Lady Antebellum: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Lady Antebellum LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: With the CMA Fest, talk about how much change has occurred over the last year. Talk about that transition period to the next level of super stardom with your fans.

Hillary: We owe them an arm and a leg. 2010, so far, has been the most amazing year of our lives with the album coming out in January and the Grammys. We have been floating on a cloud. It has been a really great year and what a way to celebrate. The fans are the reason we are standing here right now. Having all these people come into town after the flooding and continue to raise money, bring money into this city when it needs so much repair has been especially great. I think this year especially holds a very special place in our hearts for a lot of reasons. Not only what has happened in our careers but because of what happened in our city.

Q: You had your fan club party today. Tell us about it.
Charles: It was fun. We raised some money for the flooding. Those parties are always so much fun because we see familiar faces, the die-hard fans that come to a lot of shows throughout the year and have been with us from day one, maybe even before we had a record deal. It is our way of showing appreciation and at the same time giving some money to the flood relief. The energy is definitely heightened this year, the fans are responding so much more to the music and it is a great feeling. We are starting to see people that know the words off the first record and I know it is because of “Need You Now”. They are going back and discovering that.

Q: With your music crossing so many genres, do you still feel country?

Dave: Oh yes. Our home is always in country. When we set out to do this, we just wanted to play country music, but it has been exciting for different outlets to play “Need You Now”. The way we look at it is it will bring more fans to country music. I think country music is the best music in the world. It has such a diverse range of authentic and real artists so if we can bring people from all over the world into this genre and they learn about all these other great acts and artists, then that is a win for us.

Q: Do you have any plans to tour internationally?

Charles: We are looking into it. Right now our schedule is so crazy. We have been talking about it. Our latest single has been released all over and the album also. As far as we have been hearing, it has received a good response.

Hillary: It is definitely up on our priority list. We are finishing this summer with Tim McGraw and then we go out in the fall here in the States doing our first headlining tour. Those are first on the priority list, but International touring is right underneath it. We can’t wait to go and meet the fans that we have already made and meet the ones that we hope to continue to make all over the world.

Dave: Hillary wants to go to Australia.

Hillary: I do, really bad.

Q: Can you give some advice for aspiring music professionals?

Charles: Be in the right place at the right time. We recognize, especially being in Nashville, you can go down Broadway and hear singers that are better than us. It is just a matter of right place, right time and hopefully the right sound and the right songs. There are so many things

Hillary: There is a tenacious quality that you have to have. You have to do something everyday towards your craft whether it is write down song ideas, practice your guitar, play a show. I think the best advice we could give is to do something every day towards your goal, whatever that is.

Q: There seems to be a group in Nashville, the young people like you and Miranda and Luke and others that are friends. Can you talk about that camaraderie?

Charles: It just kind of happened. I don’t think it is anything anyone set out to do. We are all like-minded with similar interests. The top of the priority list is music. We love it. I think it is only natural and I don’t think you would ever see it in any other genre of music. You see Reba McIntire, Brooks and Dunn and George Strait and how they’re so close. We would all love to have that kind of thing, rooting each other on, playing on each other records, writing with each other and experience this ride together.

Dave: I think a lot of this stems from songwriting too. Luke and Miranda write a lot of their stuff and we do as well. It is fun to get together with other artists and write and collaborate.

Hillary: This is obvious but we love camaraderie, being in a group and having each other is so much fun. I think it is only natural for us to gravitate towards other people who love what we love and becoming great friends with them is just icing on the cake.

Charles: Get ready for the super group, we will have ten people.

Q: You have picked up so many awards in the past year, do you have any special place you keep them?

Hillary: I have my Grammy award right on my bedside table. I don’t care, I say good morning and good night to it every day.

Dave: I have been giving them to my Mom because I don’t like to put too many of them up. I have my Grammy up like Hillary but for me I just like to have a few. My Mom has people over to the house and they like to see them and take pictures with them.

Q: Do you have any memories from being on the road with Tim McGraw that really stand out to you?

Charles: He teased me about not ever wanting to go out and play basketball with him. He busted me pretty hard about that. He has a tradition of giving a shirt to his opening act and I thought he was kidding at first but his wardrobe person said that is something he does. One day he came out and brought Dave and I each a shirt of his, I thought that was really cool. I wonder how that started? I wonder if it was a new artist, he said “you have a bad style, here is one of my shirts, get started on the right path”.

Hillary: I want one, I didn’t get one.

Q: Did he have them drycleaned?

Charles: I think so, it will be on Ebay tomorrow.

Q: You are going on your headlining tour in the fall. What are some of the lessons you have learned over the years from others that you toured with?

Charles: We have been given a lot of leeway. Most everyone we have opened for have allowed us a lot of use of the stage and creative freedom with our set.

Hillary: Just leave it all out there is what we have seen in all the artists we have had an opportunity to open for. They give it their all every night, night after night and they take care of their people. We have been lucky to be out on some great tours where they take care of everyone from the opener to the guitar tech. That is so important to show them that you care as they work way longer hours than we ever could. Just take care of your people.
For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Mark Wills: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Mark Wills LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: I would like to talk to you about your CMA Festival experience. You have been doing this for quite a few years. Talk about the fans that come to you year after year and what they do for you personally.

MW: I always have this fear that when you show up at a booth, there won’t be anyone there. This is my 15th one, so to be able to walk in and see the fans is great. There are the ones that come back year after year to say hello to you over and over again. You are either doing something right or they have no life. I like to think that hopefully, I am doing something right and that has been our thing from the very beginning-take care of the fan. You can play the politics game all you want to, but if you don’t have the fans out there, when it comes time to sell the ticket? See what happens. That is what we have tried to do from the very beginning; always let the fan know that we are happy that they are there.

Q: Before you were in the industry as an artist, did you come to Fan Fair as a fan and if so, who did you want to meet?

MW: The first time I was here, I had just signed with Mercury Records so nobody knew who I was. I was still the bar singer down in Georgia, but I had the “cool guy pass” that lets you go into different areas so yes, I just walked around and saw some of my favorites. It was the same year that Garth Brooks signed for something like 24 hours. That was my first year, the year “Jacob’s Ladder” came out, so I got to experience great things like that. It has been a constant change because back when it was at the fair grounds, it was a lot smaller. Now that it is downtown, it has grown so much more. I think some of the biggest years we had out there were 30,000 or 40,000 people and now, you are out here and it is 100,000.

Q: Is there anything you do on stage different since this is a larger crowd?

MW: I am slower, I am fatter than I was then. Actually, no. If you come and see one of our shows and we are in a small bar, we try to have as much fun with a crowd that size as we would with 40,000, 50,000 or 60,000 people. It is harder to do with a big crowd. I like to be able to look in people’s eyes, I like to be able to look around in the room and see who you are making a connection with. When you are in a stadium like this with 40, 50 or 60,000 people, to me that is a harder job. When you go to a big show like that, you are watching a television because you can’t see the stage. It is different, you have to work harder for a “big house” like that.

Q: How has technology changed your music business over 15 years.

MW: When I started, I used to have to wear boots and now because it is the big screen, I don’t even worry about that anymore. Technology for us has brought us a long way. We can interact directly with the fans. Back in 1996, there was no Twitter, no Facebook, you couldn’t tell people where you were going. We could, but that was the early days of your website and it was a dial-up. Now I have it in my back pocket. If we record this show, I can have it on the website in 10 minutes, the fan can hear it and feel like they are a part of it. Technology is definitely helping us out in the long run. It is allowing us to be more focused and know exactly who is watching and listening and be able to cater to them.

Q: Can you tell us about “2nd Time Around” and are you working on new music while your fans are enjoying that?

MW: “2nd Time Around” was just something we wanted to do. We have played a lot of acoustic shows of the past few years and you have 30, 40 or 50 tracks when you are in the studio and you come up with things to do with it live.

For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Trace Adkins: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Trace Adkins LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: This week you will be coming face to face with your fans. Country music fans are known for being outspoken and quite possessive of their artists and tend to have a lot of opinions to give. Can you talk about that interaction and are they that forthcoming with you?

TA: My fans, especially fan club members will express their opinions, whether good or bad.

Q: How do you feel about that?

TA: Bring it on, its fine. I think we, as a genre, have given our fans the opportunity to do that. They can get close to us and actually speak to us, ask questions. I don’t think fans in other genres get a chance to do that.

TA: I heard that at your fan club party, you announced that you are going to be a grandfather and have your first grandson. Are you excited about it?

TA: Yes, and this is me excited. My daughter showed me the pictures and it is pretty impressive. She is due sometime in November.

Q: You have been to quite a few Fan Fair / CMA Fests now. Can you share a couple of memorable encounters with fans? Something unusual?

TA: I go back to the old fairground days, I remember a guy hugged me, really hugged me and wiped a booger on my shoulder. That just popped into my head. That is one of my not so favorite memories.

Q: You just finished a tour with Martina McBride. What is one of the most memorable moments during that tour? Also, what are you looking forward to the most with touring with Toby Keith?

TA: Any night you get to stand in the wings and listen to Martina McBride sing is a good night. The last night of the tour, she came out with a big padded butt in “Badonkadonk” and it was crazy.

Q: Will you talk about your appreciation for the fans coming to our city particularly this year when we really needed that shot in the arm.

TA: I am proud of this city and I am thankful that people from around the world can come here and see the fortitude of this town, how we bounced back from this disaster and we are open for business. I think it is a testament to who we are, the kind of backbone we have here in this community.

Q: Can you tell us the best part of being a Dad is for you?

TA: Wow…I don’t know, I guess just hearing little feet running through the house. There are so many things. The tricks you get to play on them over and over because they are not smart enough to figure it out. The lies I get to tell them that they believe.

Q: There have been a lot of changes in your life since last year when you were out on tour with Toby Keith and now you are going back out with him again this year. Are there going to be changes to his or your show?

TA: I don’t know what he will change, but I have a new album coming out and I will put a few new songs in my set and he will probably do the same old stuff he did last year. It was a great tour last year so we decided to do it again and so far, early ticket sales indicates it is going to be strong again this year. We are doing more cities this year than we did last year. I am excited about it, looking forward to it. Touring with Toby last year changed my career; I got to see firsthand how his organization and Showdog Records is run, but also that they place a premium on having fun. That is what I got in this business for in the first place and that is where I want to be. I don’t know how many more years I have left in this business, but I want to have fun in the ones that I do have left. This feels like a comfortable place and the right place for me to do that. I am glad this is where I am at now.

For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Tim McGraw: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Tim McGraw LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: The last scheduled CMA appearance for you was in 2000, why was it so important for you to do it this year?

TM: Well, it is 2010 and I figure in 2020 I will do it again, every ten years. Just kidding but with kids and family and the way records and tours have fallen, when this time showed up, I was always in the middle of doing something or I had been doing so much that I needed the time off. The kids were just getting out of school or we were going on vacation, it just never lined up right for us. This year it did and plus I have one album left, I am going out on my label and new management; there is a freshness going on in my career. I am energized I guess.

Q: Can you give career advice for aspiring music professionals?

TM: I wouldn’t dare give anyone any advice after the way I botched things up. I would say you just have to be true to yourself. I think the times that I feel like I made the wrong decisions are the times I haven’t gone with my gut.

Q: To follow up on what you said about a new era, new album and things, you spoke earlier to Billboard about some thoughts you have on the future of your label. You seem to be acknowledging the changing landscape of music with maybe putting out shorter projects. Can you talk about that?

TM: I like the idea of not having any restraints about what you can do musically, where you really own your music. It has always been frustrating to me as an artist, that we don’t own our music, we pay for it. Everyone thinks the label pays for the music but they don’t. It comes out of the artist’s royalties. The artist pays for the music, they pay for the recording process and then at the end of the day we don’t own our music. For me it is exciting for me to be able to own my music, be able to do any kind of project I want at any time and release it any way I want to release it. I plan on doing that. I plan on doing projects while we are hanging out in the barn, recording that and putting that on line. We are doing 1970s rock cover songs; we will record a club one night and put that out along with a flagship album too.

Q: You are bringing your music to Australia in September for the first time…

TM: Yes, Australia, I am looking forward to it. We are making a family vacation out of it so that will be a lot of fun. I have already reserved a plane so I can fly out over the outback. My middle daughter is a real outdoor girl so her dream is to go in a shark cage off the Great Barrier Reef and see some Great Whites. She is getting certified this summer so we can go down in a shark cage and see them. We have a lot of great plans.

Q: You and Faith have done so much charity work and your shirt makes me think about when she did the adopting program. I know you have three girls at home but have you ever considered adopting a child?

TM: We have thought of it but to tell you the truth, our hands are full. With three daughters, I can’t imagine adding one more to the plate.

Q: Can you tell us what it will mean to you to walk out on that field tonight that was flooded just five or six weeks ago and what it will mean for you to play to all these people?

TM: First of all, I look at it as a citizen. When I moved here in 1989, I instantly knew that whether I was a singer or plugging songs or carrying a guitar for someone, I would always live in Nashville. I really love this city, I love the community, and I love the people. It is a hard working city; a city full of people who bust their butt every day, they go to work, they take care of their family, they go to little league on Wednesday nights and Friday nights and it is just sort of a blue collar type of place. I can’t think of any other place I would want to raise my kids. You feel for people because it seems to always happen to people that really can’t afford to have it happen—people that are living paycheck to paycheck and barely getting by. It is not rocket science, what we do. We are musicians and we sort of get to goof off for our whole career. All we can do it put on a show and have all our friends help. The people that really put the money into it are the ones that were really affected by it.

Q: How do you feel about hosting the CMA Music Festival TV special?

TM: It is fantastic! It is going to be fun. I’ve never done anything like this before so I will see if I can NOT screw it up too bad.

Q: I wanted to ask about “Nashville Rising” and how all the artists have come together. You can’t get this kind of star power anywhere else. Can you talk about everyone’s willingness to come together for this show?

TM: It was pretty much instantly. All those people at Red Light and CAA did all the work. All we have done is ask people; all our friends, people outside this industry, movie stars, and some people made videos and sent them in to show to put on the screens between acts. Everyone jumped on board really quickly and decided they were going to help. I can’t believe how quickly it has come together. I also need to give a shout out to my band and crew because my band is playing for most of the artists. My crew is setting up the stage. They are all donating their time for this event.
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Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

The Band Perry: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

The Band Perry: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: Was tonight the largest crowd you have ever played before?

Kimberly: Yes, it was. We played for about 20,000 last weekend and we will guess that there are about 25,000 out there just now.

Q: Could you talk about your new single, “If I Die Young”?

Kimberly: We are so excited. “If I Die Young” was actually the first single we had in for the album. In a lot of respects, we built this first chapter of our country music careers around it. We wrote it on a cloudy day in East Tennessee where we do our best thinking and it came out of a very “carpe diem” “seize the day” sentiment from the three of us. It talks about making the most of whatever is happening whether that is two years or 20 years or 200 years. We are one week at radio right now and in the top 40 thanks to all love at country radio. It is amazing how many fan stories are already rolling in and what that song has meant to people.

Neil: For some people, it is a song of healing if they have had recent losses and for others, it draws them to live each day to the fullest.

Q: As an act with a record label, I think this is your first CMA Music Festival but is it your first as just fans? Have you been here before?

Reid: This is our first as fans and as artists.

Q: Can you talk about the experience?

Kimberly: We played celebrity softball on Monday, actually tried to. Reid is 21 and Neil is 19 and I am 26—not terribly young although I look 18. At these young ages, you can’t be totally well rounded at the sports thing but what we did here was interesting! We ran as a unit, I got hit in the head with a softball, it was a great night. We played the Opry on Tuesday and got to do our very first signing at a booth today. We also did the River Stage today at 11am and just a few minutes ago, sang the National Anthem.

Q: The past year has been such a whirlwind. If you could go back a year and talk to yourselves, what advice would you give yourselves?

Kimberly: I would have prepared myself for very little sleep. Reid, Neil and I have been playing music together and have worked the last eleven years. We aren’t really brand new artists. Bob Doyle said when we signed our record deal, that we were going to get real busy now and we thought “are you kidding me”?? It took a lot of work to get to this point.

Neil: I probably would have started learning “The Star Spangled Banner” a long time ago.

Reid: We got five hours of sleep a few weeks ago and we were so excited because that just never happens.

Q: What has the fan reaction been like and what have you gotten from it?

Kimberly: We really saw a “fan fervor” turn around when we hit the top twenty with “Hip To My Heart”. We have seen that carry over this week during the CMA Fest. Folks actually know who we are and not just “oh there is an artist signing, let me grab an autograph”.

Neil: They also know multiple songs of ours, not just “Hip To My Heart” and “If I Die Young”. They know the other cuts from the EP as well.

Q: You recently wrote a blog about your “firsts” that you are experiencing. Can you tell us about your favorite “first” so far or one that you are looking forward to?

Kimberly: I think we are united in this decision; the first time we played on the Opry. We debuted at the Ryman last year in November on Friday the 13th. It was on the Ryman stage and a pinnacle moment for the three of us.

Reid: Another first is when the audience in Des Moines Iowa, actually sang “Hip To My Heart” back to us. It was a really great moment.

Kimberly: We weren’t expecting it either. We were doing a show with a bunch of new artists, Easton Corbin and Love and Theft were there, so everyone knew one single per artist and we weren’t expecting that at all. I wanted to tear up during “purr baby purr”.

Q: What is the best piece of advice your Father has given you?

Kimberly: I remember, when I was a kid, and this really comes in handy now since we travel together as adults, they would always carry us to the window if we got into a “sibling spat”, we call them discussions. He would carry us to the window and tell us that it is a big world, it’s a tough world you will have to fight through every day; you’re not going to fight here in this house. Our parents always taught us to be really gracious to each other and we try to follow that. Except for 14 days on the road, it is funny how we can revert back to petty sibling disagreements. Reid starts it.

Q: This week, you are here as fans as well. Have you met any of your heroes?

Kimberly: We just met Keith Urban wandering around the press room and I was so excited. We got to meet Reba during the CMT awards. She was the big artist that we were most excited to meet. It was pretty cool when Dave from Lady Antebellum gave us a shout from the red carpet in front of all the fans.

Reid: We are still waiting for Loretta Lynn hookup.

Kimberly: We got to meet Vince Gill, he actually pitched us the softball and we got a crack on the first pitch.

Neil: We are dying to meet the Zac Brown Band, we love them.

Kimberly: We have a Zac Brown Band crush.

Q: What is the message you want to get across to your fans?

Kimberly: We have different things for different folks on our album. I would say our overwhelming Band Perry theme is just “stick-to-it-iveness”. After 11 years of blood sweat and tears; it will definitely give you a lot of life lessons. Half of this battle is outlasting everyone else so we hope that in our way, we can keep our noses to the grind stone and keep working.

Q: Can you give some career advice for aspiring music professionals?

Kimberly: First, seeing all these kids walk through the lines with their guitars has been such an amazing experience, because there are so many folks hashing and honing their artist chops. I would say the advice we got was good. Play anywhere and everywhere possible whether there is one pair of ears or a thousand.

Reid: You always learn something. We have had shows where there were more people on stage than in the audience and you learn how to play for a few people.

Kimberly: Just stick to it, half the battle is outlasting all the rest.

For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Reba McIntire: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Reba McIntire: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: A few years ago you made your first appearance at CMA Fest in over a decade. What does the CMA Fest mean to you?

RM: It is funny, when we were riding over from the bus in the little golf cart; I thought about how different it was from my first Fan Fair in 1977. There were big busses that pop out, awnings all over. In 1977, I think, I rode into Fan Fair in a car with every piece of clothing I could bum off my college roommate, because I didn’t have any fancy clothes. She did because she was a cowgirl. What it means for me to be here at CMA Fest is the fans are here to see all the entertainers; we have the most loyal fans in the world, any business and any genre. I am proud to be able to come back and say “hi” to them. We were always too busy doing the television show out in Los Angeles. Now, it is very special to come back and say hi and show our appreciation.

Q: I am from Evansville, Indiana and we are building an 11,000 square foot arena to attract talent like you. When you are touring, how important are the facilities and plans? What do you prefer?

Reba: I prefer a full house, good conditions and great catering (she laughs). The number one thing is that the fans have comfortable seats and the sound is good.

Q: You recently did a cover of Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy”. What drew you to that song to do the cover and are you a Beyonce fan?

RM: I am a big Beyonce fan and it was Narvel’s idea to do that. They said for the unplugged session they wanted me to do a cover song and I said let’s do “Fancy” and they said I had already recorded that, I said I know but it was Bobby Gentry’s. I didn’t want to have to learn another song. Then I said “That’s The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” and they said no, you recorded that too. I said Lady Gaga? Narvel said let’s do “If I Were A Boy”. He’s the one that picked that out. I didn’t even know the words to it until I got the lyric sheet.

Q: You had a real highlight moment during the awards show the other night with Kenan Thompson. Tell us about when you first became aware of his impersonation of you and your thoughts on that.

RM: Oh…the emails I started receiving on that is when I got the first inclination that Kenan had been impersonating me. When I watched it, I didn’t like it at all and was very offended. I kept watching it and realized he was making fun of himself. There were degrees of it I wouldn’t let kids watch, but there were parts that were really funny. Imitation is a form of flattery and I thought it was all done in fun and Kenan is a sweetheart of a guy. I really had a good time with him the night of the awards show. He is a very nice young man and we had fun. I really did enjoy him.

Q: You have a really busy weekend coming up. You are christening your own ship and then in July you are performing in Washington D.C. Tell us about that.

RM: It is not my ship; although I like the sound of that. I am the Godmother of the Norwegian Cruise line ship “The Epic”. I get to throw the big champagne bottle, bust it up and everything—hopefully it will bust the first time. Then we go to Washington D.C and we get to sing a couple of songs and be awarded an award. There is going to be an orchestra and band and will be a very fun weekend. I am really looking forward to it.

Q: You have already appeared on Broadway once and there are many reports about you doing “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”. You had the part in the “Titanic” and couldn’t work it out. Are you considering this project and what it would mean to you?

RM: The character Molly Brown is a very interesting character, very similar to Annie Oakley; a very strong woman that had a huge ambition. She wanted to be rich and get to Denver. In her travels to Denver, she goes to this town Leadville and meets the man she falls in love with. It is a very appealing story to me. We have gone to New York and listened to the reading and the songs and they did a little production for us. There is a lot of tweaking because it is a total rewrite of the story. I learned a lot about Molly Brown that I didn’t know before. I don’t know if it will come to fruition. It depends on scheduling and it is a long time away.

Q: What is the best advice your Father ever gave you?

RM: Daddy never understood why I wanted to do something I wasn’t good at; which was competing in rodeo. It aggravated him, because he thought I had something different with my singing. I think the best advice was to quit the rodeo circuit and stick with singing.

Q: Can you give career advice for aspiring music professionals?

RM: Practice a lot, perform everywhere you can get a chance to hold an audience captive and write songs. Red Steagall told me that early on; write every day. I wish I had taken his advice early on.

Q: You stopped working the honky tonks because of the smoke and have gone to arenas. Why are they better facilities?

RM: They hold more people. I am with a wonderful package deal with Lee Ann Womack and George Strait and we can fill the seats. That is a wonderful feeling. I have gone from doing two shows from the back of a flatbed truck for the same 78 people to filling an arena with thousands of people. It’s wonderful to walk out there and hear the audience screaming and clapping and having a wonderful time, it is great.

Q: Can you elaborate about your collaboration with George Strait on this tour?

RM: Well, Lee Ann comes out to sing and then I come out to sing and then George comes out to sing. That’s our collaboration. What happened is last August we were doing a show in Dallas at the Texas Stadium and it was George, Lee Ann, Blake Shelton and myself and it went so well, George said let’s do some more and I said ok.

Q: Can I ask you about attending CMA Fest at a time when you are more relevant than ever and your career is hotter than ever? It is so competitive and some of the acts that have been around for a long time feel they are not getting their just dues and you are just as hot and competitive as the young artists. Are you enjoying this experience?

RM: I can and I am having a blast at this time in my career. I have teamed up with Scott Borchetta again and Valory Music Company. We use to work a lot together back in the 1990s at MCA/Universal and it really is so much fun. I think I am enjoying it more now than I ever have. I am not sweating or stressing out about it. I love looking for the songs, I love listening to the demo tapes, I love writing with different people getting ready for the new album. I love going on the road. Narvel and I have so much fun out on the road touring and then when we’re getting a little tired and need to recharge the batteries, we take off and go see the world and take a little vacation. This is a wonderful time in my life and I’m having a blast.

Q: Has any singer or song you have heard lately really excited you?

RM: Randy Houser’s album, “Anything Goes”. I love the whole album; it is a spectacular album; also the success that Lady Antebellum is having; I am really thrilled for them.

For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Rascal Flatts: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Rascal Flatts LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: You had fans camping out for 20 hours or more to get tickets to celebrate your ten years. How do you feel about that and the support you have received from your fans?

Gary Levox: I don’t think there are words to describe 20 or 30 hours of sleeping on a sidewalk just to get in and see us at the CMT signing. The reason we have had ten years in this business is because of the fans. They have supported us in everything we have done. We actually call them our “fam club” because we spend as much time with them as we do with our own families. We are humbled and grateful and can’t wait for the next ten years. We are thrilled to death to be here and to shake their hands and take some photos.

Q: Is there anything you would wait in line 25 hours for?

GL: Krispy Kreme! And only if they’re hot.

Q: With ten years in, can you reflect on what it is like to be the headliner for the show tonight?

Joe Don Rooney: It is a little bit of an undertaking. There are a lot of people out there and we want to go out and do a really good job. We want to represent country music the best you can. We have put in a lot of hard work and a lot of time in the last two years. We have learned where our strengths are; we know what our weaknesses are and we try to stay clear of those. It is a big responsibility when you get to headline something this prestigious for country music; a blessing.

Q: You are going to be kicking off your ten year celebratory tour and the last time I talked to you, you mentioned it might take on a Reba-esque feel in terms of set change and costume change. Can you tell us what is in store?

Jay DeMarcus: We always try to out do what we have done before and it gets harder with every year. We have had everything, including fireworks. It is very difficult figure out how to take it to the next level so this year we decided to make it really simple and do as much music as we can. We are going to take the fans on a journey through the past ten years. We will start with “Praying For Daylight” and work our way through as many hits as we possibly can. It will be four hours and forty minutes probably; Gary won’t be able to breathe by the time we get to the last song. We are really looking forward to this; it will be a lot of music, very little talking and get to as many of their favorites as we possibly can.

Q: The people at the record label are really chomping at the bit to get this new single out. Can you preview that? Will we hear it tonight?

JD: We don’t have a record label anymore. We are not going to do any new music tonight but we have so options that we haven’t really picked a new single yet. All I can tell you is we are real excited about the new music and it is a different path for us this time. We cut some things that we wouldn’t have cut in the past and we are excited about doing something a little different. We have been with Dan Huff for four records now and he really pulls something new out of us every time we get in the studio. This time, we went to Santa Barbara for about a week and tracked and did some recording just to mix it up a bit. The three of us stayed in one house, which was very cool. We just focused on the task at hand, got to collaborate and talk about the direction of this record and really focus on it a lot more than other projects in the past years.

Q: A couple of you use to be in Chely Wright’s band. Have you talked to her since the book came out and give your support to her?

JD: No, I haven’t been able to talk to her but I got an advance copy of the book. I was pretty disappointed I wasn’t in there more because I feel I was instrumental in her life and her career and playing keyboards for her. Just kidding.

GL: The only picture of me in there, I am turned sideways.

JD: Just like an album cover.

JDR: We wish her the best. She was instrumental in us meeting each other.

Q: Is there any advice your Dad gave you?

JD: Yes, and I didn’t follow it. He told me to be the lead singer because I would get all the attention, get all the women. Again, I wish I would have listened to my Father now.

GL: “Don’t eat yellow snow” I think was what he said, being from Ohio. Other than that I don’t know, you get so much great advice.

JD: “Liquor before beer, never fear; beer before liquor, never sicker”. That is what my Dad told me and I follow that to the “T”.

GL: All of our Dads always played Honky Tonks, so we have always had that type of guidance in our lives. That’s where wisdom comes from.

Q: One of the things that is so interesting about this festival is so many artists come together and everyone is playing for free. Can you explain why they do that?

JDR: I think that is why this week is so special. We are giving back to the fans that have given so much to country music for lots of years. It is great to see the younger generation loving country music and coming here with their parents. Some are actually old enough to drive themselves here now. I feel it is our responsibility to give back to them. It is probably the only genre of music that still does that for and with the fans. I think that’s what makes being in country music more special.

Q: You guys are pretty fashionable and it has become popular for a lot of country artists to come out with their own goods and wares. Reba and Taylor Swift have their own lines. Are you thinking of anything along that line? Maybe accessories or something/?

GL: We have actually talked about that.

Q: A lot of bands don’t last ten years; they end up wanting to kill each other. How do you manage to stay friends?

JD: It has been interesting. As you grow and change you develop three different opinions about everything. I think the common thread we’ve had is when we first started out we genuinely cared about each other and that has not changed from day one. We have, over the years, always put the other guy first. It doesn’t always work that way because we are human beings. At the end of the day, we are always able to work out our differences with love and respect for each other and it has been a really wonderful ride. I dare say I couldn’t do it with any other guys. It takes a unique chemistry to exist in that kind of an environment

Q: Can you tell us how you are recovering personally from the flood and how the city is recovering?

JD: I love the fact that everyone has pulled together and helped each other so much. It is wonderful to see the community here and see how they have come to each other’s rescue. It is really tough to talk about guitars and amps when some people have lost everything. While we did lose a bunch of stuff in the flood, Joe Don lost some guitars and I lost some basses and amps, my heart bleeds for the people that lost everything they ever owned, their cars and homes. We can replace guitars and amps but what we can’t replace is the love…I don’t even have words to describe it. I have watched it on the news so many times, people coming to each other’s rescue and neighbors walking down the street helping neighbors tear out drywall and wet and rotting wood. You can’t find that everywhere in this country and Nashville is a very special and unique place because of that.

Q: With ten years in the business, you have met a lot of fans. What is the most whacky or craziest thing a fan has done?

GL: There has been a bunch really. One lady scheduled a C-Section around our tour. She actually was going to have a natural birth and when she saw she wasn’t going to make it, she scheduled a C-Section so she could make sure she could make the show. Signing? Things like infants! Signing children is pretty weird; but we didn’t do it; we were asked though.

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Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Randy Houser: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Randy Houser LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: Can you tell us how it feels to be out there on that big stage and interacting with the fans this week?

RH: It is so amazing for me since I am making the stretch from playing the River Stages the last few years to playing the big stage this year. I’ve always pictured a big tall building with a ladder and I feel I am just getting to the bottom of the ladder. It is amazing to see all the people out there supporting country music as a whole and then to finally be one of those artists that they came to see. It’s pretty cool.

Q: You have a new album coming out in September titled “They Call Me Cadillac”. Talk about that and how you got the name “Cadillac”

RH: Yes, all my friends call me “Cadillac”, that is my nickname. I think my buddy Dallas Davidson, a songwriter around town, was the first to start calling me that. People ask Dallas why he calls me “Cadillac” and he always says “’cause he’s smooth”. I like everything to go real smooth.

Q: People are still talking about your opener at the CMT awards with Kid Rock. Can you talk about what it was like being on stage with him?

RH: It was amazing. You look around and see the amazing backup band Kid Rock had. We were all at rehearsal; I have to call it an unorganized chaos for the two days of rehearsal. The best part was being together with all our buddies for two days and catching up because we are all in different parts of the country at different times. We rehearsed with the pyro and all during that time. Trace (Adkins) and I were standing off to the side and we heard Kid Rock say “throw your hands in the air”, you could see the light switch go off in Trace and it was like we went into a fighting mode. We went out there and flipped the “switch” and it was time to have a good time.

Q: You mentioned on Twitter that you had just gone in and recorded some acoustic versions of some of your songs. Can you tell us what that is about?

RH: There are some things we want to do online and some things my label wants to do; some exclusives. There is one project on the new album that I recorded acoustic also; it is a song that was on Jamey Johnson’s first album that I wrote called “Lead Me Home”. A song that I wrote about my Dad when he passed away. It is fun for me to sit down with my guitar and play songs just like the day I wrote them. I think that is a perspective that fans don’t get a lot of times from artists. Me, as an artist, I love to go to the Bluebird and hear those songs the way they come out of the person that wrote them. There is no truer form of music than hearing the songs the way they were written. I still love to sit with my guitar and play my songs the way I wrote them. I think that is part of the idea behind that.

Q: Can you talk about your new single and the inspiration to release it?

RH: The inspiration is summer and we needed something fun and up tempo.

Q: You and Jamey Johnson collaborate and work together a lot. Do you think you will ever put out a live album?

RH: We have talked about it. One of the things that a lot of people don’t know about is when we did the CMT tour, we had a truck come out and record us for two weeks. On those shows, we would each do an hour and then come out and maybe do another three hours together. There are a lot of things we have in our hip pocket that aren’t mixed yet that could make a great live album. No one knows about them, but I guess you know about it now. We have talked about it, but maybe not just the two of us. We have a lot of good buddies we love and appreciate as artists that came up with our bunch and wrote songs with us and I think that if we ever do that, it will include other guys.

Q: On your new album, you do a song with Lee Ann Womack. Talk about that collaboration.

RH: Lee Ann is probably one of the best singers we have in our format. I wrote this song with Danny Green and it is called “Addicted”. From the time I wrote it, I could only hear one voice singing harmony parts with me and it was Lee Ann Womack. It is a cool song, but probably could never be a single because is it about five minutes long and that won’t work for radio. It is one of those moments on the record that I truly love. I called Lee Ann and told her basically I had to have her on this song. She was great and said she would. I had gotten to know Lee Ann from doing a few radio shows together. We would sing together on radio events and found we sounded pretty good together and so I asked her and she agreed to do it.

Q: You recently helped Southwest Airlines kick off their Nashville to Panama City route with Little Jimmy Dickens. You called him a very inspiring teacher; can you tell us what you learned from him?

RH: Jimmy is 89 years old and such a cool guy. He moved to Nashville in 1948. Think about the wisdom he has gathered through the years. That was a pretty impressive time. There wasn’t any digital media and all the things we have going on today. To watch a guy still embrace the things that are coming along at 89 years of age is great; he could easily not “get that”. At his age, he still cares about going out and doing shows. He has a lot of fans. I promise you that when we went down to Panama City, there were a whole lot more people there to see Little Jimmy Dickens than there was to see Randy Houser. He is embracing digital media and he is taking care of his fans. When I said he was a teacher, it is not like he sat down and put a ruler down and taught class, but to see the class he had and to have been doing it that long is amazing. He told me things that I can’t share, but basically he told me to be good to folks.

Q: Reba was here last night and was asked who is the new country artist she is most excited about and she singled out your album. How does it feel to get the stamp of approval from some of these legends?

RH: It doesn’t get any better than that and Reba is obviously the queen. She is another one that I have grown up listening to. I started listening to her music as a child, around 1981 or 1982. She is a great singer and artist. She has her performance down and to watch someone like that work; a true professional. That is one of the things we aspire to be as artists and here I am, I am a baby act. To have someone like her say she likes my music? You can’t get any better than that and it means the world to me.

Q: Jack Ingram caught your amazing laugh on tape. Is there any thought of making that a ring tone?

RH: I think there already is one and how I know this is about three days ago, my girlfriend’s phone rang and there it was. It freaked me out. I don’t know where it came from. I think some of my people took little clips of me giggling and stuck it together and made a ring tone.

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Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Keith Urban: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Keith Urban LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: Can you talk about what this week means to you? Everybody is coming together for the CMA Fest and part of the money is benefiting the city and flood relief. Can you talk about what it means to you this year?

KU: It feels a little bit like the Jazz Festival we played down in New Orleans after Katrina. It gives it a different type of celebratory essence to the festival this year. For me, it is all about community. Country music is hard to define musically because it ebbs and flows in and around like it always has done but I think the one constant is the community feeling in country music. It has never been more apparent than here recently.

Q: You talked about the oil spill during the CMT awards. Can you elaborate how you feel about that and how friends of yours feel?

KU: I have not spoken to others in the community about that, but I think it is a shared consensus of frustration more than anything I think. I just feel for everyone down there. Families that have been in these businesses for a long time, generations of them being affected and maybe for ever. And then there are the new ones. I was watching this guy that had just bought this massive new boat and is mortgaged up to his “hiney” and was anticipating so many years to pay it off like you would do and now he is sitting there looking at his boat thinking what is he going to do. That sort of stuff, separate from all the environmental aspects, that is just really heartbreaking for me to see. Those people weren’t at fault.

Q: You have such a beautiful family. Is your daughter more like you or your wife?

KU: She is a good mix I think, she has my wife’s legs, that is for sure. She is going to be tall.

Q: Can you talk about the connection you have with your fans when you perform live? When you are up on the stage and playing to thousands of screaming fans, it is almost like they are part of the stage show as well.

KU: Definitely. That is it, it is 50-50 I think. It is sort of like we are an oversized “ghetto blaster” to a degree. We provide the PA and you guys show up and we will make it happen. It’s like any party, they have to be into it or it is not going to happen. For me, it is making sure that every single person feels connected. The best concerts I ever went to from Mellencamp to Springstein all made me feel so connected. They made me feel like they cared about being there.

Q: What is the most important part about the CMA Festival for you?

KU: I think the random set of happenings with the fans being able to run up to your car at a traffic light, throw CDs in the window and things like that. I just like the energy that happens in town during this week. There is a place in Australia called Tamworth. It has a small version of this, but it is the center of country music in Australia. They had a festival for a week in January. This is much bigger but theirs, but has the same feeling. It is like a huge family gathering. I love it.

Q: You and John Mayor are going to have your CMT Crossroads show on this Friday. What is it about playing with him that you enjoy? Have you guys ever thought about writing together or doing a duet together?

KU: Doing Crossroads was great. I find a great common ground with John as we play. We come at it differently, as we have very different musical styles that we are influenced by, but I think there is a middle ground and it could all connect somehow. I like the language of guitar players, I like them to speak through playing. I think that is why I like collaborating with different people because it is different “conversations”.

Q: Do you have any career advice for aspiring music professionals?

KU: Go on American Idol? I think the most important thing is there are no rules. There is no “you must this” and “you must that”. Everyone will find their own path and everyone is different and I don’t think there is any wrong way. You learn so much from the wrong roads. I remember some of the people, when I was growing up, that said things that just infuriated me but now when I look back, they just fueled my fire. The ones that annoyed me, I remembered more and am grateful to them, more so than the people that were “rah rah”.

Q: Your live show is often cited by your peers as one of the best live shows out there and you have a new concert coming up. I know there are always going to be some elements that are going to be the same but can you tell us how you are approaching this new tour to continue to make it exciting and grow for your fans?

KU: This is a festival so it is a different kind of thing. You don’t really have production like when we do our own headlining shows, it is more about getting a set list together and make that connection. Outdoor places are tricky because you don’t have the ability to harness everyone under one roof. It flows out in a different way. Hopefully it is just about a great time and singing along, feeling good and feeling connected.

Q: Can you tell us the best part of being a Father?

KU: The best part of being a father? All of it for me, there is always something new. That is what I love about it. It keeps coming on—I think “Oh my God, that is my daughter”. It’s beautiful!

Q: Are you going to have any more?

KU: I am not not trying…
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Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Jason Aldean: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Jason Aldean LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: Tell us what you have in store for the fans tonight. It is a sold out crowd.

JA: I have a few more hits since the last time we were here; so I have those in store. Every year we come here it is a thrill to play the stadium. It is a big thrill for us as artists to go out and play in front of that many people. Other than Chesney, no one else gets to do that. It’s fun; we just go out and try to make sure they have a good time. We have a blast up there. People come to this festival from all over the country so we want to go out and give them the best show we can.

Q: Can you talk about the experience of hanging out with your fans this week, getting to meet them and give back to them.

JA: It’s been fun. I went over to the Convention Center today and did a couple of autograph signings over there. It is a little crazy over there; but it is also one of the coolest parts of the week because you get to get up close and personal with everybody. It is just a fun week. You get to go out and see how many fans you really have. For me, that is the cool part.

Q: Did you get any whacky fan requests today?

JA: Not this year. I have had some from past years, but today was pretty good, nothing too crazy.

Q: Can you give some career advice for aspiring artists?

JA: I don’t know if they want to follow in my path but I would say first of all, Nashville is the place to be. If you want to be a country music singer, this is the place to be. If you are a singer and you move to this town, everyone wants to start changing everything about you to make you look more marketable. As an artist, you have to stay true to what it is that you want to do and know who you are and what kind of songs you want to play and stay with that.

Q: Is there anyone that you are looking forward to seeing perform at CMA Fest?

JA: I am looking forward to seeing McGraw tonight. We were actually out on tour with him a couple of years ago. I haven’t seen his show in a couple of years. I think he goes on just before or after us so I will be there. I also want to see Lady Antebellum’s show. They were on tour with us a few years ago and obviously their careers have blown way up since then.

Q: As your daughters get older and your fame climbs, are they starting to notice that Daddy is a singer?

JA: Yes, my oldest especially. She is seven now and she gets the idea. She was three when everything took off so she is starting to get a little more of a grip on it. My youngest is about to turn three and I don’t think she gets the idea yet. She calls me “Daddy Aldean” when I have my hat on and any other time I am just “Daddy”. I don’t think she has really put it together yet.

Q: Can you talk about these festivals that bring together you and some of your peers that you don’t see often.

JA: It is fun. We all tour with each other at certain points and then after the tour is over, we go off in different directions. It is not until an awards show or festival that we are all together again and hang out. An example is Luke Bryant was out on tour with us this spring. We hung out pretty much every day. Then we went out with Brooks and Dunn and he went out with Miranda Lambert, I think, so we have not had any time to hang out together. So last night after the show we got a chance to go out and have dinner and talk and catch up. The festivals are the same way. Those are shows we look forward to.

Q: Have you started on the next album?

JA: We are about half finished with the next album. We have probably cut 10 or 11 songs so far. We have not finished all 11 of those. The current single out is “Crazy Town” and then our next single after that will be from the new album. I am not sure which one it will be yet but we have it narrowed down to two I think. We will have some new music out there and the way we are looking it will be somewhere around November for the new album. We are in the studio and working on it every time we have a day off and hopefully have it out before the end of the year.

Q: Your single is “Crazy Town”. What is the craziest town you have every played?

JA: With all the shows we have done in the last five years, I need to think about this. My home town is pretty crazy; just because. We try to go back there once a year and play a show. It is more than just the show; we usually spend the whole day running around doing all kinds of things. Last time we were there, we went to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and did some things there. It is always pretty chaotic when we go to my home town. I will take the easy answer there and say Macon, Georgia.

Q: Last year, a promoter told me you were the hot act to watch on tour. Can you talk about your tour? I know you have been out with Brooks and Dunn, what do you have coming up?

JA: We have one more week left with Brooks and Dunn and then we will go out on our own. We are headlining some of the fairs and festivals throughout the rest of the summer. Our new tour will kick off sometime in September. We will go back out and do the headlining tour, our tour and that will probably go into next Spring and Summer and coincide with the release of the album and other things.

Q: Does the tour have a name?

JA: Not yet. Neither does the album but we are working on that.

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Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Kellie Pickler: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Kellie Pickler LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: This is the first year that they have sold out the single night tickets three nights in a row. Do you think people came out in response to rebuild this city after the flood?

KP: Absolutely! I think what is so great about the CMA Music Festival is it is really the one time that we have all the artists in town; everyone, songwriters, musicians, singers. It is the one night where we have all of us together and it is all about the fans and all about embracing country music. It is really special; everyone has really come together in this town since the flood. It was so devastating, people losing their homes and lives. I think it speaks highly of Nashville that there wasn’t a lot of looters or crime during all that. Slowly but surely we will come back together. We are not going to let a little or a lot of rain stop us from enjoying what we are all here for and that is each other and music.

Q: For your new single “Makin’ Me Fall In Love Again”, I am interested to know about the video. I know you have done several U.S.O. tours. Tell me about that idea and incorporating it in such a fun way into the video.

KP: I love the 40s. We did like a 1940s type of theme which was my favorite era. My sister tells me I was born in the wrong era. I love the women from back then, the class, the clothes and the grace. I love the U.S.O. and work closely with them. I have been overseas a few times, Iraq, Germany, Kosovo, England, Afghanistan, Kuwait and everywhere else that has a lot of sand and camels. It was really special and important to me to tie that in to the video. Any opportunity that I have to plug the U.S.O. and our military, I always take advantage of because if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here right now having a good time. I am very passionate about that. I have several family members that were in service. My Grandfather was in service and a lot of my friends are in Afghanistan and Iraq right now so it is wild to go over there and do a show and meet and greets and run into people that I went to high school with or worked with at Sonic. I had a lot of fun shooting the video

Q: You are getting ready to go on the road with Rascal Flatts. Tell us what excites you the most about this tour. You spent the last year and a half out on the road with Taylor Swift on her Fearless tour. This is a huge change.

KP: I had the privilege of touring with Rascal Flatts a couple of years ago. I had so much fun; those guys took me under their wing and adopted me as their little sister. I look at Joe Don, Gary and Jay as three big brothers I never had. I am very excited about going back on the road with them. It is all about having a good time, embracing the music and fans. I had a great time with Taylor; she is like a little sister to me. We had so much fun on the road together, sold out shows everywhere. It was a little bit younger demographic than Rascal Flatts but we still had an amazing summer.

Q: With a couple of years into the Country Music scene, are you more mature as an artist? Have you changed much?

KP: I think the number one question I get asked is “Have you changed”. Yes, I have changed so much. That is what life is really all about; it’s about changing, growing and learning more. I’ve changed so much since I left my small town back home, because I have seen the world, I’ve seen other cultures and been in places I never could have dreamed I would have been. I never thought I would wake up one day and be in Afghanistan. I have changed and grown so much as a person, as an artist and I am finding my place in country music slowly but surely. I grew up listening to more traditional country. I use to go on jobs with my Grandpa when I was five and six years old, he was an electrician, and help him run wires under trailers. The first song I ever learned was on the road with him, Hank Sr., “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It”. I think history repeats itself. I think those traditional sounds will come back. For the third record, we are going the more traditional route and I am going back to those old “redneck” roots.

Q: You have a massive fan base with American Idol and all these tours you have been on. Can you talk about your signing at the CMA Fest and in years past and how your fans bring you so many gifts like Ketchup chips.

KP: My fans do bring me Ketchup chips. I did a show a few years ago up in Canada where I told them the three things I love about Canada is beer, hockey and Old Dutch Ketchup Chips. Old Dutch sent me boxes of Ketchup Chips. The last show we played in Canada, we got so many boxes. All my busses and my truck were full of boxes. We were giving them away. I would go to meet and greets and I’d give them away and then they would give me more, but yes, I love Ketchup Chips. It is fascinating what American Idol has done for me, it has changed my life. I have said this before but they were the rocket that launched my career. The fans that supported me on American Idol have stuck with me through everything, coming to the shows and buying the music--everything. I love meeting people because I love to talk; I always have something to say.
I love the CMA Fest booth signing. We signed there and at the CMT and GAC booths as well as the Opry. It is great to meet the people that buy the music, the tickets to see you, and buy your t-shirts. It is a lot different than singing on television through a lens to 40 million people, you actually get to see them and thank them.

Q: You have said you discovered you have Scottish heritage and are interested in going to Scotland. Will you talk about planning that trip and why it is important for you to go and explore that?

KP: We are actually in the very early stages of going to Scotland. I am a huge fan of Sean Connery and when I got the invite two years ago to be a part of this, they asked me if I had any Scottish roots. I really didn’t know. It is public knowledge that I really don’t know anyone on my Mom’s side of the family, so I wasn’t really sure about the history there. I am very close to my Grandpa Ken, her father, and my Grandpa Pickler that raised me. We were talking and apparently I have a lot of Scottish roots. We are planning, it is not finalized, but we are trying to go to Scotland next year for my birthday. We want to go for a week or two and see new parts of the world and see if I have relatives there. I have never sat down and done the family tree thing so this should be interesting.

Q: What has surprised you the most about fame coming from a small town and small town roots?

KP: People say that any time people in the public eye complain or say anything about their job they don’t like, you know what? You signed up for this. I agree to a certain extent, but there is so much you don’t know you are signing up for. It is just like going to college, my sister is twenty and going to college and thought she wanted to be a nurse. That is what she signed up for, but you really don’t know what you signed up for until you jump out there and give it a try. You don’t know what it is like to be in the military, you don’t know what it is like to go serve ten years in Iraq or Afghanistan until you go there and you do it. Then is when you know what you signed up for.
After “signing up” for this, I have learned a lot and let me tell you the good completely out rules the bad, I really can’t complain about anything. I have been so blessed, my world has done a 180 and I am happy.

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Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Brad Paisley: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Brad Paisley LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: Lets talk about your performance tonight. You say you have dedication to the CMA Festival. Last year, your performance got rained out but you actually stuck around until 1 AM or 2 AM to play. Tell us what the CMA Fest means to you.

BP: This is more important than ever, obviously, being what we all just went through as a city. Also, when you drive around and go downtown and see this stadium and the surrounding area it almost looks like nothing ever happened already. That is what we wanted to accomplish as a city. That is a big deal as well as the fact that this important in that it is “fan driven” and it is something that says thank you to all these people that are so loyal and such a different breed of fan from any other form of entertainment. This year is twice as important so going out there tonight, I really feel all that. I think everyone that has been here this weekend feels that and feels a responsibility to make this show go on. It is sort of the same metaphor for the Opry and downtown Broadway and all. It is an attempt to recover.

Q: You are going to perform in London. Do you have any expectations from the British Fans?

BP: We have translators. I don’t know what I am expecting. I am going on Sunday of next week. I haven’t been there in ten years. I adore the British culture. I am excited and I like that country’s sensibility when it comes to entertainment and art. I am fascinated by the heritage and being able to go over there and attempt to entertain is going to be interesting. It will be interesting because the gig we are playing is in a much smaller place than we usually play so I don’t have our toys. I don’t have our video screens and I don’t have semi-tractor trailers -it cost prohibitive to drive them across the ocean (laughter). I get to go up there and start over. I am also trying to figure out what songs are going to work. “Mud On The Tires”, do they do that? Do they have 4-wheel drive on any vehicles?

Q: My lead guitar player thinks you must have signed a pact with the devil because no human being can play the guitar like you do. How much time do you spend daily molesting your guitars?

BP: That’s personal…strangely, that is really one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. Practicing now goes more hand in hand with writing and work for me. When we go out on the road, we have sound check at 2 pm in the afternoon, we play for an hour, the band and I. But what we really do is we play old Ricky Skaggs songs and my fiddle player sings one and my bass player sings one and I am out there goofing around. I walk around to the various areas I am going to be and check the monitors out. Practicing is more like second nature. It is more like walking, I already know how to walk, but I can get better at it. When I am writing a song, I will noodle and come up with something. When I am doing sound check I will do something. I am practicing when you see me in concert, make no mistake about it. I am practicing up there and you can tell that sometimes.

Q: You mentioned that your H2O production series is a little less because of the flood…

BP: They actually were exactly what they would have been, they were just all new. We were 100% technically, maybe 99%. What you saw, and you can look at pictures online, but our 40 foot tall video wall, out of 300 panels, 260 are brand new and were not in our possession as of that Saturday when it started raining. We had all the original ones, but most of them wound up under water. What is amazing, this brand new product that we are bringing out on the road is it is both transparent and high resolution. You can see through it. When the pictures go away, you can see the star drop behind it. Sometimes you will see me come up on it and it looks like it is suspended. The tempting thing was to use all the original panels because they still worked. The problem was that the cables that were attached to them, we found as we started plugging them in, were catching fire. You would be in the middle of one of our rehearsals and hear a noise and turn around and look and there would be a flame up here. It was “wait a minute, we aren’t doing pyros, that’s not suppose to be that way”. What is crazy about the tour is that we literally had to do things that we never had to do before. We usually take three weeks to rehearse something and the first week is getting everything in line, the second week you start running things and third week, you are working on getting this or that better. We had five days. We got to Virginia Beach, we sort of set up out there which is when we really got down to figuring it out. We had just five days after we got there to try and figure out what we are doing. Thursday night, there was a curfew at 11pm because of the venue and at 10 minutes to 11pm, I said this isn’t right; four songs aren’t right, we have to move this one down to the last, this isn’t going to work here, we will run it tomorrow. We changed the whole set list, ran it Friday and it was like “that’s it!” and it worked. We lucked out. Waterworld has been an amazing thing to watch. These people are just sinking their teeth into a whole day worth of stuff to do. In Cincinnati, the new acts had about 8,000 watching at four in the afternoon on a Sunday. People are desperate for entertainment right now and it feels good to be both back out there doing it and also to know what my crew accomplished with getting everything to work.

Q: Speaking of the new acts on your tour, I have had a chance to speak to a few of them and because of your notorious “pranksterness”, some of them find themselves being very paranoid or suspicious when you make even a simple request like “can I come play with you”. Do you find them being a bit paranoid or skiddish?

BP: They are! It is funny because I invite them out the first night and tell them this is how we are going to do this. We start “Alcohol” in the encore segment, we are going to wheel a bar out and then we are going to serve you drinks. You come out and take a drink and then I want you to go down and shake hands, sign autographs on the front of the stage, sing along, do whatever you want to do. So I am standing here and the first night Steel Magnolia and Easton Corbin; Josh and Justin and Darius had been out before; so these guys walk out and here they come and they walk as far behind me as they can as I am singing. I was like “give me five”, like they think I am going to prank them in the middle of my show. Then they finally came and kicked me out and sang a line of the song. It’s not fair that I have a bad name.

For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Blake Shelton: LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Blake Shelton LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: Talk about this week. You have a very contentious relationship with your fans and non-fans through Twitter.

BS: What was the word you used to describe it?

Q: Contentious, you can look it up later.

BS: How am I supposed to answer it?

Q: You always seem to be amazed at those people who say they don’t like you or are mad at you or offended by what you say yet continue to follow you on twitter. Have any of these people found you here this week?

BS: It is funny, you nailed it. People will email me on Twitter and tell me I am a “jacka$$”, I don’t believe you shoot animals and yet they are hanging on every word I say, every day. It blows me away that they follow me on there. I think most of that is just people trying to get me to reply to them. I can’t believe I am even standing up here talking about Twitter because to me it is such a goof-off deal. It is just fun, that is all it is. It is fun for me to interact with my fans and then the next thing you know, there are haters out there getting involved, especially all my friends at PETA. It is nothing more than kindergarten; all that does is egg me on to be more ornery. The truth is as that stuff is coming across the internet, I am sitting on my bus in black socks and white underwear watching ESPN, probably still drunk from the night before and just having fun. I love to entertain, whether it is through Twitter or Youtube, on stage or whatever, that is what I love to do.

Q: I want to talk about “It’s All About Tonight” which we know it is going to be the next release from your second upcoming album.

BS: “It’s All About Tonight” is the first single off the second six-pack. If I could go back to that first six-pack, the only thing I would have done different is release two singles off of it. When I say “It’s All About Tonight” is the first single off the second six-pack, I am saying there is going to be a second single off this set. We are still up in the air about what it is going to be. We are still up in the air about what the last couple of songs are going to be. We know about four of them and we have cut a bunch. That is the thing I love about doing six-packs is how often you get in there and record. You are constantly being sent brand new music from the best writers in Nashville. It is exciting.

Q: Can you talk about the shot in the arm that this CD got?

BS: It doesn’t surprise me about the support Nashville has received through the flood relief efforts. Most all of you probably live here but I don’t; I live in Oklahoma. Nashville is a special place to people all across the country. If they haven’t been here, they want to come here someday. They want to see the Grand Ole Opry. People always ask what it is like and then the next thing they see is the Grand Ole Opry with eight or ten feet of water in it. It is devastating to people that don’t live here because that is a special place to them either way. It doesn’t surprise me at all to see not only this community come together and do great things to rebuild the city and get it back on its feet but to see the entire country get involved because this is the place that creates their favorite music.

Q: With Father’s Day coming up, what is the best advice your Father gave you?

BS: My Dad was real good about teaching me patience. He has always been a very patient guy whether in business or with women or whatever. I have watched him over the years and he picks the right battles.

Q: Has he succeeded in that?

BS: My Dad? Yes, he has. My Dad has been a rock for my family since my beginning. Even with my parents being divorced, he still is that rock even though my parents have been divorced over 20 years, both are remarried, he is still the person that holds the entire circle together. I think that comes with being patient.

Q: Could you give career advice for aspiring music professionals?

BS: Not really. When people come up to me on the road and they have their son that they are excited about that wants to be a singer or it is someone that wants to be a singer and they ask me what they should do, it’s a hard question to answer. Everyone has to find their own path. I don’t think my story is like anyone else’s and neither is Miranda Lambert’s. Everyone has to find that path. I think that as long as you are doing something that is different enough or you are just talented, as long as you are in Nashville and you are patient, you will find your way. It will come to you eventually, you will figure out how this community works and the politics and the things you have to do. If you wait it out and have a little luck on your side, I think that is the way to get it done.

Q: At the CMT Music Awards, Trace Adkins said that he thinks someone should give you a reality show. Surely someone has pushed that to you before. Would you ever do anything like that? How much would you let people into your life?

BS: I think I do a pretty good job of that already, letting people into my life. I probably wouldn’t do that though. There has to be a limit on how much you can take. I am touring most of the year and especially with Miranda and I being together and now that we are engaged, it comes up all the time, reality show ideas. It is just not worth it. I don’t care if it means a billion dollars will come our way or sell two million more albums; it is just not worth it to sacrifice any more of my personal life than I do because I am already in the public eye.

Q: Have you two talked about having kids or raising a family?

BS: We say things every now and then about kids or what we would name a kid but we have never had a serious conversation about having kids. We have had serious conversations about not having kids. I think it will be awhile before we would try something like that. Especially right now with Miranda’s career exploding and I am finally getting to that place I have always wanted to be. It would be hard to stop that train once you get it going, especially if you are not ready yet. Miranda would want to stop everything to do that right.

For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit

Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo

Martina McBride : LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Martina McBride LP Field Press Conference CMA Music Festival 2010

Q: Can you tell us about all the things you have going on this week during CMA Fest?

MM: We look forward to this week all year. It is so exciting and I try to cram in as much as I can. We did my fan club party yesterday, singing tonight and the YWCA Charity Auction tomorrow, it is fun and exciting. Everyone says that, but it is a great opportunity to say a big thank you. The fans plan their whole year around this festival. They take time off work and this is their vacation, they stand out in this heat for hours and hours just to see their favorite artist. It is very touching

Q: Can you talk about this festival and their promise to give money to the flood recovery and what it means to Nashville?

MM: I think it is fantastic that this festival is giving money to the flood relief. When you think about it, it is a way for the whole country and even the world to help rebuild the city they love so much and means so much to them. We have fans come here from all over the world. I think that is a really great connection.

Q: How does this performance on this stage tonight stand out over all the other performances you give every year?

MM: That is a good question; because every time I go on stage I try to give everything I have, connecting and giving back. I guess there is just something about this whole week, building up to the show and I think that the fact that there are so many fans in one place at one time and they have traveled from all over the world and are so excited to be here and just waiting for just one moment with their favorite artist. There is something heartwarming about that and the loyalty they have. When you are doing your own show, people come to see you sing but this, everyone is coming to see all of country music and I think that is really great.

Q: Do you think it is harder for new female artists to break through today and why do you think that is?

MM: I don’t know if I would say that. I think we have had a couple of huge breakthroughs in the past few years. I don’t really spend a lot of time worrying whether it is harder or easier for a female in this business, I just try to do what I do. That is another conversation.

Q: The past few years, you have seen a lot of new things, you are with a new manager, you worked with a new producer, Dan Huff, on your new record and you probably completed your most successful tour production wise, the “Shine All Night” production with Trace Adkins. Can you tell us what these changes means as far as future projects and tours?

MM: The challenge is being lucky enough to have a long career, the challenge is to keep it fresh, keep it new. Sometimes the people you surround yourself with, you have to make sure they still have as much energy and passion for your career as they did in the beginning. That is the challenge, finding the right people that get up every day and live, eat and breathe this business and want to see me succeed even more. Sometimes it is just time to change it up, get new fresh energy. Yes, there have been a lot of changes this year and I am so happy.

Q: You have had a lot of collaborations with your friend Kid Rock, the most recent, the CMT Music Awards. You are going to be appearing on his new album along with rapper T.I. You said Kid Rock saw the real redneck in you? What kind of redneck are you?

MM: What kind of redneck am I? That is a longer conversation as well. Everyone says that it is a weird pairing, me and Kid Rock, but it doesn’t feel weird when we are together performing. It is exciting that he singled me out to be part of his project and I think that is an honor.

Q: You are an avid Twitter user and I wondered how you feel about “Drunkin’ Martina” and if you follow her or him?

MM: Yes, I do. I think it is hilarious. That is all I am going to say.

Q: With Father’s Day coming up, can you tell us the best advice your father ever gave you?

MM: The basic advice he gave me and all of us kids was to work hard. I was raised with a really strong work ethic. If you work hard enough, you had just as good a chance to be successful as anyone else but it wasn’t going to be handed to you. He still asks me if I am happy and I love that. The message in that is do what you love and love what you do and work hard at it.

Q: What do your girls like to do during the summer? Do you have any trips planned?

MM: We are kind of having a low key summer. The girls have gone to a couple of day camps. We have a trip planned to the West Coast to do some tour dates starting the end of June. We are going to travel up and down the West Coast. We are really looking forward to that because the only time we get out there is during the summer because of our tour schedule and school. We are looking forward to spending some time on the bus.

Q: Can you talk a little about your feelings for the Lilith Fair?

MM: I was a part of Lilith Fair for two years the first time around and it was such an inspiring experience for me. It was right before I did the “Emotion” album and I can remember being so inspired by the way the tour was. It was all inclusive. Once you got there and stepped off your bus, you were welcomed with open arms, everyone got out and watched other shows, no one hid on their bus until show time, and it was just a really cool vibe. Musically it was inspiring to me as well. It was right when Sarah McLachlan’s “Surfacing” album was out, I love that album. I can remember thinking that if I ever headline and tour, this is how I want it to feel on my tour. I want it to be happy and laid back, joyful. That is what I took away from that tour. I am happy to be going back and being a part of it this time.

Q: You like to blog; a lot and you recently wrote a blog that you like to plan parties and even offered to make peach cobbler. Have you ever planned a party that really stood out? What were your best moments of party planning?

MM: My cobbler is killer! I did a Mexican themed dinner party for some friends. We had a Mariachi band, Margaritas and I cooked all the food. It was fun because it was very colorful. I love to plan parties and cook and if I didn’t do this, that is probably what I would be doing, a caterer or party planner.

Q: You had talked about your girls going out and doing some flood relief the last time I talked to you. Did you go out and do that and how were they affected?

MM: We did go out and drove around and looked at everything. I talked to some people and delivered some water. I wanted them to see firsthand what people were going through and the affects of it. It did affect them, it is hard not to be affected when you think about this is our community, our neighbors and friends going through this devastation. I grew up in a very small town in Kansas and it was all about community when there were only 200 people in the town. When someone was having a hard time, you really depended on the people in the community to pull together and help you. To me, Nashville feels very much that way. It feels like a very small town in that way. I think it is very important to teach me children that.

Q: Historically, country artists have had a very specific look but thanks to you and Carrie and Faith, you have put us on the main stream red carpet. Can you talk about that transition in your career? From boots and big hooped skirts and poofy hair to rock star?

MM: I think that at some point, we realized there are no limits. We all love fashion and it is fun to play with it and try new things. I think as long as it comes off as genuine and honest and you are not trying to be someone you are not, it works. It is fun to change it up.

For additional photos of CMA Music Festival LP Field Backstage visit
Transcribed by Pam Stadel for Digital Rodeo