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sam hunt


Country Music Will Never Be the Same

Cover Reveal Day!

It’s here!!! I thought long and hard about the cover of this book. I wanted to do something different. I wanted something that would truly portray what this novel is about: love, passion and raw emotion.

It’s about letting down your walls, revealing your insecurities and trusting that love will never judge you for them. It’s about holding on tightly to what you believe in, to what makes you feel alive and believing that if you have enough faith, it will never let you down. All that of course mixed in with what happens in the fast-paced world of country music both on and off the stage and behind the strings.

I stepped outside of my comfort zone for this, but I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

So, are you ready?!?! Drum roll please …………. I give you, the official cover of my latest novel!










Ross Coppley Restores Faith in Country Music With ‘Never Rains in Los Angeles’

I fell in love with Ross Coppley‘s music when I first heard the song “Hard on Angels”. It came along at a time in my life when I needed it the most. It’s a song of empowerment, inspiration, and strength through times of struggle and not only is it beautifully written, but soulfully performed. It’s the passion and raw truth in country music that has made me fall in love with the genre. That same passion and truth Coppley delivers once again in one of his newest songs, “Never Rains in Los Angeles.”

Coppley has been performing the song during his current radio tour to promote his recently released single “Wildfire.” And although the upbeat track about growing up and making memories is catching wind on many radio stations throughout the country, it’s “Never Rains in Los Angeles” that has me remembering why I have so much faith in the talent and depth of an artist like Ross Coppley.

Blue skies/ And not a single cloud in sight/ But my eyes are welling up/ Cause you’ve had enough/ And who says it never rains in Los Angeles

A unique and tender anecdote to describe a painful breakup. A song where lyrics and emotions, not production, are at the forefront and make you want to grieve his bleeding heart along with him. Strong vocals in an acoustic set only add to the honesty.

If you were ever afraid that country music had forgotten its roots, “Never Rains in Los Angeles,” will assure you, that it is still fighting hard to retain its place. Sometimes you just need to dig a little deeper to find it.

Take a listen for yourself and let me know if you agree (song starts at 3:50)!


My Top 15 Country Artists to Watch in 2015

2014 was an amazing year for country music. I heard so many great songs and saw so many amazing performances that I’m already pumped for what 2015 will bring. As I wrap my head around all my goals for the new year, I thought it would be fun to reflect on 2014 and those that I can’t wait to see do big things this year. Here we go! My top 15 artists to watch in 2015:

Cale Dodds – This past July I headed down to Myrtle Beach to see Sam Hunt and opening for him was a guy by the name of Cale Dodds. I looked him up on iTunes and before I even saw him live I had downloaded pretty much every song he had out there. His performance at the Boathouse in Myrtle Beach was nothing less than dynamic and the songs were even better in person. I had the opportunity to watch him perform again in Greenville, SC at Sam’s album release party for Montevallo and once again he impressed me with his performance, music and personality. I personally am excited for all that is in store for him over the next year. I have a feeling I’ll get to say, I knew him when

Chase Rice – Heading out on the road this year with Kenny Chesney, a larger audience will get to see the exceptional stage presence Rice brings from beginning to end. His Ignite the Night album charteda top 5 song on its first release with “Ready, Set, Roll.” Big things are to come for this North Carolina native. Get ready to fall hard for his next single “Gonna Wanna Tonight.”

Sam Hunt – Familiar with success from his songwriting skills with song like Keith Urban’s “Cop Car” and Kenny Chesney’s “Come Over,” he’s no stranger to the top of the charts. Hunt’s first single “Leave the Night On” went straight to number 1 and paved the way for a whole new sound in country music influenced by a mix of artists Hunt grew up listening to. “Take Your Time,” the second single off his debut album Montevallo, has already been released and if you haven’t heard it yet, keep an ear out for it. You’ll be a Sam Hunt fan in no time.

Dustin Lynch – With a brand new album out in 2014 and a number 1 song already under his belt from it, I’d say we have yet to see what will be to come for this guy.

Annie Bosko- For every girl out there who doesn’t follow the straight and narrow. For every girl out there who walks to the beat of her own drum and isn’t afraid be who she is and do what she loves no matter what anyone around her might think, this is the girl you’ll be listening to this year. “Crooked Halo” was released in November 2014 and honestly it’s such a motivating and inspiring song for all the girls out there who feel pressured to fit the cookie cutter image society has laid out for them.

Kelsea Ballerini - There hasn’t been a song of hers I’ve heard so far that I don’t like. “Love Me Like You Mean It” is the anthem of every girl out there searching for Mr. Right and tired of finding Mr. Wrong. It’s catchy and upbeat and lyrics wise, spot on.

Chris Lane – I saw a car with a crack in the windshield the other day and started singing the lyrics “looking at life through a broken windshield view.” A true to life growing up in a small town song, Lane’s single “Broken Windshield View” will hit home for many. I saw him in concert this past fall where I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at even more songs from his soon to be released EP and I am so ready to get my hands on them. Lots of good ones on there.

Chase Bryant- His single “Take It On Back” is still climbing the charts and from the looks of it, it will continue to do so as we enter 2015. Keep an eye on this guy.

Dallas Smith – I’m willing to give anyone a chance when I find them scrolled across Florida Georgia Line’s news feed, but Dallas Smith really backs up that support. As long as the boys of FGL, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan continue to pave the way for songs like “Tippin’ Point” and “Wastin’ Gas,” Smith will definitely gain as much success here in America as he already has in his home country of Canada.

Old Dominion- “Break Up With Him,” is probably one of the most clever songs I’ve heard in awhile. It’s catchy and honest with a little bit of humor thrown into it. And then, there’s “Shut Me Up.” A modern twist on real country that reminds me of Diamond Rio and Alabama. Touring this past year with Chase Rice was only the beginning for them, I know it.

Canaan Smith  – You know when you first hear a song and you go, “that’s it?” A song so perfectly written and performed there is no doubt it’s about to blow up? Well in my opinion, Canaan Smith found his song. “Love You Like That” in all honestly is pure perfection. This guy better buckle up and get ready for one heck of a ride.

Logan Mize - He’s a mainstay on XM’s The Highway and reminiscent to me of Tyler Farr. He’s got the vocals and the songs to really go places.

Jana Kramer- I’ve loved her ever since One Tree Hill and I am really pulling for this girl. She really can sing and her songs are country chart worthy. I’m hoping 2015 is a big year for this lady (other than wedding planning that is).

Ashley Monroe- Have you heard her newest duet with Blake Shelton? She’s talented enough by herself, but with a little push from one of the big guns, she’s surely going places.

Thompson Square – They’re back! I saw them at a recent Fan Fest here in Charlotte and they were simply amazing live. A little birdie mentioned they’d been working on some new music and with their track record, I’m sure it will not disappoint..


Twenty Minutes With Sam Hunt …. Is That Enough?

It was my friends birthday last Saturday and the only thing she wanted was to see Sam Hunt in concert. How perfect that he happened to be in town on that day with CMT on Tour. As soon as tickets went on sale, I bought a pair and my friend very patiently counted down the days.

Doors opened at 7 and once we made our way in we squeezed in with the other thousands of people who lined the floor. A few minutes after 9pm, Sam hit the stage with “Raised On It.” He brought energy, he brought passion and he brought talent. If you’ve followed Sam Hunt from his mixed tape days, you’re very familiar with songs like “Raised on It” and “Ex to See.” He followed those up with his fast rising radio hit “Leave the Night On” and news off of his soon to be released album Montevallo: “Take Your Time” and “Break Up in a Small Town.”

He then thanked the crowd as genuinely and grateful as he always does and headed off the stage. Sam Hunt did not disappoint that night. He delivered a show that was well worth watching. A talented songwriter in his own right, Sam has gracefully found his stage presence and improves each time I see him. Two things were very clear to me that night. 1. Sam Hunt is going to do big things with his career. 2. A vast majority of those in the room came particularly to see Sam. That’s why when I looked down at my phone after he walked off stage I was confused: 9:23.  Twenty minutes? A guy who’s single is currently top 5. A guy who has songs everyone in the crowd sang the lyrics too with no actual album out yet? How could he play for only twenty minutes?

This sort of piggy backs on my last post about Old Dominion playing for a full hour while on tour with Chase Rice. How rare that is. And I know when you go to a show to see the openers, not necessarily the headliners, you’re most likely going to get a shorter version of their nothing less than spectacular performance, but is 20 minutes really a fair amount of playing time?

I’m sure the artists themselves are thankful to be on the tour, thankful to be playing every night and I’m sure there is some kind of logic behind it. Tyler Farr played for about 20 minutes when I went to see Florida Georgia Line on the Burn it Down tour this past summer. It seems like a magical number and those talented enough make the most of it, but I still really just don’t understand.

Music Fans and Concert Goers of any genre: I’d love to hear your thoughts. Should openers get a little more playing time? Or is 20 minutes fair enough?

Country Spotlight Artist: John King

I had the honor of doing a phone interview yesterday with country artist, John King. For those of you who haven’t heard of him yet, you will soon. He’s already had the opportunity to tour with acts like Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Thompson Square, my personal favorites, Florida Georgia Line and more. His single, “Tonight Tonight” was released this past spring and is making huge waves. I appreciate John taking the time out in the midst of touring to pick up the phone for a few minutes and talk about his new single, upcoming album and his thoughts on “that water in Georgia.” So here we go:

cgiardina2If my memory serves me correctly, you are originally from Georgia?


Habersham County, GA. It’s a tiny little mountain town along the foothills of the blueridge mountains. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to have been raised. there’s just something cool about Georgia.  It’s a beautiful part of the country with great scenery and it’s a great place to grow up. I actually got to play a country fair there a few weeks ago for friends and family and everyone is just so supportive.


cgiardina2I feel like Georgia is a real breeding ground for amazingly talented country singers. Artists like Jason Aldean, Luke Byran, newcomer Sam Hunt and many more have hailed from there and now here you are following in their footsteps. What do you think it is about Georgia that offers that opportunity?

The music scene in Georgia has kind of exploded. Athens, where I went to school, is a great music town. It’s where Jason (Aldean), Luke (Bryan) and Zac Brown were able to cut their teeth.

There’s actually a song on the upcoming album about this very thing. It’s called, “Something in the Water.”


cgiardina2Speaking of the upcoming album. I know the release is slated for sometime early 2015. What was the process like picking songs for it?


It was a lot of listening and praying. A very meticulous process. I wrote about 200 songs last year and we had a whole lot to choose from. There are 11 songs on the album. The great thing about this album is that you can listen to it from top to bottom and every song is different. Something for everyone. I’m really excited about the way it came out.


cgiardina2“Tonight Tonight” is your first single off the album. It’s really taken off. It made it through 5 rounds of Taste of Country’s Showdown and was recently debuted during an NFL game. Did you think when you released it, you would see that coming?

You know, Tonight Tonight, I always knew it was a hit. I heard it about a month before I started to cut the record. Marshall Altman wrote it with a couple others and I fell in love right off the bat. It has a catch hook, it’s fun, easy to sing along to. I also love the message. It’s an anthem. Identifiable for everyone. The response has been overwhelmingly amazing.  When I heard the NFL was laying it I was blown away. My dad called me when I was about to hit the stage in Atlanta and said “I just heard your song on the NFL.”


cgiardina2You’re really getting your name out there! You’ve also been on the road a lot promoting it. What’s that been like?


We’ve been on the road a whole lot. In the Last 12 months, including radio, we’ve done about 230 shows all together. It’s been great! We’ve gotten to play a bit on the Burn it Down tour with Jason Aldean. We’ll be with Florida Georgia Line coming up in Jacksonville. It’s been amazing to get out in front of new fan bases. Right now it’s all about developing a fan base and playing for as many people as possible.


cgiardina2And speaking of performing, you will be making your Grand Ole Opry debut this weekend! September 27! That has to blow you away.


It’s a really humbling thing to happen. You start thinking about the great people that have been up on that stage. It’s a total honor for me to be there. I’ve got a lot of friends and family coming up.



cgiardina2What can people expect when they come to one of your shows?


Be ready to dance and have fun. I grew up loving performers like Garth Brooks and even  Kiss. Performers who put on huge shows with high energy from song one until the very end. For me it’s about giving them a show they’ll remember. I love to work the crowd.



cgiardina2Well  John, I know you are super busy so I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. For all the readers, where can they keep in touch with you?


I handle all my social media. I like Facebook and twitter. They’re different, but both a great way to be interactive with fans. I love how on twitter fans can reach out and send quick messages and I get back to them.


Thanks everyone for stopping by! Stay up to date with all John King news on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t’ forget to tune in September 27 to hear John peform at the Grand Old Opry! You can even download the Opry app so you don’t miss it!

And if you haven’t heard “Tonight, Tonight” yet, you need to listen below and add it to your iTunes playlist!

More About John King

In a musical landscape filled with overnight YouTube sensations and people being famous, for being famous, there is something very refreshing and trustworthy about an artist who counts by the number of miles on his tires, rather than the number of “likes” to keep him in the game.

It is that drive, paired with raw talent and business savvy, that took this young man out of a little mountain town in Georgia’s Habersham County and into the spotlight opening for award-winning artists, playing over 150 dates per year, prior to having a booking agent.

After graduating high school, John decided to arm himself with a music degree and went to study at the University of Georgia. It was his time at UGA that the formation of John’s musical footprint would really take shape.

In 2013, Black River Entertainment signed John King to their artist roster; along with “Dancing with the Stars” champion and acclaimed singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler and country music superstar Craig Morgan, (“This Ole Boy,” “International Harvester,” “What I Love About Sunday.”)