Friday, September 30, 2011

Steve Martin is a Wild & Crazy Bluegrass Award Winner!

I used to watch Steve Martin on old Saturday Night Live reruns when I was in high school and l remember thinking, "sure he's funny, but can he play bluegrass?" Not really, but I did wonder why his 2009 album, The Crow, didn't receive more attention in country music circles. I thought it was a great piece of authentic bluegrass revival. I especially loved the tender beauty of the song, "Pretty Flowers." Well, it seems I'm ahead of my time because Steve Martin, and his band The Steep Canyon Rangers, just won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s entertainer of the year award. Steve was honored last night at Nashville's own Ryman auditorium. With his trademark wit, Steve accepted the award saying, “First of all, I want to congratulate the other nominees, and thank them for losing.” Well let me congratulate and thank you Steve for winning and for helping to bring exposure to one of America's truest musical forms.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Song of the Week: The Girl With The Fishing Rod by EllieMay Kay

I'm going a little off the beaten path for this week's song of the week. It's a tune called "The Girl With The Fishing Rod" by one of our ICMA friends, EllieMay Kay. As we say goodbye to summer, I thought I'd take one last trip to the river with this fun, rollicking tune. It's a high energy tribute to all us girls who'd rather bait a line than polish our nails. It'll make you want to tap your toes even if you're knee deep in the creek. The music and chorus will stay with you for days after hearing this, and the fiddle work is just pure country gold (I'm always a sucker for a good fiddle!) Of course, in the end our song's heroine catches more than fish. In addition to catching the eye of a good man, she's also reeled me in as a fan!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tell Alan Jackson to "Free" Mineral, VA

I wrote before about how Alan Jackson found a unique way to connect with his fans through his "Demand It" concert promotion. Basically, towns not on Jackson's tour schedule could go to his website and cast votes to receive a free concert from Alan. Well with only two weeks to go in the voting, the town of Mineral, VA is in the lead with nearly three times as many votes as the second place town. Problem is, Alan Jackson's team has put stipulations on the "free" concert. The winning town must meet Jackson's production requirements and find a venue that can hold 1,000 to 3,000 people. For most towns that wouldn't be a problem. But Mineral was recently hit by a devasting and rare 5.5 magnitude earthquake. Schools and other public buildings have been destroyed or badly damaged. If Mineral wins, they may not have the facility to meet Jackson's requirements. However, I suspect that Alan Jackson wanted to offer this promotion to reach out to his fans, not alienate them over a technicality. So if you have a moment, please go to "Demand It" and cast a vote for Mineral, VA. Then go to Alan's homepage and put a note in the forum asking Alan to do his part to reward the fan loyalty of the people of Mineral (and maybe even help them rebuild.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jason Aldean earns applause for the cause

Jason Aldean is hosting his sixth annual "Concert for the Cure" to help raise funds to find a cure for breast cancer. This year's show is this Friday, September 30th in little ole Roanoke, VA (which Cousin JD informs me is the "Star City" of the South!) Jason will be donating proceeds from this year's show (as he always does) to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. He continues to perform these fundraisers in honor of his dear friend, Melissa, whom he lost to breast cancer when she was only 29 yrs old. Jason explains that "The day she passed away, my family decided that we would always do something to carry on her memory and to help in the fight." He even auctioned off a private meet and greet to this year's event which helped raise an additional $6,000. The lucky bidder won airfare and hotel to go along with the front row seats and backstage pass. No word on whether a Cheesy Western all the way from the Texas Tavern was included in the prize pack.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Country Video Site

Can't get enough country music videos and news stories? Me either. But fear not, our friends at Hillbilliesville have put together a website featuring the best country videos, news, interviews, and feel good stories all in one place. And unlike TV, everything is on demand. Click for the song of the day, the Heroes of twang feature stories, favorite band interviews whenever it's convenient for you! If you like a little twang in your music, check out this great new site! (No shirt or shoes required!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Free Songs from People Country

Our friend Shannon over at Nashville Gab, just turned us on to a cool source of free songs from People Magazine online. These are no scrub songs either. There are songs by Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill and Jake Owen, to name a few. If you have an iTunes account you can pick up all nine free songs with just one code. Who knows? You may even see a new Song of the Week from this list. Enjoy! and have a great weekend!

Pardon Our Mess

Pardon our mess while we do some minor construction on our site. As you can see, we've changed our name from Carrie's Country Roundup to Family Reunion Country. I'll still be doing most of the blogging, but we wanted to include our band name in the blog to make it easier to find us when our new album comes out in the next few months. For a sneek peak at a few of the songs, you can check out our MySpace page to listen to full versions of our first three songs. Let us know what you think. We'll keep you posted with more updates (and possible some freebies) as release date draws near.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Charlie Daniels stars in Stars for Stripes benefit

Charlie Daniels, Chris Young, and Darryl Worley (whose 2003 hit, "Have You Forgotten" provided the theme for the event) played Nashville's The Palm for Charlie's annual Stars for Stripes benefit concert. Stars for Stripes is an nonprofit that sends entertainers to perform for troops stationed overseas. Sometimes in remote, and very hostile regions overseas. Charlie Daniels tells about one performance he gave in Balad, Iraq. "There were people on the ground shooting at us with small arms and a rocket propelled grenade. I didn't think it was real. I thought it was an exercise and our guys were practicing. It looked like fireworks." So you know this isn't just a PR photo op for these performers. This is something they truly believe in. In addition to saluting our troops. Charlie, Chris, and Darryl also paid tribute to John and Jan Vigiano, who lost two sons on the day of the World Trade Center attacks, and Lt. Jason Redman, a former Navy Seal who has started his own nonprofit organization,, which provides clothing to wounded vets. Once again, I am proud to be part of the country music community when I hear stories like this. It makes me proud to live In America!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Song of the Week: My Kind of Crazy by Thompson Square

You may remember Thompson Square from their number 1 hit back in April, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?" Well, there's no lover's question with their latest song, "My Kind of Crazy." This song captures the intensity of the first throes of love, where all logic goes out the window and you're willing to pay any price, do any favor, break any law for the object of your affection (obsession?) The great thing is that Keifer and Shawna Thompson, the married couple who make up Thompson Square have been married for years and can still sing about that kind of passion. The story behind this couple's rise to success is great and the song is just as good. The hook for this song is just impossible to get out of your head once you hear it; it's enough to make you go "crazy" for this song!

Friday, September 16, 2011

On the Road Again With Steel Magnolia

Our friends at The Boot have a great ongoing life-on-the-road series featuring Joshua Scott Jones of Steel Magnolias. In his latest installment Joshua talks about the perks and pitfalls of a travelling band. After a show in Kansas City, he was treated to an exclusive after show party at local honky tonk (complete with mechanical bull) PBR.
But more often than not, the road stories include the long bus rides, changing planes, checking in and out of hotel rooms, etc. No wonder there are so many wisftul country songs about being on the road. It's funny, as the youngest member of our band I haven't had that much road experience. But my cousins/bandmates have shared their horror stories with me (Including the one about being stiffed by a club owner after a show and not having enough money for a hotel that night.) It makes me understand why my partners were willing to give up touring. It also makes me wonder why bands are willing to put themselves through the gruelling realities of life on the road. Then I remember - it's all about the music!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lady Anti-Bellum

There's a nice article on about Lady Antebellum and their new album, Own the Night. In the article Kelley, Hillary, and Dave discuss the hazards of overnight success (and the years it takes to build up to "overnight success")They actually brought in a conflict mediator to help them hash out some of their disagreements. Lucikily, Family Reunion is an extended family so our disagreements can be heated, but we're always willing to work them out because we know there's no escaping family. Usually when we have creative differences over a song, we'll just record it two (or more) ways and let the band and other family members vote on which one they like best. We used that democratic method for our song, YES, and a few months later it's really hard to remember what the differences were in the first place. Lady Antebellum's new song "Just a Kiss" has already raced to number one on the country charts - and that'll go a long way toward healing any disagreements!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fun With Science

See this wierd image? It's called a QR code. Somehow, through the magic of science if you take a picture of this with your cell phone it will take you directly to this blog. Pretty cool, huh?
We've been busy lately putting the finishing touches on our first album, and I'll keep ya'll posted as we get ready for the big release. This little thingy up above is one of the cool gadgets Cousin Hollywood came up with to help us get the news out when it's ready. Stay tuned for more later!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Hank Williams CD

For those of you who became country music fans through the songs of Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, and any of the current generation of stars, it may surprise you to learn that country music has been around longer than ten years. Although no one can say with any certainty when the first, sweet strains of country music floated down from the Appalachains; most of us can agree on the first country music star: Hank Williams. This new, 3 CD set called "The Legend Begins" is not another greatest hits collection (Although if you don't have one already - go get one!) It is instead a collection of lost treasures from his earliest days as a performer, some going back to when he was just fifteen years old. To new fans of country music (and fans of new country music) this may sound like a different style of music entirely. But this is where it all began. Just released today, I haven't had a chance to listen yet; but I will soon. I hope some of my fellow artists will take a listen as well!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Song of the Week: Wanna Make You Love Me by Andy Gobson

With a sweet, smooth, and emotionally compelling voice Andy Gibson sings the words that every woman wants to hear. In his song, Wanna Make You Love Me, Andy pledges that his lover makes him want to be a better man. But listening to this song (and watching him perform it in the video) tells me that's going to be one tough feat as Andy seems like a pretty good man (dare I say, a hard man?) already. I love the tone and feel of this song. I love the Tom Petty reference. But most of all I love the words. When I hear a song like this, it makes me imagine that perfect Hollywood moment when my soul mate rides up on horeseback and sweeps me away.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Keith Urban Likes Freedom (and tattoos)

Closing out this week of remembrance and patriotism, I thought it would be nice to end on a light note. Above, Keith Urban shares his thoughts behind his first tattoo (an American Eagle.) Funny that someone from Australia can appreciate the freedoms that this country has to offer when so many of our own people seem to take it for granted. Please don't forget that the 9/11 attacks were committed by Muslim extremists who wanted to stifle our freedom to think and act differently from them. So I thank God for our brave men and women in uniform who are willing to fight to protect our freedoms. If you see any military, police, or firemen this weekend, let them know how much you appreciate the proctections they offer. Enjoy your freedoms and allow others to enjoy theirs. And if you freely choose to get a tattoo this weekend, send me a pic if you care to share!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alan Jackson and 9/11 Memories

There's a nice aricle over on CMT about Alan Jackson and 9/11. He tells how the song, Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) came to him int he middle of the night and how he sang it into his portable recorder. He talks about his indecision on performing it live at the CMA awards that year. No doubt his song brought comfort to a great many people (although personally, I felt more comforted by Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue by Toby Keith.) It's odd, on this anniversay of that fateful day two things really stand out to me: 1. I remember what a picture perfect, sunny, autumn day it was. I remember actually being so mad that the sun continued to shine when we had just been so viciously attacked. 2. I remember needing to be with friends more on that day than any other I can remember.
My friend, Carmella Inchierchiera, is still working to help others cope with 9/11. I chose her song, Fallen Heroes (performed by Nelson Blanchard,) as my song of the week to help commemorate 9/11. But I failed to mention that Carmella is donating 50% of proceeds from the song to 9/11 Health Now, a charity to help first responders who have developed cancer and other health issues as a direct result of their heroic efforts that day. So go check out her song and the 9/11 charity she supports, it's a good song for a good cause.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jason Aldean shares back to school memories

CMT online has a short article with Jason Aldean sharing some of his back to school memories. He talks about wearing boots to school and talking to friends about the hit country songs of summer. He goes on to say that he doesn't write songs to change the world, but songs to capture a feeling - like the feeling of being a teen and going back to school in the fall. My bandmate, Cousin JD, has a back to school memory that he carries with him to this day. Although he tells people his nickname stands for Jack Daniels, it really comes from when he was too young to drink. On his first day of school in Jr. high he showed up with a John Deere hat. Before the day was over, no one knew his real name, but everybody called him John Deere. By October, it was shortened to just JD, and the name's been with him ever since. For those of you going back to school today (or have kids going back) I wish you all a day full of wonderful memories and a happy and healthy new school year. If you have any favorite school memories, please feel free to email me or just shar them below.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Song of the Week: Fallen Heroes by Nelson Blanchard

I know everyone's enjoying the last day of summer vacation, but with the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 less than a week away, I felt this song was more appropriate than a summer party song. No words can ever fully express the horror and sorrow of that terrible day, but as songwriters it's our job to try. Songwriters must face both the best and worst of our human experience. In this song our ICMA frinds, Carmella Inchierchiera and Nelson Blanchard, take on both at the same time and succeed in delivering a heartfelt tribute to those who risked everything on that day. Whatever your political beliefs, please take a moment to reflect on the fact that there is evil in this world, and take a moment to give thanks to the heroes among us - both then and now.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yes, I'm a top 40 artist!

For the second time, Family Reunion has cracked the top Italy! The latest country music top 40 chart currently has our song, YES, listed at #38 on the charts. So raise a glass of chianti and toast our friends overseass who apparently have great taste in music. Ciao baby! (Stay tuned for more updates on our upcoming album release!)