Tag Archives: WCW

NECM’s WCW: Martina McBride

We, at New England Country Music, are continuing our series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for ‘Women Crush Wednesday,’ is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing the country music scene.

With a song titled ‘Independence Day,’ it seems most fitting to feature Martina McBride as this week’s WCW. The soon to be 53-year-old singer/songwriter grew up on a dairy farm in rural Kansas. As a little girl, Martina would listen to legends such as Reba McEntire, Patsy Kline, and Linda Ronstadt. When she was nine, she began singing and playing the keyboard with a small band, The Schiffters, that her father started. Appropriately titled after the family’s last name, The Schiffters performed in and around her hometown. When she was older, McBride joined The Penetrators, a rock band based in Wichita followed by the band Lotus. Lotus rented some rehearsal space from John McBride. It was here that the two met, fell in love, got married, and moved to Nashville.

After moving to Nashville, John McBride landed a spot as Garth Brooks’ concert production manager. Martina enjoyed traveling with her hubby, and often worked the table selling Garth’s souvenirs. It was during this time that Garth Brooks really got to know Martina McBride and offered her the opening act spot on his tour. In 1991 she landed a recording contract with RCA Nashville Records. She released her debut album, ‘The Time Has Come,’ in 1992. One year later she dropped her second studio album, ‘The Way That I Am.’ ‘Independence Day’ was the third single to be released from this album. Although it never hit Top 10, it went on to win the 1994 CMA Award for Video of the Year and the 1995 CMA Award for Song of the Year. McBride’s third album, ‘Wild Angels,’ was released in 1995. The title track became her first number one single. Her next album, ‘Evolution,‘ came out two years later. The fourteen-track record went double platinum and produced five top-ten hits: ‘A Broken Wing,’ ‘Valentine,’ ‘Happy Girl,’ ‘Wrong Again,’ and ‘Whatever You Say.’ Adding to her accomplishments, in 1999, Martina McBride took home the CMA Award for Female Vocalist of the Year. Her sixth album, ‘Emotion,’ came out in 1999 and the lead single ‘I Love You’ was number one on the Billboard Country chart that same year. Her ‘Greatest Hits’ album dropped in 2001. It was her highest selling album, and it received an RIAA Quadruple-platinum Certification. She went on to release seven more albums, ‘Martina,’ ‘Timeless,’ ‘Waking Up Laughing,’ ‘Shine,’ ‘Eleven,’ ‘Everlasting,’ and ‘Reckless.’ Over the past twenty years, Martina McBride has headlined seven tours. She is a loving mother to three beautiful daughters, and has since stopped touring to care of her girls.

We can’t wait to see what Martina McBride has for us in the coming years.

Happy ‘Independence Day’ from all of us here at New England Country Music!

Be sure to download ‘Independence Day’ on iTunes here.

You can stay connected with Martina McBride by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Stay tuned for our next installment of WCW in country music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday, July 17th.

NECM’s WCW Spotlight: Dolly Parton

We, at New England Country Music, are continuing our series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for ‘Women Crush Wednesday,’ is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing the country music scene.

Welcome to our tenth WCW article. We are marking this milestone by featuring the one and only, Dolly Parton. This seventy-three-year-old was born in a tiny, one-room house in rural Tennessee. She grew up quite poor and the fourth of twelve children, in Locust Ridge, TN. Her mother stayed home and raised the children while her father worked as a sharecropper. Mr. Parton had little education and could not read or write. Dolly spent her younger days in the church where her grandfather was the Pastor. She began singing in church when she was six years old. She took up an interest in the guitar when she was seven and she was gifted her first guitar when she was eight. A couple years later, Dolly was singing on local radio and television shows. She signed with a small record label, Goldband Records, and at the age of thirteen she recorded her first single, ‘Puppy Love.’ The day after she graduated from high school. She made the move to Music City.

Once in Nashville, Dolly Parton signed with Combine Publishing and took on songwriting. She wrote two top-ten hits: ‘Put It Off Until Tomorrow’ for Bill Phillips and ‘Fuel to the Flame’ for Skeeter Davis. When this young’un was only nineteen, she signed with Monument Records as a bubblegum pop singer and released several singles. It took some convincing, but the label eventually allowed Dolly to pursue her love of the country genre. She went on to drop her first full length album, ‘Hello, I’m Dolly.’ In 1967, Parton was asked to join Porter Wagoner on his television show. Wagoner’s label, RCA Victor, eventually signed Dolly and the pair went on to release top ten singles for the next few years. Her first solo number one single was ‘Joshua.’ Arguably her biggest hit thus far, ‘Jolene,’ dropped in 1973. She had two other singles reach top ten status in 1974, ‘I Will Always Love You,’ and ‘Love Is Like a Butterfly.’

It was about this time in her life that Parton decided to part ways with Wagoner to pursue her solo career. From the mid 1970s to the early 1980s, Parton had eight singles reach number one. In 1987, Parton’s contract with RCA was not renewed and she signed with Columbia Records. This same year she collaborated with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt to release their much-anticipated album, ‘Trio.’ ‘Trio’ went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

The early nineties brought Dolly Parton so much success when Whitney Houston recorded ‘I Will Always Love You’ and it was used as the soundtrack of the movie sensation The Bodyguard. She was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. It was then that she dropped a bluegrass-inspired album, ‘The Grass is Blue,’ which went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. In 2007, Parton started releasing albums under her own record company, Dolly Records. Some of her more recent albums include: ‘Backwoods Barbie,’ ‘Better Day,’ ‘Blue Smoke, ‘Pure & Simple,’ and ‘I Believe in You.’

This WCW has had twenty-six songs reach number one on the Billboard country chart. She has had forty-two albums reach top-10. Parton has had forty-six Grammy Award nominations, a record tied only with Beyoncé. Parton has been awarded a total of nine Grammy Awards. She has been nominated for eighteen American Music Awards, and won three. She has been nominated for thirty-nine ACM Awards and won seven. Dolly is one of only six female artists to have won the ACM Entertainer of the Year award. A title she took home in 1978. In the eighties, she was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Parton was inducted to the Grande Ole Opry in 1969 and she was inducted to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986.

Over the years, Dolly Parton went on to write some classic hits including ‘Coat of Many Colors,’ ‘I Will Always Love You’ (that’s right! It’s a Dolly song, not a Whitney song), and ‘Jolene.’ Despite her modest upbringing, the sheer magnitude of what she has accomplished is overwhelming. She is absolutely a legend in the country music world. Some of Dolly’s words to live by: “You can be rich in spirit, kindness, love and all those things that you can’t put a dollar sign on.”

Though she is not currently touring, you can listen to many of her hit songs on iTunes.

Be sure to download one of our favorites, ‘Jolene’ on iTunes here.

You can stay connected with Dolly Pardon by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Stay tuned for our next installment of WCW in country music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday May 22nd.

NECM’s WCW Spotlight: Danielle Bradbery

We, at New England Country Music, are continuing our series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for ‘Women Crush Wednesday,’ is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing the country music scene.

For us New Englanders, it’s certainly starting to feel like the chilly winter weather is finally behind us. We’re happy for the warmth and even more excited to introduce to you to our next WCW, Danielle Bradbery. The twenty-two-year-old country music singer and songwriter hails from Cypress, Texas. Some of her biggest musical influences are Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, and Martina McBride.

Things started heating up for Danielle Bradbery when she won The Voice in June 2013. The day after her big win, she signed a record deal with Big Machine Records. She went on to release her first, self-titled, album in November 2013. Like many a country singer to come before her, she was thrilled to make her Grande Ole Opry debut at the legendary Ryman Auditorium that very same month. Four years later, she dropped her second full length album, ‘I Don’t Believe We’ve Met.’ Not only did Bradbery write seven of the ten tracks on this record, but her first single, ‘Sway,’ debuted at Number 46 on the Billboard country chart. In August of 2018, Bradbery released the single, ‘Goodbye Summer,’ a collaboration with country sensation Thomas Rhett. In an interview with iHeart Radio, Bradbery mentioned: “‘Goodbye Summer’ was originally ‘Hello Summer’ on my second record. Thomas Rhett wrote it. We kind of made it a little bit different and make it sound like a new song, but it’s been really exciting to work with Thomas Rhett .”

You can take a peek of the video for ‘Hello Summer’ here:

Bradbery has already been on quite a few tours. She traveled with Brad Paisley on his Beat This Summer Tour in 2013. In 2014 she joined Hunter Hayes on his We’re Not Invisible Tour and Scotty McCreery on his See You Tonight Tour. In 2015, she toured with Miranda Lambert on her Platinum Tour and Brett Eldredge/Thomas Rhett on their Suits & Boots Tour. Last year she joined Thomas Rhett on his Life Changes Tour. And this year she is teaming up with Kane Brown on his Live Forever Tour.

With over 800,000 followers on her Facebook page and almost half a million followers on Instagram, a fresh sounding voice, and a style all her own, Danielle Bradbery is well on her way to becoming a big name in country music.

We’re sad to say that there are currently no New England dates on this WCW’s schedule.

Be sure to download one of our favorites, ‘Sway,’ on iTunes here.

You can stay connected with Danielle Bradbery by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Stay tuned for our next installment of WCW in country music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday May 8th.

NECM’s WCW Spotlight: Kelsea Ballerini

We, at New England Country Music, are continuing our series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for ‘Women Crush Wednesday,’ is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing it in country music.

This week we’re featuring Kelsea Ballerini, a twenty-five-year-old country/pop singer and songwriter from Knoxville, TN. Growing up as an only child, Ballerini spent her younger days dancing at a local dance studio and singing in the church choir. When she was a little girl, she was influenced by pop sensations like Britney Spears and NSYNC. It wasn’t until later that she discovered country music and gained an appreciation for artists like Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and Alison Krauss. Kelsea Ballerini wrote her first song when she was only twelve years old. A few years later, she moved the two and a half hours away from home, to Nashville.

When she was nineteen, Ballerini signed with Black River Entertainment. Her music career kicked off with the release of her EP, ‘Kelsea Ballerini.’ Six months later, she dropped her first full length album, ‘The First Time.’ Her debut single released from this album, ‘Love Me Like You Mean It,’ made it to Number One on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart. Having a debut single reach Number One was quite an accomplishment, as Carrie Underwood is the only other solo, female country artist to do so. The album’s second single, ‘Dibs,’ also reached Number One on the Country Airplay Chart. The third single to be released was ‘Peter Pan,’ and it too, reached Number One. Having three singles reach Number One was quite remarkable. In fact, Ballerini was the first female, solo country artist to do this since Wynonna Judd in 1992. And to top this off, she wrote all three of these Number One hits. That’s something not even Judd can say. In November of 2017, Ballerini released her second album, ‘Unapologetically.’ This album went on to get a GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Album at the 61st annual GRAMMY Awards.

Just this month, Ballerini was asked to join the Grande Ole Opry. She was singing a duet with Little Big Town, when the group cleverly changed the lyrics to ‘Girl Crush’ and surprised Ballerini, mid-song, by singing “Kelsea Ballerini – Want to join the Opry?” She’ll be formally inducted in April, making her the youngest current member of the long-time running show. She told the Associated Press: “The Grand Ole Opry, playing it was the first step. And then joining has been the next step. That’s been on the goal list ever since I played it the first time. And I guess I get to check that off now.” Here’s a little glimpse from that memorable night:

The sky is the limit for Kelsea Ballerini. Not only has she has been asked to join the Opry, she has also been chosen as one of CMT’s Next Women of Country. And she has been talked about quite a bit over the years. She was named the “The Country Sweetheart” by People Magazine, “Country’s Next Queen” by Billboard Magazine, and “The Nashville It Girl” by Rolling Stone Magazine.

This “Nashville It Girl” is married to Morgan Evans, a country singer from ‘down under.’ Life on the road leads to crazy schedules and that means they are not able to kick back and relax together as often as they would like. When Kelsea Ballerini does have some free time and is home in Nashville, you might catch her at some of her favorite spots: hanging out at songwriter’s nights at The Bluebird and The Listening Room, eating sushi at Virago, shopping at the trendy boutique Posh, or grabbing a drink at Patterson House.

Kelsea Ballerini will be on the Miss Me More Tour starting in April 2019. We’re sad to say that there are currently no New England dates on the schedule.

Be sure to download ‘I Hate Love Songs’ from her album ‘Unapologetically’ on iTunes here.

You can stay connected with Kelsea Ballerini by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Stay tuned for our next installment of WCW in country music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday, April 10th.

NECM’s WCW Spotlight: Carrie Underwood

We, at New England Country Music, want to bring on the new year with a fun series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for “Women Crush Wednesday,” is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing it in the country music scene.

Let’s change things up a bit for this week and talk about one of the current powerhouse women in the country music scene, Carrie Underwood. Little did anyone know that the blonde-haired, farm girl from Checotah, Oklahoma was going to become a household name. Growing up in a religious home, Underwood began singing at church when she was quite young and continued singing in local talent shows in and around her home town. She was a well-rounded teenager, playing sports like softball and basketball, cheerleading for the blue and white Checotah High School Wildcats, and graduating as the salutatorian. After high school she attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. Her academic success continued as she graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Mass Communications. Like many college students, she worked her tail off at various jobs including a zoo, a veterinary clinic, and a pizzeria. She could have never known back then that today, she would have over eleven million Facebook followers. How quickly life can change!

Underwood’s life changed completely in the spring of 2005, after winning the fourth season of American Idol. The soon to be thirty-six-year-old vegan is not only a super talented vocalist, she is also an accomplished songwriter and actress. Her very first single, ‘Inside Your Heaven,’ released in June 2005, was the only single by a solo country artist between 2000-2009 to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Five months later, she dropped her first full length album, ‘Some Hearts.’ It debuted as number one on Billboard Top Country Albums and went on to become the best-selling country album in the United States for 2006 and 2007. It is certified eight times platinum by the RIAA. Two years later, in 2007, Underwood released her second album, ‘Carnival Ride.’ It sold over half a million copies in its first week. It is certified four times multi-platinum. Another two years passed and then Underwood released her third album, ‘Play On,’ which sold over 300,000 copies in its first week. She went on to release her fourth album, ‘Blown Away’ in 2012, her fifth album, ‘Storyteller’ in 2015, and her sixth album, ‘Cry Pretty’ in 2018. Although music has been her predominant career, she has immersed herself in the world of acting. In February 2010, she performed a voice-over on PBS’s classic show Sesame Street. A couple months later, she took on her first major acting role as “Tiffany” on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Her first film role was in the 2011 movie Soul Surfer. And in 2013, Underwood appeared in NBC’s The Sound of Music Live as Maria von Trapp. With six albums under her belt and some time on the big screen, we’re confident that Carrie Underwood will continue to impress us.

Since she came into our lives, Carrie Underwood has sold sixty-five million records worldwide. She has had twenty-six number one singles, co-writing thirteen of them. She has won seven GRAMMY awards, ten Billboard Music Awards, fourteen ACM Awards, eighteen CMT Music Awards, and nine CMA Awards. She has been a member of the Grande Ole Opry for over ten years. Billboard referred to her as “the ultimate Idol success story.” Forbes mentioned that Underwood was “the most successful American Idol winner of all time, with more albums sold and more revenue generated than any of the other contestants in the show’s 15 seasons.” Though she may have had her start on Idol, there’s absolutely no stopping her now.

The happily married mom has two little ones. Isaiah will be turning four next month and Jacob was born just last week! I’m sure you didn’t miss Carrie’s social media pictures that were released shortly after giving birth to Jacob, gorgeous as ever and make-up free! We are so excited for her growing family and also for her Cry Pretty Tour which is set to start in May of 2019. Joining her on tour are two other groups of dynamic women in country music, Maddie and Tae and Runaway June. Be sure to catch them all when they stop in Boston, MA at the TD Garden on Thursday, October 10th.

Don’t forget to download one of our favorite Carrie Underwood songs, ‘Love Wins,’ from her album ‘Cry Pretty’ on iTunes here.

‘The Fighter,’ a collaboration with Keith Urban, can be found on his album ‘Ripcord.’ You can download it from iTunes here.

Stay connected with Carrie Underwood by following her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Be on the lookout for our next installment of WCW in country music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday, February 13th.

NECM’s WCW Spotlight: Lindsay Ell.

Welcome 2019! We, at New England Country Music, want to bring on the new year with a fun series spotlighting women in country music. While the acronym WCW, standing for Women Crush Wednesday, is often used for physical attraction, that is not the case here. This series will feature talented women who are crushing the country music scene.

It is not easy for women to get their songs played on country music radio. Just as recently as early December, there were no females featured on the Top 20 of Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart. The gender gap in country music is certainly not new. Going back to 2015, New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and Rolling Stone Country all called this “Country Music’s Women Problem.” The New York Times even referred to it as “Country’s War on Women.” Though these words may feel a little harsh, there’s no arguing that country music is primarily a male-dominated scene. Some may argue that it’s because “women just aren’t making good enough music when compared to the men” or “women would rather listen to bro-country.” Neither of which is true. Many women are releasing incredible music. Despite the legacy left by Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn, it’s certainly a difficult road to success for today’s women in country music. We, at NECM, are huge supporters of females taking this journey. By spotlighting them, we are hoping to provide you with some background, and most importantly, the reasons why you should spend time listening to these amazingly artistic women.

The first artist we are spotlighting here is none other than the multi-gifted Lindsay Ell. The soon to be thirty-year-old was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ell discovered her love of music at the early age of six, when she started playing the piano. A couple years later, when she was eight, she picked up the guitar. She began dabbling in songwriting at the age of ten. Her strengths go well beyond her unprecedented musical ability. She is a perpetual learner, in every aspect of life. Ell even went on to graduate from high school a year early as the valedictorian of her class. She continued her quest for knowledge by studying business at The University of Calgary and music at our very own Massachusetts-based Berklee College of Music (online). Lindsay Ell moved to Nashville in 2010 to pursue her career in music city. It was here that she signed with Stoney Creek Records. In 2013, Ell released her first single, ‘Trippin’ on Us.’ It became the most added song for country music radio in both the U.S. and Canada, with over fifty first week adds. Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele, and piano are just some of the instruments that she has mastered over the years. She is a true “guitar geek” frequently playing her Martin acoustic guitars and her custom Gibson Les Paul Goddess. She took the definition of “artist” to the next level by going as far as to hand paint several guitars. Each custom paint design represented a song on her EP. Ell released her debut six-song EP, ‘Worth the Wait’ in March of 2017. Only five months later, in August of 2017, she dropped her first full length album, ‘The Project.’ A few tracks that are definitely worth a listen are: ‘Waiting on You,’ ‘Criminal,’ and ‘Wildfire.’ Though they are each unique, they all showcase the brilliant way she dominates the guitar. Adding to her accomplishments, Ell made her Grand Ole Opry debut back in April of 2014. She has been on tour with renowned artists including The Band Perry, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, and Keith Urban.

Just a couple weeks ago, in mid-December, Ell teamed up with Brantley Gilbert – think ‘Bottoms Up’ and ‘The Ones That Like Me.’ The duo released a new single ‘What Happens in a Small Town.’ Written by Gilbert, Brock Berryhill, Josh Dunne, and Rhett Akins, it is a strong power ballad. Nash Country Daily mentioned that Gilbert said: “This song builds and burns. It really has that want for someone you can’t have, and having to live in all the places they are. I wanted to have someone on the record who could match those feelings, to really push the song. It’s not just any female who makes sense, and we knew that. But Lindsay is a whole other kind of artist, and she understands that power.” This tune showcases Lindsay Ell’s incredible vocals as well as her ability to shred on the guitar. Definitely keep an eye on Lindsay Ell, as this woman is well on her way to becoming a powerhouse in the country music scene.  

So, if you’re still working on that new year’s resolution for 2019, let us make it an easy one! Give Lindsay Ell a listen, request her music be played on your local country radio stations, and follow her on social media. Let’s continue to support the great women of country music.

You can listen to ‘The Project’ on iTunes here.

Stay tuned for our next installment of WCW in Country Music. It is set to hit our page on Wednesday January 16th.

You can listen to ‘What Happens in a Small Town’ on iTunes here.

Be sure to stay up-to-date with Lindsay Ell by visiting her website.

You can also and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.