Breaking News: Las Vegas Route 91 Festival Shooting

Our thoughts and prayers are everyone in Las Vegas and the music community. 

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Photo credit: Loccisano/Cindy Ord/Getty Images

The country music community, and the rest of the country, was shaken when a lone gunman chose a music festival to carry out a senseless act of violence. 59 people have been confirmed dead and more than 500 injured after a shooting took place during Jason Aldean's set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night (October 1). 

In the hours since, social media has been flooded with heartbreaking stories of survival and messages of prayer and hope. For country singer Maren Morris, she knew of one way that she wanted to reach out to all those affected.....through song. 

In a post made to Facebook, Morris revealed that 3 years ago she wrote a song and last year recorded it with Vince Gill. Not knowing when would be the right time to release "Dear Hate," she saved it. But after last night's events, Morris knew the time had come. 

"I realized today that there's never a right time," Morris said of releasing the song. "Hate is everywhere, and I'm sick of not doing enough. In the darkest tunnel, there is still love & music. That's what it's here for. Here is Dear Hate. Any cent I see from this I'm donating to the Music City Cares Fund. Link for everything below. #LovesGonnaConquerAll"

Hear Maren Morris and Vince Gill sing "Dear Hate" in the video below. 



You can help victims of the shooting by donating to the official GoFundMe page by clicking here. Or, you can contribute to the Music City Cares Fund set up by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee by clicking here. 100% of the proceeds will go to Las Vegas to help with the immediate and long-term needs of victims in the shooting.

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Shooter’s brother: ‘It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family’

 

By Jeff German, Arthur Kane, Wade Tyler Millward and Ben Botkin Las Vegas Review-Journal

October 2, 2017 - 6:12 am

Updated October 2, 2017 - 3:57 pm

The brother of Strip killer Stephen Paddock wept Monday morning as he reacted to the news of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

“We have no idea how this happened,” said Eric Paddock, 55, of Orlando, Florida. “It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family.”

Police said Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on an outdoor music concert from a Mandalay Bay hotel room late Sunday, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 525. 

“There is no reason we can imagine why Stephen would do something like this,” his brother said. “All we can do is send our condolences to the people who died. Just no reason, no warning.”

From quiet retiree to killer

The younger Paddock repeatedly described his brother as “just a guy” with no serious health or money problems.

“As far as we knew, he had enough money to live the rest of his life in comfort,” he said.

Eric Paddock said he was on the phone all morning with Las Vegas police trying to figure out what happened.

“We’re lost,” he said. “We don’t get it. This is like someone else did this.”

Eric Paddock said his brother lived a quiet life as a retiree in Mesquite, frequently coming to the Strip to play video poker.

The last time the two brothers talked was a couple of weeks ago, when Stephen called to see how their mother was doing after Hurricane Irma swept through Orlando, he said. 

Eric Paddock said he was surprised to learn that his older brother had an aresnal of 16 firearms at his Mandalay Bay hotel room.

“He might have had a gun or two, but he didn’t have a huge stock of guns,” Eric Paddock said.

A pilot and gun enthusiast

His brother was a customer of Guns and Guitars, a Mesquite gun store, said Jan Sullivan, the retired owner. She added that her son now runs the shop and “knew him,” but she didn’t have other information about him, including his purchase history.

Federal Aviation Administration records show Stephen Paddock obtained a private pilot’s license in November 2003.

He rented a hangar for his Cirrus SR20 from the Mesquite Metro Airport from 2007 to 2010, when he ended his lease without any explanation, according to Cynthia Godfrey, the airport’s director.

Godfrey said he always paid on time and never gave them any problems. She did not know why he needed the aircraft.

The Cirrus SR20 can seat up to five people with about a three-hour flight time. Used Cirrus online go for well over $100,000, according to websites selling used planes. The Cirrus website notes the plane is “easily manageable for the newer pilot and perfectly suitable for business use.”

Paddock was not listed in FAA records as owning an airplane at the time of his death.

No criminal history

A spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin Corp. said Paddock worked for the aerospace giant from 1985 until 1988.

Eric Paddock told other news organization’s that his brother, who moved to Las Vegas from Florida, was a former accountant, but records show he was not licensed in Nevada or Florida.

Court records show that Stephen Paddock does not have a criminal record in Las Vegas.

In September 2012, Stephen Paddock filed a negligence lawsuit in Clark County District Court against The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas over a fall at the Strip resort.

He claimed that he “slipped and fell on an obstruction on the floor” and suffered injuries as a result of the “dangerous condition.”

The lawsuit, however, was dismissed in October 2014 after both sides agreed to drop it.

Attorney Jared Richards, who prepared the lawsuit for Paddock, declined to be interviewed. But he issued a statement saying his firm was “horrified” by the deadly shooting.

A mysterious safe

Paddock bought a home in Mesquite in January 2015 for $369,000. His girlfriend, Marilou Danley, once considered a person of interest in the shooting investigation, lived with him in the 2,018-square-foot home, records show.

He also bought a $238,000 home in a Del Webb Community in the Reno area in June 2013, records show.

Dee McKay lived next door to the shooter’s Reno home until she moved in July. She said Paddock kept to himself.

“He just kept his head down and would go to the clubhouse and come back,” she said Monday.

Neighbors told her that Paddock was a professional gambler.

Danley, his girlfriend, sometimes helped McKay remove long weeds at her home, she said.

One thing that struck McKay as odd was the large safe in his two-car garage.

“When you open the garage door, you can see it,” she said. “You shouldn’t let people see your safe. It seemed bigger than me, you know like a small refrigerator.”

McKay said she never saw what was in the safe.

“It was the strangest thing,” she said. “We’d say: ‘How much money was in it?’ and after this I’d say: ‘How many guns were in it?’”

Not well known to neighbors

In Mesquite Monday morning, box-shaped SWAT vans drove past an immaculately clean golf course and on the quiet streets of the 55-and-older Sun City community.

Mesquite police spokesman Quinn Averett said his department was assisting Las Vegas police.

Officers executed a search warrant at the house looking for evidence tied to the Strip shooting, and they performed forensics work.

Stephen Paddock lived in one of the newer subdivisions in Sun City. His greenish brown single-family home was one of about four in the subdivision blocked by police to passers-by.

Neighbors had been evacuated, Averett said.

Investigators, he said, found some weapons and ammunition in the house.

He said Mesquite officials had no contact with Stephen Paddock or Danley, and he did not know how long the couple had lived in the area.

Some Sun City retirees on morning walks woke up to the news that a neighbor was the country’s deadliest mass shooter.

Ken Heinly, 73, said he saw the news on President Donald Trump’s Twitter account before a regular walk with a friend.

“It’s unbelievable,” Heinly said. “This place is just so quiet.”

Theresa Eastman said she passed Stephen Paddock’s house often on morning walks.

She recalled pool work getting done at the house last spring.

 

 

Wade Millward reports from Mesquite where police found weapons and ammo in the shooter's home.

In Mesquite, only questions

Elsewhere in Mesquite, Hank Thropp, 72, rode into a fast-food parking lot on a motorcycle and with a jacket of expletive-laden patches.

He sat at a table in McDonald’s and discussed the day’s events with three of his friends, all local residents who said they can’t afford to live in Sun City. They mostly had questions.

How did he get a gun into Mandalay Bay?

What brought Paddock out to Mesquite?

None of them knew the man but said they were concerned about the influx of new residents to their community. Who really were their neighbors? Had Paddock planned his carnage from a house minutes from their own?

“What kind of person could do this?” Thropp said. “Sounds like someone I’d never want to meet.”

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter. Contact Arthur Kane at akane@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ArthurMKane on Twitter. Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Follow @BenBotkinon Twitter. Contact Wade Tyler Millward at wmillward@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4602. Follow @wademillward on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Alex Cohen contributed to this story.

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Okotoks mother Tara Roe is third Albertan killed in Las Vegas attack

 

YOLANDE COLE
More from Yolande Cole

CANADIAN PRESS

Published on: October 3, 2017 | Last Updated: October 3, 2017 12:36 PM MDT

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Tara Roe of Okotoks is one of 59 people killed in Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas. FACEBOOK

 

An Okotoks mother was one of the victims killed in a shooting attack in Las Vegas Sunday night, family members have confirmed. 

Tara Roe, 34, and her husband were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when they got separated in the confusion of the attack, family say. Family members were notified Monday night of her death.

Roe was a mother of two young boys, a model for Sophia Models and an educational assistant with the Foothills School Division.

Her aunt, Val Rodgers, said the victim was “a beautiful soul.”

“She was a wonderful mother and our family is going to miss her dearly,” Rodgers said when contacted at her home in Brandon, Man., on Tuesday.

 

The Foothills School Division issued a statement about Roe’s death. 

“It has been a challenging time for our division yet we continue to stand together and support one another,” superintendent of schools John Bailey said.

“We have put our crisis response team in place and they will remain as long as is needed to assist students and staff…Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those affected by this unimaginable attack.”

An online fundraising page has been set up for Roe’s family.

“In a time of overwhelming emotions, sadness, and pain, the last thing the Roe/Smith families need to be worrying about are the financial obligations associated with this tragic loss,” the GoFundMe page reads. 

“He’s not the kind to ask for help, but Zach would give you the shirt off his back, even if you weren’t the kind to ask for help either.”

More than 22,000 people were gathered for the three-day music festival when a gunman, identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, opened fire from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel. SWAT officers using explosives stormed the gunman’s hotel room and found he had killed himself, authorities said.

Roe is the third Albertan and the fourth Canadian confirmed killed in the attack. Calla Medig of Jasper, Jessica Klymchuk of Valleyview, Alta., and Jordan McIldoon of Maple Ridge, B.C. also died in the attack. In total, 59 people were killed and at least 527 people were injured.

More to come. 

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'Almost beyond comprehension': Alberta woman killed in Las Vegas mass shooting

 

CLARE CLANCY

Published on: October 2, 2017 | Last Updated: October 2, 2017 5:50 PM MDT

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Jessica Klymchuk was killed in a mass shooting in Las Vegas. (Facebook) 

An Alberta woman who travelled to Las Vegas with her fiancé to revel in a country music festival was among the more than 50 concert-goers killed Sunday when a gunman mowed down the crowd from a 32nd-floor vantage point. 

Jessica Klymchuk was one of two Canadians confirmed dead. At least 59 people died and more than 515 were injured, shortly after singer Jason Aldean took the outdoor stage. 

Klymchuk, a mother of four from northern Alberta, was remembered Monday as a friendly, outgoing member of the Valleyview community, about 110 km east of Grande Prairie. She worked as an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver for St. Stephen’s School.

“She did so much for her children, she went over and above for them,” said Tina Moore, a former preschool teacher who worked with Klymchuk for more than two years.

“She was pretty talented … She wore lots of different hats,” Moore said Monday. “Never complaining … always smiling.”

 

About 22,000 people were gathered for the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival when Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, opened fire from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. SWAT officers using explosives stormed the gunman’s hotel room and found he had killed himself, authorities said.

Klymchuk and her fiancé were “a match made in heaven,” Moore said. 

“She just finally found the person that made her incredibly happy.”

The flag at St. Stephen’s School was at half-mast Monday, Moore said, explaining the somber mood in Valleyview, a town of less than 2,000 people.

“Somebody from our community, really?,” she said. “She was just an amazing person.”

Premier Rachel Notley paid her respects to Klymchuk’s family on social media Monday.

“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of Jessica Klymchuk, an Albertan who was killed in the Las Vegas attack. We are so sorry for your loss,” Notley tweeted. 

“Albertans join the United States, Canada and the world in mourning those killed and in prayers for their loved ones, the more than 400 wounded, and the survivors of an act of violence that is almost beyond comprehension in a time of peace,” Notley said in a statement. 

“Our thoughts also are with the police, first responders and always the brave citizens who rushed to aid the victims. We thank them for their courage andcompassion.”

A second Canadian killed in the attack was identified by family as Jordan McIldoon, 23, of Maple Ridge, B.C.

With files from CP and AP

cclancy@postmedia.com

twitter.com/clareclancy

 

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'People were running and screaming': Calgarian injured in Las Vegas attack

 

MEGHAN POTKINS, CALGARY HERALD
More from Meghan Potkins, Calgary Herald

Published on: October 2, 2017 | Last Updated: October 2, 2017 4:51 PM MDT

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The rising sun is reflected in the Mandalay Bay Casino as seen from the Thomas & Mack center where people took refuge, following a mass shooting in which dozens were killed at the Route 91 music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. YASMINA CHAVEZ / AP

At first, Duncan Thorp thought the staccato sounds he was hearing over the music of the concert were from firecrackers. 

But within seconds the Calgarian realized that something was very wrong.

“Everyone was so caught up in enjoying the music and when the first few shots were fired, people thought it was firecrackers,” Thorp recalled.

“But when it kept happening, people realized it was gunfire.”

Thorp joined a throng of panicked concert-goers that were running for a gate at the left of the stage. 

“People were scared out of their minds. They were really terrified,” Thorp said. “I’ve never been in a situation like that.”

Thorp was one of a number of Calgarians who spent a tense night in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival Monday killing more than 50 people, including two Canadians.

At least 400 people were injured Sunday night in what is being described as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. 

Postmedia has learned a Calgary man was also among the injured and is now being treated in hospital. The man, identified by friends and colleagues as Steve Arruda, was shot in the leg while helping others to get over a fence on the concert grounds.

“When the shooting started Steve ran with Elaine (his wife) and he helped push her over the fence so that she could escape and told her to keep running to safety,” said a John Grace, a friend of Arruda’s.

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Steve Arruda, of Calgary. (Facebook)

“Then Steve stayed at the fence and kept helping others over the fence. That was when he was shot in the leg.”

“He is just the man that would come to anyone’s aide in a time of need regardless of his own safety,” Grace said.

A crowd of more than 22,000 were gathered for the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival when a gunman, identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, opened fire from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. SWAT officers using explosives stormed the gunman’s hotel room and found he had killed himself, authorities said.

Calgarian Lynette MacDonald was at dinner with friends nearby on the strip when police vehicles, tactical units and fire trucks went speeding past.

“The manager had come up to us and said, ‘sorry we’re going to have to evacuate off the strip, there is an active shooter’,” MacDonald told Postmedia.

“It was pretty chaotic. People were running and screaming. We were hurried into a sports store and just kind of hunkered down and hid there for a bit until we figured out it was safe to come out.”

Dale Oviatt spent hours in lockdown at his hotel room across the street from the Mandalay Bay after guests were told to shelter in place. 

“All you could hear were the helicopters overhead and sirens. From where I was at the Luxor, when I looked north on the strip, everything was all dark,” Oviatt said.

“It was kind of an eerie feeling.”

A woman from Alberta and a man from British Columbia were among the nearly 60 dead after the horrific attack that also left more than 500 others injured.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson both expressed sympathy over the death of Jessica Klymchuk, a mother of four from Valleyview, Alta, north of Edmonton. She was in Vegas with her fiance.

“Our hearts are all broken,” Iveson said in a tweet. “We will rally for Jessica’s children and family.”

A family member, who did not want his name used, identified Jordan McIldoon, 23, of Maple Ridge, B.C., as also being among the dead in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“It’s a terrible thing,” he said. “I don’t handle it very well.”

McIldoon would have turned 24 on Friday and was a month shy of completing a course to qualify as a heavy-duty mechanic. His parents were travelling to Nevada to retrieve his body, the relative said.

In a Facebook posting that could not immediately be verified, Heather Gooze of Las Vegas said she was outside the festival grounds when the Canadian passed away.

“I am with a young man who died in my arms! RIP Jordan McIldoon from British Columbia,” Gooze wrote. “I can’t believe this just happened!!!”

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government was following up on reports of Canadian casualties and denounced the “senseless and cowardly act of violence.

“Our hearts break for our American friends and neighbours today,” Trudeau said.

Las Vegas is a popular tourist destination for Canadians. Visitors from Canada made up nearly half of international tourists who arrived in the city by air last year, according to the Las Vegas Visitor Authority. Residents of Toronto and Vancouver and Calgary account for about one third of all visitors arriving by air.

 

Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Leaves At Least 58 Dead, 515 Injured in Largest Mass Shooting in U.S. History

 

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10/2/2017 by Associated Press , Kimberly Nordyke

  • At least 58 people are dead and 515 injured after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, where the Route 91 Harvest country music festival was taking place as headliner Jason Aldean was performing. The death toll makes this the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, surpassing the 49 killed during the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Police say an active shooter situation began at 10:08 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino with reports suggesting hundreds of rounds were fired from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay.

Dozens of patrol vehicles descended on the Strip after authorities received reports of a shooter near the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez said deputies were heading to the scene Sunday near the hotel, located on the southern part of the Las Vegas Strip. Authorities shut down part of the strip and Interstate 15 as they pursued the shooter (or shooters), who was reportedly firing from a balcony at the hotel on Sunday night, aiming at those attending the Route 91 country music festival nearby.

READ MORE

Las Vegas Festival Shooting: Sia, Nickelback, Mariah Carey and More React on Social Media

Concert-goers reported seeing muzzle flashes from the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay across Las Vegas Boulevard from the country music festival and the sound of what they described as automatic gun fire.

Witnesses said they saw multiple victims as they fled the gunfire raining down on the concert venue. Some later huddled in the basement of the nearby Tropicana hotel-casino.

Some officers took cover behind their vehicles while others carrying assault rifles ran into the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

On a live feed of the Las Vegas police scanner, officials said witnesses were reporting shotsheard at other hotels, including New York-New York, Tropicana, Bellagio and Caesars, but those turned out to be false reports. (As this is an active investigation, police are still confirming various reports from witnesses, so not all information may be accurate.)

KTNV Las Vegas reported that many people ran to McCarran International Airport once the shots began. Flights in and out of the airport were temporarily halted, the airport said in a tweet.

Around 11 p.m., police were saying on the scanner that at least 20 people were dead. The suspected shooter was "down," according to police, though his identity has yet to be revealed.

READ MORE

Jason Aldean Responds To Route 91 Festival Shooting: 'Tonight Has Been Beyond Horrific'

Twenty-six people were admitted to the hospital, University Medical Center spokeswoman Danita Cohen said. Of those, at least two died, 12 were in critical condition and the rest were being evaluated, she said. Later on Monday morning, a LVPMD spokesperson updated the victim count to at least 58 dead and more than 515 wounded.

At around 11:25 p.m., police were saying on the scanner that they had a suspect down on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. Just before midnight, they confirmed via Twitter: "Confirming that one suspect is down. This is an active investigation. Again, please do not head down to the Strip at this time."

About an hour later, LVPMD tweeted: "At this time we do not believe there are any more shooters."

Among those playing the Route 91 festival on Sunday night were Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, Luke Combs, Dylan Scott and Big & Rich. Scott, Owen and Combs all tweeted that they were safe. Witnesses say Aldean was playing near the end of the concert when gunfire rang out; he was scheduled to take the stage at 9:40 p.m. His rep told ABC News that he's OK.

READ MORE

Jake Owen, Chris Young And Other Artists Tweet From Route 91 Festival As Shooting Rampage Unfolds

 

Kodiak Yazzi, 36, said he and his girlfriend were watching Jason Aldean's performance when he heard what sounded like fireworks. The music stopped temporarily and started up again before another round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage. Thousands fled as bursts of gunfire could be heard for more than five minutes, Yazzi said.

Aldean was reportedly singing "When She Says Baby" when the shooting began.

The Route 91 Harvest Festival began in 2014 as a co-production between Live Nation and MGM Resorts International. Among the acts who have played the outdoor festival in the past are Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line. The three-day festival is held at the MGM Resorts Village, just steps away from Mandalay Bay and The Luxor. More than 20,000 people attended the inaugural festival in 2014.

President Trump Calls Las Vegas Shooting 'An Act of Pure Evil' in National Address: Read the Full Transcript

10/2/2017 by Andrew Unterberger

President Trump delivered a national address today on the subject of Sunday night's (Oct. 1) horrifying shooting attackat the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.

Taking the podium at 10:50 a.m. ET -- 20 minutes after originally scheduled, due to his speech being updated with new information -- Trump called the shooting "an act of pure evil," and declared that the American flag would be flown at half-staff in honor of the tragedy's victims. He also shared his plans to travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday (Oct. 4) to "meet with law enforcement, first responders and the families of the victims."

As of press time, casualties of the Las Vegas attack have been reported to number as high as 50, with hundreds more injured. Read the full transcript of President Trump's comments on the tragedy below. (Update: President Trump also addressed the nation from the Oval Office, just before 1:00 p.m. ET, to clarify his plans for his upcoming visits to Puerto Rico and Las Vegas. You can also read those comments in full below.)

Pres. Trump's national address:

My fellow Americans, we are joined together today in sadness, shock and grief. Last night a gunman opened fire on a large crowd at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. He brutally murdered more than 50 people, and wounded hundreds more. It was an act of pure evil. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with local authorities to assist with the investigation, and they will provide updates as to the investigation and how it develops. 

I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and all the first responders for their courageous efforts, and for helping to save the lives of so many. The speed with which they acted is miraculous, and prevented further loss of life. To have found the shooters so quickly after the first shots were fired is something for which we will always be thankful and grateful. It shows what true professionalism is all about. 

Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one. A parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through his very dark period. Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve. 

To the wounded who are now recovering in hospitals, we are praying for our full and speedy recovery, and pledge to you our support from this day forward. In memory of the fallen, I have directed that our great flag be flown at half-staff. I will be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with law enforcement, first responders and the families of the victims. 

In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one. And it always has. We call upon the bonds that unite us: our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity. Our unity cannot be shattered by evil. Our bonds cannot be broken by violence. And though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today, and always will forever. 

In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy. But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light, and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope. 

Melania and I are praying for every American who has been hurt, wounded or lost the ones they loved so dearly in this terrible, terrible attack. We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear. May God bless the souls of the lives that are lost, may God give us the grace of healing, and may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on. Thank you, God bless America. 

Pres. Trump's message from the Oval Office:

We are going to be seeing all of the first responders, the military, FEMA, and frankly most importantly, we are going to be seeing the people of Puerto Rico [on Tuesday, Oct. 3]. 

It’s amazing what’s been done in a vey short period of time, on Puerto Rico. There’s never been a piece of land that we’ve known that was so devastated -- the bridges are down, the telecommunications was nonexistent, and it’s in very, very bad shape. The electrical grid, as you know, was totally destroyed. But we’ve gotten tremendous amounts of food and water, and lots of other things -- supplies, generally speaking -- on the island. So we’re going to be going tomorrow morning first thing, very early. 

We’re also going to be meeting with Governor Mapp of the U.S. Virgin Islands. He’s going to probably -- because of the difficulty getting into the Virgin Islands -- he’s going to meet us in Puerto Rico. And then very importantly, also, on Wednesday morning very early, we’re going to be leaving for Las Vegas. We’re going to be seeing the Governor, who I just spoke to, the mayor of Las Vegas, who I just spoke to, the sheriff, who has done such a great job. The police department has done such a fantastic job, in terms of the speed. And we all very much appreciate it. 

So we’re going to be going to Puerto Rico tomorrow, and on Wednesday we will be going to, as you know, as I just said, we’ll be going to Las Vegas on a very, very sad moment for me -- for everybody, for everybody, no matter where you are. No matter what your thought process, this is a very, very sad day. So we’re going to be doing that on Wednesday, and we’ll be spending the full day there, and maybe longer than that. So thank you very much, everybody, appreciate it.

 

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Las Vegas gunman kills at least 58, injures 500 more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history

By Heather LongMark Berman and Derek Hawkins October 2 at 2:04 PM 

 

At least 58 dead, 400 injured after shooting on Las Vegas Strip

At least 58 people are dead and hundreds are injured after a gunman opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 (Elyse Samuels, Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

LAS VEGAS — A gunman in a high-rise hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on a country music festival late Sunday, killing at least 58 people and injuring hundreds of others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

The gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, was later found dead by officers on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during a news briefing Monday.

The massacre marked the nation’s latest outbreak of gunfire and bloodshed to erupt in a public place, again spreading terror in an American city transformed into a war zone. The carnage in Las Vegas surpassed the 49 people slain in June 2016 when a gunman in Orlando, who later said he was inspired by the Islamic State, opened fire inside a crowded nightclub.

Lombardo said the death toll in Las Vegas had reached at least 58 by Monday morning, a number that could rise, as police are still investigating the scene. Lombardo also said an additional 515 people were injured, though he did not specify how many of the people were wounded by gunfire or injured in the chaos that followed.

[Route 91 Harvest festival: The Las Vegas ‘sleepover’ that ended in a nightmare

Paddock, 64, was found dead in his hotel room by Las Vegas SWAT officers, police said. They believe Paddock, who had checked in on Thursday, took his own life.

Under the neon glow and glitz of the Vegas Strip, thousands of concertgoers who had gathered for a three-day music festival dove for cover or raced toward shelter when the gunfire began about 10 p.m. Sunday. Police said more than 22,000 people were at the concert when Paddock began firing round after round, shooting from an elevated position that left those on the ground effectively helpless.

Police believe Paddock, a local resident, was a “lone wolf” attacker. Lombardo did not give further details on Paddock’s background and possible motivation, saying that police “have no idea what his belief system was.”

“I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath,” Lombardo said during a later briefing Monday. He also said that given what police belief about Paddock being a lone wolf who opened fire, “I don’t know how this could have been prevented.”

[Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock enjoyed gambling, country music, lived quiet life before massacre

Police believe Paddock smashed the window of his room with something similar to a hammer before he began firing at the people below. The gunman was found with more than 10 rifles, Lombardo said, and he brought them all inside himself.

Relatives of Paddock’s said they were stunned by what happened. His brother, Eric, said their mother spoke to the FBI.

“She said, ‘I don’t understand why my son did this,'” Eric Paddock said Monday morning outside his home in Orlando. While his brother had some handguns, Eric Paddock but was shocked by the weaponry police described in Las Vegas.

Eric Paddock said he did not know of his brother having any mental illness, alcohol or drug problems. When he spoke to the FBI, Eric Paddock said he showed FBI agents three years of text messages from his brother, including one that mentioning winning $250,000 at a casino. Stephen Paddock played “high stakes video poker,” Eric said, adding that he did not have any information suggesting the 64-year-old gunman had gambling debts or financial issues.

A former neighbor of Stephen Paddock’s recalled that his home in a 55-and-over community in Florida looked like it was home to college freshman, with nothing on the walls and only a few pieces of furniture.

“One of the first times we met him, he told me he lived there, in Vegas,” Don Judy, his next-door neighbor in the community until two years ago, recalled. “He explained that he was a gambler, and a prospector. He said he was buying this house to check it out for his mother … and that if she liked it, he planned to buy another next door with a floor-plan like ours.”

Just as quickly as he appeared, Judy said, Paddock put up a for-sale sign and was gone, saying that he was moving back to Las Vegas.

As Las Vegas police investigated the horror that had unfolded on the Strip, they also faced a tragedy within their own ranks. The dead included an off-duty city police officer, the department said Monday morning. Two other officers who were on duty were injured, police said; one was in stable condition after surgery, and the other sustained minor injuries.

“It’s a devastating time,” Lombardo said at one of the news briefings he held.

In the initial chaotic aftermath of the shooting, authorities had searched for a woman named Marilou Danley, described only as Paddock’s “traveling companion.” Lombardo said during a briefing that investigators spoke with Danley, who was found outside the country, and do not believe she was involved in the shooting.

[What we know about the Las Vegas shooting

Danley’s relationship with Stephen Paddock was not immediately known, but they lived at the same address in Mesquite, Nev., according to public records. Lombardo said police in Mesquite were entering Paddock’s home to conduct a search Monday.

Police in Las Vegas had only minimal interactions with Paddock before the shooting, Lombardo said. “We have no investigative information or background associated with this individual that is derogatory,” the sheriff said. “The only thing we can tell is he received a citation several years ago; that citation was handled as a matter of normal practice in the court system.”

Few details about Paddock’s background were immediately known Monday. He was retired and lived in Mesquite, Tex., for several yearsbefore moving to the Nevada town with the same name. Relatives said Paddock was a quiet man. They said he was licensed pilot who owned two planes and often went to Las Vegas to gamble and see concerts. A spokesman for defense giant Lockheed Martin said in a statement that Paddock worked for the company for three years in the 1980s.

[A fire alarm from gun smoke led police to the Las Vegas shooter’s room, retired officer says

“Stephen Paddock worked for a predecessor company of Lockheed Martin from 1985 until 1988,” the statement said. “We’re cooperating with authorities to answer questions they may have about Mr. Paddock and his time with the company.”

On Monday President Trump praised the “miraculous” speed with which local law enforcement responded to the shooting, which he decried as an unfathomable attack on innocents gathered for a concert.

“It was an act of pure evil,” Trump said during remarks from the White House. “We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss.”

Trump ordered flags flown at half-staff and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Federal authorities responded to the shooting scene to assist local law enforcement officials with the investigation. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it dispatched agents to the scene, while FBI criminal investigators — rather than those in the bureau’s National Security Branch — are helping local police in the case, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday, releasing messages through its Amaq News Agency stating that the shooter was one of its “soldiers” and had recently converted to Islam, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist groups. The group, also known as ISIS, often claims responsibility after such attacks, even in cases where it is unclear whether the group motivated them or was involved. Law enforcement officials on Monday disputed the claims from ISIS.

“We have determined, to this point, no connection with an international terrorist group,” Aaron Rouse, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Las Vegas, said at a news briefing.

[From the UT Tower to a Las Vegas hotel: The carnage when shooters take aim from above

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he met with FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Monday morning and spoke with Lombardo, to whom he “expressed my gratitude for the courageous work of his officers through the night and offered him the full support of the FBI, the ATF and the entire Department of Justice as he takes the lead investigating this incident.”

“The investigation into the horrific shooting last night in Las Vegas is ongoing,” Sessions said. “To the many families whose lives have been changed forever by this heinous act, we offer you our prayers and our promise that we will do everything in our power to get justice for your loved ones.”

Federal homeland security officials said there were no specific, credible threats to other public venues around the country.

The shooting occurred at the end of the Route 91 Harvest festival, a three-day country music concert held over the weekend. The concert grounds are adjacent to the Mandalay Bay, a sprawling casino on the southern end of the Strip.

The shots began as Jason Aldean, one of the final performers, was playing. Aldean posted an Instagram message that he and his crew were safe. The scene, he wrote, was “beyond horrific.”

[50 years of mass shootings

Videos posted from people who said they were at the scene showed people screaming and running for cover amid the sound of gunshots that seemed unending. “We thought it was fireworks at first or trouble with the speakers,” said Kayla Ritchie, 21, of Simi Valley, Calif. “They had been having technical difficulty all weekend. Then everything went dark.”

Ritchie traveled with Megan Greene, 19, for the concert, and the two were separated when people began fleeing. They found each other hours later. “Everyone started running for the exit,” said Greene, who hid behind a truck before running into the MGM Grand. “We were in the street, and they told us to get down, get down.”

Taylor Benge, 21, was at the concert Sunday night and said he heard a round of pops that lasted for 10 seconds, as if someone was holding down the trigger. When a performer ran off the stage and the lights came on, Benge said, he realized that “about five feet to the left of me there was a man with a bullet wound to his chin.”

“He was just lifeless on the ground,” Benge said.

Benge said he and his sister threw themselves on the ground as the gunfire continued and then ran for the exit. “My jeans are covered in someone’s blood, my T-shirt is covered in someone’s blood, my sister’s whole leg was covered in blood,” Benge said.

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At least some people were injured in the frenzied effort to flee the gunfire. Tracy, 55, a California woman who declined to give her last name, said she was “trampled” trying to flee.

“We thought it was fireworks,” she said, a dazed look on her face and a bandage on her injured knee and shin. “I looked up at the Mandalay Bay. I could see the green light every time the gun fired. We ran for our lives. We went into Hooters and hid in the bathroom. We felt like sitting ducks there. We went to the second-floor conference room and stayed there.”

A friend came with a mini bus, so Tracy and another friend ran out to the vehicle, terrified to go out on the street again. “Who thinks people would do something like this in America?” Tracy said.

Vanessa and Philip Dyer came from Lowestoft, England, and got married Sunday in Las Vegas. They were out celebrating after the wedding, waking the Strip, when they first heard gunfire.

“I turned to Philip and said, that sounds like machine gun fire,” Vanessa Dyer said. “Then it went again.”

Philip Dyer added: “We’ll never forget the night we got married, but for all the wrong reasons.”

Corianne Langdon, 58, a cabdriver in Las Vegas for the last 6 ½ years, said she was about seven cars back in the taxi line at Mandalay Bay when the gunfire began.

While driving away, she saw police officers crouched down in the streets facing the hotel. Then, turning a corner at Las Vegas Boulevard, she saw what she believed were hundreds of people running away from the concert — some jumping the fence on the side of the venue. A young couple jumped in her cab, and then another three or four people begged to get in.

“I had people hanging out of my windows,” Langdon said. “They were screaming, they were so upset, and it just wasn’t getting to me yet the severity of what was going on.”

The moment a gunman opened fire on a Las Vegas country concert

A gunman killed at least 50 people and injured at least 200 during a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday, Oct. 1. The shooter began firing during Jason Aldean's performance, prompting the crowd to panic and the singer to sprint off stage. (Hannah Dorfman)

Those injured in the shooting also included an off-duty officer with the Bakersfield Police Department in Southern California, who was taken to a hospital for nonlife-threatening injuries, according to a news statement. Several of the department’s officers were off duty and attending the concert when the gunfire erupted.

The shooting came as security measures at many music venues have been boosted in recent years after concerts were targeted in terrorist attacks. In May in northern England, a bomb exploded at a concert by American singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, killing 22 people; in November 2015, Islamist attackers opened fire at a rock concert in Paris as part of coordinated attacks that left 130 dead. In both of those cases, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In Manila in June, a 42-year-old Filipino gunman armed with a rifle and a bottle of gasoline burst into a casino and set a fire, killing 37 people. Police said the attack was motivated by gambling debts and other personal problems facing the gunman, who fatally shot himself. The Islamic State also claimed responsibility for that attack, but officials repeatedly denied it was terrorism-related.

Berman reported from Washington. Travis M. Andrews, Brian Murphy, Wesley Lowery, Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Julie Tate and Aaron C. Davis in Washington and Barbara Liston in Orlando contributed to this report, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Heather Long is an economics correspondent. Prior to joining Wonkblog, she was a senior economics reporter at CNN and a columnist and deputy editor at The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

  Follow @byHeatherLong

Mark Berman covers national news for The Washington Post and anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and stories from around the country.

  Follow @markberman

Derek Hawkins is a reporter with The Washington Post's Morning Mix.

  Follow @d_hawk

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Who is Stephen Paddock? 'Nothing secret or strange' about retiree behind Las Vegas shooting

Before he opened fire late Sunday, the gunman Stephen Paddock lived a quiet life for years in a small town outside Las Vegas

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WASHINGTON POST

Published on: October 2, 2017 | Last Updated: October 2, 2017 12:26 PM MDT

Before he opened fire late Sunday — killing at least 58 people at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip — the gunman Stephen Paddock lived a quiet life for years in a small town outside Las Vegas, gambling and taking luxury cruises.

A 64-year-old retiree, Paddock often visited Las Vegas to gamble and take in concerts, his relatives said. Public records show he was a licensed pilot, who owned two planes. And he had a hunting license from Alaska.

For several years, he appeared to live in Mesquite, Texas. But property records show he chose to move to another town named Mesquite in Nevada, where he bought a home in 2013 and has been living there ever since.

“We have no idea how this happened,” Paddock’s brother Eric, who lives in Florida, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family.”

Stephen Paddock. FILE

“When you get a phonecall that says your brother just killed a bunch of people,” he told reporters gathered in his driveway, before breaking off, trying to hold back tears.

Eric told CNN that he last heard from his brother when Paddock checked in to see how their mother was doing in Florida after Hurricane Irma wiped out power in the area. After they spoke, Paddock sent his mother a new walker, “because she was having trouble walking,” Eric said.

“We’re f—d up. I mean, I’ve got a 90-year-old mother whose son just killed 50-plus people and now is dead,” he said. “He’s just a guy who played video poker and took cruises and ate burritos at Taco Bell. There’s no political affiliation that we know of. There’s no religious affiliation that we know of.”

Drapes billow out of broken windows at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on Monday, on the Las Vegas Strip following a deadly shooting at a music festival. JOHN LOCHER / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Paddock’s family said there was nothing in his past that would suggest violence.

“We are in complete shock bewilderment and horror. We have absolutely no idea how in the world Steve did this. Absolutely no concept,” said one relative, who spoke anonymously to avoid hurting other relatives. “There was nothing secret or strange about him.”

Family members said that Paddock spent much of his retirement in recent years staying in hotels in Las Vegas and gambling. They said he listened to country music and went to concerts at Vegas hotels.

Las Vegas police said authorities were in the process of searching Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada, on Monday morning. Quinn Averett, a spokesman for Mesquite Police in Nevada said Paddock was unknown to local authorities in the city where he owns a home 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Mesquite police have no recorded interactions with Paddock. Las Vegas police said this about Paddock:

“We have no investigative information or background associated with this individual that is derogatory,” Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. “The only thing we can tell is he received a citation several years ago, that citation was handled as a matter of normal practice in the court system.”

After the shooting, Paddock was found dead by officers on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Lombardo said during a news briefing. Authorities said he killed himself. 

Police believe Paddockwas a “lone wolf” attacker. Lombardo did not give further details, however, on Paddock’s background or possible motivation.

“We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “Right now, we believe he was the sole aggressor.”

The FBI said Paddock was not connected to an international terror group on Monday after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. But the group, which has repeatedly made false or exaggerated claims, gave no proof to its assertion that Paddock was “a soldier” who had converted to Islam months ago.

Recordings of the attack suggested that Paddock used an automatic weapon. Paddock, who arrived at the hotel on Thursday, was found with more than 10 rifles, Lombardo said. Relatives said they knew Paddock owned guns, but believed they were legal. When 

“No, not an avid gun guy at all,” Paddock’s brother Eric told reporters. “The fact that he had those kind of weapons is, just – where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that.

“Like I said, he’s a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite; drove down and gambled in Las Vegas. He did stuff, ate burritos.” 

People assist a wounded woman at the Tropicana during an active shooter situation on the Las Vegas Stirp in Las Vegas on Sunday. CHASE STEVENS / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL VIA AP

Monday morning, police said they had searched for and found a 62-year-old woman, Marilou Danley, whom they called a person of interest.

Authorities called her a companion of Paddock. Relatives said she had ben his girlfriend for some time and lived with him in Mesquite, Nevada. She was a “nice lady” who sent cookies to Paddock’s mother in Florida, Eric Paddock said.

The shooting on Sunday was the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, killing at least 58 people and injuring hundreds of others.

—With files from National Post staff

Canadian Jordan McIldoon among the 58 killed in Las Vegas mass shooting

McIldoon was from Maple Ridge, B.C. He was with his girlfriend at the time, but a family member says she was not hurt

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Published on: October 2, 2017 | Last Updated: October 2, 2017 12:40 PM MDT

Jordan McIldoon would have turned 24 on Friday FACEBOOK

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Two Canadians have now been confirmed killed in Sunday night’s Las Vegas music-festival massacre.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says Jessica Klymchuk, an Albertan, was among those who died.

Notley expressed sympathy for the loss.

Earlier, a relative confirmed Jordan McIldoon, 23, of Maple Ridge, B.C., was also killed in the horrific attack.

The family member, who did not want his name used, said McIldoon was in the crowd when a gunman opened fire from a hotel across the road on Sunday night.

McIldoon’s parents were travelling to Nevada to retrieve his body, the relative said.

Around 60 people are now confirmed dead and more than 500 others hurt.

“It’s a terrible thing,” McIldoon’s relative said. “I don’t handle it very well.”

McIldoon would have turned 24 on Friday and was a month shy of completing a course to qualify as a heavy-duty mechanic.

In a Facebook posting, Heather Gooze of Las Vegas said she was outside the festival grounds on Sunday.

“I am with a young man who died in my arms! RIP Jordan McIldoon from British Columbia,” Gooze wrote. “I can’t believe this just happened!!!”

Her account could not immediately be verified.

McIldoon was among many Canadians attending the country music festival when the mass shooting occurred but it was only when the performer on stage dropped his microphone and ran that the true horror of what was unfolding dawned on those in the crowd.

Their first thoughts as the sound of automatic gunfire resounded through the area turned to fireworks, many said.

“We heard the shots get fired, we saw the smoke,” Ashley Fowler, who was with friends, told the K-Rock radio station in St. John’s, N.L. “Everyone thought it was fireworks at the show until Jason Aldean dropped his mic and ran from the stage.

As the panic- and fear-stricken crowd of more than 22,000 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival scrambled for their lives, some found themselves running into a wall of people, or an electric fence around the airport. A local with a truck attached a rope to the fence and pulled it down, allowing access to a runway, Fowler said.

“We’re all standing on the runway and they literally have to divert any planes landing in Las Vegas to Arizona because we’re all standing on the runway running from the shooters,” said Fowler, who got separated from her friends in the panic. “I’m in so much shock.”

At least 58 people were killed and 500 injured in what’s being called the U.S.’s worst mass shooting.

Police said a man opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel across from the concert and identified him as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev., less than two hours from Las Vegas. SWAT teams using explosives stormed his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel and found he had killed himself, authorities said. He had as many as 10 guns with him, including rifles, they said.


Jason Aldean dropped his mic and ran from the stage, so everyone started to run

 

Jody Ansell, of Stonewall, Man., was among the injured. She said in a Facebook message from her hospital bed that she was recovering.

“I was shot in the right arm and the medical staff are taking care of me,” Ansell said.

Another Canadian, Monique Dumas of British Columbia, was six rows from the front of the stage when the shooting erupted.

At first she thought a bottle had smashed, and then, like so many others, thought the popping of automatic gunfire was fireworks. The shooting, she said, continued for the minutes it took for her to get out to safety.

Mikey McBryan, of Hay River, N.W.T., and his girlfriend were just leaving the casino at Mandalay Bay when officers with guns drawn began yelling at them to get out because there were shooters in the building. McBryan said they ran across the road to take shelter behind a large electrical transformer outside a gas station.

“It now seems like a foolish idea but we didn’t know what was going on,” McBryan said in an interview. “Everyone was kind of in a daze.”

McBryan said he didn’t hear any gunfire, but remembers waves of screaming as hundreds of people from the concert began descending on the area and police set up roadblocks.

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the “senseless and cowardly act of violence.” Earlier, he tweeted out a message of support.

“Words fail this morning. The friendship & support of Canadians is with the victims in Las Vegas & the people of the US.”

In Ottawa, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the incident “horrible” but was unable to discuss Canadian casualities.

“We’re obviously anxious to identify the victims and have the identification to see if there were Canadians,” Goodale said.

Las Vegas is a popular tourist destination for Canadians. Visitors from Canada made up nearly half of international tourists who arrived in the city by air last year, according to the Las Vegas Visitor Authority. Residents of Toronto and Vancouver and Calgary account for about one third of all visitors arriving by air.

With files from the Associated Press

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Gunman Opens Fire on Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas

 LAUREN JO BLACK • OCTOBER 2, 2017 - 2:31 AM

 

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People carry a peson at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

**This post has been updated**

A gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Sunday evening (Oct. 1), killing at least 20 people and injuring 100+. The mass shooting occurred around 10:30 pm during Jason Aldean’s headlining set, which was closing out the popular three-day festival.

Dozens of patrol vehicles responded to the incident after receiving reports of shots being fired. The Las Vegas Police Department urged people to avoid the area as the active shooter situation was being investigated.

Concertgoers fled the scene to take cover as gunfire rained down on the concert venue. Witness said they heard “nonstop gunfire” as fans fled.

One witness recalled the events to ABC News, saying he initially thought he heard fireworks.

“My buddy’s like I just got hit. He got hit three times. Then people started diving for the ground and it just continued. It was pretty much chaoitic. Lots of people got hit,” he said. “It took a while to get him out. We had to get him over the fence and hiding under the stage for a while to be safe. Finally, we had to move him because he got three chest wounds.”

The man helped his friend and others get to an ambulance across the street.

“The one guy ended up dying in my arms,” he told the reporter.

Las Vegas PD later confirmed that one suspect was down. Although initial reports suggested that there was more than one shooter, the police department later shared an update on Twitter saying that they “do not believe there are any more shooters.”

Flights in and out of nearby McCarran International Airport were temporarily halted due to the incident.

Aldean, Jake OwenLuke CombsBig & RichDylan ScottKane BrownAdam CraigJosh Abbott Band, Dylan Schneider, Tyler Reeve, Muscadine Bloodline, Jordan Mitchell, and Dee Jay Silver were on the concert lineup for Sunday.

After the shooting, Owen shared an update via Twitter writing, “Gun shots!!! Vegas. Pray to god. Love you guys. Love you Pearl.”

The singer later shared another update, calling it “the most unimaginable event” and asked his fans to “please pray.”

Combs, Big & Rich, and others at the festival took to Twitter to update fans on their well being.

**UPDATE: As of 11:30 a.m. CST, the death toll has risen to at least 58, with 515 victims injured.

 

Jason Aldean and Pregnant Wife Safe After Mass Shooting in Las Vegas

 LAUREN JO BLACK • OCTOBER 2, 2017 - 3:50 AM

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LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: Recording artist Jason Aldean performs during the Route 91 Harvest country music festival at the Las Vegas Village on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Jason Aldean was on stage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday (Oct. 1) when a gunman opened fire on concertgoers, killing at least 20 and injuring at least 100.

The singer was headlining the final night of the three-day festival when gunshots erupted and fans began to flee the chaotic scene. In videos captured by concertgoers, Aldean can be seen running from the stage as dozens of rounds of gunfire echoes in the background.

After the Las Vegas Police Department cleared the area and confirmed that one gunman was down, Aldean took to Instagram to share a heartfelt update with his fans.

“Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still dont know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe,” he wrote. “My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate

His pregnant wife Brittany also shared an update writing, “We are safe… our angels were definitely watching over us tonight. No words for what happened… Just horrific. Praying for everyone💔”

Jake OwenLuke CombsBig & RichDylan ScottKane BrownAdam CraigJosh Abbott Band, Dylan Schneider, Tyler Reeve, Muscadine Bloodline, Jordan Mitchell, and Dee Jay Silver were on the Route 91 bill on Sunday. Several artists took to Twitter to update fans on their well being after the incident.

After the shooting, Owen, who had performed just before Aldean, shared an update via Twitter writing, “Gun shots!!! Vegas. Pray to god. Love you guys. Love you Pearl.”

The singer later shared another message, calling it “the most unimaginable event” and asked his fans to “please pray.”

 

UPDATE: At Least 20 Dead, 100 Wounded After Mass Shooting in Las Vegas

 LAUREN JO BLACK • OCTOBER 2, 2017 - 4:22 AM

 

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

More than 20 people were killed Sunday (Oct. 1) after a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.

Initial reports suggested that two were dead and more than 20 people were injured, however, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo later told reporters that more than 20 people died and more than 100 people had been injured.

Gunfire erupted while Jason Aldean was on stage closing out the three-day festival. Police responded to the incident, later killing the suspected gunman.

Police say the gunman was a local resident. Authorities are currently on the hunt for an unknown female who was traveling with the suspect.

“We heard what sounded like firecrackers going off,” concertgoer Meghan Kearney told MSNBC. “Then all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun. People started screaming that they were hit… When we started running out there were probably a couple hundred [people] on the ground.”

“People kept dropping and dropping… People were getting shot one foot away from us,” she recalled. “People were trying to save their friends. There were gunshots everywhere. Helping them would’ve meant that we got shot too.”

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in finding two vehicles associated with the suspect. “We’re searching for two vehicles associated with the shooter: Hyundai Tucson Nevada/114B40 and a Chrysler Pacifica Nevada/79D401,” the Las Vegas Police Department shared on Twitter. Anyone with information should contact the Las Vegas PD immediately.

 

Las Vegas Shooting is the Deadliest Shooting in Modern US History

 LAUREN JO BLACK • OCTOBER 2, 2017 - 8:15 AM

 

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People take cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

At least 50 people are dead and 400 are wounded after suspected gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday (Oct. 1).

The horrific incident has become the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

According to witnesses, “nonstop gunfire” began after 10pm during Jason Aldean’s headlining set, which was set to close out the three-day festival. Concertgoers scrambled for their lives as bullets came pouring down from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel where 64-year-old Paddock reportedly fired shots for “about 10-15 minutes,” according to one witness.

Paddock is believed to have checked into the hotel as a guest before opening fire on the festival. He reportedly turned the gun on himself before police arrived.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo described the incident as a “lone wolf” attack and said police had “no idea what his belief system was.”

Las Vegas Police are asking anyone with videos or photos from the scene to contact the Las Vegas FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI.

 

Jake Owen, Chris Young Give Chilling Updates from Backstage at Route 91 Harvest

 LAUREN LAFFER • OCTOBER 2, 2017 - 8:47 AM

 

 

Jake Owen; Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

“Why?” Why is one of the questions Chris Young tweeted after a gunman took aim at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, NV on Sunday night (10/1), killing more than 50 and injuring more than 400. The gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, allegedly rained down bullets from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort while panicked country music fans tried to escape. During his attack, several country stars hunkered down backstage in hopes that their crew, fans and family were safe.

Young took to Twitter to let fans know he was safe, albeit shaken. The “Losing Sleep” singer was trapped on the floor of a trailer while he waited for safety.

“I’m not gonna say anything else other than I’m lucky to be alive. As are many others… and so many people are gone… this is heartbreaking,” he updated fans early in the morning.

Jake Owen was also in Vegas when the shooting occurred. The Florida native had just finished his set before Jason Aldean took the stage for the final headlining slot. Standing side stage, Owen had a first hand glimpse at the devastation as he ran for cover.

Owen first updated fans as to the status of the situation, adding “Pray to god. Love you guys. Love you Pearl"

In an interview with TODAY, Owen revealed that he took cover behind a police vehicle.

“I was crouched down behind a cop car. There was blood on people and you could see a couple of people in the streets that looked like they had been shot,” he recalled.

The “American Country Love Song” singer went on to thank first responders at the festival for doing everything to could to keep people calm and as safe as possible.

“They did everything they could to get out here quickly as possible and take care of these people,” he told TODAY host Matt Lauer.

While Las Vegas Metro police and the FBI continue to piece together what happened during the shooting, the number of those dead and injured continues to rise. Police have reported that they are confident that there is a lone shooter involved in the incident, Stephen Paddock. Paddock allegedly shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino, later shooting himself before a SWAT team arrived.

Sheriff Joseph Lombardo announced that multiple firearms were found in Paddock’s room, including more than 10 rifles. He checked into the hotel on Sept. 28 using his roommate, Marilou Danley’s, name. PEOPLE reports that Danley was located outside of the United States and does not seem to have had any involvement in the shooting.

The shooting has become the largest in modern U.S. history.

If you are trying to locate a loved one, police encourage you to call 1-866-535-5654.

 

Storme Warren Recalls Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting Incident

 KELLY BRICKEY • OCTOBER 2, 2017 - 11:29 AM

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Out of the thousands of witnesses to Sunday night’s (Oct. 1) tragic events, SiriusXM’s Storme Warren recounted exactly what he saw occur at the Route 91 Harvest Festivalin Las Vegas.

Calling in to HLN to talk about the incident with host Robin Meade, Warren remembered not much of what he saw but rather the bone-chilling sounds of the gunfire coming thousands of feet away from a Mandalay Bay Hotel room window.

“They were hitting the stage deck. You could actually hear the shells hitting the stage deck. I was standing onstage when this first started to happen. When we all realized, Jason’s crew very professionally rushed Jason and his band off the stage and got them safe. Then we all realized we had to get safe. We saw the chaos of the crowd. It was very surreal. As soon as the gunfire had ceased for awhile, at least what we thought was going to be awhile, I wanted to go up and try to go out into the grass of the arena and see what was going on. There were bodies. There were bodies in the grass. There were people hurt, and bloody, injured people. Not just a couple. It was a lot of people that we witnessed. I tried to help as many as we could. We all chipped in and everybody’s racing around. We had panicked relatives and girlfriends and boyfriends saying ‘I need a medic over here!’ It’s tough to imagine that could happen minutes before such a festive event,” he recounted for the news program.

Warren then went on to detail the spontaneous medical help given out by those in attendance, as well as the brave first responders who came on the scene despite being in the middle of what seemed like a warzone.

“Everybody who had medical experience was chipping in. I want to say something fantastic about the humanity at this festival. Everybody chipped in. Everybody was trying to help one another to get out, to be safe. Everybody came together. Anybody’s like, ‘I’m a medic. I have first aid experience. Who needs help?’ Everybody was really chipping in. It was amazing to see. Also, the breadth of the devastation came true as you’re walking around. I checked on a couple who were dead. You had to move onto people who were still okay, or just injuries that you could help. That was a traumatic for everybody. In that adrenaline rush, everyone wanted to help and be safe at the same time. We didn’t know if the shots were going to continue again,” the SiriusXM host said.

Like many seeing the events play out on the news, Warren evaluated the future of music festivals and safety at concert venues worldwide after the shooting took place on what outlets are calling a ‘soft target.’

“We’ve had those talks with Chris [Young] and Tyler [Reeve]. It’s not going to stop you from performing. It’s not going to stop you from entertaining. It’s not going to stop you from doing anything. It’s a horrible, horrible reality, this new reality we’re living in. You don’t stop the world for this stuff. It’s going to take a few days to decompress. The news keeps playing the sound of those gunshots. It’s too hard for us to hear it. We’ve been watching the news trying to keep up on it, but we have to keep the sound down because we can’t hear the sounds anymore. It’s too real,” Warren hoped, optimistically.

Gunfire began during Jason Aldean’s headlining set to close out the Route 91 Harvest Festival held annually in Las Vegas. 58 people were killed, with a reported 515 others injured from the attack. Updates continue to come in, including news that the confirmed suspect was a 64-year-old man named Stephen Paddock and is dead. The attack was classified as the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, with President Trump deeming the incident as an “act of pure evil.”

Many country stars, from the festival and elsewhere, sent out messages of love on social media. Sharing prayers and kind thoughts with everyone affected by the incident, condolences resonated throughout the community as a whole.

The shooting will continue to be investigated by police and other authorities—stay tuned for more details to come.

 

Dee Jay Silver’s Son Was Three Doors Down from Vegas Gunman’s Hotel Room

 KELLY BRICKEY • OCTOBER 2, 2017 - 12:40 PM

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As Dee Jay Silver and his wife were among the thousands of attendees protecting themselves at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, their baby boy was merely doors down from the gunman’s hotel room in the Mandalay Bay.

Expressing her gratefulness for their son’s wellbeing as well as thanking the protection of her family over their child, Dee Jay Silver’s wife, Jenna Straub, took to her Instagram to post a heart-wrenching yet emotional story about how close to home the horrific shooting truly was to their family.

“Wake is our whole soul & reason for living. He was in our room at Mandalay Bay last night, 3 doors down from the shooter on the 32nd floor. While John & I were at the festival, ducking behind buses, not knowing what was happening & fearing for our lives, our sweet baby slept through the horrific sounds coming from just down the hall that have now forever changed us. Thank you to the first responders who beat the door in & to my Aunt Mary who was watching him & protecting him all the way to safety. We were separated for the most traumatic several hours of my life while John & I & everyone from Jason’s camp did what they could to reunite our family & help those who weren’t nearly as lucky as us. My mom was also separated from us but was safe & is back with us,” Straub captioned the picture of their boy, Wake.

Admitting herself that she still isn’t over Sunday night’s (Oct. 1) horrific events, Straub stressed how important it is to continue to love one another and squeeze your family members a little tighter with life being such a precious gift.

“I’m still in shock & having a hard time gathering proper words for those who didn’t make it & their families. I can’t fathom the pain. Thank you to everyone who helped the injured so selflessly. Not everyone, including myself, is that brave. We are holding each other tight today & everyday. It’s time to just love each other. 💙,” she continued.

As of 12:30 p.m. CST, at least 58 are dead and more than 500 injured following the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night during Jason Aldean’s headlining set as the closer for the country music festival. Marking itself as the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, many industry professionals and country stars sent out their deepest condolences and prayers to all those affected.

Stay tuned to Sounds Like Nashville for additional updates and details surrounding the tragedy.

 

City of Nashville to Host Vigil for Las Vegas Shooting Victims

 LAUREN LAFFER • OCTOBER 2, 2017 - 12:56 PM

Candles; Stock photo

Following the devastating attack on hundreds of country music fans attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, NV, the city of Nashville will be holding a vigil on Monday night for the victims of the heinous act.

In a joint statement from Mayor Megan Barry, CMA CEO Sarah Trahern, and President/CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. Butch Spyridon, the three write:

“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic event in Las Vegas, especially the victims, their families and friends, and the fans, artists and crews from our Country community in Vegas. This festival brought together people from all backgrounds united in enjoying life through music.

Safety at all of our events is and will remain our top priority. We are constantly adjusting our event security measures year-round, partnering and consulting with experts at the federal, state and local levels through our full-time security team and the Metro Police Department. We will continue our efforts to provide the most comprehensive security possible.”

The vigil will be held at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater at 6 p.m. Parking will be available for free in Lot R at Nissan Stadium. Additional details will be released throughout the day.

More than 50 people are dead and more than 500 injured after 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired rounds of bullets from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino towards the Route 91 Harvest Festival nearby. The shooter allegedly fired for nearly 10 minutes from broken windows in his hotel room. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound before the SWAT team arrived.

Jason Aldean was onstage for the final night of the three-day festival when the shots began. Aldean, Jake OwenChris Young and the other country stars on the bill, as well as their crews, friends and family, have all been accounted for.

If you are trying to locate a loved one, police encourage you to call 1-866-535-5654.

 

Josh Abbott Band Guitarist Calls for Gun Control Following Las Vegas Shooting

 

 

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Josh Abbot Band; Artist publicity photo

After the tragic events following a mass shooting Sunday night (Oct. 1) at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, a couple musicians are voicing their opinions on the status of gun control in America.

Caleb Keeter, guitar player for Josh Abbott Band, posted a lengthy rant regarding gun control and how the laws need to adjust to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. As a self-proclaimed proponent of the 2nd Amendment detailed in his digital note, Keeter expressed that he and his band crew didn’t use their weapons to stop the violence in fear of getting acknowledged as part of the problem.

“We actually have members on our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus. They were useless. We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power. Enough is enough,” Keeter wrote passionately.

The guitarist continued to chronicle how he and his fellow band members began to write out their wills and last goodbyes to loved ones thinking they wouldn’t survive an attack such as that. Marking the moment as an unfortunate call to action, Keeter pleaded that something needs to change for gun control before some other incident gets out of hand just as that at Route 91 Harvest Festival.

“We need gun control RIGHT. NOW. My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it. We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac,” he finished.

Will Hoge, a songwriter and artist, also stood up for the idea of gun control reform to come to the forefront of the political agenda after seeing what occurred in Las Vegas


“We make it as easy as possible for people to obtain tools built to maximize harm on fellow humans. Until we fix that we’re all stained,” Hoge tweeted.

During the last performance of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, a gunman opened fire from his hotel room overlooking the grounds of the fest as Jason Aldeanplayed the headlining finale. At this time, at least 58 are confirmed dead and more than 500 victims are injured in some capacity, which marks the incident as the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. More details continue to come out as the investigation remains open.

Stay tuned for more updates regarding the Las Vegas shooting.

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58 Dead, 515 Injured in Mass Shooting at Las Vegas Country Music Festival

BY MATT ALPERT7 HOURS

 

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David Becker/Getty Images

In what is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, a gunman killed at least 58 people and injured 515 at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

Shortly after 10 p.m., the gunman opened fire on the crowd of nearly 30,000 from his room on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel. Eyewitnesses say the shooting lasted for 10-15 minutes. The Route 91 Harvest festival took place on a 15-acre plot on the Las Vegas Boulevard across from the Mandalay Bay.

Jason Aldean was performing the last show of the night when the shooting began. Aldean confirmed on social media that he and his crew were uninjured in the attack.

Police have identified the shooter as Stephen Paddock, 64. He was found dead by police in his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay hotel. According to CBSDFW.com, police found at least 10 rifles in Paddock’s room. He broke the windows of his room to get a shooting position. Police do not yet know his motivation for the attack, but said that he was a solo shooter.

Paddock was a resident of Mesquite, Nev. CBSDFW reports that he had previously lived in Mesquite, Texas and Grand Prairie, Texas.

Authorities were searching for Paddock’s roommate Marilou Danley for questioning, but she has since been located out of the country. She is returning to the U.S. for questioning.

This story is developing, and we will continue to update you with more info as we learn more.

Country Artists Share Firsthand Accounts of Las Vegas Shooting

BY LORIE LIEBIG5 HOURS

At least 58 people were killed and 515 were injured during a mass shooting at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas last night (Oct. 1). The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel down onto the crowd of concertgoers while Jason Aldean performed the night’s headlining set.

The country star was in the middle of his performance when the shooting began. In an Instagram post, he shared the following message to fans:

“Tonight has been beyond horrific,” Aldean stated. “I still dont know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe. My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

Route 91 is one of the largest country music festivals in the country, and some many of the genre’s biggest names performed at the three-day event. Chris Young was another of the first performers to share his account of what happened via his Twitter account

In an early-morning interview with Bobby Bones, Jake Owen described the chaos of the moments when the gunfire first started.

“This sounded like a full-on, automatic rifle just unloading at that point,” he explained. “Jason was out on the catwalk, he just pulled his guitar up in the air and started running back towards the drum set to get off the stage, and that’s when you knew. People started fleeing. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Owen also tweeted about the shooting as it was happening.

Josh Abbott Band were in the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel when the shooting began.

Luke Combs was performing on a stage on the opposite end of the field where Aldean was performing. Combs thought the initial bursts of fire were pyrotechnics. He shared his account of the events with TODAY.

Thousands of concertgoers tweeted and recorded what happened at the festival and are sharing their stories this morning. Attendee Rachel De Kerf told CNN that the shooting lasted several minutes.

“The gunshots lasted for 10-15 minutes. It didn’t stop,” she said. “We just ran for our lives.”

Another witness, Meghan Kearney told MSNBC that the shooting first sounded like “firecrackers going off.”

“Then all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a machine gun,” she said. “People started screaming that they were hit… When we started running out, there were probably a couple hundred [people] on the ground.”

How You Can Help Victims of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival Shooting

BY LORIE LIEBIG41 MINS

 

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David Becker/Getty Images

The country music community has been rocked by the mass shooting at Las Vegas’ Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. The attack occurred during Jason Aldean’s headlining set at the festival, and left 58 people dead and 515 injured. He and his crew were able to flee the stage and safely escape from the gunfire. Jake Owen, Chris Young and many other performers from the festival rushed to safety as the gunshots began.

Hundreds of country fans are currently hospitalized with injuries from the attack. The news has saddened country fans across the globe, and many of us are searching for ways to help. Here are the verified organization that you can donate to help the survivors and families of this devastating attack.

 

Music City Cares Fund

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has established the Music City Cares Fund, which sends 100% of donations directly to victims of the shooting. Donate here.

Las Vegas Victims Fund

This GoFundMe was created by Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak and has raised over $800,00 in a matter of hours. Donate here.

Southern Nevada Red Cross

The Southern Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross has pledged to help those affected by the attacks. Donate here.

National Compassion Fund

This fund was created to give money directly to victims of mass shootings and terrorist attacks.  Donate here.

Blood Donations

Hundreds of Nevada residents are currently lined up to donate blood to victims hospitalized in Las Vegas. You can contact your local donation center to find out how to give blood that will can be transported to the shooting victims. Learn more here.

READ MORE:

Country Stars React to Route 91 Country Music Festival Shooting

Nashville to Hold Candlelight Vigil for Las Vegas Shooting Victims

 

 

Hundreds Line up to Donate Blood After Las Vegas Shooting

BY LORIE LIEBIG1 HOUR

Twitter/bridgetkbennett

Hours after a gunman attacked hundreds of concertgoers in Las Vegas, local residents are lining up to donate blood to victims of the mass shooting.

58 people were killed and 515 others were injured in the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas last night (Oct. 1). The gunman has been identified as Stephen Paddock, 64. He was found dead in his Mandalay Bay hotel room after shooting down onto the crowd of festival-goers from his window. The attack took place while the festival’s headliner, Jason Aldean, was performing. He and his crew were able to flee the stage and safely escape from the gunfire.

 

As news of the attack spread overnight and early Monday morning, hundreds of Las Vegas residents began lining up to donate blood to the shooting victims. Images of the long lines outside of donation centers quickly went viral across Twitter and Facebook. Many of the donation centers anticipate

If you are not in the Las Vegas area, you can still donate blood to help those injured in the attacks. Visit your local donation center for more information on how you can donate to those in need.

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Shooting Breaks Out At Route 91 Harvest Festival

Posted By Matt Bjorke on Monday October 02, 2017 at 06:42AM PST

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Over 50 people killed, hundreds more injured in the worst mass shooting in USA history. See what we know now, including what country stars and teams have been deemed safe. 

Chaos. Pandemonium. Terrifying. All these adjectives describe the scene outside the Mandalay Bay Casino and resort last night when a shooter unleashed holy terror on a crowd gathered for the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. Just as superstar and reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean was set to hit the stage for the headline spot on the final night of the weekend festival, fans started hearing rat a tat sounds ring out and that’s when the terrifying scene began. People shot from an unknown location, hundreds trampled and a man with military grade weapons perched in the 32nd floor of the hotel making it a grisly scene out of a war movie, not a peaceful and fun concert event.

What We Know:

  • at least 50 dead
  • over 400 injured
  • shooter took his own life

Confirmed Safe

  • Jason Aldean band and crew
  • Live Nation's Brian O'Connell
  • BMG/Broken Bow staff
  • KWNR's Big D
  • KCYE's Paul Knight and Mike "Mad Dog” West
  • Jake Owen band and crew
  • Keith Gale, Good Company Entertainment
  • Kane Brown band and crew
  • Luke Combs band and crew
  • Sony staff
  • Curb staff
  • Dylan Scott band and crew
  • BMLG staff
  • Adam Craig and crew
  • Josh Abbott Band and crew
  • Big & Rich band and crew
  • Radio personality Kris Daniels
  • SiriusXM personalities and crew
  • The Big Time's Jackie Stevens
  •  

Sunday's Lineup:

Main Stage

  • Dee Jay Silver
  • Tyler Reeve
  • Josh Abbott Band
  • Kane Brown
  • Big & Rich
  • Jake Owen
  • Jason Aldean

Next From Nashville Stage

  • Jordan Mitchell
  • Muscadine Bloodline
  • Dylan Schneider
  • Adam Craig
  • Dylan Scott
  • Luke Combs

We will keep you up to date as more news emerges. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

How Las Vegas shooting could impact outdoor concerts in Nashville

Nate Rau, USA TODAY NETWORK - TennesseePublished 2:31 p.m. CT Oct. 2, 2017

 

 

(Photo: Josie Norris / The Tennessean)

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Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. President and CEO Butch Spyridon said Sunday's deadly shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival emphasizes that security for outdoor concerts must be expanded to include buildings around the event.

In addition to co-promoting CMA Fest, the CVC operates and promotes Nashville's July 4 and New Year's Eve celebrations, which are free outdoor events attracting hundreds of thousands of fans.

► More: Country music stunned by mass shooting at Route 91 Festival

► More: Chris Young recounts horrific moments as gunfire erupted

Las Vegas shooting: Dozens dead at country music show

A state law allows restaurants and bars to ban firearms, but doesn't require it. In conversations with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry's office on Monday, Spyridon said discussions focused on how to enforce the ban at places that don't allow weapons.

In Las Vegas, a single gunman is believed to have killed at least 58 people and injured more than 500 others by firing from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel.

"You have to point to building access around the event," Spyridon said. "What’s the protocol? Most of the bars ban weapons, but what’s the measure to make sure that’s being enforced?"

► More: Sonny Melton, a West Tennessee native, killed protecting wife during Las Vegas shooting

► More: Las Vegas shooting: Country music labels say employees are safe

The July 4 celebration attracted over 240,000 people to the downtown riverfront last year. The New Year's Eve bash moved to Bicentennial Park and brought in over 100,000. Crowds north of 80,000 fill the lower Broadway district during CMA Fest.

Visitors to Vegas recount where they were during shooting after arriving at the Nashville International Airport Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

In a joint statement between Barry's office, the CMA and the CVC, concert security was highlighted.

“Safety at all of our events is and will remain our top priority," the statement read. "We are constantly adjusting our event security measures year-round, partnering and consulting with experts at the federal, state and local levels through our full-time security team and the Metro Police Department. We will continue our efforts to provide the most comprehensive security possible.”

Reach Nate Rau at 615-259-8094 and nrau@tennessean.com. Follow him on Twitter @tnnaterau.

 

Aaron Watson jumps from Texas stadiums to Ryman Auditorium

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Cindy Watts, USA TODAY NETWORK - TennesseePublished 8:50 p.m. CT Sept. 27, 2017

Country singer Aaron Watson has played stadiums in Texas. The first week album sales of his recent release “Vaquero” topped those of many well-known country artists including Willie Nelson, Rascal Flatts and Dustin Lynch. And 18 years into his career, his current single “Outta Style” is his first Top 20 hit at country radio.

After almost two decades spent building an enviable following in Texas, Watson’s commercial appeal has surpassed the boundaries of The Lone Star State and deposited him in the midst of contemporary country music. Watson didn’t change a thing about his modern traditional style to make it happen – country music came to him. 

“We don’t focus on phases, stages and flavors of the month, we focus on heart and soul,” Watson said. “We work hard and we ride a horse named hustle.”

Look back: Country underdog Aaron Watson goes No. 1

Watson will headline ‘A Night of Texas at the Ryman’ 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ryman Auditorium. Other artists on the lineup include Jon Wolfe, Mickey Guyton, Jim Collins and Leslie Satcher. Proceeds from the show go to benefit Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in conjunction with the American Red Cross.

“I think we’re showing country music that there’s still room for cowboys in country music,” said Watson, who recently flew into Nashville to visit Ryman Auditorium and his exhibit at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Diversity is good thing. I encourage a lot of younger artists that you have to be who you are."

 

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 (Photo: Mark Zaleski / For The Tennessean)

Watson started his journey to Music City at 20 years old. He was promptly shut down by one of Nashville’s most powerful music executives who told him he didn’t have the talent to make it in country music. Dejected, the singer went back home to Texas. His father reminded him that Willie Nelson was in his 40s before he “made it” in country music.

“I was, ‘Woah, woah, Dad. Are you telling me I’m going to have to grind it out for the next 25 years if I’m going to make it?'" he recalled. “My dad looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘Yeah, if you want it bad enough.’ That’s the message I send out to all of the kids. It’s not a me versus Nashville. It’s ‘If you have a dream, don’t let anyone discourage you. You get out there … and you earn it.'”

Watson, who is still an independent artist, started his career with just a few guys in a van. They kept their overhead low. They stuck to their budgets, even if it meant making inexpensive, low quality albums. But they played anywhere, anytime for anyone who would pay them.

“There was no pride, I just wanted to play,” he said. 

He made sure to get home in time for church on Sunday mornings. At 8 a.m. on Monday, Watson was at the local t-shirt printing shop where he bought a small batch of t-shirts to sell at his shows during the week. Then he would go to the bank, make a small deposit, and head back out on the road. Watson shut down most venues he played, staying at his merchandise table to shake hands with any fan who stood in line.  

“It just grew a little by little, every year,” he said. “It’s like that snow ball at the top of the mountain and over time it gains size and momentum.”

Watson’s agent Kylen Sharpe at CAA said they have strategically focused on growing his touring platform out of Texas and that in the last 18 months, he’s played 40 states and 10 different countries including Norway and Spain. 

“People escape with music and art and it only makes sense that people would be attracted to a cowboy lifestyle that has been happening in music forever,” she said of Watson’s international popularity. “There’s no reason any artist should have to change who they are or what stories they’re telling in order to appeal to a mass audience.”

Now that Watson has his hard-won momentum, he’s determined to keep it moving. 

“We’re not here today and gone tomorrow,” he explained. “We were here 18 years ago and this is what we do.”

Reach Cindy Watts at 615-664-2227, ciwatts@tennessean.com on on Twitter @CindyNWatts.

If You Go

What: A Night of Texas at the Ryman featuring Aaron Watson, Jon Wolfe, Mickey Guyton, Jim Collins and Leslie Satcher

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Ryman Auditorium, 116 Fifth Ave. N. in Nashville

Tickets: $25-$30 through Tickmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Garth Brooks Reveals Details About 5-Part Anthology Book/CD Series: Exclusive

Garth Brooks poses for a portrait on Aug. 15, 1991 in Nashville.

James Schnepf/Getty Images

 

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9/27/2017 by Melinda Newman

 

"To hear Tony Arata touch record for the first time on ‘The Dance,’ I cried when they sent that in," Brooks says.

Garth Brooks is taking a look back at his expansive career with a 5-part multi-media anthology that kicks off on Nov. 14 with a first volume that dives into his first half-decade in the business.

Part 1: The First Five Years, looks at Brooks’ meteoric rise from 1989-1993 in his own words, as he tells the stories behind creating, recording and promoting his first five albums for Capitol Nashville during his rocket ride to superstardom. His memories are supplemented by others who were there, including the songwriters, musicians, and Brooks’ longtime manager, Bob Doyle. 

The 240-page hardcover book includes more than 150 never-before-seen photos, as well as 5 CDs, including outtakes, first takes, demos and masters. Of the 52 songs included on the CDs, 19 are new, unreleased or demo versions. 

READ MORE

Garth Brooks to Headline Stagecoach 2018: Exclusive

The book also includes tracking sheets, session charts, and even Brooks’ job application for Cowtown Boots, the shoe store where he worked in Nashville while he was a struggling artist. The collection will be available through all retailers, including Target, Walmart, Amazon, Costco and Barnes & Noble, at a list price of $39.98, although it will likely get discounted to below $30. 

“My favorite thing about Part 1 was what I learned,” Brooks tells Billboard in his first interview about the project. “I had no idea that [songwriter] Tony Arata’s first cut in Nashville was ‘The Dance.’ I would have thought it had to be his 20th. I was very aware of my stuff, but there are so many stories from [producer] Allen Reynolds, [songwriter] Pat Alger, Bob Doyle and others.” While Brooks wrote his own entries in the oral history—the book is billed as the first book about his career he has written—musician/author Warren Zanes conducted the ancillary interviews.

 

Courtesy of Pearl Records, Inc.

Garth Brooks, "The Anthology Part I"

While the oral histories entertainingly and informatively detail the behinds-the-scenes story behind almost every track on the first five albums —Garth Brooks, No Fences, Ropin’ The Wind, The Chase and In Pieces— the CDs are more selective, in part to allow Brooks to delve musically deeper behind the chosen songs.

“One of my favorite things is the first two takes of [Brooks’ first single] ‘Much Too Young’,” he says. “It was one of the points in your life where you’re either going to die or this thing is going to take off and they found [the recording]. They found the first cut where Bobby Wood is on the Rhodes and not the piano and [drummer] Milt [Sledge] is on brushes, not sticks, and it sounds like a Kathy Mattea record and there I am staring at these guys scared to death because they know what they’re talking about and I don’t.

READ MORE

Garth Brooks' 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

“What I love about the music is it backs up the stories I’ve told my entire career,” Brooks continues. “I’ve told a million times the story about ‘Rodeo’ being a girl’s song. I love the story where Bob Doyle or [co-writer] Larry Bastian say they tried to get every female in town to cut this. I’d forgotten it went out to Linda Davis, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood… so I ended up doing it. You get to hear what we heard and then what it became. To hear Tony Arata reach over to that boom box and touch record for the first time to record ‘The Dance,’ I cried when they sent that in.”  

The remaining four parts of the anthology will cover the last half of the ‘90s, his live career, his comeback since coming out of retirement in 2014, and the hits “and what was going on in the world at that time and how the music affected that and how the world affected the music,” Brooks says. 

Additionally, he exclusively reveals to Billboard that each part of the anthology will have its own two to two-and-a-half hour documentary, so by the time the final documentary comes out, there will be a 10-to-12 hour documentary series chronicling his career. Ideally, the first documentary— the companion to The First Five Years —will come out Spring 2018. 

“What I love about it is our world is made up of so few people [and] we’ve all been together so long. You get to hear the voice of every one of these people,” he says. “There are seven guys who played those first 50 songs in the first five years, there’s one engineer, one producer. Their voices are alive and well. They are the ones that were there every day.” 

Brooks, the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year and the only artist to win the honor five times, is on the tail end of a 3-year North American tour that will end in December. He will headline Stagecoach next April. 

Miranda Lambert Announces 23-City Livin’ Like Hippies Tour

Miranda Lambert; Photo by Daniella Federici

 

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 LAUREN JO BLACK • SEPTEMBER 28, 2017 - 7:17 AM

Miranda Lambert is hitting the road once again in 2018!

The superstar just announced the Livin’ Like Hippies Tour, named after lyrics featured in the song “Highway Vagabond,” which appears on the Texas native’s double album, The Weight Of These Wings.

Joining Lambert on all dates of the new tour will be “Heartache on the Dancefloor” singer Jon Pardi. Brent Cobb, Turnpike Troubadours, Lucie Silvas, The Steel Woods, Sunny Sweeney, Ashley McBryde and Charlie Worsham will join Lambert and Pardi for select dates.

Kicking off January 18, 2018 in Greenville, SC, the 23-city treak will have Lambert and Co. crisscrossing the United States with dates in cities such as Orlando, FL, Spokane, WA, Lexington, KY, and Newark, NJ.

For information regarding tickets and pre-sales, visit MirandaLambert.com.

Livin’ Like Hippies Tour Dates
(Date City, State Venue Special Guest)

1/18/2018 Greenville, SC Bon Secours Arena Jon Pardi and Brent Cobb
1/19/2018 Orlando, FL Amway Center Jon Pardi and Brent Cobb
1/20/2018 Atlanta, GA Infinite Energy Center Jon Pardi and Brent Cobb
2/1/2018 Tacoma, WA Jon Pardi and Turnpike Troubadours
2/2/2018 Spokane, WA Jon Pardi and Turnpike Troubadours
2/3/2018 Eugene, OR Matthew Knight Arena Jon Pardi and Turnpike Troubadours
2/8/2018 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center Jon Pardi and Lucie Silvas
2/9/2018 Fresno, CA Save Mart Center Jon Pardi and Lucie Silvas
2/10/2018 Los Angeles, CA The Forum Jon Pardi and Lucie Silvas
2/15/2018 San Diego, CA Viejas Arena Jon Pardi and Lucie Silvas
2/17/2018 Phoenix, AZ Talking Stick Resort Arena Jon Pardi and Lucie Silvas
3/1/2018 Knoxville, TN Thompson-Boling Arena Jon Pardi and The Steel Woods
3/2/2018 Lexington, KY Rupp Arena Jon Pardi and The Steel Woods
3/3/2018 Cleveland, OH Wolstein Center Jon Pardi and The Steel Woods
3/8/2018 Omaha, NE CenturyLink Center Jon Pardi and Sunny Sweeney
3/9/2018 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena Jon Pardi and Sunny Sweeney
3/10/2018 Little Rock, AR Verizon Arena Jon Pardi and Sunny Sweeney
3/15/2018 Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena Jon Pardi and Ashley McBryde
3/16/2018 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center Jon Pardi and Ashley McBryde
3/17/2018 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center Jon Pardi and Ashley McBryde
3/22/2018 Newark, NJ Prudential Center Jon Pardi and Charlie Worsham
3/23/2018 State College, PA Bryce Jordan Center Jon Pardi and Charlie Worsham
3/24/2018 Winston Salem, NC Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum Jon Pardi and Charlie Worsham

Jon Pardi Rakes in Third Consecutive No. 1 Hit with ‘Heartache on the Dance Floor’

Jon Pardi; Photo by Jim Wright

 

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 - 9:28 AM

Third time is definitely a charm for Jon Pardi as he just received news of his third consecutive No. 1 single with “Heartache on the Dance Floor.”

The song rose to the top of the Mediabase charts to beat out its steady competition for the week after soaring its way up throughout the summer months. “Heartache on the Dance Floor” blends together Pardi’s traditional vocals on an upbeat love song, wishing and waiting for a lady he remembers getting down in a California bar.

“Heartache on the Dance Floor” is the third single off of Pardi’s most recent release, California Sunrise, following hits like “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt On My Boots.” The album itself gained mass attention from critics and fans alike, giving Pardi’s potential a boost throughout 2017.

Pardi earned his way onto Dierks Bentley’s What the Hell Tour over the summer with Cole Swindell, which gave him a good idea for what to expect as he hits the road with Luke Bryan for his annual Farm Tour endeavor. Pardi will also headline his very own Lucky Tonight Tour throughout the fall with guests Runaway June and Midlandjoining along for the fun.

After accomplishing many feats in his breakout year, Pardi was nominated for Song of the Year, Single of the Year and New Artist of the Year for the upcoming 51st Annual CMA Awards. This year’s CMA Awards will air live from Nashville on Wednesday, November 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Takeover Tuesday: Jon Pardi Shares His Favorite '90s Country Classics

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9/26/2017 by Taylor Weatherby

Welcome back to Takeover Tuesday, where each week Billboard taps chart-topping artists and taste-makers to compile their very own playlist exclusive to Billboard's Spotify account. We give the artists free reign to base the list on whatever subject they choose. The only rule? Make it as creative and unique to them as possible. 

This week, we had Jon Pardi put together a playlist for us, as his latest single "Heartache on the Dance Floor" is holding strong at No. 3 on the Country Airplay chart and he's getting ready to embark on Lucky Tonight Tour, part of the CMT On Tour series (with special guests Midland and Runaway June) that marks the 32-year-old's third headlining run. But while he's celebrating all of his current success, when it comes to compiling a playlist, all he wants to do is throw it back to the classics -- the '90s, that is.

Jon Pardi's 'Heartache On The Dance Floor' Becomes A Summertime Mystery

Pardi expressed his love for '90s country when we chatted with him for our "A Brief History of '90s Country" segment at Michigan's Faster Horses Music Festival in July, specifically pinpointing Joe Diffie as one of his biggest influences. "How Joe Diffie influenced me is that, 'John Deere Green,' if you play it live today, it's still badass," Pardi said. "He was one of the few guys that had a bunch of hits with a mullet, and that is strong. That is country strong."

"John Deere Green" is one of the 21 tracks Pardi chose for his Takeover Tuesday playlist, which includes songs by Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn, artists who were also highlighted in our "Brief History of '90s Country" video. In addition, there's selections from artists who are still kicking it today like Shania Twain, Tim McGraw and George Strait -- but which songs? See for yourself (and check out our "Brief History of '90s Country" video) below.

Darius Rucker, Brett Eldredge, Jon Pardi & More Narrate a Brief History of '90s Country

Oh, and one more thing Jon wants to tell you: "Dust off your high-waisted Wranglers, because these are some of my favorite country hits of the 90s!"

Reba McEntire Partners with Justin Boots for New Line

Reba; Photo courtesy PRNewsfoto/Justin® Boot Company

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 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 - 11:37 AM

Reba McEntire is about to get ‘Fancy’ with Justin Boots as she decided to team up with the iconic boot brand to create her very own line just in time for the holiday season.

The well-known shoe company partnered together with McEntire on a collection complete with Western cowboy boots, casual booties and other assorted footwear for folks to strap on in and get a hard day’s work done.

“Justin Boots have been a staple in my closet since my barrel racing years in Oklahoma. This collection is for all those strong, spirited women and cowgirls at heart who have followed my journey throughout the years. This opportunity couldn’t have been a more natural fit and creating the line has been too much fun,” McEntire said about the fashion collaboration.

Justin Boots also expressed their enthusiasm over the fashion creation alongside the country singer, noting that her long-lasting career established a dedicated fanbase that will always follow what McEntire does.

“Teaming up with Reba is the perfect partnership for Justin Boots. Her ability to inspire multiple generations, not only with her musical talent, but also with her countless interests, makes her a force to be reckoned with. The passion and effort she has put into making this collaboration her own parallels the hard work and dedication the Justin team has shown in creating the collection,” said Jim Issler, president and CEO of H.H. Brown Shoe Co., parent company of Justin Boots.

Not only did McEntire sign on to design with Justin Boots this holiday season, but she also snagged the role of host for the annual CMA Country Christmas special, which will air on November 27.

Pairs from McEntire’s collaboration with Justin Boots will start at $69 for shoes and $378 for boots. The collection will be sold in select Justin stores throughout the holiday season.

Loretta Lynn Plots First Public Appearance Since Stroke

Loretta Lynn; Photo by Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images

 

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 LAUREN LAFFER • SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 - 2:48 PM

Nearly five months after suffering a strokeLoretta Lynn is ready to return to the spotlight with her first public appearance since her health scare. In an interview with WSM’s Nashville Today, the Tennessee native confirmed that she’d participate in the Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival, which is held at her ranch.

“I’m gonna be there. I’m gonna ride in on a motorcycle, [of] course I’m not gonna be driving,” she shared. “I’m feeling good. I feel better than I should, really. I’ve taken a lot of time off, and I know everybody’s hollering about me being off so much, but, ya know, I just got lazy, quit singing for a little while.”

The event, which was announced one month after her stroke, will allow motorcyclists to reside on her property for four days. The festival will include live music, artisans, tattoo studios, food trucks and motorcycle rides throughout the area’s local scenery. The four-day event will conclude with Loretta Lynn’s Ride for Mission 22, which benefits Mission 22, an organization dedicated to ending veteran suicide in America.

The Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival will take place from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at the Loretta Lynn Ranch. For more information on the festival, visit motorcyclesandmusic.com.

Lynn has been largely out of the spotlight after suffering a stroke that left her hospitalized, before moving to a rehabilitation center. The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” eventually decided to cancel her remaining 2017 tour dates and postpone the release of her upcoming album, Wouldn’t It Be Great, to allow herself time to recover. There has been no word on an updated album release date.

Eddie Montgomery Makes First Statement Since Troy Gentry’s Death

Montgomery Gentry; Photo by Kristin Barlowe

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 LAUREN LAFFER • SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 - 10:14 AM

 

 

Montgomery Gentry’s Eddie Montgomery has made his first statement after the passing of his longtime musical partner and friend, Troy Gentry.

“Our world was turned upside down in an instant and nothing could have prepared us for this,” Montgomery shared in a statement to the press. “Over the past few months me and T-Roy have been working on what I think is the best record of our career. In the last few weeks we had been talking about what our first single would be. Then on September 8, none of that mattered.”

The note came in an email about the duo’s new song, “Better Me.” The song was played at the conclusion of Gentry’s public memorial service at the Grand Ole Opryon Sept. 14.

“‘Better Me’ is a song we all loved and Troy sings his ass off on it. It speaks volumes about his life and who he had become and everybody he touched and how much he loved his family. I am so proud of this song and also to call him my friend, my family, my brother for 30 years,” concluded Montgomery.

Montgomery has quietly mourned the loss of Gentry after a helicopter accident claimed his life on September 8. His wife previously made a statement about the passing, thanking fans, friends and family for their support during the difficult time.

An in-depth investigation is still underway following the crash that claimed both Gentry’s life and the life of the pilot, James Even Robinson. Initial findings report engine failure as the cause of the crash.

No word on if or when Montgomery Gentry will release the full album.

Album Review: Midland’s ‘On the Rocks’

Midland; Cover Art Courtesy of Big Machine Records

 ANNIE REUTER • SEPTEMBER 18, 2017 - 9:46 AM

 ANNIE REUTER • SEPTEMBER 18, 2017 - 9:46 AM

 

Midland’s debut album, On the Rocks, is a memorable walk back in time. Blending classic country music from the ’70s and ’80s with their own flair, the 13-track release brings to mind popular artists like Gary Stewart, Keith Whitley, Johnny Rodriguez and Johnny Lee. Meanwhile, country legends Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Waylon JenningsGeorge Jones and George Strait have indisputably left their mark on the Texas trio, too. As a result, On the Rocks has Midland reinterpreting country sounds from decades prior while putting a distinct spin on their material with memorable musicianship, unique storylines and clever wordplay.

“Lonely For You Only” kicks off the album with throwback guitar parts, mesmerizing pedal steel and frontman Mark Wystrach’s twang-filled vocals. A song that has a man going out every night to drown his sorrows after a breakup, “Lonely For You Only” embodies the classic tear in my beer country archetype and sounds like a song George Strait would record. Additionally, striking harmonies from bass player Cameron Duddy and guitarist Jess Carson beg comparison to the Eagles.

New single “Make A Little” picks up the pace and the spirits. On the song, Midland stress that a night of love making can solve a major problem: “There’s just not enough love in the world / So we should make a little / Then make a little more tonight.”

Traditional country music is well known for songs about cheating and there is no shortage of lamenting over the end of a relationship throughout On the Rocks. Songs like “At Least You Cried” has Midland questioning if an ex ever took them seriously with horn accompaniment giving a mariachi band vibe and recalling acts before them like Johnny Rodriguez. “Did you ever mean it when you said you loved me / Was this all just a game for you?” Wystrach croons.

Meanwhile, songs like the standout “Burn Out” and the clever “Altitude Adjustment” also showcase Midland’s talent as songwriters. The trio penned “Burn Out” with Nashville hit makers Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, who also produced the album with Dann Huff, where they compare the disintegration of a relationship to a cigarette burning out. “These done me wrong songs hit me so right / I was so on fire for you, it hurts how / Fast a cigarette can burn out,” they sing on the chorus.

Additional album highlights include “Check Cashin’ Country” and “Electric Rodeo,” both of which detail the struggles of life on the road as a country band. “We got miles to cover and places to be / If y’all don’t two-step, then we don’t eat / Sure ain’t out here for the money / This ain’t check cashin’ country,” they assert on “Check Cashin’ Country.” Later, “Electric Rodeo” talks about putting one’s life on hold in hopes to find success in music. The song features soaring guitar and string accompaniment that only furthers the loneliness traveling musicians often endure.

For those questioning where quality country music has gone, Midland is indisputably the answer. Their striking harmonies, traditional country instrumentation and visual storytelling transports listeners to a simpler time with authentic songs that aren’t chasing a trend, and instead, are showcasing an artist’s heart. With their infectious lead single “Drinkin’ Problem” recently topping the charts, traditional country fans can rejoice as Midland is here to stay.

Troy Gentry Takes the Lead in New Montgomery Gentry Song, ‘Better Me’

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 LAUREN JO BLACK • SEPTEMBER 15, 2017 - 1:48 PM

Shortly before the tragic death of Montgomery Gentry’s Troy Gentry, the singer and his duo partner, Eddie Montgomery, put the finishing touches on a brand new album. Slated to be released via Average Joes Entertainment next year, the album features a song that was deeply personal to Gentry called “Better Me.”

With lyrics like “I might cuss and fight, tell a few lies / Break a few rules making promises I can’t keep / But I’ve turned a page on wilder days / I’m writing all this down hoping you’ll see / I ain’t saying I’m perfect, but I’m working on a better me,” friends of Gentry say the track was autobiographical for the singer. In fact, the track features Gentry on lead vocals and is also the song that the family chose to use to close his public memorial service, which was held at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Thursday (Sept. 14).

Just one week after Gentry’s death, “Better Me” is now available for streaming and purchase via online retailers. Fans can listen to the poignant new song in the video above.

Gentry died on Friday (Sept. 8) in Medford, New Jersey after a helicopter he was riding in crashed before the duo’s concert at the Flying W Airport and Resort. The 50-year-old singer is survived by his wife Angie and daughters Taylor and Kaylee.

 

 

Blake Shelton Falls in Love on ‘I’ll Name the Dogs’

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 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 - 9:16 AM

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Blake Shelton - I'll Name The Dogs; Cover art courtesy Warner Music Nashville 

Blake Shelton may not come off as the romantic kind, but he definitely shows his sweet side on his single, “I’ll Name the Dogs.”

Not following what fans would expect from the title, Shelton imagines a married life with the one he loves complete with the white picket fence and kissing in the kitchen. Dreaming of the day they make it all official, the country singer idealizes the happiest moments to share with that special someone and hopes to create the relationship in reality.

With the simply adorable lyrics such as, “You find the spot and I’ll find the money / you be the pretty and I’ll be the funny / you plant the flowers, I’ll plant the kisses / baby, let’s get right down to business,” Shelton can’t help but make fans’ hearts melt with his classic devotion to a true love.

It’s not farfetched for Shelton to be singing of such a love as he and his girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, have been together for quite some time now. The two met back on their days on NBC’s The Voice and began dating back in November of 2015. They’ve become inseparable ever since, getting to know each other’s families and even recording a duet with one another on Shelton’s song, “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.”

“‘I’ll Name The Dogs’ is a bit of a throw-back song for me,” Shelton shared in a press release. “It’s traditional country with fiddle and steel and I’ve got Jimmy Olander from Diamond Rio playing the guitar solo. It brings the sound back a little more traditional for a minute, which I felt like needed to happen musically for me.”

Shelton’s new single marks the first endeavor since his most recent album, If I’m Honest, which produced hits such as “Came Here to Forget,” “A Guy With a Girl,” “Every Time I Hear That Song” and “She’s Got a Way With Words.”

Currently, Shelton is balancing his release with the upcoming season of The Voice, which will premiere its 13th season on Monday, September 25, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

“I’ll Name the Dogs” is out for fans to take a listen to now, and fans can be on the lookout for more music from Shelton on the way in the next coming months. The superstar will debut the single on the Canadian Country Music Awards, airing live from the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on CBC this Sunday (Sept. 10).

Breaking News: Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams dead at 78

With his imposing stature and soft-spoken nature, he was known as the "Gentle Giant" of country music. Ayrika Whitney/USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee

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Juli Thanki, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

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Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams died Friday after a short illness. He was 78 years old. 

With his imposing stature, smooth vocals and soft-spoken nature, Williams was the "Gentle Giant" of country music. He was a staple of country radio in the 1970s and '80s, and over the course of his four-decade solo career, he recorded numerous songs now regarded as classics, including "Good Ole Boys Like Me," "Tulsa Time," "I Believe in You," "Lord, I Hope This Day is Good" and "It Must Be Love."

Don Williams was born May 27, 1939 in Floydada, Texas. In the 1960s, he was a member of the folk group Pozo-Seco Singers before striking out on a solo career in the early 1970s.

Country Star Don Williams Dead at 78

9/8/2017 by Chuck Dauphin

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Texas native Don Williams, who forged his own musical identity in the 1970s with a unique and low-key style of country that earned him the nickname “The Gentle Giant,” passed away on Friday (Sept. 8). A press release from the singer's PR team confirms his death "after a short illness," saying that funeral arrangements are pending. He was 78 years old.

Williams was born May 27, 1939 in Floydada, Texas, growing up in nearby Portland. Music had always been close to Williams’ heart, as he entered his first talent contest -- and won -- at the age of three. His prize was a brand new alarm clock. Williams played in a band with several friends during his teenage years, and started a family not too long after graduating high school, marrying his wife Joy in April 1960. To make ends meet, Williams worked a variety of jobs, including that of a bill collector. However, he never gave up on his love of music, eventually forming a folk trio, The Pozo-Seco Singers, in late 1964. Comprised of Williams, Lofton Cline, and Susan Taylor, the trio released three albums for Columbia in 1966-1968, hitting the Billboard Hot 100 six times -- with their biggest hits including “Time” (No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1966), “I Can Make It With You” and “Look What You’ve Done” (both No. 32 singles on the Hot 100 in 1966 and 1967, respectively.) Williams left the trio in late 1969.

READ MORE

Legendary Producer Garth Fundis Talks Tribute Album 'Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams'

Soon, the singer found his way to Nashville, and was writing for the publishing company of Jack Clement. By 1972, he was on the roster of Clement’s JMI Records, where he made his Hot Country Songs chart debut the following year with “The Shelter of Your Eyes.” Four subsequent releases on JMI all charted, including 1974’s “We Should Be Together,” which hit No. 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart. 

Williams’ career caught the eye of veteran executive Jim Foglesong, who signed the singer to Dot, (later ABC / Dot) where his debut single for the label “I Wouldn't Want To Live If You Didn't Love Me” became a chart-topper in September 1974. The successes continued to come for the singer. In fact, each single he released from 1974 through 1991 hit no lower than No. 22 on the Hot Country Songs chart, including the late-'70s No. 1s “Say It Again” and “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend,” which led to his being named as the Male Vocalist of the Year in 1978 by the Country Music Association.

The next year would see Williams’ recording contract be absorbed by MCA Records, but there was no slowdown in his success rate. He topped the chart that year with “It Must Be Love” and “Love Me Over Again,” and recorded the 1981 crossover hit “I Believe in You,” which hit No. 24 on the Hot 100 in addition to hitting the top of Hot Country Songs. His star shined throughout the decade with hits such as “Stay Young,” “Desperately,” and “Old Coyote Town,” keeping his records in the top 10 through label changes to Capitol (1986) and RCA (1989), where he notched his final top 10 hit, 1991’s “True Love.” All in all, Williams' Hot Country Songs chart numbers include 45 top 10 hits and 17 No. 1s, with his final leader being 1986’s “Heartbeat in the Darkness.”

READ MORE

Garth Brooks' 10 Best Songs: Critic's Pick

With his chart heydey behind him. Williams continued to tour in the United States as well as abroad. His smooth sound had made him fans the world over, including Great Britain, New Zealand, and South Africa. Williams retired from the road in 2006, but he couldn't shake his love of the stage, returning to audiences in 2010. He also returned to the recording studio for a pair of albums for Sugar Hill, 2012’s And So It Goes, and 2014’s Reflections, both of which made the top 20 on Top Country Albums chart. Williams called it a career in 2016, with his final release being a Live CD / DVD recorded in Ireland, where he developed a loyal following.

In May 2017, Williams was the subject of a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams. Garth Fundis, who produced many of Williams’ biggest hits, oversaw the project, which included cuts from The Pistol AnniesGarth Brooks, and Lady Antebellum. At the time of the release, Fundis was quick to praise his old friend’s acumen for picking songs.

“He never let himself stray from what he felt about music. I think that’s where the consistency comes from. It had to work for him in a simple way. Sometimes, we do orchestrations and get a lot of instruments going, but it was usually pretty simple. He always was the rudder that kept the bowel pointed in the right direction, to use a sailing term. It was wonderful how he could always take different kinds of songs, and by the time he was done with them, they all kind of fit together in a really wonderful way.”

His first hit, "The Shelter of Your Eyes," came out in 1972; his first No. 1 single, "I Wouldn't Want to Live if You Didn't Love Me" came two years later. Between 1974-1985, he took 16 songs to the top of the charts.

In 1978, Williams won the Country Music Association's Male Vocalist of the Year Award. That same year, his recording of Danny Flowers' "Tulsa Time" took home the Academy of Country Music's Single Record of the Year trophy.

He also brought country music to international audiences. "Don Williams: Into Africa," a concert special filmed in Zimbabwe, was recorded on a tour of Africa in the late 1990s. 

Williams launched a farewell tour in 2006 that included a stop at Lipscomb University's Allen Arena, but retirement didn't stick. He returned to the studio and released two fine albums, "And So It Goes" and "Reflections," on Sugar Hill Records in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Those were the last studio records of his career. A live album recorded in Ireland was released in 2016.

Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010. He was unable to attend the medallion ceremony due to a bout of bronchitis, but Alison Krauss, bluegrassers the Del McCoury Band, and Chris Young were among the artists who performed his songs that night, a testament to his wide-ranging influence and appeal.

"In giving voice to songs like 'Good Ole Boys Like Me,' 'Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,' and 'Amanda,' Don Williams offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days," said Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young on Friday. "His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant." 

Williams retired again in 2016, stating "It's time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home."

"Gentle Giants," a tribute album featuring Krauss, Chris and Morgan Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley and more singing Williams' songs, was released earlier this year. 

Funeral arrangements are unavailable at this time. 

Don Williams, the ‘Gentle Giant’ of Country Music, Dies at 78

BY JEREMY BURCHARD

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Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Country music mourns the loss of Don Williams today, the “gentle giant” whose smooth baritone delivered classic songs like “Tulsa Time,” It Must Be Love” and “I Believe In You.” Williams passed away after a brief illness. He was 78.

Don Williams was born in Floydada, Texas, a tiny West Texas town Northeast of Lubbock. He grew up in Portland, Texas and embraced music from an early age. In fact, he won a talent contest at only three years old.

After graduating high school, he moved to Corpus Christi and formed a folk band called The Pozo Seco Singers. The group was active from 1964 to 1979, before Williams moved to Nashville to pursue a solo career.

In 1971 he signed a contract as a songwriter with “Cowboy” Jack Clement and quickly earned the respect of his peers. Before long, Williams’ laid-back sound caught the ears of radio.

His song “Shelter Of Your Eyes” entered the radio chart in 1973. Over the next 20 years, every single Williams released made it to the charts except for one. He amassed 17 No. 1 singles.

Williams earned the nickname “The Gentle Giant” in the early 1980s thanks to a combination of his tall frame, deep voice and mellow music. Williams became a bit of a folk hero as country music continually shifted with different trends.

His 1981 duet of Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You” with Emmylou Harris remains a staple in the world of folk music. Despite country radio abandoning his smooth sound in the 1990s, Williams continued to sell out shows across the globe all the way into the 2000s.

Don Williams briefly announced a retirement in 2006, but returned to the road in 2010. That same year, the Country Music Hall of Fame inducted him. He then officially retired in 2016.

In May, Gentle Giants: The Songs Of Don Williams came out. The tribute album features artists such as Lady Antebellum, Jason Isbell and Garth Brooks covering the singer’s legendary songs.

 

Don Williams Dead at 78

 CHUCK DAUPHIN • SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 - 4:37 PM

Don Williams; Photo courtesy Webster PR

The country music community is in mourning today with the passing of Don Williams. Known as “The Gentle Giant,” the Texas native ranks as one of the most successful country balladeers of all time – eventually earning a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Williams was 78 years old.

Born in Floydada, Texas, Williams grew up being very much inspired by the music of the late 1940s and 50s. Playing in several bands around the Lone Star state, he eventually became a member of the Pop / Folk
group The Pozo Seco Singers. The group inked a deal with Columbia Records, and were soon on the pop and easy listening charts with such hits as “Time” and “Look What You’ve Done.” The group disbanded around the dawning of the next decade, and Williams soon found himself in Nashville.

Signing with a publishing company owned by Jack Clement at first only as a songwriter, he eventually landed a recording contract with Clement’s JMI Records. He began hitting the charts with songs such
as “Come Early Morning,” “Amanda,” and “We Should Be Together,” which earned him his first trip to the top ten, peaking at No. 5 in 1974.

Later that year, he signed with ABC / Dot (later absorbed by MCA), where he recorded some of the biggest hits of the decade – “She Never Knew Me,” “It Must Be Love,” “Rake and Ramblin’ Man,’ among them. In 1976, the singer was nominated for the first of six times as a finalist for the Male Vocalist of the Year prize from the CMA, winning the award in 1978. Upon winning the award, Williams – famous for his quiet nature – simply said the words “Thank You” in acceptance of his honor.

The 1980s saw no slowdown in Williams’ musical fortunes. He opened up the decade with Bob McDill’s “Good Old Boys Like Me,” which peaked at No. 2 on the charts, but “I Believe In You,” his biggest hit, and signature tune, was just around the corner.  Not only a number one hit, the song also proved to be his only crossover hit, making it to No. 24 on the pop charts.

As the 1980s progressed, Williams added more hits to his list – “Love Is On A Roll,” “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,” and “That’s The Thing About Love.” After a decade run with MCA, Williams switched labels in 1986 to Capitol, staying at the label for three years, and adding hits such as the number one “Heartbeat In The Darkness” and “Desperately” to his chart history. He also recorded for RCA from 1989 until 1992.

Though his radio days ended in the early 1990s, Williams remained a crowd favorite in the United States, but also overseas. His easy-going style, which earned him the moniker “The Gentle Giant,” helped him make fans all over the world, from Ireland to England to Africa. Williams retired from touring in 2006, but was back on the road by 2010, the year he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He recorded two final albums for Sugar Hill – 2012’s And So It Goes and 2014’s Reflections – both of which hit the Top-20 on the country album charts, featuring cameos from artists such as Alison Krauss and Keith Urban, who has long cited Williams as an influence.

Earlier this year, Williams was the subject of Gentle Giants, a tribute album that featured his hits performed by acts such as Lady AntebellumGarth Brooks, and Trisha Yearwood. Upon the release of the set, Garth Fundis, his longtime producer, praised Williams’ uncanny acumen to pick hit songs, telling Billboard that Williams “never let himself stray from what he felt about music. I think that’s where the consistency comes from. It had to work for him in a simple way. Sometimes, we do orchestrations and get a lot of instruments going, but it was usually pretty simple. He always was the rudder that kept the bowel pointed in the right direction, to use a sailing term. It was wonderful how he could always take different kinds of songs, and by the time he was done with them, they all kind of fit together in a really wonderful way.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Breaking News: Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry Dies at 50

 

9/8/2017 by Colin Stutz

Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry performs during the 2012 CMA Music Festival on June 7, 2012 in Nashville.

Troy Gentry of the country duo Montgomery Gentry has reportedly died in a helicopter crash on Friday (Sept. 8), LEX 18 of Lexington, Kentucky, reports. He was 50. 

The local news station confirmed with sources that the helicopter crashed at the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey, with Gentry and one other aboard. Both perished. 

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The Kentucky-based group had been scheduled to perform at the Flying W Airport & Resort on Friday. Gentry's bandmate, Eddie Montgomery, was not on the helicopter. 

The band's Twitter account confirmed the news of Gentry's death, noting the crash took place around 1 p.m. local time. 

Montgomery Gentry has sold 5.2 million albums in the U.S. through Aug. 31, 2017, according to Nielsen Music. The duo’s best-selling album is 2002’s My Town, which sold has sold 1 million.

The pair has moved 6.4 million song downloads and collected 163.1 million on-demand streams in the U.S. as well.

 

Sounds Like Nashville Country News Roundup

Kenny Chesney; Photo by Allister Ann

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Kenny Chesney Distraught by Devastation in the Caribbean Caused by Hurricane Irma

 LAUREN JO BLACK • SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 - 12:56 PM

 

If you know anything about Kenny Chesney, you know that he has a special connection to the islands in the Caribbean Sea, specifically the Virgin Islands where he owns a home in St. John. Many of the superstar’s songs are inspired by island life and the people he’s met during his travels to paradise.

On Wednesday (Sept. 7), Hurricane Irma struck the islands and the surrounding coasts, bringing winds of up to 180 miles per hour and causing total devastation. As photos and video of the aftermath of the storm began to surface the following morning, Chesney found himself distraught by the devastation and penned a heartfelt letter to his fans and friends via his official website.

“As daylight is hitting the islands, and we’re really getting a sense of how bad this all is… I don’t know what to say,” he began. “I’ve never been in war, but the devastation, the people’s faces in a place I know by heart have left me feeling helpless. It’s total devastation.These are people who live off the sea, who depend on it. They live right there and it’s gone. Most everyone’s displaced. They are frightened, confused, and they don’t know where help is going to come from.Those lives have changed, and will never be the same. Those small islands are hard to get to and they rely on each other to get through what life hands them. For all of them though they’ve been where I’ve leaned for emotional and creative support for fifteen years because they are so generous.”

Chesney then rallied for his fans to help and promised he would do anything in his power to assist those who have lost so much.

“I don’t know right now how we’re going to do this. But I want to help,” he continued. “I want to enlist my friends to figure out the best ways to make a difference, to help in whatever ways, small or larger, that we can. I’m blessed with so many great people… We’re already talking, trying to figure out how to get in there. And I know the No Shoes Nation is mighty. They’ve dug in before and made a difference. I have a feeling once we have our plans in the place, they’ll be there again. Give us a few days to figure this out. Pray/send good thoughts to everyone who’s been effected or is in the path of #hurricaneirma. This is unlike anything they’ve ever seen from St Maartens to St Barths to Puerto Rico then the Caribbean and onto Key West. Be safe. Tell someone how much you care. Remember to Spread the Love. More Soon.”

Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. It is expected to make landfall once again on Sunday morning in Miami, Fla.

Luke Bryan Taps Sam Hunt and Blake Shelton for Crash My Playa 2018

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 - 12:14 PM

 

Sam Hunt; Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Luke Bryan; Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for dcp, Blake Shelton; Photo credit: Natasha Moustache/CMA

Crash my playa indeed for Luke Bryan, with the announcement that his buddies, Blake Shelton and Sam Hunt, would be packing up to head to the beach and join Bryan for the beloved country music fiesta.

Hitting the sandy shore of Riviera Maya, Mexico, this year marks the fourth year Bryan has hosted his Crash My Playa concert festival and as always, he’s bringing the best of the best to celebrate the tropical weather alongside him. The four-night fest will bring two headlining performances from Bryan himself, with Shelton and Hunt trading off the other headlining slots for the coordinated nights.

The dynamic trio anticipate an extravaganza to kick off their years in 2018, and Bryan couldn’t imagine doing it next to anyone but Hunt and Shelton.

“Blake and Sam are two of the hottest artists in country music and I couldn’t be any more pumped that they have agreed to come join me this year. I swear this event just gets better and better each year,” Luke shared in a press release.

Not only is the “Light It Up” singer pumped to bring his pals down for a rowdy good time, but Shelton also expressed his happiness to fly back down South of the Border for another year to remember at Crash My Playa.

“It’s a dream come true to go back to Mexico to join my BFF Luke for Crash My Playa. We had such a blast playing together last year that I’d come back every year if he’d let me,” Shelton concurred about the news.

With the headlining lineup all set, fans will anxiously await any surprise guests that happen to ‘crash the playa’ with the guys, just as Gwen Stefani did last year by performing a couple hits of her own during Shelton’s late night set.

Bryan’s Crash My Playa concert vacation will be held in Riviera Maya, Mexico, from January 17 to 20, 2018. Fans can get more information about trip packages for the beach bash on the event’s website.

Thomas Rhett Shares Private Details From His Phone, Performs ‘Unforgettable’ on ‘Tonight Show’

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 - 11:51 AM

Thomas Rhett may not keep many secrets from his fans nowadays, but now he’s letting them go behind the four-digit code to access his confidential iPhone information in a quick-fire round of ‘Internet Pop Quiz.’

The country singer stopped by the set of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to promote his new record, Life Changes, when they snagged a couple minutes with Rhett to play the revealing game. It looked as though Rhett didn’t feel any nerves while whipping out his phone for the challenge and gave his honest answers with no hesitation.

Admitting that he’s a fan of the Rap Caviar playlist on Spotify when he hits the gym and Game of Thrones is his and his wife’s go-to binge show, Rhett also gave fans a peek into his contact book as he told the video crew about the weirdest celebrity number in his digital book.

“The most unexpected celebrity? Um, I don’t know. Ashton Kutcher is kinda random. He’s in my phone,” Rhett laughed.

He even announced with no regret that his biggest online food order involved a whole lot of a Mexican fast food classic.

“The largest food order I’ve ever made online…I don’t know…probably spending $300 at Taco Bell. I feel like that’s a bit absurd to spend at Taco Bell considering everything is like less than $5.”

Even more facts rambled out of the “Craving You” singer’s mouth as he called himself a former addict of the Maze Runner game and that he enjoys snooping on the life of Kit Harrington a.k.a. Jon Snow via Instagram whenever he gets a free minute.

Rhett then took the New York audience by storm with a performance of his new single, “Unforgettable,” which tells the story of a love at first sight meeting.

Life Changes hits shelves this Friday, September 8.

 

Chris Young Reveals ‘Losing Sleep’ Track List

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 - 11:42 AM

 

Chris Young; Photo by John Shearer

October 20 couldn’t come soon enough for Chris Young fans with the release of his brand new album, Losing Sleep, hitting stores.

Building up to the release date, Young has been thriving off of the anticipation by announcing details regarding the record left and right. His latest move involved the track list of the project for fans to get attached to as they get to know their soon-to-be favorite songs from Young.

Young worked with a number of accomplished Nashville songwriters such as Josh Hoge, Liz Rose, Chris DeStefano and more when it came to the making of Losing Sleep. He even contributed on the writing end of things as well, with his name in the credits of each of the 10 songs.

Looking upon the fresh music to represent his growth in the next step of his career, Young hopes to only progress further thanks to his producers and fellow co-writers that helped him get inspired for each individual track along the way.

“Every album you make as an artist, you want to continue to grow,” Young said recently. “And you also want people to be in love with it. That’s such a difficult thing to balance, but I think there’s a little bit of something for everybody on this record.”

Currently, fans can hear a sneak peek of the album by listening to the single, “Losing Sleep,” which is being played on country radio now.

‘Losing Sleep’ Track List

  1. “Losing Sleep” – Chris Young, Chris DeStefano, Josh Hoge
  2. “Hangin’ On” – Chris Young, Corey Crowder, Josh Hoge
  3. “Holiday” – Chris Young, Cary Barlowe, Johnny Bulford, Corey Crowder
  4. “Radio And The Rain” – Chris Young, Corey Crowder, Josh Hoge
  5. “Where I Go When I Drink” – Chris Young, Tyler Reeve, Trent Tomlinson
  6. “She’s Got A Way” – Chris Young, Cary Barlowe, Corey Crowder
  7. “Leave Me Wanting More” – Chris Young, Corey Crowder, John Pierce
  8. “Trouble Looking” – Chris Young, Corey Crowder, Liz Rose
  9. “Woke Up Like This” – Chris Young, Corey Crowder, Josh Hoge
  10. “Blacked Out” – Chris Young, Josh Hoge, Jon Randall

Blake Shelton Bringing the Party to Tishomingo for Old Red Grand Opening

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 - 7:10 AM

Blake Shelton; Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage

Oklahoma…where the wind blows, sweeping through the plains, and where Blake Shelton is headed to celebrate the grand opening of Ole Red Tishomingo.

The Oklahoma native inspired the new venue with his classic hit, “Ole Red,” which will feature entertainment space, retail openings and a restaurant for patrons to stop by and enjoy their time in the small Midwestern town. Shelton will host his own extravaganza to welcome the venture into town for the first-ever Ole Red location.

“For a song that meant so much to me to take this shape and come to life as Ole Red has is really mind-blowing,” Shelton said recently. “Our community is in for a treat with the Opry bringing their famed broadcast to Tishomingo for this special show. It’s a proud day for us Oklahomans.”

Shelton will be joined by friends to host a show open to the public in town that will serve like a Grand Ole Opry celebration. Artists such as RaeLynn, Jeannie Seely, John Conlee and Ronnie Milsap will all be in attendance to hang out with the fans, as well as WSM’s Bill Cody as the co-emcee for the evening.

Although the big opening night holds all of those fun festivities, some lucky winners will be treated to their own private performance by Shelton the night before. All of the proceeds raised from the ticket sales of that show will be donated to J.C. Reaching Out, which helps out local families with the financial burdens of cancer treatments. Tickets have already gone on sale for Shelton’s show, which will be held on Friday, September 29, at Ole Red Tishomingo.

The official Old Red Tishomingo Grand Opening will take place block party style on Main Street in the heart of town on Saturday, September 30, at 7 p.m. CST, with more details found on the venue’s website.

 

High Valley To Headline SiriusXM’s The Highway Finds Tour

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 - 7:07 AM

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High Valley, Photo by Robby Klein

High Valley won’t be hanging out in their native Canada much this fall as they’ve been selected as the main headlining act to go on the road for SiriusXM’s The Highway Finds Tour.

Taking their gig all across the country to show off their stellar harmonies and authentic country songwriting, the guys are pumped to meet all their fans from the west to the east as they embark on a massive two-month stint.

“New fall tour dates coming at you this week! So excited to hit the road on the @SXMTheHighway Finds tour! Tickets go on sale Friday,” they wrote to their Twitter followers about the big announcement.

They’ll be taking Ashley McBryde and Adam Doleac out with them to open up for a few dates sprinkled in here and there for fans to get the well-rounded effect that SiriusXM’s The Highway goes for while finding the hottest new artists.

Tickets for SiriusXM’s The Highway Finds Tour featuring High Valley go on sale to the general public on Friday, September 8, at 10 a.m. local venue time.

SiriusXM’s The Highway Finds Tour Dates

Wed. Oct 18*^          Washington, DC         The Hamilton

Thurs. Oct 19*           Toronto, ON               Danforth

Fri. Oct 20*^               Asbury Park, NJ        Wonder Bar

Sat. Oct 21*^             New York, NY            Gramercy Theatre

Thurs. Oct 26*^          Charlotte, NC             The Underground

Fri. Oct 27*^               Nashville, TN             Mercy Lounge

Sat. Oct 28^               Birmingham, AL         Workplay

Sun. Oct 29*^            Atlanta, GA                 Aisle 5

Wed. Nov 1*^            Cleveland, OH           Cambridge Room @ House of Blues

Thurs. Nov 2^            Columbus, OH           The Bluestone

Fri. Nov 3^                 Grand Rapids, MI      The Stache

Sat. Nov 4^                Indianapolis, IN          Deluxe

Thurs. Nov 30^          Omaha, NE                Bourbon Saloon

Fri. Dec 1^                 Denver, CO               Marquis Theatre

Sat. Dec 2^                Cheyenne, WY          Outlaw Saloon

Mon. Dec 4^              Billings, MT                Pub Station

Tues. Dec 5^              Salt Lake City, UT     State Room

Thurs. Dec 7^            Hollywood, CA           Troubadour

Fri. Dec 8^                 Anaheim, CA             Parish @ House of Blues

Sat. Dec 9^                San Diego, CA           Voodoo Room @ House of Blues

*With Ashley McBryde.

^With Adam Doleac.

Lady Antebellum Headed to the Beach for 30A Concert Series

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 - 2:12 PM

 

Lady Antebellum; Photo courtesy the Greenroom PR

Lady Antebellum will get their toes wet at the 30A Sessions Concert Series held down in the popular Florida vacation spot.

The inaugural concert will host the country trio down on the sandy beaches for a festival-meets-concert experience. Teaming up with Coastal Living Magazine, Tracery Interiors and the St. Joe Company, Lady A will perform to select attendees for a show under the sun to kick off the whole series.

“30A Sessions is Austin City Limits meets the beach,” said Mike Ragsdale, Founder of The 30A Company recently. “A handful of guests will have the opportunity to experience Lady Antebellum’s extraordinary talent up close and personal.”

While Lady Antebellum takes on the duty of being the first artist to perform at the 30A Sessions Concert Series, they open the door for many more musicians to get involved within the coming years. Many stars in the music industry travel down to the gorgeous coastline and purchase holiday homes down in the area to get away from the madness, and maybe now, play a show or two.

The band ties back to 30A as they went there on a songwriting and recording retreat during the making of their most recent album, Heart Break. Each of the members also spend a lot of their time off down on the Florida coast to soak up the rays with their families in the little piece of paradise, as seen through many of their Instagram posts.

The first show of the 30A Sessions Concert Series will be hosted at the WaterColor LakeHouse on Saturday, October 28. Tickets go on sale for the concert on Friday, September 8, at 10 a.m. EST, with more details available at 30Asessions.com.

Dustin Lynch Announces Hurricane Harvey Benefit in Dallas

 SYDNEY SMITH • SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 - 2:02 PM

 

Dustin Lynch; Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic

It looks like Dustin Lynch’s current mood is helping those in need. The “Small Town Boy” singer will be aiding Hurricane Harvey relief with a benefit concert in Dallas, Texas on September 12.

Though Lynch does not have Texas roots, he was inspired by stop at a shelter for Hurricane Harvey storm victims in Dallas after his show there on Saturday (Sept. 2). During his visit, he met with and performed for Texans who had been displaced by the hurricane with hopes that his music could bring them a bit of peace.

Lynch and his team worked quickly to plan the show as soon as possible. The date falls in the middle of a busy week for Lynch as he promotes his upcoming Current Mood album, but for him, helping others comes before anything else.

“The spirit of Texas, and of Country music, is to help your neighbor – to pitch in when others are struggling,” says Lynch. “So many people have stepped up to lend a hand to those affected by this storm, and I’m proud to do my small part to support the citizens of Houston and surrounding communities. After visiting the storm shelter, and meeting people whose lives have changed forever, the least I can do is come back to Dallas and try to raise spirits.”

The benefit show will be hosted at Cowboys Red River in Dallas. Tickets to the 18+ event are $10 and can be purchased on the KPLX and KSCS websites as well as at the door. The first 500 fans to arrive will receive a copy of Lynch’s new album Current Mood. All proceeds from the show will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Album Review: Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes’

 ANNIE REUTER • SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 - 10:40 AM

 

Thomas Rhett; Album Cover Art Courtesy of The Valory Music Co.

Thomas Rhett knows a thing or two about life changes. In just three months the singer went from a family of two with wife, Lauren, to four after adopting Willa Gray from Uganda and having a child of their own with newborn Ada James. As a result, all of the ups and downs of his family and professional life are showcased in Rhett’s third studio album, fittingly titled Life Changes.

The 14-track release has Rhett doing what he does best: blending sounds from the country, rock, R&B and even EDM genres for a versatile release. Rhett co-wrote 10 of the album’s 14 tracks and produced the project alongside Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure, Julian Bunetta and Joe London. Throughout Life Changes, Rhett proves to be both a powerful storyteller and an artist willing to take risks as he continues to push boundaries with his music.

Life Changes kicks off with Rhett’s latest No. 1 single, “Craving You.” Written by Dave Barnes and Julian Bunetta, “Craving You” is an undeniably catchy country-pop tune with infectious ’80s production. This bold and anthemic sound is further helped by Maren Morris’ pristine harmonies on the track. Another song, “Renegades,” maintains an arena-ready sound as the song recalls classic hits by John Mellencamp and Tom Petty. Meanwhile, its updated production and sing-along chorus has all the makings of another timeless hit for the singer/songwriter.

Throughout much of Life Changes, Rhett gives listeners a glimpse into his love story with his wife. Songs like upbeat new single “Unforgettable” reveal a night where the two transitioned from childhood friends to lovers. Additionally, the title track looks back on his dreams of becoming a songwriter in college before popping the question to Lauren when everyone around him urged him to wait. “I bought a ring and she said I do / But everybody else said, ‘Man you’re 22 what you tryin’ to prove? / Hey, why don’t you wait’ / Because I’ve been waiting on her since the second grade,” he croons.

The album’s sweetest song comes in the form of album closer “Grave” where Rhett sings of how his wife is his everything. An adequate follow-up to “Die A Happy Man,” the stripped down ballad has a gospel element with hand-snapped rhythms and backing vocalists that embody gospel singers. “When the good Lord calls me home and this life is through / I may be six feet deep but I’ll still be lovin’ you,” he sings on the chorus.

While Rhett’s sentimental side is showcased on Life Changes so is his swagger. The singer proves that he can hold his own with artists like Bruno Mars, the Weeknd and even Drake on several R&B influenced tracks. The sultry beats of “Gateway Love,” bombastic rhythms of “Leave Right Now” and impressive falsetto on “When You Look Like That” showcase his natural ability to segue effortlessly from genre to genre while leaving his distinct mark on each song.
Additional highlights include the doo-wop throwback of “Sweetheart” and heartbreaking piano ballad “Marry Me.” On the latter, Rhett sings of a girl who has her whole wedding planned out. At first, it seems like he’s the groom but as the story develops there’s a twist. It’s on this song and the nostalgic “Sixteen,” where Rhett sings of being 15 while dreaming of driving the open road, that his prowess as a songwriter is best showcased. On “Sixteen” each verse finds Rhett wishing he was one year older until he turns 25. Then, instead of going full speed ahead he looks back on his life and reminisces of his youth — something we can all relate to.

His most ambitious release yet, Life Changes has something for every listener. As Rhett embraces new sounds and unpredictable production, he also allows a closer look into his personal life, all while showcasing some of the best songwriting within the country genre. With songs that can both strike a chord and start a party, Life Changes proves that Rhett is a force to be reckoned with.

George Strait to Host Hurricane Harvey Benefit in San Antonio

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Essential Broadcast Media

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As a dedicated native to the state of Texas, George Strait has taken on the task of hosting an official Hurricane Harvey benefit show out in San Antonio.

Strait isn’t doing the duties alone though, as he’s booked fellow country artists such as Miranda LambertChris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen to join along for the festivities. They plan to perform at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, with selected performances airing alongside the coverage for the already announced national benefit.

One of his performances from the San Antonio benefit concert will be aired live as a part of the star-studded Hand in Hand televised benefit, in which the nation will witness celebrities from all ends come together in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville to help those in need. Blake Shelton was announced to co-host the Nashville portion of the broadcast alongside actress Reese Witherspoon. Other famous faces set to help out during the broadcast include Beyoncé, Oprah, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey and many more yet to be announced.

Fans wanting to be a part of Strait’s benefit show are able to purchase tickets on Wednesday, September 6, at 10 a.m. CST on Ticketmaster. All of the proceeds raised will go right back into the Rebuild Texas Fund thanks to the help of a handful of charitable sponsors.

The Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief will air on all the major broadcast networks as well as select cable channels and social media outlets on September 12 at 8 p.m. EST. A re-airing of the program will go on at 8 p.m. PST for viewers on the West Coast. Phone lines, text messaging and digital donating will all be open to the public throughout the show, as well as an hour following its premiere.

George Strait to Perform Live from Texas for Hurricane Harvey Relief Telethon

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BY JEREMY BURCHARD12 HOURS

 

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Country superstar George Strait just joined a star-studded lineup for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Telethon. The one-hour televised event takes place on Sept. 12. All proceeds go towards aiding hurricane victims.

Strait is one of Texas’ most famous musicians. He also owns a home in Rockport, a coastal town that suffered major damage in the storm.

Last week, Strait referenced working on Harvey relief efforts via Twitter. He tweeted that he’s working on something that includes the “whole country music community.”According to Variety, the relief telethon spans much more than just the country community. Dubbed Hand In Hand: A Benefit For Hurricane Harvey Relief, the telethon will air on the four major networks, as well as CMT. Stars will join in from Los Angeles, Nashville and New York.

For his part, Strait will appear in concert. He set up a live performance at San Antonio’s famous Majestic Theater. Which is notable in and of itself, since Strait retired from touring.

READ MORE: George Strait to Mark 25th Anniversary of Pure Country with Special Concerts

Other famous musicians appearing during the special include Houston native Beyoncé, Blake Shelton and Barbra Streisand. But that’s not all. George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx and Matthew McConaughey (both Texas natives) plan to appear, among many others.

Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast a little over a week ago. Tens of thousands of people in Southeast Texas lost their homes, and at least 63 people lost their lives. Much of Houston flooded to historic proportions.

Harvey is estimated to be the costliest natural disaster in Texas’ history. Recovery efforts will take years and cost tens of billions of dollars.

Strait isn’t the only major country musician stepping up. In fact, the country music community and much of America as a whole rallied around Houston. Professional athletes from the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans raised millions of dollars for relief. Chris Young and Lady Antebellum raised hundreds of thousands of dollars almost immediately.

Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton Join George Strait’s San Antonio Harvey Benefit Concert

BY LORIE LIEBIG6 HOURS

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Cooper Neill/Getty Images

George Strait has assembled some of country music’s biggest stars to help give back to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Earlier today (Sept. 5), it was announced that Strait would perform as part of the upcoming Hurricane Harvey Relief Telethon. That performance will be taken from a star-studded benefit concert featuring Strait and his Ace in the Hole band at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. He’s also recruited Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen for the once in a lifetime concert.

A selection of performances from the concert will be included in the national telethon. If you want to see the entire show, the full event will also be streaming via Facebook Live.

READ MORE: Watch Chris Stapleton’s Powerful Cover of a George Strait Deep Cut

If you’d rather head to San Antonio and see it all happen for yourself, you can snag a ticket beginning Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. CST via Ticketmaster. All proceeds raised from the show will go towards the Rebuild Texas Fund. Tickets will surely go fast, as this will be one of the most intimate and historic performances of Strait’s career.

Miranda Lambert & Chris Stapleton to Join George Strait for Hurricane Harvey Benefit: Exclusive

9/5/2017 by Melinda Newman

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Miranda Lambert and George Strait perform at MGM in Las Vegas in 2014.

 

Miranda LambertChris StapletonLyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen will join George Strait and his Ace in the Hole Band for a Sept. 12 Hurricane Harvey benefit at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas.

Select performances from the 2,300-seat Majestic Theater will be broadcast on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and CMT as part of Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief, a telethon organized by Houston rapper Bun B and Scooter Braun that will also feature BeyonceBarbra Streisand, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and others. The special will air live Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. EDT and replay at 8 p.m. PDT. The telethon broadcast and Strait’s Hand in Hand Texas show will air internationally via Facebook.

After Harvey hit Aug. 26, devastating Houston and surrounding areas, Strait tweeted on Aug. 30, “We are working on putting together relief efforts with the whole country music community.” He followed with another tweet on Sept. 4, “We’re rallying the country community. Stay tuned for Tuesday.”

READ MORE

Harvey Relief Telethon: Beyonce, Barbra Streisand Join Star-Studded Benefit

Tickets for the Strait concert, which will serve as the first in Strait’s ongoing relief efforts, will benefit Rebuild Texas Fund and go on sale Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. CDT at ticketmaster.com. Sponsor for Strait’s benefit show is Cavender Auto Family, with assistance from the Majestic Theater, Ticketmaster, VER, Bill Young Productions and the City of San Antonio. Louis Messina of Messina Touring Group is the key coordinator for Strait's benefit. 

Proceeds from the one-hour Hand in Hand telethon will benefit United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas, Rebuild Texas and The Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief.

Strait was born in Poteet, Texas and grew up in tiny Pearsall, Texas. He has proudly remained in Texas throughout his career, often referencing his home state in song via such hits as “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “Amarillo By Morning,” and “Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind.” Similarly, 6-time CMA female vocalist of the year Lambert, 4-time Grammy winner Lovett, and Texas Heritage Songwriter Hall of Fame member Keen all are Texas natives. Stapleton, the reigning CMAmale vocalist of the year, is from Kentucky. Through her MuttNation Foundation, Lambert has been working with the Humane Society to move animals already in local shelters in and around Houston to other homes or shelters to make room for pets that were displaced by the hurricane.   

Strait’s Sept. 12 concert represents a rare live performance by the King of Country, who, after retiring from touring in 2014, began a residency in April 2016 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. His next dates in that exclusive run are Dec. 8-9. 

Tuesday Country News Break

Old Dominion; Photo by Dove Shore

 

Old Dominion’s ‘Happy Endings’ Debuts at No.1

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 - 1:44 PM

 

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There’s ‘No Such Thing as a Broken Heart’ for the guys of Old Dominion as they just got wind that their album, Happy Endings, reached the No. 1 slot on the charts.

The debut of their latest release soared up the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart following its August 25 release. Making its way to the top chart, as well as the No. 7 position on the all-genre Billboard Top 200, Old Dominion is making waves in 2017 with their upbeat progression with their catchy sound.

Noting it as one of their more personal pursuits, lead singer Matthew Ramsey previously told Sounds Like Nashville that Happy Endings dives into a lot of serious subjects while maintaining that laidback feel they established from their debut.

“There’s definitely a lot heavier subject matter on this album than there was on the first album. There’s still fun, goofy stuff that we are known for, too. But it definitely does get into a bit more serious subject matter,” Ramsey said.

Working off the success of their album, the guys also landed an opening positing for Thomas Rhett on a couple of his shows this fall. From the iconic Greek Theater in Los Angeles to Louisville, Kentucky’s KFC Yum! Center, the band will set up shop for Rhett for a dynamic show like none other. They also will cross the pond for a handful of international shows for their fans abroad throughout the autumn season as well.

Old Dominion is feeling the love even more as they recently snagged a pair of nominations for the 51st Annual CMA Awards this fall. Getting looks from the Vocal Group of the Year and New Artist of the Year categories, the band feels proud and honored to be among their friendly competitors.

Fans can purchase Happy Endings on iTunes now.

 

Thomas Rhett Readies His ‘Life Changes’ Record with Excitement and Nerves

 KELLY BRICKEY • SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 - 10:57 AM

 

Thomas Rhett; Photo Credit: John Shearer

Time doesn’t skip a beat for Thomas Rhett as he jumps from one duty to the next. With his whirlwind lifestyle dropping him from task to task, he’s come to terms with the idea that everything will stay in fast-forward mode throughout the rest of the year.

But the country singer doesn’t seem to mind the madness that crashed upon him as Rhett reflects upon the pandemonium throughout his highly-anticipated record, Life Changes. From becoming a new father to two beautiful girls to headlining his very own Home Team Tour, Rhett can’t complain on where his dreams are headed and he wants his new music to replicate his exact feelings through the authentic lyrics he penned for the project.

“In the fact that every time you put out a new project, it’s scary—are people going to like it at all or is it going to flop or is it going to do great? In the other sense, I feel like I’m in such a groove. This record was not made out of any sort of fear. It was made out of excitement and sheer, ‘I cannot wait to record these songs because I’m so passionate about these songs,’” Rhett explained to Sounds Like Nashville and other media recently. “In that aspect, it does take a little bit of the pressure away, because I know in my heart that this is the best representation of me today. If I can do that, I’m doing myself and hopefully everyone else, a favor.”

Approaching his next project as somewhat of a diary, Rhett relived the nostalgic memories and envisioned the stories he infused right back into his progressive sound. Giving the album a title that portrays the obvious span of events that Rhett has experienced over the past couple years, he finds confidence in his growing catalogue by letting the events unfold naturally.

“I think I started to write more about my life in general, because I don’t think I’d ever experienced that many life-altering events in such a short span of time than over the last two years,” Rhett shared. “‘Life Changes’ was actually written toward the end of the adoption process and about four months into Lauren being pregnant. ‘Life Changes’ and a song called ‘Sixteen’ were written just about life and basically ripping pages out of a diary. I don’t keep a diary, but if I did, those two songs would have been written out of that. I think ‘Life Changes’ was a pretty perfect title for a song and for the name of this record, just to describe what life has been over the last couple of years.”

Of course, Rhett knew that with every new album comes a gradual change in his personality through music. Allowing influences from pop to hip-hop to EDM take over, Rhett dug his vocals into his Southern roots to keep his country roots alive while still incorporating different beats into the mix. That development will be ever present on his track, “Leave Right Now,” as the bass drops like that of a Top 40 song but maintains the honest qualities in the lyrics that swing the song right back into country territory.

“I’m pretty sure when this album comes out I’m going to get a ton of comments on the song, ‘Leave Right Now,’ because it’s so progressive,” admitted Rhett. “It was a song that we didn’t even write with the intention of having somewhat of a drop, if you will. It started out just three dudes on an acoustic guitar. I was writing this song with a bunch of guys from LA. I’d been listening to a bunch of Chainsmokers songs at that point and was obsessed with that kind of music and the way it made me feel. I said, ‘Hey, can we add something after the chorus in this song?’ That’s what they added, and never in a million years did I think it was ever going to make the record. The more I started listening to it, I was like, ‘Why would I not want a song of mine that makes me feel incredible to be on the record?’”

He’s also pumped about the two collaborations on Life Changes that create a depth he hasn’t touched before on previous projects. Rhett already hit No. 1 with “Craving You,” thanks to the powerful harmonies of Maren Morris scattered throughout the rocking tune. Rhett even kept it all in the family by writing and recording a cut from his dad, Rhett Akins, called “Drink a Little Beer,” in which the twang takes over with a banjo lead-out shining through as the bright spot of the record.

Come September 8, Rhett will let his musical journal fall into the ears of fans as they get to know the biographical side of his songwriting throughout Life Changes and discover what makes the man that everyone knows as Thomas Rhett.

Life Changes is due out everywhere on September 8.

Album Review: Dustin Lynch’s ‘Current Mood’

 ANNIE REUTER • SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 - 10:22 AM

Dustin Lynch; Photo by Ford Fairchild

Dustin Lynch has made a name for himself as an engaging live performer and his third release, Current Mood, ups the ante. The album boasts beat-heavy production bound to keep Lynch’s audience on their feet as the Resistol hat wearing singer kicks off his own headlining tour later this year.

Current Mood had five different producers at the helm including Brent Anderson, Mickey Jack Cones, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell and Will Weatherly. As a result, the album is less cohesive and instead takes on Lynch’s wide range of influences and emotions — something he intended to do.

“There’s a song for every emotion I’m feeling right now,” Lynch explains. “All these songs are a behind-the-curtain-look at my heart and soul, and it’s so diverse because I listen to all kinds of music. Depending on what mood I was in, I would start the session out with ‘Hey, I was listening to Sugar Ray last weekend in San Diego, I want to feel like that today.’ Or ‘I just saw Imagine Dragons, let’s try something like that.’”

Lynch co-wrote seven of the album’s 13 tracks and says his goal for the project was to stretch himself. As a result, the upbeat songs take the forefront throughout the album while the ballads take a backseat, which is unfortunate. On Current Mood the singer, who got his start with the heartfelt debut single “Cowboys and Angels” inspired by his grandparents’ long-lasting relationship, turns to R&B and pop produced tracks that have little depth. Instead of pining for that everlasting love, Lynch sings about partying (“Party Song”), late night romps in the hay (“Why We Call Each Other”) and wishing a girl was beer (“I Wish You Were Beer”).

 

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Dustin Lynch – Current Mood; Courtesy of Broken Bow Records

That’s not to say the album is at a complete loss, though. The seductive and sultry lead single “Seein’ Red” was just an introduction to where Current Mood was headed with its infectious pop-rock sound. Meanwhile, follow-up hit “Small Town Boy” showcases a country storyline with light R&B production appeal.

The R&B flavor continues throughout Current Mood and is best demonstrated on the late night hookup song, “Why We Call Each Other.” On the track, Lynch sings of being a secret lover: “no strings ’cause it isn’t real . . . it’s just the right shade of wrong . . . you’ll be gone by sunrise like it never happened.” Later, on “Back On It,” Lynch amps up the sex appeal with his sultry slowed singing style as he compares a woman’s love to a drug. “Baby I ain’t ever done cocaine / I swear there’s something running through my veins,” he croons.

The album’s standout moment is on a stripped down ballad called “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone.” The striking song has Lynch lamenting about not knowing where he and a woman stand in their relationship. Added harmonies from Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild make the already powerful ballad even more striking. “Love me or leave me alone / Hold me or just let me go / ‘Cause I’ve felt this fire for so long / So baby love me, love me / Love me or leave me alone,” Lynch sings on the chorus.

Another highlight includes nostalgic album closer “Sun Don’t Go Down On That” where Lynch reminisces of a past summer love alongside slick production. “You’ll never forget the way that it is when you know it’s love,” he sings softly.

Lynch’s goal for Current Mood was to continue to stretch himself as an artist. While he accomplishes exactly this on the record, he may have stretched himself too thin. The overproduction on some tracks proves distracting and, as a result, loses the storyline and the listener on the song. In a genre with a foundation for storytelling this is unfortunate. More heartfelt ballads like “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone” could have solved this problem and given what’s an already compelling album more depth.

2017 CMA Awards Nominations: Surprises and Snubs

 LAUREN JO BLACK • SEPTEMBER 4, 2017 - 10:08 AM

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Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Blake Shelton

Nominees for the 51st Annual CMA Awards were revealed Monday morning (Sept. 4) on ABC’s Good Morning America. The list of top nominees was a bit expected, with country queen Miranda Lambert coming in with five nominations, followed by Keith Urban and Little Big Town with four nominations each.

It was the artists left off the list of nominees that had people talking on Monday. In true post-CMA Awards nominations fashion, Sounds Like Nashville is here to tell you which artists were overlooked, or snubbed, and which nominations left us scratching our heads and/or jumping for joy.

The Overlooked

Jason Aldean: Aldean didn’t receive a single nomination for the second consecutive year. It’s quite surprising as Aldean is a two-time ACM Entertainer of the Year and has had a successful year on the road and on the charts. Perhaps this plays in to politics of some sort. Either way, there’s no doubt he deserved something!

Florida Georgia Line: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these guys deserved another nod or two. Not only did FGL have two successful tours during the nomination period, the duo also released collaborations with Tim McGraw and the Backstreet Boys during that time. We were sure we’d see their name pop up a bit more.

“The Fighter:” Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood had musical gold on their hands with “The Fighter.” It was shocking to not see them among the nominees for Vocal Event of the Year.

Blake Shelton: ZERO nominations. You read that right. Shelton released a chart-topping album that spawned several radio hits and he didn’t receive a single nod. Has Nashville has decided that he’s “too Hollywood?”

“In Case You Didn’t Know:” We thought Brett Young’s smash hit was a shoe-in for Song of the Year. It surprisingly didn’t make the cut.

The Surprises

Maddie & Tae: They’re insanely talented, but they haven’t released a single in well over a year. Big & Rich was missing from the list of Vocal Duo of the Year nominees and could have been a great replacement.

Jon Pardi: The California native has been going at it for quite some time, so it’s nice to see him finally getting some recognition. His California Sunrise album was a game changer for him, and “Dirt On My Boots” took his career to the next level. Well-deserved!

Luke Bryan and Garth Brooks: Both are nominated for Entertainer of the Year, but didn’t receive a nomination outside of that category.

“Tin Man:” Miranda Lambert’s heart-wrenching tune is up for Single of the Year, but has barely cracked the top 30 at country radio.

Entertainer of the Year: This category is dominated by males. We’re surprised that Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood didn’t earn a nod here… but are we really that surprised? “Tomatogate” lives on!

Single and Song of the Year: The same five songs are up for both awards. There is usually some overlap, but we’re shocked to see the same songs in both categories.

Taylor Swift: Receiving her first CMA Awards nomination since 2014, Swift is back with a nod for Song of the Year with “Better Man.”

What do you think of this year’s nominees? Tweet us @soundslikenash and let us know!

The 51st Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, will air Wednesday, November 8 on ABC.

2017 CMA Awards Nominees Revealed

 LAUREN JO BLACK • SEPTEMBER 4, 2017 - 7:46 AM

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Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett

Brothers OsborneLauren Alaina and Dustin Lynch were up bright and early on Monday (Sept. 4) to reveal the final nominees for the 51st Annual CMA Awards on ABC’s Good Morning America. 

This year’s top nominee is Miranda Lambert, who racked in a total of five nominations, including a nod for Album of the Year for her double album, The Weight of These Wings. Following close behind with four nominations each are Little Big Town and Keith Urban.

Other top nominees include Eric Church, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, and Chris Stapleton, who garnered three nominations each.

See the complete list of CMA Awards nominees below and be sure to tune in to “Country Music’s Biggest Night,” The 51st Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, on Wednesday, November 8 on ABC.

Entertainer of the Year
Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban

Single of the Year
(Award goes to Artist, Producer(s), and Mix Engineer(s))
“Better Man” – Little Big Town
Producer: Jay Joyce
Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban
Producers: Dann Huff, Keith Urban
Mix Engineer: Chris Lord-Alge

“Body Like A Back Road” – Sam Hunt
Producer: Zach Crowell
Mix Engineer: Zach Crowell

“Dirt On My Boots” – Jon Pardi
Producers: Bart Butler, Jon Pardi
Mix Engineer: Ryan Gore

“Tin Man” – Miranda Lambert
Producers: Frank Liddell, Eric Masse, Glenn Worf
Mix Engineer: Eric Masse

Album of the Year
(Award goes to Artist and Producer(s))
The Breaker – Little Big Town
Producer: Jay Joyce

From A Room: Volume 1 – Chris Stapleton
Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton

Heart Break – Lady Antebellum
Producer: busbee

The Nashville Sound – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Producer: Dave Cobb

The Weight of These Wings – Miranda Lambert
Producers: Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf, Eric Masse

Song of the Year
(Award goes to Songwriter(s))
“Better Man”
Songwriter: Taylor Swift

“Blue Ain’t Your Color”
Songwriters: Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Lee Olsen

“Body Like A Back Road”
Songwriters: Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne

“Dirt On My Boots”
Songwriters: Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley

“Tin Man”
Songwriters: Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall

Female Vocalist of the Year
Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Reba McEntire
Maren Morris
Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year
Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
LOCASH
Maddie & Tae
Brothers Osborne

Musical Event of the Year
(Award goes to each Artist)
“Craving You” – Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris
“Funny How Time Slips Away” – Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson
“Kill A Word” – Eric Church featuring Rhiannon Giddens
“Setting the World on Fire” – Kenny Chesney with P!nk
“Speak to a Girl” – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

Musician of the Year
Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar)
Dann Huff (Guitar)
Mac McAnally (Guitar)
Derek Wells (Guitar)

Music Video of the Year
(Award goes to Artist and Director(s))
“Better Man” – Little Big Town
Directors: Becky Fluke and Reid Long

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban
Director: Carter Smith

“Craving You” – Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris
Director: TK McKamy

“It Ain’t My Fault” – Brothers Osborne
Directors: Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver

“Vice” – Miranda Lambert
Director: Trey Fanjoy

New Artist of the Year  
Lauren Alaina
Luke Combs
Old Dominion
Jon Pardi
Brett Young

Chris Young Invited to Join the Grand Ole Opry

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 LAUREN JO BLACK • AUGUST 30, 2017 - 7:37 AM

 

Chris Young received the surprise of a lifetime Tuesday (Aug 29) when Vince Gill invited him to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Gill, a Country Music Hall of Fame and Opry member, joined Young on stage at the Opry to perform their chart-topping hit “Sober Saturday Night.” Before they sang the first lines, Gill joked that he had never been paid for his session work on the single.

“I’ll make you a deal,” Gill told him. “I’ll forgive the session fees if you’ll be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

A overwhelmed Young happily accepted as fans in the packed Opry House rose to their feet and erupted with applause.

Vince Gill and Chris Young; Photo by Chris Hollo

“You’re getting triple scale at this point,” Young laughed. “Dang, you got me good! I love you guys. I love everybody here. I love this place.”

“As a friend and someone that’s been out here for 30 years, you will not believe the friendships, the relationships, and the heart that you will gain from being out here for the rest of your life,” Gill shared with him. “It’s going to be really powerful to you, so congratulations.”

Young, who made his Opry debut on June 15, 2006, will officially be inducted on Tuesday, October 17, just days before his new album, Losing Sleep, is released.

George Strait Working on Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

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By Billy Dukes August 29, 2017 4:56 PM

George Strait has revealed that he was personally affected by Hurricane Harvey and that he’s working on a relief effort “with the whole country music community.”

Two tweets signed by the singer himself shared these details but little more. Strait first sent thoughts and prayers to his fellow Texas. “My family & friends were personally affected in surrounding areas. God bless us all,” he writes. The legend has a house in Rockport, Texas, but lives full time north of the Texas border with Mexico. Coincidentally, his name full name is George Harvey Strait.

Country musicians have long been the first to respond to tragedy with their time and music. Toby Keith planned a massive tornado relief concert that netted several million dollars after tornadoes touched down in Moore, Okla., in 2013. Blake Shelton also raised money to help victims of that tragedy with a benefit concert that aired on NBC in May 2013.

Similar all-star concerts helped citizens of Alabama and Nashville recover after tornadoes and floods devastated the area. Within 48 hours of Hurricane Harvey making landfall, stars like Chris Young were pledging support. The disaster is still playing out in real time however, and details about the deaths, injuries and amount of destruction are difficult to tally.

Strait has not said how he plans to help or that he’ll be part of arranging any sort of concert for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Other Texas-raised artists who’ve been playing close attention to the storm and the aftermath include Miranda LambertKelly ClarksonJosh Abbott BandRaeLynn and Granger Smith. Taste of Country has created a portal with links to fundraisers started by country musicians, as well as links to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Read More: George Strait Working on Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort | http://tasteofcountry.com/george-strait-hurricane-harvey-relief-event/?trackback=fbshare_top_flat_3&trackback=tsmclip

Midland Snags First-Ever Career No. 1 with ‘Drinkin’ Problem’

Midland; Photo by Harper Smith

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 KELLY BRICKEY • AUGUST 29, 2017 - 9:22 AM

Midland’s ‘Drinkin’ Problem’ sounds like a solution to them as they sing in their debut track, and that led them to notch the No. 1 position on the Mediabase Country Airplay Chart this week.

The trio stepped onto the scene with their traditional sound, only to shock people with their hilarious tongue-in-cheek lyrics throughout “Drinkin’ Problem.” Making the twang of 70s country cool again, they earned their spot at the top after making the rounds within the format.

Celebrating the accolade in great company over the weekend by opening up for Kenny Chesney at his iconic Gillette Stadium shows, the guys of the group couldn’t be more grateful for the success they’ve worked so hard for over the past year.

“This is unreal. This is our family and this is the only thing that matters . We love you guys. Y’all are number 1,” they captioned their celebratory Instagram post.

Taking the vibes of country legends like Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, Midland hopes to revive the outlaw themes that were quite popular during the 70s and 80s in country music. Their modern take on the vintage approach holds nostalgic for many fans of the genre, and gives promise to Midland toward their hopeful future in the industry.

Midland plans to release their second single, “Make a Little,” to radio soon and fans can hear the track when they pre-order the trio’s album, On the Rocks.

Midland Reveals Debut Album Title and Track Listing

 LAUREN LAFFER • AUGUST 15, 2017 - 7:01 AM

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Cheers to Midland, who just announced the title and track listing of their debut album, On The Rocks. Each of the 13 songs on the project were either written or co-written by the band’s Cameron Duddy, Jess Carson and Mark Wystrach, and also includes songwriting credits from country music power players Shane McAnallyJosh Osborne and Rhett Akins.

“We’re working really hard at cultivating an album full of songs that mean something to us but also fit together,” Duddy told Billboard when the project’s release date was first announced. “Picking songs that fit together nice and tell our story and represent the place that we’re at right now in music has been the agenda for putting this thing together, and we’re very excited to share it with people. We’re proud of it.”

The album’s title is likely pulled from the chorus of the trio’s debut single, “Drinkin’ Problem.” “People say I’ve got a drinkin’ problem / That ain’t no reason to stop / People saying that I’ve hit rock bottom / Just cause I’m living on the rocks,” Wystrach croons in the chorus.

Prominent on the group’s album cover is the band’s classic country look, complete with embroidered appliques and rhinestones. The look, Wystrack explains, is something he took as a young boy from his father.

“From a very young impressionable age, for me, I was just coming out of the 70s into the early 80s, and for me I was a small little impressionable child watching how my dad dressed,” he shared. “My dad wore tight wranglers with French cut, beautiful Paul Bond handmade boots in Nogales, Sonora, with a huge gold belt buckle and a big gold chain and I’d see the way that my dad dressed and to me that’s what I am reminiscent and nostalgic for.”

Fans can catch Midland out on the road this fall when they open for Jon Pardi on the Lucky Tonight Tour, which kicks off in Birmingham, AL on October 12.

Fans can pick up a copy of On The Rocks when it debuts on September 22.

On The Rocks Track List:
1. “Lonely For You Only” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Rhett Akins, Josh Osborne
2. “Make A Little” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
3. “Drinkin’ Problem” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
4. “At Least You Cried” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Jonathan Singleton
5. “Burn Out” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
6. “Out Of Sight” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally
7. “More Than A Fever” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
8. “Check Cashin’ Country” | Jess Carson
9. “Nothin’ New Under The Neon” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
10. “This Old Heart” | Jess Carson, Mark Wystrach, David Lee Murphy, Jonathan Singleton
11. “Altitude Adjustment” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Rhett Akins, Rodney Clawson
12. “Electric Rodeo” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
13. “Somewhere On The Wind” | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Rhett Akins, Josh Osborne

Aaron Watson Finds Success With His Own Brand of Country Music

Aaron Watson; Photo by Zack Morris

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 CHUCK DAUPHIN • AUGUST 29, 2017 - 10:05 AM

August 19 is a date that Aaron Watson won’t forget any time soon. On that day, the singer, a native of Abilene, Texas, was playing before one of the largest crowds of his career, at the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Watson performed a full hour set at Globe Life Park immediately following a Texas victory over the visiting Chicago White Sox. As a native of the Lone Star State, Watson said it was a moment in his career that he will never forget.

“When you can combine music with family, that’s everything to me,” he shared with Sounds Like Nashville. “Much like when we played our debut show at the Grand Ole Opry, Mom and Dad were celebrating their fortieth anniversary, and I had my wife Kimberly there with me. The crowd, the fans, and the music just made for an unforgettable experience.”

The success of his new album, Vaquero, and his Top-30 single, “Outta Style,” have made 2017 one for the books. “We’ve had such a great summer this year, where we played four countries in one week. So, anyone in the music industry that thinks of me as a regional act, then I am covering a large region,” he said with a smile.

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Watson said the day was special because he got to combine many of his passions into one afternoon. “First of all, I am a huge baseball fan,” he explained. “My entire family loves getting to see the Rangers play, but what made it so special was that it was my dad’s birthday, and the Rangers took such good care of us. We had two suites, and all-you-can-eat food, and between that, friends and family, that was his definition of heaven right there. He was so happy. It was so much fun being surrounded by those that I love and those that love me. They gave Dad a ‘Happy Birthday’ shout-out on the big screen, and the next thing you know, there’s an entire stadium roaring for him. After the show, they said it was one of the largest post-game concerts that they have ever had. Usually, with August in Texas, it’s miserable hot, but it wasn’t. It was a beautiful night, and the Rangers won. It was a special night, one I will never forget.”

The singer also got to involve one of country music’s most hallowed institutions in the festivities as Watson participated in an “Opry Circle Throwdown” from the stage when he brought out a replica of the famed six-foot Opry Circle of wood symbolizing the oak center stage at the Opry House, making its Texas debut. He said he was humbled and honored to include the WSM Radio show in the evening. “I love country music, and I love Nashville though I am unapologetically Texan. To be able to bring the Opry to Texas was a lot of fun. We love the Opry, and they are just the best folks over there. I love how they keep with the trend, but stay true to tradition. That’s what we’re doing. That’s my brand of country music.”

 

Aaron Watson; Photo by Zack Morris

Watson, whose last three albums all hit the Top-10 on the Country Albums chart, said that he has been very blessed with his success, but tries to keep it all in perspective. “Anything that I have done is far less than important than anything my mother and my dad have done. My dad is one hundred percent disabled from serving our country. The reason why we’re free is people who have made that kind of sacrifice, and my mom is a schoolteacher – underpaid, under-appreciated, yet she still does it anyway. I’m not really impressed with me and what I’m doing. I’m just blessed. My goal every night is to get on stage and share my love for my family, my faith and Jesus, and give the fans a great experience and try my best to have a positive impact on them.”

Watson hopes that his music makes an impact on his fans, and also that his hard-working example has a likewise effect on the team he has assembled at his company, Big Label Records. “I use my story all the time to try to encourage these kids to get out there and work hard. I’ve had influential people in the business who would tell me either that I didn’t have what it takes, or what I was doing was never going to work. Hard work and hustle pays off. Babe Ruth once said, ‘It’s hard to beat a guy who just won’t give up.’ The fact of it is that in this day and age with social media and people downloading albums online, there’s a lot of advantages for an independent artist,” he said, but stressed that doesn’t necessarily describe his situation. “I’m not an independent artist. I’m an artist who owns his own record label. We’ve hired an incredible team at radio. They work so hard, and are passionate about me and my music. I have twenty-seven employees, and each of them have a spouse and children. We’re a big family. The label is growing. It’s not just about me. It’s about the label. Eventually the plan is to sign other artists.”

With his music starting to take off on the airwaves, Watson promises he’s here to stay. “We love country music and country radio. I tell radio all the time, ‘You better get used to my face. It took me eighteen years to get here, and I’m not going away.’ I’m here to play ball.”

What is it like for the singer when Bob Kingsley or Kix Brooks includes him in the weekly countdowns, laying testament to his growing success and fan base? “Honestly, I flip out like a little girl who just got a new puppy. It’s ridiculous. I’m glad that nobody has caught that moment on camera so far. Bob and Kix have both been so good to me. I think because I’m from Texas, a lot of people want to make it into a “me versus them’ thing like Texas versus Nashville, but it’s not that. There’s a lot of great pop country artists, and I like their music,” he said. “But, that’s not me or my music. The Beatles couldn’t be The Rolling Stones, and The Rolling Stones were not The Beatles, but they each did their own thing well. One thing that we’ve lost today in music is that with so many artists, a lot of of people have lost their identity. Every record sounds different. I think it’s because they are chasing the current sound. If you buy a Merle Haggard record, it sounded like a Merle Haggard record. The same for Johnny CashWaylon [Jennings] and Willie [Nelson] and the other legends. They stayed true to who they were. You could always depend on those artists to remain true to who they were. We’re just out there having fun and doing what we do.”

Now that he has played at Globe Life Park, what about that other stadium just down the road in Arlington that is home to the Dallas Cowboys? He says he and his band are ready whenever Jerry Jones wants to call. “I’m ready to go,” he exclaimed, adding that chances are pretty good that he will be there at a few games at least in 2017 to cheer on Dak Prescott and company. “I haven’t looked at the Cowboys’ schedule yet, but my dad and my boys and I load up every year, and we go catch some games. It’s gotten crazy. I show up at AT&T Stadium, and it turns into a meet and greet session, so I have to find my seat and stay put for a while. When I am at a game like that, and one of the teams play my music over the speakers, my boys look at me like ‘My dad is a big thing.’ That’s what means the most to me.”