When George Strait does something, he does it in a big way. Strait raised more than $1.5 million for hurricane relief efforts during his Abaco Relief Benefit Concert on Nov 25 at Austin’s ACL Live. The funds raised will support Bahamians on the Abaco Islands recovering from August’s Category 5 Hurricane Dorian. You can help out by buying an ‘Oceanfront Recovery’ tee-shirt for $20.00 at http://www.georgestrait.com/. Proceeds go to the Abaco Relief fund
Brad Paisley Thinks He’s Special aired on ABC Tuesday, December 2. It was part roast, part variety show; featuring Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Peyton Manning, The Jonas Brothers, Hootie & the Blowfish and Tim McGraw.
“I Know Country” Q&A from www.IKnowCountry.com
QUESTION: He was born on December 3, 1925, and initially recorded under the name “Terry Preston” because Smiley Burnette told him that his real name would never work on a marquee. However, when he reverted to his real name, he became a star with hits that include “Wings of a Dove” that was No. 1 on the Country singles chart on Dec 04, 1960. Who is he?
The figures are in for the PBS documentary series, Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns. More than 30 million people tuned in to watch during its 8-night run, according to Nielsen Research. Additionally, it generated 4 million streams on PBS digital platforms and 1.5 million ‘engagements’ on Facebook and Twitter. The series focused on Country music from its beginning up to 1996. Songs featured during the series got a sales boost: ‘heritage’ songs such as Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” Waylon Jennings’ “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” Hank Williams’ “I Saw the Light” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” all had big boosts in downloads following the broadcasts. Streaming increased too, with songs such as Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues exceeding 1 million weekly streams. The DVD set from the show was released just in time for Christmas and will be on a LOT of ‘Dear Santa’ lists… including mine!
Before setting out on his tour, Jason Aldean is heading back to Las Vegas for a 3-night residency at the MGM Park Theater, December 6, 7 and 8. This will be his first time playing Vegas since the Route 91 Harvest Festival in which 59 people died and more than 500 were wounded. Aldean said he plans to welcome Route 91 survivors back to his show by helping them “to feel a little more at ease in a smaller, closed air venue,” he told the Tennessean newspaper. He also said that for his own peace of mind, he didn’t want his last show in Vegas to be the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Aldean will be performing songs from his new album – his ninth album, titled 9 – that gives fans value for their money. His five most-recent albums have all included 15 tracks, but 9 stretches to 16 tracks. Many albums still consist of around 12 tracks which is just a hangover from when vinyl LPs could only hold about six songs on each side. But with CDs and now downloads and streaming, there’s no physical limit to the number of songs, and Aldean is among the artists pushing the limits.
Aldean’s album, 9, debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart for the week of December 7, at No. 2 on the all-genre Billboard 200 album chart. The album’s producer, Michael Knox, told the Tennessean that he got pitched around 5,500 songs for the project, and narrowed the field to 40 or 50 tracks that he and Aldean can review. Clever lyrics from “I Don’t Drink Anymore” (written by John Kelley Lovelace, CJ Solar & Neil Thrasher) on the new Aldean album: So I don’t drink anymore / Ever since she left / I don’t drink any more / And I don’t drink any less.
Some more Nashville Christmas news… The Nashville Unlimited Concert will be held December 9 and 10 at Christ Church Cathedral with Emmylou Harris, Charles Esten, Riders in the Sky, The McCrary Sisters, Charlie McCoy, Andy Leftwich, Don Schlitz, Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, and more artists to come. As always, this free concert is produced and hosted by Dave Pomeroy, with a suggested minimum donation of $20, and all guests are invited to give more if they feel so moved, with all proceeds going to Room In The Inn homeless program. Seating is first come, first serve and doors will open at 6 p.m.. Since 1992, Pomeroy’s holiday concerts have raised more than $320,000 in donations for Room In The Inn.
Virtually no change in the Top 5 positions of the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts this week, so let’s look at Country albums.
The staff at Billboard picked their “25 Best Country Albums of the 2010s.” Here are their top ten in reverse order:
Maren Morris, Girl (2019)
Lady Antebellum, Need You Now (2010)
Little Big Town, Pain Killer (2014)
Luke Combs, This One’s For You (2017)
Sam Hunt, Montevallo (2014)
Miranda Lambert, Four the Record (2011)
Eric Church, Chief (2011)
Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour (2018)
Taylor Swift, Speak Now (2010)
Chris Stapleton, Traveller (2015)
You can go to billboard.com and search “25 Best Country Albums of the 2010s” to read the full list and the reasons behind each of the staff’s choices. See if you agree with their picks.
“I Know Country” Q&A ANSWER: Ferlin Husky. He was also an actor, appearing in 18 movies and played himself in the 1957 movie “Mr. Rock & Roll.”
On this day in Country Music
December 4, 1956 The famous ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ photo was taken at Sun Studios in Memphis. Carl Perkins was there to record “Matchbox” with Jerry Lee Lewis playing piano. Johnny Cash was there too and when Elvis Presley stopped by, Sam Phillips quickly called a news photographer to capture the moment for publicity. In the photo, Elvis is playing the piano, not Jerry Lee!!
This week’s Country Music Birthdays
December 3 Ferlin Husky, 1925
Paul Gregg (Restless Heart), 1954
December 5 Gary Allan, 1967
December 8 Sam Hunt, 1984
Marty Raybon (Shenandoah), 1959
Preshias Harris is the author of “I Know Country” with 366 daily country music questions and answers. You can buy and instantly download your e-book copy at www.IKnowCountry.com.
Harris is also a music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Visit www.collegeofsongology.com for more details. Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com