Welcome to Feel-Good Friday, a weekly roundup of heartwarming stories, lighthearted videos, and inspiring country news that reminds us all there is still good in the world.
Brad Paisley debuts his late night monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Country star Paisley is well known for his sense of humor and earlier this week he showed off his skills as a late night host when he made his debut monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live. While Paisley rattled off his take on current events like the return to football and Guillermo tried the TikTok Beersketball Challenge, he also shared a 2020 twist on some of his biggest hits. During his seven-minute monologue, Paisley rewrote previous songs to better reflect today’s world including 2020 versions of “Alcohol,” “Letter To Me” and “Remind Me” with a cameo from Carrie Underwood.
“Since the day we first heard from Fauci … We’ve been wiping down groceries and hoarding the Charmin and pretty much constantly drunk,” he sang to the melody of “Alcohol.” He then segued into a new version of “Letter To Me” where he expressed concerns for the United States Postal Service. “If I could write a letter to me/ And send it back in time to myself at 17/ Well it probably wouldn’t get there until I was 31 because I can’t find a mailbox/ What the hell is going on,” he crooned.
Later, Underwood made a surprise appearance for their previous duet “Remind Me” as she sang of social distancing and wearing masks on the chorus. “We didn’t care if people stared/ We’d gather in large crowds out there/ Somebody’d sneeze or hack or cough/ And we’d just smile and shrug it off/ It’s been so long since you and I hugged or kissed or, hell, high-fived,” Paisley sang on the track.
Granville Automatic release new record Tiny Televisions with debut companion book
Country duo Granville Automatic teamed up with Nashville historian Brian Allison to write their debut book Hidden History of Music Row, and the experience had a profound effect on the pair’s Vanessa Olivarez and Elizabeth Elkins.
“Writing the book certainly inspired me to write as if I were less afraid,” Olivarez tells Sounds Like Nashville. “I’m not. I don’t think it ever becomes normal to put your feelings into words for the world to read … My writing has historically been more fluff and poetry than fact and straightforwardness. This process has encouraged me to be less fearful of injecting more calligraphy and dress up into my songwriting process. I’ve allowed the lyric to be dreamier as of late, and I’m enjoying that.”
The seven-track project Tiny Televisions, meanwhile, shares some of Nashville’s history in song form. Elkins says the title track, which details the Little Sisters Home for the Poor on 17th Avenue, best represents Music City’s history. “This space that was once holy, a chapel for Catholic nuns,” she explains. “Then it became a dirty retirement home, where the elderly sat on the floor and watched the world pass by on televisions and others committed suicide from the top floor, and then it became a space for No. 1 song parties. Hell, that may be the story of Nashville. God, loneliness, loss and a big party for songs that make record labels money.”
Highlights on the project include dark album closer “Opryland,” about Dottie West’s fatal car accident, and “Hell’s Half Acre,” a song Olivarez says has a loneliness she didn’t feel until after the completion of the record. “We created a thematic parallel within the song — comparing a disintegrating house in the now-gone neighborhood around Capitol Hill to an equally crumbling relationship,” Olivarez says. “When we recorded it, I was (and still am) in a very happy relationship, so it was difficult for me to experience the hardened sadness of the song. But I can hear it now. And it reminds me of pieces of my past.”
Additional tales featured in the book include the story of Timothy Demonbreun, a French fur trader who had many wives and was likely a spy for several governments. Elkins says it was one of the most difficult chapters to write because his story is argued about to this day. “But I think he’s a hero and a jackass,” she says. While Hidden History of Music Row details the ups and downs of Nashville’s past, it also includes inspiring success stories like Kristian Bush of Sugarland, which closes the book. “He is a brilliantly talented creative, and so well-spoken. A true hippie at heart. I knew he’d be the perfect finishing touch,” adds Olivarez.
Mickey Guyton drops Bridges; teams ups with Wells Fargo to help people facing hunger
Guyton’s long awaited new project, Bridges, is available today. The powerful six-track EP features poignant songs fitting of the current times. New single “Heaven Down Here,” written the day after George Floyd’s death, showcases Guyton’s emotive vocals with a message that strikes a chord while previously released “Black Like Me” shares the plight of a black person in America.
The singer-songwriter will perform the stirring “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” – also featured on the EP — on the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards on Sept. 16. Guyton will appear on the telecast in partnership with Wells Fargo to help raise awareness around the issue of hunger during Covid-19. Wells Fargo has turned many of its locations into food distribution centers during the pandemic with the goal to provide 50 million meals to those in need. Additionally, Wells Fargo has also joined forces with ACM Lifting Lives to donate $100,000 to ACM Lifting Lives Covid-19 Response Fund.
Miranda Lambert launches the MuttNation Fund to aid musicians and their pets
A relentless advocate for animals, Lambert realized that due to musicians being impacted by Covid-19, some of their pets may be hurting. She then launched the MuttNation Fund to help members of the music community with vet bills.
“It really hit home when my backup singer and close friend Gwen [Sebastian’s] shelter dog, Earl, became extremely ill in early March, just as the pandemic was taking hold and our tour had to stop,” Lambert writes on Instagram. “After taking him to several vets, she was told Earl had a rare liver disorder. Then there were multiple hospital stays, relapses, more hospital stays. Earl is doing great now, but he’ll require ongoing treatment for the rest of his life. It was such an unexpected major expense at an already tough time. So, it got me thinking that there must be a lot more people whose careers in the music industry have been on pause due to lack of live performance opportunities, and who are struggling with their pets’ vet bills. Because music and mutts are my two passions, I knew I had to do something, and thought that starting this fund would help both the music community that’s been so supportive of me, and their pets.”
Scotty McCreery becomes first artist to return to Ryman Auditorium with an audience
On Sept. 4, McCreery returned to the Ryman Auditorium as part of the famed venue’s Live at the Ryman series. The evening marked an unprecedented moment for the country singer, who was the last act to perform to an audience in March before the Covid-19 lockdown, as the Mother Church of Country Music re-opened its doors to a limited 5% in-person audience.
Ahead of McCreery’s 90-minute set last Friday, he was gifted a plaque commemorating the RIAA-Gold Certification of “In Between.” The singer performed his most recent No. 1 “In Between” among over 20 other songs last Friday, including the live debut of his new single “You Time” as well as unreleased tracks “Falling For a Stranger” and “Twice a Child.”
“I never could envision a world without live music,” he said during the show. “It’s all I’ve known. It’s special to be here … It’s good to see you clapping your hands. I can’t see your total face, but I believe you’re singing with me. I keep wanting to throw picks out, but that’s not Covid friendly.”