Yeah, ok, Benton Blount is a friend of mine, so I might seemed biased. But hear me out.
When I first met Benton, he’d been signed to a Nashville record label and was just putting out his first song, “Carolina” (which Parmalee later made a hit). I was working at a radio station in Frederick, MD and he was going around the country visiting stations. He came into our conference room and played a few songs for me and some of my coworkers, and from the second he started to sing, I thought, MAN, this guy is talented!
It wasn’t just his talent, though. I happened to have my dog Zeppelin (RIP) with me at the radio station that day, and he kept running up and sniffing at Benton while he performed. Benton smiled and petted Zeppelin and kept on playing. We got to talking after his performance and we hit it off, becoming instant friends. It’s no surprise to me that our birthdays are a day apart, because I think we’re a lot alike.
Just a couple months later, the record label Benton was on closed its doors. That was five years ago.
Make no mistake, it’s Benton’s talent that is pushing me to ask you to vote for him on America’s Got Talent tonight (Sept. 1). Because he’s got it by the YARD. He’s in the semi-finals, and if you haven’t heard him sing yet, you need to tune in. And if you want more proof, check him out here for some of the stuff he’s recorded in his “Living Room Concert Series” over the years. He’s worked for this. He’s earned it. And it’s about damn time!
You don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to him sing and then get your vote on! I want to be able to bring more of his music to you on New Country First on Slacker. For now, though, check out what we do have (you’ll like it!) here. And join #TeamBenton to show your support here.
Earlier this week, her record label, Cold River Records, released the following statement:
After nine years of competing at the highest level in country music, Katie Armiger has decided to take a breather and decide her next career aspirations. She has opened for the biggest names in the country music business and headlined two national tours. It has been the thrill of a lifetime to work with her and watch her blossom into one of the best singer-songwriters of her generation. Katie is a special talent and an even better person. Watching her grow and reach for her goals has been so much fun. The night she debuted on the Grand Ole Opry was something that I will never forget! As a label, we love her and support her decision and we will always be her biggest fans. We care deeply for Katie as a person and artist.
So that’s disappointing, right? Katie is a real talent and has invested a lot of time (and money) to get where she is now, and a lot of us were really surprised by this announcement. But then, things went wonky. Katie posted this on Instagram (this was apparently the second time she posted it):
Curiouser and curiouser. From what I can tell, this was posted and deleted multiple times, and it’s not there as of the time of this post. It remains to be seen what will come out of this. As someone said to me, somewhere between their side and her side is the truth. I’ll keep my eyes open and let you know what, if anything, happens from here.
If you’re not here in Nashville for the Fest, there’s good and bad. I mean, the good is, you’re probably sitting all up in your office or house enjoying some air conditioning and only breaking a sweat if you have to get up for more beer, amiright?
The bad? EVERY. BODY. In country music is here right now. There are free concerts literally all over downtown Nashville. New artists you might not have heard of yet, already up-and-coming artists and even artists you know pretty well are playing on stages at just about every corner. Tonight, the BIG concerts start at LP Field, where the Tennessee Titans play. These shows are a parade of country music superstars, four nights in a row. If there was any such thing as concert overload (and there’s not, in my book), this is where you’d get it.
If you want to torture yourself you can see the full lineup here. I’d also suggest you use that link to get your tickets for NEXT YEAR’s CMA Music Festival as soon as humanly possible, because those things sell out super fast and I don’t want you to miss it again. Cool? Cool.
As if it’s not enough that he’s openly a mama’s boy, says romantic things about his fianceé and is a huge supporter of our military, Brantley Gilbert has taken things one step further to show he’s just a good guy.
It started when Wounded Warrior Staff Sgt. Justin Patterson gave Brantley his first purple heart as a thank you for his support of veterans, and for joining the Wounded Warriors motorcycle ride, Project Odyssey.
So, awesome dude that he is, Brantley then went on Fox & Friends and said, while he knows he can never repay a gift like that, he’s giving Staff Sgt. Patterson his two tickets to the CMT Music Awards in Nashville this week.
Watch it here, and then go ahead and swoon.
And yeah, it took me this long to recover. It was a really great show, although at times, it was a little over my head, conceptually. I can’t promise the same guest appearances when Zac Brown Band comes to your town, but for the tour launch in Nashville, Kid Rock, Jewel, Drake White and Bela Fleck all showed up. And there was a gospel choir. And the encore? I’m not exactly sure what was going on. First, there was choreography, which was cool and unusual for the guys, and I thought that will be cool to blog about. But then, Bela Fleck was up on the top level (of 3) of the stage, and he was — I don’t know. Yelling? Beating? A shadow girl on a chair. And then Zac was up there saving her. And then there was a dragon. Seriously. I don’t understand it but the effects were cool.
Apparently, Zac lost his voice and had to cancel the Saturday night show in Evansville. Definitely go see this show. And then tell me what the hell was going on!
Oh, yes. It’s happening TONIGHT. Zac Brown Band’s new album Jekyll + Hyde just came out this week (did you get yours? It’s here.) and tonight they’re kicking off their North American tour of the same name right. here. In Nashville.
Yep, I’m going, and I’ll tweet stuff from the show if and when I can, and try to remember to come back here and update you on all the fun-ness (it’s a word. I made it up, but it’s a word.) you will have when they get to your town. That might have to wait until I’ve recovered, though. Maybe Sunday.
Evansville, IN, they’re coming your way tomorrow (May 2). I wanna hear what you think of the show, too!
So, welcome to my new blog. This is where you’ll find all my deepest thoughts.
Just kidding. My thoughts don’t really go all that deep. But I’ll try to keep you updated on country music stuff here in Nashville, which is way better, right?
And if you ever have questions or comments or sarcastic remarks (my favorite!), give me a shout on Twitter or Facebook. I have Instagram, too, but that’s mostly just pictures of my dog. But she’s a really cute dog, so…