Steam Magazine – Dec. 2013

Seven years ago, Garth Brooks and Walmart joined forces to release a boxed set that produced the hit single and instant classic, “Good Ride Cowboy,” a tribute to Chris LeDeux. The box set also included the CD titled “Ultimate Hits” which contained the hit “More Than a Memory.” It was the only single in country music history to ever debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, a record still unequaled. Now, Brooks has returned to the studio and recorded the music that influenced him and helped create the sound of Garth, which will no doubt make history again. Energized by the last four years of his intimate, one-man show at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, playing the songs that inspired him growing up, Garth began creating and recording his own special versions of the tribute songs in his one-man show. The new box set is appropriately titled “Blame It All On My Roots.” Not only does the set feature classic country covers, but also classic rock, soul and songs from Garth’s favorite singer-songwriters he calls “Melting Pot.” Songs include covers of James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and more. Billy Panda, a legendary Nashville sessions player said about the recordings, “One of the greatest entertainers, ever, doing over 40 of the greatest songs of all time..this is epic.” Once again, Garth has entered into an exclusive arrangement with Walmart. Brooks released a statement saying, “What a great luxury to have the world’s largest retailer as a partner to bring new music to the people. Wal-Mart has been responsible for the majority of our record sales since I started selling music. So it makes total sense that they are the exclusive place to get the new Garth music this holiday season.” “Our customers love Garth Brooks and we’re glad to give them exclusive access to his newest album,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart’s senior vice president of Entertainment in the U.S. “As Walmart’s top-selling musical artist of all time, we know Garth’s new box set will be a gift millions of customers will give this Christmas.” Included in the boxed set is eight discs total, six CDs and two DVDs, over seven hours of entertainment including 77 songs and a new photo booklet. Four new studio albums that include 44 cover songs from Garth’s time at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas that span many genres. The DVD included in the new set features Garth’s Wynn performance. Once again, the “Ultimate Hits” set is included, this time with another bonus track, “Leave A Light On” and a DVD with music videos for the 33 hit songs. The boxed set retails for $24.96 and is available exclusively at Wal-Mart, SAM’S CLUB and Walmart.com

Texas singer songwriter James McMurtry has just announced that he has signed a new contract with the Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” says McMurtry. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and producer C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” McMurtry’s two previous albums, “Childish Things” and “Just Us Kids” were both critical successes. Often called one of the best American songwriters of our time, McMurtry is looking forward to getting his new music released so his fans can enjoy it.

 

Texas icon George Strait was recently presented the “2013 Billboard Legend of Live” honor during the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards ceremony at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Taylor Swift’s “Red Tour” received the top package award as the top-grossing tour with three or more artists on the bill. Billboard Touring Awards honor the concert industry’s top artists, venues and professionals for their accomplishments during the past year. Bon Jovi’s “Because We Can” tour won top tour honors as the top-grossing tour. Other winners included Pink, the Rolling Stones and One Direction. In accepting his award, Strait noted he began touring more than 30 years ago. “I played the bars and honky-tonks and stuff in the ’70s,” he told the crowd. “I finally signed with MCA in 1981 and started realizing my dream of going out on tour and playing for the fans out there and started gathering more fans and playing so many of these venues I’ve seen tonight. … It’s just been a wonderful career.” Strait plans to retire from widespread touring when his Cowboy Rides Away tour concludes next year. The tour starts at Frank Erwin Center in Austin on January 14, 2014.

 

Backbeat Books has just released “Buck ‘Em!”, the much anticipated autobiography of country music superstar Buck Owens. The book comes seven years after the artist’s death in 2006. In the latter half of the 1990s, Owens began working on the book. For several years, he spoke into a cassette tape recorder, totaling nearly 100 hours of memories and recording the story of his life. With his near-photographic memory, he recalled everything from his early days wearing hand-me-down clothes in Texas to his glory years as the biggest country star of the 1960’s and beyond. Grammy-nominated producer and author Randy Poe assembled all of Owens’ stories and transcribed them so that they are in Owens’ own words. In the preface of the book, Dwight Yoakam says, “The stream of stories throughout this book captures, with an uncanny accuracy, the way I heard Buck speak whenever he told a story to someone.” Born in Texas and raised in Arizona, Buck Owens eventually found his way to Bakersfield, California, where he created his own brand of country music some 2,000 miles away from Music City. Inspiring everyone from ordinary music fans to the Beatles, he changed the way country records were mixed, produced, written and perceived. Owens’ records sold millions of copies and his live concerts constantly sold out. In 1969, he began hosting the country comedy TV show “Hee Haw”, becoming a household name. Buck Owens became country music’s biggest star while breaking all the rules of Nashville. He made his successes look easy, but he was a hard-working and complex individual. While surviving the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression, he struggled to change his life and went on to change the lives of almost every other person he came into contact with. A two-CD set on Omnivore Records is being released as a companion to the book.

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