Meghan Linsey takes bro-country to task with ‘Try Harder Than That,’ films music video: Exclusive

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Meghan Linsey isn't afraid to speak her mind. She might be small in stature, but she's huge in voice. So, it isn't surprising that the singer's debut solo single is a sharp-shooting female empowerment anthem, which takes direct aim at every bro-country song currently thumping through the speakers of mainstream terrestrial radio. "Try Hard Than That," the lead-in to her new EP (through a Pledge Music campaign), makes a bold statement about what it means to be a woman and how they should be treated. "It was meant to be a sassy song. I don’t want to say ‘take jabs’ but it’s more about pushing a boy you like on the playground," she shares of the song to NashvilleGab, exclusively, on the set of the song's music video.

Formerly of Steel Magnolia, Linsey has high hopes as she launches her solo career. Admittedly, she says she never had any qualms about releasing such a risky song. "I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest. In fact, when we wrote it, I was like, ‘dang, I feel like this is a single.’ I think you have to be bold anymore to stand out and make a statement, especially for women. You’re not hearing [many] women on country radio. Coming out with something different and shaking stuff up, that’s the goal."

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Janelle Arthur & The Song Suffragettes bring female strength to The Listening Room Cafe

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Every Monday evening, many of Nashville's finest female singer-songwriters gather at The Listening Room Cafe to share stories and heartfelt music. There's nothing quite like plopping down at a newly-minted table, ordering a tall Hap & Harry's draft and settling in for an hour of truly great music. What transpired on Monday (July 7) was a moment in time, as five equally stunning and remarkably talented young ladies, American Idol's Janelle Arthur among them, took the stage to bless the crowd with the power of words.

Only able to perform two songs apiece, each singer — Arthur, Nicole Johnson, Lena Stein, Kalie Shorr and Morgan Dawson — hand picked excellently written songs to showcase their talent. If this was the only time the crowd saw them, they wanted to leave a mark. The ultimately 10-song acoustic show was a wrinkle in time, begging the question: why are none of these women signed to a label? With each breath, each pause, each nuance of a lyric, these stylists proved that their weight in gold is as valuable as that of Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.

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Halfway To Hazard’s Chad Warrix heads solo, enjoys ‘being on the edge of country’: Exclusive

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It's always a difficult task for a singer, once part of a duo or group, to branch off into their own solo venture. But for Halfway To Hazard's Chad Warrix, who loves to rock out in white from head to toe, he's found new freedom and creative energy, as evidenced by his new single "Hitch."

"It’s really rewarding getting in and working on my solo stuff. We’re not getting any younger," he shares with NashvilleGab. Teaming up with musician David Tolliver, the two instantly connected and began an admirable career. After both performers relocated to Nashville, they struck up performances all across town, ultimately leading to a slot on Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul2Soul tour and a deal with Mercury Records in 2006. Their self-titled debut followed the next year. They returned in 2012 with H2H: Come On Time.

Admittedly, Warrix discloses that going solo has been "a lot easier, in some ways." But let him explain:"I get to make more decisions, less collaboration. But I love David's stuff, too. We’ve been together so many years."

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Eric Church, Luke Laird celebrate #1 single ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’

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Garnering his third No. 1 single on the Billboard charts, Eric Church continues to buck the trends that make his contemporaries so popular. He's blazed his own trail, and "he's never happy to stay back on his own laurels," UMG CEO Mike Dungan pointed out at the No. 1 celebration for "Give Me Back My Hometown."

Dungan continued, noting Church's achievements in creativity, "I can't tell you what it's like to represent an artist with such integrity and meat on his bones. This guy is constantly moving." Lifted from Church's eclectically-ranged The Outsiders, "Hometown" was co-written with Nashville tastemaker Luke Laird, who hit a milestone with a record 15 chart-topping singles.

Laird has penned such tunes as Carrie Underwood's "So Small," Blake Shelton's "Hillbilly Bone" and Little Big Town's "Pontoon." Earlier this year, the songwriter landed a Grammy Award win for Best Country Album for his contributions to Kacey Musgraves' critically-acclaimed Same Trailer Different Park disc. Shane MacAnally also produced.

Laird will return to the studio this fall to helm Musgraves' anticipated sophomore effort.

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Risa Binder shines at The Rutledge; Kristen Brassel starts strong

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Bubbling with a sunny disposition and a powerful voice, Risa Binder dazzled on the stage at Nashville's Rutledge on Thursday (June 26). Vaulting through a slew of her originals, including the title track to her fortchoming Nashville EP (out Aug. 5), the singer demonstrated impressive restraint. When the crowd attempted to anticipate her next vocal run, she threw curve ball after curve ball, pulling back when the melody would typically call for power notes.

Binder launched her set with her current pop-country single "Gotta Have You," a plucky tune that samples Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift. It's a head-bobbin' good time, and her backup singers delivered precisely-crafted harmonies, wrapped neatly in an "ooo" chant. So, it's no real surprise that the infectious jam is already getting spins on Sirius XM, which has become the new gateway to breaking talented acts. Could Binder be next in line?

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David Nail jams out at CMT Summer Concert Series

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David Nail performed a mini-concert for his fans underneath the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge on Wed. evening (June 25). Taking the stage with his guitar, the singer-songwriter rocked out on his well-known hits, including his most recent smash "Whatever She's Got." The gathering crowd cheered, bobbed their heads and waved Mountain Dew bottles in the air–the cold beverage creator were sponsors of the CMT-helmed event.

As the sun was blazing and teasing at the Nashville's cityscape, Nail proved that his live vocal delivery is not far off his recording one. While his performance style is rather static, that didn't matter. His voice soared over his lyrics, charring the air with his precision and calculated nature.

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Charlie Worsham tears it up at 3rd & Lindsley; Angaleena Presley surprises

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If there ever was a newcomer who could radically shake up modern country music, it would be the guitar-plucking and smoothing-talking Charlie Worsham. During his show at Nashville's 3rd & Lindsley on Saturday (June 21), the "Could It Be" singer captivated the crowd with his showmanship, scorching the stage with cuts from his acclaimed Rubberband debut. Of course, he kept his set fresh, with a cool throwback spin, performing a medley of Beatles hits (including "Come Together" and "Let It Be"), as well as a banjo-fused version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."

With every strum of his instrument–whether it be an acoustic or electric guitar–he never missed a beat, ultimately solidifying his placement as one of the format's most promising trailblazers. If his first Top 20 hit wasn't enough to convince you of his worth, Worsham's live show certainly does the trick.

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The Swon Brothers discuss debut album, Carrie Underwood & Lady Antebellum collaboration: Exclusive

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The Swon Brothers offer up their best summer-y (and romantic) anthem with their debut single "Later On," a sweeping pop-rocker that speaks to radio's target demo. As the lead-in to their highly-anticipated post-Voice debut record, Colton and Zach are certainly making their mark, as the song itself sits just outside the Top 20 at both Billboard (Country Airplay) and Mediabase (Country Aircheck).

"It’s unreal man. Golly. We’re just two blessed, very grateful guys," Colton shares with NashvilleGab, exclusively of their success so far. "It couldn’t get any better. We’re just enjoying it, man, just trying to take time to soak it in. Everybody tells us, ‘just take time to breathe and think about what’s going on.’"

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Kristen Bell Teases CMT Awards: Jason Derulo, John Legend & Hunter Hayes

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With CMA Fest well underway, the party gets even hotter with tonight's (June 4) CMT Awards, emceed by the illustrious and talented Kristen Bell. Enjoying the blockbuster success of Frozen and the latest Veronica Mars entry, the actress and country music lover is taking the reigns solo for the first time ever, returning for her third year. “I find the (awards) to be the best concert I’ve ever been to,” Bell shared with reporters at a press conference on Tuesday (June 3). “I think the lineup, and with the amount of performers, it’s destined to be the best one yet. Just the lineup of performers alone is pretty radical.”

Among the performers is hip-hop superstar Jason Derulo, who is enjoying new-found fame this year with such hits as "Talk Dirty" and his new single "Wiggle." Unconventionally, he will join Florida Georgia Line onstage for the opening number on a re-imagined version of his "Dirty" smash, with special guests to soon be revealed.

John Legend is also set to perform, alongside Jennifer Nettles and Hunter Hayes (on guitar). "He's playing it in a way he's never done before," executive producer John Hamlin said of a new version of "All Of Me." "He wanted to do it as a guitar-driven song this time. So, we asked Hunter Hayes to do an arrangement. John and Jennifer Nettles will duet, with Hunter performing instrumentation."

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CMA GlobaLive Concert at CMA Fest 2014: Jaida Dreyer, Kira Isabella Shine

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The people of the world came together on Monday (June 2) to (unofficially) kick of the 2014 CMA Music Festival. Featuring artists of all walks of life, music became the centerpiece of the CMA GlobaLive Showcase, which included artists from Australia, New Zealander, Canada, the UK and Sweden. As the crowd trickled in, the diversity of country music lovers was a talking point throughout the evening, emceed by singer-songwriter David Bradley (who also played a rousing set late in the evening).

Of course, several standout musicians from this side of the Atlantic played throughout the night, proving to possess the skills needed to captivate the crowd with just a voice and a guitar. One of those truly remarkable performers was the Canadian born-and-bred Jaida Dreyer, who has made quite the name for herself through her work with ABC's hit drama Nashville. In the past several months, the singer has had three songs featured on the show, "Dreams," "This Town" and "Tell Me."

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Amy Rose talks Entertainer win & having her mom on music video set: Exclusive

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Amy Rose's star is most certainly on the rise. With the release of her rockin' new single "Country Crazy," the singer climbs to the mountain top, aiming her sights on US domination. Having previously taken Canadian radio by storm, this outside cut is her fourth entry in the states. 2014 has already proven to be quite the year for Rose, having garnered her first-ever No. 1 hit song with "Sunshine" on the New Music Weekly Chart.

This milestone also goes hand-in-hand with her 2013 win for Entertainer of the Year at the International Music and Entertainment Association Awards (IMEA). Rose admits to NashvilleGab (in an exclusive interview) that she's still getting used to the new title. "Sometimes it seems a bit hard to put it out there, but you know me, I’m a conceited person," she laughs. "I use it all the time. Nobody loves me more than I love myself." 

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Doug Briney on being a ‘Super Country Cowboy,’ his faith & ‘Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson: Exclusive

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Doug Briney is not your typical country music singer. Having originated in the chilly air of Alaska, he only made the move to Nashville last summer–charging full steam into his budding career. When you take a listen to his second studio set, the appropriately-titled Super Country Cowboy, you can observe his uniqe perspective on contemporary country sounds (like album opener and title track), while maintaining his tight grasp on tradition.

"I’ve sung my entire life. I used to sing in churches. My first solo was in church when I was two years old," he shares with NashvilleGab recently in an exclusive interview. "I’ve led music in churches for the past 25 or 26 years. Those early influences were also country rooted."

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