At a time when rock was reaching its crescendo, and in the era when Country was dazzling the nation, a strange phenomenon was taking place. In essence, this phenomenon was the rising popularity of JIMMY STURR as the hottest musical attraction in the polka music field. The reigning king of the field is a good-looking, smiling charmer with brown hair, blues eyes, and charismatic rays emanating from his presence. Sturr is the fellow in front of the orchestra. And what an Orchestra it is! JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTRA have over 106 recordings; the excellence of these recordings has been recognized and rewarded throughout the very competitive music industry. The fact that JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTRA is on the Top Ten list of the All-time Grammy Awards, has won eighteen Grammy Awards and has received more consecutive Grammy nominations than anyone in the history of musical awards has made the music industry sit up and take notice. Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) has awarded JIMMY STURR & HIS ORCHESTRA its most valued award, the Commendation of Excellence. The only one ever awarded in the polka music field.The band constantly attracts crowds of screaming, adoring fans wherever their travels take them. Their tremendous popularity has resulted in not only numerous Grammy Awards but also being voted The #1 POLKA MUSIC BAND IN THE COUNTRY for the past ten years.Many great things have happened to JIMMY STURR AND HIS ORCHESTRA, but none has been more exciting than just completing their Fourth recording with country superstar WILLIE NELSON. In addition, they have recorded with other artists such as THE OAK RIDGE BOYS, CHARLIE DANIELS, BOOTS RANDOLPH, MEL TILLIS, BRENDA LEE, plus banjo virtuoso, BELA FLECK, and folk legend ARLO GUTHRIE.
Few Country Music groups have had the enduring popularity, cultural significance, or crossover success of The Oak Ridge Boys, a vocal harmony quartet that started out in traditional country and gospel during World War II and evolved with the times to help popularize and modernize Country Music far beyond traditional genre and regional lines. The group went through numerous lineup changes in its early decades before Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban took control in the 1960s and early 1970s and turned it into a dynamic Country Music force. The alignment focused on high-energy vocal harmonies that brought crowds to their feet with increasingly secular music and a look and attitude that more accurately reflected the times, characterized by Golden’s still-magnificent flowing beard and fur coats. The Oaks’ contemporary look, and their increasing focus on modern Country suggested by Jim Halsey, who would soon become their career manager, didn’t sit well with traditionalists, and the group struggled for a few years in the early 1970s. It wasn’t until the release of the 1977 album Y’All Come Back Saloon that the Oaks hit the right formula, and when they did their popularity soared. They landed their first No. 1, “I’ll Be True To You,” in 1978 and, perhaps just as significantly, Paul Simon asked the group to sing backup on what would become his hit “Slip Slidin’ Away,” opening the door to the pop world for them. Simon wasn’t the only one to lean on their harmony. They accompanied Brenda Lee on her Grammy Award-nominated “Broken Trust” (1980); George Jones on his Country smash “Same Ole Me” (1982), and they also have harmonized behind Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bill Monroe, and Leon Russell, among many others. National audiences learned the joy of the Oaks’ harmonies when the www.oakridgeboys.com 3 group’s biggest hit, 1981’s “Elvira,” became a crossover pop smash with bass singer Sterban’s unforgettable “oom papa oom papa mau mau” refrain. The song brought them one of their five Grammy Awards, went double Platinum, and helped bring much-needed fun to a genre that had a reputation for weepers and hard times. The inescapable “Elvira” propelled the Oaks’ 1981 album Fancy Free to double Platinum. They followed a year later with another crossover hit, “Bobbie Sue,” and the album of the same title went Gold, as have many others in the group’s catalog. Their 1980 and 1984 Greatest Hits albums are Platinum. All in all, the current lineup has scored 17 No. 1 hits, released more than 40 albums, and achieved sales greater than 41 million albums. The Oaks’ classics include “Trying To Love Two Women,” “Beautiful You,” “Fancy Free,” “I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes,” “Make My Life With You,” “Touch A Hand, Make A Friend,” and “It Takes A Little Rain (To Make Love Grow).” The Oak Ridge Boys’ “American Made” became a national ad jingle. Their “Thank God For Kids” is considered a Country standard. And their recording of “Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight” helped launch the songwriting career of Rodney Crowell. The group also helped open the doors for Country Music on network television, with a number of nationally televised concerts, including HBO and PBS specials, and as hosts and performers on prime time. They hosted their own series, The Oak Ridge Boys Live From Las Vegas, for TNN in the late 1990s. The quartet is one of the most enduring in music and had a long history and dozens of members before the tenures of Allen (born April 29, 1943, in Taylortown, Texas), Bonsall (born May 18, 1948 in Philadelphia), Golden (born January 12, 1939 in Brewton, Ala.) and Sterban (born April 24, 1943 in Camden, N.J.) began. Founder Wally Fowler started the group in 1943 in Knoxville, Tenn., as part of The Georgia Clodhoppers. They were hired to perform for the restricted staff and their families at the nearby Oak Ridge nuclear research facility. They appeared there so often, they eventually changed their name to the Oak Ridge www.oakridgeboys.com 4 Quartet in 1945, the year they began performing on the Grand Ole Opry. The Oak Ridge Boys – the rebranded group – have received 15 CMA Awards nominations and won two: Vocal Group of the Year in 1978 and Single of the Year in 1981 for “Elvira” (the group’s backing band won CMA Instrumental Group of the Year in 1978 and 1986). The Oaks were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Bonsall and Sterban were inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame in 1994. Golden received the Alabama Music Hall of Fame’s Life Work Award for Performing Achievement in 1997. And Duane Allen was honored with induction into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
Over the course of their decade-plus career, Lady A has become one of the 21st century’s premier vocal groups, blending deeply felt emotions with classic Country sounds. As a Country-radio staple, the trio has amassed record-breaking success ushering in 10 No. One hits with more than 18 million album units and 34 million tracks sold and nearly 5 billion digital streams. Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott earned the biggest first-week streams of their career with their critically acclaimed No. One album OCEAN has been touted as “the finest album of the band’s career” (Nashville Scene). Known for their 9X Platinum hit “Need You Now” which is the highest certified song by a Country group, they have earned ACM and CMA “Vocal Group of the Year” trophies three years in a row and countless other honors including seven GRAMMY awards, Billboard Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and a Tony Award nod.
You can capsulize most pop music acts by reciting how many hits they’ve had and how many millions of albums they’ve sold. But these conventional measurements fall short when you’re assessing the impact of The Beach Boys. This band has birthed a torrent of hit singles and sold albums by the tens of millions. But its greater significance lies in the fact that The Beach Boys’ songs have forever changed the musical landscape, profoundly influencing countless performing artists to follow. The band is led by Mike Love, who, along with longtime member Bruce Johnston, musical director Scott Totten, Brian Eichenberger, Christian Love, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill, Keith Hubacher, and Randy Leago, continue the legacy of the iconic group. Grammy-winning songwriter Bruce Johnston joined The Beach Boys in 1965, replacing Glenn Campbell, who filled-in for Brian Wilson, on vocals/bass, when he retired from touring. Highly regarded in his field, Johnston’s vocal work with such legendary artists as Elton John and Pink Floyd firmly established him among rock’s elite artists. Captained by Mike Love, The Beach Boys play an astoundingly busy schedule of concerts, averaging 150 shows a year, ranging from sundrenched amphitheaters to intimate performing arts centers and special events across the globe. The band continues to create and perform with the same bold imagination and style that marked their explosive debut over 50 years ago. In 2013, their Capitol Records release, Sounds of Summer (RIAA certified triple platinum with over three million in sales and climbing), and its companion The Warmth of the Sun marked a resurgence in Beach Boys interest that again rocked the world. The Beach Boys found through their music the key to unfading youth— and they made copies for everyone. To these guys, the beach isn’t just a place where the surf comes to play— it’s where life is renewed and made whole again. Had this remarkable band been less committed to its art and its fans, it could have retired from the field with honor at dozens of points along the way, confident that it had made a lasting contribution to world culture. It could have rested on the success of the epoch-shifting Pet Sounds masterpiece in 1966… or after Mike Love’s concept album Endless Summer ignited a second generation of Beach Boys fans and stirred a tempest that rocked the music world… or after recording Love’s co-written Golden Globe nominated “Kokomo” in 1988 and seeing it become its best selling single ever… or after being inducted that same year into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame… or after watching its worldwide album sales blow past l00 million… or after winning the NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 [along with The Who, Bob Marley, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr. and Les Paul]. And still, The Beach Boys continue to have fun, fun, fun, with no end in sight. In 2012, The Beach Boys scheduled a 74 concert date limited 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour in which the original members reunited and released “That’s Why God Made the Radio.” The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts, their highest chart position in 37 years and an unprecedented milestone. In 2016, The Beach Boys celebrated the 50th anniversary of the hit “Good Vibrations” – which is widely considered one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of rock and roll – with a 50 Years of Good Vibrations tour. Additionally, to commemorate this prolific time in the band’s life, Love released his highly-anticipated memoir titled GOOD VIBRATIONS: My Life as a Beach Boy, which made its way to the New York Times Best Seller list immediately following its release.
Boyz II Men remains one of the most truly iconic R&B groups in music history. The group redefined popular R&B and continues to create timeless hits that appeal to fans across all generations, the band has penned and performed some of the most celebrated classics of the past two decades. The group’s 4 Grammy Awards are just the tip of the iceberg: throughout their 25-year career, Boyz II Men have also won a whopping 9 American Music Awards, 9 Soul Train Awards, 3 Billboard Awards, and a 2011 MOBO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well and a Casino Entertainment Award for their acclaimed residency at the Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, which has been ongoing since 2013. The trio holds the distinction of being the best-selling R&B group of all time, with an astounding 64 million albums sold. And the reason is abundantly clear: for the past two decades Boyz II Men have given fans a rich catalog of hits filled with smooth harmonies and enduring themes. And for Boyz II Men the hits just keep on coming—the group continues to craft new albums and bring their legendary act to stages across the world. Boyz II Men’s past hits include: “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “One Sweet Day,” “Motownphilly” and many others. And their recent albums have earned them major critical acclaim as well. Their Decca label debut, Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA (Decca/Universal), on November 13, 2007, earned them two Grammy Nominations. In 2011, Boyz II Men marked their 20th anniversary by releasing a landmark album, fittingly titled Twenty. The album contains the group’s first original material in nearly a decade as well as a dozen remastered classic, career-defining hits. Twenty debuted at #20 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart, #4 on the Billboard R&B album chart, #10 on the Billboard Digital Album Chart, and placed #1 on the iTunes R&B Soul Album chart. Twenty’s first single, “More Than You’ll Ever Know” cracked into the top 15 on Urban AC charts. Boyz II Men have won fans the world over with their soulful multi-octave sound and incredible vocals. Given the monumental success of their albums and the timeless quality of their vocals, it’s easy to see why Boyz II Men remains the most popular R&B group of all time. Ask any successful pop or R&B superstar which artists have inspired them- chances are Boyz II Men will be at the top. From Justin Timberlake and Usher to Justin Bieber and Beyonce, the most successful stars in the industry look to Boyz II Men as their idols. Beyond making music, giving back is also important to Boyz II Men- the group has its own charity called Boyz II Men House which lends support to individuals and organizations that focus on improving the quality of life and helping to unlock human potential while contributing to the health and vitality of those less fortunate.
All-vocal Country entertainers Home Free have made their mark on the music scene, racking up nearly 600,000 album equivalents globally; embarking on major international tours; amassing 446+ MILLION views and over 1 MILLION Subscribers on YouTube; and being declared “Country
music fans’ favorite a cappella group” (Taste of Country). The acclaimed group is set to light up the holiday season by hitting the road on their Warmest Winter Holiday Tour – showcasing songs off their most recent studio album, WARMEST WINTER (2020, Home Free Records), which features 12 festive staples, memorable collaborations and Home Free originals – all guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. This new project follows the acclaimed group’s DIVE BAR SAINTS album, which arrived at #2 on the Billboard Country Album Sales chart. Home Free’s extensive catalog spotlights six Top 10 albums, including TIMELESS, FULL OF (EVEN MORE) CHEER, FULL OF CHEER, COUNTRY EVOLUTION, and their breakout debut CRAZY LIFE (2014). With praise rolling in from the likes of Billboard, Rolling Stone, FOX & Friends and American Songwriter the extraordinary showmen have continued to build a loyal fanbase with their harmony-laden versions of hits by John Mayer, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Maren Morris, the Oak Ridge Boys, and more.
Lauren Daigle is a two-time GRAMMY, seven-time Billboard Music Award, and a four-time American Music Award winner. Her platinum debut album, How Can It Be, produced three number one songs, “First,” “O’Lord” and the GRAMMY nominated “Trust in You.” But it was her sophomore release Look Up Child, her second consecutive platinum album, that broke geographic and musical boundaries, revealing Daigle as one of the most impressive vocalists of our time. Look Up Child, which earned Daigle her second GRAMMY Award, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart. It featured her 4x-platinum smash “You Say,” the longest-running No. 1 song to appear on any weekly Billboard chart, and marked personal milestones included multiple weeks atop Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, a Top 5 position on its Hot AC Chart, and a Top 20 position on Billboard’s Top 40 Singles Chart. The album also produced the platinum-selling single “Rescue,” and gold-certified singles “Still Rolling Stones” and “Look Up Child.” Her latest single, “Hold On To Me,” marks Daigle’s fifth No. 1 single, extending her record of most No. 1s among women in the genre. Daigle’s ability to connect with her audiences has been well-documented. It’s helped make her the fastest-selling new artist (of her genre) over the past decade and given her soulful, authentic, vocal power to a worldwide audience. She’s amassed a billion worldwide streams and sold-out headline shows on three continents, in countries including Australia, Germany, England, France, Canada, The United States. In 2018, Daigle established the Price Fund, a global foundation dedicated to helping those in need through community initiatives and outreach. The Price Fund has worked with amongst others, the Ellis Marsalis Center, Young Audiences of Louisiana Charter School, Roots of Music, Kid Smart, and The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. In a 2020 partnership with Love Does, the Price Fund announced the construction of a school in the Congo, which will serve more than 300 children in Goma, a conflict zone near the border of Rwanda.
Hailing from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Terri Clark got her start by playing for tips at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a legendary honky-tonk bar across the alley from Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. With over 5 million albums sold, critically acclaimed international tours, and hit singles such as “Better Things To Do,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” “Girls Lie Too,” “Northern Girl,” and “I Just Wanna Be Mad,” Terri has solidified her place in the history books of country music. In September 2018 was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. The 3-time JUNO Award winner also holds the honor of being the only Canadian female member of the legendary Grand Ole Opry. She has been named CCMA Female Vocalist of the Year five times and has taken home eight CCMA Fan’s Choice Awards. In total, Terri has had the honor of receiving 19 CCMA Awards. In 2016, Country Gold with Terri Clark debuted. The internationally syndicated Westwood One radio show airs on more than 145 stations across the USA and Canada and in November 2017 Terri was nominated for a CMA Award for National Broadcast Personality of the Year and in 2018 Terri received an ACM Award nomination for National On-Air Personality of the Year. Terri’s latest album Raising the Bar was released in the Fall of 2018.
As the child of Country Music Royalty, Pam Tillis was determined from a young age to find her own way in music as a singer and songwriter. Pam Tillis has always insisted on writing and cutting songs that speak from the soul. With 6 number ones and 14 top ten singles, Pam knows all about breaking the platinum barrier. With more than 30 singles charting on US Billboard charts and selling more than 7 million copies of her studio albums, Pam’s critical acclaim has not diminished. Sony Records “It’s All Relative” (a tribute to Mel Tillis) was USA Today’s #4 Country Album of the Year and most recently Pam has released 3 Albums from her own record label Stellar Cat Records landing her a #1 on the European ECMA Chart. Pam is a 15-time CMA nominee and 2-time winner, a 9-time Academy of Country Music Award nominee, a 2-time Grammy award winner, and a six-time Grammy nominee, an American Music Award’s nominee. Most recently, a two-time IBMA nominee and one-time winner. As a songwriter, Pam’s songs have been recorded by respected names throughout all genres of music, including Chaka Khan, Juice Newton, Dan Seals, Gloria Gaynor, Conway Twitty, and Highway 101. She is currently a reoccurring guest on the TV show “Nashville”, performed an extended run on Broadway in New York in Smokey Joe’s Cafe, and is a proud member of The Grand Ole Opry. Pam Tillis’ star continues to shine brightly in the 3rd decade of her career.
During the creative explosion that was country music in the 1990s Suzy Bogguss sold 4 million records with sparkling radio hits like “Outbound Plane”, “Someday Soon”, “Letting Go”, and “Drive South”. But you can’t peg Suzy that easily. In the midst of her country popularity, she took time off to make a duets album with the legendary Chet Atkins. In 2003 she made an album of modern swing music with Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel. An album of original music in 2007 landed her at number 4 on the jazz charts. Her folk music roots show through in her frequent appearances on public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion, in the Grammy she earned for her work on Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster, and in her critically acclaimed album and book project from 2011, American Folk Songbook. In 2014 she released Lucky, a collection of songs written by Merle Haggard and interpreted through Suzy’s crystal vocals from the female point of view. Her latest offering, Aces Redux, is a re-recording of her platinum-selling album Aces produced by Suzy with fresh arrangements and her signature sparkling vocals. So yes, you can call her a country singer if you want, but really that’s just the beginning.
Led by Sammy Hagar, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, THE CIRCLE features Michael Anthony, the renowned bassist and fellow Rock Hall of Fame inductee, who’s played with him for the past 30 years in bands including Van Halen and Chickenfoot; JASON BONHAM, the acclaimed journeyman drummer and son of Led Zeppelin’s iconic drummer, John Bonham; and VIC JOHNSON, Hagar’s longtime guitar virtuoso who seamlessly shreds through his own, as well as some of rock’s most iconic guitarists’ riffs. Formed in 2014, the critically-acclaimed supergroup takes fans on a musical journey through rock history with a setlist spanning four decades of Hagar and the band’s biggest hits from The Circle, Van Halen, Montrose, Sammy Hagar & The Wabos, and beyond — and with Bonham on board, they’re also known to tear into a few Led Zeppelin classics, as well as some surprise jams. Sammy Hagar & The Circle kicked off 2021 with the release of Lockdown 2020, an album collection of their massively popular Lockdown Sessions featuring raw and raucous compact covers recorded remotely by each band member during the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially released as a series of digital music videos coving hits like The Who’s “Won‘t Get Fooled Again,” Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds, and “AC/DC, “Whole Lotta Rosie,” the Lockdown Sessions had already reached an online audience of more than 30 million before the album’s release. The album release featured a special added cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” with proceeds donated to frontline workers. The Circle’s debut original album, Space Between, was released in 2019 and debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums and Hard Rock Albums charts. Space Between is a concept album unified by the themes of money, greed, enlightenment, and truth. Following the album’s success, Sammy unveiled a 36-minute experimental short called Space Between: The Film as a visual companion with the songs from Space Between acting as a musical backbone to its plot. The band toured throughout 2019 in support of the album, earning universal praise from fans and critics alike. The band had previously released a live album/DVD called, At Your Service, which was recorded during the band’s first North American tour in the summer of 2014. Released in 2015, it peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Album Chart, and the live DVD debuted at #2 on SoundScan’s “Top DVD Music Video” bestseller chart – a testament to the strength of the band’s live performances.
As a child growing up in Apopka, Florida, Anderson remembers humming along to the tone of his father’s boat motor. He started his music career performing solo around Florida before moving to Florida. He worked in construction – he was on the roofing crew for the new Grand Ole Opry House – before landing a contract with Warner Bros. Records. After charting modestly in the late ‘70s, Anderson scored No. 1 hits in the ‘80s with “Wild and Blue,” “Swingin’,” and “Black Sheep.” After a brief career lull, he staged a major comeback in 1992 as “Straight Tequila Night” became his first No. 1 single in nine years. That momentum carried him into the 2000s, giving him 60 charting country singles in four consecutive decades. “As a musician who lived this way, this job has always been so easy and so natural,” Anderson says. “I always have thanked God for never having to work, what I called work. I didn’t have to work too hard at it. It was a great way of living for me — and then it went away.” Married since 1983, with two daughters, Anderson leaned on his family to push through. For a year and a half, though innumerable doctor’s visits, he fought on a daily basis to heal. He remembers at his most desperate moment, he stood in the front yard of his acreage, let the rain wash over him, and told God, “I don’t really know how much more I can deal with. Please help.” Looking back at that moment, he says, “It was a matter of 48 hours I started getting better. And I’m telling you, I’m not here to be anything other than what I am, but the biggest thing I’ve gotten out of my whole experience is knowing how real my faith is.” During his period of recovery, Anderson got a phone call out of the blue from Auerbach, who was simply calling as a fan, inspired by a conversation with David Ferguson (co-producer) about great singers. When Anderson later met them both in person at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville, they clicked as a unit immediately. On the spot, Anderson – a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee — accepted an invitation to write the next day. That first co-write yielded “Years,” an emotional centerpiece of the album sung from the perspective of a man with some miles on him. “I recall thinking to myself, ‘This is a pretty good song,’” Anderson says. “But we know there’s a lot of good songs that get written, and a lot of them never get heard. Nevertheless, it was off to a good start.” Auerbach kept setting writing dates with collaborators like Joe Allen, Pat McLaughlin, and Paul Overstreet. At Anderson’s request, Auerbach sang the work tapes. Instantly recognizing the caliber of the songs, Auerbach offered to make an album with studio players like Gene Chrisman, Dave Roe, Russ Pahl, Billy Sanford, and Bobby Wood. Although he had produced or co-produced his own albums since 1981, Anderson put his trust in Auerbach. “I booked the session and here I’ve got a room full of musicians, and I really didn’t know if he was going to be able to hear in the headphones,” Auerbach remembers. “But we got him behind the microphone, he started singing and it was pure magic. His voice is like caramel magic coming out of those speakers.” Listening to Anderson’s vocals on Years, it would be impossible to guess that anything was amiss. Delivered in that distinctive, rich baritone, “Celebrate” provides a perspective of gratitude while “Slow Down,” “All We’re Really Looking For” and “You’re Nearly Nothin’” are some of the most eloquent love songs he’s ever recorded.
Kenzie has a passion for country music. From a young age, he enjoyed singing country songs to the radio with his mom Patty, perfecting his voice in the school chorus, and performing at local Karaoke. In fact, his career effectively started while performing “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” at Uncle Mike’s Restaurant Karaoke in his hometown. Since then, Kenzie has won several singing competitions, including the 2016 Tampa Teen Idol, and season 20 of The Voice finalist. He has opened for Charlie Daniels, Michael Ray, and Craig Campbell, and headlined several concerts including at House of Blues and Dallas Bull. He is an old soul with classic charm that takes us back to the golden era of country music. He released his first album, “Dover,” in 2018, named after his hometown of Dover, Florida. He recently signed his first record and management deal with Five 5 Group, and is collaborating on his 2nd album set to be released in the Winter of 2021. His music can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, and other services.
A musical celebration of America’s first “Teen Idol”, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ricky Nelson emerged from “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” to establish himself as one of the most important rock artists and influential musicians of the last 50 years, selling over 140 million recordings. The Nelson Family Legacy continues as Ricky’s twins Matthew and Gunnar Nelson present an interactive, multi-media rock & roll concert experience, taking the audience on a musical journey down memory lane. Matthew and Gunnar (triple platinum recording artist Nelson) perform their dad’s greatest hits including “Poor Little Fool,” “Hello Mary Lou”, “Travelin’ Man”, “I’m Walking”, “Garden Party”, alongside their self-penned chart-toppers “Love & Affection” and “After the Rain.” This show is truly a slice of Americana, appealing to multi-generational audiences.
Zach’s powerful and poignant journey spans how a boy with a storybook childhood filled with wonderfully nurturing parents, a strong and supportive grounding in the church, and a warm and loving local community was seduced away by the illusion of rock stardom, and the drug and alcohol excesses that can so often accompany that lifestyle. These days, the Jonesboro, Arkansas-raised and currently Nashville, Tennessee-based artist is a renewed man. He’s a husband, a father, and has also become one of CCM’s leading artists and songwriters by carving a niche with his singular blend of southern rock, country, and faith-filled songwriting, which quickly awarded him his first GRAMMY Award® with his debut album, 2017’s Chain Breaker. With two additional GRAMMY nods among numerous other accolades, he now returns to share his boldly vulnerable and hope-filled sophomore album, aptly titled Rescue Story. Zach’s music pulls from the hard-luck truths of outlaw country, the dirt-road grit of southern rock, the contemporary roots music of alt-country artists, and a firm grounding in classic and contemporary Christian artists that stretches back to his dad’s old Petra records.
Music has always been a part of Lee Greenwood’s life. He started playing the piano when he was seven and the saxophone at 12. In junior high, he started his first group called the Moonbeams. His sister Patricia was the piano player in the band. By the time, he finished High School he played almost all the instruments in the orchestra and was the Drum Major for the marching band. Greenwood was born in Los Angeles California & finished high school in Sacramento in June 1960. He passed on track & music scholarships to the College of the Pacific along with a professional baseball career to pursue his passion for music. He also elected to skip his high school graduation ceremony to begin work at the Golden Hotel & Casino in Reno Nevada with his own band, the “Apollos”. That turned out to be a great choice. The California native was discovered in 1979 by Larry McFaden, who saw him performing in a show at the Nugget Casino in Sparks, Nevada. Larry was the bass player and bandleader for Mel Tillis. He brought the singer to Nashville and got him signed to the Halsey Agency, who booked The Oak Ridge Boys. He began working with producer Jerry Crutchfield who would record with Lee for the next 20 years. “Choosing songs to record is always exciting,” says Greenwood. “I’m a songwriter as well and I love lyrics that have depth and emotion. I’m thankful for the many writers & artists who have contributed to my career”. With seven #1 songs & 25 charted singles to his credit, choosing songs proved to be a success for Greenwood. His country hits include: “It Turns Me Inside Out”, “Ring On Her Finger Time On Her Hands”, ”She’s Lying”, “I Don’t Mind the Thorns If You’re The Rose”, “Dixie Road”, “Somebody’s Gonna Love You”, “Going Going Gone”, “You Got A Good Love Comin”, “Fools Gold”, and “Mornin Ride” while he already garnered several crossover hits such as “Touch & Go Crazy”, “IOU” and the duet with Barbara Mandrell, “To Me”. Lee Greenwood has won numerous industry awards including, Male Vocalist of the Year from the Academy of Country Music in 1983, two Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association in 1983 & 1984 and a Grammy for Top Male Vocal Performance in 1985 for “I.O.U.”. The CMA also named “God Bless The U.S.A.” its Song of the Year in 1985. “God Bless the USA” went far beyond what Greenwood expected when he wrote it in the back of his tour bus in 1983. The song has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001 and 2003), giving it the distinction of being the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat. It was also #1 on the pop charts after 9/11/01. In addition, CBS News voted “God Bless The U.S.A.” the most recognizable patriotic song in America. In 2011, Beyonce offered her version of “God Bless the U.S.A.” as a download, with the proceeds going to the 9/11 firefighters fund in NYC. It has been performed by contestants on “American Idol” twice & was the winning song in 2011 Dancing with the Stars competition on ABC. It is performed at all military and patriotic events throughout the year all across America. “USA” has also been in several movies and is now part of the film shown by The Department of Homeland Security when new citizens are sworn into the United States. Greenwood says, “USA is the song I always felt the need to write. I wanted to have something that would unite Americans from coast to coast and instill pride back in the United States. The song represents my family, my community, and those men and women who have paid the price for the freedoms we all love and enjoy.”
Multiple chart-topping singer/songwriter Jake Owen’s new single “Made For You” is rapidly climbing the Billboard Country Airplay charts. With eight #1 songs to his name, “Made For You” follows Owen’s fastest-rising career #1 single, “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” and most recent #1 single, “Homemade.” Owen’s songs have resonated with listeners and audiences everywhere with 2X PLATINUM anthem and Most Played Song of the Decade “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” PLATINUM-certified hits “Beachin,’” “Anywhere With You,” “Alone With You,” “The One That Got Away,” and GOLD-certified “American Country Love Song.” Owen’s sixth studio album, GREETINGS FROM… JAKE, produced three Top 10 singles, including two #1 singles and his current top 30 and climbing “Made For You.” Signed to Big Loud Records, Owen is reunited with award-winning Joey Moi, who helped produce his breakout Barefoot Blue Jean Night album, which landed at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and garnered four consecutive #1 hits. Owen is gearing up to join Moi once again to record his seventh studio album.
The dictionary defines harmony as “a combination of musical sounds considered to be pleasing”. The music world could define harmony as “The Lettermen”. For more than 50 years, The Lettermen– Donovan Tea, Bobby Poynton, and Rob Gulack, each of whom are entertainers in their own right—have kept the meaning of harmony alive with their soft, romantic, harmonic blend of music which is as popular with their fans today as it was in 1961 when they recorded their first hit, “The Way You Look Tonight”. For The Lettermen debut single record in the summer of 1961, Capitol Records decided to put a romantic ballad on the B-side of “That’s My Desire”, which was an attempt at a doo-wop single, figuring radio stations would have to play the A-side because the B-side was so sweet, and slow, and did not necessarily encompass the commercial sound of the day. The B-side was “The Way You Look Tonight”. Soft, melodic, and romantic, it was a departure from the rock ‘n’ roll music of the day. Eventually, listener requests made it a must for radio station playlists nationwide. The song shot to No. 13, on the Billboard chart. The group’s second single that year did even better. “When I Fall In Love,” another soft, slow ballad hit No.7, establishing The Lettermen as the most romantic singing group of a generation. To their credit, The Lettermen have over 75 albums— numerous certified gold – and a myriad of hits including “When I Fall In Love”, “Come Back Silly Girl”, “Theme From A Summer Place”, “Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”, “Put Your Head On My Shoulder”, “Hurt So Bad”, and “Shangri-La”. The Lettermen have also enjoyed international success touring Japan, The Philippines, China, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, France, South America, Canada, Mexico, and even Saudi Arabia. They have sung and recorded in many different languages and have received eighteen gold records internationally. Even though there have been personnel changes over the years, the one thing that has remained constant is the vision that Tony Butala first dreamed of – that unique three-part harmony as only The Lettermen can achieve. Though musical tastes have changed over the years, The Lettermen legacy continues. Harmony will always endure the true test of time– just as The Lettermen have stood the test of time.
There’s a very good reason that Rolling Stone magazine, in their iconic issue “500 Greatest Rock and Roll Performers” said of the Drifters “No group has done it this well for this long–no one, not even the Rolling Stones.” That’s quite an accolade to live up to but hopefully, on their latest tour, the Drifters will once again prove Rolling Stone to be the sage of rock and roll. Through their historic journey which began in 1957, the Drifters have had no less than 5 legendary lead singers including Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Clyde McPhatter and Ben E. King. Such stalwart and famed individual lead singers as Charley Thomas, Bill Pinkney, and Johnny Moore have passed through the group over the years, each recording their share of Drifters hits. And today, as has been the case for nearly 25 years, their star lead singer is Jerome Jackson who also performed as the lead singer for the Main Ingredient in the 1970s. There are many “firsts” for the Drifters; they were the first group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with fellow inductees The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Supremes. Just reflect for a moment if you will, on that class of Rock and Roll stars that the Drifters were an integral part of. They were the first musical rock and roll group to include string instruments into rhythm and blues music with their hauntingly beautiful song, “There Goes My Baby”. They were the first musical group to sell two million records with their pop classic “Up on the Roof”. Their classic tune “Under the Boardwalk” is the most played R&B disc of all time. They have sold over 200 million records across the world; a feat that has only been outdone by Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, and Adele. They were part of the longest-running sold-out concert show in Las Vegas history. For fifteen years, every night along with the Platters and the Cornell Gunther Coasters, sold-out first at the Sahara Hotel, then at the Hard Rock Café, and finally, at the Paris Hotel. No other show has come near that level of success anywhere. Their performance last year for President Bush Senior, at his 90th birthday party, was the sixth president that the Drifters have performed for over the last 35 years from the Inaugural Balls of President Reagan, Clinton, and Ford to President Nixon’s birthday party and President Obama’s daughter’s graduation–when history is made, the Drifters have been part of the celebration.
That they are still roaring and soaring should be no surprise. That’s just how they are built. TESLA may have been born in the mid-80s eruption of leather, spandex, and big hair, but this band has never been about those things. Hardly. Their bluesy, soulful sound is strongly embedded in the roots of organic, authentic, 1970s rock and roll. The same roots that produced bands like The Allman Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Aerosmith. The ground started shaking up in Sacramento, CA, in 1984; gold country that would soon be producing some platinum. They started out as City Kidd, until someone suggested they change their name in honor of eccentric inventor Nikola TESLA, who pioneered all things electrical – and who, like any revolutionary rock and roll band, made magic working with the basic forces of nature. A blizzard of industry showcase gigs and TESLA quickly scored a deal with Geffen. Their 1986 debut album, Mechanical Resonance, would eventually go platinum, nestled comfortably in the Top 40, and produce the iconic hard rock hits, “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Little Suzi.” Today, Mechanical Resonance lives on as one of the most successful and acclaimed debuts of the era. But it was the follow-up that truly pushed things over the edge and started to solidify the legacy of the band. 1989’s The Great Radio Controversy brought in many new legions of fans, thanks to a potent one-two sonic punch. The first single, “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” scored huge with hard rock audiences, while the poignant ballad, “Love Song,” provided a softer counterpoint. This helped push the album into the Top 20 and double-platinum sales figures. All of a sudden, TESLA, who cut their teeth opening some of the biggest tours of the 80s from Def Leppard to David Lee Roth, had earned full headlining status, and the brakes were off. In 1990, TESLA helped reshape the face of modern hard rock music by stripping down to the Five Man Acoustical Jam, a loose, informal collection of their biggest hits peppered with rock and roll classics by the Beatles, Stones, and others. Not only did the format reveal just how sturdy and rock solid the band’s catalog was, but it also inspired every major band after them to perform similar acoustic, storytelling shows, going back to the basics. TESLA’s daring experiment also produced their biggest hit single, a cover of Five Man Electrical Band’s “Signs.” Another platinum album, Psychotic Supper, was released in 1991 and as the early 90s gave way to Seattle’s grunge wave, TESLA, unlike many other bands of their era, managed to keep pushing forward thanks to loyal fans and their ever-present unpretentious approach to the craft. After a worldwide arena tour as headliners, they released Bust a Nut in 1994. Then, internal band conflicts shut everything down until 2000. After a four-year break, they exploded back onto the scene with a sold-out hometown show at the Arco Arena in Sacramento. TESLA was back, on their own terms. They started their own label and released their own music. The fans had never gone away, and TESLA was still selling hundreds of thousands of albums. Only now, they were in full command of their own destiny, in all its rugged, ragged glory. For the last 18 years, they have continued to release new original music, live sets, and more. They are as productive as they have ever been. 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of one of TESLA’s most iconic albums, Five Man Acoustical Jam. The upcoming 2020 tour will feature performances of the most seminal tracks from this ground-breaking acoustic record. TESLA also visited the legendary London recording studio Abbey Road in June 2019 where they performed, recorded, and filmed a semi-acoustic set that will become their next live album, Five Man London Jam. The new record honors songs from the original live album combined with the wealth of hit songs they’ve crafted over their 30-year legacy. TESLA has endured many of the same taste-changing challenges that affected many in the post-grunge world, but through it, all, their blue-collar work ethic and dedication to the faithful fan base has helped them not just survive, but thrive. “That’s TESLA? I know that song. I love that song.” You hear it every day. Younger audiences follow the band because they know the music is real. Older audiences love that a band styled on the classic 1970s model can still kick ass all over the world. TESLA is a band for the ages. All ages. They were never a flavor of the month. TESLA’s legacy is alive and well as they continue to record and sell out venues all over the world. As comfortable, rugged, and dependable as your favorite pair of boots, they endure. TESLA is a celebration of the greatest spirits of rock and roll.
Masterful country music stylist, Gene Watson, from Houston, Texas has been thrilling audiences for more than 50 years. The depth of emotion in his singing, his brilliant phrasing, his jaw-dropping range, and the power in the lyrics he chooses are all factors in the awe he inspires in both fans and his musical peers. A proud member of the Grand Ole Opry, Gene Watson’s tally of 75 charted titles, 23 top-10 hits, and 6 number-one singles has also led to membership in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and the Houston Music Hall of Fame. Radio listeners are still transfixed whenever classics like “Farewell Party,” “Fourteen Carat Mind” or “Love in the Hot Afternoon” are played. Watson is one of the rare singers who still sings in the same key as he did 30 years ago and his audiences respond with standing ovations night after night when he nails the octave jumping last note on his most requested song, the now country classic “Farewell Party.” Considered one of the finest pure-country singers of his generation and known as “The Singer’s Singer,” Watson offers up one of the best traditional country shows in the business. His stunning voice captivates audiences and keeps his fans coming back again and again.
In the last seven years since his debut, Cole Swindell has racked up over 4 BILLION global career streams, an impressive 10 No. 1 singles; 11 No. 1 singles as a songwriter; one 1 billion+ audience reaching single (“You Should Be Here”), nine Platinum singles (two singles at 2x Platinum); a Platinum-certified debut album (Cole Swindell) and a Gold‐certified sophomore album (You Should Be Here), his No. 1 hit “Break Up In The End” was named the NSAI Song of the Year (2019), as well as numerous songwriting including being named the NSAI Songwriter/Artist of the Year (2016) and Music Row’s Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year during his debut (2015). The Grammy‐nominated multi‐Platinum rising superstar has toured with the biggest superstars in country music including Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, and officially became a headliner on his own Reason To Drink Tours in 2018. Swindell has sold out all four of his Down Home Tours in support of the Down Home Sessions I, II, III, IV. The Georgia native kicked off his headlining Down To Earth Tour in March 2020 before it went on pause amidst the COVID‐ 19 and shortly after released his now multi‐week No 1 single “Single Saturday Night.” He is currently on tour with Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road Tour. Swindell has played on some of the biggest stages in the world including making history being the first-ever live radio and TV broadcast from the 57th-floor terrace of 4 World Trade Center, overlooking the Freedom Tower where he performed his hit “You Should Be Here.” He has played high‐profile national television performances on NBC’s Citi Concert Series on TODAY, ABC’s Good Morning America, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, ABC’s CMA Fest specials, CMA and ACM Awards, MLB Network, NASCAR and Sports Illustrated among others.
Comprised of Bobby Bones and Eddie “Producer Eddie” Garcia, Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots is a band who has earned a reputation for “their comedic deliveries” (American Songwriter), and now has the whole world singing and laughing with them. Bobby Bones is an award-winning radio and TV personality. iHeartMedia’s The Bobby Bones Show is the #1 Country morning show, broadcasting to over 180 stations with millions of weekly listeners. The Bobby Bones Show recently garnered its second Country Music Association Award for National Broadcast Personality of the Year and fourth ACM Award for National On-Air Personality of the Year and earned Bones the title of youngest-ever inductee into the prestigious National Radio Hall of Fame. Bones breakout TV series for National Geographic, “Breaking Bobby Bones, is streaming now on Disney+. He has served as the official in-house mentor on ABC’s “American Idol,” won season 27 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” and serves as host and executive producer of Circle Network’s “Opry.” Producer Eddie first met Bones while working as his producer for a local TV station. Together they produced daily segments highlighting the local and national music scene and would later create a late-night talk show on the same station, aptly titled “The Almost Late Show with Bobby Bones.” Eddie moved to Nashville with Bones to serve as the show’s media producer but quickly found himself on the air performing with Bones. The Raging Idiots started while Bones was in high school, then later as a “fake” opener for his solo comedy act. The band was reinvented again in 2014 for a single charity event for no more than 40 people. Soon after, they decided to do one more show for charity in Wichita, KS, selling over 3,000 tickets and fueling their drive to continue to use humor and music to help various communities. Since then, The Raging Idiots have rallied together to raise millions while sharing the stage with superstars Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, and Luke Bryan. Most recently, their sold-out 5th Annual Million Dollar Show raised over a quarter-million dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, helping to bring Bones’ and The Bobby Bones Show total for the cause to over $16 million. The duo released its AWARD WINNING EP on May 14. The project follows the success of fan-favorite hits like “The Target Song,” “Hobby Lobby Bobby” and “The Emoji Love Song” and features three fresh new tracks anchored by “comedic deliveries that blend, but don’t overshadow their actual, legitimate musical talent” (American Songwriter). Most recently, Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots kept “music and laughter flowing” (Sounds Like Nashville) as they headlined the inaugural BOBBYFEST —an all-day, family-friendly music festival hitting two cities over two days —New Braunfels, TX (9/4) and Wichita, KS (9/5), which also featured performances by Russell Dickerson, Maddie & Tae and more.
By now the story of Grammy-winning, multiplatinum hip-hop superstar-actor-entrepreneur-philanthropist Nelly’s meteoric rise to stardom is a well-known, oft-recited part of hip-hop history. The standout member of the St. Louis rap collective the St. Lunatics inks a deal with Universal Motown Records, drops a sizzling single called “Country Grammar” with a familiar nursery rhyme hook, and follows it up with a debut album of the same name that spawns three humongous hits, spends seven weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart, scores three Grammy nominations, and sells an astonishing 9 million copies worldwide. That, of course, is the abridged version of a story that began years ago in a part of St. Louis known as University City. It’s the story of a young man whose life was so unsettled that he moved from place to place, from family member to family member, and hung out on the streets with “the big dirties” who introduced him to the underbelly of the city. But Nelly’s is also a story of achievement—overachievement, even. As a child, Nelly, born Cornell Haynes, Jr., was always the fastest runner, the best catcher, the hottest player on the team. He was so gifted, in fact, that he almost ended up in professional baseball instead of music. Much to the delight of the legions of fans that now rank him among hip-hop’s premier artists, Nelly charged onto the hip-hop scene in the summer of 2000 with his groundbreaking debut album, Country Grammar. The critical acclaim, accolades, and awards rolled in almost as fast as the record sales. Country Grammar snagged four Grammy nominations, two for Best Rap Solo Performance (“Ride Wit Me,” “Country Grammar”), Best Rap/Song Collaboration (“Where The Party At,” with Jagged Edge), and Best Rap Album (Country Grammar). Nelly also topped Billboard’s 2000 year-end chart as the Top Male Rap Artist, and he was nominated for two Source Awards, an MTV Video Music Award, two BET Awards, an American Music Award, and a Soul Train Music Award.
Howard and David continue to prove that the trail they’ve ridden to fame has been as unique as their music itself—music that is now celebrating over 40 years of success. The road that started on the pop music charts in the ’70s, took a winding turn into country music in the ’80s, paving the way for duos to come, such as Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Big & Rich, and previously—The Judds. But before the road forked into country, the musical odyssey of brothers Bellamy started creatively smoldering in their home state of Florida, before exploding nationally amidst the ’70’s pop music culture of L.A. The brother’s first official gig was in 1968, playing a free show with their father at the Rattlesnake Roundup in San Antonio, Florida. They honed their early skills playing Black clubs throughout the south, and singing backup for artists such as Percy Sledge, Eddie Floyd, and Little Anthony & The Imperials. Within a few months, the brothers moved north, immersing themselves and their rock/country sound in the Atlanta market, where the Allman Brothers were the emerging kings of the music world. With the dawning of the Age of Aquarius on the horizon, and America embroiled in a smoke haze of drugs, civil unrest, and an unpopular war, The Bellamy’s music picked up the hard-driving edge that bespoke the times. Songwriting had become David Bellamy’s drug of choice during the long road gigs he and Howard were regularly pulling bodies and equipment to and from. It was his songwriting that was posed to soon provide the duo a national breakout. The break came in the form of the hit, “Spiders & Snakes,” written by David and recorded by Jim Stafford. The song became a smash, eventually selling more than three million units worldwide. It became the catapult that rocketed the brothers onto the L.A. music scene. Young and impressionable, Howard and David fell into the musical circle of the greats of the day: Bob Dylan, James Taylor, and Van Morrison, as well as West Coast-based country rockers like Poco and the Byrds. It was a creative shoe that fit. Now known by their music and the company they were keeping, The Bellamys officially lifted off the launch pad in 1976 when their single, “Let Your Love Flow,” became an instant smash in both the U.S. and Europe. It stayed on the international charts long enough to build a huge international fan base for the hip young brothers that endures to this day. In Germany alone, it perched at No. 1 for more than two months. The love was indeed flowing as The Bellamys jammed for audiences on their sold-out concerts and shared stages with the likes of Loggins & Messina, the Doobie Brothers, and the Beach Boys with their patented blend of rock/country music. True to their musical roots, their style and their songwriting were moving steadily more towards their raising. By the late ’70s, The Bellamys were emerging on the country charts with another bona fide smash. “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me),” originally scrawled on a dinner napkin by David, rocketed them to the top of the country charts the way “Let Your Love Flow,” had done in the pop market just a few years earlier. It proved to be the first of a string of fourteen No. 1 singles in the U.S. alone. Success followed success: “Dancing Cowboys,” “Sugar Daddy,” “You Ain’t Just Whistlin’ Dixie,” “Lovers Live Longer,” “Do You Love As Good As You Look,” “Redneck Girl,” “For All The Wrong Reasons,” “I Love Her Mind,” “I Need More Of You,” “Old Hippie,” “Too Much Is Not Enough,” “Kids Of The Baby Boom,” “Reggae Cowboy” and “Crazy From The Heart,”…all have lined the corridors of The Bellamy’s musical history and their walls with platinum and gold. Along the way, Howard and David created a patent on the newly cool “duo” category in country music. In the era of the 2000s, The Bellamy Brothers hold the record in both the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and the Country Music Association Awards (CMA) for the most duo nominations. Numerous GRAMMY nods have also been directed toward the brothers. Internationally, the story has been the same—though the titles may be different. The Bellamys have released more than two-dozen hit songs outside the U.S. that were never released here. With a sharp eye on the songwriting skills that have been the bedrock of their success, Howard and David concur that their career is unique in their international finesse for matching their songs to the market. “For the international releases, you have to have a strong melody,” notes David. “The lyric is very important, but internationally the melody is something fans can lock into, even if they can’t understand the lyrics.” Howard and David continue to perform and film TV specials in Europe and around the world.
“It felt like the beginning of the next chapter in my life,” says Sam Hunt of finishing his second studio album, SOUTHSIDE. Daring in both its emotional heft and sonic explorations, the set arrives on April 3. Hunt made his remarkable debut back in 2014 with Montevallo, a revealing self-portrait told via a pastiche of sounds native to Hunt’s Georgia hometown: country, hip-hop, and R&B. The collection went triple platinum and logged four No.1 Country Airplay singles, a first for any male in the history of the genre off of a first album. Singles like “Leave the Night On,” “Take Your Time,” “House Party,” and “Break Up in a Small Town,” all platinum-certified in their own right, each also enjoyed true crossover success. All four cracked the Top 30 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. But fame and fandom have curious effects on creativity, Hunt found. And while working on his follow-up, there were moments where he felt the weight of public perception and expectation. “I knew too much,” he says, “there was a lot more to consider. I didn’t know what I wanted to say—how I wanted it to sound.” He stopped writing entirely for two years. “I questioned what was next for me,” he confides. He searched for a breakthrough with a variety of pop and hip-hop producers, all eager to try on a variety of sounds. (“I did a lot of over-thinking,” he quips, recalling the quest.) Direction arrived instead when Hunt reunited with names familiar to those who’ve studied the Montevallo liner notes: powerhouse songwriters Josh Osborne (Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw) and Shane McAnally (Kacey Musgraves, Thomas Rhett) and songwriter-producer Zach Crowell, who helmed the soundboard for SOUTHSIDE. “There’s a beauty to writing with people who know you well,” he says, “people who you spend a lot of days with—people who you have had conversations with about what you want to do and people who know what your limitations are. They know what’s authentic, in terms of what kind of song you want to write.” Re-embracing that team became an obvious choice. “The progress spoke for itself,” he explains. “The greatest thing about them is that they have opinions and they’re assertive. We all take that approach with each other in the studio.” In doing so, it brought him back to the way he used to pen songs, straight from the heart. “I had to lose some of the calculation,” he recalls. “It had become too mechanical.” It became about, again, “letting the emotion lead; using more heart than the head when it comes to writing.” In Osborne, in particular, he found a partner in his heady approach to songcraft. “When we have an idea, Josh and I will sit and talk out all the ways not to write it, and all the best ways to write it,” Hunt explains. It takes time, but the extra effort is, for the 35-year-old, a necessary part of the process. “We put a fine-tooth comb to a song. He’s willing to do that—a lot of people won’t.” Together, they fashioned songs that snake between open-hearted, Nineties country (“2016,” “Let It Down,” “Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90s”), sizzling R&B (“Nothing Lasts Forever”), and brooding speak-singing confessions (“That Ain’t Beautiful,” a set standout). “Young Once” sees Hunt turn nostalgia into the sounds of the future, laying a soulful missive over airy atmospherics and a glitchy drum loop. And on “Sinning With You,” he ruminates on his ever-evolving faith over choral effects and reverb-soaked strings. One-upping the old adage that country music is just “three chords and the truth,” here, he makes magic with only two. Hunt has sent shockwaves through the industry before, moving the very mainstream of the genre towards his hip-hop inflected fare following the release of Montevallo, and he finds welcome new terrain again with the irresistible “Hard to Forget.” Currently climbing the Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts, Hunt warps a Webb Pierce sample (1953’s No.1 “There Stands the Glass”) into a drop, mixing in a boom-thwack beat. The results are downright euphoric; a true celebration of musical innovation.