Kip Moore often lies awake in bed at night. Melodies and lyrics swirl through his head. Sometimes they’ll dissipate as seamlessly as they first arrived. Other times, the singer-songwriter can do nothing but begin singing them aloud. It frees his ever-churning mind.
n addition to laying tracks in Music City, Cale Dodds is making tracks on the road, opening for the likes of Brett Eldredge, Billy Currington, and Sam Hunt. Cale has recently partnered with JustinBoots as “JustinAmerica Country Artist” and with AT&T U-verse for the Country Deep Tour with David Nail.
Mitchell Tenpenny strolls through the halls at Sony Music Nashville casually swinging a liter of Tenpenny Spiced Rum at his side. You know he is coming by the easy laughter and casual banter with everyone he passes. The beverage was a gift from a staffer and not a birthright.
He’s amused by the interest in his surname – mostly because he doesn’t have a clue as to the origin (Irish, he thinks) – but his name is garnering attention for all the right reasons.
Aaron Watson isn’t interested in what someone else thinks he should do. But instead of getting lonely as he sidesteps expectations, he’s gaining followers––hundreds of thousands of them. Delivered with a warm smile and fueled by a wild spirit, Watson’s rebellion echoes the land that helped make him.
Josh Mirenda was born and raised in Music City. The middle Tennessee native grew up listening to music ranging from Dwight Yoakam to Justin Timberlake. While studying at Belmont University, he began writing and singing songs as an escape from his classes. Soon his chemistry binder began to have more song lyrics than notes and his music started to gain not only the attention of his peers, but also Music Row. Six months after graduating from college Josh signed his first publishing deal with Warner Chappell and Cornman Music. Since then he has taken off as a songwriter with songs recorded by Granger Smith, Jason Aldean and the Dierks Bentley hit “Somewhere On A Beach” among others. Josh’s music as an artist has a heavy pop/rock/hip hop influence, but stays true to his roots with country lyrics and catchy melodies.
LOCASH is a Country music duo made up of singer-songwriters Chris Lucas and Preston Brust, natives of Baltimore, Maryland, and Indianapolis, Indiana, respectively. With a sound that fuses modern Country and classic heartland Rock with an edgy vocal blend, the independently-minded partners are revered as “one of Nashville’s hardest-working acts” (Rolling Stone) whose live show “has consistently been among the most energetic and entertaining in the country music genre” (Billboard).
Born out of Middle Georgia, Travis Denning has been crafting his skills as a musician and as a songwriter for close to 10 years now. With a powerful voice and a mature musicianship beyond his years, Travis has proven himself as a must see live performer. MidGaLive.com states, “Definitely, Middle Georgia’s next big export!…This dude is going to be the next Keith Urban…” and with good reason to back it up. Travis made the move to Nashville in January 2014 to pursue his dreams, and within the first year made great steps towards a long career in country music. In November of 2014, Travis signed a publishing deal with RED Creative Group. Travis has had songs recorded by Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, and more. On the music he writes and performs, Travis comments, “I like to think that I sing about everything that is me, and everything I know. I’ve grown up in the South my whole life and everything about it and the things I love shine right through what I write and sing about.”
“I love the grit,” says Rodney Atkins. “I love getting sawdust on me. I love getting under the hood and getting grease all over: working hard, until your knuckles are busted.”
After over two decades in country music, it’s hard to imagine that the Tennessee-born Atkins could still treasure the difficult moments and the arduous process of creating a song from the ground up. But he’s just the kind of artist who loves the roots as much as the tree. With six number-one hits under his belt, four studio LP’s and over ten million units sold, Atkins is more invested than ever in making honest, authentic records that tell a story and showcase his unique place in the world, which is exactly what he does on his forthcoming fifth LP. But it took a moment, about three years ago, for him to take stock not just of where he’d been, but where he was going.
“I equated it to my bow and arrow moment,” Atkins says. “I felt like I needed to stop, take a few steps back. Re-aim. Re-adjust. Get back on target, and to the level I wanted to operate on.”
Already an award-winning songwriter, having written hits for Chris Stapleton, George Strait, Jamey Johnson and Jake Owen, Kendell Marvel makes his solo debut with Lowdown & Lonesome, a concept album that blends his musical down home country and rock & roll roots.
Having written 9 out of 10 tracks on the album, Marvel flexes his writing chops and invites listeners on the familiar journey of heartbreak, vices and all points in between. “Gypsy Woman” paints the picture of a love that’s not chasing back while on the title track “Lowdown & Lonesome” Marvel sings about hitting rock bottom and drinking about it. Lowdown & Lonesome is reminiscent of classical country greats Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. combined with the southern rock edge of the Allman Brothers and ZZ Top. “I wrote the song “Lowdown & Lonesome” with Keith Gattis and Randy Houser a few years back and we based the whole album around that track. The songs are real, they’re gritty- a combination of hurt-like-hell heartache and rowdy rebellion.”
The respect Jackson has already earned within the music community is evident throughout Tony Jackson, as the new album is titled. It features songs and/or performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members John Sebastian, Steve Cropper and Dr. John “Mac” Rebennack, Country Music Hall of Famers Vince Gill, Bill Anderson and Conway Twitty and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame luminary Norro Wilson.
With Ben Gallaher what you see is what you get. His songs are autobiographical anthems of growing up in South Central Pennsylvania with a passion for ‘90s country, a reverence for the guitar masters, and a self-awareness that connects like super glue with his growing fan base.
Genuine in his songwriting, gifted in his self-taught musicianship, and energetic in his stage performance, Gallaher doesn’t just understand his fans: he is cut from the same cloth. Whether he is performing in a dusty roadhouse or state prison he delivers his truth in songs that reflect the dignity of simple things and a deeply-rooted respect for what matters.
He mines those concepts in his self-titled debut EP on Sony Music Nashville, which will be released on August 11. From the first searing guitar riff, Gallaher comes across as an artist with confidence and a keen sense of what he wants to say.
It’s easy to see why Montana’s music connects with so many people far and wide. Dubbed as one of Rolling Stone’s “Artists You Need to Know,” his musical influencers range from Merle Haggard to Guns N’ Roses. Montana’s passion for music has not gone unnoticed by his fellow musicians. “Tim is the real deal. He’s a little bit country with lots of hard rocks — or maybe he’s a rocker in touch with some serious country roots,” says ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.
Originally from Dallas, GA singer/songwriter Stevie Monce mixes a classic rock n roll style with a distinct southern flair. With music ranging from shoe-tapping rock riffs to heartfelt acoustic ballads, Monce is able to connect with listeners through meaningful lyrics and organic tunes.