Senior Correspondent interviewing major country acts on camera, including Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and more
- Hosted original country trivia game show, "Pedal for the Medal," a man-on-the-street style quiz show
FREELANCE WRITER & PRODUCER
- Produced a daily news feed for country radio stations across the country
- Covered major events including CMA Awards, ACM Awards
- Provided breaking news coverage & served as Country music correspondent for ABC News Radio, ABCNews.com, & Good Morning America
- Contributor to Rolling Stone writing recent profiles and features on Thomas Rhett, Kacey Musgraves, and Little Big Town
- Wrote & produced long-form radio specials hosted by Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, & Kelsea Ballerini
Producing a six-episode podcast focused on each of The Judds’ studio albums to highlight their musical impact & success in the country format & beyond. The podcast will feature new interviews with Wynonna & Naomi Judd, their producer, band leader, and many of their celebrity contemporaries. Producing a six-episode podcast focused on each of The Judds’ studio albums to highlight their musical impact & success in the country format & beyond. The podcast will feature new interviews with Wynonna & Naomi Judd, their producer, band leader, and many of their celebrity contemporaries.
ALL OUR FAVORITE PEOPLE
The All Our Favorite People podcast features Nashville-based media personalities Ashley Eicher & Hunter Kelly sharing their favorite media & music topics of the week. Drawing on their respective backgrounds at ABC News & Rolling Stone, the show also features in-depth interviews with celebrities.
Miranda Lambert Brings Out the Deep Cuts at First of Two Hall of Fame Shows
Miranda Lambert got a little mystical at the beginning of the first of two Artist in Residence shows at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater in Nashville on Sept. 19. Before introducing the theme for the night, Miranda said she was going to let “the ghosts of country music” talk to her throughout her set. Those spirits were certainly speaking loudly to me as she made her way through deep album cuts from each of her solo studio albums, starting with “Love Is Looking for You” from her 2004 debut, Kerosene.
She called these songs “The Ones That Got Away,” which means most of them were never even released as singles. A lot of thought and a lot of practice went into this show since Miranda admittedly had never performed some of these deep cuts in front of an audience before.
For those of us who’ve been watching Miranda create this body of work over the last 14 or so years, the show served a reminder of the high level of songcraft she’s maintained throughout her run. Her performance of early cuts “Bring Me Down” and “Greyhound Bound for Nowhere” demonstrated Miranda’s ability to capture deep heartbreak and longing in her lyrics while she was just a teenager.
While introducing Crazy Ex-Girlfriend deep cut “Desperation,” Miranda said, “I wrote this when I was 21 and heartbroken. I was heartbroken then, and I’m heartbroken now. I guess I was foreshadowing.”
The upbeat songs were in short supply, but she did lighten the mood with “Airstream Song” and “Heart Like Mine,” both from Revolution. Miranda did warn the audience at the top of the show, “If you don’t like sad songs you might want to leave. My grandma said, ‘If you don’t like sad songs, you don’t like country music.’”
A new Pistol Annies album is expected to release before the end of this year, but only one of Miranda’s fellow Annies joined her for this show. Ashley Monroe was there to trade vocals on two songs she co-wrote with Miranda — the aforementioned “Heart Like Mine” and the exquisitely-written “Me and Your Cigarettes.”
Miranda’s frequent co-writer, Natalie Hemby, also joined Miranda to perform “White Liar” and the Revolution album closer, “Virginia Bluebell.”Allison Moorer, who Miranda said was her favorite singer/songwriter, was on hand to tell the story of writing the Four the Record album closer, “Oklahoma Sky,” just for Miranda. The song was inspired by Miranda’s love story unfolding in Oklahoma at the time, and Allison wrote the song while on a fishing trip in a remote part of New Zealand with one of her former loves.
At the end of that story, Allison said, “The dudes, they come and go. The song remains. We’ve still got the song.”
The crowd whooped it up at that zinger, and Miranda commented before singing “Dead Flowers” that she was pleased the crowd was a rowdy one. She’d feared it would be a formal affair since it was taking place at the Hall of Fame but was relieved to find it felt more like a bar thanks to the audience’s enthusiastic reaction.
Miranda closed out the night with selections from Platinum — “Gravity Is a Bitch” and the devastating “Dear Diamond — before ending with two songs from The Weight of These Wings — “Tomboy” and “I’ve Got Wheels.”
She’ll perform her second Artist in Residence show at the Country Music Hall of Fame on September 26, and a lot of fans, including this one, are hoping for a debut of some of the new Pistol Annies music during that set.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD Goes Inward on CRY PRETTY
Carrie Underwood revealed a new, vulnerable side of herself with the lead single and title track of her upcoming album, Cry Pretty, and that story continues in the songs that round out the new project.
The country superstar caught up with a few journalists in Nashville Wednesday to discuss the new album and the life events that surrounded it. Of course, you’ll recall that Carrie was injured in a fall at her home late last year, and the experience of recovering from those injuries is one of the reasons Carrie slowed down and began to look inward. That’s why you’ll hear a lot more of Carrie writing and singing about her life in the first person on Cry Pretty.
Here are just a few quotes from the interview session:
On channeling her tough times into new music:
“There’s a lot of really personal songs on this album. 2017 — it was a year full of ups and downs for a lot of reasons, and a lot of reasons I’m not quite ready to talk about, but I feel like it made its way. Life, when you’re writing, kind of makes its way into what you’re doing. I feel like this was the first, or the most, that I could really inject myself into what I was writing.
I feel like I’ve always been good about writing stories about other people and not so great writing about myself. I felt like through all the ups and downs of last year, and the beginning of this year, it was — I had to. That’s just what was on my mind and on my heart. I guess I was more self-involved? [Laughs] I don’t know! Dealing with my own crap along the way, and it just made its way in there.”
How she faced the challenges of the past year:
“I feel like life needs ups and downs, as much as we’d all like to avoid the downs. I feel like we wouldn’t know what the ups felt like if we didn’t have ‘em. I just feel like I was made to deal with a lot of things that — I’m not just good at dealing with stuff. I’m good at working. I’m good at kind of shoving things to the side. ‘I’ve got things to do, so let’s do these tasks at hand.’
I felt like just this past little while has been really good at making me deal with my own emotions. It’s been good for me, but it’s also been scary. If you inject yourself into your art, and then you put your art out into the world and people don’t like it or judge it or whatever, it’s like they’re kind of judging you or they don’t like you. I really hope, for better or worse, people just get it. I think we can turn situations into positive things. Whatever might be going on in your life, I feel like you can use it. For me, it was making music. It was kind of good therapy. You can turn some bad stuff into some good music.”
On standout track, “Love Wins,” a new song that calls for unity and hope in these divisive times:
“Honestly, when we were writing it, it was a little scary, because I was like, whatever we say, I just want to make sure people see this for what it is and what we’re trying to say. Because it’s so easy, I feel like, these days to, like, skim the surface of something, draw some crazy conclusion that’s not correct, and then make a thing out of it.
Above all, we want people to feel hopeful. We weren’t trying to speak negatively about our world, because we live in an amazing world, too. But I feel like we just get really caught up in surface things, and I feel like, in this world, we’re quick to get angry with each other.
I personally think that we’re all different for a reason. I feel like if you just sit down and talk to somebody who’s not like you and keep it chill, keep it calm, I feel like we can all learn from each other. I feel like that’s what the good Lord would want us to do.
I know it sounds super-easy, and that’s certainly not what we were trying to say, either. ‘Let’s just all hold hands and be friends.’ I know it’s a little more complicated than that, but I do think that we as humans are inherently good, and we need to remember that. Because we’re different, that doesn’t make somebody else bad. It just makes us different. We just wanted that song to be hopeful, and to maybe make somebody to stop and think about that.”
On instilling those values in her own children:
“I want Isaiah to be around people that don’t think like he does. I want him to form his own opinions about things. I want him to talk to people and come to people with love. You may never agree with somebody else, but that’s OK. You know — talk to them, and maybe you’ll be like, ‘I never thought of that — whatever it is — that way.’ I feel like that’s an important trait we all need more of, but definitely something we need to teach our children to love each other and love others, because that’s what God said — ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Not, ‘Love your neighbor if they think like you do, or feel like you do.’ ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
There’s so much more coming on Cry Pretty, along with some uptempo jams and a few stone-cold country numbers. The full album will be out on September 14.