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Kristian Bush and Charlie Worsham Join CMA Foundation in Washington to Advocate for Music Education

(l-r) Thomas Burr, National Press Club President; Charlie Worsham; Kristian Bush; Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer; and Joe Galante, CMA Foundation

(l-r) Thomas Burr, National Press Club President; Charlie Worsham; Kristian Bush; Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer; and Joe Galante, CMA Foundation

Country stars Kristian Bush and Charlie Worsham participated in various events across Washington, D.C. Wednesday ahead of their involvement with the National Association for Music Education’s annual Hill Day advocating for music education on behalf of the CMA Foundation.

Their first stop was The National Press Club, where Bush and Worsham entertained the crowd of journalists and fans with an acoustic performance. They were joined by CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern and CMA Foundation Board Chairman Joe Galante for a panel discussion about the organization’s trip to the Hill. The panel was moderated by National Press Club President Thomas Burr.

Later in the evening Bush and Worsham participated in the CMA Songwriters Series, also featuring songwriter Jim Collins, for a full house at the Library of Congress’ Coolidge Auditorium. Special attendees included Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN), Congressman Jim Cooper (TN), and Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX).

On Thursday the pair met individually with various state and national representatives for Hill Day to reinforce the need for all students to have access to quality music education programs in schools.

For more information, visit CMAfoundation.org and CMAsongwritersseries.com.

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Brandy Clark’s “Big Day in a Small Town” Debuts Top Ten

Brandy Clark

Brandy Clark, is causing quite the conversation with her new album, Big Day in a Small Town that debuted Top Ten on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. The 4x GRAMMY-nominated artist continues to prove the June 10 release is a strong follow-up to her critically-acclaimed debut album, 12 Stories, when it was recently placed on Rolling Stone’s 45 Best Albums of 2016 So Far and, according to TIME Magazine, tells stories that “populate her Town with characters whose personalities spring in full from the smallest details.”

To follow her national TV appearances on Live with Kelly June 14 and Late Night with Seth Meyers June 15, Clark stopped in to play her powerful tracks, “Daughter,” “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven” and current single, “Girl Next Door” off of Big Day for NPR’s Tiny Desk June 20. Clark’s performance of “Girl Next Door” on Ellen, which originally aired on April 7, re-aired today.

“When Clark steps in front of a mic and turns on the charm,” wrote NPR of her Tiny Desk performance, “her humor pulls the audience right into every single joke.”

The singer/songwriter’s small-town storytelling has already made an impression on those who have browsed the 11-song, Jay-Jones-produced album. “Clark focuses her sharp eye on the American map’s tiniest dots,” TIME wrote of her songs’ imagery, “those areas too small for a Waffle House or a Walmart, where porches serve as gathering places and where gossip can spread like wildfire.”

Clark’s sophomore album centers around small town life, with songs that “map a small collection of streets, landmarks, loves, betrayals and heartbreaks that cohere into a place as particular and as universal as Winesburg or Grover’s Corners” (NPR).

“I really developed a love for small towns when my dad died and I went home for his memorial service, and there were so many people they had to have it in a gym,” Clark told NPR about the inspiration for her album. “And that’s not an uncommon thing in a small town, but anywhere else in the world, that only happens for a celebrity.”

According to Rolling Stone, Clark reaches a wide audience with her music that is “tooled alternately for stadiums and songwriting circles, commercial and public radio, line-dance bars and coffee shops.”

Brandy Clark Tour Dates:

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Garth Brooks Taps Breakout Country Artist Mitch Rossell as Opener

Mitch Rossell

Breakthrough country artist Mitch Rossell is swiftly catching the attention of Nashville. Named one of the “Top 20 Country Artists to Watch in 2016” by Huffington Post, Rossell is primed for breakout success.

Rossell, who recently signed with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME)’s Rob Beckham and Barrett Sellers, has been hand-selected by Garth Brooks to make his opening debut on the Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood at 7:00 p.m. on June 24 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.

Brooks discovered Rossell’s music in May 2014 and immediately took the up-and-coming artist under his wing.

“Mitch has one of those voices that spins your head around the second you hear it, but that is only the beginning,” Brooks noted. “Once he has your attention, get ready for some of the best lyrics and melodies you have ever heard.”

WME will be cultivating additional venue opportunities in markets where Rossell is opening for Brooks, who also recently partnered with WME.

“We are thrilled to have Mitch join the WME family. He is incredibly talented and from the moment we met him, we knew he had what it takes to become a star,” said Sellers. “We are excited to begin this journey with him – there are big things in store!”

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Bluegrass Music Patriarch Ralph Stanley Dies At 89

Ralph Stanley

Ralph Stanley, a patriarch of Appalachian music who with his brother Carter helped expand and popularize the genre that became known as bluegrass, died Thursday from difficulties with skin cancer. He was 89.

Stanley was born and raised in southwest Virginia, a land of coal mines and deep forests where he and his brother formed the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys in 1946. Their father would sing them old traditional songs like “Man of Constant Sorrow,” while their mother, a banjo player, taught them the old-time clawhammer style, in which the player’s fingers strike downward at the strings in a rhythmic style.

Heavily influenced by Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe, the brothers fused Monroe’s rapid rhythms with the mountain folk songs from groups such as the Carter Family, who hailed from this same rocky corner of Virginia.

The Stanleys created a distinctive three-part harmony that combined the lead vocal of Carter with Ralph’s tenor and an even higher part sung by bandmate Pee Wee Lambert. Carter’s romantic songwriting professed a deep passion for the rural landscape, but also reflected on lonesomeness and personal losses.

Songs like “The Lonesome River,” uses the imagery of the water to evoke the loss of a lover, and “White Dove,” describes the mourning and suffering after the death of a mother and father. In 1951, they popularized “Man of Constant Sorrow,” which was also later recorded by Bob Dylan in the ’60s.

The brothers were swept into the burgeoning folk movement and they toured the country playing folk and bluegrass festivals during the ’60s, including the Newport Folk Festival in 1959 and 1964.

But when Carter died of liver disease in 1966, Ralph wasn’t sure he could continue. His brother had been the main songwriter, lead singer and front man, and Ralph, by his own account, was withdrawn and shy, although he had overcome some of his early reticence.

“Within weeks of his passing, I got phone calls and letters and telegrams and they all said don’t quit. They said, ‘We’ve always been behind you and Carter, but now we’ll be behind you even more because we know you’ll need us,'” Stanley told The Associated Press in 2006.

After Carter’s death, Ralph drew even deeper from his Appalachian roots, adopting the a cappella singing style of the Primitive Baptist church where he was raised. He reformed the Clinch Mountain Boys band to include Ray Cline, vocalist Larry Sparks and Melvin Goins. He would change the lineup of the band over the years, later including Jack Cooke, and mentored younger artists like Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs, who also performed with him.

Dylan and Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia praised his work and, in the case of Dylan, joined him for a remake of the Stanley Brothers’ “Lonesome River” in 1997.

He was given an honorary doctorate of music from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, in 1976, and he was often introduced as “Dr. Ralph Stanley.” He performed at the inaugurations of U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, was given a “Living Legends” medal from the Library of Congress and a National Medal of Arts presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and President George W. Bush. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2000.

But at age 73, he was introduced to a new generation of fans in 2000 due to his chilling a cappella dirge “O Death” from the hit Coen Brothers’ “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” movie soundtrack. The album was a runaway hit, topping the Billboard 200 chart, as well as the country albums and soundtrack charts, and sold millions of copies.

He won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance in 2002 — beating out Tim McGraw, Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Lyle Lovett — and was the focus of a successful tour and documentary inspired by the soundtrack. The soundtrack, produced by T Bone Burnett, also won a Grammy for album of the year. The following year he and Jim Lauderdale would win a Grammy for best bluegrass album for “Lost in the Lonesome Pines.”

He said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2002 that younger people were coming to see his shows and hear his “old time music,” and was enjoying the belated recognition.

“I wish it had come 25 years sooner,” he said. “I am still enjoying it, but I would have had longer to enjoy it.”

Despite health problems, he continued to record and tour into his 80s, often performing with his son Ralph Stanley II on guitar and his grandson Nathan on mandolin.

Stanley was born in Big Spraddle, Virginia and lived in Sandy Ridge outside of Coeburn, Virginia. His mother was Lucy Jane Smith Stanley and his father was Lee Stanley. He is survived by his wife Jimmie Stanley – they were to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary on July 2nd. He is also survived by his children: Lisa Stanley Marshall, Tonya Armes Stanley and Ralph Stanley II; His grandchildren: Nathan Stanley, Amber Meade Stanley, Evan Stout, Ashley Marshall, Alexis Marshall, Taylor Stanley, and Ralph Stanley III; and great grandchild Mckenzie Stanley. Memorial service details are pending and will be announced shortly.

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