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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: Pistol Annies hit the targets – Pistol Annies, the all-star trio comprised of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, made the last stop of its short tour a downtown Los Angeles date. This was the last show, that is, until after the pregnant Presley gives birth to her child. Traveling in support of the act's third album "Interstate Gospel," these talented... »»»
Concert Review: Williams brings the joy back – It's not as if Lucinda Williams has been idle. Far from it this year, but 20 years on, Williams decided to trot out her masterpiece "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" as the centerpiece of her tour. Music and artist have held up exceedingly well. Williams had always been a well thought of performer, although she was not too big when it came... »»»
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