I keep writing my Music Spotlight column because of the stories. And while we all appreciate the music that these singer/songwriters bring to us, it is the stories of these tireless individuals that keep me coming back to my computer to share what I have learned with my readers.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – A lot of people, myself included, are trying to wrap their heads around Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and exactly how they work. When I got asked to interview a country artist, Sammy Arriaga, who was successfully using NFTs in promoting his music, I was interested.
Sammy Arriaga is a Miami-born Cuban American. While his father occasionally sang and played guitar, he discovered his love for music on his own. He has been writing lyrics and downloading instrumentals from the internet since his early teens. He taught himself how to play guitar by watching YouTube videos.Read More
Adam Warner hails from the farm country of southern Illinois, quite near to where my mother and her family lived. This area is so consumed by farming, specifically corn and soybeans, that you really do feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere.
Just like my mother and aunts, both of Warner’s grandmothers played piano and sang at church. His mother was involved in theater and singing as well. He was certainly not the only one in the family who did music but would be the only one who chose it as a career path.Read More
When I heard “Growing Old With You” by Restless Road on the radio, I was not familiar with the group, but their song really resonated with me. When I was given the chance to feature them in my column, I jumped at it.
Restless Road is comprised of Zach Beeken, Garrett Nichols, and Colton Pack who did not grow up together and are actually from three different states. Beeken is from Iowa, Nichols is from Alabama and Pack is from West Virginia. Almost nine years ago, Pack and Beeken were on a show called The X Factor. (The third member, Andrew Scholz, would eventually be replaced with Nichols.) They started the band on that TV show. They met Kane Brown on that show as well.Read More
Growing up with the name O’Bannon I was vaguely aware that there was a famous person named Presley O’Bannon who was important in American History. When I got married 37 years ago to a Marine Corp veteran who has a degree in history, I was informed that not only was Presley O’Bannon an important figure in history, he was especially important to the Marines. The United States Marine Corps hymn opens with “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles on the land and on the sea.” Presley O’Bannon was the man who led battles on the shores of Tripoli from whence the song lyrics came.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Ainsley Costello comes from a musical background. When her dad, James Costello, was young, he moved to Los Angeles to “do the whole music thing” in much the same way that Costello has moved to Nashville. At one point he was in a touring band and toured the world. And even though he now has a day job, he was always in revolving bands, playing shows and playing music in the house.Read More
When I heard that the Canadian Country Music multi-award winner, Brett Kissel was releasing a song with 98°, I was excited and curious at the same time. The group’s song, “Ain’t the Same” isn’t exactly country, pop, or R & B, but it is fantastic. Once I heard it, it went straight to my Beach playlist.Read More
Dustin Collins had been around music his whole life. His dad and uncle were musicians. They were in and out of the recording studios in Kentucky and Nashville when Collins was a child.
He recalls, “I just kind of grew up around it and learned how to sing and play guitar when I was, 10 and 11 years old. It’s always been something that I love to do. I kind of fell into this job when I started writing songs and I met some other songwriters in Nashville.”Read More
The Tennessee Motorcycles and Music Revival (TMMR) is a unique, four-day event held in central Tennessee that’s all about motorcycles, music, comradery, and the outdoors. It will be held at the majestic 3,500-acre Loretta Lynn’s ranch and campground just an hour west of Nashville on held May 19 – 22 and will be the first big event to take place at Loretta Lynn’s ranch since the catastrophic floods from last August. TMMR is presented by Harley-Davidson® and produced in partnership by the Loretta Lynn family and R&R Promotions, a specialty agency with decades of motorcycle event promotions and deep ties in the national motorcycle family.Read More
Five years in the making, the Red Clay Strays’ debut album, ‘Moment of Truth,’ is a crowdfunded masterpiece that is not to be missed. This innovative, southern rock band will have you jumping all over the pews in the Rockabilly Church of the Delta Blues.Read More
From Maple Valley, Washington, 29-year-old singer/songwriter Dakota Poorman is a breath of fresh air in the stale pop-country atmosphere.
As a child he recalls, “I really loved music. I was bathed in a very eclectic taste in music. I listened to Bob Seger, John Fogerty, Pink Floyd, The Doors, the Eagles, and even Patsy Cline and Muddy Waters. I was exposed to a ton of great music back when music was music and had meaning.”Read More
Out today, Gavin Lee’s latest single, “All You Gotta Do is Dance” is a throwback to signature 90s country tunes that brought folks to their feet on the dance floor to step into the most popular line dances.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The first time I recall seeing Michael Rix was when he played banjo in the Bank of America marketing campaign commercial for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Country Music. Even though the banjo originated in Africa, seeing a black, banjo-playing country musician in the 21st century is/was not very common.Read More
With Tyler Braden’s newest hits, “Try Losing One,” and “Seventeen”, he has proven that his star is on the rise. You will be hearing a lot more from this singer/songwriter in the future.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Even though I am not much of a whiskey drinker, I am always drawn to a good whiskey song. Something about the solace of sipping the stuff leads to a deeper examination of one’s true self.
Karissa Ella’s newest single “Whiskey Whispers Your Name” is all that and more. They led me to further delve into this rising singer/songwriter and find out what drives her.Read More
Music City Walk of Fame inductees Dierks Bentley, Keb’ Mo’, Bobby Bare, and Connie Smith represent the diversity of Music City in the first ceremony since the pandemic.Read More
Ian Flanigan hails from Hudson Valley’s Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, not far from the site of the famed Woodstock festival.
But where you might remember him is from Season 19 of NBC’s The Voice.
I wanted to find out how he got from there to The Voice and now living just outside of Nashville.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Wade Bowen grew up in Waco, Texas with three sisters who always had music on and took him to concerts. Growing up, Bowen played sports and knew he always wanted to do music but didn’t know how to go about doing it.Read More
Houston Bernard draws upon his family’s rich country and rockabilly musical roots by bringing upbeat and relatable music with powerhouse vocals. His newest single, “Hangover,” is not to be missed.Read More
Meghan Linsey’s latest single, “If You Need Me, Don’t” takes her fans back to her soulful New Orleans roots with her evocative, powerhouse vocals.Read More
Michael Ray grew up in a family compound off a dirt road in the small town of Eustis, Florida, just a few miles from a tiny old country church where Sunday service would be held, where communion often carried over to tall tales of his grandparents’ days running moonshine up the East Coast.
And even though he did not write the song, when he first heard “Holy Water” it took him right back to being a boy in that church, sitting in a wooden pew listening to some of the greatest truths that he holds onto to this day.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee -The first time I heard of Alyssa Bonagura was when she played with Ruby Stewart as part of The Sisterhood band when Ruby’s dad, Rod Stewart, played Bridgestone Arena in August of 2018. The two performed their tune “Half Way” with Stewart’s band before dad returned to sing “Forever Young” with them. They also sang with Cyndi Lauper on her iconic hit “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.”Read More
Inspired by the traditional as well as the unconventional, The Wooks have established a distinctive sound through original songwriting, exceptional musicianship, and outside influences ranging from jam bands to Southern rock.Read More
Jenny Tolman releases her sophomore album Married in a Honky Tonk, where she not only expands on her tales about the fictional town of Jennyville, she offers a new depth and range that signals her growing maturity as an artist.Read More
Country Radio Seminar is one of the most significant events in Nashville, as it brings country radio and music industry professionals together to educate each other, enhance skills, facilitate business, and promote the growth of the industry.Read More
Hippies and Cowboys bring a fresh vintage flair in their new single, taking you back to the days of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, CCR, and Aerosmith. Recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, the band’s debut single, “20 to Life” is not to be missed.Read More
One thing that most native Nashvillians will tell you is to avoid the party buses. They are often full of young, drunk tourists and are to be avoided at all costs.
However, when a publicist/friend told me about the Music City Rollin’ Jamboree, she advised, “It’s different.”Read More
Country-rocker Jacob Bryant earns a standing ovation at Grand Ole Opry debut.Read More
After previously being featured in a Music Spotlight column, Australian singer/songwriter Jasmin Bade released her new single, “Rent,” and its accompanying lyric video today with The Tennessee Star. “Rent” provides a bittersweet twist on the struggle to move on from a past relationship. Bade co-wrote the song with Emily Kroll, who penned the No. 1 hit “Just About Over You” by Priscilla Block, and Brian McKenna, son of Nashville songwriting legend Lori McKenna.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The favorite retro-rock duo, Hemp & Denim has released a new single, “Stay” for Valentine’s Day. The song is about genuine love and love is what everyone needs right now in this world. The accompanying lyric video for “Stay” is debuting today exclusively to The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. The lyrics illustrate the hardships and triumphs that come with any loving relationship.Read More
American Idol alum and CMT’s Next Women of Country member Laci Kaye Booth combines soulful, smooth vocals with honest, heartfelt lyrics that make the country crooner stand out in the crowded pool of aspiring artists.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennesee- Before you ask, yes, Bobby Cyrus is related to Billy Ray Cyrus. Bobby Cyrus is Billy Ray Cyrus’ younger cousin. They both hail from the same region around Louisa, Kentucky where bluegrass music was a prominent part of their heritage. Their grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher and church music was an integral part of their upbringing.Read More
Even though Noah Guthrie played Roderick on Season 6 of Glee in 2015, making music has always been his aspiration. As a very young child, the South Carolina native grew up going to recording studios with his dad and step-mom who were both background singers.Read More
I attended RomaDrama Live! last year initially because several of the artists I had featured in my column were part of the entertainment. And of course, it was fun to see and meet the popular actors of favorite romance dramas and Hallmark movies. But what I wasn’t expecting was for one of the actors to be a genuinely talented country music singer/songwriter.Read More
Prolific urban-country singer/songwriter Julia Cole delivers something for everyone with her innate ability to relate to her audience via her original music.Read More
One of the first questions I ask an artist is if they come from a musical family. Since Anthony Nix was a foster kid who got adopted at age seven, his answer to that question was “I don’t know.”Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Lucas Hoge has released a new Christmas album, 12.25 that is not to be missed. He along with some help from friends, Jamie O’Neal and the Swon Brothers played a (mostly) Christmas show featuring new and traditional music at the renowned Listening Room.Read More
American Standard Time Records Releases ‘The Holiday Rambler’ which is an eclectic group of mostly original Christmas songs that is sure to please those looking for something new and different this holiday season.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Fred Mollin is an award-winning American and Canadian record producer, musician, film and TV composer, music director, music supervisor, and songwriter whose discography spans 35 years. He has produced records for Jimmy Webb, Johnny Mathis, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lamont Dozier, and America, and has composed music for Beverly Hills, 90210, Friday the 13th (movies and television), Forever Knight, Hard Copy, and many more. Mollin rose to prominence early in his career by co-producing (with Matthew McCauley) Dan Hill’s international hit record, “Sometimes When We Touch”, in 1977.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Dennis Quaid concluded his fall musical tour on November 15th when he played the Nashville City Winery to a sold-out crowd.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Belmont student and former NBC’s The Voice contestant Gracee Shriver hails from Owasso, Oklahoma.
Shriver started singing lessons at age nine to give herself something to do. About a year after starting lessons, she got her first guitar and began writing songs.Read More
Ryan Weaver is a high-energy, all-American, rockin’ country music artist who proudly served as an active-duty Black Hawk Aviator, Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the United States Army.
Although he had a short history of playing the violin as a child/teen, everyone in his family was in the military so that is the path he initially chose for his career. (Weaver’s grandfather was in WWII and his dad was a Marine along with two brothers and a sister who also served.)Read More
CreatiVets is one of the most important non-profits I have come across. It shows first-hand how music and art can help to heal our wounded veterans.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – When I saw Abby Anderson open for Radio Romance and Midland in 2017, I immediately knew that I wanted to interview her even though I had recently started writing my column.
Fast forward 4 years when I got an email stating that Anderson was releasing a powerful new anthem, and finally I got the privilege to interview the effervescent songstress.Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Even though Juna and Joey Defeo are just 16 and 19 years old, they have been singing together for quite a while. They got their affinity for music from their grandparents. Their paternal grandfather was an opera singer in Italy and their maternal grandfather was in a country band who played “pretty much anything with strings.”Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – In the more than two years since our first interview, so much has happened in Parker McKay’s life. When I saw that she was trying out for NBC’s The Voice, I knew it was time to catch up.Read More
Jacob Bryant readies the forthcoming album Bar Stool Preachers with his latest release “Devil & An Old Six String.”Read More
If Bonnie and Clyde had been musicians instead of bank robbers, they would have been the vocal duo, A Tale Of Two. Combining the best of Americana and Blues melodies with timeless “Southern Gothic” storytelling, Nashville-based A Tale Of Two is an undeniable rising duo in today’s Roots Music scene. Meeting in the local Nashville Jazz venues, Award-Winning vocalist Stephanie Adlington and guitarist Aaron Lessard began performing and writing together, recognizing their artistic chemistry.
A Tale of Two’s inspiration comes from an earlier time and place. In the 1930s, Adlington affirms that “the culture of the time was a lot more interesting than it is now. But of course, we romanticize it. We weren’t there.”Read More
Nashville, Tennessee – Multi-Grammy®, CMA, and ACM Award-winning performer Steve Wariner has released a new Christmas album, Feels Like Christmas Time, today, October 15. The album features newly imagined arrangements of Christmas classics including “Silent Night,” “The First Noel” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” as well as six original holiday tunes, all written by Wariner.Read More
Nashville, Tennessee – The Woods comprised of Raquel Cole, Dan O’Rourke, Leland Rooney are all incredible musicians, songwriters, and singers in their own right – and when they come together the sound is truly magical – think Little Big Town meets Midland. After hearing them play together at the Analog Room in the Hutton Hotel, I wanted to find out how this eclectic and diverse trio discovered each other.Read More