Ross Cooper sings the blues on ‘Give It Time’: Talks change, his rodeo past & more–EXCLUSIVE

Ross Cooper

For Ross Cooper, it is his Texas roots that give him the grit and soul to tell compelling stories from the heart that appeal to a diverse audience. As he prepares for the March 18th release of his highly anticipated albumGive It Time, he ponders on exactly how much change has motivated him and made him the man (and artist) he is now.

The album's title track, in particular, speaks to the human condition and how we fare in troubled times. "Painted red, but singing blues," he sings on the first verse. It's most certainly a heart-ripping, emotional song, but there is far more to explore on the entire 11-track record than this one composition indicates. Recorded at Mount Vernon Studios in Lubbock, Texas, and produced along with Jon Taylor, Cooper's sound in unapologetically Americana, precisely dusted with tradition and an ounce of folk.

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Continue ReadingRoss Cooper sings the blues on ‘Give It Time’: Talks change, his rodeo past & more–EXCLUSIVE

Ayla Brown looks back on ‘American Idol,’ shares her memorable Josh Turner performance & more–EXCLUSIVE

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Ayla Brown looks back fondly on her time on American Idol, appearing on the show's fifth installment — what many consider to be the pennacle of the former ratings juggernaut. As the basketball-playing vocalist, it was her first time playing live for so many people, 35 million to be exact, as well as her first time with a full band. "I had so many firsts with that show," she ponders to NashvilleGab, exclusively."

"It is so weird. I always say, ‘oh yea, I was on the show when people actually watched the show,'" she continues. "It’s kind of true. There are so many shows out there right now that I can not keep track of anyone."

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Continue ReadingAyla Brown looks back on ‘American Idol,’ shares her memorable Josh Turner performance & more–EXCLUSIVE

Jo Dee Messina on being free with ‘Me’ & the song that took over a year to write–EXCLUSIVE

Jo Dee Messina

Jo Dee Messina has never been freer than she is with her soon-to-be released Me. With the record set to be released next Tuesday (March 18), the red-headed singer opens up about her life throughout the 12 tracks, particularly on her current single "A Woman's Rant." Digging her heels deep into rock, she plans on making her mark, with the help and loyalty of her fans.

Me will be released on her own Dreambound Records and distributed by eOne Music. Having bucked the trend, Messina sought out help on the popular crowdfunding source, Kickstarter, to give her an upper hand in the next chapter of her musical career. "My 19-year-old cousin Alex Preston, who is, by the way, on ‘American Idol,' [recommended it],'" she tells NashvilleGab, exclusively, of the ultimate decision to go with Kickstarter.

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Continue ReadingJo Dee Messina on being free with ‘Me’ & the song that took over a year to write–EXCLUSIVE

Katie Armiger discusses her terrifying ‘Safe’ video, songwriting evolution & her striking red hair–EXCLUSIVE

Katie-Armiger

When Katie Armiger sings, she captivates her listeners, beckoning them to follow her on a remarkable musical journey. Her voice possesses that signature country cry, able to harmoniously pluck heart strings and empty out those emotional wells of deap-seated pain. On her current single "Safe," a blazing ballad co-written with Mallary Hope, the powerhouse digs into her adept songwriting to create a vivid story, unabashedly claiming her spot as the next woman of country.

But her songwriting hasn't always been so pointed. "I started in this industry when I was so young. I signed onto my label now when I was 15. There’s such a difference in perspective and life experiences," she shares with NashvilleGab, exclusively, of her own songwriting journey. "There are things you just don’t understand."

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Continue ReadingKatie Armiger discusses her terrifying ‘Safe’ video, songwriting evolution & her striking red hair–EXCLUSIVE

Denny Strickland opens up on surviving a tornado, his new single ‘Honky Tonk Highway’ and more–EXCLUSIVE

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With a background steeped in horses and competitions, Arkansas-native Denny Strickland makes a bold career move with his debut single "Honky Tonk Highway," lifted from an EP of the same name. With a jam-packed touring schedule, the singer has high hopes for 2014, with his sights set on a possible full-length album. The diverse six-song EP contains signifcant rock and traditional influences, stemming from his early onstage collaborations with Kris Kristofferson and John Carter Cash.

"This project is evolving," he tells NashvilleGab, exclusively, of the EP. "We feel like there’s more songs to add, of course, to make the full album. We’re looking forward to positive direction."

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Continue ReadingDenny Strickland opens up on surviving a tornado, his new single ‘Honky Tonk Highway’ and more–EXCLUSIVE

Joshua Scott Jones on a possible Steel Magnolia reunion, being tonky and ‘Healing’–EXCLUSIVE

Joshua Scott Jones of Steel Magnolia

It was clear when Joshua Scott Jones was one-half of Steel Magnolia (with Meghan Linsey) that he possessed a groovy, soulful voice that could enrapture thousands of fans. Even though the duo is no longer forging ahead together, he still holds onto his rock roots, as evidenced on his debut solo single "Honk (If You're Tonky)," the lead-in to his forthcoming set The Healing.

Despite both singers embarking on their own, there is a small possibility of a reunion in the future. "I think we’re really good together. We’re like peanut butter and jelly when we sing together," Jones tells NashvilleGab, exclusively.

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Continue ReadingJoshua Scott Jones on a possible Steel Magnolia reunion, being tonky and ‘Healing’–EXCLUSIVE

Deana Carter Talks ‘Strawberry Wine,’ females on the radio and the ‘Southern Way Of Life’–EXCLUSIVE

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Radiating softness and warmth, Deana Carter clutches a small tumbler filled with what appears to be a sweet white wine. She sits nonchalantly on the leather ASCAP couch overlooking Music City with ease, a confidently content smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Her blonde clocks square her face with tenderness, highlighting her remarkable features in the cool sunset glow permeaating the room. With the physical release of her latest record, Southern Way Of Life, she basks in her long career, unabashedly humble for the woman who's iconic song "Strawberry Wine" lives in the hearts and minds of a digital music landscape.

It's been a long day for the songbird, who co-hosted Sirius' early morning show "The Highway" on this Thursday (Feb. 27). She never gets used to the time change, as she know resides in Los Angeles. "I don’t manage [early mornings] well," she chuckles to NashvilleGab, taking another sip of wine. "The thing is when you get up like that, I can’t go to bed. I’m on LA time. I lay in bed, and it’s midnight because it’s only really 10 o’clock in my body. Then, I ended up doing one eye the whole night going, ‘Is it two yet? Is it three yet?’ I just end up getting up and doing my devotions."

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Continue ReadingDeana Carter Talks ‘Strawberry Wine,’ females on the radio and the ‘Southern Way Of Life’–EXCLUSIVE

Kevin & Melody Williamson on what’s wrong with the mainstream and the bold song ‘There’s No Country Here’–EXCLUSIVE

Williamson Branch

One 15-year-old isn't afraid to take bro-country head on. Melody Williamson, a member of the Nashville-based family band Williamson Branch, recently penned a song called "There's No Country Here," in which she boldly describes exactly what's wrong with mainstream country radio. She might be part of the target demographic Music Row continues to try to woo, but that doesn't mean she likes what's happening.

While the males were busy releasing songs about "tractors, truck and beer," it has been the females that have been pushing the envelope and examining the human experience. "If it’s up to me, they will," Melody tells NashvilleGab of the females doing the changing.

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Continue ReadingKevin & Melody Williamson on what’s wrong with the mainstream and the bold song ‘There’s No Country Here’–EXCLUSIVE

Marshall Dane on skinning the cat in songwriting sessions and his Alan Jackson experience–EXCLUSIVE

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In many ways, Canadian singer-songwriter Marshall Dane is today's answer to Alan Jackson, who is often cited as one of his direct influences. Dane's new single "Alcohol Abuse," which was shipped to U.S. radio this week (Monday, February 10), samples Jackson's early work and could easily mark a shift in his remarkable career. He's achieved blockbuster success so far in his home country, earning two nominations at the 2013 Country Music Association of Ontario Awards (Male Artist, Album Of The Year for his previous set Running Stop Signs).

His dream of performing with Jackson came true back in 2010, an experience he doesn't take too lightly. "I had the chance to open up for him back in 2010," the tells NashvilleGab exclusively. "I wanted to make sure — just in the slim chance that Alan Jackson says ‘hey Marshall, why don’t you join me onstage?’ — to be versed in his something he might propose, if it came to that."

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Continue ReadingMarshall Dane on skinning the cat in songwriting sessions and his Alan Jackson experience–EXCLUSIVE

Lindsay Ell is ‘Trippin’ On Us’: Singer Teases Debut Album, Opens Up On The Band Perry & Keith Urban–EXCLUSIVE

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To say Lindsay Ell is a firecracker is an understatement. As suggested by her brand new single "Trippin' On Us," the lead-in to her yet-untitled debut record, the 24-year-old holds all her sass and grit in her voice. Co-written with two of her good friends, Vicky McGeHee and David Fanning, is not your typical love anthem. "We just wanted to go and write a song about love, that’s positive for once. It’s a little country, and it’s a little rock," Ell tells NashvilleGab.

The song samples many of her influences, including Jimi Hendrix, Chet Atkins and Keith Urban. "As a musician, I’ve been playing shows and gigs across town and the U.S. for the past 10 or 12 years. I’ve been waiting for so long to finally release something to radio," she says, breathing a sigh of relief.

On the song's music video, which has not been released, she promises that fans will absolutely love it. "We worked with Roman White," she reveals. "He’s done lots of videos for Carrie [Underwood] and Taylor [Swift]. He’s just so, so talented. I think we made something really beautiful."

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Continue ReadingLindsay Ell is ‘Trippin’ On Us’: Singer Teases Debut Album, Opens Up On The Band Perry & Keith Urban–EXCLUSIVE

Exclusive Listen: Pierce Avenue channels their soul on debut single “Take It To The House”

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After pursuing respective solo music careers, husband and wife duo, Tony and Jaime Pierce, have teamed up as Pierce Avenue to deliver a charming, soulful debut single "Take It To the House." Co-written by the two, the new tune samples distinct soul, rock and traditional influences. NashvilleGab as the exclusive first listen to the new song below!

Tony and Jamie first met after a performance at the Cowboys Dancehall in Arlington, Texas — later dating, falling in love and discovering their musical chemistry. In 2010, they moved to Nashville, and it was up and coming artist Dustin Lynch that game them their first big break — offering Tony a gig as a season guitarist.

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Continue ReadingExclusive Listen: Pierce Avenue channels their soul on debut single “Take It To The House”