AT&T Block Party
2017 opened with a bang for Keith Urban as he celebrated the New Year in Nashville with an historic outdoor New Year’s Eve concert in front of nearly 100,000. He is the lead nominee (7) for the Academy of Country Music Awards garnering nods for Entertainer of the Year, Album of The Year, Male Vocalist of The Year and more. He celebrated his 22nd #1 song, his 6th consecutive, with “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” which also received two Grammy nominations, in addition to Album of the Year for RIPCORD, his fifth consecutive platinum or multi-platinum album.
A groundbreaking album for Urban, RIPCORD marked the second time that one of his albums debuted simultaneously atop the all-genre charts in the U.S., Canada and Australia. He is the only male Country artist to achieve this mark, not just once, but twice. The album thus far, has produced four #1 songs including “Wasted Time,” which moved Urban to #8 on Billboard’s All-time Country Airplay Chart, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” and “Break On Me.” It leaves Urban’s streak as the artist with the most consecutive top 10 songs on Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart (37) well in tact - a streak that started in August of 2000.
“The Fighter, featuring Carrie Underwood,” Urban’s 5th single from RIPCORD was released to radio in February.
Justin Moore’s long-awaited fourth studio album KINDA DON’T CARE earned the singer his third consecutive No. 1 album debut and features his chart-topping single “You Look Like I Need A Drink” and current single “Somebody Else Will.” The project is chock-full of new music with 16 tracks on the deluxe version and immediately shot to No. 1 on the iTunes Country chart upon release. The Arkansas native spent three years putting the project together, which serves as a follow up to his second No. 1 album release, OFF THE BEATEN PATH. Moore holds six No. 1’s under his signature white cowboy hat including “Point At You” and “Lettin’ The Night Roll” as well as seven Top 10 hits. The Valory Music Co. recording artist has earned multiple ACM, ACA and ACC Awards nominations and sold almost 8 million tracks to date. He has shared the stage with Hank Williams Jr., Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert and Brantley Gilbert and is currently on his headlining AMERICAN MADE TOUR with Lee Brice. For tour dates and more visit, JustinMooreMusic.com.
The Head and The Heart
In 2014, exhausted after four years of non-stop touring, the six members of the Head And The Heart pointed their individual compasses to new cities, new relationships and new adventures. Pianist Kenny Hensley learned to fly planes and enrolled in kung-fu training in China, while bassist Chris Zasche packed up a camper and went off the grid in the Canadian Rockies. Drummer Tyler Williams put down stakes across the country and immersed himself in the burgeoning music scene in Richmond, Va., while vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Charity Rose Thielen honed her compositional skills by writing for such legends as Mavis Staples.
After his own cross-country trip to reconnect with family and friends, vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Russell traveled to Haiti and found inspiration working with the non-profit Artists For Peace And Justice. “When I found out we were going to have a significant amount of time off, I saw it as an opportunity to touch base again -- to listen to what other people were saying and what they were going through,” he says. “I really wanted to make sure that I reconnected with a world that was starting to feel farther and farther away.”
When the Head And The Heart regrouped last summer in Stinson Beach, Ca., to start writing together again, “it almost felt like we were a new band, trying things we hadn’t tried,” Zasche recalls. “We stayed at a bungalow on the beach. We’d wake up, have coffee and go boogie boarding. We were ready and excited to be back together.”
That renewed sense of purpose can be felt throughout “Signs Of Light,” the group’s first release for Warner Bros. Records. “This album isn’t about us now having achieved our dreams,” says Thielen. “The day we started being able to live off our art was the day we achieved our dreams, in my mind. This is the album where we really fell into our true voices as those artists.”
March 2017 brought Michal Ray his 2nd #1 with “Think A Little Less” off his debut self-titled album. This followed his first #1 single, “Kiss You In The Morning” which went to the top spot in just 24 weeks. Ray continues to grow his following, having toured with Sam Hunt, Kip Moore, Brantley Gilbert and Darius Rucker and just recently wrapped up his 1st 40 city headlining tour. With two #1s under his belt Michael Ray is definitely making his mark on Country Music.
Michael was raised in Eustis, Florida an hour from Orlando, and grew up hunting alligators and fishing for tarpon at the end of white sand dirt roads. The child of a family full of musicians, he began his professional career before he was a teenager, graduated to the bar scene as soon as he could drive and hasn’t let up on the pedal since. When he decided it was time to move to Nashville, the work Ray had put in began to pay off quickly as he landed a publishing contract with Warner/Chappell Music and a record deal with Atlantic Records / Warner Music Nashville.