John Conlee, Sarah Darling, Mel Tillis, Jeannie Seely, Jason Crabb, Mark Chesnutt, Jim Ed Brown, Jean Shepard, Montgomery Gentry, Riders In the Sky, Chris Janson, & Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X- PressCountry
Fort Worth TX | Country
One of the most respected vocalists to emerge during the urban cowboy era, John Conlee was known for his superb taste in material and his distinctively melancholy voice. Conlee was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Versailles, KY, in 1946, and took up the guitar as a child, performing on local radio at age ten. He went on to sing with the town barbershop chorus, but didn't initially pursue music as a career, instead becoming a licensed mortician. He also worked as a disc jockey at numerous area radio stations, and made important industry connections via that area when he moved to Nashville in 1971. Five years later, Conlee's demo tape got him a contract with ABC. He released a few singles, but didn't find acceptance until 1978's "Rose Colored Glasses," a song he'd co-written with a newsman at his radio station, rocketed into the country Top Five. Conlee spent the next decade or so scoring hit after hit, nearly all of them helmed by producer Bud Logan. He had two number ones in 1979 alone -- "Lady Lay Down" and "Backside of Thirty" -- and four number two hits through 1981, which included "Before My Time," "Friday Night Blues," "She Can't Say That Anymore," and "Miss Emily's Picture." Conlee returned to the top of the charts three times over 1983-1984 with "Common Man," "I'm Only in It for the Love," and "In My Eyes," and had his last number one in 1986 with "Got My Heart Set on You." All told, Conlee made the Top Ten 19 times through 1987, when he moved from MCA to Columbia and reached the Top Five with "Domestic Life." Never much for touring, Conlee subsequently curtailed his recording activities as well, instead devoting his time to charity work (often on behalf of American farmers), raising his family, and running his own farm outside Nashville.
Des Moines IA | Country
Declared by the New York Times as a "sophisticated songwriter" with a "crisp, powerful voice," Black River Entertainment artist Sarah Darling is confidently making her mark on the country music scene. She made her Grand Ole Opry debut in February 2011 and quickly followed that up with the #1 music video for her hit "Something To Do With Your Hands" from her sophomore release, Angels & Devils. The multi-dimensional artist is aligned with such high profile brands as Crock-Pot and Betsey Johnson. Her rendition of The Beatles classic "Blackbird," recorded for the charity-based compilation album benefiting "The Women and Cancer Fund," received heavy airplay on SIRIUS XM's The Highway and the music video for "Blackbird" made its debut at No. 1 on the CMT Pure 12-Pack Countdown. Darling is currently in the studio working on her upcoming album with producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts) to be released in 2012.
Lonnie Melvin Tillis (born August 8, 1932), known professionally as Mel Tillis, is an American country music singer. Although he recorded songs since the late 1950s, his biggest success occurred in the 1970s, with a long list of Top 10 hits. Tillis's biggest hits include "I Ain't Never", "Good Woman Blues", and "Coca-Cola Cowboy". On February 13, 2012 President Barack Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts For his contributions to country music. He also has won the CMA Awards' most coveted award, Entertainer of the Year. He is also known for his speech impediment, which does not affect his singing voice. His daughter is country music singer Pam Tillis.
Titusville PA | Country
Along with many accolades including awards from Billboard, Cashbox and Record World, country music legend Jeannie Seely has achieved No. 1 songs as a solo artist, as a duet partner and as a songwriter. Her deeply moving vocals earned her the nickname of "Miss Country Soul".
Jeannie’s recording of "Don’t Touch Me" not only topped the charts, but also earned her a Grammy Award for the "Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female". It is ranked at No. 97 in the book "Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles" published by the Country Music Foundation, and also included in "The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs".
Born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, and raised on a farm outside of nearby Townville, Jeannie was singing on Meadville radio station WMGW at age 11, and by 16 was performing on TV station WICU in Erie. When she moved to Nashville upon the encouragement of friend Dottie West, Jeannie only had $50 and a Ford Falcon to her name, but within a month Porter Wagoner hired her as the female singer for his road and television series.
Jason Crabb (born March 3, 1977 in Beaver Dam, Kentucky) is a Christian music singer and musician. He has been the lead vocalist for the group The Crabb Family. Crabb was voted "Favorite Male Vocalist" at the first annual Harmony Honors Awards and "Favorite Young Artist" at the 2000 Singing News Fan Awards. In 2004, he was voted 2004 Gospel Music Male Vocalist of the Year. He has been nominated for many other awards during his career. He has worked extensively with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir as a soloist. As a solo artist, he was signed to Spring Hill Music Group. His self-titled debut solo album was released on June 30, 2009. It reached No. 62 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Christian albums chart, and No. 1 on on Nielsen SoundScan’s Southern Gospel albums chart. The album won a 2010 Grammy award for "Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Gospel Album". It won a 2010 Grammy Award. The album was also nominated for a Dove Award for Country Album of the Year at the 41st GMA Dove Awards.On September 28, 2010, Spring Hill Music Group released Jason's second solo project, a Christmas album titled Because It's Christmas.
Beaumont TX | Country
Mark Chesnutt is one of Countrys true musical treasures. Critics have hailed him as a classic Country singer of the first order and some of Country musics most elite entertainers from George Jones to George Strait echo this sentiment. Mark Chesnutts stature is easily gauged; he has 14 No. 1 hits, 23 top ten singles, four platinum albums and five gold records. Country music critics and fans alike need look no further when it comes to Country music basics. If you ask Mark Chesnutt hell tell you, Its the music that has kept me around this long. In a world that sometimes confuses style with substance, Mark Chesnutt possesses both. Remaining true to himself as a traditional country artist while still keeping up with the ever- changing country landscape, Mark has a knack for picking great songs; delivering them with his world-class vocals; and with real heart-felt emotion. Mark has set the bar for his generationnot just for his being a consistent hit maker, but because of his love of genuine country music. Mark Chesnutts personal integrity as well as his principal to record a genuine country song has made him a fixture on radio and in the honky tonks. Chesnutt got his start in the honky-tonks of Beaumont, Texas, learning from his father, Bob Chesnutt, a singer, record collector, and major fan of classic country music. Playing along side his dad, one set at a time, Mark embraced his fathers influence and began making a name for himself. Mark sang covers by Lefty, Merle, George, and Waylon to develop his unmatched crowd-pleasing rapport and his authentic country style
Jim Ed Brown
If there is one word best suited to describe Jim Ed Brown, it is veratile. As a dynamic component in duets and a trio, as a solo recording artist, and as a popular television host, in the course of his professional lifetime, he has filled role after role with shining success. The last career of this balladeer from Arkansas can easily be likened to a well-cut gem, with its facets reflecting light on many different planes, yet collectively achieving the warm, enduring brilliance of an unforgettable star, a TRUE LEGEND...
To be called a legend in the entertainment industry, one must first be a pioneer and then proceed to accomplish many more "firsts". JEAN SHEPARD has done that and much more. A sample listing of some of her "firsts" includes: *Starring in the 1st network country music show, THE OZARK JUBILEE. The 1st female in country music to sell a million records. The 1st country music female vocalist to overdub her voice on records. The 1st country music female to make a color TV commercial. The 1st female country singer to be a member of the GRAND OLE OPRY for 47 years.
Montgomery Gentry is back and kickin’ ass.
With a new album, a new label and a renewed sense of musical purpose, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry are poised to stake their claim as one of country music’s all-time greatest duos.
When the two Kentucky boys—Eddie, is from Lancaster and Troy is from Lexington—first busted onto the national scene in 1999 with the defiant “Hillbilly Shoes” notice was served—country music had never seen a hard driving duo like this.
The duo’s new collection, the aptly titled Rebels On The Run, brings Montgomery Gentry fans back to the beginning, but with a fresh attitude. Produced by Michael Knox, who has helped build Jason Aldean to superstar status, Eddie and Troy’s latest effort will likely be remembered as their best album thus far in their decade-plus history.
Despite the millions of albums sold, the sold out shows and the scores of awards and accolades, Montgomery Gentry remains in touch with its working class roots. “We are blue collar workers and we lived the songs that we sing,” says Troy. “Because of that, our fans are able to make the connection and when they hear our songs, they know we are singing with passion and we know what we are talking about.”
“People are going to be able to touch on each one of our songs and say. ’Yeah man, that song is a little bit about me,’ or ’I know a person that lives next door to me that’s been through what you just got done singing about,’” Troy continues. “People can associate themselves with ours songs.”
“With us is what you see is what you get,” Eddie says of the duo’s down-to-earth demeanor. “We don’t act like we don’t drink or cuss. We have faults like everybody else and that’s who we are.”
Who they are is a duo with fourteen Top 10 singles, including five No. 1s, “Something To Be Proud Of,” “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” Lucky Man,” “Back When I Knew It All” and “Roll With Me.”
Their latest album is certain to add to that total.
Hometown proud first single, “Where I Come From,” continues the thread of the duo’s Top Five anthem “My Town.” The party hearty “Ain’t No Law,” co-written by Eddie and which includes the lyrics, live as fast as you can, cuz you can’t get it back is classic Montgomery Gentry. The vulnerable “Empty,” with powerful vocals by Eddie, drips with raw emotion and pain.
Meanwhile, the album’s title cut is a relatable tune sure to hit close to home to anyone who has been a teenager, which is to say, everyone. “Work Hard, Play Harder,” which Troy co-wrote with hit songwriters Jim Collins and Rivers Rutherford, is destined to be a blue-collar anthem
The Southern rock guitar-infused “So Called Life” is a raucous testament to hard working people everywhere. Legends Charlie Daniels and Alabama’s Randy Owen guest on “I Like Those People,” a blood-is-thicker-than-water testament to the things that really matter.
Now signed with powerhouse independent label Average Joes Entertainment, Montgomery Gentry has found the freedom the duo needs to move to the next level of their career. “It just seems like over the last couple of records there was so much going on at our old record company that we kind of got away from what Montgomery Gentry was about,” Troy says. “Rebels On The Run has a little bit of a newer sound, but it still has that edginess like the first two or three records we put out.
“We were able to go into the studio fresh, without our hands tied, and we were able to get the stuff done that we wanted to do and produce what we think is our best work to date,” Troy continues.
“It’s just so unreal when you get a fresh start and everybody is on the same page,” Eddie chimes in.
Average Joes, yes, but Montgomery Gentry is a superstar duo nonetheless. Whether it’s headlining tours, scoring a Grammy nomination, winning Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards, garnering critical acclaim or simply earning the admiration of their millions of fans, Eddie and Troy have met the criteria reserved for but a few in country music history.
But awards and accolades aside, it’s Eddie and Troy’s induction into the venerable Grand Ole Opry in 2009 that means the most to them.
“Unlike other awards, becoming members of the Grand Ole Opry is something people can’t take away from you,” Troy says. “Other awards come and go, but once you become a member of the Opry, you are a member for life—that’s something that Eddie and I are very proud to be a part of.”
There’s no doubt that they’re hard-running honky tonkers, but Eddie and Troy are also empathetic citizens of the world. Acknowledged by the Academy of Country Music as the 2010 winners of its Humanitarian Award, they devote their time and energy into making the needs of others a priority. They are active participants in many charitable organizations, including the U.S. military and numerous charitable organizations such as the TJ Martell Foundation, Camp Horsin' Around and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee, among numerous others.
Make no mistake about it: with Rebels On The Run, Montgomery Gentry has secured a place in musical history with a unique blend of country, southern rock and Everly Brothers-like harmonies combined with relatable lyrics.
“We grew up on Charlie Daniels, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Merle Haggard,” Eddie says with conviction. “That’s who we are. We cut our teeth in the honky tonks and no matter what you try to do, we have to be us or it just doesn’t sound right.”
Riders In The Sky
Riders In The Sky are truly exceptional.
By definition, empirical data, and critical acclaim, they stand "hats & shoulders" above the rest of the purveyors of C & W - "Comedy & Western!"
For more than thirty years Riders In The Sky have been keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, reviving and revitalizing the genre. And while remaining true to the integrity of Western music, they have themselves become modern-day icons by branding the genre with their own legendary wacky humor and way-out Western wit, and all along encouraging buckaroos and buckarettes to live life "The Cowboy Way!"
Riders In The Sky are exceptional not just in the sense that their music is of superlative standards (they are the ONLY exclusively Western artist to have won a Grammy, and Riders have won two), but by the fact that their accomplishments are an exception to the rule as well. That Riders In The Sky was even formed is a feat of improbable likelihood. What are the odds that a theoretical plasma physicist, a wildlife manager - galvanizer - Life Scout, an English major - shot putter - Bluegrass Boy, and a Polka Hall of Fame member would collectively become "America's Favorite Cowboys?" And even more unlikely is that 30-plus years later, the original members are still "bringing good beef to hungry people" while putting up Ripken-like numbers! The Rolling Stones only made it a few years before replacing Brian Jones; the Sons of the Pioneers constantly changed personnel; even the Ringo-era Beatles only lasted 8 years. (Perhaps Too Slim, as a sophomore writer for the University of Michigan Daily, had an ulterior motive in 1969 by propagating the rumor that Paul McCartney was dead! It's true... go ahead and Google "Paul is dead rumor"...) But the key to keeping the same founding members intact for three decades on the road is more easily explained: "Separate hotel rooms," cracks Ranger Doug!
Riders In The Sky's first official public performance was Nov. 11, 1977, at the erstwhile Nashville nightspot "Phranks & Steins." Taking the stage that night for a crowd of eight or nine (counting Herr Harry behind the bar) were Ranger Doug (Idol of American Youth) on arch-top guitar and baritone vocals, and Too Slim (A Man Aging Like Fine Cheese) on bunkhouse bass, face, and tenor vocals. A chain saw may have been in the mix somewhere that night, but was soon retired. Replacing the chain saw was Woody Paul (King of the Cowboy Fiddlers) on fiddle, tenor vocals and rope tricks, and the launch was successful! They subsequently added the "Stomach Steinway" stylings of Joey the Cowpolka King on accordion and baritone vocals, much to the delight of 'Polkaholics' everywhere.
As a classic cowboy quartet, the trail has led them to heights they could have never predicted. Riders have chalked up over 6100 concert appearances in all 50 states and 10 countries, appearing in venues everywhere from the Nashville National Guard Armory to Carnegie Hall, and from county fairs to the Hollywood Bowl. Their cowboy charisma and comedic flair made them naturals for TV, and landed them their own weekly show on TNN, as well as a Saturday morning series on CBS. They have been guests on countless TV specials, documentaries and variety shows, appearing with everyone from Barney to Penn & Teller. And their animated likenesses have shared the screen with Daffy Duck on the Cartoon Network, and the Disney Channel's Stanley. If you consider their compositional credits, one might call them "Writers In The Sky!" In addition to penning award winning songs for their own albums, they wrote the score for Pixar Animation's 2002 Academy Award-winning short "For the Birds." They composed the theme song for the internet cartoon show "Thomas Timberwolf" by renowned Bugs Bunny creator Chuck Jones. But the animated character that history will most certainly link to Riders In The Sky is the loveable cowboy Woody, as Riders performed "Woody's Round Up" in "Toy Story 2," with the album of the same name garnering Riders their first Grammy Award in 2001 for "Best Musical Album for Children." Two years later, Riders roped their second Grammy in the same category, for "Monsters Inc. - Scream Factory Favorites," the companion CD to Pixar's award winning movie.
Equally as exceptional, but of greater significance, is that in 1982, Riders In The Sky became the first, and to date only, exclusively Western music artist to join the Grand Ol' Opry, the longest running radio show in history, and thus began a love affair with radio as well. In 1988, they recorded comedy skits for the album "Riders Radio Theatre" and launched the long-running international weekly radio show of the same name on public radio. And keeping pace with the ever-changing technological landscape, in 2006 "Ranger Doug's Classic Cowboy Corral" debuted on XM Satellite Radio, still heard weekly on SiriusXM Channel 56.
Exceptional artists also appeal to a diverse and broad-based cross section of their adoring public. Riders In The Sky's music and comedy delights cowboys and cowgirls of all ages, and from all walks of life. Riders are equally at ease amusing a theatre full of children as they are enthralling a symphony audience accompanied by 50 or 60 classically trained instrumentalists, or even an NCO club full of servicemen during a USO Tour. Riders have performed at the White House for both Democratic and Republican administrations, and at Major League Baseball's winter meetings for both American and National Leagues (although with an admitted bias for the Detroit Tigers). With their ability to persuade cowpokes on both sides of the fence to set aside their differences for a brief escape from day-to-day tribulations, is it any wonder that Riders have a virtual home called "Harmony Ranch?"
Ultimately, exceptional careers do not go unnoticed, and throughout theirs, Riders In The Sky have been honored regularly. In addition to being inducted into the Grand Ol' Opry, Riders are in the Western Music Association's Hall of Fame, the Country Music Foundation's Walkway of Stars, and the Walk of Western Stars (in Newhall, CA near Melody Ranch Studios) along with Gene, Roy, John Wayne and other cowboy legends. No less important than their two Grammies, Riders have been the Western Music Associaton's "Entertainers Of the Year" seven times, and won "Traditional Group of the Year" and "Traditional Album of the Year" multiple times. The Academy of Western Artists has named them "Western Music Group of the Year" twice in 5 years, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has bestowed Riders with their Wrangler Award statuette three times. It comes as no surprise then that Billboard magazine's Jim Bessman counts them as one of "the most historically significant acts in the history of American music."
Yes, it would be "The Easy Way" to call it a career after 30-plus years, but it wouldn't be..."The Cowboy Way!" And so, the never-ending trail drive continues. The ponies are rested and watered, and America's Favorite Cowboys are ready to saddle up and ride, bringing good beef to hungry people wherever they may be. Yes, Riders In The Sky are truly an exception to the rule.
Perryville MO | Country
A fortunate few come to Nashville and find a home in the city's historic honky-tonk district. Then there are those incredibly rare talents who manage to set it on fire. Chris Janson is one of the latter.
Chris came to Nashville at 18 and pleaded with the doorman at the legendary Tootsie's Orchid Lounge for the chance to sing one song with the house band. Not long after he'd finished "Folsom Prison Blues," the bar's owners offered him a job.
Virtually overnight, Chris became the talk of the Nashville music scene. Crowds packed Tootsie’s to experience this Missouri-born musician, who could own an audience the way just a handful of his idols, a compelling and charismatic group of country and rock greats that range from Waylon to the Ramones, could do. For the next year he played four shows a day.
Chris began performing at the age of 11, although he didn't choose music as a career path until the summer after high school. He'd earned a scholarship to attend college to study veterinary medicine, but decided to try Nashville instead. With his parents' blessing, he took off with a few hundred dollars and quickly landed the Tootsie's gig.
His audience quickly began to include celebrities. Director Jonathan Demme saw Chris and offered him a small part in the Neil Young concert film Heart of God. Young, Rob Reiner, members of Guns N' Roses and many others came by to watch him perform. On one memorable night that looked like a convention of Music Row executives, he was offered publishing, booking, and management deals. Chris has toured Europe with the Critically acclaimed Moonshine Session's band....and the US with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams, Jr, Sugarland, Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings, and James Otto.. He has shared the stage singing and playing with Hank Jr, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Velvet Revolver, James Otto, Neil Young, and the list goes on and on......
He is most impressive on stage, bringing an array of strengths into the spotlight. He is an accomplished singer/songwriter, a dynamic multi-instrumentalist, a compelling vocalist, and a dynamic entertainer. The music, while drawing on a range of influences, is nonetheless solid country and unmistakably Chris Janson.
As of 2012, Chris is newly signed to the Bigger Picture Group label, sharing the roster with Zac Brown, Craig Campbell, among others.
Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X- Press
Bobby Osborne is a bluegrass musician known for his mandolin playing and high lead vocals. Born December 7, 1931 in Leslie County, Kentucky, Bobby Osborne is known primarily for his collaborations with his brother Sonny Osborne in their band, the Osborne Brothers. He was a pioneer in conceiving the now-popular "high lead" vocal trio concept. He has released numerous recordings since the 1950s. Most notably, the Osborne Brothers recordings of "Rocky Top", and "Kentucky" inpired their being named official state songs of Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively.