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Ira Blonder
Franklin, TN, United States
Ira Blonder is the Managing Partner of Sound Kitchen Studios ( The Blonder Group, LLC (
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stealing Betty – Stealing Betty EP – CD Review

Stealing Betty rocks and is one of the best bands ever! Their performance is sexy, dirty, raw, and fills the room with gripping energy” (J. Gall,Spin/Rolling Stone). This group of four hailing from Michigan got together in 2008 to form Stealing Betty and consists of Tonya (singer), Myke (guitar), Deano (drums) and Tom (bass). Their debut, self-titled EP was produced by Mike Puwal (Zug Izland & ICP) at Nashville’s Sound Kitchen and mastered by Brad Blackwood (Saving Abel, Sick Puppies), not too bad for four people from Michigan as a break through composition.

Strap in for a thrilling ride with the first track of the album, “Natural Born Thrillers.” The distorted guitar in the beginning of the song, Myke sets the tone for the album that this female fronted metal band has a different sound than what you’re used to…it’s crisp and clean, while still raw and dirty. “I wanna be your dirty woman” is the first line from Tonya and it’s “the beginning of something neither of us planned.” This track is a of dirty love song that grabs the listener by the lapel and throws them into the middle of a head banging, sweaty, adrenaline filled rock show, a great choice for the single.

Myke’s guitar solo seems to play alone to Tonya’s lyrical rhythm, except it’s a few octaves up. With a strong, solid voice in the lower register, Tonya seems to be a blend of Shirley Manson with a side of Joan Jett and it’s a welcomed blend for sure. “Natural Born Thrillers” not only showcases Tonya and Myke’s abilities, but there is a chorus for each member of the band to strut their stuff.  The second to last chorus of the song features Tom jamming out on bass solo while the final chorus features Deano wailing on the toms and bass pedal of his kit. The end to this song is much like that heard for the finale of a live performance, with all the members going crazy on their instruments and Tonya holding out a long note, then the whole group coming together for the big finish.

“Shut Up” and listen to the next song on the album which starts with Myke ringing in your left ear and Tom crawling in your right.  Effects on Tonya’s voice reverberate through your eardrums and Deano keeps the rhythm. “You’re not the man I thought you’d be, so don’t you fu@#^% lie to me!” is the mantra of this song. Sprinkles of guitar riffs are spread throughout this track that tells some unnamed “murderer of love” to stop wasting his breathe and just “Shut up!”  There is definitely plenty of attitude in this song and it fuels this metal band to create a really angry, empowering rock anthem.

The instruments in this next track start off with Myke, then “Multiply” to bring you Deano, then Tom, and Tonya bringing in the rear to complete the full sound of this equation to rock your face off. Tom’s tuned down bass makes it easy to hear the plucking of strings throughout the entire track, something that is not a common sound in rock and, as a bass player, I can appreciate the layer of complexity it adds to this song about a compulsive liar who is trying not to spiral out of control. This is the most audibly impressive track on the EP, by far. The differing tempos and additions of electronic elements with varying riffs help to add to this complex theme that is topped off with all the boys lending their vocals and multiplying with Tonya to a crashing end of the track.

The EP is set to “Fade Away” with the final track, but all it really ends up doing is leaving the listener wanting more. The intro bass riff is very reminiscent of the old style of Fieldy from KoRn and the vibration of the strings can be heard throughout the entirety of the song. The previously mentioned electronic elements are again present in this song, but they don’t take away from the metal in the least, if anything, it’s more of a cohesive blend that helps to further improve both individual aspects. Tonya seems to be begging her love interest to open up to her so she can help him with his problems. The chorus sings, “You can do what you want to, but I’ll be there to stop you, cause I won’t stand by and watch you fade away.” Without being able to know the subject though, Tonya can’t do anything to help them and the song finally fades to an end, along with the rest of the EP while listeners beg Tonya and the boys to get to know them more with additional tracks.

These four unique tracks definitely stick in your head.  The only problem is that they leave you wanting more that isn’t there. While there is much diversity throughout the EP, these four songs are not sufficient enough to give listeners an idea of the full range of Stealing Betty. The band should have sacrificed a bit more time to make a full length album release to feed the hunger for more of their music.

See for more info!

Rating: 8.9/10
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kermit Lynch Releases Fourth Album, DONUTS & COFFEE Today, 10/9

Today, October 9, pioneering wine importer, author and singer-songwriter Kermit Lynch will release his fourth album, "Donuts & Coffee," on Lynchmusic/MesaBluemoon Recordings. The LP is a follow-up to 2011’s "Kitty Fur."

Recorded in Nashville at Sound Kitchen’s “Big Boy” Studio, Donuts & Coffee finds Lynch working once again with producer Ricky Fataar (Bonnie Raitt, Beach Boys), who also plays drums on the album. The 10-track country/blues set features the work of keyboardist Michael Omartian (John Lennon, Steely Dan), guitarist Rick Vito (Fleetwood Mac), bassist Dennis Crouch (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash) and Grammy-nominated violinist Aubrey Hanie (George Jones, Justin Timberlake) among others. Fataar also co-wrote the track “Frustration,” one of three Lynch-penned originals on the LP, which features distinctive covers of tracks such as Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” Lerner & Loewe’s “On the Street Where You Live” and Duke Ellington’s “In My Solitude.” Another Lynch original, “Sunset Avenue,” is available now for free download at See below for full album track list.

Hailed by The New York Times as “Berkeley’s Wine Radical,” California native Lynch has enjoyed a one-of-a-kind journey that started with his 1962 arrival in Berkeley. After years of writing songs, fronting bands and playing gigs, Lynch became disillusioned in 1971 with the “flower power” scene and headed to Europe. In 1972 he founded Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, which has since become one of America’s most important and influential importers of high quality French wines. A recipient of France’s prestigious Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur Award (along with the likes of Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker), theJames Beard Wine Professional of the Year Award and the author of two best-selling wine/travel books, “the accidental wine merchant” (Wine Enthusiast) never lost his passion for music.

In 2005, Lynch returned to music when singer-songwriter/vintner Boz Scaggs heard old garage tapes and invited Lynch to record at his studio. That year Lynch, along with co-producers Fataar and Scaggs, transformed those tapes into "Quicksand Blues" at Scaggs’ San Francisco studio where they were joined by Alvin Youngblood Hart, Laurie Lewis, Jon Cleary and Jackie Payne. "Man’s Temptation" followed in 2009, and is described by Lynch as “rootsy Americana” featuring four originals and a few gems from Curtis Mayfield, the Stanley Brothers, Bob Dylan and Hank Cochran. "Kitty Fur" was released in 2011, and "Donuts & Coffee" now marks the fourth release in Lynch and Fataar’s series of collaborations.

1. Honey Bee
2. Frustration
3. Playing for Keeps
4. She Thinks I Still Care
5. On the Street Where You Live
6. Ring of Fire
7. Donuts & Coffee
8. Any Day Now
9. In My Solitude
10. Sunset Avenue

For more information and free downloads, visit

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kermit Lynch Sets Album Release and Offering Free Song Download

Recorded in Nashville at Sound Kitchen's "Big Boy" Studio, Donuts & Coffee finds Lynch working once again with producer Ricky Fataar (Bonnie Raitt, ... read more

Sound Kitchen: A Full Course Affair | American Songwriter

Keith Urban, Three Doors Down, Taylor Swift, Chicago, Michael W. Smith – the list of major artists who have recorded at the Sound Kitchen recording studio is a Who’s Who of giants of country, pop, rock and Christian music that covers two decades. Founded in the early 1990s by Dino and (former Kansas vocalist) John Elefante, the Sound Kitchen, half an hour south of Nashville, is one of the largest recording facilities in America, with seven recording studios, including a 4,000-plus square-foot room that might be the location of the recording of a symphony orchestra the next day and the site of a corporate training event the next. more
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jeremiah Cosner at the Sound Kitchen

Live Preview: Catching up with pop/rocker Jeremiah Cosner; opens for Brent James and the Contraband at Indianapolis’ Rathskeller on Friday night

With the release of a four-song EP of original songs called Hold Steady in December of 2010, Indiana’s Jeremiah Cosner was able to leap forward musically with an album recorded at the Sound Kitchen in Nashville, Tennessee, and filled of robust-sounding Black Crowes/Rolling Stones/Faces rock.
Hoosier-based Cosner has shed his band, and has been playing solo shows. And maybe the only thing between some deserved notice by American rock fans here in Indiana is more gigs.
His opening slot at the Rathskeller on Friday night with the Nashville-via-Michigan rock/pop of Brent James and the Contraband is a good match, pairing him with James, whose Moment of Silence album rocks with a Train/Why Store sound.

“I am amped about showcasing (with) Brent James & the Contraband,” he says, noting it’s a reunion of sorts for him and the band. “The lead guitar player (Mike P.) for the band produced and played lead on Hold Steady. I gave him the nickname “The Wizard.”

The 2007 IU School of Music grad says he has been writing for a new record (or two), contributed a charity song called “Reflection in the Water”, the songs have been used in a movie called “The Big Idea”, and Cosner has a wild idea to build a studio in a trailer.

Rockforward: When have you been writing new music?
Jeremiah Cosner: All day, every day. I now have enough material for three to four full length records. Acoustic and organic is my favorite way to write, and I am excited to record the new material.
Rockforward: Hold Steady has a Stones-like vibe. How have those four songs helped your career? 

JC: The Hold Steady EP was recorded in Nashville at the Sound Kitchen. I have found releasing singles via iTunes is beneficial. “Money Maker” and “Lipstick & Cigarettes” have both been spun on the radio locally.  Recently, I have written (music) for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation. Doing this type of work and writing has allowed me to become an affiliate with SESAC and start my own publishing company, Baby Blue Café.

Rockforward: How has Indy been treating you?  What are the differences you feel and see when you venture outside the Indy to play?

JC: Indy is great (but) traveling is hands down my favorite thing to do, so anytime I get the chance to play in another city I take full advantage. Nashville is my favorite place to play simply because the city is a melting pot of anything that has to do with music and has allowed for my network to grow tremendously. When I venture out of Indy I realize how many other events and organizations are built around working with independent performing artists to gain exposure. I was fortunate enough to get involved with Music City Circus (in Nashville) and showcased with other talented artists at Nashville’s 12th and Porter. That gig led to meeting and greeting new friends who introduced me to the Sound Kitchen to record Hold Steady.

Rockforward: How have you been touring? Band or solo?
JC: I have not toured with a full band since 2010. Traveling as a solo act is more rewarding and easier as I journey out. I have a revolving door of very talented musicians who lend a helping hand when I need it. All of us share one musical influence: 70′s rock and artists like Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, and the Rolling Stones.

Rockforward: What have you been listening to? What bands should we all turn up to 11?
JC: Recently I have been listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive, Elvis Costello, and The Marshall Tucker Band. But anymore, I get a kick out of finding Tom Jones records or some good Neil Young. Current bands that flip my switch are The Alabama Shakes, Kasabian, and The Band of Skulls.
Rockforward: Future plans that we’d find interesting?

JC: A few talented people and I have plans to build a studio within a Streamline Trailer that will sit on a few acres of land down south. This is where we want to be as creative as possible and pump out songs, movies, ideas, and other productions. Keep an eye out for a new bluesy rock record I plan on cutting by the end of 2012.

VIDEO: Jeremiah Cosner and the Concrete Sailors

VIDEO: Brent James and the Contraband

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Satellite radio favorites Charm City Devils bringing take on folk staple to Flint, MI.

Charm City Devils

Satellite radio favorites Charm City Devils bringing take on folk staple to Flint, MI.

These days, Charm City Devils are learning the effect that satellite radio actually has on record sales.
The Baltimore hard rock band recently released its take on the American folk song "Man of Constant Sorrow," which has received major airplay on Sirius/XM stations like Octane.

"They've been in the forefront of the airplay with that and I think it's part of the sales nationally, especially where there isn't a traditional or terrestrial rock station," said lead singer John Allen, a former drummer with the band SR-71.

"We're looking at sales reports and we're going, 'Why are we selling this and that in record stores in Cape Girardeau, Mo., or Paducah, Ky.? It's all grouped into one category. Maybe there's terrestrial station down there playing it, but we're unaware of it. It's perhaps the reach of satellite. It's phenomenal. It's so great."

The choice was easy to cover "Man of Constant Sorrow," which was revived thanks to the George Clooney film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

"That song, written in its original form over 100 years ago, it's stood the test of time," Allen said. "It's definitely a ringing endorsement to learn how to craft a song and do it well if you can."
Through its popularity, Allen learned there's no set path to have success in the music business, as far as what channels a band must choose.

"One thing that'll ring true -- it's as true 100 years ago as it was now -- if you write a song that connects with other human beings that is what is going to really stand the test of time," he said. "That's what's going to help you have success."

The song appears on Charm City Devils' sophomore album "Sins," which hits stores on July 31. It was recorded with the band -- which also includes Vic Karrera (guitar), Anthony Arambula (bass) Nick Kay (guitar) and Jason Heiser (drums) -- at Sound Kitchen Studios in Franklin, Tenn. "Sins" was produced by Grammy-winning knob-turner Skidd Mills, whose influence is far reaching.

"When we started this record, we really wanted to expand our horizons on all fronts if we could," he said. "We wanted to improve the songwriting. We wanted to improve the playing, t he musicianship. We wanted to do better lyrics, everything, all encompassing. We wanted it to sound better than the first record. We wanted it to sound sonically bigger.

"I think he did a really great job in achieving those goals. Of course we bit off a lot. We were attempting to not stay the same. We didn't want to stay stagnant with what we did on the last record. It's up to the public to decide whether we achieved it or not. But we feel really good about what we did collectively here."

So far, so good. The WWE picked up its track "Unstoppable" as the theme song to its June 17 pay-per-view "No Way Out." Allen admitted he isn't a fan of wrestling or sports in general as he has tunnel vision for music. But he thinks he understands how the WWE can help his career.

"I have fans that are just like, 'John, you don't understand. This is huge. This is going to take you to another level.' That's really exciting. That's fantastic. I know they have diehard fans and hopefully they'll be some transfer over to that. 

We were very excited when we heard they were using it when they were mentioning the pay-per-view special, like, two weeks ago and our song was under the bed. Our Twitter account lit up, our Facebook account lit up."

Allen himself lights up at the very mention of playing The Machine Shop in Flint with Aranda and Theory of a Deadman on Monday, July 16. Allen -- whose former band SR-71 wrote "1985," a song made famous by Bowling for Soup -- has never visited The Machine Shop but has heard great things about it.

"Everybody that I mention The Machine Shop to, they say, 'Oh, you're going to love that room,'" Allen said.

"I love Michigan audiences, anyway. I've had the pleasure of playing the Intersection in Grand Rapids, played Pontiac, played DTE Energy Music Theatre. I played St. Andrew's. I'm familiar. It seems that people in Michigan love rock music. 

They love to come out and support live music. It's very cool."

Charm City Devils and Aranda open for Theory of a Deadman
7 p.m. Monday, July 16
The Machine Shop, 3539 S. Dort Highway, Flint
The show is sold out. or (810) 715-2650
Monday, April 30, 2012

Bill DiLuigi Teams With Chris Young

Bill DiLuigi Teams With Chris Young For “Dream Co-Write,” Records At Sound Kitchen By American Songwriter April 25th, 2012 at 8:00 am

“If Chris is going to sing it, it’s got to be a song for the girl.”

That’s how Bill DiLuigi (known as Bill “D” to most) summed up “Parking Lot Dancer,” the song he penned earlier this month with RCA Recording Artist Chris Young during his “dream co-writing session” in Nashville.

As part of his 2011 Lyric Contest “Grand Prize” package, DiLuigi teamed up with Young –- and songwriter Anthony Smith, who co-wrote Young’s No. 1 hit “Tomorrow” –- for a three-hour session on Music Row (see video below).  “We had a great time, and we all loved what we came up with,” DiLuigi said. “It was just a great day.”

Chris Young On Songwriting: Read The Q&A

Young co-wrote seven of the 10 tracks on his latest album, Neon. He recently scored his fifth consecutive No. 1 single with the song “You.”

As part of his prize, DiLuigi also cut a demo for his original song “Between Nowhere And Goodbye” (stream below) at Sound Kitchen Studios, the venerable recording facility in Franklin, Tennessee. Grammy-nominee Kent Wells, who produced Dolly Parton’s Backwoods Barbie, helmed the session, which included an A-list of Nashville session players.
Read DiLuigi’s Q&A with American Songwriter about his winning song, “Adelaide.”
Click here to enter the July/August Lyric Contest for a chance to win a Sheryl Crow Southern Jumbo Special Edition Guitar (MSRP $6233), as well as the 2012 Grand Prize “Dream Co-Write” and demo session.
Video shot and edited by Neal Dahlgren. Photo by Jamie Younger. Text by Caine O’Rear

Wednesday, April 11, 2012



by: Liz Ramanand
Band Website:

Charm City Devils are back with their brand-new sophomore album ‘Sins,’ the follow-up to their 2009 debut ‘Let’s Rock n’ Roll.’

The new disc’s current single ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ is taking over airwaves. The tune is a cover of a traditional folk song that was popularized in the soundtrack to the film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou.’

The band recorded ‘Sins’ at Sound Kitchen studios with Grammy-winning producer Skidd Mills (Saving Abel, Egypt Central). Charm City Devils are also gearing up for a string of dates at the end of April into May and they are confirmed to play Rocklahoma 2012. Go here to check out a full list of cities and dates.

When Loudwire got the chance to chat with frontman John Allen, he spoke all about the new record, personal hardships, being a devoted dad and musician and much more.

What made you guys do a cover of ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’?
Well you know I love that movie [‘O Brother Where Art Thou’]. We talked about doing a cover a little bit and someone suggested ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ and I thought back to the year of that album where that song was nominated for a Grammy – the performance that Ralph Stanley did live on the Grammys I remember it just sent chills down my spine. I thought “Wow, that was an incredible performance, that’s an incredible song so maybe we should take a crack at it – see if we can make it work in the rock world.” It was a challenge, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

It was a tough one with the arrangement, we had to change the arrangement quite a bit and we wrote the music to make it rock and I had to write a chorus. What you would think a modern day rock kind of chorus would be, the song didn’t have that – what we think of as a typical chorus. That was a challenge and the song was really long too, we had to cut it down to make it work and it’s still pretty long for radio these days.

What is another song or artist you would like to cover?
I really like blues and traditional type of songs, stuff that’s older. We’ve messed around in our live set we actually play a Black Keys song, well now it’s two records ago – ‘I Got Mine’ is the song that we do in our live set once in a while, which is a lot of fun. It’s kind of got a Sabbath-y, Hendrix-y, Zeppelin-y kind of vibe to it. I really dig doing that.

What was the overall experience of recording with producer Skidd Mills?
The last record was done over a period of several years and I did most of the tracks in my basement and the last three tracks recorded for that album, we did the drums elsewhere then it was mixed in another facility. So we really wanted to do this one, top to bottom, with one person and it was a real honor to work with Skidd. He’s had so much success, he’s a really great talent and to be able to record in Nashville was a great experience. When we went down there during pre-production work with Skidd, Dolly Parton was in the studio across the hall from us. You’re around that kind of stuff and you’re like “Wow” — it blows your mind?

Would you ever work with Dolly Parton for a collab?
Heck yeah, I would not turn that down. She’s a tremendous talent, a great song writer, just a force to be reckoned with.

I read that there were a lot of feelings were buried and this record helped bring them to the forefront, can you elaborate on that and talk more about the inspirations for some of the themes of the album?
Well a lot of frustrations and it’s life basically. We all go through it, I’ve been really fortunate in my life, I’ve just been so lucky in so many respects to not have to have dealt with some really heavy things and heavy obstacles throughout my life. I mean I was adopted but that wasn’t – it was a pretty charmed life admittedly. But right after the Cruefest tour, about several months after, I found out I had skin cancer.

I wasn’t really afraid of dying or anything, I felt helpless. The doctors were gonna cut it all out and take care of it. It was Squamous Cell Carcinoma. The thing that bothered me the most was what would happen – I have two little girls at the time my oldest was three and my youngest was just a year and a half. So I figured the oldest one would probably barely remember me if at all and the youngest wouldn’t remember me at all. I just thought about how that would impact their lives not having a dad around. So that hit me really hard and then there are stories about relationships breaking up on the record, which everybody’s gone through.

The opening number ‘Fight’ is about somebody really not believing in you and it’s about the business, about how difficult the music business can be. There’s a lot of life themes, one of the common threads along most of the songs is that of anger.

Are your kids rocking out to the heavy stuff or not so much?
They’ve heard ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ around the house and they sing that. They’ll hear my stuff when I’m working on songs and playing the demos back and forth and I’m trying to listen to them and seeing what to work on. They get to hear the stuff first hand and I could tell if I’ve got something that’s working because my oldest she’s start – she’ll sing it when it’s not even playing or if I play a part of it and I stop it for some reason she’ll yell at me to keep playing it.

I got to watch myself though, I was singing the Foxy Shazam song around my kids but I was trying to sing the G rated version of that song “that’s the biggest black eyes I’ve ever seen, I like it, I like it.” My youngest she’s not singin’ the other parts but she’s singing “I like it, I like it.”

Be careful, you might have a couple of little producers on your hands.
[Laughs] Yeah I might. I need more women telling me what to do around the house [laughs]. I got three bosses at home.

You said that you named the record ‘Sins’ because it was the one the one thing you guys could agree on since everyone has sinned in some way. Does that have anything to do with your life on the road?
We’re good men on the road, we’re good boys – we’ve sinned enough in our earlier years. I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my days of touring, I played drums in a band called SR-71 and I joined the band right after they had a huge hit with ‘Right Now’ and oh my God the stuff that I saw on that tour bus when I went out with them. There were a couple times when I felt like I had to come home and shower for a week and get myself to church [laughs]. We got a lot of that stuff out of our system in our teens, we’ve all been playing music for a long time.

So what’s life like on the tour bus these days?
We don’t have a bus these days [laughs], we’re doing this on such an indie level. We were the only band on Cruefest 2 on the main stage that we were in a van, driving ourself. It wasn’t bad at all, I tell you I can’t complain – except for when we were out West and the cities were really far apart. There were a couple drives overnight where I stupidly stayed awake with the driver to make sure we didn’t end up in a ditch somewhere, there were some shows where I felt it the next day. We’re all such good friends we really have a good time out there.

What is one band you would love to tour with that you haven’t gone on tour with yet?
Probably Aerosmith or KISS — they’re just legends and two of my favorite bands when I was little. To meet those guys and be able to tour with them would be phenomenal. I look up and respect those two bands so much. I already got to tour with Motley Crue and that was phenomenal. I’m a huge fan of Shinedown, I would love to tour with those guys, we have friends in Theory of a Deadman, I would love to get back out with those guys. Black Stone Cherry, I’m a huge fan of those guys – this last record to me sounds amazing.

What is one thing you need to bring on the road with you (no electronics)?
Throat coat tea! [Laughs] It’s an herbal tea that taste awful and I take some of that before I go onstage. The way I sing, it tears up my throat so badly – it soothes my throat. That’s sort of a lame thing, what else? I can’t really think of anything else I need to take. I need to take my leather pants man! And a cucumber covered in tin foil! Gotta have that, like in ‘Spinal Tap,’ you gotta impress the ladies.

Charm City Devils’ new album ‘Sins’ is now available at iTunes and

Watch the Charm City Devils ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ Video

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kearney native has new CD, link to research ship

(Photo Description) Jim Salestrom performs with Dolly Parton.

The album was recorded at the legendary Sound Kitchen Studios in Nashville, with Dolly Parton's band and Dolly's producer, Kent Wells.

DENVER -- Folk and country musician Jim Salestrom, who spent last year touring with Dolly Parton, has a new CD out celebrating the EV Nautilus, Dr. Robert Ballard's research exploration vessel, which has been featured in many National Geographic specials. READ MORE
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kellie Pickler: Little House On The Highway

Recorded live at the Sound Kitchen Studios in Nashville in front of an audience of die-hard fans, Kellie Pickler kicks off the first Ram Country Live! concert series with this upbeat song from her latest album! Watch now!