Category Archives: INDIE MUSIC NEWS

Carrie Underwood Named Country Music's Best-Selling Digital Artist

With more than 28 million sales of nearly two dozen Number One singles, Carrie Underwood has become the top-selling country artist in the digital world. She joins bestsellers like Jason Aldean, who was crowned the top-selling male country artist last summer with 21.5 million digital sales, as well as global pop stars Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, both of whom are ranked alongside Underwood in the Top Five all-genre list of female singers. 

The news arrives on the heels of two new feats: the five-times platinum certification of “Before He Cheats,” whose ongoing success makes Underwood one of five country artists to sell five million digital copies of a single song, and the gold certification of her newest single, “Little Toy Guns.” Meanwhile, Greatest Hits: Decade #1 continues to break records as one of the best-selling hits albums of the past decade, with the record’s first single, “Something in the Water,” selling more than a million copies.

Underwood will stay in the awards-season spirit this Fall, when she co-hosts the CMA Awards with Brad Paisley for the eighth consecutive year. A new studio album is also in the works, although Underwood — who will reportedly draw inspiration from her new experiences with motherhood — has not announced a release date.

Miranda Lambert Tourmate Clare Dunn Readies Debut EP

Since catching the attention of radio execs, Nashville insiders and music journalists with her ferocious live performance, singer-guitarist Clare Dunn has been building a steady buzz with her songwriting. Her song about her father’s near-fatal heart attack, “Old Hat,” elicited tears from fans during a SiriusXM taping at CMA Music Festival in June, and new single “Move On” is the epitome of a woman taking charge in a relationship. Now, the Colorado native is assembling those songs, along with three others, for her major-label debut EP.

Set for release on September 18th on MCA Nashville, the self-titled project features five songs all co-written by Dunn, including fan favorite “Cowboy Side of You.” She’ll showcase the EP, along with choice covers like Bob Seger’s “Her Strut” and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock & Roll,” on the road this fall with Miranda Lambert as part of Lambert’s Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars Tour. She’s also set to open for Chris Young on his I’m Comin’ Over Tour starting in late October.

“I just try to do what I think my heroes did, and what I observe them doing,” Dunn told Rolling Stone Country recently. “To me, I think Seger, the Eagles and Keith [Urban] all followed their sense of direction. When you picked up one of their records, it was undeniably who they were. You felt like when you were listening to Bob, that everything that you were hearing was Bob, and the same with Keith. They were all artists, and they had their own identity in their sound, and in their writing and their performance.”

Dunn, one of Rolling Stone Country‘s Artists You Need to Know, was driving tractor-trailers and working on her family’s ranch before she was strumming her Fender. She says moving to Nashville inspired her to pick up the guitar.

“I was super intimidated growing up because no one plays an instrument in my family. I mean, my parents, we all love music, but we are just farmers. There was no bar where I grew up where you could go play. There was no live music,” she says. “There was no one to go and take a lesson from, and I just thought that if you didn’t come out of the womb playing, then you had no business. . . But for me, guitar is just another voice. I’m a singer and the guitar echoes that.”

Steve Martin to Receive Prestigious Bluegrass Award

The “wild and crazy guy” that is Steve Martin continues to build his music résumé up to that of his comedy credits. The actor has been playing banjo since he was a teen and incorporated a little picking into his standup shows in the Seventies, along with memorable musical interludes on Saturday Night Live and on his comedy albums, among many public performances. But it wasn’t until the last few years that he really started to get critical acclaim for his musicianship. And now, on top of his five Grammy awards and three International Bluegrass Music trophies, the iconic entertainer is once again being honored by the IBMA, this time with one of five Distinguished Achievement awards.

That coveted trophy is given to artists and organizations for their significant contributions to bluegrass music. Other 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Achievement award are Alison Brown, Murphy Henry, “Bashful Brother” Oswald Kirby and the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

Brown, a Grammy-winning banjo player and founder of Compass Records, is being honored for her individual music achievements, as well as those of her label group, which has released more than 700 roots music songs by its artist roster. In addition to her solo work, the Harvard graduate has played with the Northern Lights, Alison Krauss and Union Station and Michelle Shocked.

Henry developed the “Murphy Method” of teaching that has been a popular bluegrass music learning tool since the early Eighties. In addition to performing, she’s also a music journalist for various publications and penned the 2013 book, Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass.

Kirby, who passed away in 2002, receives his posthumous award for pioneering contributions to the genre, particularly with the resonator guitar and Dobro. The Grand Ole Opry member was a solo performer, a sometime-comedian and also a member of Roy Acuff’s Smoky Mountain Boys. An in-demand session musician during his time off the stage, Kirby’s many album credits include playing on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s historic 1972 album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

Owensboro, Kentucky’s International Bluegrass Music Museum is the final recipient of the IBMA’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement award, recognized for being the only museum in the world devoted to preserving the worldwide history of the genre. In addition to its many exhibits and archives, the museum hosts concert series, festivals and other community programs.

The IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement awards will be presented on October 1st during the annual World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, North Carolina. The honor is considered the second highest of the genre, just behind induction into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. Bill Keith and Larry Sparks are the recipients of that honor this year, and will be inducted at a special awards show also to be held on October 1st.

Keith is one of the most prominent musicians of the so-called “newgrass” movement, with his highly influential, modern banjo playing. But it was back in the Fifties and Sixties that he developed his signature style, which was groundbreaking enough for the legendary Earl Scruggs to enlist him to form the tablature for the instructional book, Earl Scruggs and the 5-String Banjo. Keith has played with the Kentuckians, Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and Ian & Sylvia, among many other big names of bluegrass.

The self-taught multi-instrumentalist Sparks began his career with the Stanley Brothers, and later played guitar and sang with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. His own band, the Lonesome Ramblers have been playing together since the late Sixities and have recorded more than 60 albums.

Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry Supergroup Announces Live Dates

Hollywood Vampires, the supergroup featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, have announced their first live dates, set for next month. Rounding out the lineup will be former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, both of whom also play in the supergroup Velvet Revolver.

The name “Hollywood vampires” references a loose collective of rockers, including Cooper, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and Keith Moon, who got together in the early Seventies and drink on the Sunset Strip at the Rainbow. Cooper’s crew – which is issuing its debut album, Hollywood Vampires, on September 11th – plans on keeping true to its moniker’s origins.

The first Hollywood Vampires concerts will take place at the fabled Sunset Strip outpost the Roxy on September 16th and 17th. It will be the group’s only U.S. show. Cooper guitarist Tommy Henriksen will also be playing at the show as will bassist Bruce Witkin, who played with Depp in a band called the Kids. Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday via Ticketfly.

The group has also planned an appearance in Brazil on September 24th as part of the Rock in Rio festival. Prior to that show, the band will be meeting with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to help fit 150 people in need with hearing aids and bring some of the fans to the show so they can hear music for the first time.

As for the Vampires’ music, the crew plays a mix of cover songs by members of the original Hollywood vampires, including the Who’s “My Generation,” the Doors’ “Five to One” and “Break on Through,” Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire,” Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression,” among others, along with some original tunes. Their debut album will feature a number of notable special guests, including Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Slash, Joe Walsh and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. Video of the group’s star-studded recording sessions can be seen here, with artist proceeds from the album going to the charity MusiCares.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke Composing Original Music for Broadway Revival

Thom Yorke is making his Broadway debut – behind the curtain, anyway. The Radiohead mastermind composed an original score for the Roundabout Theater Company revival of Harold Pinter’s 1971 play, Old Times, which will open in October at New York’s American Airlines Theater, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Yorke wrote the score – which includes intro and exit music, along with transitions – during six months of e-mail correspondence with director Douglas Hodge, as the pair narrowed down the sonic elements. Yorke worked extensively with 1970s synthesizers in order to fit the play’s era, The New York Times reports. 

“It’s been a pleasure working with Doug on my first stage production,” Yorke said in a statement. “I’ve enjoyed exploring through music the script’s themes of love and memory as well as Pinter’s rhythms, twists and turns.”

“I’d say something like, ‘It describes a ribbon of light on the horizon. Can you do that?’ He’d say, ‘Got it,'” Hodge told The New York Times. “He’d send me an e-mail of some music he’d written, and it would be some primeval, unusual thing. The sort of neurosis within his music certainly has elucidated elements of the compulsive repetition of the play.”

Hodge – a veteran stage actor who won a 2010 Tony for his lead performance in La Cage aux Folles – will make his directorial Broadway debut with Old Times. Clive Owen will star in his own Broadway debut alongside Eve Best and Kelly Reilly. Hodge says Yorke won’t perform the compositions live, telling the Times, “The last thing he’d want is that it becomes a Thom Yorke show.”

“The music Thom has written for Old Times gives an immediacy and a ‘now-ness’ to the show,” Hodge said in a statement. “The play itself is about memory and love – Thom’s music works backwards and forwards and plays with time and repetition in the same way Pinter does. In true Thom Yorke style, the music is epic, heartbreaking, irresistible and complex. I’m hopeful this collaboration will result in a new kind of theatergoer coming to our show.”

Old Times will begin previews on September 17th, premiere October 6th and run until November 29th.

Randy Houser Announces First Arena Headlining Tour

Currently on the road warming up stadiums and amphitheaters for Luke Bryan, Randy Houser will launch his own trek in the fall. Dubbed the We Went Tour, after his current single, the tour marks the vocalist’s first ever as an arena headliner.

A longtime favorite in Nashville, revered for an honest — and monstrous — country voice that is capable of filling stadiums all on its own, Houser finally achieved mainstream success with his 2013 album How Country Feels. The record featured a trio of Number One singles, in “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight,” “Goodnight Kiss” and the title track, as well as a contender for Song of the Year with the wonderfully cinematic “Like a Cowboy.” His new single “We Went,” from his upcoming fourth album, is a blast of roadhouse country-rock with a galloping rhythm and a devil-may-care storyline.

“I wanted to lead with ‘We Went’ as the first single from the new record because it was so different for me. The song is about hanging out, a little bit of danger, running from the cops — all things I grew up doing. Well, maybe avoiding the cops is more accurate,” Houser told Rolling Stone Country in the spring. “But rhythmically and lyrically it’s more progressive than what I’ve ever done.”

In a well thought-out bit of tour partnering, Frankie Ballard and Craig Campbell will join Houser on the road. Ballard, a guitar-slinger with a Fifties sense of cool, is on track for his third Number One single, “Young & Crazy,” off his 2014 album Sunshine & Whiskey. Campbell, like Houser, deftly mixes elements of traditional country with a modern flair and recently released the new single “Tomorrow Tonight.”

Here’s the first leg of dates for Houser’s We Went Tour:
November 20 – Corbin, KY @ the Arena
November 21 – Troy, OH @ Hobart Arena
November 27 – Saginaw, MI @ Dow Events Center
November 28 – Evansville, IN @ Old National Events Plaza
December 4 – La Crosse, WI @ La Crosse Center Arena
December 12 – Durant, OK @ Choctaw Events Center
December 17 – Milwaukee @ the Rave
December 18 – Akron, OH @ Akron Civic Center

Blessthefall Releases New Song "Walk On Water"

Phoenix, AZ’s Blessthefall has released their new single “Walk On Water” via iTunes. This is the second single off the band’s forthcoming new album To Those Left Behind, set to release September 18th. Pre-orders are …Read More


Heartist’s Bryce Talks New Tunes, Touring, and Band Insight

Metal rock n’ rollers Heartist have released their debut album “Feeding Fiction” along with an EP as well as some singles including a new song entitled “Ignite”. The band has since gone on tours, played …Read More


Evanescence Parts With Guitarist and Announces Replacement

Evanescence have announced their return since the band went on a three year hiatus. The band has also announced that their guitarist Terry Balsamo, whose been with the band since 2003, has departed from the …Read More


The World Over Releases Video for "Swervewolf"

The World Over has released a new video for “Swervewolf”. Check it out HERE.