Sisters Ivy and Sophie of Walker County started their career on the streets of lower Broadway. Traveling to Nashville with guitars in hand, the sisters played on Broadway and quickly turned heads. Back at home in Indiana, their father encouraged them to play everywhere they could from church to local festivals.
In high school, they decided to pursue music full time and recorded their debut EP. The EP was later picked up by Warner Records. Following in the footsteps of Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Miranda Lambert or “the divas of country” as the sisters refer to them, they made the move to Nashville. In Nashville, they honed their craft of songwriting. Able to write from the heart about personal experiences, their songs are relatable and honest.
Their latest single, “Bits and Pieces” hit radio airwaves on June 21st. Picked from a demo, they felt the “world needed a good time song because we all miss those nights with our friends,” and “Bits and Pieces” was just that. You can watch the music video below. This summer they’ll hit the road with Old Dominion and Tanya Tucker on the CMT Next Women of Country Tour.
Follow Walker County on social media @WalkerCounty and visit their website here.
Author: Nicole Marchesi
You can’t have a “Bad Summer” around Karissa Ella. The upbeat song is perfect for a parking lot party with friends. Co-written with Alex Seier and Tony McVaney, the song carries the message of no matter where you’re at or who you’re with, you can’t have a bad summer. Karissa saying, “I am so excited that “Bad Summer” is finally out! This song is a reminder to let loose and have fun. I hope listeners enjoy this new single and stream it all summer long!”
Karissa also shared her favorite summer memories with us. She talked about spending hot summer days on a pontoon boat with friends and family drinking her favorite cocktail, a a rum runner. She plans to share more of her summer favorites in the “Bad Summer” music video coming soon.
You can expect more new music from Karissa this year. Leaning on her ‘90s country roots, Karissa’s new music, due out later this year, takes the young artist in a new, more authentic direction, leaning into the past with a modern flair. For more information, visit karissaella.com.
The Hobbs Sisters Turn It Up Again
The Hobbs Sisters bring the energy again with their newest release “Turn It Up.” A feel-good song you just can’t help but dance along to, the sisters telling us “We wrote 'Turn It Up' because we wanted to capture the energy of a live show. As the title track of the album, it not only describes the magic of a live concert but also invites the listener to come and enjoy the ride with us. We are so excited to share this song with everyone!”
The Hobbs Sisters announced their debut album, Turn It Up and released the title track on Friday. This carefree, summer song is the perfect preface to their album that will be released on July 23rd. This single will become available to those who preorder the upcoming album. With this release being the title track off the new album, it showcases who The Hobbs Sisters are through the upbeat melody combined with their seamless harmonies.
Listen to “Turn it Up” here and follow them on social media @thehobbssisters for more exciting news to come.
Live In The Vineyard Goes Country, In Partnership with CMT, Returns to Napa Nov 2-4 with All Star Lineup
Over the last twelve years Live In The Vineyard (LITV) has become one of the most exclusive and sought-after events across the country as a private festival and this November they are Going Country for the third year, in partnership with CMT. Live In The Vineyard Goes Country (LITVGC), taking place November 2nd to the 4th amidst the lush scenery of Napa, California, will give attendees exclusive access to recording artists, top tier wine makers and world-renowned chefs during a “once-in-a-lifetime” three-day event. Live In The Vineyard Goes Country will feature a headline performance at the Lincoln Theater on November 3rd by multi-Platinum, GRAMMY Award-winning Zac Brown Band, along with performances that night by Chris Janson, Cole Swindell, Tenille Arts and Lainey Wilson. The event will also include intimate acoustic performances by Darius Rucker, Old Dominion, Priscilla Block, Parker McCollum, Matt Stell, Tenille Townes and more at wineries around the Valley. More additions to the lineup will be announced soon including a special CMT Next Women of Country Send Off Brunch.
“We are beyond excited to be bringing live music back to our second home in Napa Valley and to get the chance to showcase and support all of those in the Valley. We could not have asked for better partners than CMT or a better lineup to return back to in person events,” said Live In The Vineyard President Bobbii Jacobs. “CMT is excited to again partner with Bobbii and the LITV Team who have created a one-of-a-kind, experiential event that showcases our amazing country music talent with the spectacular backdrop of Napa,” added Leslie Fram, Senior Vice President of Music & Talent for CMT.
In person attendance at Live In The Vineyard Goes Country is limited in 2021 and will only be open to invited industry guests including music supervisors, radio programmers, label executives, and corporate partners. There will be a national radio promotion around the event where fans can enter for a chance to win access to a very special virtual package. Fans can get more information on where and how to enter by going to https://www.liveinthevineyardgoescountry.com.
There will be several private VIP-only events during LITV at picturesque Napa Valley wineries that will feature up close and personal acoustic performances by Chris Bandi, George Birge, Spencer Crandall, Adam Doleac, Andrew Jannakos, Alexander Ludwig, Kameron Marlowe, Frank Ray, Elvie Shane, Connor Smith, Tigirlily and more. LITVGC brings industry and corporate partners together from around the country to celebrate and hear brand new music by A-List as well as up and coming artists in a stripped-down arrangement. What sets LITVGC apart from the typical festival is the exclusivity and the intimacy of the events that are curated specifically around the artists and no event is ever duplicated. The flagship Live In The Vineyard, now in its twelfth year, will take place right before LITVGC on October 26-28 with it’s 23rd installment of the event, a line-up announcement coming soon.
Live In The Vineyard and Live In The Vineyard Goes Country are produced by Forefront Networks headquartered in Austin, Texas, who entered into a strategic partnership with Live In The Vineyard in 2018. Founded in 2010, Forefront Networks produces the iconic Austin Trail of Lights, University of Texas Bevo Blvd, Keep Austin Weird® live events, and helps brands connect with audiences through a variety of experiential services and platforms. Spawning from the success of the intimate Napa flagship events, the collective team also produces events for Southwest Airlines Chase Visa Access Events, Marriott Bonvoy, Yountville Live and more. For further information, visit forefrontnetworks.com.
Over the years, video games have grown to become strong promotional tools for musical artists of all kinds. We see the occasional console or mobile game with a soundtrack consisting of real-world music rather than original compositions. We’ve witnessed online slot machines putting classic rock icons back on the map. And maybe most interesting of all, there are several recent sports games that have gone out of their way to promote emerging artists — the most notable example being the NBA 2K franchise, which makes a point of adding up-and-comers to its soundtracks periodically.
Amidst all of this activity though, country music is largely left out — or at least isn’t given a specific spotlight. This is a shame, particularly when we consider the possibility of elevating emerging artists. Within the world of country, genre enthusiasts are well aware of rising figures like Lori Rayne, Parker Graye, and so many others. For those who aren’t specifically fans of country music though, names like these (not to mention the songs behind them) are still obscure.
So what more could we see in gaming to specifically promote new and emerging country artists? We won’t make any predictions, but there are some intriguing possibilities.
Soundtracks for the Right App & Console Games
We mentioned that some mobile and console games employ real-world music, and it tends to be fairly neutral, background stuff (such as radio play in Grand Theft Auto games). But it would also be interesting to see a given game with a vaguely country aesthetic give players the option of listening to a soundtrack with real country music from emerging artists. A game like The Trail comes to mind as a potential example. This is a relaxing frontier exploration game, by no means relating to country music culture but nonetheless an appropriate match for the genre. Playing the game with quiet, real country music in the background would suit plenty of players just fine, and it would allow for injections of new material from new artists.
The Voice Slingo
This is a concept with some precedent. We noted above that online slots have helped to promote some classic rock legends, and there’s actually a slot game based on The Voice as well. However, it’s a fairly limited game and does nothing to showcase actual artists. What might be more effective is a slingo version of the same concept. This is a type of online game that mixes slots and bingo, such that results on a slot reel help to fill out a bingo card. And here too there’s precedent for a talent competition show as the basis for a theme, with Foxy Games already hosting a Britain’s Got Talent title in its Slingo selection. A similar game revolving around The Voice could use the latest contestants from the show — so many of whom are budding country artists — to fill out cards. It would be an excellent showcase.
Country Rock Band VR
One of the best existing examples of country music in video game comes in the form of a sort of expansion pack for Rock Band, the game challenges players to play fake instruments in rhythm with real songs. The “Country Track Pack” basically infused an existing Rock Band game with a slate of country songs. What we’d like to see now though is a full version of Rock Band just for country fans — and, just for fun, adapted to virtual reality. Rhythm games like this are already migrating into VR, and in doing so will allow fans to enjoy the simulated feeling of playing actual concerts on stage. A country version of the game that continually added new music would be wonderful for fans, as well as for the artists involved.
Lifestyle Mobile Games
A number of years ago now there was some hype around the introduction of a Taylor Swift video game. CNET described the game basically as a natural evolution of modern superstardom — a follow-up to a Kardashian game and a way for a star to let her fans follow her in yet another way. Games like these (Katy Perry produced one as well) didn’t prove to have much clout, but that doesn’t mean a lifestyle mobile game for a country artist couldn’t work out. Even an emerging artist would only need good music, a creative concept, and a strong game development team to turn out an experience that could gain popularity among fans. It might be an ambitious idea, but at the same time it’s one that feels likely to happen eventually in some shape or form.
Any of these ideas could help to boost country artists, and we hope to see some of them put into action in the gaming world soon!