INTERVIEW: Jennifer Adan Follows Her Dreams And Get's A #1 Hit For Blake Shelton

Jennifer Adan (pronounced Aayden) moved to Nashville in 2007 following her heart and pursuing her songwriting career, two years later she is not only realizing her dreams of having a song recorded, but has secured a #1 hit; “She Wouldn’t Be Gone”, recorded by Blake Shelton, a song she co-wrote with another music row song writer, Cory Batten. Jennifer and I spent some time to visit about the achievement, her goals and the dreams she is still chasing.

Bev: Jennifer it is such a pleasure to visit with you, you must be absolutely elated to have reached this part of your “dream come true” journey. Can you define what that feels like?

Jennifer: It feels unreal. I do not think it has sunk in yet. Knowing that it is there, just feels incredible. It hits me, when people know who I am before I say anything.

Bev: You wrote in a blog in April of 2008 that your goal was to make that song a #1 – did you ever think when you were writing that blog you would be sitting her today and realizing that dream?

Jennifer: At the time it really was wishful thinking, because I did not know what was going to happen. With it being a new song, and a different kind of song, I did not know what kind of reaction it would get.

Bev: Can you share how the song landed in Blake Shelton’s lap?

Jennifer: Cory. 100% Cory. He is signed with a publisher and they pushed it to the music community, who eventually got it to Scott Hendricks, who is Blake’s Producer.

Bev: Had you met with him prior to this or when was the 1st time you met Blake?

Jennifer: No, but apparently I saw him in concert and I have totally washed it out of my head, because I told my sister I was going to meet him for the 1st time and she reminded me he opened for Rascal Flatts. I shared that with Blake and he thought it was funny, but to answer your question, I had not met him in person prior to this.

Bev: With this being one of your first songs to be cut by a major recording artist, do you remember the moment when you found out he’d recorded it?

Jennifer: I was at home when he put it on hold and I was screaming and jumping up and down. I was in the car when I got an email that it would be released as the first single from his album and I started crying.

Bev: When you and Cory wrote the song, I know it fell into place like so many do, just rambling and putting words together as you sat and talked about the surroundings. Do you usually have a method you follow or does it depend on who you are writing with or the song you are writing?

Jennifer: I honestly do not have a method. It can be an idea I have about something I am excited about or something someone else brings, but I never know the direction when I start. In this case we both had some ideas, but we just were not feeling anything on either idea and Cory started out with the flower and it grew from there. I love it when you can have a session like that.

Bev: Do you prefer to write with someone or would you rather write on your own?

Jennifer: I like both. I also write pop music and will get in a mode and do a song from start to finish, sometimes in an hour. I like to bring songs I have written to someone else to bounce ideas off.

Bev: Do you have any one person you really enjoy to write with?

Jennifer: There is a few I write with at least once a week. One person is my guitar player, Zach Below and Canaan Smith and a new singer songwriter, who is signed to Dan Hodges publishing; named Megan Conner. I love all of them. But over all Rebecca Lynn Howard has been my over all favorite. Everything I write with her I really love.

Bev: Has any one person had a big influence on you?

Jennifer: Dianne Warren. I love her style and the fact she writes 90% of everything herself. One of the biggest compliments I ever received was from a publisher, who was listening to one of my demos several years ago and he stopped the CD and asked if I knew who Dianne Warren was, and I of course said “yes”, and he said “you better call her up and tell her to watch out because you are about to take her job.” I was so blown away he said that.

Bev: I know In September of 2006, you won the Jeffrey Steele songwriting boot camp and came to Nashville to work with him. What do you remember the most from that experience?

Jennifer: Networking, networking, networking. Jeffrey and his assistant at the time, Sara Wood, really pounded it into my head to talk to everybody and anybody and really to get out there and put myself out there. I was never that person before, so it was not easy for me to walk up to a stranger and introduce myself as a songwriter. I used to get mad at my mom because she would do that, and now that I realize how important it is, I have become more outgoing and I cannot shut up! (laughing)

Bev: You are also writing several screenplays, novels, children’s stories, greeting cards, and poetry. Do you have a preference on the type of writing or is there really not a difference as they are all expressions of your feelings and outlook?

Jennifer: Songwriting will always come first, but second would be poetry. I love to write poetry. It is almost like writing pop music, because you can be vague and artistic to a point that it does not make sense, but the more exciting it becomes because multiple people can relate to it as they see it different ways. Because of that, I enjoy writing the pop/rock genre instead of always having to tell a story in detail and be so descriptive.

Bev: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?

Jennifer: I do not, I started writing when I was very young with poetry about princesses and fairies, but the first song I did in public and really let people know I wanted to do this was at my parents 25th wedding anniversary when I wrote a song for them and sang it at the party.

Bev: On your website you have a quote that says "I want the world to hear what I feel...", can you put into words what you try to make people feel or you want them to feel?

Jennifer: I want everyone to hear my music, and I really write what I feel, so I want people to feel that.

Bev: Do you also aspire to sing and perform, or do you just want to write?

Jennifer: I strictly a writer, but that said, I have been playing out and doing showcases, to expose my songs and music. I only do acoustic rounds, never a band show. I do not want to be an artist, so I do not present myself as a singer. I have a couple shows lined up. I do not enjoy that part as much, but it is part of that networking and letting people know what I have written, so I have to push it and get it out there.

Bev: As I interview artists, I often ask them if there is a venue that they enjoy performing at, so as a writer, is there any one venue or place you prefer to write at or to showcase your songs?

Jennifer: The Bluebird Café. The first time I went is when my dad and I were visiting and I can vividly remember taking a cab there, pulling up and thinking “this is it?”. But once you hear the music start when the lights go down, you feel it. I just love playing there.

Bev: If you were asked to give someone one piece of advice you have received that you consider most valuable in this business, what would you offer?

Jennifer: Never give up. If you feel passionate about something, do not let anyone stop you from going after your dream. It makes me sad that so many people are afraid that it won’t work out and they give up. You just need to try. So never give up. Keep trying and learn all you can about what you want to do or want to be.

Bev: Have you received any advice that was bad?

Jennifer: I have! When I was in high school, I took choir and was in musicals, you name it. I would always carry a small notebook with me for jotting down my ideas and writing songs in. I hated high school and people were very cruel. There was one particular girl who would steal my journal and read it aloud to the class and it was just a horrible experience. In class one time we were on the subject of song writing and of course another student pointed me out saying I was a song writer and my teacher asked which instrument I played. I did not play anything. He told me to choose a different career path if I did not play an instrument. But I used that experience as fuel and pushed myself harder because of it.

Bev: Has this number one already opened more doors for you?

Jennifer: I have gotten some amazing co-writing opportunities and that is exactly what I want. Giving me opportunities to express myself and then to write with artist and writers I have idolized growing up is amazing. I also have found people give me more credibility when I am introduced, and that is a great feeling.

Bev: Tell me how you feel your life has changed with this milestone?

Jennifer: I am much more busy than I was before. In fact I have my own intern now to help me organize and get things taken care of as I am pulled in more directions and so I can focus on the writing. I am learning to adjust to the phone being attached to me and emails constantly.

Bev: How about the financial part? I know there is a misconception about the music industry and how a #1 song makes you filthy rich, can you elaborate on how this has affected your pocketbook?

Jennifer: I have not seen a penny yet. My parents have been unbelievable in supporting me. I am independent, meaning I do not have a publishing deal so I will get both the writer share and publisher share, so I think I will be fine once I do start to see the royalty checks.

Bev: What is next on your horizon, what goals are your reaching for now?

Jennifer: I just want to keep writing good songs, but the pressure is off now, so I do not have to strive for a number one. Really my goal is to just stay on top as a recognized songwriter and putting out good material.

Bev: You mentioned your publishing is your own, you have your own company that you started right?

Jennifer: Yes I do, called Tommy Jo Publishing, after my mom. I eventually want to be able to sign writers in favor of the song writer, and to be able to help other people. I want to pull them along with me and get recognition for the hard work they do. I assumed growing up that whoever I heard on the radio wrote the song, I had no idea you could do this for a living. So I want to help others realize their dreams.

Bev: Jennifer, I truly have enjoyed this time, and I wish you much continued success. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself with me.

Jennifer: Thank you, I have really enjoyed talking to you.

Bev: Again, thank you so much and I look forward to next time.

For more information on Jennifer Adan please visit or .

ARTICLE: Camp Nashville Press Conference

( L -R Lance Smith, Bo Bice, Darryl Worley, Rhett Akins and Henry Paul)

Ever wondered what it was like to be treated like a Country Music Star? A private press conference held today at Gibson Guitar downtown Nashville released the details on a one-of-a-kind country music opportunity for fans and aspiring artists to attend a fantasy camp in Nashville and see firsthand what it is like to live the life in the spotlight.

Each camp attendee will be treated like a star from the first moment they arrive. Tour busses will pick the “camper” up at the airport, complete with roadies to load luggage and gear. The camp includes a five day stay in a private suite at Hotel Indigo, a first class hotel downtown Nashville. During the five day “camp” superstar artists Andy Griggs, Bo Bice, Rhett Akins, Darryl Worley, Deanna Carter, Henry Paul and Jessica Harp will be coaching the participants.

The star treatment will also include interaction with VIP industry executives and other artists, writers and VIP access at events. The experience will include auditions, rehearsals and the task of forming and naming a band, recording opportunities as well as the chance to write with some of Music City’s best. During the kickoff week for this new opportunity to be held May 21st through May 25th, 2009, John Rich and Ronnie Milsap will give the “campers” a private performance. The culmination of the week is the opportunity to open the show at the world famous Wildhorse Saloon in front of a ticket buying audience for hit maker Phil Vassar and one of the hottest new groups on the music scene, Lady Antebellum.

One of the fun aspects of the event is the opportunity to share the stardom with family, friends and fans through blogs and special “artist” pages on the CMT and Country Weekly and Camp Nashville websites.
Camp Nashville is open to anyone twenty one and older interested in country music at any level of music experience. The five day and five night camp will include everything from equipment and gear to prizes and an opportunity to participate in a showdown for the opening act spot.

To obtain more information and stay current with this amazing opportunity visit

More photos of todays press conference coming soon at

INTERVIEW: Brittini Black

Brittini Black is a music fanatic. According to her mother, Brittini started singing herself to sleep at age three. By the time she was eight years old, Brittini was singing harmonies, and by age 12, as a member of mother-daughter duo Sandra Lee & Brittini, a plan had been mapped out to pursue a career in music. She has been following that map with certainty. Brittini released her debut CD in September and has not allowed any grass to grow beneath her feet since.

Bev: How does it feel to finally release a CD of your own after all this time in the music industry?

Brittini: It feels incredible. I have been waiting on this for soooooooo long. I have been singing since I was three and then as I grew up I sang with my mom, and we had some airplay as a duet and we were opening at some pretty big name concerts when I was 16 and there have been times when I thought, WOW, we made it and then things would fall through. Then a few years ago I thought I had a record deal, I was told I did and it just did not happen, so there have been so many close calls and after awhile you begin to get almost so you don’t believe it is going to happen, even though you are out there and singing, and now, this finally feels so right, I could not be happier with everything. I have a great team behind me and we are doing things in new ways which I am really excited about so I am happy and cannot wait to see what is yet to come.

Bev: This is your 1st CD, is this first you ever made, other than demos?

Brittini: My mom and I had one we had done on our own, but this is the first real one for me and the first time my fans could buy it in stores and online. This has been such a cohesive project and I am so ready and so excited.

Bev: Since the release of your CD, you have been busy with promotions, including the radio tour in your special hybrid car, can you tell me if there are any really funny stories or special moments from during this time?

Brittini: Oh man, there were so many funny moments! I mean you can only imagine being trapped (I say that with love) with 4 other people in an SUV, with a months worth of luggage and camera equipment... after an 8+ hour drive, we would lose our minds! :) We had lots of days where we just drove all day. We'd get so loopy just from being in the car that long that we'd get in the most random and hysterical conversations! You probably had to be there for any of it to be funny, but it sure had us crackin’ up! One of the tangents we got on had us all speaking with an Irish or Scottish accent and trying to maintain a whole dialog using words and phrases that sound funny in those accents. Like, 'Hello I'm Patrick O'Sullivan and I'm goin to the pub on the corner. Would ya care for a big green pint of beer or whiskey? (You've got to do it in an accent or it's silly!) Well, it's silly anyway! haha... told ya it was random!

Bev: Your video for “Good Happens”, was showcased at the CD Release Party and and since then has been received very well, were you ever at a point where you were nervous wondering how it would go?

Brittini: Not nervous, the few people who had seen it prior to releasing it to the public, had a positive response and I think the song itself is a happy feel good song. Shooting the video had gone seamlessly and everything came together so well, we squeezed a three day shoot into 8 hours and it just all worked out so we are thrilled with the finished project. What made me more happy was the fact that the people in the video were at the party, and got to see it for the first time with me and share in the moment.

Bev: Your video has been in full rotation on both the major video channels, how does it feel to see this part of your dream come true?

Brittini: WOW, it really is a dream to be on GAC and CMT and people loving it so much! I was #19 on GAC's top 20 this week! I think I still can't quite believe it. I mean having my video be introduced after Keith Urban?! Holy cow, it's uneblievable! He's my favorite and I'm right up there.It's a crazy awesome feeling. I'm just enjoying every little thing that comes along.

Bev: You participated in the very special event during the holidays this year with Christmas For Kids, how do moments like that touch your heart and were there any memories from this event you can share?

Brittini: Wow, That was such an awesome thing to be a part of this year. I was so touched by the whole evening actually; but I think what touched me the most was the simple fact that people were SO excited to be there! It was a FREEZING night in Nashville, one of the first icy nights of the winter and it was like these kids didn't even realize how cold it was at all. They were loving every minute of it. I was touched at that because sometimes it's easy to feel like something isn't that important or just because it's cold that no one will show up, but that wasn't the case at all. It was so important to these kids and their families. It was the first hint of Christmas, and for some of the kids the only Christmas they were getting, so it just felt wonderful.

Bev: Of course another very big event was your wedding! I know your husband has his own business designing clothes, how are you balancing married life and do you help him with his business at all?

Brittini: Well, we have known one another and have been together since college. My music and career has always been such a big part of our relationship so for us, it's normal... and just really exciting! It feels amazing to have someone right by your side that believes in you so much. He teaches tennis but also has a t-shirt company called Blessed, and it works out so well because he does my merch too! He's so creative and talented; the Brittini Black t-shirts rock! It's fun to be able to overlap our careers like that but still have our own things and root for each other.

Bev: Your song “Life Is Good” is in the movie soundtrack for the new Renee Zellweger / Harry Connick Jr. movie & soundtrack "New In Town".Tell me about how it feels to have your song in a movie, and not just any movie, but one with such big name actors in it.

Brittini: Ok, can we say AMAZING!!! This is one of those things that just kind of happened, so that made it even more awesome. They found my song from searching online or myspace, I'm actually not even completely sure. All I know is I got a call out of the blue! It was such an unforgettable moment to be sitting in that theatre watching Rene and Harry (we're on a 1st name basis- haha!) and all if a sudden hear me singing!! And at such a big part of the movie!... it was a great moment. We had a group of like 25 people there and we all screamed and clapped when it came on... oh the poor other people watching it that night in the theatre!

Bev: Who have you met or been on stage with since your debut that has really touched you or inspired you or your music career?

Brittini: You know I truly do get inspired by everyone and anyone who is talented and doing their thing. There are so many amazing talented people in the world and whether I see a songwriter at a little coffee shop or a huge artist playing at the Grammys, it's all amazing. And it's great to see people working hard, not giving up and being creative. Sometimes I listen to a song and go "GEEZ! That is so cool! How in the world did they come up with that?!" It boggles my mind sometimes and makes me want to push myself in that way too. That is really inspiring for me.

Bev: You just participated in taping the Legends and Lyrics television special, how does it feel to be a part of something this special?

Brittini: I am so thrilled to be a part of it. The Legendary singer/songwriters on this show are just unreal. To be in the same building as them alone is amazing and the fact that I get to sing too is so much better than ridiculous, its REE-donK-u-lous! :) It was a big night for me.

Bev: Where was the 1st stage you performed on? Was it with your mom?

Brittini: I have been on stage and performing pretty much all my life. I grew up doing church stuff and competitions, but the first time actually on stage in front of a crowd was when my mom and I opened for Lonestar at a fan appreciation concert. It was when they were first becoming pretty big and there were a lot of people in the crowd. I remember being overwhelmed and a little scared, and yet it was one of those times in my career when I really thought we made it because we signed autographs after our set for three hours.

Bev: You attended Belmont University, and were a very recognized name, being asked twice to perform the BEST OF THE BEST Show at the Ryman, is that correct? Was that your most memorable time while attending Belmont?

Brittini: Actually I performed twice at the Commercial Showcase, twice at the Country Showcase and then once at the Best of the Best. Everything I did while at Belmont was great, but I would say that the Best of the Best was a highlight and probably most memorable just because we performed with Brad Paisley, who is one of my favorites and he is also a Belmont Alum, so that in itself was inspiring to realize a few years before that he was where I was and look where his career has gone, and we were performing at the Ryman, which for any country artist is a pinnacle moment. Everything about the night was unbelievable and surreal. You felt like it was a huge industry event and very professional and not just a school performance.

Bev: You have written with some of Nashville’s finest and biggest names, who is your favorite or who you seem to really connect with?

Brittini: Tammy Hyler, who wrote Martina McBride’s “I love You” and Collin Raye’s #1 hit “I Can Still Feel You” is one of the writers I really admire and enjoy collaborating with. We are really close on a personal level, and I have met so many more bigger names through her – she actually has quite a few songs on my CD. Tom Douglas wrote “God’s Will”, another Martina hit, and “Little Rock” for Collin Raye, along with hits by Alabama and so many more and I just love him, and everyone really has been so nice and open. Victoria Shaw who wrote Garth Brooks “The River” is my other favorite writer I really enjoy working with her.

Bev: Which songs are your favorites to perform, new or old, regardless if they are your songs?

Brittini: It can change depending on if it is acoustic or a full band performance, but, I really am enjoying “Knock Me Down” which is on my CD. It is a fun song you can get into. The lyrics are fun and you can just get into the character and be animated and have a lot of fun on stage while performing it.

Bev: You wrote several songs on this CD, the 1st release which is also the Title cut. Do you prefer to write your own?

Brittini: I really, honestly want to make sure overall I have the best songs on my project and songs that I can relate to as well as the fans who buy it, and also that I feel I really perform well. I write a lot, but I do not want to isolate myself to only singing my own stuff. From the perspective of a songwriter, to get songs cut is not always easy, so I want to support the songwriting community too.

Bev: If you could choose anyone, past or present to perform with, who would it be?

Brittini: Ohhh, there are so many really, but in Country music it would by Bryan White. I grew up listening to him and watching him perform and I wanted to be the female version of him. He pushes the envelope just a little from the Country music trends, he mixed the Pop influences into his songs and that is exactly what I want to do. I remember seeing him and LeAnn Rimes perform once and I wanted to be her on stage with him so badly. If I could choose someone who is not Country, I would love to do something with Michael McDonald.

Bev: Your style has been described as singing hope filled songs, is that something you hope to continue, to sing inspirational country or is it just where you are at the moment?

Brittini: It is something I aim for, but it is also where I am at the moment; because I am always positive in my own life and I feel it is very important to remind people through my music that it is not always going to be like this, that there is something better coming and it will get better. I like to help people and it is a big part of who I am in general. It was not really something we tried to do or set out to do with this project, but I am glad it did all come together this way, it really portrays who I am.

Bev: Tell me about the project you are involved with, Breakout: The Road To Stardom.

Brittini: My mom has been working on this for some time, four or five years now. It is very exciting, because it picks up where American Idol and Nashville Star leave off. It shows what it is really like when you get a record deal and win contests like this. People in general who are not a part of this industry have the misconception that once you have hit, that all at once you are rich and live in a mansion and live this glorious life and it is not like that at all. It is hitting the road and doing all the promotional things like radio,personal interviews and little shows to get your music out there. This is what I like to call a reality documentary. We are striving for release next Spring or Summer, and it is being pitched to the networks now. This project follows the lives of five people, myself included, who are all Country music artists, we are all about in the same place in our careers and it just lets people see our lives and what really happens and how hard we have to work to be a success.

Bev: What is the most fun thing about being an artist and performer?

Brittini: This is going to sound cliché’, but it is simply that I get to share my music. I know I would be singing no matter what, even if it was in my bedroom, but to be able to sing on stage and share that with people is the best feeling. Seeing fans connect with what I do, and seeing their reaction and responses is simply amazing. Too see a smile or hear the stories on how it affects them is so special to me.

Bev: Tell me about one of the most embarrassing things ever to happen on stage.

Brittini: If anyone ever saw the old pictures of what I wore or how I fixed my hair, oh my goodness. I look at those in horror. Otherwise, I have not had any real embarrassing moments. I did have dream one time before one of my big showcases at Belmont, and the whole stage was a huge trampoline and I feared I would jump right off the stage, and I told that story while on stage and after I did, I was a little embarrassed I did.

Bev: While on the road and on tour, what is one of the worst experiences you have had so far?

Brittini: The only thing that comes to mind was one showcase that was a big deal and pretty huge in general, and I had no voice and I was so sick, and I was freaking out, it was not my best performance, but I did it and I learned from it, but it was hard for me.

Bev: Have there been any other moments that you dreamed of happening, and now that the single is taking off and all the other aspects of your career falling into place, you are seeing the dreams come true?

Brittini: Honestly, having a project out there just feels so good. I love that people are liking it and I hope that continues. Whatever happens, I am a happy camper, blessed beyond measure to be able to do this and look forward to whatever comes.

Bev: Brittini, I want to thank you very much for your time today and for inviting me to share this special time with you. Is there anything you would like to add or to say that we have not covered today?

Brittini: You are so welcome, I have enjoyed our time together. The biggest thing is just to remind my friends and fans to go out and buy the heck out of my album and come to see me at my shows. I am really looking forward to everything that is coming up.

For more about Brittini Black, visit her website at or

CD Reviews: Justin Moore, Michael Martin Murphey and Carla Williams

Justin Moore
Small Town USA (Single)
Valory Music Co./Big Machine Records

Justin Moore sings what he knows, and “Small Town USA” could be the autobiographical anthem for many of his country fans as well. Born and raised in a very small Arkansas town, Justin developed a sound that depicts the epitome of every small town country boy; tell-it-like-it-is lyrics that spell out the simple life he enjoyed growing up with a country twang that is pure and simple.

If you like true grit sounding country music, and you are not afraid of a little dust in the air and dirt on your hands, you will enjoy the sound of this up and coming country star. He is definitely country and proud of it.

Justin may have been raised in a simple life, but he has followed his heart and his dreams and is living proof that if you believe in yourself; that big things can happen. Justin has been on tour opening for acts such as Trace Adkins, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr as well as Brooks and Dunn and has already had radio success with his Top 40 Country song titled, “Back That Thing Up.”

You can find more on Justin at or

Michael Martin Murphey
Buckaroo Bluegrass
Rural Rhythm Records

Bluegrass music at it’s best. How can you go wrong with the amazing vocals of an all time country favorite with the addition of legendary instrumentalists Sam Bush( mandolin), Ronnie McCoury( mandolin), Rob Ickes( dobro), Pat Flynn( guitar), Andy Leftwich (fiddle), Charlie Cushman( banjo), Craig Nelson( acoustic bass) and Ryan Murphey (guitar).

Quoted from his bio “Michael Martin Murphey, "singing cowboy poet", is not only the number one, best-selling singer/ songwriter of American Cowboy Music, he's one of the world's most respected singer/ songwriters in the Pop and Country-Western field.” I could not have said it better myself. This CD takes some of Michaels hit songs and adds the flavor of bluegrass to create a treat for your listening pleasure. Songs like “Cherokee Fiddle”, “Fiddlin’ Man” and “Carolina In The Pines”; a familiar lyric with a new bluegrass twist that have your hands clappin’ and feet stompin. This CD is an absolute must have for everyone’s collection.

1. Lone Cowboy
2. What Am I Doing Hanging Around
3. Lost River
4. Carolina In The Pines
5. Cherokee Fiddle
6. Dancing In The Meadow
7. Healing Spring
8. Fiddlin’ Man
9. Boy From The Country
10. Wild Bird
11. Close To The Land (America’s Heartland)

For more information on Michael Martin Murphey visit or

Carla Williams
I’m Home

A native of the South, Carla Williams brings a sound to the table that is full of raw and powerful honesty. Her first single off of this CD was released to radio earlier in the year; “Every Word You’re Thinking” and brings light and truth to facing the truth in a cheating relationship.”

Carla has a voice that is solid and easy to listen too. Her vocals are pure and carry the song without a lot of production tricks. Simple and a pleasure to listen too. “I’m Home” speaks of love and comfort and is a love song at its best, where “Take It Back” gets you on your feet and swaying with the beat.

1. If I Smoked

2. Mobile
3. You Rock
4. Room for Doubt
5. Party at Home
6. Saving Grace
7. I’m Home
8. Hate the Lies
9. Take it Back
10. Every Word You’re Thinking

For more information on Carla Williams visit or

Academy Of Country Music Award Nominees Press Conference

The 2009 Award Nominees for the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music were announced in a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame during a broadcast of the CBS Early Show by Jessica Simpson, Julianne Hough, Kellie Pickler and LeAnn Rimes.

Find photos below of the private press invitation only event:
(L - R Jessica Simpson, Kellie Pickler, LeAnn Rimes and Julianne Hough with CBS co-anchor Maggie Rodrigez)

Above: Jessica Simpson before singing her song "Pray Out Loud" during the Early Show

(L -R Julianne Hough, LeAnn Rimes and Kellie Pickler as they are interviewed by the Co-Anchor, Maggie Rodriguez of the CBS Early Show)

Left: Julianne Hough plays with the photographers

Right: Kellie Pickler strikes a playful pose during the photos

For more photos of the press conference visit:

ARTICLE: Megan Munroe Performs on Billy Block Shows

Billy Block is as synonymous with the country music scene in Nashville as chocolate chips are with cookies; and the entertainment at his shows is just as satisfying. Megan Munroe recently performed twice on the Billy Block shows; once at the world famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge for his live “Locals Only” show and again at 12th and Porter; one of Nashville’s most recognized and well attended showcase venue’s. Tootsie’s show offers the artist a chance to chat with Billy Block live on air during his radio broadcast and the 12th and porter show is performed live for radio, and the performance is streamed over the internet at

Megan is a beautiful and talented young lady who brings her emotions and charisma to the stage and leaves listeners with a smile. She recently released her first CD titled, “One More Broken String” which showcases not only her amazing range of vocal capabilities, but also her tender and heartfelt song writing talent. Megan co-wrote all but one of the songs on this project with her long time friend and band member, Brian Oaks. The song “Belle Meade” she penned herself.

Megan won over the standing room only crowds at both venues with a taste of the songs on her new release, including the fun and up-tempo “Moonshine” and “Leavin’ Memphis”. An emotional “Nothing Is Easy Anymore” is a tender song filled with raw, from the heart feelings. She also sang “Pennies In The Ocean”, which reflects on life and the overwhelming feelings of how big this world is; a song that holds promise to climb the music charts. “Angel On Fire” was also a crowd favorite, and shows potential as a single. Megan Munroe has a stage presence that allows the listeners to hear the tenderness in her lyrics and yet enjoy the entertainment they came for. Megan is just beginning her journey, and we will be hearing much more from this young artist.

For more information on Megan Munroe visit

For photos of the performances and of her interview with Billy Block visit

For information on the Billy Block Show visit

INTERVIEW: Aaron Tippin "In Overdrive"

Aaron Tippin’s latest project is dedicated to the hard working folk that make up the long hours on the road, sleeping in truck stops and mastering all kinds of weather. This has been something Aaron has had his heart set on doing for a long time. Bringing fans old time favorites like, “East Bound and Down,” “Six Days on the Road,” “Drivin’ My Life Away” and many others.

Bev: Aaron, thank you so much for this time to visit with you about this amazing new CD you have put together. I know you have wanted to do it for awhile, tell me what it is that makes this so special to you.

Aaron: I was a truck driver, so I feel like it gives me the right to do it. When I did drive I would sing along and dream of someday recording them and singing these for a living, so I guess it is a little selfish on my part. I think the men that really convinced me were Jerry Reed and Carl P Mayfield. They would always razz me and I told Jerry I wanted to do his song, “East Bound and Down” and he got fired up and started to help me with the production of it. He really wanted to come to the studio and help us out, but his health failed him at the end. He did however send his grandson Jerry Roe to play drums and his guitar player Bobby Lovett who had played with him forever, so it made this very special to me.

Bev: Is that your favorite on the album?

Aaron: Without a doubt, that is my very favorite song. Jerry was so excited and above that, he told me little secret things he did and I was able to use them on here, so it makes it even more special to me to have a part of him on the record.

Bev: How did you arrive at the songs you did? There are so many good truckin’ songs out there.

Aaron: Some are simply Aaron Tippin favorites. I started asking around to people in town, with people I know in the trucking business and meeting the fans along the way. You start hearing the same songs enough and you know which ones will be on the album

Bev: Let’s talk about the “Drill Here, Drill Now” song. It gained a lot of attention earlier, has there been any one thing that stands out to you about this?

Aaron: The reason I put it on this album was the simple fact truck drivers inspired me to write the song because they suffered the most with the gas and oil problems. Imagine them filling up a semi truck; they have two tanks holding a150 gallons each, and that is a lot of gas and they suffered so much. Seeing this has been a big inspiration aspect of the project.

Bev: I understand you co-produced this CD, do you enjoy the aspect of controlling the production as much as being on the other side of mic?

Aaron: I enjoy both, honestly. I love to put a great vocal down, but nowadays I can take the tracks home studio and work with them there. I am working with my wife, Thea, on her new Big Band Jazz album, and hearing what we can do is going to be really cool. I really do love having the opportunity to co-produce. I have great respect for players and always invite one to be in the mix, my creativity is in song selection, arranging to an extent and being sure to get a great vocal.

Bev: I know you are not one to sit behind a desk and just let everyone else get their hands dirty and work up a sweat, is that part of your desire to make this record?

Aaron: My trucking goes back to the whole farming thing growing up. I learned to drive on a tractor and a hay truck. I was not tall enough to load hay, so I had to learn to drive very young. My kids are driving now, at ages eight and eleven and both learned to drive about age six. On a farm you learn quickly you have to work hard and do it right. It instills work ethics in you and pride in your work. I wish every kid could be raised in the country. Working hard do it right, get it done. So in answer to your question, yes, hard work period was inspiration and the trucking industry is one of the hardest working careers out there.

Bev: Any videos in the works for these songs? Anything you can hint at on what they might be about?

Aaron: So far nothing definite. We have some ideas on promotion but we just want to see where the whole thing goes. I would love to see one made.

Bev: No “Smokey in the Bandit” scene remakes or Greasy Spoon Parking Lot Tours?

Aaron: That is a great idea, I like that. Might have to work on that. (laughing). I have some contest in the works where the winner gets to meet the truck drivers of NASCAR . We are always brain storming to make it fun.

Bev: You have two new originals on here, what was the inspiration behind this songs?

Aaron: One was written twenty two years ago, ”Drivin Fool” and there just was not a place for it until now. I thought it was a great song and I have always had it in the back of my mind just waiting for the right project to put it on. There is a second one I also co-wrote,”The Ballad Of Danger Dave and Double Trouble.”

Bev: As the father to boys, what message does a project like this send to them or what message do you try and show them through what you do?

Aaron: I really try to instill integrity into the boys. I have said this a million times to them. “Finish what you start. You have to go to the very end” and also “do what you have to do and then what you want to do.” Everything you do impacts someone along the way, so think about it before you do.

Bev: I have seen you perform with your wife, Thea, and the boys a couple times, do you see the boys choosing to follow in your footsteps at all?

Aaron: My wife encourages them to be in the music business, she truly is the talented one in our family music wise. I don’t push them any direction really. I bring them on stage for fun. If they want to, I won’t say no, but I am not pushing them. Both boys sing and play instruments.

Bev: Do you take into consideration who a project will impact when you set out to put a project together?

Aaron: I do not aim at a certain crowd usually. This one is an exception, but usually I do what I think feels right. My biggest critics are the people who buy the CD and listen to it and if they dig it, then I know it is good.

Bev: Aaron, always a pleasure to see you and I appreciate you taking a few moments of your time to speak with me. Is there anything you want to say about this CD or project I did not ask?

Aaron: I think you covered it. I am having fun with the CD and look forward to getting out there and doing some live shows.

Bev: Again, thank you very much and I look forward to next time. I wish you much success with this great collection of songs.

For more information on Aaron Tippin visit or

INTERVIEW: Collin Raye "Never Goin Back"

Mark your calendars for April 28th, when long-time music hit maker, Collin Raye, releases his latest CD titled "NEVER GOIN BACK". The first song “Mid Life Chrysler” is hitting radio on March 9th. I visited with Collin about the music, the influences behind it and what to expect in the near future.

Bev: Collin it is always so good to visit with you. You keep cranking out new music year after year, and I am so excited to see a new CD hitting the shelves again. “Mid Life Chrysler” is currently scheduled for release on March 9th – the first song off the CD as a single, is this going to set the tone for the CD?
Collin: The project as a whole is so diverse that I am not sure it will actually set the tone for the album. There are so many different avenues that TIME LIFE wants to pursue with this and I do not think the follow up will be anything like this first single. I have tried to make my records a little more eclectic, which can sometimes hurt an artist, because it makes it more difficult to market when it is not all one kind of sound. This has a wide variety on it from country to pop to inspirational to ballads. I am thrilled how this turned out. This is a special record for me.

Bev: How much were you involved in the writing for this project?

Collin: I wrote three of them. “Never Going Back”, “The Only Jesus” which I co-wrote with Michael Curtis, who was the co-producer on this CD and “She’s With Me” which is the last song on the CD and is dedicated to my precious granddaughter and I honestly feel this is the best song I ever wrote. I have always liked to place a song that is very special to me last on the album, and this is definitely a special song.

Bev: Did you have a hand in producing it also?

Collin: I have been co-producing for about the last four albums, even though I did not always take credit on it. I have not always been the best business man and demanded my name be on things, I just wanted a hand in the music I was making. I finally have taken a little stronger standing and with Michael I have been able to do exactly what we both set out to do together and it really worked well for us.

Bev: How did you arrive at the title, is there any message in that?

Collin: I wrote the first song on the album with the same name, and it has the theme of going down paths that don’t always turn out how we expect them so I used that as the album title as well. The two dimensional side to the album title is that I am in such a different place in my life and with my music now and I think I have graduated past some of the initial things an individual must go through to achieve goals and simply put I am never goin’ back, not that it was bad, but I am not that same person at this point in my life.

Bev: As you chose the songs for this CD, what were you looking for?

Collin: I always gravitate to the songs with impact, but I do not look for them; I wait until they come to me or land in my lap and I feel the impact as well. I have found it to be a recipe that works for me. I had about a four year hiatus this time, so there was no pressure to follow up a previous project. I like songs that take direction and the CD more or less takes shape on its own.

Bev: I know you are a big believer in finding songs that reach out and really mean something to the listeners and we have already discussed the last song being very special, does it also have the most meaning to you?

Collin: Yes without a doubt. My granddaughter Hailey has a mysterious and rare degenerative brain disorder that no one has been able to diagnose, and she has gone from being fine to being bedridden or chair ridden and cannot speak or swallow and it is pretty bad. So the song is about what she means to me. It is very difficult to put into words how you feel. This is a tribute to how much I love her and how she has impacted my own life. As a parent, or in my case, being the grandparent, the first thing you do when stricken with something like this, you try and make sense of it and ask God why. There are so many people that have critically ill children and it touches you more and more when you know that a song you put out there for someone you love can also touch so many other families and individuals in the same place.

Bev: Last time we spoke was right after your song “Soldiers Prayer” was released, do you have any special memories from that song?

Collin: It is hard to pick only one. Every show we do, I hear over and over that people expect this song and want to bring the soldiers out on stage. It amazes me how the families are affected and not only the soldiers and troops. I have met so many of our military men and women, but it is also the family members and loved ones back home that seem to connect to the song. I really have heard so many amazing stories about this song; it would be unfair to pinpoint just one.

Bev: In October, you hosted the Inspirational Country Music Awards, do you enjoy that kind of role or would you prefer to be on stage as musical entertainment?

Collin: I love to host anything. I am a natural goofball, so I love being in front of people. I was honored they asked me and to have such a genre recognize me is very touching. I feel like I am good at introducing other people and being able to make people feel inspired or good about themselves by choosing positive things about them as I welcome them on stage.

Bev: You have recently relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah. What prompted that move and how has it affected your music career?

Collin: My manager lives there and with the mountains it is so beautiful and the people are great, but the health issues of my grand-daughter were the primary reason we moved. There is a wonderful hospital here that does research for children that leave no stone unturned. Primary Children’s Hospital is trying harder than ever to diagnose her problems. As far as the career, I don’t think it makes a difference because everything is so portable.

Bev: As you have matured with the music industry, what have you enjoyed the most?

Collin: I think the honor and privilege of still making records. I have always played music and hopefully, always will, regardless of how well my career is going. The fact an audience will still buy a ticket to come see me is an honor. I truly enjoy the whole process of making records.

Bev: I know your daughter sang with you on the Christmas CD, does she appear on this CD too?

Collin: No she is not; she has been so busy with the kids that we really did not have the opportunity to join me on this CD. I recorded it in Muscle Shoals, Alabama so for her to come there was nearly impossible with the kids. I hope to do more with her though as she truly does have a beautiful voice.

Bev: This CD is released on Time-Life Records, is this a new collaboration?

Collin: Time-Life does things one album at a time, so the goal is to make it a long term relationship and do more, but as of right now we will see how this one goes and take it from there. I have enjoyed working with them so far.

Bev: Collin, as always, I enjoy talking to you and this has been my pleasure to visit with you about the new album and your family. I wish you much continued success and look forward to next time.

Collin: Thank you and was my pleasure as well. I will talk to you soon.

For more information on Collin Raye visit or

CD REVIEWS: Aaron Tippin, Sandy Mason Theoret and The Band of Heathens

Aaron Tippin
In Overdrive
Nippit Records

Aaron Tippin is no stranger to getting his hands dirty and spending time behind the wheel, whether it is in a tour bus or on his farm in Tennessee. His latest CD project is dedicated to all the hardworking souls who put time in the exact same way, pushing long hours and in all kinds of traffic and weather.
A collection of 14 songs, the album includes many remakes of the hits we have heard over the years and are as familiar and comfortable to us as our favorite jeans. Aaron adds his new song, “Drill Here, Drill Now,” as well, which has garnered much media attention in the last few months.
Aaron Tippin represents real, hardworking people and the hard work shows. This compilation is a great companion to hitting the road, turning up the volume and singing along.

1. East Bound and Down
2. Truck Drivin’ Man
3. Drivin’ My Life Away
4. Six Days On The Road
5. Chicken Truck
6. The Ballad of Danger Dave and Double Trouble
7. Prisoner Of The Highway
8. Girl On The Billboard
9 Long White Line
10. Movin’ On
11. White Knight
12. Roll On
13. Drivin’ Fool
14. Drill Here, Drill Now

For more information on Aaron Tippin visit or

Sandy Mason Theoret
Out There And In Here

The new CD by one of the best songwriters/singers in a town filled with talent is best described by her own words. “This music is a reflection of my life out there and in here near my heart.” Theoret stands on her own when it comes to performing and creating a sound uniquely her own. If you are looking for music that is going to move you and inspire you, then pick up the latest project by this talented artist!

1. The Garden
2. Just A Dream
3. Simple Songs
4. We’re All Angels
5. Heaven’s Door
6. Come Be With Me
7. All Your Life
8. Will It Be Broken
9. If I Hadn’t Loved You
10. Out There And In Here / Sailin’

For more information on Sandy, visit

The Band Of Heathens

BOH Records
A Country, soul, and rockandroll sound, The Band of Heathens boasts a natural and organic fresh touch to the music scene. The songs are all recorded in a studio but have the sound of being live in front of an audience.This being their first studio album after two live ones brings together the best of both worlds. This group of young men are defining their niche in the music world. A project with lyrics that flow easily and blend with the amazing talents of the musicians lend to a welcoming gritty and honest sound, combining Americana with the roots of Country and Rock.Definitely a band that is garnering national attention for well deserved reasons.

1. Don't Call On Me
2. Jackson Station
3. Maple Tears
4. Heart On My Sleeve
5. Second Line
6. 40 Days
7. This I Know
8. Unsleeping Eye
9. Cornbread
10. Nine Steps Down

11. Hallelujah

For more information on The Band of Heathens visit or

ARTICLE: Life Through Music Concert for Chris Kent

(L - R Joe Diffie, Jesse Whitley, Chris Kent, Lorrie Morgan and Tracy Lawrence)

Thursday February 5th The Mercy Lounge Cannery Ballroom in Nashville was home to the Life Through Music Concert organized for the benefit of renowned musician and Nashville resident, Chris Kent, who is fighting a life battle with Multiple Myeloma. Chris Kent is a Grammy award-winning bassist who has performed alongside Lorrie Morgan and shared the stage with the legendary Stevie Wonder as well as appearing with countless other artists and appearing on National television many times. Proceeds from the event were dedicated to assist Chris with his medical and family living expenses.

Country Music Hall of Fame member, Jimmy Fortune (one of The Statler Brothers) entertained guests with several songs and his ever present warmth and humor, followed by hit songs and music with Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence, Lorrie Morgan and a special performance by Jesse Whitley (son of Lorrie Morgan and Keith Whitley). Grand Ole Opry member Jack Greene was invited on stage to sing a couple songs, and country legend Vince Gill closed the show. Those in attendance were able to donate funds for a meet n greet with the artists, bid on a variety of autographed items; including a guitar signed by all artists who gave of their time and talent for the guest of honor and silent auction was also held in the ballroom foyer during the event.

Something very unique to this event and to generate awareness surrounding the new MM screening procedure, a certified nurse representing the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), was available at the concert to offer donor information and conduct swab tests. Attendees were invited and encouraged to participate in this life saving screening.
Additional photos of the event can be seen at

For more information on Chris Kent, please visit:

For more information on Multiple Myeloma, please visit:

ARTICLE: Nashville Song Writers Come Together For One Of Their Own

(L -R Michael Peterson, CJ's mom, CJ Watson)

Music City. Nashville. Music Row. All of these describe a city known for its music, but music starts with the talent and willingness of a songwriter to share their heart and emotions through song. The Listening Room on February 2nd was home to nearly seven hours of music and over forty of Nashville’s finest songwriters and musicians who joined together to share their talents and stories all in an effort to help raise money for CJ Watson who recently underwent a quadruple bypass on 12/2/08 and had no insurance available to aid in medical costs, prescriptions and everyday living expenses.

CJ Watson is a songwriter/singer/guitarist and aspiring producer who has shared the stage with Charlie Louvin, Bad Company, Brad Paisley, Foghat, Stonewall Jackson, Wanda Jackson, Humble Pie, Chad Brock, The Georgia Satellites, Black Oak Arkansas, Juice Newton, Blake Shelton, The Byrds and many, many others. His songs have been recorded by James Otto, Mustang Sally, Lisa Shaffer, Jason Whitehorn as well as Independent artists like Camille, Trent Jeffcoat and Christie Warner.

As quoted in the online posting announcing the benefit “He is a faithful friend, and huge supporter of others. He is a talented songwriter and truly a selfless person. His health has been of issue lately, and with minimal complaint forged through everyday continuing to bring joy to listeners all over the country. He will cry with you, pray with you and cuss with you. He has always been there for me. He sacrifices himself for the benefit of others with a big smile upon his face.”

CJ was overwhelmed with the response as the listening room was standing room only and filled with writers, artists, music industry executives, fans and friends; all in support of him. On more than one occasion his eyes were rimmed with tears as he spoke of the love he felt by everyone in the room. He took to the stage, with his doctors blessing, with his band the Evertones (Jeff Gilkinson and Steve Peavey) and Dakota Grove to entertain the crowd with his amazing vocal and instrumental talents. During his performance on stage a guitar that had been autographed by everyone who performed was raffled off and the winner, graciously approached the stage to give it to CJ as a reminder of the love of the music family he belongs too.

Song writers who shared the special night with CJ, included Chris Wallin (Toby Keith “Love Me If You Can”, Kenny Chesney “Don’t Blink”), Steve Williams (Craig Morgan,”Redneck Yacht Club”) Rivers Rutherford (Brad Paisley's “When I Get Where I'm Going”), Tony Lane (Lee Ann Womack “A Little Past Little Rock.”, Lisa Carver (Julie Roberts, "Wake Up Older"), Mark Stephen Jones (Toby Keith, “The Lonely”), and Pam Belford (George Strait,"If I Know Me”) among many, many others.
For full photo coverage of the event visit

CD Reviews: Dierks Bently, Eric Church and Megan Munroe

Dierks Bentley
Feel That Fire

Capitol Records

After two years in the making, Dierks Bentley has a new project ready to go, and it is as hot as ever. Just in time for those itching for warm weather and a new season, this CD is fresh and new and will continue to push Bentley towards more awards and accolades. This is a must for your collection, and one that will withstand longevity.

We have already gotten a taste of the CD with “Feel That Fire,” but this CD challenges the listener to be more optimistic in a world that seems to be in it’s darkest hour with “Beautiful World,” a song about looking for the silver lining and good in the bad. “Better Believer” is another song with a meaningful message and was written by Bentley with Music Row’s Rivers Rutherford. The song reminds us all to look upward and say thanks during the good times and not only when we need a prayer to get us through the tough times.

1. Life On The Run
2. Sideways
3. Feel That Fire
4. I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes
5. Here She Comes, Here We Go
6. I Can’t Forget Her
7. Beautiful World
8. Little Heartwrecker
9. You Hold Me Together
10. Better Believer
11. Pray
12. Last Call

For more information on Dierks Bentley visit or

Eric Church
Capitol Records

Not afraid to take chances, Eric Church will soon be releasing his sophomore album, this one a little more cheery and optimistic than the tone of his first CD. Church has his own sound which has rendered him a following of very dedicated fans, fans who will not be let down with this project.

“Young and Wild” is an anthem song and the name for his current tour promoting the upcoming release, speaking of antics of a young man finding himself and discovering who he is. The title cut, “Carolina,” takes you back in his memories and how we always carry a part of where we come from in our hearts. The single “Love Your Love The Most” will become a song of dedication and requested often on radio. It is so well written and the production showcases the vocal talent of the artist.

1. Ain’t Killed Me Yet
2. Lotta Boot Left To Fill
3. Young And Wild
4. Where She Told Me To Go
5. Longer Gone
6. Love Your Love The Most
7. Smoke A Little Smoke
8. Without You Here
9. You Make It Look So Easy
10. Carolina
11. Hell On The Heart
12. Those I’ve Loved

For more information on Eric Church visit or

Megan Munroe
One More Broken String
Diamond Music Group

Megan Munroe grew up in Washington in a home where you were encouraged to use your imagination and follow your dreams, something Munroe has mastered. This CD is her first nationally released project, but she has been entertaining since an early age and followed her dream of acting at the young age of 17, when she moved to California.

One More Broken String was self-penned with co-writer Brian Oaks on all but one song, “Bellemeade,” that Munroe wrote alone. The overall tone of this album reflects the dreamer and believer that makes up the persona of the artist as you get a true taste of her creative blood and imaginative songwriting abilities. A voice that is fresh and grabs your ear as you listen, we will definitely be hearing more from this gal.

1. Angel On My Shoulder (Devil On My Back)
2. Nothing Is Easy Anymore
3. Moonshine
4. Pennies In The Ocean
5. Leavin’ Memphis
6. Angel On Fire
7. Good Fight
8. Shameless Fool
9. Perfect Storm
10. Bellemeade
11. Speechless

For more information on Megan Munroe visit or .


Every once in awhile an artist hits the music scene and the industry is instantly abuzz as the word spreads! Frankie Ballard is that artist. Hitting Nashville last week at 12th & Porter on Monday night he impressed people so much that they booked a second showcase the same week on Thursday. The second showcase was early which more often than not, means few people are able to attend. Not in this case. The room was literally packed shoulder to shoulder and to the ceiling, as this venue has a balcony, and the music industry was out in full force to watch this hot new artist.

The young Ballard is relatively new to the music scene, not getting into it seriously until age 18. His influences of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard can be heard in his Country / Southern Rock sound. Frankie and his band recently finished recording its first album, "Electric Hillbilly," in which Ballard teamed up with some of Nashville's top songwriters. Its release is scheduled for June 28.

Frankie has already had some major exposure, as he won a chance to perform at Ford Field in Detroit last year with Kenny Chesney on his 'Poets and Pirates' tour and has opened for Shooter Jennings. This is the next Keith Urban. His ability to perform both on his guitar and vocally is a mix Music City has not heard in some time.

Thursday nights song set list included:

Bare Feet

Last Summer

Ridin' Shotgun

My Girls Hotter

Wrong Side

Electric Hillbilly

Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde

For more photos of the showcase visit and for information on Frankie Ballard visit or

BOOK REVIEW: A Monkey Manual For Songwriters

A Monkey Manual For Songwriters
Authored by Karin Paparelli and Bill DiLuigi

When I was first contacted about doing a book review, my initial thoughts were “I review music and artist performances, not books” and I have not taken time to sit and read a book in so long, but this is a book that is about the music and how it is created, so I said I would take a look and give it a try. And I am sure glad I did as the authors have used their god given talents of expression to present an instructional guide that is easy to understand, entertaining and filled with information that will benefit the dreamer to the established songwriter.

This is no ordinary book, and how could you expect it to be with a title like “A Monkey Manual For Song Writers”. It is more like a recipe book for anyone who writes, and not only music, as I gained some extremely useful and thoughtful insight on my own presentations. The book title is taken from the phrase Monkeying Around. Authors Karin Paparelli and Bill DiLuigi began hosting song writer rounds in a coffee shop called the Frothy Monkey, which would soon be referred to as the “Monkey”, so naturally it evolved to Monkey-In-A-Round, and there are always plenty of jokes about monkeys, so a theme was born.

One hundred and two pages long, it is an easy read, take it with you over your lunch hour and it makes for an enjoyable companion making everyone around you wonder what is so funny. The entire book is filled with fun references to the title, but don’t think the book is a joke, as it is a serious guide to anyone who wants to write songs. Every page of the book is filled with exercises to get the reader and songwriter in a creative mode, and search not only within themselves but in the every day surroundings for material for their songs and tools for utilizing the ideas to make music.

Eleven chapters are divided into the basic components and tools a person needs from the beginning to the end of developing a song. Each of the chapters is titled in reference to the monkey theme, including such creative titles as More Fun Than A Barrel of Monkeys, Hey Hey We’re The Monkeys, Monkey In The Middle … you get the idea. The reader is taken by the hand and explained how to come up with a hook and to use it properly, how to implement the rhythm and melody and all the other building blocks and structures involved in creating a song.

As a bonus the book includes a CD with five songs co-written by Paparelli and DiLuigi that are used as references throughout the book to give the reader examples of the lessons and can be used as a valuable reference.

Karin and Bill are both well established in the music community with songs recorded internationally as well as a collection of songwriting awards from such recognize publications as Billboard and American Songwriter Magazine. Both frequently perform at the famed Bluebird Café in Nashville as well as co-hosting their Monkey In A Round writer’s show and many other venues nationally.

To order your copy of the book online go to For more information about the song writers, visit or

INTERVIEW: Megan Munroe One More Broken String

Twenty Five year old Megan Munroe has been singing and writing since a young age. She claims to be the child who always had her head in the clouds and dirt in her hair. Because of her early years, you can hear the unique lyrics and unusual melodies that are fresh and unjaded.

One More Broken String is Megan’s first national release, co-writing eleven songs with Brian Oaks, with the exception of “Belle Meade” which she wrote herself. I had the opportunity to visit with Megan and we discussed the making of her first CD project, her past and her goals for the future.

Bev: Great to visit with you Megan, I know this CD is about to be launched nationwide next week, describe to me your feelings on the culmination of all you have put into this and your expectations.

Megan: To be honest this has been such a ramp-up process all along with all the recording sessions, writing, playing, and now the promotion end of interviews and so on that I feel inundated, but I am so excited. I am prepared. I am really the most excited about playing the new songs live in Nashville and that to me will be the ultimate culmination.

Bev: What was your favorite part of the experience in recording the CD?

Megan: I did not record in Nashville, but chose a small intimate studio in Arkansas out on the river and it was nice to get away from everything and be alone to concentrate on the project and focus 100%. The phase I am in now with all of these interviews and getting out there promoting the CD is so exciting, so I am enjoying this too.

Bev: What are you hearing most about the CD?

Megan: I am getting a positive feedback for the most part, but I have also received some that was not really negative, but constructive criticism in a way. Nothing has been awful. I love hearing the good, but I appreciate the others too because for me to even think people are taking their time to listen to my songs means so much, but to offer support and direction for growth adds balance to everything.

Bev: When you first came to Nashville to live, what was one thing that you were most surprised about?

Megan: Honestly it was the amazing talent and how difficult it would be to get work. In the past I always worked part time and played in my band part time and it paid the bills and the band. Now, I am working full time and pursuing my music full time, one separate from the other so it has been hard, but so worth it.

Bev: You have co-written this CD with Brian Oaks, do you co-write with other songwriters as well?

Megan: I do write with other people too. This entire project was written in Seattle prior to me moving here, so I had not been exposed to a lot of other songwriters. Now that I am here, I have met others and am collaborating on songs and co-writing.

Bev: I understand you left home at 17 to pursue an acting career in California, and you had success appearing in commercials and WB network television show “Everwood” as well as some films. How did that experience help you prepare for the music career?

Megan: It goes back further actually, because before I got to California I was auditioning and putting myself out there so the acting prepared me for all the judging and helping me identify who I am, my strengths and weakBoldnesses. I used to take it all so personally, but you have to separate yourself from the person you are every day and the entertainer, regardless if it is an artist performing on stage or an actress in a film or commercial shoot.

Bev: You have three songs that you have been recorded by other artists and also used in films; do you enjoy seeing that aspect of being in the music business as much as you do performing your own songs?

Megan: It is unique for me to have this experience; I have entirely different feelings when I hear my songs being sung by someone else. It is still exciting and a rush, but to hear my own voice on the radio and singing my songs gives me so much more pride, it is hard to explain.

Bev: Since moving to Nashville, you have been very busy. Besides the songwriting and recording, you also continue to model and act and also design book covers – can you tell me about some of this side of you?

Megan: I work for a publishing company downtown so I am in a creative environment all the time where I get to design covers, I also paint and am entering an art show soon for unsigned artists, so I enjoy a lot of outlets that keep my mind working different ways to express my feelings.

Bev: I know you get some of your best song ideas while running; do you take a recorder with you so you remember them when you are done or does the idea stick and you work through an idea while you run?

Megan: I am a very visual person. When I write songs I see the whole thing more like a movie in my head, so when I get an idea, I tend to create scenes or the song in that fashion as I run and when I get back home I re-play and re-wind my thoughts and write it out on paper to create the song and music.

Bev: What are your goals and dreams now that you have this first big project out of the way?

Megan: I really want to secure a publishing deal for one thing, and of course a family is in the future. I have been married for a couple years now and I eventually want to balance the music and a family. I hope to be progressive with my music and venture into other genres as well. And this is way out there, but I would love to open my own vineyard someday and have a music listening room there.

Bev: As you promote this CD, what are the fan favorites and which song requests do you receive most from the fans and audience?

Megan: Every song has someone who connects to it. Whenever I play the album in its entirety, I get stories from the people afterward who relate to the songs. I enjoy hearing the reactions and I love the feedback, because sometimes they surprise me and interpret the song entirely different than how I wrote it and it makes me realize how a song can impact individuals. I honestly can say there is not just one song I hear requests for all the time, which makes me feel like the entire project is good.

Bev: Is there anyone you have on your list of performers you want to share a stage with and possibly do a duet with?

Megan: There are so many people. Dolly Parton is one person I am still star struck by, so I will say she is one person I dream of working with and would be a lifetime experience.

Bev: On the same train of thought, is there any venue or stage that you want to perform on that you have not yet?

Megan: The Ryman Auditorium tops the list with no question, and the Grand Ole Opry stage. I also would love to perform in New York at the Radio City Music Hall.

Bev: When you look back at this experience, was it what you thought it would be or did it change as it took form?

Megan: Ohhhhh this is a great question. When I dreamed of all this as I worked a day job I hated, I had no idea the outcome. I have found myself reflecting more and more on my life lately as I write and I have realized the dream is more the journey than what I am achieving. Every part of reaching the destination has been a challenge, but it has defined me and formed me into the person I am. I feel like I am definitely on the right path and I try and make the most of every opportunity and learn from every experience. So yes, it changes all the time.

Bev: Is there anything that you want to share with people about this CD project I have not covered?

Megan: This is one of those records that has a group of songs that truly is a foundation that expresses who I am. I am very pleased with how they turned out and I hope everyone can enjoy them and hopefully relate to them too.

Bev: Megan, I have really enjoyed this time and getting to know more about you, and want to say that this CD is an wonderful piece of work. Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Megan: Thanks so much, I appreciate you taking your time to visit with me.

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