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Country Stars Share Their Tips on Singing the National Anthem

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Nancy Moran
At one time or another, almost every Country vocalist sings the national anthem at one or more events. Settings could range from a county fair to the Super Bowl, but each performance has one thing in common: All are challenged by one of the most difficult and meaningful songs anywhere in the American repertoire.

Country Stars Stretch Conventions of Concert Stage Design

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Fett
As anyone can attest after attending a major Country artist’s show, live stage production is phenomenally complex and sophisticated, a many-headed monster with lots of moving parts that take an army of personnel to control. Aesthetics, logistics and economics are the drivers of production design, so regardless of the visions any particular tour wants to explore, these key considerations apply to bringing those visions to life.

Honesty is the Best Policy Towards Success

Joey and RoryJoey and Rory Choose Honesty as a Success Strategy
By Randy Rudder
One morning at Marcy Jo's Mealhouse, the meat-and-three restaurant owned by Rory Feek's wife Joey Martin and Rory's sister Marcy Gary in unincorporated Pottsville, Tenn., Joey was running late because she was trying to rescue a neighbor's calf who had wandered onto their farm.

Country Music Association Remembers Earl Scruggs

Earl ScruggsRemembering Earl Scruggs
By Bob Doerschuk
In all of American popular music, Earl Scruggs stands as one of the very few musicians who singularly changed performance practice on their instruments and in the process birthed an entirely new genre. Without him, bluegrass music as we know it would almost certainly never have happened. And countless young players might never have chosen the banjo as their vehicle for creativity.

David Ross Recounts 30 Years of Monitoring Nashville's MusicRow

David RossBy Kip Kirby
When David Ross moved to Nashville in 1981, it wasn't to become a publishing mogul. After a decade of performing in the Boston area, he came to Music City to concentrate on songwriting but soon realized he needed a part-time job to support his family. Sifting through possibilities, he hit upon the idea of launching an information trade sheet that would list music-related companies and services. He named his fledgling publication MusicRow, a stroke of luck he sees as fortuitous.

Nashville Songpluggers Join Forces for Better Song Placements

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Randy Rudder
At 5 PM on a balmy October afternoon, in the offices of Harlan Howard Songs just south of Nashville's Music Row, 15 female publishing executives are sitting in a semicircle around Sony Music Nashville artist Joanna Smith. In the center of the room is an assortment of hors d'oeuvres, cheeses and beverages, but no one seems to be indulging. Smith is pensive as she listens to the first verse and chorus of two songs from each publisher, responding with comments such as "pass," "kinda cute," "not for me," "nice groove" or "hold that one for sure."

CMA Broadcast Award Winners Share Success Strategies for Country Radio

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Brad Schmitt
Whether serving large urban markets or small-town communities, the on-air personalities and stations honored by CMA's Broadcast Awards have one thing in common: They've earned recognition from their peers for doing it right. Now, "doing it right" can mean any number of things. This is why we assembled a panel of 2011 Broadcast Awards winners on the afternoon before the CMA Awards in November, to share their thoughts on how to build listener loyalty and beef up the bottom line.

Website Design Tips for Country Artists, Labels - and You

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Nancy Moran
With so much fan interaction happening on Facebook and Twitter these days, you might think that regular websites are a thing of the past. In fact, artist and company websites are more essential than ever for establishing and developing a brand. Your website is your home base. It’s where you ultimately maintain control of what and how you communicate with your fans and/or customers. Remember: The goal of your social media sites is to drive traffic back to your website.

CMA Pledges $10 Million to Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Bob Doerschuk
CMA has pledged $10 million to "Working on a Building: Country Music Lives Here," the capital campaign that will finance the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's expansion from 140,000 square feet to more than 350,000 square feet. This donation is the largest philanthropic gift in the not-for-profit, Nashville-based educational organization's history.

Bill Anderson: The Measure of Songwriting Excellence

Bill Anderson/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Deborah Evans PriceIt's been more than five decades since a 23-year-old Bill Anderson became the youngest writer to earn BMI's Country Songwriter of the Year honor – a record until 20-year-old Taylor Swift's win in 2010. Since then, he's received numerous accolades, including two CMA Song of the Year trophies in a three-year span. In November, he was honored by Bear Family Records' release of a four-CD anthology, Bill Anderson: The First 10 Years, 1956-1966. And he's seen a lot of changes on Music Row.

Country Artists Reach Out With QR Codes

Cybergrass QR Code/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Sarah Skates
QR ("Quick Response") codes, the latest new media marketing method, are popping up everywhere from movie posters to album covers. Easily recognizable as black-and-white squares with black boxes in three of their corners, these powerful codes represent a step forward from the traditional barcode.

How Publicists and Journalists Work Together for the Perfect Artist Interview

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Donna Hughes
One of the publicist's most important and daunting challenges is to ensure that their clients' interviews and media coverage are as positive as possible. Admittedly, this may put them at cross purposes with certain members of the media who may find it more enticing to spread dirt than sunshine. But more often than not, there are ways to ensure that both parties get what they want.

How Nashville Publishers Pick Their Writers

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Sarah Skates
It's an elusive combination of traits that makes a songwriter win a music publisher's attention. Quality songs are part of the equation, of course, as are the writer's track record of hits and network of co-writers. But sometimes the writer's drive and determination are what seal the deal.

Twitter Tips

CMA Close Up/CMA/ Nashville, TN -- By Brad Schmitt
Blake Shelton is so drunk. How drunk is he?

"I'm so drunk right now I just threw my T.V. at the remote," he declared not long ago to his Twitter followers.

Shelton has also used his Twitter account to flirt shamelessly, to make often crass jokes and to put his own self-proclaimed "real redneck" spin on the news of the day.

Such a straight-ahead, unfiltered communication thrills many of his fans, turns some off and generates tons of buzz. But can an artist's use of Twitter help — or hurt — album sales?

Online Concert Streaming Boosts Artist Impact

CMA Close Up/CMA/ By Joseph HudakLately it seems as if every few months there's a new technology offering artists opportunities to get closer to their fans — and vice versa. One that's catching on fast is streaming live concerts over the Internet in real time. The considerations are numerous, but so are the benefits. And the steps that are necessary for getting into this market are easier than many might assume.

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