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Country Music Well Represented at the 2018 American Music Awards

American Music Awards

Photo Credit: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Last night the 2018 American Music Awards, hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross, aired live on ABC. The American Music Awards is the world’s largest fan-voted awards show, honoring artists in multiple musical genres, including country. Fans had the chance to vote for their favorites, from September 12th to October 4th via Twitter and web voting online. Each nominee listed was based on key fan interactions reflected by Billboard, including radio airplay, streaming, social activity, album, and digital song sales and touring. For those who didn’t tune in to the live broadcast, here’s a recap!

The AMA’s was a big night of music and this year country music was represented by Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett, Kane Brown, Florida Georgia Line, and Jesse James Decker; who took part of the pre-show red carpet as well as being the Subaru Correspondent during the show. The first award of the night was presented by country duo, Florida Georgia Line and their “Meant to Be” duet partner, Bebe Rexha.  Together they announced Cardi B as the Favorite Artist in the Rap/Hip-Hop category.  As the night went on we got to see more of our fan favorites take the stage to present awards and introduce other artists. Grammy-nominated artist, Kelsea Ballerini, and EDM-Pop duo, The Chainsmokers, introduced Post Malone and Ty Dolla Sign to the stage for their performance. While later in the evening platinum-selling country artist, Kane Brown had the honor to present favorite album Soul/R&B to XXXTENTACION’s family after his untimely death.

Throughout the night, fans of country music were on the edge of their seats waiting to see which of their favorites won in the country music categories. The first category announced was Favorite Female Artist.  Thomas Rhett presented this award to the queen of country herself, Carrie Underwood, winning the category for the fourth year in a row, making this her 13th AMA award. She went up to the stage thanking God, her incredible team and of course the fans, saying “Tonight is all about the fans! Thank you so much, you’ve have shown so much love and support for me…you guys mean the world to all of us, just thank you so much!” The next award of the night was Favorite Male Artist in the country category. First time nominee, Kane Brown took home the award, winning his first ever AMA award. Brown came up on stage saying, “First off I feel like I’m about to pass out” then went on thanking the fans and everybody who helped him win. This wasn’t the end to Brown’s night, he went on a streak,  winning all the awards he was nominated for, taking home Favorite Song for his single “Heaven” and Favorite Album for his self-titled record. Last but not least the award for Favorite Duo or Group was given off-air to Florida Georgia Line, closing out the awards for the country categories.

Carrie Underwood American Music Awards

Photo Credit: Getty / Frazer Harrison

 

As the night was coming to an end, Carrie Underwood stole the show with her stunning performance of her new song “Spinning Bottles” off her brand new album Cry Pretty. Underwood took to the stage, right after she won Favorite Female Country Artist, showing everyone watching how deserving she is. She chose to sing one of her more heartbreaking songs, appearing in a beautiful red grown surrounded by candles. Her performance was extremely intimate, showing her emotions with every note she hit, leaving the crowd in complete awe. Underwood’s flawless delivery was one for the books, giving one of the best performances of the night.

The AMA winner gave everyone a taste of what to expect from her at her concerts and luckily as New Yorkers, we can experience The Cry Pretty Tour 360 with special guests Maddie & Tae and Runaway June at the iconic Madison Square Garden on October 2, 2019. While we have to wait a year to see Underwood, luckily we New Yorkers have the chance to see Kelsea Ballerini this month on the Graffiti U tour with Keith Urban at the Barclays Center on October 27th. Three-time AMA winner, Kane Brown will be playing a one-night-only exclusive album release show at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 7th.

 

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Carrie Underwood Is a Part of The Tonight Show History

Last week, The Tonight show host Jimmy Fallon swapped out his space at 30 Rock for Central Park, making this the first ever late night television to do so. Country superstar Carrie Underwood was a part of history appearing on the episode with Blake Lively, the New York Philharmonic and of the course The Roots. The late show took place at Rumsey Playfield, aka Summer Stage, to an audience of over 1,500 people, making this The Tonight show’s biggest audience yet. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the episode when it aired, here’s a recap!

Fallon kicked off the night with the special edition of the name that song challenge, where The Roots and the New York Philharmonic played one instrument at a time to create the beat of a song until someone guessed it. The teams were, Jimmy Fallon with Blake Lively and Carrie Underwood with special guest Henry Golding. Underwood being a musician herself had the advantage and guessed the majority of the songs right but somehow Fallon turned the game in his favor making his team the winner.

When it came time for the interview portion, Fallon introduced his next guest, “One of the biggest names in music and a 7-time Grammy winner, her album Cry Pretty is available right now! Welcome, Carrie Underwood!” Putting the country superstar in the hot seat before she took to the stage to perform. Underwood talked about her pregnancy and her 3 1⁄2-year-old son Isaiah, who she hopes one day will be a singer just like her. It was also mentioned that she co-produced the record with the incredible writer and producer, David Garcia. She described the experience as, “It’s really exciting cause you get to get in there, and you’re, you know, there for every step of the way and making the creative decisions…But it was just amazing to, like watch the musicians at work, and I gained such a bigger respect for what they do.” Taking on the role was a great experience for the singer and when asked which song is her favorite on the album she said, “Depends on the day”, which all of us can relate to.

Last but not least, it was the moment everyone was waiting for, “Here with the T.V. debut performance of her new single, “Love Wins” from her album Cry Pretty once again, Carrie Underwood!” She took the stage in a beautiful all black outfit, giving the audience a performance to never forget. As the camera panned out each person had a pink bracelet or a pink foam stick, making the crowd illuminate in a beautiful sea of waving pink lights. As always, her vocal range showed off her undeniable talent with her power ballad. Underwood gave her all while performing, leaving the crowd with goosebumps, wanting more.

The country superstar gave everyone a taste of what to expect from her at her concerts and luckily as New Yorkers, we can experience The Cry Pretty Tour 360 with special guests Maddie & Tae and Runaway June at the iconic Madison Square Garden on October 2, 2019. While we wait for the show to roll around, we can listen to her sixth studio album, Cry Pretty, that is out now!

 

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New Music Friday – The Playlist

This Friday we were graced by a brand new album from superstar Carrie Underwood titled Cry Pretty as well as new singles from Eric Church, Brett Young, Erin Enderlin, Dolly Parton featuring Sia and Heather Morgan. Check out our Spotify New Country Music Playlist below and be sure to follow for updates each and every Friday.

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NYCS First Impression: Carrie Underwood ‘Cry Pretty’

Carrie Underwood Cry Pretty

There’s no denying the power of Carrie Underwood within the country music community. The golden-voiced superstar has been a fixture in the genre since her American Idol win back in 2005. Today, Underwood releases her sixth studio album, Cry Pretty, which only further serves to cement her role as the reigning queen of country. However, unlike previous efforts, Cry Pretty shows Underwood stretching her sonic wings, veering in different directions musically, topically, and emotionally.

Sonically, Cry Pretty shows Underwood exploring different sides of her voice, hints of a more R&B/ soulful tone lacing many of the album’s tracks. The LP contains thirteen songs (including a bonus track “The Champion”), with each showing a different side of Underwood. For the first time in her storied career, many of these lyrics sound like they’re coming directly from the singer’s heart, rather than presenting her in character. The album also allows her to wear both her producer hat, co-producing with David Garcia and her writer hat, having written on nine of the album’s tracks.

While Underwood has always excelled in the art of the story song, as evidenced by the likes of “Last Name” and “Two Black Cadillacs,” she truly shines when she lets down her guard and sings from the heart. Nowhere on the album is this more evident than on track 12, entitled “Kingdom.” The song, co-written by Underwood, Chris DeStefano, and Dave Barnes, plays as a love song to Underwood’s own husband and children, remarking that their perfectly imperfect life is their kingdom.

Cry Pretty also shows Underwood tackling some difficult subjects, touching on the long-term and long-reaching effects of a single bullet in “The Bullet.” She also hits on the topics of school shootings and politics in “Love Wins.” While she doesn’t overtly advertise an opinion within these songs, she uses her platform to draw attention to some tough topics, and “The Bullet,” co-written by Marc Beeson, Andy Albert, and Allen Shamblin, provides one of the album’s most poignant moments.

On the album, Underwood also shows off a more lighthearted side, releasing what could be described as her first party song. It would be safest to liken “Southbound,” co-written by Underwood, Garcia, and Josh Miller, to a Little Big Town song in the vein of “Pontoon” or “Day Drinking.” While the song is certainly a departure for Underwood, it does work here, and we expect to hear it blasting at tailgates for the next fifty years. “The Song That We Used to Make Love To” also veers into a more poppy sound for Underwood than listeners may be used to hearing, but with a voice like hers, it works.

“Low” and “Backsliding” show off the groovy side of Underwood, revealing a more R&B side to her voice. “Backsliding,” written by Underwood, Garcia and Hillary Lindsay, is an ode to going back to an ex that you most definitely shouldn’t, and interestingly, wouldn’t sound out of place on a Thomas Rhett album. Alternatively, “Low,” written by the same writing team as “Backsliding” really allows Underwood to show off a different and underused side of her voice. Rather than focusing on belts and glory notes, she explores different tones, riffing and running the notes from high to low.

Other highlights of the album are “Ghosts on the Stereo,” written by Hillary Lindsey, Tom Douglas, and the late Andrew Dorff, and “Drinking Alone,” co-written by Underwood, Garcia, and Brett James. On the latter, Underwood laments the old adage that misery loves company, while the former tells of her “having a ball with Hank, Haggard, and Jones.”

For Underwood fans, Cry Pretty is a unique but engaging offering, stretching the singer outside of her normal realm, yet still keeping her planted in her musical roots. For country music purists, the overall body of work might veer too much away from the Underwood of “I Told You So” and “Jesus Take the Wheel,” but for fans of music as a whole, Cry Pretty offers something for everyone.

The album is available to buy or stream everywhere today.

Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Track List:

  1. Cry Pretty (Carrie Underwood, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose)
  2. Ghosts On The Stereo (Hillary Lindsey, Tom Douglas, Andrew Dorff)
  3. Low (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Hillary Lindsey)
  4. Backsliding (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Hillary Lindsey)
  5. Southbound (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Josh Miller)
  6. That Song That We Used To Make Love To (Hillary Lindsey, Jason Evigan)
  7. Drinking Alone (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Brett James)
  8. The Bullet (Marc Beeson, Andy Albert, Allen Shamblin)
  9. Spinning Bottles (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Hillary Lindsey)
  10. Love Wins (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Brett James)
  11. End Up With You (Hillary Lindsey, Brett McLaughlin, Will Weatherly)
  12. Kingdom (Carrie Underwood, Chris DeStefano, Dave Barnes)
  13. *Bonus Track* The Champion (Carrie Underwood, Brett James, Chris DeStefano, Christopher Bridges PKA Ludacris)

 

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New Music Friday – The Playlist

This week the ladies are taking over our New Country Music Spotify Playlist with new EP’s from two of our Swag Spotlights:  Jillian Jacqueline and Abby Anderson as well a debut EP from the ladies from our Swag Session from last month Runaway June. Also check out new songs from Ben Danaher, Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, Ruston Kelly, Kelsey Lamb, and Caroline Glaser.

Give us a follow and listen below:

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Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC!

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Runaway June

NYCS First Impression: Runaway June Debut EP

Runaway June

The rising trio Runaway June, which includes the beautiful and talented ladies Naomi, Hannah, and Jennifer, have given fans exactly what they have been waiting for. Today they dropped their self-titled EP and it can be downloaded and listened to everywhere music is available. The group has been working on this project for two years with well-known producer Dann Huff. In a press release about the EP, Jennifer said that Dann Huff has changed their lives, while Hannah said it best with “The EP is a really fun and diverse look into our sound as a band. It incorporates the fun of the live show, but also shows some soft moments that fans can relate to.”

The EP consists of 5 songs, “Buy My Own Drinks”, “I Am Too”, “Got Me Where I Want You”, “Wild West” and their own spunky version of Dwight Yoakam’s “Fast As You”.  The trio gave fans a taste of their EP last month when they released “Buy My Own Drinks” which was written by the ladies themselves alongside songwriters Hillary Lindsey and Josh Kear. Fans love that single and will love the rest of the songs on the EP.

The collection of songs feature their spectacular harmonies on lyrics that touch on heartbreak, finding the perfect love and being badass, empowering women. This being their debut release on Wheelhouse Records, the project proves that the chicks of Runaway June are primed for stardom.

Last month Runaway June joined us for a Swag Session where they performed “Wild West” and “Buy My Own Drinks.” They talked to us about their exciting plans for next year. They will be joining Maddie and Tae on Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty 360 Tour. You will not want to miss the trio when the tour hits NYC next year, so make sure to grab your tickets here. You can also watch the full Swag Session below.

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Top 10 Carrie Underwood Songs…So Far

With Carrie Underwood’s new album, Cry Pretty, being released on September 14, there are sure to be twelve new classic tracks to bless our ears. Yet, while we wait for what’s to come,  it’s only fitting to take a look back at her incredible catalog of hits over the past thirteen years.

While pretty much every Underwood song is perfect in its own right, her hits span the gamut of emotions from love and longing to betrayal and revenge to religion and spirituality. It was nearly impossible to choose a list of favorites, but here are ten of Underwood’s best songs, so far.

 

10. “Dirty Laundry”

“Dirty Laundry” makes this list for its catchy hook and incredibly clever lyrics, with Underwood telling her cheating man that “all the Ajax in the world ain’t gonna clean your dirty laundry.” The track was written by Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley, and Hillary Lindsey and appeared on Underwood’s Storyteller album.

 

9. “Temporary Home”

While “Temporary Home” may not have been one of Underwood’s biggest hits, it’s easily one of her most poignant. As the second single from her 2009 album, Play On, “Temporary Home” touched on the singer’s spiritual side. She co-wrote the track with Zac Maloy and Luke Laird, earning her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

 

8. “Jesus, Take the Wheel”

In many ways, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” is the song the started it all for Underwood, as the first single off her debut album, Some Hearts. Written by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey, and Gordie Sampson, the song was Underwood’s first step in establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with in country music. The song also cemented her position as a Grammy darling, taking home the trophy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song.

 

7. “Blown Away”

“Blown Away” served as the second single off of Underwood’s album of the same name, setting a darker tone for the era. The song tells the story of an abusive father passed out on the couch during a tornado, while his daughter hides in a shelter, praying for him and the home to be “blown away.” It was written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear.

 

6. “Last Name”

“Last Name” tells the story of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” with Underwood taking on the tongue-in-cheek role of a woman whose raucous night ended with her married to a man whose last name she doesn’t know. Written by Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird, the Carnival Ride single showed Underwood’s lighter side and earned her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

 

5. “Two Black Cadillacs”

“Two Black Cadillacs” hearkens back to the old days of country music’s story songs, and it’s a masterful track in the vein of classics like “Goodbye Earl” or “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” The song was the fourth single from the Blown Away album, continuing the darker trend started by the title track. It was co-written by Underwood, Hillary Lindsey, and Josh Kear.

 

4. “Just a Dream”

Underwood’s “Just a Dream” is the type of song (and video) that tests for working tear ducts, telling the story of a young military widow. It was released as a single from Carnival Ride and written by Gordie Sampson, Steve McEwan, and Hillary Lindsey.

 

3. “Wasted”

While “Wasted” may have been the sixth and final single released from Underwood’s debut album, Some Hearts, it’s one of her best. Written by Hillary Lindsey, Marv Green, and Troy Verges, “Wasted” is certainly a simpler song by Underwood standards, but a perfect snapshot of everything great about country music in the first decade of the 2000’s. It’s fluff, but not too fluffy; it’s country, but not too country; it’s pop without being too poppy. Lyrically and musically, “Wasted” remains all kinds of delightful.

 

2. “Before He Cheats”

While Underwood has had a ton of massive hits, one could argue that “Before He Cheats” is her most iconic release thus far. On the revenge anthem, which became her largest selling single to date, Underwood takes a Lousiville slugger to both headlights and slashes all four of her man’s tires, promising that she’ll never be cheated on again. The 2007 single was written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear, and can be heard in karaoke joints and cover bars across Nashville to this day.

 

1. “Something in the Water”

There’s just something magical about “Something in the Water, ” earning it the top spot. The track, which was released as a single from Underwood’s Greatest Hits: Decade #1, was co-written by Underwood, Chris DeStefano, and Brett James. It doesn’t sugarcoat its spirituality and the “Amazing Grace” background choir into the ending is truly chill-inducing. Grammy voters agreed, with “Something in the Water” nabbing a coveted award for Best Country Solo Performance.

 

How does our list of our Top Carrie Underwood Songs match up to yours?  Check back here in a next week to read our First Impression of her highly anticipated next album, Cry Pretty.

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Women Want to Hear Women: Elaina Smith Chats with Carrie Underwood

Our July NYCS Woman of the Month and co-host of Nash Night Live, Elaina D. Smith featured Carrie Underwood as a guest, on the now national podcast on Westwood One ‘Women Want to Hear Women.’ The remarkable podcast shines the spotlight on different women in country music and counteracts the narrative that states women do not want to listen to female artists.

On September 3rd, the two accomplished women discussed the narrative in relation to the airplay given to female artists on the radio, women being pitted against each other, the singers new women-centered clothing brand “Calia,” as well as, Underwood’s upcoming, The Cry Pretty Tour 360 accompanied by duo Maddie and Tae and Runaway June (coming to MSG in NYC on October 2nd, 2019).

Smith and Underwood shared similar sentiments that there needs to be more women representation in country music, including on the radio, music charts, and award shows. More importantly, the podcast shines a light on the importance of women standing up for and empowering other women. The singer, producer, songwriter, and “BOSS”, shared this sentiment,  “I’m a fan, ya know. It’s good when women support women, and I think we can do more than that.  One of the good things that have come out of these conversations have been the rallying we have had for each other, behind each other, which we all need more of that in our lives. I feel like that’s where it starts.”

When asked about her 2019 tour, Underwood discussed the dismay she has seen because of her all-female lineup. She goes on to voice that “What rules we think there were, no. It’s about creating a norm […] This is just a tour.” This powerful statement supports Smith’s mission to create equality for women in country music. “I feel like the more we do of that, and the more normal it is, why would I not want to take women out on the road with me?!,” continues Underwood.

You can catch snippets of Smith’s ‘Women Want to Hear Women’ podcast with Underwood below, as well as, listen to the powerful conversation in its entirety on nashcountrydaily.com.

Since Underwood said it best closing out the segment: “Thank you [Smith] for opening these doors to having these conversations because they need to be had. Because I’m like you, the more people, the women I get to know in this industry that are amazing, and talented and special and for whatever reason aren’t recognized as such, it just infuriates me. And, we just all gotta keep sticking together and voicing that and voicing our concerns.”

 

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[Watch] Maddie and Tae’s Captivating Video for “Friends Don’t”

Platinum-selling duo Maddie & Tae have released the official music video for their latest single off of their upcoming full-length sophomore album,  “Friends Don’t.” The upbeat single was written by Madison Marlow (Maddie), Taylor Dye (Tae), Justin Ebach and Jon Nite. This is the pair’s first new single released under their new record label,  Mercury Records, an imprint of Universal Music Group.

In a recent press release, Dye shared “To us ‘Friends Don’t’ feels sexy and confident, but with a dash of that uncertainty, you have at the start of a relationship, because you don’t know if the other person feels the same way you do. We wanted to play off that push and pull we’ve all felt before.”

In the video, you see exactly that. It starts off with the Texas and Oklahoma duo at a late night house party and each seem to have a flirtatious relationship with separate love interests. There are text messages exchanged as well as mixed emotional signals and one big grand gesture.”We both got to do a little acting and play out separate storylines with a love interest,” revealed Marlow. “It was pretty outside of the box for us to act, so we just tried to have fun with it.” You’ll have to watch to see what happens in the end.

Maddie & Tae will hit the road with Carrie Underwood on her Cry Pretty Tour 360 next Spring along with supporting act Runaway June. The tour stops in New York City on October 2nd, 2019 at the legendary Madison Square Garden and tickets are available everywhere today.

 

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Exciting News From Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood

Just one month before Carrie Underwood releases her sixth studio album, Cry Pretty on Sept. 14, Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour 360 announcement surprised us with more than just dates and locations.

The exciting news comes out that her tour is kicking off in May 2019, since she has another baby on the way! “Mike and Isaiah and I are absolutely over the moon and excited to be adding another little fish to our pond!” she shared this morning via social media. “This has just been a dream come true, with the album and with baby news and all that stuff. We’re just so excited, and just so glad that you guys can share in this with us.”

She broke the news this morning that she will bring up-and-coming female artists, Maddie & Tae and Runaway June along with her for all dates.  Her tour which will be ‘in the round’ will allow Underwood to get up close and personal with fans as the stage is a circle, and allows the venues to sell all of the tickets, not leaving out the seats behind the stage. 

 Tickets go on sale Friday, Aug. 17, at 10 AM. Make sure you enter on her website, for a chance to win two tickets to see Underwood in your city.  New Yorkers can look forward to the Cry Pretty Tour 360 hitting Madison Square Garden on October 2nd, 2019

 

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