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Country Thunder Records folds

Monday, March 16, 2009 – Country Thunder Records, the home of Heartland, closed today, a victim of the stock market downturn.

"It's not a fun deal," said Herb Graham, who started the Nashville-based label. Graham cited the economy as the reason for the decision.

Heartland, who had a number one hit with I Loved Her First for Lofton Creek in 2006, never released an album for Country Thunder. Others on the label included Shawn Hammonds, Bluefield and Burns & Poe, a duo consisting of Keith Burns of Trick Pony fame and Michelle Poe, who once had a solo recording contract and played bass for Dierks Bentley.

"The biggest thing I was running this record label off my portfolio, which would be my dividends," he said. "My dividends were cut by about 85 percent on my stock. Also, I think the value (of my investment) is 69-70 percent is gone."

"I'm looking at it, and I'm thinking is it going to get worse?" Graham said. "Personally I feel it may have bottomed out, but if it don't, where do I drop the bleeding?"

"At this point, I just have to use my CDs (certificates of deposit) to run," he said.

He said he employed about 10 people for the label and laid off five. "I had a tremendous amount of money going out," Graham said. He said it was not an easy decision. "No. I'd been thinking about it."

"I really hated that I let people down and the company," he said. "You run a lot more with emotion in music."

"I'm really fortunate that my other businesses re holding up relatively well," he said. He said he owns nightclubs in Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Graham also managed Trick Pony and Billy Dean. He currently manages Rio Grand, who are on Curb Records. He owns a publishing company with seven writers.

More news for Heartland

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I Loved Her First CD review - I Loved Her First
Blending acoustic guitars, colorful traces of fiddle and Southern rock instrumentation augmented with little dabs of soul, Heartland's 11-song debut highlights snappy execution and catchy hooks galore. The Alabama-based ensemble consists of vocalist Jason Alberts, guitarists Craig Anderson and Mike Myerson, bassist Keith West, fiddler Chuck Crawford, and drummer Todd Anderson. Despite the presence of several guest musicians, their sound is appealingly lean and in-the-groove, especially on »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Hurray for the Riff: more than just a great name – Hurray for the Riff Raff is one well-named group. Not that it signifies all that much musically, but at least it's catchy and makes you want to root for the underdog. With a lot to live up moniker wise, the band in concert - which, in reality, is lead singer Alynda Lee Segarra from New Orleans and her backing mates - more than lived up to the "pressure.... »»»
Concert Review: Carolina Chocolate Drops easily weather changes – The personnel in the Carolina Chocolate Drops may have changed drastically over the last few years - two of its three founding members are no longer - but that apparently has not had any impact whatsoever on the group both when it comes to the musical direction and the ability to come through in concert. Rhiannon Giddens, who plays fiddle... »»»
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