Lucas Hoge is a multi-talented entertainer who was recently featured in my Music Spotlight column in July of 2020.
Although he was able to shoot his TV series, Hoge Wild, since the pandemic, the singer/songwriter/actor/sportsman has been unable to tour and sing to live audiences. Read More
Singer/songwriter Mira Goto grew up in a musical family. Her grandmother played the organ at church for many years and she learned to play the violin as a child. She grew up with access to instruments and a family who loved to sing.
As a teen, she thought the guitar was a much cooler instrument so she put her efforts there. Her favorite artist was Alanis Morrisette. “If I ever have the opportunity to do CMT Crossroads, she will be my first pick,” she mused. Read More
When I saw that Cody Wolfe had over 400,000 Twitter followers and over 60,000 Instagram followers, I wanted to see what was going on with this popular young artist.
Cody Wolfe is a self-made man. The Connecticut native taught himself to play guitar when he was 16 and was advised early on that to “make it in this industry,” he would need to write songs. He went to a John Fogerty concert and asked his guitar player, James Intveld, what he need to do to make it in the music industry. Intveld said, “You’ve got to write music first. You have a better chance of being an artist if you are a songwriter first.” Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennesse- I am often sent songs to review to see if I want to feature the song(s) and/or artist in my column. When I heard Lilly Winwood’s song “Few More Records” I knew this singer/songwriter was talented. But surely this Nashville girl wasn’t related to the Brit rocker, Steve Winwood.
It turns out, surely, she is. Lilly Winwood is the 25-year-old daughter of famed rock and roller, Steve Winwood. Read More
NASHVILLE, Tennesse – Years ago, I vaguely remember Luke Bryan giving his guitar to a 13-year-old kid on stage who he met via the Make-a-Wish Foundation. That night, a fire was lit in young Ethan Payne. He knew then that performing country music was what he was born to do.
Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis as a toddler (18-months-old), Payne was faced with an uphill battle early on. However, that didn’t stop him from following his passions and pursuing a career in country music. I wanted to find out more about this American Idol alum. Read More
When country crooner, Ty Herndon announced he was releasing a duet with the talented Tony Award Winner, Kristen Chenoweth, I wanted to find out how this came to be.
With Herndon, he grew up singing from a young age and never really had a choice. He comes from a musical family and they traveled the south singing at camp meetings and tent revivals. He even considered being an evangelist at one point. His family listened to the Grand Ole’ Opry and singers like Tammy Wynette. Read More
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Christmas and Thanksgiving will look quite different this year for millions of Americans across the country, but at least one tradition will make the holidays feel like normal again.
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) announced this week that the company had reached an agreement with Apple TV+ to allow broadcasts of two Charlie Brown holiday specials to air on TV in November and December. Read More
While Ana Cristina Cash has released “Mele Kalikimaka” for the Holiday season, this exceptional vocalist has a huge catalog of songs that are not to be missed. Read More
Country singer and songwriter, Cole Bradley, is a rising star in the North American music scene.
Even though his parents weren’t musical, Bradley’s grandparents were and he started singing at age five. One of his first memories was singing along to Garth Brooks in the back of his Mom’s Toyota. Read More
Before COVID even hit, the multi-talented Scarlett Burke was looking for a way to distribute her music on a new platform. The producer/actress/singer/songwriter was not interested in touring but was interested in sharing her music. Read More
I stopped when I first heard “Where I Find God” on the radio. The words to the song were so pure and real that I wanted to hear it again and again. I wasn’t familiar with Larry Fleet but read somewhere that he was from Chattanooga. I had to find out more about this gifted singer/songwriter.
It turns out that Fleet is not from Chattanooga, but currently lives there with his wife of six years and his young son, Waylon. He is from White Bluff in Dickson County just west of Nashville. Read More
Army Intelligence veteran and country music singer, Jenny Leigh Miller, releases a patriotic, nostalgia-infused song, “God and Country.” Read More
Alex Trebek never pretended to have all the answers, but the “Jeopardy!” host became an inspiration and solace to Americans who otherwise are at odds with each other.
He looked and sounded the part of a senior statesman, impeccably suited and groomed and with an authoritative voice any politician would crave. He commanded his turf — the quiz show’s stage — but refused to overshadow its brainy contestants. Read More
When I saw/heard David Phillips’ (aka wino-strut) video for his newest single, “Natural Home” I knew this was someone I wanted to interview. The song had an interesting, old school sound that I wasn’t quite sure if it was Americana, Outlaw Country, or Rock’n’roll. Read More
The Grammy Awards have changed the name of their best world music album category to the best global music album, an attempt to find “a more relevant, modern and inclusive term.”
The Recording Academy said in a statement that the new name “symbolizes a departure from the connotations of colonialism, folk and ‘non-American’ that the former term embodied.” Read More
Sean Connery, the charismatic Scottish actor who rose to international superstardom as the suave secret agent James Bond and then abandoned the role to carve out an Oscar-winning career in other rugged roles, has died. He was 90.
Connery’s wife and two sons said he “died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family” in the Bahamas, where he lived. Son Jason Connery said his father had been “unwell for some time.” Read More
I was intrigued when Candi Carpenter, who has one of the strongest voices in country music, announced that she, along with British rocker, Josh Doyle, were forming a new conceptual collective duet called the Church of Roswell.
I interviewed Carpenter last year right before she performed for Dolly’s 50 Year Opry Celebration. Doyle and his pop/punk band, the Dum Dums, were a recognizable force in the early 2000s when they toured England extensively. They sat down with me recently and helped me connect the dots concerning their newest endeavor. Read More
William Blinn, a screenwriter for the landmark TV projects “Brian’s Song” and “Roots” and the Prince film “Purple Rain,” has died. He was 83.
Blinn died Thursday of natural causes at an assisted living community in Burbank, California, his daughter, Anneliese Johnson, said Saturday. Read More
In 2019, Tanya Tucker released her first full-length record with new songs in twenty years. Produced by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings, the album While I’m Livin’, would go on to win a Grammy for Country Album of the Year, and the song, “Bring My Flowers Now,” would win Country Song of the Year in January 2020. Read More
When I heard that Shenandoah was releasing a collaboration album, I thought it would be a greatest hits album. What I didn’t expect was a record with all new songs paired perfectly with a plethora of current country artists. Read More
What happens when you take a person who was raised in a bluegrass family and give him a degree in jazz/classical guitar? Jordan Tice, a musician’s musician, is what you get.
Tice grew up in Annapolis, Maryland where both of his parents played bluegrass. His mother played fiddle and his dad played banjo and they were involved with the local bluegrass scene. Read More
The 2020 theatrical release calendar is getting even slimmer in the wake of the announcement that Regal cinemas are temporarily closing, although AMC, North America’s largest theater chain, says it will remain open.
Warner Bros. said late Monday that its sci-fi pic “Dune” will now open in October 2021, instead of this December. The studio also pushed back “The Batman” to March 2022 and moved up its “Matrix” sequel to Dec. 2021. Read More
Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups, fueled the unmistakable fiery solo in Michael Jackson’s hit “Beat It” and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65. Read More
A damning new documentary, “Riding the Dragon: The Bidens’ Chinese Secrets,” directed by M.A. Taylor and narrated by bestselling author Peter Schweizer, is shining sunlight on the close ties between Joe Biden’s family and the Chinese elite. Peter Schweizer, head of the Florida-based Government Accountability Institute and narrator of the film said the documentary is based on corporate records, financial documents, legal briefings and court papers.
The film features investigative journalist and author Peter Schweizer and Schweizer’s revelations of Chinese influence over the Biden family found in the 2018 book “Secret Empires” and the more recent “Profiles in Corruption” (both #1 New York Times bestsellers). Read More
The surest sign of how the coronavirus shutdown has devastated the television industry is the fourth-place finish of CBS in what was nominally the first week of a new fall season.
The network’s viewership was down a whopping 61% from the premiere week last year, the Nielsen company said. Read More
Following the less-than-stellar theatrical debut of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” Warner Bros. is delaying its next big release, “Wonder Woman 1984,” to Christmas.
The postponement Friday of the “Wonder Woman” sequel, which had been scheduled to hit theaters Oct. 2, comes on the heels of Hollywood’s boldest attempt to lure moviegoers back to theaters during the pandemic. Read More
The end is coming for “The Walking Dead,” but not until 2022.
The AMC series that became a franchise with current and planned spin-offs will wrap with an 11th season spanning 24 episodes and two years, the channel said Wednesday. Read More
The Highway Women is an all-female country blend (country, rock, pop) music band like no other bringing a musical movement to support other women in country music and beyond. They are comprised of singers Kristen Kae, Drew Haley, Bailey James, and Heather Harper.
The group started in 2016 and has had various members since then, but the current group has been together for about a year. They don’t have a lead singer as they try to equally share the singing responsibilities. Read More
With the previews about to start, a trickle of masked moviegoers made their way into one of the first U.S. screenings of “Tenet” at the Bow Tie Majestic 6 in downtown Stamford, Connecticut. They took their seats Tuesday night, eyeing the empty seats between each other and a little giddy at being back at the movies for the first time in many months.
Philip Scarante and Andy Flores, both 25, went every Tuesday religiously before theaters closed in March. “It’s just our thing,” Scarante said. Seeing Nolan’s latest mind-bending spectacle later on a smaller screen held no appeal. They sat down in center seats, up close. Read More
Regardless of how famous a person may or may not be if the music can’t stand alone, there is no point in an interview. Accompanied by Trick Pony’s Heidi Newfield and Keith Burns, with his debut single, Calvin Lee sings a timeless anthem, My America, that paints a nostalgic story about pulling together through hard times, which is sure to resonate with the listeners. Read More
As a kid from Canada who played hockey and wanted to become a pilot, Cory Marks might be the last person who you would expect to explode on the Southern Rock/Country Music scene. But after listening to his unapologetic, raw, yet real song, Outlaws and Outsiders, I wanted to find out what he was about.
Marks grew up in North Bay Ontario, Canada, about three hours north of Toronto. North Bay was a big hockey town and also a prominent military city hosting an important Air Force base in North America. Every summer Marks and his family attended the air shows in August which provided the young boy driven desire to become a pilot. Not only that, but he was also on hockey skates at age three. (His brother plays professional hockey.) Read More
When I interviewed Heidi Newfield in April 2020, I provided the “where she came from” story of this Northern California horsewoman and how she learned the harmonica, became part of the group Trick Pony and wrote the timeless lyrics to Johnny and June.
Now, on August 28, after releasing multiple singles, she has finally released her sophomore solo album and it is well worth the wait. Read More
Preliminary estimates show that viewership for the first night of the Democrats’ virtual convention was down compared with the opening of Hillary Clinton’s nominating party four years ago.
An estimated 18.7 million people watched coverage between 10 and 11 p.m. on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the Nielsen company said. Four years ago, opening night drew just under 26 million viewers. Read More
Those who have been following country music their whole lives know already who Jamie O’Neal is as an artist. Off her first album, Shiver, released in 2000, she had two number one hits, “There Is No Arizona,” and “When I Think About Angels.” Her next top ten hit came in 2005, “Somebody’s Hero.”
I wanted to find out more about this country star who was born in Australia. Having no Australian accent, O’Neal said, “I was born in Sydney, Australia, where my parents (Jimmy and Julie Murphy) were performers who moved to America when I was two. I always say that I am the opposite of Nicole Kidman who was born in Hawaii and was raised in Australia. It was the opposite for me, I was born there but raised in the U.S.” Read More
An important new book by Michael Shellenberger, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, attempts to counter the common belief that climate change poses an imminent and existential threat to humanity and the planet. At 285 pages, this is a relatively short and very readable book, but it covers a lot of ground. And with an additional 125 pages containing over 1,000 footnotes, Shellenberger’s arguments are well documented. Read More
Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.
Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.
“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning. Read More
We The Kingdom is a multigenerational family of musicians, including esteemed producers and songwriters Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, NeedToBreathe, Bethel Music, Crowder), and Scott Cash, who are brothers. Ed’s daughter Franni, his son Martin and close friend Andrew Bergthold are also part of the group. Ed and Scott’s dad played guitar while their mom played piano resulting in a home filled with music. Despite there being an eleven year age gap between them, as both Ed and Scott entered their teens and early 20s, they embarked on similar individual journeys as touring artists. Read More
Kanye West, the popular rapper and social icon, has officially filed to appear on Ohio ballots for the 2020 presidential election, according to Fox 5.
West, who announced he would run for the presidency on July 4, submitted paperwork to the state on August 5. Read More
At 15-years-old, Ava Paige proves that cancer and the Coronavirus are just bumps in the road for this singer/songwriter and soon-to-be superstar. Read More
Olivia de Havilland, the doe-eyed actress beloved to millions as the sainted Melanie Wilkes of “Gone With the Wind,” but also a two-time Oscar winner and an off-screen fighter who challenged and unchained Hollywood’s contract system, died Sunday at her home in Paris. She was 104.
Havilland, the sister of fellow Oscar winner Joan Fontaine, died peacefully of natural causes, said New York-based publicist Lisa Goldberg. Read More
A&E Network’s cancellation of its popular police show “Live PD” has backfired, big time.
Average prime-time viewership for the channel has declined by 49 percent year over year since the show’s cancellation, according to the Wall Street Journal. Prior to the show’s cancellation June 10, viewership for the channel in 2020 had been up 4 percent over 2019. Read More
Actress Spencer Grammer says she was trying to calm an agitated man when he slashed her in the arm and stabbed her friend in the back Friday outside a New York City restaurant.
Grammer, 36, told US Weekly that she and her friend “did what anyone else would do in the same situation” and were “attempting to prevent the altercation from escalating” when they were attacked. Read More
Actor John Saxon, a versatile actor with a lengthy and prolific career who starred with Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon” and appeared in several “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies, has died at his home in Tennessee, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He was 83.
The entertainment news outlet quotes Saxon’s wife, Gloria, as confirming that the actor died of pneumonia on Saturday in Murfreesboro. Read More
Regis Philbin, the genial host who shared his life with television viewers over morning coffee for decades and helped himself and some fans strike it rich with the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” has died at 88.
Philbin died of natural causes Friday night, just over a month before his 89th birthday, according to a statement from his family provided by manager Lewis Kay. Read More
by Jack Coyle NEW YORK, New York (AP) — A long time ago in a pre-COVID universe far, far away, blockbusters opened around the globe simultaneously or nearly so. In 1975, “Jaws” set the blueprint. Concentrate marketing. Open wide. Pack them in. Since then, Hollywood has turned opening weekends into… Read More
Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which had hoped to herald Hollywood’s return to big theatrical releases, has yet again postponed its release due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Warner Bros. said Monday that “Tenet” will not make its August 12 release date. Unlike previous delays, the studio this time didn’t announce a new target for the release of Nolan’s much-anticipated $200 million thriller. Read More
Alex Trebek says he’s responding exceptionally well to treatment for pancreatic cancer and expects to mark his two-year survival next February.
His doctor has said he’s counting on that milestone, the “Jeopardy!” host said, “so I expect to be around ‘cause he said I will be around. And I expect to be hosting the show if I am around.” Read More
Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows:
ABC’s “This Week” — Adm. Brett Giroir, the Health and Human Services Department official overseeing the nation’s coronavirus testing efforts; Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Read More
NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Giroir; Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md.; Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Florida’s Miami-Dade County Public Schools district.
CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. surgeon general; Mayor Kate Gallego of Phoenix; Terry Shaw, president and CEO, AdventHealth; Tom Wyatt, CEO of KinderCare.
CNN’s “State of the Union” — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County, Florida.
“Fox News Sunday” — DeVos; Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University.
Even though Derek Jones’ dad was a drummer and his grandmother played piano, he never played music until later in life.
“We always had music going on at the house at our supper table. If Dad was in charge of the music, we listened to Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Grand Funk Railroad but if Mom was in control [of the music], we listened to Lionel Richie, Jim Croce, stuff like that,” he said. Read More
Hugh Downs, the genial, versatile broadcaster who became one of television’s most familiar and welcome faces with more than 15,000 hours on news, game and talk shows, has died at age 99.
Downs died of natural causes at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday, said his great-niece, Molly Shaheen. Read More