Getting into country is like opening the wardrobe to Narnia – an amazing world of music and people that I never knew existed!
The above is something I posted on Twitter last night that got quite a few retweets, and it’s absolutely true, in my experience at least. I started this blog and accompanying Twitter account just 6 days ago, and in that time I’ve met a whole bunch of great people and been introduced to more great country music than I’ve had time to check out. What I am about to write is not an exhaustive list of every interaction I’ve had over the last week, but it’s a good indication of how useful my Twitter activity has been.
If you read my article The Marketing Genius of Country Music’s Ashton Lane you’ll see one of my first discoveries and how that came about. After writing this article I’ve had comments from lead singer Esther and Graeme Duffin, the producer. When writing the article it was just something I wanted to share; both the way they marketed themselves and the music – I never expected it to elicit responses from those involved. The country music scene does seem to be a very appreciative community of artists and fans alike.
I’m going to fast forward to just a few days ago when I saw someone retweet a tweet from Jana Kramer and on seeing her profile picture I was sure I recognised her. A few clicks later and I realised that I knew her from One Tree Hill where she played Alex Dupre; a film star turned country singer. It seems that life imitated art, as much like her character, Jana went from acting to country music and has released an album. I remember her singing on One Tree Hill being very good so I thought I’d check her real life music out. Her self titled album is only £6.99 on Amazon MP3 so in my new state of embracing downloads and music videos I got it, and have played it almost non-stop since. While it is definitely a country/pop record, it’s not as mainstream pop as I was expecting. She has a cracking country voice and shows this off on an album of great songs. Her current single is Whiskey, one of the highlights of the album both vocally and lyrically. So a fleeting glance at a photo on Twitter led me to a great country singer and a new favourite album currently doing overtime on my iPod.
One of the biggest proponents of new country music I’ve met so far is Kasey Stone with her blog hitting all the right notes. Kasey not only finds new country artists, champions them (if they are good) on her blog, but on many an occasion she manages to interview them too. Not only do we get great recommendations but we get to know a little more about the artists involved too. Kasey has given me a whole day’s worth of artists to check out, and just this morning she wrote about a young American singer by the name of Raihanna Estrada who has an absolutely beautiful voice. You can check out her videos on her YouTube channel where she has a selection of her own songs and covers.
This next discovery happened when I followed @CountryMusNews and I got a tweet back thanking me for the follow and also telling me to check out a song by their new favourite country artist @SBSwags, so I did just that. That’s how I found SaraBeth’s song Kicikn’ and Screamin’ – a great tune sung really well and with some nice lyrics. The accompanying lyric video is particularly funny when it comes to the doot doo – for some reason seeing that written down tickles me. This song would make for a perfect summer tune, or maybe one to give us a lift in cold gloomy winters. I haven’t yet listened to any more of her songs but the whole Kickin’ and Screamin’ EP, featuring 5 songs, is available to buy – links on her website. Before the night is done I’ll have bought it from iTunes ready for my drive to work tomorrow. Definitely one I’d recommend.
One of the best people on Twitter to follow is @NewCountryUK. To say he is a prolofic tweetter would be an understatement, but he tweets so many facts and figures about country music that it’s like following a country music encyclopedia. He was also the one, who by his tweeting, reminded me that the Lady Antebellum Own The Night World Tour DVD & Blu-ray was out this past Monday. That sent me straight off to Amazon, and a few days later I’d bought, watched and reviewed it. Tour news, release news, birthdays and history – if you are not already following you are missing out.
If you are in the UK and like country music then it’s pretty likely you know about ukCOUNTRYmusic.net – a site run by a team of dedicated country fans updated multiple times daily with news, reviews, competitions and even a regular live streaming radio show. On a Thursday night from 8pm the team all hold a country music chat on Twitter. Just use the hashtag #UKCMchat and you’ll connect with a whole bunch of country music fans, all ready to chat and help with any questions. It was this past Thursday that I joined in and got recommendations for Rascal Flats albums to look out for ahead of a probable UK tour.
I wasn’t the only one who started a country music blog in 2013, and @Em_Tx got there a week or so before me with her 52 Weeks of Country blog. Every week she features a song and writes about why she likes it – great idea right? This week’s entry introduced me to Edens Edge, a band who I’d seen mentioned but never heard any music from. The song in the spotlight is Who Am I Drinking Tonight and I urge you to head over to Em-T’s blog and read all about her thoughts here. Great band, great song and featured on a great blog.
I also have to give a mention to both @Erica2country and her website 2country.net. It was while I was chatting to her, at the same time as streaming radio from her website, that I made the comment at the beginning of this article. We had a good chat about country music and it was from seeing her Twitter account a few days ago that also discovered 2Country.net which plays some great music. Last night I heard The Band Perry, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw and Randy Travis, all within the space of 25 minutes. Perfect.
There are so many other great people on Twitter and I could go on all night, but I’d get sore fingers and you’d get bored! It’s great having @SonyNashvilleUK on Twitter, esecially with their signed CD giveaways, and I even got a follow from the CMA. In the space of just one week I’ve met so many great people and found so much new music. This is just the beginning. If you have any recommendations or just want to to say hello, then you can find me on Twitter here: @4000ToNashville.