Justin Moore Celebrates Success of ‘If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away’ in Nashville
Justin-Moore2 Friends and family of all walks of life came out in the masses on Monday afternoon (September 26) to give Justin Moore a pat on the back for topping the country singles chart for the second time in his career with ‘If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away.’

Moore’s wife, Kate, their 19-month-old daughter, Ella Kole, and other friends and family members were there supporting the singer’s latest career accomplishment as they gathered at the CMA headquarters in downtown Nashville. Dozens of others were also on hand to give kudos to the song’s three writers — Dallas Davidson, Rob Hatch and Brett Jones — including Jerrod Niemann, Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Jamey Johnson, Lance Miller and hit songwriter Jason Sellers.

After Moore, the songwriters, his record label and his producer received various plaques and trophies, the singer took to the podium where he humbly thanked all in attendance, including his grandmother who he dedicated the No. 1 to, along with his late grandfather.

“We’ve had some really great years leading up to this year, but this one has been a notch above the previous year,” Moore told Taste of Country prior to the party. “I think this song is a little different for us. It’s a bit of a departure for us. I’ve talked in the past about how songs that are really personal to me seem to do really well for me.”

“This is one of those songs that I cut because I didn’t put a song out on my first album called ‘Grandpa,’” Moore continues. “I didn’t get that on the radio. When I heard this song, I thought this was kind of my opportunity to make up for that. As far as how it’s affected my year and career, ‘Small Town USA’ is probably our biggest record, if you had to look at all of them. But this one’s right up there with it, obviously. I’m proud that we got the chance to record it, honestly.”


Lady Antebellum Embraces Their Successful Ride by Owning the Night
4864242 When Lady Antebellum burst onto the country scene in the fall of 2007, no one could have predicted the fact that in two short years the trio’s star would shoot into the stratosphere with a little album titled Need You Now. Lady A’s sophomore disc brought them cross-over recognition and a slew of Grammys earlier this year.

Amidst the success of Need You Now, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood headed back into the recording studio to craft their highly anticipated follow-up Own the Night. The 12-track project features “Just a Kiss,” a song that has already topped the country singles chart for two weeks and is making huge waves in the worlds of pop and adult contemporary, and Lady A’s current country chart-climber “We Owned the Night.”

With the album making its debut at number one on the Billboard 200 sales chart and their second headlining tour on the horizon, Lady A is already poised to fully embrace the concept that is the heart of Own the Night.

On the eve of embarking on what looks to be a very busy fall, we caught up with the award-winning group in Nashville to chat about the pressures of success, creating their new album and their upcoming first appearance on Saturday Night Live, as well as Hillary’s engagement to musician Chris Tyrell.

You just came off one of the biggest albums of last year with Need You Now. Going into making this new record Own the Night, did the pressure of living up to Need You Now ever get to you? Or, were you able to shut that out and focus creatively?

Dave: We did our best to try not to let some of that pressure change the way we did this record. We’ve said it before, but you know that album kind of came about with no expectations. We were just in there making music. Our producer Paul Worley was great about helping us just capture those songs the way that they were written.

We’re obviously very thankful for stuff like the Grammys and any of those awards and accolades from the Need You Now record, but we didn’t let that change the way we went about this one.

You call “We Owned the Night” the cornerstone of the album. It’s the title of your tour this fall and latest single. Could you tell me a little bit about writing that one and how it factored into the project?

Hillary: The boys wrote that with [hit songwriter] Dallas Davidson. We just felt like it was a great song to perform live. It just felt very “live” from the very beginning. When I heard it for the first time, I loved it. Then when we got into the studio and recorded that song, it inspired me to the point of going and grabbing a legal pad and start sketching out the stage and just thinking about our live show.


New Artist Spotlight: Frankie Ballard
frankie-ballard1 His soul is Country. His style is to play loud and raw. His voice is husky and hard, toughened perhaps by rocking rough-and- tumble clubs near his hometown of Battle Creek, Mich. And in his slashing guitar, there’s a heavy dose of Southern rock flavored by the blues, as if Jerry Reed and Johnny Winter were jamming ZZ Top songs with Waylon Jennings.

Put it all together and you’ve got Frankie Ballard, whose music grabs the listener by the shoulders and yells, “It’s time to tear it up!” Ballard started singing at age 5, when his dad began spinning Elvis records for him. Still, he devoted most of his time to sports until he turned 18, when he first picked up a guitar. With ferocious dedication, Ballard woodshedded for hours every day, until he felt strong enough to land gigs at Motor City blues venues. His chops and stage presence grew to the point that in the summer of 2008 he won Kenny Chesney’s “Next Big Star” regional competition for Michigan.

After opening for Chesney in Grand Rapids and Detroit, Ballard scored a publishing deal with Sony ATV Music Publishing and a record label deal with Warner Bros. Records. Relocated to Nashville in April 2009, he connected with some of the top local songwriting talent and eventually started turning the results into the sizzling set to be featured on his upcoming self-titled debut album, produced by Michael Knox.

Written by Dallas Davidson and Marty Dodson, Ballard’s first single and music video, “Tell Me You Get Lonely,” starts quietly with a beat that intensifies as it locks onto a steady medium pace. His vocal is rough but expressive, and on the harmonies in the chorus he maintains that feel while hitting his parts flawlessly. Other tracks crank it up (“While the Sun Sleeps,” by Rhett Akins, Davidson and Ben Hayslip) or slow it down to a last-call plea from one who’s sipped too much but loved not enough (“Sober Me Up,” by Davidson and Ashley Gorley). In all settings, Ballard tempers heartache with humor and lets his guitar tell the story too.

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