Sunday, November 29, 2015

Country Christmas Playlist

1. Mistletoe -Lucy Hale
2. Carol of the Bells -LeAnn Rimes
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas -Sara Evans
4. Joy to the World -Faith Hill
5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside -Lady Antebellum 
6. Santa Baby -Kellie Pickler
7. White Christmas -Martina McBride
8. All I Want for Christmas is You -Whitney Duncan
9. Baby! It’s Christmas -Jessie James Decker
10. Do You Hear What I Hear -Carrie Underwood
11. Up On the Housetop -Reba McEntire
12. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree -Kaitlyn Baker
13. Country Christmas -Loretta Lynn
14. Mistletoe -Colbie Caillat
15. I’ll Be Home -Meghan Trainor

1. Wrapped in Red Album -Kelly Clarkson
2. Merry Christmas -Mariah Carey

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jana Kramer: This Year's Grand Marshal for the 62nd annual Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade

This year one of Music City's highest honors is going to the girls. With her new album "31" recently released and a baby on the way, Jana Kramer has made a place in the hearts of country music fans all across the nation. Nashville is honoring Jana's success and major accomplishments by naming her this year's Grand Marshal for the 62nd annual Piedmont Natural Gas Nashville Christmas Parade.

The parade with take place on December 5th through the streets of Downtown Nashville. The parade will also feature the Nashville Ballet, Vanderbilt University’s Spirit of Gold marching band, and an abundance of balloons and floats. All the proceeds from the event go to Piedmont’s Share the Warmth energy assistance program, which provides money to low-income families giving them the ability to pay their energy bills and stay warm for the winter.

The parade will begin at 10AM at 8th Ave. and Broadway, heading east down Broadway to 2nd Ave. N, crossing over the Cumberland River, and ending at the base of Woodland St. Bridge.

Want more Jana Kramer news and pictures follow @janakramerstar on Instagram

Friday, November 27, 2015

CMA Christmas Hosted By Jennifer Nettles

CCX_2015_KA_v3a_WEB_Lyrd with hostWith Thanksgiving now behind us the holiday season is now upon us and there’s no better way to kick off the most wonderful time of the year with CMA Country Christmas. Enjoy the magic of the holidays with your favorite Country stars, as they perform classic Christmas songs and share their treasured holiday memories. Hosted by the talented Jennifer Nettles and including Performances by Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Brett Eldredge, Mickey Guyton, Jewel, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, Nettles, Pentatonix, Thomas Rhett LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, Brian Setzer, Michael W. Smith, and Lindsey Stirling this is sure an event worthy enough to land a spot on calendars all across the nation.

Want to learn more about CMA Country Christmas check out their website at and make sure to share your christmas stories using the hashtage #CMACHRISTMAS

CMA Country Christmas airs on Thursday, December 3rd at 9|8c on ABC

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

20 Songs to Listen to Over Your Thanksgiving Break

1. Fire -Merritt Whitley
2. Play Like Ken -Ashley Taylor
3. By the Way -Lindsay Ell
4. Pretty Boy -Ania Hammar
5. Dance in the Rain -Jana Kramer
6. I am Invincible -Cassadee Pope
7. Name Changer -Lindsey Bryant
8. Fireflies -April Kry
9. Just a Boy -Maddie Wilson
10. Burn -Kaitlyn Baker
11. Seal it With a Kiss -McKenna Faith
12. Five More Minutes -Ashley Gearing
13. American Dreamin' -Brooke Eden
14. Hold On -Aileeah Colgan
15. Talk is Cheap -Brit Daniels
16. Heartbeat -Carrie Underwood
17. Somebody's Hero -Jamie O'Neal
18. Always Sing -RaeLynn
19. Heart Unlocked -Olivia Lane
20. Bar Hoppin' -Sandra Lynn

Listen on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and more...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kelsa Ballerini on Vinyl

Have a vinyl player? Make sure to purchase Kelsea Ballerini new album "The First Time" available in vinyl on amazon and in stores today! Don't have a record player check out my story on the vinyl comeback and why you should add a record player to your christmas list this year.

Next Women of Country: The Vinyl Comeback

With music these days more convenient to find music while opening up more space in your home, the use of CD’s and vinyls his diminished greatly.However since 1993 record players have been making a steady comeback in sales from fewer than 500,000 units in 1993 to 6 million last year, according to Nielsen Soundscan, which tracks music sales.
“The sale of vinyl records has gone up for four years in a row now  a 30-to-40 percent gain each year,” said Chamberlain, who sells used as well as new vinyl at his store in addition to some CDs.

The demand has increased so much that Nashville-based United Record Pressing, the plant that presses most LPs, is expanding and will be able to nearly double its output, according to a May 2014 Billboard Magazine interview.
Chamberlain said the reasons for the jump in sales are varied. First, there is the sound quality, which Chamberlain insists is superior on vinyl.
“There’s something to be said for putting on a record, It just sounds like it breathes, it sounds alive compared to a digital thing which is kind of harsh-sounding to me.”
The reason for that, he says is that the compression used to make digital files smaller, whether on a CD or on a computer or mobile device stored as an MP3 file, eliminates much of the high and low-end frequencies in order to save space.“With a record, that doesn’t happen, so it sounds better,” Chamberlain said.Not everyone is convinced the sound quality is superior, though. Therrian Dolby, manager at Newbury Comics in Northampton, which sells CDs and vinyl LPs, said the difference in sound quality is “arguably” better, and Dave Witthaus, owner of Platterpus Records in East Hampton said he’s in his 50s and he’s just glad he can hear anything, never mind the subtle differences in quality between a CD and record.

Simply put, there isn’t a quick explanation for the rise in LP sales, Dolby said. “I couldn’t pick out a single common thread except vinyl is a very cool thing to have right now,” said Dolby. One thing that seems to be driving that “cool factor,” beyond a supposed superior audio experience, is the experience of purchasing, playing and collecting these tangible objects, wrapped in sometimes elaborate covers and artwork.“It’s a 12-by-12 canvas,” Witthaus said of LP album covers. CDs, by contrast, come with a 5 by 5 booklet and digital music comes with a tiny photo on a small screen, if that, said Witthaus.“What’s cooler, having a nice record or having this?” Chamberlain asked, pointing to a small MP3 player with a grainy postage-sized photo of an album cover displayed on it.

Some artists, like Jack White, have also embraced the inherent collectability of the format by releasing their work on LPs made from vinyl of different colors and in limited batches.
Glenn Siegel, administrative adviser at WMUA in Amherst, boasts a collection of about 2,000 vinyl LPs he started collecting in the mid-1970s, he said.For Siegel, the biggest advantage to LPs is their historic value.“A good part of my jazz education came from reading the back of album covers,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.Siegel noted that digital music doesn’t come with the same liner notes and information about the construction of the album and the people who performed on it the way LPs did in their liner notes.It bears noting that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awards a Grammy each year for best album notes.Siegel said that many of his older LPs don’t necessarily sound as good as CDs, simply because they’re older and have been played often and have some “hiss” and “crackle”, but modern LPs tend to be made from higher-grade, thicker vinyl, making a new LP sound just as good, if not better than most CDs.

Another driver for the vinyl market is a rejection by music fans of digital formats in general, some because of the disputed sound quality, others because they’ve never had the LP experience, Dolby said.Still others find themselves rifling through bins of new and used LPs to replace records they got rid of when CDs were dominant or to find rare albums that weren’t released on CD at all or were released in inferior versions on CD.“Most people look at the used things first,” Chamberlain said. “There’s often something really special in there.”
Or, something you can’t get on CD at all.For example, Witthaus said, Little Feat’s classic “Waiting for Columbus” was originally released on CD with key tracks missing from the LP version because they couldn’t fit on a CD.
He said he can’t remember the last time he sold a Little Feat CD, but he sells LP copies of their work often.It’s not just used LPs or re-issues that are driving the market, either.
According to Digital Music News, the top-selling LP of 2013 was Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories,” followed by Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City,” and Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor.”

Having a more permanent version of a cherished album may also be important to those who have their entire collections saved as digital files, Dolby said. One thing many people who switched to digital may not have considered, Dolby said, is the format isn’t as permanent as some may think. In many cases, digital music is only available to the consumer as long as their computer’s hard drive is working. A catastrophic crash can erase an entire collection and, in some cases, it can’t be retrieved without re-purchasing everything.And, as vinyl gains in popularity, more and more people have lost interest in CDs altogether.

Witthaus estimates that he sells about 10 LPs for every one CD and Dolby said many younger music fans have never purchased a CD at all. “They’ve never even thought about it,” he said. Where digital formats have the upper hand against vinyl is in their portability.
Witthaus said the problem with LPs is the same one it has always been — you can’t listen to one in your car.

And, as much of a vinyl fan as Chamberlain is, he does have to resort to listening to MP3s when on his bike, he said.Ryan Clark, 18, who was searching through the vinyl bin at Newbury Comics on Wednesday, said he thinks it’s that portability that drew people away from LPs in the first place.“With that, people have lost the true sound of music and gone for what’s easy and quick,” he said.But, once you’ve gone and picked up a bunch of new or used vinyl, what can you play it on?Chamberlain said savvy shoppers can check out thrift stores and flea markets for used equipment, including turntables, amplifiers and speakers. Witthaus said a meager investment in hardware can produce really satisfying results, but he does recommend being prepared to spend $100-$200 for a good-quality needle and cartridge to get the most sound per spin.

Regardless of the type of turntable or size of the speakers, what doesn’t change is the ritual of bringing an album home, opening it up, examining the album artwork, reading the liner notes and lyrics sheet and settling in for an hour or so of analog music, Dolby said. “It’s more of an experience than shuffling on your iPod,” Dolby said.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Carrie Underwood at the AMA's

Carrie Underwood sure shinned last night on stage and on the red carpet. Winning the award for favorite country artist and promoting her new album "Storyteller" with an all star performance Carrie stole the show last night placing more attention on country music artists at the awards show. 
But all of this isn't new for Carrie. Ever since 2006 Carrie has been a large part of the American Music Awards. Her career has't slowed down since and her history at the AMA's proves just that. The following is a summary of Carrie's past appearances at the AMA's and it's one impressive resumé. 
-- In 2006, she performed of medley of "Before He Cheat," "Don't Forget to Remember Me," and "Jesus Take the Wheel." She was nominated for favorite country female, and won breakthrough artist,
-- In 2007,  she won favorite female country artist, favorite country album and the T-Mobile Text-in Award.
-- In 2008, she won favorite country album, and was nominated for favorite country female.
-- In 2009, she performed "Cowboy Casanova," and was nominated for favorite country female.
-- In 2010, she won favorite country album, and was nominated for favorite county female.
-- In 2012, she performed "Cowboy Casanova," won favorite country album, and was nominated for favorite country female.
-- In 2013, she was nominated for favorite country female.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Highway, Why Are There so Few Women of Country?

Found with a lack of commercials and available across the nation for all SXM users "The Highway," a new country radio station on Sirius channel 56, has to be the most listened to country radio station in America. With a large following, artists push to get their music on The Highway. From The Highway most songs then begin to be played on local stations therefore expanding the artist's fanbase, I mean just look at Jana Kramer's hit song "I Got the Boy." But even with the large amount of demos received, very few actually get played on The Highway. Most songs played are by big artists, such as this week's top song "Strip it Down" by no other than male country superstar Luke Bryan and what's with the top five all being songs by men? 

Though it may not be entirely The Highway's fault for their top 45 list lacking songs by women, as the list is created with the help of their listeners, The Highway still plays a part in each week’s results by focusing their promotion efforts on the men. With the women of country controversy I have seen that The Highway has increased their number of women on the charts from 2 out of 45 to 9 out of 45, but the ratio still continues to portray a large amount of inequality.

Some may say it’s because of a lack of women in country music, but I beg to differ. Just check out all the women promoted by CMT's Next Women of Country event and on my Instagram account @nextwomenofcountry.

Being a listener to The Highway myself and a member of The Highway Patrol, voting each week for the top 45, I find it saddening to see the lack of females on the charts, while the same names continue to come up every week from Chris Young to Sam Hunt and Brett Eldredge. Though these artists deserve to be heard, I believe it's time to let some new voices into the country music scene while also tackling the issue of women in country. And I believe this can all be done with the help of The Highway and supporters like you.

To help hear your favorite new artist on SXM The Highway, request the artist and a song of your choice while tagging @nextwomenofcoun and @ sxmthehighway on Twitter and make sure to join The Highway Patrol in an effort to push these women to the top of the charts.

This week's top 45 on The Highway:
1. Luke Bryan – Strip It Down
2. Brothers Osborne – Stay A Little Longer
3. Chris Young – I’m Coming Over
4. Sam Hunt – Break Up In A Small Town
5. Chris Janson – Buy Me A Boat
6. Carrie Underwood – Smoke Break
7. Brett Eldredge – Lose My Mind
8. Randy Houser – We Went
9. Blake Shelton – Gonna
10. Brad Paisley – Country Nation
11. Russell Dickerson – Yours
12. A Thousand Horses – (This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial
13. Old Dominion – Nowhere Fast
14. Tim McGraw – Top of the World
15. The Cadillac Three – White Lightning
16. Cam – Burning House
17. William Michael Morgan – I Met A Girl
18. Clare Dunn – Move On
19. The Band Perry – Live Forever
20. Maddie & Tae – Fly
21. Dylan Scott – Crazy Over Me
22. Ryan Kinder – Tonight
23. George Strait – Cold Beer Conversation
24. Sister C – Faint of Heart
25. Jon Pardi – Head Over Boots
26. Florida Georgia Line– Anything Goes
27. Josh Abbott Band – Amnesia
28. Dustin Lynch – Hell of A Night
29. Thomas Rhett – Die A Happy Man
30. Kacey Musgraves – Family is Family
31. Dierks Bentley – Riser
32. Billy Currington – Don’t It
33. Kenny Chesney – Save It For A Rainy Day
34. LoCash – I Love This Life
35. Keith Urban – John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16
36. Elle King – America’s Sweetheart
37. Blake Shelton – Sangria
38. Kelsea Ballerini – Dibs
39. Thomas Rhett – Buy Me A Boat
40. Chase Bryant – Little Bit Of You
41. Sam Hunt – House Party
42. Danielle Bradbery – Friend Zone
43. Brantley Gilbert – One Hell of an Amen
44. Zac Brown Band – Homegrown
45. Cole Swindell – Let Me See Ya Girl

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why Are There So Few Women in Country Music?

Some of the most inspiring  artists in country music today are female — but you might not suspect that from listening to country radio.

Women have dominated much of the last 12 months in country music, releasing some of the most impactful albums of the year — except commercially.

It’s been the subject of much discussion both within and without the Nashville industry, with everyone from Billboard to NPR weighing in on the puzzling statistics. But there seems to be little more light at the end of the tunnel then there was a year ago today for female artists who are trying to compete with men at country radio.

Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift are among the only female artists who have scored major success at country radio recently, as the genre has become even more dominated by “bro country” artists like Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.
Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe and Brandy Clark released three of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2013, but only Musgraves has had a Top 10 hit, and she’s so far proven unable to follow it up. That didn’t stop her from winning an armload of awards for her major label debut, ‘Same Trailer Different Park,’ including a Grammy for Best Country Album.

"The country music business is almost entirely male-dominated, especially at a decision-making level. Most of the record label executives are men, and most of the radio program directors are men, too."

So if women are driving the marketplace in so many ways in terms of the quality of the work they are releasing, why are they not getting more airplay?
It’s a multi-faceted question, and the most obvious part of the equation may be as simple as this: the country music business is almost entirely male-dominated, especially at a decision-making level. Most of the record label executives are men, and most of the radio program directors are men, too.

That may seem to suggest an answer as simple as out-and-out sexism, but it’s much more complicated than that. The truth is that the demographic for country music is predominantly female, which leads many to argue that if radio played more female artists, it would appeal to women more.

But that’s not the thought process in the business. The prevailing argument in the industry appears to be, if we’re marketing primarily to women, then we need to be marketing male artists that they will find attractive and relatable. That’s part  — but only part — of the explanation behind the rise of artists like Bryan, Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and more.

The other, far more important part is — as always in the music business — money. The simple fact is, it’s not the job of radio to provide exposure for the highest-quality songs in the genre. It’s the job of country radio to draw as many listeners to their stations as possible, and keep them listening for as long as possible, so they can present bigger numbers to potential advertisers, which in turn means they can charge higher rates for ads. Higher ad rates mean more profit for the station, which is, after all, a for-profit business.
That works in concert with the record labels, who have to try to assess how best to market their artists in light of the current radio environment. Since commercial country radio is still the easiest way to mass market an artist, we’re seeing a trend now where artists are altering their approach to recording in response to trends at radio.

It’s always been that way, of course — go back and listen to any of your favorite albums from the ’80s and ’90s, and chances are they contain some production elements that sound dated now, but were part of an industry trend at the time of their release. But we’re also seeing this get tied in with touring, which has become an even more vital part of the overall bottom line for artists as song revenue has been dramatically impacted by illegal downloading.

As a result, we’re seeing more and more artists develop a career plan that emphasizes touring as much as possible in the biggest venues possible, which then forces them to craft songs that are designed for that environment. As more and more artists place greater emphasis on performing in arena-sized venues, there’s a definite shift toward writing and cutting songs that are intended specifically to play in arenas — a performing environment that doesn’t really lend itself to subtly nuanced, introspective ballads, for instance.

That may well be one reason why Swift, Lambert and Underwood are all doing so well when so many other female acts are not.

"There’s a definite shift toward writing and cutting songs that are intended specifically to play in arenas — a performing environment that doesn’t really lend itself to subtly nuanced, introspective ballads, for instance."

Swift’s recent Red Tour set a new record for the most successful country tour in history, and she has certainly shifted her focus in recent years to songs that can play in a bigger environment, which allows her to design spectacular live shows that are hugely entertaining visually, featuring special effects, dancers and even aerialists. Music is just one part of that equation, and there’s hardly any getting around the fact that it’s probably easier to get an arena full of people excited with material like ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ than with ‘White Horse’ or ‘Teardrops on My Guitar.’

Underwood is another performer who has placed increasing emphasis on visually stunning live shows, and has gradually changed her approach over time to record songs like ‘Blown Away’ that will come off better in larger venues. And while Lambert doesn’t go in for that high-tech approach to the same degree, she definitely leans toward more up-tempo songs, and performs them with a manic energy live that allows her to succeed in bigger places.

“Bro country” is ideally suited to those larger places, since most of its appeal is arguably in the music and particularly the rhythm track, as well as the spirit of fun in those songs. That’s a much better fit for tens of thousands of people tailgating and getting crazy in a huge setting, and it’s no surprise that artists like Bryan, Aldean and more are benefiting from that and breaking through to the largest concert venues in the country.

While they’re not exclusively female, we’re also seeing female-fronted acts like Lady Antebellum and the Band Perry shift their focus away from songs like ‘Need You Now’ and ‘If I Die Young’ and toward fare like ‘Bartender’ and ‘Chainsaw,’ which might be more likely to play well in the bigger settings in which those acts now find themselves. And as acts are able to book larger and larger gigs, there’s more of what the business calls “event power” around each gig — more excitement for more fans, which makes it easier for the local radio station promoting the gig to get fans engaged in ticket giveaways, contests and the like.

That’s better for the stations, who naturally reward those artists by playing their songs more — which then sends a signal to other artists that they need to switch up their approach to get similar results. So even though they’re seemingly unrelated, the radio stations, labels and managers are actually all working in tandem toward a common goal — that of exploiting artists in the commercial marketplace for as much profit as possible. Naturally, they’re going to do that by emphasizing whatever kind of music appears to be getting the best marketplace results during any given album cycle.

That tends to leave out artists like Musgraves, Monroe or Clark. It’s a difficult scenario for them in that the quality and challenging nature of their work may actually play against them getting more air time at commercial radio.

Take Musgraves, for example. Her first major label single, ‘Merry Go ‘Round,’ was a Top 10 hit, and it helped her album debut at No. 1. The second single, ‘Blowin’ Smoke,’ missed the Top 20.
For her third single, Musgraves chose the extremely provocative ‘Follow Your Arrow,’ despite the fact that it addresses hot-button topics like same-sex relationships and marijuana use that are still widely seen as taboo issues for much of country’s more conservative fan base. Predictably, many radio programmers simply chose not to play it at all, rather than risk potentially offending their listeners. The song stalled outside the Top 40, and subsequent singles have so far failed to re-capture her initial heat at radio.

"Even though they’re seemingly unrelated, the radio stations, labels and managers are actually all working in tandem toward a common goal — that of exploiting artists in the commercial marketplace for as much profit as possible."

So far Monroe — whose album ‘Like a Rose’ slants heavily toward a traditional take on country music — has charted with just one of her singles, ‘Weed Instead of Roses,’ which squeaked into the Top 40 at No. 39, while Clark — who’s signed to a smaller label that simply doesn’t have the financial resources to compete on a level playing field at country radio — has had most of her success via alternate marketing means like satellite radio.

The reality for artists of that caliber is simply this: it’s easier for someone to get hammered and put their fist in the air at a huge arena gig to the sounds of the latest hick-hop hit than it is to the strains of a better-written, more subtly nuanced song from a writer of greater substance — which makes it easier to exploit that kind of music for money. Which is what the music industry does for a living.

So what will it take for us to see more women singing material of more substance at country radio?

The main thing a fan can do is (legally) download music from the artists they like, which sends a message to the labels and radio that supporting those artists could be good business. Don’t just complain there’s nothing you like — get engaged, get involved, call your local radio station and ask for what you want, and let them know you want and would support higher fare.
In the meantime, instead of complaining about the lack of women at country radio, let’s focus on the fact that female artists are creating such strong work right now, and celebrate the fact that we as fans get to access that work online, via satellite radio, NPR and especially through attending live shows by those artists. We’re lucky to be living in an age and time when we don’t have to sit around waiting for a song we like to come on the radio — we can go find whatever we want, whenever we want, and that winds up providing enough financial support for those artists to make a good enough living to continue doing what they’re doing.
And that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

Looking for a new album to listen to? Check out new artist Merritt Whitley’s new album “Wait for Me” and request her song “Slow Dance” on SXM The Highway to help get these girls heard!

Whitaker, Sterling. "Why Are There so Few Women in Country Music? ." The Boot. 13 July 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <>.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Women of Country on the Big Screen

Many of our artists have lived with a passion for music from the start, but a few big players in country music gained their fame as actresses in television and up on the big screen.

With some of today's most popular hobbies involving watching movies, catching up on our favorite TV shows (which most consider watching Netflix these days) and listening to music, it's no wonder these actresses joined the music industry as well. Such happened to women of country artist Jana Kramer, widely known for her role of Alex Dupre on the hit TV show One Tree Hill. Previously appearing in hit  shows Friday Night Lights and 90210, Kramer had finally landed herself a main role on the CW's hit show One Tree Hill. Portraying a character much different from the Jana we all know today. Kramer's beauty and acting talents were captured with the sassy, self- absorbed, fashion model character of Alex Dupre when Jana joined the show in its seventh season. Thanks to the help of director and producer Mark Schwahn the show got to capture the beginnings of Jana's music career, eventually backfiring at the beginning of the ninth season, as Jana left the show to release her first album and go on tour. 

Anyone remember the young and quirky character of Sam Puckett on Nickelodeon's ICarly? Current country artist, Jennette McCurdy though known for her role as Sam Puckett on the Nickelodeon sitcom iCarly and its spin-off series Sam & Cat, has also appeared in a number of television series, including Victorious, Zoey 101, True Jackson VP, Malcolm in the Middle, and Lincoln Heights. Not only an actress, McCurdy has had her hand in producing, writing, and starring in her own online series What's Next for Sarah? And since May 2015, she has starred in the Netflix series Between. This girl has truly set her name into the young adult scene and hopes to do the same with her music as she works with Capitol Records Nashville to produce her next country hit album.

Another actress who currently is juggling the portrayal of Aria Montgomery on ABC Family's hit show Pretty Little Liars, as well as starting a new career in the music business is the beautiful and talented Lucy Hale. First featuring her musical talents in the movie A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song, Lucy has become a name in country music with her new songs "You Sound Good to Me" and "Lie a Little Better." Starting her acting career appearing in Drake and Josh, How I Met Your Mother, and Wizards of Waverly Place Lucy has landed a role that currently has been running for five years. Working alongside an all star cast upon the Warner Brothers lot, Hale seems comfortable with her success as an actress, but with a voice like hers a music career would never hurt.

Other notable women of country artists with a history of acting include:
Laura Bell Bundy
Julianne Hough
Bethany Joy Lenz
Grace Potter
Carrie Underwood

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Jana Kramer's I Got the Boy Stories

If you have been following women in country you have heard Jana Kramer's hit song "I Got the Boy," a story of her high school love and the man he has grown to be. With a growing fanbase for the song as well as Jana herself, Jana has decided to surprise a few of her fans with a live chat as they share their I got the boy stories. Find these stories as well as the "I Got the Boy" music video on Jana's YouTube channel  and follow Jana on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @kramergirl. 

Looking for more Jana? Follow fan accounts @fansforjana on Twitter and @janakramerstar on Instagram for the latest Jana news and style.

CMT's Next Women of Country 2016 Tour

A show full of some of your favorite women in country music as well as a room full of talented female artists ready to take on country music at full speed, is exactly what CMT has brought to country music with their Next Women of Country Campaign. On November 3rd CMT held a forth gathering of our nation's female leaders in country music with the help of hosts Kelsea Ballerini and Jennifer Nettles.

There singer Jennifer Nettles describes the event as a "celebration of brokenness" with a desire to fight and let their voice be heard. Nettles performed for CMT hits such as "Drunk in Heels" and the Cyndi Lauper hit "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" The show also featured performances by some of last year's women of country Lauren Alaina, Cassadee Pope, Cam, Danielle Bradbury, Brooke Eden, Ashley Monroe, Brandy Clark, Clare Dunn, and Maren Morris. New names were also added to the group including Ashley Campbell, Courtney Cole, Sara Haze, Maren Morris, Carly Pearce, Rainey Qualley, Aubrie Sellers and Tara Thompson.

At the end of the night CMT and Jennifer Nettles released another Next Women of Country Tour headlining Nettles with special guest stars Brandy Clark, Tara Thompson and Lindsay Ell. The tour will include 30 cities from all across the nation. Check out the 2016 tour dates Here.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Women of Country:Kelsea Ballerini is pronounced 'Rising Star' Honoree

Billboard is honoring up-and-coming country music artist Kelsea Ballerini with the publication’s Rising Star award. She’ll receive the honor at the Billboard Women in Music event. Watch this girl and many other legendary artists including Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga, and more  on December 18 on Lifetime. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Next Women of Country Spotlight: Ania Hammar

By Nicole Marchesi 
Born on August 22 in the small town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, Ania wasn't exposed to the country music genre at first, but developed a slight twang and love for the storytelling of country music after witnessing the successes of country music artists Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, and more. Before pursuing a career in music Ania grew up with her elder brother in a neighborhood of a boys, spending her life trying to keep up with them and quickly enrolling herself into sports at a young age. Participating in sports such as swimming, basketball, and field hockey throughout middle and high school, Ania realized she could carry a tune and found herself wanting to put her efforts towards the goal of becoming a "famous singer."

With the help of her parents and their patience through the countless performances as a child and encouraging Ania through years of violin lessons, she finally had the courage to move forward and make this dream of hers a reality. Inspired by Bonnie Raitt and Miranda Lambert, Ania graduated from Belmont University, packed up her belongings, and made the move to Nashville chasing her dreams and starting her path to greatness. Today the journey means more to Ania than the need for fame. "The real dream is to be making a living making music, singing, being on stage, traveling with a band, meeting new people, and hopefully making a difference in someone's life."

Ania's music combines the inspiration of a variety of artists with the connection to her sense of self, the person she inspires to be, and her personal story. While at Belmont University, Ania recorded her first demos with the help of Karen Staley, an incredible songwriter and mentor, thus experiencing what it's like to be a studio for the first time. In 2014 Ania's first album was released with the guidance of Don Demumbrum of Chateau Music Group, who has helped her learn more and more about herself as an artist and about the effect a song can have over so many others. Another important figure in Ania's career in Kyle Manner, a music producer and engineer who has been with Ania from the start. With the help of all these amazing individuals Ania can share her story through her songs, showing her fans that she loves to have a good time hanging with the guys, while allowing herself to be vulnerable as well. 

Ania wants to contribute to the women of country music movement by inspiring new artists to Just keep going. Saying "Don’t expect it to happen overnight, don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t. Don’t try to be like someone else. Don’t try to please everyone. Believe in yourself. Surround yourself with people who bring you up. Set realistic goals for yourself and work your ass off to achieve them. Hold the vision, trust the process. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway!” 

In the future Ania's goal is to always keep improving, getting through the ups and downs of life and learning how if you can learn to control yourself everything else will just fall into place. 

You can listen to Ania's music on iTunes, Spotify, Reverb Nation, Soundcloud, and find her @aniahammarmusic on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Share this story and tag @nextwomenofcountry to help put Ania and some of your other favorite women in country music on the top of the charts!
"Because the world needs dreamers, and the world needs doers. But most of all, the world needs dreamers who do."