With their innovative fusion of country, rock, hip-hop and pop, Florida Georgia Line have already proven themselves as a once-in-a-generation force of change in modern music, but the duo of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley is far from done pushing the envelope. With the release of their third album, Dig Your Roots, FGL is showcasing a whole new musical evolution. Since breaking out in 2012 with the mega smash “Cruise,” Hubbard and Kelley have solidified their place as one of the elite acts in country music, earning honors from every major awards body – including three consecutive Vocal Duo of the Year titles from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. They’ve sold almost 26 million tracks and over 3.5 million albums worldwide, claiming the first Diamond-certified single in country history for sales of over 10 million copies along the way (“Cruise”). Each of their 11 singles has reached platinum or gold status (with an astonishing 11 No. 1s), both of their previous albums (Here’s to the Good Times and Anything Goes) have earned platinum or double platinum standing and the duo sold over 1.5 million concert tickets in 2015 alone.
2017 opened with a bang for Keith Urban as he celebrated the New Year in Nashville with an historic outdoor New Year’s Eve concert in front of nearly 100,000. He is the lead nominee (7) for the Academy of Country Music Awards garnering nods for Entertainer of the Year, Album of The Year, Male Vocalist of The Year and more. He celebrated his 22nd #1 song, his 6th consecutive, with “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” which also received two Grammy nominations, in addition to Album of the Year for RIPCORD, his fifth consecutive platinum or multi-platinum album. A groundbreaking album for Urban, RIPCORD marked the second time that one of his albums debuted simultaneously atop the all-genre charts in the U.S., Canada and Australia. He is the only male Country artist to achieve this mark, not just once, but twice. The album thus far, has produced four #1 songs including “Wasted Time,” which moved Urban to #8 on Billboard’s All-time Country Airplay Chart, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” and “Break On Me.” It leaves Urban’s streak as the artist with the most consecutive top 10 songs on Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart (37) well in tact – a streak that started in August of 2000.
Although Church has already built a reputation as a restless creative force while blazing an unconventional path to country superstardom, The Outsiders represents an audacious quantum leap. The aggressive set, which consists almost entirely of Church compositions or co-compositions, finds the iconoclastic singer-songwriter-guitarist covering a dizzying amount of musical and lyrical ground, taking advantage of a wide range of sonic options to construct an adventurous, consistently thrilling ride. The result is Church’s most revealing, personally-charged statement yet—and one that challenges many of the accepted rules of contemporary country music.
Multi-platinum artist, actor and entertainment icon Snoop Dogg is at the forefront of popular culture with award-winning albums and songs, multiple films, lifestyle products, philanthropic efforts, and digital ventures, including his YouTube original series “GGN News.” Snoop Dogg has sold over 35 million albums worldwide and received multiple GRAMMY® nominations. Since 1993, he has released thirteen albums and collaborated with artists across all genres of music. Snoop defines hip-hop history. He’s set records with his seminal album Doggystyle, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over 800,000 copies in the first week.
This past spring, Snoop released his 13th studio album, BUSH, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart, marking this as Snoop’s sixth chart topping hit. Entirely produced by Pharrell Williams, BUSH is a creative experience and cultural exploration that transports listeners through a journey of sight and sound. BUSH is Snoop’s first album on Columbia Records and features collaborations with Gwen Stefani, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross and T.I.
Snoop’s non-profit work in the community is commendable, as he established the Snoop Youth Football League (SYFL) in 2005 to give children between the ages of five and 13 the opportunity to participate in youth football and cheer. SYFL teaches them the values of teamwork, good sportsmanship, discipline, and academics. Today, SYFL boasts 30 teams, more than 1,200 players and over 75 cheerleaders.
Most recently, Snoop has positioned himself as a savvy and forward-thinking leading in the tech space. In late 2015, Snoop launched MERRY JANE, a media platform which sits at the crossroads of pop culture, business, politics, health, and the new generation of normalized, sophisticated cannabis culture for all. He also recently unveiled his very own cannabis product line, “Leafs by Snoop,” which are currently available in dispensaries throughout Colorado.
Years before they climbed the country charts with songs like “Stay a Little Longer” and “Rum,” the Brothers Osborne grew up in Deale, Maryland, a small fishing town on the Atlantic seaboard. It was a cozy place, filled with blue-collar workers who made their living on the water. During the weekends, many of those workers would head over to the Osborne household, where a series of loose, all-night jam sessions filled the Maryland air with the sounds of Bob Seger, Hank Williams, Tom Petty and George Jones.
Blame Aunt Henrietta. When you dig into Lee Brice, with its thick grooves, the squalling guitars, the tumbling drums, sheets of steamy B-3 organ and wide open vocals, the two time CMA/ACM/Grammy Song of the Year nominee takes listeners to church, school, home and out on a Saturday night. For a man known for raucous live shows and contemplative songs, there’s a whole lot of gospel driving his fourth album. “My Aunt Henrietta had the groove,” he says. “She could play one note, and pierce your heart. She played the piano, and when she played she was black — and I didn’t know it, or think about it. I was so sheltered, I didn’t understand; it was just church music – and it felt good! It coulda been Ray Charles, too, but it was all over her playing.” It’s all over Brice’s self-titled new record, too, which serves as a homecoming and a homing device on the essence of what’s defined the man whose written hits for Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and the Eli Young Band, who had their breakout single with “Crazy Girl.” There’s a newfound simplicity to tracks like the real life “Songs In The Kitchen,” the soul searching “What Keeps Me Up At Night,” the loving reality check “Boy” and self-recognizing “I Don’t Smoke,” which scrapes Brice’s music to the bone and features guitars by Warren Haynes.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, or bluer in this case, which may be why Dwight Yoakam hadn’t thought of doing a bluegrass album over the years. It was always already implicit in his music, from “Miner’s Prayer” on his first album 30 years ago to his one-off collaborations with Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs. If you listened hard, you could even hear that strain of mountain music in the melodies and harmonic sense of his most rocked-out country hits. He wasn’t consciously thinking through the years that he could bust out the mandolins to confirm his Kentucky bona fides – “Melodically, it’s just part of my nature,” Yoakam says, “part of the birthright, I guess, in my DNA.”
Yet here he is, releasing Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars… in the same year that he is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.. Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars… harks back to that landmark debut in its obviously cheeky title, while otherwise looking even farther back by recasting some of Yoakam’s most classic songs in a style that not only predates cowpunk but antecedes his beloved Bakersfield sound. Yoakam even remakes “Guitars, Cadillacs” in the style of “Man of Constant Sorrow.” No one is ever going to mistake a star so renowned for favoring snug jeans with a Soggy Bottom Boy, but here, he clinches his status as at least an honorary Clinch Mountain lad. “And then Chris Lord-Alge, who has mixed my last 2 studio albums, entered the picture in LA and agreed to add a further edge of Beggars Banquet-esque rock and roll mystique, completing the journey with a masterfully unique sonic framing of the entire project. I believe it was the first bluegrass album that Chris has ever mixed.”
Kip Moore often lies awake in bed at night. Melodies and lyrics swirl through his head. Sometimes they’ll dissipate as seamlessly as they first arrived. Other times, the singer-songwriter can do nothing but begin singing them aloud. It frees his ever-churning mind. It allows him to continually discover his own voice. It grounds him. Most importantly, for a man prone to bouts of self-doubt, it reassures Moore that his path is a righteous one. “I have a complete sense of calm right now,” the singer-songwriter says. “During this whole journey, as down as I’ve gotten at times, I’ve done this thing my way. I don’t have any regrets. I’m always looking ahead.”
The journey Moore speaks to is a monumental one: from that of a struggling Nashville musician to a massive country superstar with his mammoth 2012 debut album Up All Night; and an artistic adventurer with 2015’s sonically bold and critically revered second effort, Wild Ones.
Now Moore is set to release his most unflinching, distinct testimony yet: “I know how strong this record is. I know its capabilities,” Moore says of SLOWHEART, the country star’s evocative and profound third album due on September 8th. The culmination of an ever-evolving talent’s process of self-discovery, the LP is a warm and honest embrace of Moore’s rugged rock roots and a showcase for his innate poetic prowess.
Delivering a bright, polished sound that owes as much to contemporary pop as anything in the classic country handbook, Dan + Shay is the country singing and songwriting duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney. Both began playing music as teenagers, with Smyers (born and raised in Wexford, Pennsylvania) discovering songwriting at the age of 14, then learning the guitar at the age of 16, and Mooney(born and raised in Natural Dam, Arkansas) writing and playing music from the age of 12. The pair met in Nashville in December of 2012 and immediately began writing songs and performing together. Developing a bright and contemporary country-pop sound, the duo was signed to Warner Bros. Nashville, which released an infectious debut single, “19 You + Me,” a song the duo wrote with Danny Orton, in the summer of 2013. “19 You + Me” peaked at seven on Billboard’s country chart. In the spring of 2014, Dan + Shay dropped their debut album, Where It All Began, which included “19 You + Me.” “Show You Off” went to 29 in 2014 and, after the seasonal single “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” it was followed by “Nothin’ Like You,” a single that peaked at five on the country chart. It set the stage for Dan + Shay’s next album, Obsessed. Released in June of 2016, it was preceded by the single “From the Ground Up,” which reached nine on the Billboard country chart earlier that year. Two other singles — “How Not To” and “Already Ready,” both reaching the mid-20s on Billboard — followed in 2016. Early in 2017, Dan + Shay released “When I Pray for You,” a song recorded for the faith-based film The Shack.
With over 5,000 performances spanning four decades and 20 million records sold worldwide, Cheap Trick is undoubtedly one of the most influential classic rock groups of the past 50 years. The band was formed in 1974 and while it has evolved throughout the years, Cheap Trick has continued to reach mainstream and critical success. Hits such as “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police,” and “Surrender” have cemented the group as one of America’s top rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time.