PUBLICATION:Country Hound Magazine CD Reviews Toby Keith, James House, Eric Durrance and Adam Gregory

Toby Keith Classic Christmas (Two Volume Set)
Show Dog Nashville

Just in time for Christmas, all of you Toby Keith fans need to pick up a copy of this set to add to the holiday listening. Anyone wanting a new Country Christmas sound to put the tinsel on the tree, pick up a copy too! As the title eludes, it is chock full of the classic songs we all know and sing along to during the Christmas season. You will find fun songs and spiritual songs, but Keith adds his personal touch to each one, along with plenty of Country instrumentals that create a unique sound.

Ten songs on each CD give you plenty of songs to brush up on all the songs you may need to join the carolers as they stroll your neighborhood. Keith usually has listeners thinkingof rowdy and rough, but on this music collection, you will be pleasantly surprised as he shows his softer side, allows his emotions to show and sings about the memories of his childhood. This collection is a keeper, in my book, and a great collection to the holiday music library.

Volume One:
1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
2. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
3. Winter Wonderland
4. Silver Bells
5. I'll Be Home For Christmas
6. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
7. The Christmas Song
8. White Christmas
9. Frosty The Snowman
10. Please Come Home For Christmas

Volume Two:
1. Little Drummer Boy
2. Go Tell It On The Mountain
3. The First Noel
4. O Come All Ye Faithful
5. Silent Night
6. Away In A Manger
7. We Three Kings
8. O Little Town Of Bethelehem
10. Joy To The World

For more information on Toby Keith check out or

James House On This Christmas Night
Friday Records

One of Nashville’s hidden treasures, with a voice like no one else, James House brings us 12 holiday songs that are not all the traditional and classic songs we usually identify with. Oh, don’t think you can escape a few standard Christmas favorites -- “The Little Drummer Boy,” “The First Noel," “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “White Christmas” -- but there are also some new originals on this one, too. House has such a unique talent and ability to take you with him into the music, I can listen to him for hours.

House recruited a little help from Jose Feliciano on his song called “Santa Goes To Mexico,” which will leave you smiling. Houser is an incredible singer and songwriter, and this CD showcases his vocal talents and his gift of creating not only the lyrics, but the music. Do yourself a favor; if you are looking for something for yourself this year and want a unique Christmas CD, buy this one for you!

1. On This Christmas Night
2. Santa Goes To Mexico (with special guest Jose Feliciano)
3. Precious Child
4. The Little Drummer Boy
5. Lullaby For Jesus
6. The First Noel
7. Winter Wonderland
8. Believe In Christmas
9. I'll Be Home For Christmas
10. White Christmas
11. Beautiful Christmas
12. Christmas Aroumd The World

For more information on James House, check out or

Eric Durrance Angels Fly Away
Wind-Up Records

Angels Fly Away can be be described in Durrance's own words, "I write music that come from my heart. I like to write music that puts body and soul out there and has a magical way of saying what everyone feels. I like to be real and I believe a good, honest song is the key to an artist's success."Every song on this CD is honest and pure and you can feel emotion pour out of Durrance's voice. This is his debut CD, and he has emerged as an artist and songwriter that will garner much attention now and in the future. This endeavor showcases both his songwriting abilities and his versatility as a singer.

Durrance co-wrote four of the 11 songs and has some of the industry’s most recognized names on other songs – Craig Wiseman, Jeffrey Steele and Teddy Gentry.

1. Someone I Can't Live Without
2. All Over But The Crying
3. Angels Fly Away
4. Cover
5. Life Is Hard
6. What If
7. Letting Go
8. This Side of Sober
9. Turn It Off
10. Wait Till I Get There
11. It's Gotta Be Love

For more information on Eric Durrance go to or

Adam Gregory "What It Takes" (single)
Big Machine Records

Adam Gregory is going to be huge, and I am not talking about his size. This is one artist who is genuine and shares his God-given talent with a smile and puts everything he has into his music. “What It Takes” is the second release by Gregory from his upcoming album, and it puts him right up there with all of the “A list” artists on today’s music roster. This song, written by Gregory along with top notch writers on the music scene today (Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, Joe Leathers and Greg Crowe), will soon be moving towards the top of the charts.
Not a stranger to the music industry, Adam Gregory has recently emerged in the United States from Canada, where he enjoyed stardom since an early age. Gregory recently released the video for “What It Takes” and it has been receiving rave reviews. This song is about a man wondering what it is going to take to win the heart and love of a woman, and his deliverance of this song is heartfelt and sincere. Gregory is a refreshing sound in the line-up of artists competing for your ear and your dollar, and an absolute must have for your listening pleasure. Pick up several of these!

For more information on Adam Gregory go to or

On a personal note, my wish for each of you is a blessed and happy holiday season.
Merry Christmas!


PUBLICATION: CD Reviews for Blake Shelton, Randy Houser and Dolly Parton in Country Hound Magazine

Blake Shelton “Startin Fires”
Warner Bros. Records

This is Blake’s fifth studio album and I think his best. He truly has given us a gift with the music on “Startin Fires.” A solid compilation with production that is consistent throughout the CD, emphasizes the talent of the artist and all of the musicians on each track. Blake has co-written two songs on this CD, “Here I Am” with Dean Dillon and “Bare Skin Rug” with Miranda Lambert.

A CD filled with songs about life, love and country living. Twelve songs that all bring out the emotions in Blake’s voice that we fell in love with from the beginning. “She Wouldn’t Be Gone” pushes him to a new level as a singer as he stretches himself to new heights. He sings with drive and integrity that make a listener believe in his every word. If you really want to get close to Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, listen close to “Bare Skin Rug.” It was recorded live around a campfire and you can hear the fire crackling and the crickets chirping. Close your eyes and listen to the entire album, it is definitely one to keep in the CD player.

1. Green
2. Good At Startin’ Fires
3. She Wouldn’t Be Gone
4. I’ll Just Hold On
5. 100 Miles
6. Never Lovin’ You
7. Country Strong
8. Home Sweet Home
9. This Is Gonna Take All Night
10. Here I Am
11. I Don’t Care
12. Bare Skin Rug (featuring Miranda Lambert)

For more information on Blake Shelton and his music check out or

Randy Houser “Anything Goes”
Universal Records South

A voice with distinction and one that will immediately capture your full attention. Randy Houser has delivered a debut CD that will stand on it’s own for a long time to come. If it does not win awards, many awards, I will be shocked. From the first song, “Boots On” to the last, “I’ll Sleep”, the listener is captivated with the soulful and rich sounds of Randy’s voice and taken on a journey with him as he sings about everything a country song is expected to have; everyday life, loss of love, God and survival.

Randy collaborated with some of Nashville’s finest songwriters on all but three of the eleven songs and you will even hear Vince Gill doing some background vocals on “How Many Times.” If you can choose only one favorite on this one, then you have not truly listened to the music on this CD. Each song is different; each song is produced with amazing effort to showcase the range of Houser’s vocal and story telling abilities. I do not say this often, but I really like this entire project.

1. Boots On
2. Anything Goes
3. Wild Wild West
4. Back To God
5. Something Real
6. My Kind of Country
7. Strange
8. Lie
9. Paycheck Man
10. How Many Times
11. I’ll Sleep

For more information on Randy Houser go to or

Dolly Parton “Backwoods Barbie”
Dolly Records

Dolly is such an icon in the world of music, setting high standards and always bringing sunshine with her laughter and ability to have fun in every circumstance and it carries through in her music. The title cut of the CD, “Backwoods Barbie” is a tongue in cheek poke to those who only see the outer shell of this amazing artist.

You will find a couple of cover songs on this project, “Drives Me Crazy” and “The Tracks Of My Tears”. Dolly’s personal touch and her signature sound make you smile as you visualize her singing them and I guarantee you will be singing along. Dolly penned most of the songs or had a hand in them, except for the covers and “Jesus & Gravity”, written by Craig Wiseman and Betsy Ulmer. Her exceptional ability to paint a story with lyrics comes through on “Cologne”, a traditional country cheatin’ song. Stuff this one in the stocking of anyone on your list who loves Dolly! If for no other reason just to look at the pictures inside the booklet – Dolly Parton is beautiful inside and out, and has the talent to match.

1. Better Get To Livin’
2. Made Of Stone
3. Drives Me Crazy
4. Backwoods Barbie
5. Jesus & Gravity
6. Only Dreamin’
7. The Tracks Of My Tears
8. The Lonesomes
9. Cologne
10. Shinola
11. I Will Forever Hate Roses
12. Somebody’s Everything

For more information on Dolly Parton go to or

INTERVIEW: Jesse Goplen "Cowboy"

Jesse Goplen has lived life on both sides of the fence. He was an honors sociology student at the University of Wisconsin, preparing to go to law school and then he found himself serving a six month sentence for drug possession. It was during this time he started to really write songs in earnest. Jesse’s new CD is a WHAT-YOU-HEAR-LIVE-IS-WHAT-YOU-GET-ON-THE-CD project. It is stripped down to the guitar and vocal performance and it gets right to the heart of the matter. With this release, Jesse Goplen establishes himself as an important musical voice for our time.

Bev: Jesse, your new CD is titled, “Cowboy” how did you arrive at this for your title?

Jesse: I felt the song “Cowboy” was one of the strongest songs on this project, so I used that as my CD title. I was going to call it “I Have Been A Cowboy”, but I felt like the single word had more impact.

Bev: You have nine tracks on the CD, is there on that is a favorite?

Jesse: “Cowboy” is my personal favorite. It is coming to terms with life, living and dealing with changes and it reflects on the emotions associated with the changes and challenges we face.

Bev: I have read many descriptions of your style from folk and blues to punk rock aesthetic to brooding. How do you describe your style?

Jesse: I would call it country-blues, but I am open to letting my fans and the critics labeling it as they feel it applies to their lives. I don’t like labels per se’ but just want people to really open their hearts and listen.

Bev: Did you write all of the songs on this project?

Jesse: I did. So far I have written all of my own music, I have tried some co-writing projects, but over all I prefer to write for myself.

Bev: What made you decide to do it as stripped down as it is?

Jesse: I have recorded other things on tracks with added instruments and background vocals and never have been as happy when it is played live – me and the guitar. So on this one, I felt I captured the natural sound I was aiming for.

Bev: At age 15 you found yourself as a foreign exchange student in Germany, performing for a large crowd of about 1000 people. Do you think this was your first taste of really wanting to pursue this as a career or was there something else?

Jesse: My dad was a musician, and was not really around much, and I have always loved music, but there was pressure from my family not to follow in his footsteps. I cannot say there was a defining moment, but anytime I played live, I felt the pull towards it.

Bev: This is your official debut CD, but you previously have released some songs, and a project called “September Eleven Blues, Truth Songs”. What difference is there between this CD and previous releases?

Jesse: I feel like the main difference is the fact I could put everything else aside and focus on my music. I was always working, being a dad, a full time college student etc. This sounds like a professionally done CD and not something put out there as a hobby. I am very proud of the way this turned out.

Bev: In your own words, what is important to you about your CD that makes it special over other artist’s music?

Jesse: I honestly believe in my songs and the music. I hope there are people out there who can relate to the lyrics and will enjoy the songs as much as I do.

Bev: Is most of your work autobiographical?

Jesse: Yes, it is very personal and reflects what is inside my heart. Most of them are about some specific event or an emotion I am going through or someone close to me is going through.

Bev: Do you have any quotes or sayings you live by?

Jesse: I don’t have any regrets, but to say I live by a saying in general no.

Bev: When you write, do you have any rituals or anything you do to set a mood before you settle down to write or are you one that just jots down notes or a whole song on a napkin when it hits you?

Jesse: Usually I write about something I am feeling very strongly about and I express my feelings and thoughts through songwriting. I do not go through any specific process to get there.

Bev: What is one thing to date that has inspired you the most about the music business?

Jesse: I enjoy and live for that feeling I get when I perform live. There is nothing like that.

Bev: When you tour or play for a live audience, what is your favorite part?

Jesse: The interaction is definitely my favorite and knowing they appreciate my efforts.

Bev: On a very personal level, it is no secret about your time served for the drug possession. Do you believe in the saying that everything in life happens for a reason and this was one of those things that needed to happen to make you realize song writing and music was where you needed to be?

Jesse: I think that is exactly the philosophy associated with that time and experience. I wrote feverishly and was very productive during my time spent there, and had that not happened, then who knows what direction my life would have taken.

Bev: You are setting out to tour in 2009 and one of things you are also doing is some online “concerts”. When you compare the two types of performing, which do you prefer?

Jesse: I am trying to remove the line that divides those two. I am doing 20 concerts online, live, and recording them at the same time for a future CD project. I will have a lot of new songs I will be performing during the online concerts.

Bev: Jesse, I have enjoyed our conversation and getting to know you. I look forward to more music from you and wish you much success. I also hope you have a joyous holiday season.

Jesse: Thank you so much and I hope you do too. It has been great visiting with you.

For more information on Jesse Goplen check out or

Artist Showcase Review: Ronica Coldiron

West Texas native, Ronica Coldiron and her music label, Sweetsong Nashville, entertained music city guest’s, media and music industry executives to a private holiday party and special performance held at 12th and Porter on December 9th in Nashville. Tables were donned in tablecloths, plates full of holiday goodies and a special Christmas card from Ronica welcomed each guest.

Her song list consisted of an eight song set list including, “What I Think”, “Smoke and Gasoline” and “That’s What Love Looks Like” and “Gravity” as well as a cover of “Time After Time”, which she joked that she wrote herself. Her love of country grass roots and blues music was obvious to all who were present in the intimate setting as she had the full attention of everyone in the room with her captivating stage presence. Ronica heads to the studio in early 2009 to record her debut CD.

Ronica is no newcomer to country music, but is truly living her dream and on her way to becoming a recognized name on the industry roster. You may have recently heard her singing the National Anthem for the Houston Astros or the Seattle Mariners. Ms. Coldiron is also very passionate about supporting our troops and the miltary and is the spokes person for Big Country Support The Troops Organization.

For more in formation on Ronica Coldiron find her online at

PUBLICATION: Country Hound Magazine CD REVIEWS

Julianne Hough, Collin Raye, George Strait
Offer Their Take on Christmas Classics

As the magic of the holiday season abounds, Country stars continue to churn out new music -- Christmas music that is. CountryHound's Bev Moser reviews three recent holiday releases from Julianne Hough, Collin Raye and George Strait.

Julianne Hough, Sounds of the Season, The Julianne Hough Collection
NBC Universal Music

Seven songs filled with energy and excitement. If you were not pumped up for the holidays before listening to this CD, then you will be as soon as it hits the first few opening notes. Hough has a voice filled with holiday joy, powerful emotion and a sound that makes you want to sing along with each tune. She also shares some special holiday memories with a personal message about her favorite times during the season.
My absolute favorite on this CD is “It Wasn’t His Child / Mary Did You Know.” Phil Vassar lends his voice and talent on this song to bring it to life like no other version out there!Each song in this collection brings out the talent Hough has as a vocalist. “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” Jingle Bell Rock” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” all well known holiday songs, have a new life when performed by the beautiful Julianne Hough. This is a definite must have for your holiday music collection.

1. Sound Of Christmas (Instrumental)
2. Jingle Bell Rock
3. Feliz Navidad
4. It Wasn’t His Child / Mary Did You Know (featuring Phil Vassar)
5. Santa Baby
6. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
7. Christmas Memories (Special Memories from Julianne)
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

For more great music and news on Julianne Hough, you can check out or

Collin Raye A Family Christmas
StarPointe Records
Collin Raye continues to give his fans new music year after year. This project is another example of his vocal talents, a showcase of his strong spiritual values and love and admiration of his family and friends. Raye recorded this CD in front of a live audience, and you can hear his heartfelt and emotional connection to both the music and those in attendance as he introduces each song.
A Family Christmas showcases the talents of his beautiful daughter, Brittany, who joins her father in several holiday songs. The album offers listeners ten holiday songs from the old time traditional songs we have all grown up with, like “Silent Night” and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” to a pumped-up version of “Santa Clause is Coming’ To Town.” Raye also sings the emotional and hope-filled “It Could Happen Again,” an original about the 1914 battle during WW I and the soldiers moments of peace on Christmas Eve.

Collin Raye never disappoints his listeners. These songs represent timeless and unforgettable moments in our lives and showcase the harmony of Collin and Brittany’s beautiful voices as they bring these classics to life. This CD is only available on Raye's Web site.

1. The Christmas Song
2. Angels We Have Heard On High
3. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
4. It Could Happen Again
5. Winter Wonderland
6. Away In A Manger
7. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
8. I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas
9. Silent Night
10. O’ Holy Night

More information on Collin Raye and his music can be found at or

George Strait, Classic Christmas
MCA Nashville

As the title implies, this CD project is filled with ten of Strait’s favorite traditional and classic holiday songs. He chose those songs that he loved as a child; songs that brought back memories of his grandparent's home filled with relatives and he added a personal and Country touch to them. Put this CD in while you and your family are decorating your home for the holidays or as you gather with friends for special times during the holidays, and let it remind you of special memories as you create new ones.

If you enjoy the sounds of Christmas such as “Joy To The World,” “Jingle Bells,” “O Christmas Tree” and “Deck The Halls,” then you will love this CD. Strait adds his own personality to this collection and a special sound to “Up On The Housetop” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

1. Joy To The World

2. We Three Kings
3. Silent Night
4. Jingle Bells
5. O Come, All Ye Faithful
6. Up On The Housetop
7. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
8. O Christmas Tree
9. Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
10. Deck The Halls

For more great music and news on George Strait, you can check out or

Publication: ASCAP Daily Wayne Baird

NASHVILLE, TN. (December 5, 2008) – Producer/Songwriter, Wayne Baird has signed a publishing deal with Nashville's Full Circle Music Publishing. Formally from the town of Jefferson, just outside of Athens, GA, Baird graduated from North Georgia College and State University with a degree in Marketing. He's a former Army officer who worked in pharmaceutical sales before walking away from corporate life to front the rock band, DNY'L in Athens in the early 90's.
Finding his true calling in music, Baird left the band and moved to Nashville in 1994, eventually managing J.D. Myers. Baird credits mentors Jim Cotton, Barry Beckett and Blue Miller for expanding his musical education.
Baird has produced and mixed projects with Thompson Square, Pete Best, Stephen Temple, Julie Downs, Jon Michaels, Tia McGraff and Kim Parent, to name a few.
ASCAP's Ralph Murphy was delighted to join in the celebration at the Music Row offices of Full Circle Music Publishing, saying, "It's like Christmas coming early for me seeing a wonderful writer like Wayne Baird signing with one of my favorite publishers, Full Circle."
Baird is not only a gifted writer and producer, but can mix up a mean batch of margaritas, which he did for the occasion. The tunesmith remained characteristically modest about joining Full Circle. "I'm just honored to be here," he said with a cool margarita grin.

L-R: Ralph Murphy(ASCAP), Lynn Gann(FCP), Wayne Baird, Jeff Ross, Michael Hollandsworth(FCP) and David Maddox (photo credit: Bev Moser)


Adam Gregory To Be Featured On AOL Music's 'The Boot' Concert Series
(Nashville, TN -- December 3rd, 2008) This Thursday, Big Machine/No Strings Attached/Midas recording artist Adam Gregory will be featured on AOL Music in their concert series on 'The Boot', AOL's new country portal. The rising star joins artists across genres, including Fall Out Boy, Dave Matthews Band, Celine Dion, Trisha Yearwood and Daughtry who have brought their live concert performances to AOL. Adam's concert feature, filmed live in Nashville in front of an intimate audience at the Grand Ole Opry House's Studio A, features songs and stories from his upcoming album. Adam performs "Crazy Days", "Down The Road", "Blue Corvette" and his new single "What It Takes".

Adam's new single "What It Takes" just debuted this week for sale on all digital retailers; the mobile content for "What It Takes" was also released.

Pictured above: Rising country star Adam Gregory played to an enthusiastic audience at the Grand Ole Opry's famed Studio A. Industry execs, dedicated fans, radio personnel and contest winners made up the majority of the crowd. The 60-minute, high-energy set included Gregory's current single, "What it Takes," as well as other feature songs off his upcoming album.

Photo Credit: Bev Moser