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ARTIST NEWSFLASH
■ STEEL MAGNOLIA’S JOSH & MEGHAN RECALL ROMANTIC MEMORIES: As Valentine’s Day approached this week, Steel Magnolia were asked to recall memories of the romantic day.  “Up until very recently, Josh and I have been struggling musicians,” notes Steel Magnolia’sMeghan Linsey.  “Last year we were completely broke and I wasn't expecting anything [for Valentine’s Day].  I was just glad we were together. Then, Josh gave me an old classical guitar.  He had painted flowers on it and on the back he wrote my initials and C.B.Y.D.T.Y.  When I asked him what it stood for he said, ‘Can't Buy You Diamonds This Year.’  It was priceless!”  Ever the romantic, Josh chimes in, letting us know what, he feels, is the most romantic song to share with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.  “’Wonderful Tonight’ by Eric Clapton is one of the most romantic songs I've ever heard.  It's just so honest.  To me, the most romantic songs are just simple.  They say, ‘I love you because you're you’.”  Check out this and more Valentine’s Day stories from Country stars on Rhapsody’s Valentine’s Day blog here.

■ JARON EXPLAINS HIS LONG ROAD TO LOVE AND HOW IT LED TO WRITING HIS NEW SINGLE: “I’ve had a lot of great experiences, and I’ve dated awesome girls,” exclaims Jaron, of Jaron And The Long Road To Love, whose new tongue-in-cheek single “Pray For You” is impacting now.  “And unfortunately, sometimes, and by the way, this is to no blame to anybody else, [it’s] my own experience, I’ve had some not so great experiences.  Love is amazing, but it can sting, and it can hurt.  I try to tackle both sides of it honestly.  When love is beautiful and amazing, I’m gonna write about it.  I’m gonna capture that.  And when it’s miserable and sad and heartbreaking, I’m gonna give that to ‘em too.”  That thought process led the singer-songwriter to pen his sarcastic new single.  “I think it’s one of those private conversations that we’ve all had with ourselves that has now been brought out into the public, and people are just shocked by the honesty,” Jaron continues.  “I don’t condone that people should go out and pray that negative things, bad things happen to people, I’m just saying that we’ve all done it before.  It’s intellectually dishonest to say that people don’t feel this way sometimes.  I’ve felt that way and if I felt that way, that means other people have.”

■ JACK INGRAM ON BALANCING CELEBRITY AND ARTISTRY: Jack Ingram holds a degree in psychology and he uses that education in everyday life.  In a period where many feel the lust for fame has replaced artistic embrace as the new goal for aspiring musicians, we asked the hitmaker if he notices that change and how he keeps his own musical integrity.  “Lust for fame has always been there.  It is attractive,” states Jack.  “I don't know if it is any stronger now than years before but it is pretty damn strong right now and we have so many more outlets for that type of silliness now.  The celebrity atmosphere has created its own sort of momentum that seems to be like a cartoon snowball rolling down a mountain!  I don't take that type of stuff very seriously.  I have always figured that art, passion, and dedication will ultimately win out.  I balance fame and hype by really caring about my own work.  Tending to your own garden is the best way to avoid the pitfalls of chasing after things that ultimately don't bring real meaning to your life.”  Jack’s new single, “Free”, is currently impacting country radio.  Click here to read a CMT.comblog spotlighting the song.

■ RANDOM NOTES: Steel Magnolia appeared on TBS’ Lopez Tonight this week to promote their single and the release of the Valentine’s Day soundtrack.  Click here to watch their appearance…AOL has chosen Jack Ingram’s “Free” as one of the best songs of 2010 (so far) in its countdown this week.  

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