much Left of Lovin’ You,” in advance of his debut album, the self-titled Randy Montana, which finally appeared in 2011.
Mo Pitney was born in Rockford, Illinois. He began playing drums at 6 and guitar at 12. He played in a bluegrass band with his brother and a friend. Pitney moved to Nashville, where he signed to Curb Records and began working with record producer Tony Brown. Pitney released his single "Country", in December 2014. He co-wrote the song with Bill Anderson and Bobby Tomberlin. Billy Dukes of Taste of Country reviewed the single positively, saying that "Mo isn’t making a statement, and he’s not the sign of some traditional country revolution in 2015. But he’s a reminder of how good a simple country song sung by a man who believes in God and George Strait can feel." Johnny Nevin of Huffington Post also reviewed Pitney's music favorably, saying that "Mo Pitney knows a couple of really important things about being Country, real Country. One of them is that he knows who he is, and that's always going to be important, because it's the only way anyone can keep becoming the person they really want to be. Just as important though, it seems like Mo Pitney never forgets about everybody else, and how important they are too." It was the third most added country song its first week at radio. The song entered Top 40 on Country Airplay on the chart dated for the week ending June 20, 2015, its nineteenth week on that chart. His second single, "Boy & a Girl Thing", released to country radio on August 31, 2015. It reached #50 on Hot Country Songs in October 2016. His debut album is Behind This Guitar. The album's third single, "Everywhere", will be released to country radio in December 2016. The song goes for adds at country radio on February 13, 2017.
Pitney's debut album, Behind This Guitar, was released on October 7, 2016 and featured collaborations with Morgane Stapleton and Alison Krauss. It charted at No. 10 on Billboard's Top Country Albums in its first week.
With the fuel of both Southern rock and country music influences pumping through his veins, it’s no surprise that Sea Gayle Music’s CJ Solar is a natural at fusing the two worlds. Combine that with Delta blues, compliments of a childhood spent in Cajun country, and you’ve got one badass up-and-comer, with the pure musical talent and vocal chops to back him up. Already turning heads throughout Nashville, Baton Rouge and beyond, having been named one of the“New Artists You Need To Know” by Rolling Stone Country, Solar says the driving force behind his untimely success isn’t fame nor fortune – it’s just a diehard infatuation with the music he grew up on.
Solar’s new release, the five song Get Away With It, is set for release April 13 on Sea Gayle Records. The first single, “Airplane,” is taking off – literally - at country radio and is already his highest charting single to date. CJ’s distinctive vocals anchor every tune, which he co-wrote with the likes of Bob DiPiero, Rick Huckaby, Michael Hardy, Jake Mitchell, Travis Denning, Chris Stevens, Westin Davis, Derek Sutherland and Andrew DeRoberts. CJ again collaborated with Brent Anderson to produce the new collection.
Get Away With It follows Solar’s critically-acclaimed debut 2016 EP, Hard One toTurn Down. Critics at The Daily Country wrote, “Solar injects a hefty (and welcome) dose of Southern rock into his country, which melds perfectly with hisgravelly vocals.” Country Music Rocks was “immediately captivated by all five songs and hoped that [the EP] obtains the recognition it deserves.” The Rowdy found it “exactly what country fans are looking to savor.” And The Shotgun Seat welcomed Hard One to Turn Down as “the perfect pairing of country storytelling and rocking rhythms, married by his dynamic vocals” and named him one of their “17 to Watch in 17.
”The EP’s debut single, “Tallboy,” has garnered over two million streams on Spotify and the music video hit #1 on the fan-voted CMT 12 Pack Countdown after spending 13 weeks in the countdown. The followup single, “Just AnotherDay in the Country,” was one of the fastest rising and highest charting debut singles for a independent artist.
As a songwriter, October of 2017 couldn’t have been a better month for Solar. Jerrod Niemann’s new Curb Records album was released the first week of the month and included “The Regulars,” a song co-written by Solar. Jerrod also released the Solar co-written “Blue Bandana” as a single two years ago. Morgan Wallen’s “Up Down” hit featuring Florida Georgia line was released a week later - another Solar co-write. That was followed by releases by two Texas artists at the end of the month - “Damn Good Goodbye” on Mike Ryan’s new album and KylePark’s single, “What the Heaven,” which hit #1 on the Texas chart in February. CJ also wrote “Between You & Me” on Justin Moore’s current album.
When not out touring the country headlining his own shows and opening for such artists as The Cadillac Three, Old Dominion and others, he continues to write and record. A road warrior at heart, CJ recently received news that Lynyrd Skynyrd asked him to open select dates on their “Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour” with 38 Special and Hank Williams, Jr.
“I just want to write songs that say something that really means something. I want to ride around in a van, tour the country, and play songs with my buds. Everything I do in music, I want to do it for the love of the music and the sake of the song,” he adds.
“She literally came out here and made everyone else look like they were on a talent show.”
This reaction from Katy Perry on Grace Leer’s performance of “Natural Woman” during American Idol’s Top 40 Showcase Season 18 quickly made headlines, as it led to a head to head voting competition against another country contestant. The winner of this competition would advance that country artist to the Top 20 of American Idol.
Grace won fans over and not only sailed into the Top 20 but then onto Top 10 with live performances from her own backyard in California. Due to the COVID-19 “stay at home” order, Grace took on the challenge of performing to millions through an iphone. Grace proved that her talent, whether live or uploaded by phone, could entertain and wholly captivate her audience. This was not the first time Grace had to rise to the occasion as competition has always been part of her life. Grace earned a scholarship to play Division 1 soccer at the University of California- Berkeley where she not only was voted Captain of the team her senior year, but led the Bears to numerous victories with her skills and strong work ethic. After graduating from Berkeley, Grace headed to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue her dream of becoming a country music singer. Not long after her move, she formed The Grace Leer Band and became not only the lead singer, but booking agent, manager, songwriter and public relations/social media manager as well. Grace collaborated with song writer, Kyle Clouse, to create a 90’s throw- back country sound and successfully released three singles. Their music was influenced and inspired by older country music, especially 90’s female powerhouses such as Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks, LeAnn Rimes and Martina McBride. And, it is this style of country music, that Grace is determined to bring back into the spotlight with her strong and colorful vocals. As the iconic Gladys Knight praised Grace with having “a richness to her voice,” she also adds to that with an undeniable stage presence. Whether onstage or through a phone, her performances are captivating and her audience is mesmerized and glued to her presence. Whatever the venue, in her backyard performing for 10 million American Idol viewers, in a bar or in a professional sports stadium singing the National Anthem, Grace brings authenticity and genuine emotion to the songs she sings. Grace truly is a role model and inspiration to others, which can be seen by her massive “Team Grace” following on social media. She possesses a positive outlook and determination to do whatever it takes to fulfil her musical dreams. And, as Luke Bryan complimented her after a tremendous performance , saying “she checks all the boxes..” There is no doubt that Grace is well on her way to creating memorable country music and ultimately selling out stadiums and arenas around the world.
About Chuck Wicks:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On the heels of signing with Verge Records, the label arm of global music solutions company ONErpm, Chuck Wicks returns with his first new release in two years, “Solid Gold,” available everywhere today.
“As a singer and songwriter, I will forever stand by my work on ‘Solid Gold,’” shares Wicks. “It checks all the boxes for me on what I love about country music and that’s the reason I wanted to lead with this song as I reintroduce myself as an artist.”
From getting married to wife Kasi to the upcoming birth of a baby boy for the newlyweds in December, the last year has been filled with life changes for the singer/songwriter and media personality. Whether in front of the camera or interviewing country music’s biggest stars, one thing has remained constant for Wicks all these years, his love of country music.
It was his reverence for the format that inspired the “Stealing Cinderella” singer’s latest track, “Solid Gold.” Written by Wicks and produced by Jimmy Ritchey, the heartfelt song reflects on a love as tried and true as hits by the legends namechecked in the ballad.
Baby our love is solid gold
It will hold you like a Conway song with the twang of old Mr. Jones
Our love is solid gold
You can find it on any map
Just pick a town and any old country road
Wicks has found success in various segments of the entertainment industry, including as a songwriter (with cuts by Jason Aldean, Frankie Ballard, The Swon Brothers and Steve Holy), as a co-host of a Nationally Syndicated radio show -- earning two Academy of Country Music Award nominations for National On-Air Personality of the Year-- and multiple television appearances, including as a guest star on ABC’s hit series Nashville and as a celebrity contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. A former college baseball player, sportsman and outdoor enthusiast, Wicks was one of only 11 athletes chosen from around the world to be featured on Season 2 of NBC Sports’ “IRONMAN: Quest For Kona” and was featured on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s “RMEF Team Elk” series on the Outdoor Channel.
“Solid Gold” is fan’s first taste of new music from Wicks, who has been writing and back in the recording studio. For the latest news and more information, visit chuckwicks.com and follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About Kameron Marlowe:
They say Nashville is a 10-year town, but it only took Kameron Marlowe seven months to launch himself from struggling singer-songwriter and into the spotlight.
Marlowe found success with his independent debut release, “Giving You Up” – a heartbreak anthem that has topped more than 15 million streams and counting. It’s the first song Marlowe finished writing and it came with a personal price. The singer was 20 years old and planning to propose when his would-be fiancée dumped him for someone else. To get his feelings out, he picked up a pen.
“I had things I wanted to say,” Marlowe said. “I started writing and over the course of several weeks, it turned into a song that means something to me and honestly, helped me through a hard time.”
Born in the small town of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Kameron sold car parts at General Motors for a living before he got a call that changed his life forever. A recruiter from NBC’s “The Voice” found performance videos of Marlowe on YouTube and reached out with an offer to take him straight to the series’ live auditions. The offer was too good to pass up.
While he didn’t win, Marlowe said “The Voice” is responsible for getting him to Nashville. Some of his cast-mates were songwriters from Music City. He had dabbled in songwriting at home, but the concept of doing it professionally was foreign. When his new friends explained the collaborative nature of Nashville’s creative community, everything clicked into place.
“I knew that was just exactly where I wanted to be career-wise,” Marlowe said. “But I just didn’t understand how to do it.”
After “The Voice” ended, he began to make the 13-hour round-trip drive to Nashville multiple times a week to write songs. He soon decided the drive was too much, found some roommates and moved to Music City.
Influenced by artists ranging from Brooks & Dunn and George Strait to Travis Tritt and Ray Charles, Marlowe’s sound is a culmination of his life-long love of country music. His first memories include riding around in his grandpa’s truck listening to Garth Brooks and Darius Rucker. But he didn’t realize he could sing until he was a teenager. Marlowe played snare drum in his high school’s marching band for two years before he decided the experience wasn’t for him. A praise and worship leader who found joy in performing, Marlowe approached the music teacher about starting an unstructured class he dubbed “Rock Band.” Ten students formed two five-piece bands. They learned 10-to-20 cover songs a year and then performed them in a small club.
Now his goals are much higher.
“I want to sell out a stadium just one time,” Marlowe said. “It’s always been a dream of mine. I never thought in a million years I could do this for a job. I thought I would move here for 10 years and then go back home and sell car parts, but it’s happening!”
By perfecting his craft in Rocky Mountain ski lodges and Nashville’s Honky Tonks, Teddy Robb’s laid-back vocals and authentic songs bring together a distinctive Country & Midwestern style. A native of Akron, Ohio, Teddy grew up loving the outdoors. As an avid fisherman and hiker, his musical inspiration is drawn from his time spent outside, which is well represented with his current single, “Heaven on Dirt.” The song tells a story of the American dream and Teddy’s delivery sends you right back into memories of your very own Heaven on Dirt. Early this year, Teddy released his self-titled debut EP, which has hit over 80 million streams making it the highest consuming EP released from a debut country artist since 2015, that did not include a Top 40 radio single.
Teddy has played major festivals like Bonnaroo and Seven Peaks, performed on the Today Show, and opened for Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne and Gary Allan, among others. He’s worked with the Country Music Association on a program to support music education in schools across the country, partnered with outdoor retailer, Otterbox, to share his journey, and has been written about in Rolling Stone, Billboard, and People Magazine.
About Kylie Frey:
In today’s country, it’s not uncommon for artists to veer from one “lane” to another, adopting a new sound and style as trends change. But there’s a growing movement within the genre suffering no such identity crisis, and there you’ll find Kylie Frey.
Born and raised as country as it gets, Frey is a third-generation rodeo girl and Louisiana state goat-tying champion – and a rising star as genuine as her Wranglers. Sincere in her convictions and too real to dismiss, even for ardent country haters, her sound both typifies and transcends the genre. And with her new EP, Rodeo Queen, she’s bringing its timeless sense of authenticity back.
“I just wanna own my story so much it makes someone else own theirs,” says the Carnival Music singer-songwriter, now working with undeniable streak of hits behind her.
After just four years of dedicated work, Frey has already notched four Number Ones on the Texas Regional Radio Report – “Rodeo Man,” “Too Bad” (with Randy Rogers), “One Night In Tulsa” and “Spur of the Moment” – with the latter enshrined as the fastest-rising Number One by a female artist in chart history. Each one displays the true-to-yourself grit and determination that rodeo demands, and to Frey, those qualities can only be earned the hard way.
Rodeo was a family tradition, she says … and so was country.
With Rodeo Queen, she embraces the idea that individuality is more than relatable … it’s contagious. Built around Frey’s own story – one of a girl coming to terms with who she is and what lies ahead – it features a sound that’s equally sure of itself and a vocal just as pure.
2020 ACM Best New Male Artist of the Year nominee Jordan Davis
It was a dream of becoming a songwriter that first brought Shreveport, Louisiana native Jordan Davis to Nashville in 2012. A lot has changed for 2020 ACM Best New Male Artist of the Year nominee since moving to Music City. From signing a record deal with MCA Nashville and racking up over one billion streams of his debut album Home State to touring the country playing for fans and notching three consecutive No. 1s with Platinum-certified Singles You Up and Take It From Me and most recently Slow Dance In a Parking Lot, one thing has remained constant for the breakthrough hitmaker, his love for the craft of songwriting. That passion continues to drive his latest project, a self-titled EP now available featuring his latest chart climber, Almost Maybes and our favorites Detours and Church in a Chevy! If you can't make the Writers Round, look for Jordan to appear on Country Outdoors LIVE on Outdoor Channel on Monday October 5, 2020!
About Lindsay Ell:
Lauded as “one of the most exciting and talented young artists in country music” (Forbes), Lindsay Ell is a triple threat: accomplished musician, unique vocalist and awe-inspiring songwriter. The Calgary native learned to play guitar while traveling with her father to country-bluegrass camps as a young girl. Ell honed her craft as a musical stylist and songwriter after being discovered by BTO and The Guess Who’s Randy Bachman (“American Woman” / “Taking Care of Business”) who discovered her at the age of 13. The multi-instrumentalist was soon touring alongside the likes of Luke Bryan, Buddy Guy, and Keith Urban. Ell also shared the stage with distinguished country group, Little Big Town, along with other powerhouse female artists in one the biggest moments of the 2019 CMA Awards where she was also nominated for Musical Event of the Year. Ell’s nominations do not stop there. She has been nominated for New Female Artist of the Year in both 2019 and 2020, in addition to her 2020 ACM nomination of Music Event of the Year. These nominations are well earned after Ell exhilarated audiences as part of Keith Urban’s Graffiti U World Tour, Brantley Gilbert’s Not Like Us Tour, and Brad Paisley’s Weekend Warrior World Tour. Ell’s first full-length album The Project debuted at No. 1 on the Country Album Sales Chart and was named Billboard’s “Best Country Album of 2017. “What Happens In a Small Town,” Lindsay’s duet with Brantley Gilbert, claimed the top spot at country radio, marking her first No. 1 in the US. Her new single "wAnt me back" is out now from her recently released sophomore album, heart theory. For more information visit: www.LindsayEll.com.
ABOUT LAINE HARDY: A native of Livingston, Louisiana (pop. 2,000) Laine Hardy was six when he picked up his first guitar and later joined his brother playing in local clubs and bars for upwards of six hours a night, inspired by artists ranging from Morgan Wallen to Luke Combs and Elvis Presley to Mark Broussard. After winning American Idol in 2019, Laine focused on songwriting and touring, headlining shows in Denver, Indianapolis, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Lexington and more. His 2020 “Ground I Grew Up On” virtual tour garnered over 2 million views in April and May.
While Louisiana is home, Nashville is where he is destined to be. There he met producer Michael Knox (Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett) and the pair went to work on several new sides releasing in 2020. His latest, “Tiny Town” (Michael Tyler) was released on July 10, and tracks “Ground I Grew Up On” (Brandon Kinney, Josh Thompson, Brett Beavers) and “Let There Be Country” (Jason Afable, Steve Moakler, Tim Nichols) were released April 10 on Buena Vista Records / Industrial Media’s 19 Recordings — tell the stories of Laine’s childhood on the bayou where on an average day you’ll find him fishing, riding his four wheeler, spending time with his family, dogs, and feasting on jambalaya or his Korean grandmother’s homemade kimchi.
While singer/songwriter Jacob Davis has found recent success writing hits for his brother Jordan, he was the first of the Louisiana brothers to make it to Nashville. Influenced by John Prine, Jim Corce, James Taylor, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw, Jacob quickly made an impression on the Nashville music scene with songs about love and life. A guitar player since the age of 11, Jacob wrote songs, sang at open mikes and performed in church. He earned a degree in Environmental Sciences at LSU. He left a job on an oil platform to chase his dream of country music and moved to Nashville. Within six months Jacob had a publishing deal and in September 2015 he released a single Something to Remember You By, which became a success, generating over 1.2 million streaming plays. In June 2016 Jacob signed with Black River Records; his first single for the label, "What I Wanna Be," was released in March 2017. He hit his first #1 with his song Take it From Me; which we believe will be the first of many! And, this just in...Jacob announced a new publishing deal with UMPG on 9/14/2020...way to go Jacob!