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Entertainment News

Sunday, 6 May, 2007 9:55 PM

CMA's "New from Nashville" in London, Dublin and Glasgow

PHOTO BY DANNY CLINCH

Mercury Nashville recording artist Julie Roberts.

By Peter Cronin
© 2007 CMA Close Up News Service

CMA hosted two of Country Music's best and brightest artists - Jace Everett and Julie Roberts - overseas in late January and early February as part of "New From Nashville," with several high-profile showcases in London, Dublin and Glasgow.

"Each year, CMA brings artists interested in touring internationally to Europe on a promotional tour as part of our 'New From Nashville' program," said Rick Murray, CMA VP of Strategic Marketing. "In the ever-evolving world of technology, artists marketing in music delivery systems, it is imperative that Country Music continue to build a presence in the global marketplace."

"'New From Nashville' was developed as a vehicle to introduce newer artists to audiences, industry and media in the UK," said CMA International Director Bobbi Boyce. "We couldn't be happier to welcome Julie to the 'New from Nashville' fold and to welcome back Jace for the second year. We have already had positive support from the industry and media for the shows and are looking forward to another successful tour."

JULIE ROBERTS
Music critics from The New York Times, People, USA Today, Vanity Fair and more have raved about Julie Roberts and compared her to Faith Hill and Bonnie Raitt - high expectations that she manages to meet with panache on her sophomore album Men and Mascara on Mercury Records Nashviille. The petite blond from Lancaster, S.C., made an immediate impact with her 2004 Gold self-titled debut album and hit single "Break Down Here." Her deep, blues-soaked voice and honest music combined with her exuberant personality quickly made her a fan favorite. Roberts co-wrote four songs on her new album and already enjoys an international presence, with the release of her music in the UK on Wrasse Records.

JACE EVERETT
Growing up in Grapevine, Texas, the sounds of Guy Clark, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and other Texas legends were in heavy rotation in Jace Everett's house. Everett's career took him from his hometown church to around the world, learning about all styles of music and languages in France, Italy and Spain. Everett, who is proficient on bass, guitar, keyboards and harmonica, toured Europe as a bass player where he garnered material for a wealth of songs. Everett recently celebrated a No. 1 hit as a songwriter with "Your Man," recorded by Josh Turner.

For Everett, who has been playing European gigs for the past 12 years, the international market has been a key part of his career strategy. CMA Close Up spoke to the Nashville-based artist and hit songwriter in January prior to his leaving for the UK to perform at the "New From Nashville" showcases.

WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU TRAVELED TO EUROPE?

"The first time I went over there was in 1994, as the bass player in a cover band."

HOW IS A EUROPEAN'S IMPRESSION OF COUNTRY MUSIC DIFFERENT FROM AN AMERICAN'S?

"There is definitely the kitsch factor, especially in the non-English speaking places, France and Italy and places like that. They love the 1950s era of America and they love the cowboy thing. So yes, there are going to be people who are into the very traditional, almost gimmicky stuff. But they're not as likely to be swayed by some of the marketing gimmicks we use here in the United States. Contemporary Country, which is a lot more like pop music than Hank Williams, has a tougher row to hoe over there, but there's a girl named Shania Twain who's done pretty well in Europe and she's not exactly Patsy Cline-style Country."

WHAT ABOUT THE DOWNSIDE, WHERE AN AMERICAN ARTIST MIGHT MAKE THOUSANDS A NIGHT IN TEXAS AS OPPOSED TO MAKING HUNDREDS IN EUROPE, LET ALONE THE TRAVEL EXPENSE?

"That probably is true for somebody who is more of a star than I am, but I'm not a headline act. I find quite the opposite. Traditionally, the European markets actually pay really well or better. What's cost prohibitive is actually getting over there. That's expensive, but I know what I'm doing when I'm there."

DO YOU THINK THAT OTHER ARTISTS MIGHT BENEFIT FROM TOURING OVERSEAS?

"I think artists are crazy not to, especially if they're stars. Garth showed us something brilliant back in the day when he went over to Ireland and just exploded and did some of the biggest shows ever over there. Obviously, he doesn't fit anybody else's parameters because he's Garth, but I think a lot of artists could do really well. You can take chances musically over there. Even artists who are really successful - the Chesneys and the McGraws - could play some smaller venues and really enjoy it."

HOW DOES THE EUROPEAN COUNTRY MUSIC LANDSCAPE COMPARE TO AMERICA'S?

"There's an incredibly loyal fan base over there, much like the Country fans in the States, but radio is vastly different in Europe than it is here. Playlists are much broader. Even though there's not as much Country Music on the radio, they will play a guy like me who hasn't had a lot of airplay in the States."

YOU GREW UP IN TEXAS, THAT MOST AMERICAN OF PLACES. WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR MUSIC WORKS SO WELL FOR EUROPEAN AUDIENCES?

"They're not as interested in celebrity as people in the States. If they dig it, they dig it. It's not about who you're married to or if you've appeared in Country Weekly magazine, and that's exciting for someone like me."

DO YOU THINK OVERALL THAT YOUR CAREER HAS BENEFITED FROM THE INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE?

"I've seen a lot of Internet downloads come from the European market, and whatever merchandise I have at every show sells out over there - every single show. Whether I've brought 20 CDs or 50, I end up selling every blooming one of them. They're really starved for quality American music. If you bring it over there, just be yourself and don't try to pull the wool over their eyes, they eat it up. It's a real joy for me to be able to go, and I'm really grateful to the CMA for taking me."

 

PHOTO BY TRACI GOUDIE

Country artist Jace Everett.

 

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