James Robert Webb Releases ‘Stealing Home’

Dr. James Robert Webb is a successful radiologist who just happens to be an accomplished country music singer/songwriter. When I interviewed him in April of 2020, he was getting ready to release a self-titled album as the nation was going into lockdown.

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Music Spotlight: Bridget Caldwell

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Singer-songwriter Bridget Caldwell does not come from a musical family. They loved music, but did not play or create music.  Her mother had “exquisite” taste in music and would play anything from Bonnie Raitt and Hank Williams to Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald.

Caldwell said she has always been a loud, boisterous kid and in third grade when she was cast as Snow White in the school play, her love for musical theater began. One day she started singing, her teacher ran down the hall to get her mother who was a special needs teacher, and said, “You have to come to hear this.”

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Music Spotlight: Jasmin Bade – Exclusive First Listen Premiere of ‘X’s & Y’s’

NASHVILLE, Tennessee  –  Jasmin Bade first discovered country music when she was six years old. It was Christmas time and she heard the Australian-country artist Kasey Chambers. Her aunt and uncle were playing her record and “fell in love with it” and wouldn’t stop singing her songs all the way home.

Besides Chambers, her mother would play Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley and the (Dixie) Chicks. Bade soon started guitar lessons and would take any chance she could to play. She would play on the streets (called busking in Australia) for pocket money. By ages 7 and 8, young Bade was singing in shopping centers.

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Music Spotlight: Bailey James

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – When I first heard Bailey James’ voice, I wondered how does a 16-year-old know how to sing like that? She is now 18 and her vocals are even more powerful. I was pleased to finally get an interview arranged.

James has been singing for almost as long as she has been speaking. Her first memory of music was while riding in the car with her father. He took her to ballet and played “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Walk The Line.”

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Music Spotlight: Minnie Murphy

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The first time I heard Minnie Murphy sing was when Jamie O’Neal was performing at RomaDrama in Franklin. O’Neal said, “Come on up and join me.” Murphy was holding her one-year-old son, but that didn’t matter. She just belted out her part with ease. Her love of music and singing rang true. I was even more excited to get to interview her.

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Music Spotlight: Max Gomez

Being a journalist from Nashville, there plenty of talented guitar players that I meet and interview. But I don’t find many traditional, western folk stylists who appreciate the old sound of blues mixed with some Americana. Max Gomez is the exception to the rule.

Gomez was raised in the rarefied musical micro-climate of northern New Mexico. He got a job playing guitar alone and singing when he was 15 in his hometown of Taos, New Mexico. His job was to play at this fancy steak house bar where people would come out to dance. He was supposed to play the guitar in such a way so they could dance.

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Music Spotlight: Firerose

Firerose is an Australian singer and songwriter who moved from Sydney to Los Angeles at age 19. Even though her music has a dance-pop vibe, with her fiercely personal lyrics, she is as good a songwriter as any country lyricist out there.

Firerose states she grew up in a musical family. She was writing songs as soon as she could speak. She was born with a gift and she knew it was hers to cultivate.

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Lifest Music City Was a Party with a Purpose

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The inaugural Lifest Music City was held at the Hideaway Farm outside of Nashville and was a tremendous accomplishment. Seeing as many of the popular contemporary Christian artists call Nashville home, it just made sense to branch out to Tennessee.

States Lifest founder Bob Lenz said, “When we heard that the Johnny Cash property was available Chuck Tilley, who started Atlantafest said, ‘So what do you think about doing Lifest down here?’ All I kept seeing in my mind was all of these families coming together to have a party while learning about the message of Jesus through music. I thought wow what better place than right outside of Nashville Tennessee?”

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Music Spotlight: The Hobbs Sisters

NASHVILLE, Tennessee –  When I first heard The Hobb Sisters, I stopped dead in my tracks. I am all about family harmonies but these two were next level. I guess that’s what happens when you have identical twins who are naturally gifted singers.

Lauren and Hannah Hobbs were encouraged to sing as young children by their grandfather, Pappaw John. He played the guitar and banjo by ear and would sing along with them.

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Exclusive: Innovo Management Presents ‘Hometown Hero’ Contest

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Hometown Hero is a program designed to help a musician(s) who went above and beyond during the pandemic to help others.

Hometown Hero is open to all music genres from anywhere in the world! Anyone can nominate an artist they believe is a Hometown Hero, including self-nominations!

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Music Spotlight: Gracie Carol

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Gracie Carol is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. As an athlete, Carol only remembers hearing her parents play country music as a child.

She recalled, “Every time we played games or practiced, my parents would be in the car just blaring new Kenny Chesney and Alan Jackson and George Strait and all the late 90s and early 2000s songs from country radio.”

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Music Spotlight: I Am They

I Am They are a pop worship band comprised of Matt Hein (vocals, guitar), Abbie Parker, (vocals), Brandon Chase (vocals, guitar), Justin Shinn (keys), and Nicole Hickman (drums).

What started as a one-night Halloween Harvest Night worship music event in 2008 for a church opening a new building in Nevada, turned into an event involving multiple churches. Matt and his church reached out to five other churches in the area which brought all those churches together in unity out of worshiping and fellowship. “Over 300 attended the event which was big news for us and our small town of Carson City, Nevada,” Matt reminisced.

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RomaDrama Live! Adds Musical Performances to Weekend Event

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – In true Music City fashion, RomaDrama® Live!, is adding live musical performances scheduled to take place during the weekend event, to be held July 30-August 1 at The Factory at Franklin in Franklin, Tennessee.

In addition to the already announced stellar list of TV stars RomaDrama® Live! is bringing to Nashville, Tennessee, favorite music stars from the Nashville Area will also be performing.

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Exclusive Premiere: Jarod Grubb’s Tiki Bar on the Beach

NASHVILLE, Tennessee –  About as far away as you can get from a beach, Jarod Grubb grew up near Glacier National Park in northwest Montana.

Like many young boys, his dream was to be a professional baseball player. And he was good enough to get a scholarship to play baseball in college.

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The Isaacs Release New Single ‘The American Face’

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Multi-Grammy nominated family group The Isaacs (mother Lily, daughters Becky and Sonja and son, Ben) who have been enlisted by Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Paul Simon, Vince Gill, and many more for their remarkable harmonies, are gearing up to release their new album, American Face on August 13.

I interviewed Lilly Isaacs concerning the upcoming record and new single.

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RomaDrama Live! Is Coming to Nashville July 30th – August 1, 2021

RomaDrama Live!, the celebrity event happening this summer in Franklin, right outside of Nashville, Tennessee, featuring actors best known for their roles in romantic dramas and seasonal programming on The Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, Netflix, and more, has announced newly added celebrities to the lineup.

Set to appear are Jesse Metcalfe (seen on Dancing with the Stars, Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, Chesapeake Shores, and Desperate Housewives), Wes Brown (The Call of the Wild, Christmas At Graceland, Love Begins) Teddy Sears (Christmas In Evergreen, The Flash), Rob Mayes (John Dies At The End, Burning Blue, The Road Home for Christmas), and Shawlini Manjunath-Holbrook (Love, Fall & Order and host and producer of the Hallmark Channel’s The Bubbly Sesh Podcast), who will serve as a celebrity host for the event.

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Music Spotlight: Alannah McCready

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  Alannah McCready had two passions growing up: singing and playing hockey. Growing up in Minnesota and getting her first pair of skates at the age of three, it was inevitable that McCready was going to become a hockey star. “It’s called the state of hockey for a reason,” she noted.

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Music Spotlight: Devon Beck

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  When I listened to songs from Devon Beck’s first EP, One Sided Expectations, the first thing I thought was she sounds like an American version of Adele. Not only that, Beck’s songwriting ability is mature beyond her years and is reminiscent of the songs in Adele’s 21 album. I found out that Beck is just 18 years old and has only been performing for a little over two years.

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Music Spotlight: Rhonda Vincent

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  Playing music is as natural to Rhonda Vincent as breathing air. She was born into a musical family from Kirksville, Missouri. The Sally Mountain Show, then later the Bluegrass Festival was hosted by her mom and dad and grandparents and aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. She picked up the mandolin at eight and the fiddle at twelve and was performing with the family band at festivals on weekends. They also had a TV and radio show that she sang in as a child.

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Lifest Is Coming to Music City

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  Life Promotions, organizers of the nation’s largest, family-friendly, music festival, Lifest, is thrilled to bring a new event to the Nashville area, Lifest Music City. This inaugural festival will be hosted July 29-31, 2021 at Hideaway Farm, the former home of country music legend Johnny Cash in Bon Aqua, Tennessee. This scenic farm was the center of Johnny’s universe for over 30 years and is just a short drive from Nashville.

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Music Spotlight: Halle Kearns

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  Halle Kearns is an artist who always knew what she wanted to do. Her family usually had country music playing in her house and she remembers singing along to 90s country in her car seat.

She stated, “I grew up on Dixie Chicks, Martina McBride, Faith Hill (Ladies of the 90s). The very first song I ever got caught singing on video was the Dixie Chicks song, “If I Fall.”

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Music Spotlight: Tyler Kohrs

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  The first time I heard Tyler Kohrs sing was on an Instagram video. He has a beautiful, bright voice and his country covers were spot on. But that wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was that he sounded country and talked with a slight southern accent, but is actually Asian-American. That piqued my interest so much that I contacted him directly.

Those of you who watch The Voice may recognize Tyler Kohrs from his tryout this past March. He didn’t get through, but he still did very well where people remarked about it. The story he shares about his experience is one you will want to hear.

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Music Spotlight: Alex Kline

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  With both of Alex Kline’s parents being attorneys, writing/playing country music wasn’t even on the radar for the teen growing up in California. No one she knew even listened to country music.

Kline’s grandmother was a skillful classical pianist and her father grew up playing piano as well. Her dad would occasionally play classical pieces for the family and her grandmother encouraged her to play as well.

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Music Spotlight: Rhonda Towns

Dawn Records announces a new release from its flagship artist Rhonda Towns, titled “Walking In Your Wonderful Light.” Written by Teddy Hayes and produced by Billy Sherrill in collaboration with Towns, the long-awaited and welcomed single serves as a preview to the Christian, country, and gospel music entertainer’s forthcoming six-track EP anticipated later this year.

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Music Spotlight: Presley and Taylor

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  Even though they are only 23 and 22, the sister duo known as Presley and Taylor have been a part of the music business for over eight years. And even with the pair being reared in the town of Middlefield, Connecticut, they grew up in a household where Tammy Wynette, Alan Jackson, and Randy Travis played on a constant loop, and weekend trips to their grandparents meant family singalongs of Loretta Lynn standards.

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Music Spotlight: Morgan Wade

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  As an avid supporter of female singers/songwriters, I always pay attention to emerging new artists. When I listened to Morgan Wade’s music, I liked her immediately because she was different, and that I found her music refreshing.

There is an edge to Wade’s country/rock/pop vocals that sets her apart. And the lyrics to her songs are not that of some bubble gum pop-country princess, but someone who has been there, done that, struggled, and come out stronger in the long run.

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Music Spotlight: Nashvillains

Nashvillains

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  When I interviewed the Nashvillains I mentioned that they were like a modern country music supergroup. Turns out they agree.  Signed to Fate Entertainment, the newly formed country-rock-infused band is made up of veteran musicians Troy Johnson, Brett Boyett, and Scott Lindsey.

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Exclusive: Dani Taylor Debuts New Single, ‘You Can Thank Me Later’

NASHVILLE, Tennessee  “You Can Thank Me Later” is being exclusively premiered in The Tennessee Star today. The introspective song from Dani Taylor’s self-titled EP  (also released today) is a message reminding her (and the listener) not to continue making poor decisions especially when it comes to dating someone who should be avoided.

The lyrics of the sassy song are reminiscent of a young Taylor Swift but her voice has the sweetness of Alison Krauss mixed in with Emmy Lou Harris’ intentionality.

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Music Spotlight: Jason Charles Miller

Agents send me music to preview. Sometimes I get quite a few in one day. When Aristo PR sent me songs from Jason Charles Miller’s From the Wreckage, Part 1 Album, I thought, “This is good, really good.”

Although metal fans will know, I was not familiar with Miller from the rock band, Godhead. But this new music wasn’t metal at all. It was more like a mashup between Lynryd Skynyrd meets Americana. It was both fresh and familiar at the same time. And it was different than most of the music that is pitched to me.

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Music Spotlight: Tera Townsend

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Since my “other” job is working with educators, I am keenly aware of bullying and the effects it has on a person.

Tera Townsend is a singer, songwriter, and musician from small-town in Tennessee. She grew up with a speaking disability and ADHD and was mocked and bullied as a child/teen because of her disability.

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Music Spotlight: Cristina Vane

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  Since I live in Nashville, in my Music Spotlight column I often tell how people ended up here. Americana/Blues/Folk musician Cristina Vane may have the most unique story of anyone I have interviewed.

Born in Italy to a Sicilian-American father and a Guatemalan mother, Vane has always had a tenuous relationship with identity and place. Even though her parents met in America while attending college, she grew up between England, France, and Italy, and was fluent in four languages by the time she moved to her father’s native United States for university at 18.

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Song Suffragettes Celebrate Seventh Anniversary

NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Nashville is famous for its writers’ rounds. The Song Suffragettes is the only all-female writers’ round and they have been consistently performing at the Listening Room on Monday nights for seven years.

Todd Cassetty founded Song Suffragettes for the simple reason of giving female singer-songwriters a place to play their music and be heard. Those who follow country music know that it is not an even playing field when it comes to women getting record deals and having their music played on country radio.

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Music Spotlight: Brett Kissel

If there were ever a darling of the Canadian Country Airwaves, it would be Brett Kissel. Not only has the 30-year-old won numerous Canadian Country Music Association Awards, but he also has three number one hits and numerous top-tens on Canadian Radio.

But the main reason I wanted to interview him was because his music really is that good. His songs are all over the spectrum sonically but they resonate with the listeners.

Kissel admits that absolutely no one in his family is musical. “Not a grandpa, not a dad, an uncle, an auntie, nobody ever played music, period.”

The fact that he picked up a guitar, the fact that he can sing, the fact that he can write songs, and the fact that he moved to Nashville and made a go of it, is nothing short of remarkable.

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Music Spotlight: Craig Campbell

Craig Campbell

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-  Even though I often interview up-and-coming artists, Craig Campbell has been on my radar for a while and he has an interesting story as well.

The Georgia boy is a self-taught pianist. He recalled, “I was captivated by the piano and every spare minute I was at it. After church on Sunday, I would go and pick out the melodies to the songs we sang in church that day.”

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Music Spotlight: Sam Hatmaker

The first time I saw Sam Hatmaker was with the Song Suffragettes before COVID. Every songwriter who is part of the Song Suffragettes collective is amazing, but Hatmaker was unique and different. I knew even back then, I wanted to interview her.

It turns out that Hatmaker is from Knoxville, Tennessee. Her mom did theater and her dad was a performer too. It was natural for her to want to be on stage. When she was ten-years-old, she auditioned and was cast in a Christmas show at Dollywood. That ended up with her working at Dollywood for three years.

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