Monthly Archives: September 2010

Lady Antebellum, "Hello World"

Lady Antebellum has gained tons of momentum at country radio. The group’s previous four singles have all hit number one, three of which are from their double platinum Need You Now album, and now they are releasing their fourth single from that album. Does the insightful and thought provoking “Hello World” have what it takes to make it five straight number one singles?

After releasing three of Need You Now‘s most “radio-friendly” tracks, Lady Antebellum is taking a bit of a risk by releasing the album’s strongest song, “Hello World,” to radio. What makes this song a risky release is, first of all, it’s length which is over five minutes and, second of all, it’s thought provoking message.

Written by Tom Douglas, Tony Lane, and David Lee, the song offers a deep message about opening your eyes and actually looking at and seeing the world. Below that, the song gets even deeper by conveying the message about appreciating the simplicities life has to offer and how we can sometimes get lost in the hustle of the world. The three songwriters do a brilliant job at describing images like a man caught in traffic that hears nothing but cell phone calls and talk radio screaming at him but then looks up to see a little girl in a minivan waving at him. It’s in that little girl that he sees “a little light” and “a little hope” and then finds himself saying “hello world, how you been, good to see you my old friend.” Like Matt Bjorke of Roughstock said in his review of the song, it’s a shame that most listeners will ultimately not see or understand the incredible message of the song.

“Hello World” offers a fairly toned down production throughout the song. The production is made up of a piano and guitar line that accompany the lead vocals delivered by Charles Kelley. As the song builds to its climax, the production evolves into a full-blown array of strings, guitars, and drums that is almost like the production of a U2 song. It’s that production that causes “Hello World” to be the brilliant single that it is.

Charles’ incredible vocal performance also suits the song perfectly as he ranges from a soft tone to a more fuller sound as the song reaches the bridge and final chorus. Groupmates Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood back up Kelley with stellar harmonies that never overshadow his stunning vocal performance.

This is an incredible single and probably Lady A’s finest to date. Not only could this song be a huge hit on the country charts, but it has the quality to cross-over to other genres, much like the group’s smash hit, “Need You Now.” Look for “Hello World” to be another career-defining song for these country superstars.

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Indie Spotlight: Introducing the Stephanie Eason Band

Well the time has come to launch ATC’s Indie Spotlight Series with the introduction of Arizona’s own Stephanie Eason Band. In part one of this three part series, we’ll introduce the band and provide a little background about the group and its lead vocalist, Stephanie Eason. So, come meet the Stephanie Eason Band!

The Stephanie Eason Band is a five member band led by lead singer, Stephanie Eason. The group describes their sound as one that blends mainstream country, bluegrass, pop, blues, and rock into one awesome blend of music. This description is prominently displayed during their live shows, which are among the best any bar or nightclub has seen. The group often includes covers of country songs by artists like Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, and countless others as well as original songs from their debut album, The Red Letter Days.

At such a young age, Stephanie Eason has already proven she’s got the vocal chops and stage presence a person needs to be the lead singer of her own band. Stephanie’s love of music began when she learned to play the fiddle and piano in elementary school. Since realizing her love and passion for performing, Stephanie has played anywhere and everywhere she possibly can. She’s already opened for legendary country artists like Randy Travis and was invited by Naomi Judd to share the stage with her at a local women’s expo. It’s clear Stephanie is already on her way to becoming one of Arizona’s brightest stars.

The rest of the band includes a group of guys who are some of the best musicians Arizona has to offer. Accompanying Stephanie on lead guitar and vocals is Stan Hitson. According to the band’s website, Stan has spent many years performing in bands and writing songs. In fact, he’s written everything from pop songs to country songs to even a rock opera. Stan wrote or co-wrote six of the twelve songs included on the group’s first full length album, The Red Letter Days.

Now, what’s one of the most essential parts of a country band?? The drums of course! That’s where SEB’s drummer and percussionist Brandon Kinser comes in. Hailing from Casa Grande, AZ, Brandon began playing the drums at a young age and has since performed all over Arizona with several bands. According to the website, Brandon’s had experience playing in several genres of music including country, rock, and jazz.

The band’s fourth member, Mike Galli, originally hails from Northern California. Mike is the epitomy of a multifaceted musician. In the band, Galli provides lead and harmony vocals as well as playing the mandolin, steel guitar, and the mouth harp. In addition to his diverse musicianship, Mike also contributes to the songwriting process as well. Mike wrote or co-wrote three of the songs on the group’s album.

Last but certainly not least is the group’s bass guitar player, Eric Gilboe. In addition to his bass guitar skills, Eric also provides harmony vocals as well as lead vocals during his turn in the spotlight at live shows. Like most of his bandmates, Eric began playing guitar at an early age and has since had the opportunity to tour around the country with country acts like Gary Allan, Dave Mason, David Allen Coe, and many more.

Like I mentioned above, the group recently traveled to Nashille’s 16 Ton Studios to record their first full-length album titled, The Red Letter Days. Next week, part two of our Indie Spotlight will be a review of The Red Letter Days, if you’d like to get a headstart on the album, which I highly recommend, then please purchase it by clicking on one of the links below.

From Amazon:
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From iTunes:
The Red Letter Days

Offical Website:
http://www.stephanieeason.com/

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of Sept. 13 – 19

This week’s Billboard Country Albums chart saw a major shakeup this week with the inclusion of two new albums in the top five, one of which debuted at number one. Find out who replaced Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now atop the chart in this week’s Chart Flash.

Jamey Johnson’s sophomore album, The Guitar Song, makes a strong debut at number one by selling nearly 63,000 during its week of release. Dropping down to number two this week is Lady A’s Need You Now which continues to be the best-selling country album of the year. Coming in at number three is the third edition of the NOW That’s What I Call Country compilation album. Sliding down two spots to number 4 is Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation while Miranda Lambert’s third album, Revolution, rounds out the top five.

Over on the Hot Country Songs chart, Lady Antebellum’s “Our Kind of Love” stays put atop the chart for a second straight week. Rising up one spot to number two after just ten weeks on the chart is Kenny Chesney’s latest single, “The Boys of Fall.” Climbing up two spots to number three is Josh Turner’s second single from his Haywire album, “All Over Me.” Making his second appearance in the top five this year is Easton Corbin, this time with “Roll with It,” as he jumps up two spots to number four. Rounding out country’s biggest singles of the week at number five is Billy Currington’s hit, “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer.”

Leading this week’s debut singles is Keith Urban with his latest single, “Put You in a Song,” which leaps onto the chart in the number 29 position. Following Keith is Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger” at no. 56 and Kid Rock’s “Born Free” at no. 60.

Next week should see an even bigger change to the albums chart as the Zac Brown Band’s sophomore set, You Get What You Give, is expected to make its debut at number one. On the singles chart, Kenny Chesney is looking to return to the number one spot on the singles chart for the first time in over a year as he could replace Lady Antebellum. Don’t worry, we’ll straighten out the positions for you in next week’s Chart Flash.

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Billboard Chart Flash: Week of Sept. 6 – 12

For the third time this year, Lady Antebellum occupies both the number one positions on Billboard’s country charts as “Our Kind of Love” becomes the group’s fourth consecutive number one single. See who else is making a splash on the charts in this week’s Chart Flash.
This week, three of the five CMA Entertainer of the Year nominees occupy the top three spots on the chart, coincedentally all three of them are this year’s first time entertainer nominees. Once again Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now occupies the number one spot on Billboard’s Country Albums chart after selling 17,700 copies this week to bring the total sales to over 2.6 million copies. Moving up one and back into the number two position is Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation while Miranda Lambert’s Revolution jumps up three spots to number three this week. Holding steady at number four is Little Big Town with The Reason Why while Trace Adkins’ Cowboy’s Back in Town rounds out this week’s top five country albums.

Over on the Hot Country Songs chart, Lady Antebellum scores its fourth straight number one single with “Our Kind of Love,” which jumps up one spot. This marks the third straight number one single from the group’s double platinum album, Need You Now. Falling out of the top spot is Billy Currington’s “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” which slides down to the number two position. Climbing up two spots from number five to number three is Kenny Chesney’s “Boys of Fall” which cracks the top three after just nine weeks on the chart. Holding steady at number four is Blake Shelton’s former number one smash, “All About Tonight,” while Josh Turner rounds out the top five with his smash hit, “All Over Me.”

Leading this week’s debut singles is Blake Shelton with his latest single, “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” which comes in at number 51. Following Blake are Jaron and the Long Road to Love’s “That’s Beautiful to Me” at number 59 and Joanna Smith’s “Gettin’ Married” at number 60.

Next week should see some changes on the albums chart with new releases by Jamey Johnson, James Otto, and Joey + Rory. Find out who reigns supreme on the charts in next week’s Chart Flash.

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Josh Kelley, "Georgia Clay"

Singer-songwriter Josh Kelley – old brother of Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and husband of actress Katherine Heigl – is another pop artist looking to make the switch to country music. Josh’s first country single for MCA Nashville is titled “Georgia Clay.” Does the song have what it takes to bring success to Josh on country radio or will it only cause him to be forgotten like many of the recent artists who try to crossover?

There’s no other genre of music where you can hear a song about clay and a truck but country. With “Georgia Clay,” Josh Kelley delivers a story about a man reminescing about his youth by perceiving his old truck as a time machine and comparing the long lasting memories to Georgia clay.

Now, I can see how that may sound like a stupid and pointless song. However, the songwriting provided by Josh along with brother Charles Kelley and Clint Lagerberg does an exceptional job at making the song relatable and avoids turning the it into nonsense. With lines about being seventeen and running on dumb luck to being the only one in town with a fake I.D., “Georgia Clay” offers scenarios that almost everyone listening has had and can relate to.

Just like younger brother Charles, Josh offers a vocal performance full of soul and emotion with a little hint of Georgia twang. I personally think his vocal styling is perfect for country music rather than pop where he orginally got started. It’s clearly obvious on this song because his voice just seems to fit the song and suits the song brilliantly. The production offers a blend of acoustic and bass guitars with a bluegrass flavored beat that creates a song that’s clearly country, something I love to hear on today’s radio.

Overall, this is a fantastic debut country single for Josh Kelley and I think radio will eat this right up since it’s something new and fresh, which is what today’s radio is lacking. In fact, this song is already in the top 40 after just three weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. I’m hoping we get to hear more from Josh because I think he can offer some great country music.

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All Things Country to Introduce New Indie Spotlight

All Things Country is excited to introduce a new feature to the blog called Indie Spotlight. The purpose of the new segment is to give exposure to artists who aren’t on major record labels and to help get their names out there. Find out more about the segment and how to be a featured artist by reading the post.


Being a music business major, I’m learning the difficulties artist who aren’t backed by a label face when trying to get discovered. Since I started this blog late last year, I’ve been contacted by so many people asking me to feature them on ATC. So after giving a lot of thought as to how I can spotlight these artists, I’ve created the Indie Spotlight segment. Essentially, this segment is going to be all about introducing an artist to a new audience.

Each spotlight will feature a new artist that I personally find intriguing and unique and who I feel should be introduced to the ATC readers. Each segment will provide background information as well as links to websites where you can discover more about the artist. Depending on the material I receive, a single or album review could be thrown in as well. Basically, the goal of the Indie Spotlight is to introduce an artist to an new audience, and to hopefully gain them new fans.

If you’d like to be apart of this exciting new feature, please send me an email at aaron.allthingscountry@yahoo.com. If you could, I would love for you to provide links to websites as well as maybe a short bio about yourself, or the artist you’re representing. If you’d like a single or album review to be done, please include a link to where I can listen to the material.

I’m excited to get the series started and I’m excited to announce that the first Indie Spotlight will feature the Arizona group, the Stephanie Eason Band. So please check back later this week to learn more about this fine group of musicians!

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Luke Bryan, "Someone Else Calling You Baby"

After scoring two consecutive top two singles with “Do I” and “Rain is a Good Thing,” both off his Doin’ My Thing album, Luke Bryan is hitting the country radio waves with the third single from that album. Does “Someone Else Calling You Baby” have what it takes to follow up the two smash singles?

What I’ve always liked about Luke Bryan is how he’s one of the few artists who blends the mainstream pop sounds of today’s country with the styles of traditional country. His first album did that perfectly with nearly little to no pop-country songs on it. His sophomore album acheives the same thing and cements him as a truly country artist rather than a pop-country artist.

On “Someone Else Calling You Baby,” Luke offers up a story about a man seeing his ex riding in a car with a newfound partner. He’s wondering if she’s already over his love and if she’s moved on and if she has, he just wants her to “lay it” on his heart. The songwriting isn’t the best, but it accomplishes its goal in telling a story.

The part I think elevates this song is the production. I personally love the mixture of guitars in the intro as well as the occasional steel guitar and fiddle riffs that appear throughout the song. The only issue I have is how loud it is when the vocals come in. It sounds a bit like the vocals are fighting to be heard over the instrumentation. However, Luke provides another solid vocal performance, something that’s expected when he tackles songs like this.

Luke has gained some momentum at country radio this year and I think this song is only going to keep that momentum going, which will be important leading into the CMA awards where he’s up for Best New Artist. I think this song is good enough to reach, at least, top five and could extend his top two streak to three in a row.

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