Inside Track on Music Row – July 2018

inside track on music row by preshias Harris


I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. – Psalm 6 – 13.



Members of the crossover hit-making band Exile, composed of Steve Goetzman, Marlon Hargis, JP Pennington, Sonny LeMaire, and Les Taylor, have released HITS, their first full studio album since the 1990’s – a re-recording of their hit songs through the years. This year, The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame members are celebrating a distinguished career and the 55th Anniversary of the band. The Hits project is available now at, at their live shows, and will be available soon at additional outlets. The project, self-produced by the band, coincides with and supports their ‘No Limit 55th Anniversary Tour,’ and was recorded over the past year, between touring dates. Hits is released on Exile’s label, Big Horse Records, and contains 11 No.1 hits, spanning the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and four additional top ten hits.



Congrats to Country star Scotty McCreery who married his fiancée Gabi Dugal on Saturday June 16th in North Carolina. Scotty was already over the top about the big day at his number one party for ‘Five More Minutes.’ “She has been my rock for the last few years,” said Scotty at the Number One party with a huge smile. “We met in kindergarten, and then we reconnected when I was a senior in high school. This is our first Number One party as an engaged couple. Maybe we will have another Number One party as a married couple.” In March, Scotty released ‘Seasons Change,’ his first album in five years. The newlyweds, both 24, shared their first dance to Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love.’ They chose the EXACT same song we chose for our first wedding song. So GLAD to know Scotty is a HUGE ELVIS fan tooo! More at



The generosity and kindness of country music fans and entertainers fulfills the name of the ‘Country With Heart’ benefit for a fourth year with an impressive donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the total of $4,300. The money was raised Saturday, June 9th at the Nashville Nightlife Theater during a night filled with music, dancing, dinner and an auction. Organizer and host, Bobby Marquez said, “I can’t explain how special this evening was. I am so proud! And I pray that money makes a big difference for some families who really need that hope right now.” This year’s show kicked off with a true celebration of the success of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Former patient Petey Northrup was in the spotlight. The 31-year-old’s story was originally believed to be cut short by childhood leukemia, but through amazing care at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Petey is still enjoying a wonderful life today. MORE ST JUDE NEWS… Some advance news: The 20th Buck Creek St Jude Trail Ride will take place September 27 – 30, 2018 at Weaver Farms, Alamo, Tennessee.  Over the years, the Trail Ride has sent over $493,000 to St Jude Children’s Hospital. Among the stars appearing: Mark Chesnutt, Bobby Marquez, Steve Hughes & the Tumbleweed Band and Theron Gean.  Details at



Country-rocker Adam Rutledge has released his new EP, Runway, available at iTunes. The Roanoke Va. native’s songwriting caught the attention of country music hitmaker Phil Vassar through a connection with longtime Vassar collaborator, Jeff Smith. This resulted in Vassar taking the fellow Virginian under his wing as a management client and opening act. Runway was produced by Smith alongside Hunter Hayes’ band leader Andy Sheridan. The seven-song collection features fan-favorite singles “July,” “Rub A Little Dirt On It” and “Love Kickin’ In.” (I interviewed Adam about his music and the video for ‘Love Kickin’ In. See my blog at Adam is currently on the road promoting his new project and entertaining audiences with his high-energy performances. See and follow him on all social media.



Randy Travis received the inaugural Cracker Barrel Country Legend Award at the Ascend Amphitheater during the CMA Fest 2018. It is an honor given to country musicians with over 30 years in the business including past partnerships with Cracker Barrel’s music program. Storme Warren of SiriusXM’s The Highway presented Travis with the special award. Cracker Barrel also made a $5,000 donation in Travis’ name to the CMA Foundation. To further celebrate the evening’s big honoree, Michael Ray performed a moving rendition of Travis’ hit song ‘Forever and Ever, Amen’ during his set.



Being a Rabid Elvis Fan, I was so sad to hear of the passing of Elvis’ drummer D.J. Fontana. He played drums for Elvis Presley from 1954-68. In the ’60s, Fontana was also a session drummer in Nashville. During 2009, Fontana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a sideman and a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2011 he was featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Nashville Cats program. He was 87 years old.



Sibling duo Jesse & Noah, the sons of David Bellamy of the Bellamy Brothers, have released a new single, ‘Gambler’s Heart.’  This is the first single from their forthcoming album, NEON PIKE, due to hit digital and streaming services later this summer.  ‘Gambler’s Heart’ made its national debut on June 3rd on RFD’s The Cowboy Channel during episode 9 of Honky Tonk Ranch. The song holds a special meaning for the duo, as the Bellamy Brothers are featured on the track. More info at



Elvis is returning to the big screen. The ‘Elvis: 50 Years ’68 Comeback Special’ will be shown at select movie theaters nationwide for two days only: August 16 and August 20.  In Middle Tennessee, the movie will be shown at Regal Opry Mills 20 Plus Imax (Nashville), Regal Green Hills 16 (Nashville) and AMC Thoroughbred 20 (Franklin).  Shows start at 7:30 on both dates. For tickets, or to search for other scheduled screenings outside Nashville, go to or #Elvis68ComebackSpecial.



Nashville country recording artist, Patrick Darrah, and founder of Double Darrah Entertainment, has signed an endorsement deal with Dean Gatewood Guitars. The California-based company specializes in handmade custom hollow and solid body electric guitars; each Dean Gatewood Guitar model features specially-crafted neck and headstock designs and inlays—finely tuned machines custom made to suit. Welcoming Darrah as the newest artist endorsed by the company, Dean Gatewood presented Darrah with a one-of-a-kind Standard Flat Top Electric Guitar—a chambered model with an all-natural acoustic tone. The endorsement arrives timely in parallel with Darrah’s new single release, ‘I Never Got Over You,’ track featured on Darrah’s debut album, NORTHERN TRUTH.  More at



Joshua Hedley is now touring to support his new album MR JUKEBOX including headline shows in Philadelphia, Brooklyn NY, Washington D.C., Seattle, Dallas and Los Angeles, as well as dates in Australia, New Zealand, Norway, The Netherlands, England and Scotland. In addition to the headline dates, Hedley will also join Old Crow Medicine Show on a series of dates this summer.  Produced by Skylar Wilson and Jordan Lehning, the 10-track album features nine original songs as well as a version of “When You Wish Upon A Star.” In addition to Hedley on vocals and fiddle, the album features Eddie Lange on steel guitar/guitar, Jeremy Fetzer from Steelism on guitar/baritone guitar, Michael Rinne on bass, Jon Radford on drums/percussion and Micah Hulscher on piano/organ. Details at



Outlaw Country Icon Waylon Jennings legacy lives on. Five former members of Waylon Jennings’ recording and touring bands are reuniting and hitting the road to present ‘Runnin’ with Ol’ Waylon – Music and Memories of Waylon Jennings’ this summer. The new tour will present a concert experience that chronicles one of the most powerful movements in Country Music history. The multimedia show will give the audience a unique opportunity to experience the fascinating personal stories, never before seen video and images as well as great performances of Waylon’s music, all from the band who lived it. The band will hit the road as The Waylors and feature Waylon’s original drummer Richie Albright, Alabama Music Hall of Fame Award winning bassman Jerry “Jigger” Bridges, the only female member of Waylon’s band during the Outlaw era, artist and vocalist Carter Robertson, GRAMMY Award-winning producer Barny Robertson on keyboards and ACM Award-winning steel and lead guitar veteran Fred Newell. Covering vocals and guitar is Tommy Townsend who, early in his career, was mentored by Waylon. Waylon’s wife, Jessi Colter, has committed to join the band for select dates. More at



Ed Leonard, President of Nashville-based Daywind Music Group, and Jerry Salley, multi-award winning songwriter, artist and producer, have launched Billy Blue Records and Billy Jam Records – Nashville’s newest Bluegrass and Americana/Roots labels. Salley will serve as A & R and Creative Director for both labels. The labels will join Daywind Records, Daywind Soundtracks, and Daywind Music Publishing as part of Daywind Music Group, which also houses two recording studios.  Daywind Music Publishing will begin to add songwriters from these genres to join its industry-leading presence in Christian music publishing. Details at



A global audience, including fans in three countries of their upcoming European tour, continue to tune into the Bellamy Brothers’ ‘Honky Tonk Ranch’ on RFD-TV’s The Country Club.  Tanya Tucker made a surprise appearance and spontaneous performance on a recent episode of the show that airs at 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT on The Cowboy Channel. It continues to be the most requested streaming show through Rural Media Group. The Bellamys just returned from another European tour where they performed at the Trucker and Country Festival in Switzerland, Sorlandets Country Festival in Norway and Randers Country Festival in Denmark. The Bellamy Brothers recently released their autobiography ‘Let Your Love Flow:  The Life and Times of the Bellamy Brothers.’ Autographed copies of their book are available exclusively at



(Curb) With well over 2 billion spins on Pandora, Curb’s Lee Brice has been inducted into the streaming service’s ‘Billionaires Club.’ The ‘Rumor’ singer, who is now among the Top 25 most-streamed country artists of all time on Pandora, was surprised with a plaque commemorating the milestone at CMA Fest, becoming only the second country artist behind Keith Urban to receive the Pandora Billionaire plaque. Topping 2 billion streams puts Brice in company with not only Urban, but legends including Johnny Cash and Fleetwood Mac, and pop phenoms such as John Legend. Tour dates and more at



Country great, Lynn Anderson finally got her Rose Garden with the unveiling of the Lynn Anderson Rose Garden at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home and Memorial Park in Nashville on June 15, Lynn Anderson Day in the state of Tennessee.  This garden at Lynn Anderson’s final resting place features 114 Lynn Anderson Hybrid Tea Roses and is open to the public every day from sunrise to sunset. The private ceremony was attended by Brenda Lee, Lynn Anderson’s daughters Lisa Sutton and Melissa Hempel and her father Casey Anderson. They were joined by representatives from the American Rose Society, Weeks Roses and Woodlawn’s executive team for a dedication and ribbon cutting. See more at



Being a cancer survivor, I was excited to hear that Lewis Brice and Tin Roof were teamed up for the annual benefit concert, Lewispalooza 8, a kick-off to CMA Fest week, held June 5 outside of Tin Roof Demonbreun in Nashville. The event raised funds exceeding $14,000 in addition to the personal testimonies bringing awareness for Hope Song, the non-profit using music to help bring cancer patients hope. Brice headlined the event which included performances by special guests Lauren Alaina, Jerrod Niemann and Lee Brice who performed for a packed crowd of enthusiastic fans and music industry alike through a nearly six hour concert during the evening. A late night jam concluded the evening with performances by Joe Denim, Rachel Holder, Tom O’Conner, Craig Wayne Boyd and Tim Montana and The Shrednecks. Brice’s debut EP Lewis Brice can be found at digital retailers and at



BMI recently presented country hitmaker Max T. Barnes with four ‘Million-Air’ Awards, which includes one for his late father, Max D. Barnes’ ‘Chiseled In Stone,’ which reached one million broadcasts. Max’s ‘A Night To Remember’ and ‘How Your Love Makes Me Feel’ have both received two million radio spins, while ‘Love, Me,’ made famous by Collin Raye, has garnered a whopping four million radio plays. The ‘Million-Air’ Awards are given to songwriters, composers and publishers whose songs accumulate more than one million U.S. broadcast performances. Max T. Barnes is a second generation hitmaker and son of Max D. Barnes, who wrote some of country music’s most iconic tunes like ‘Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes’ by George Jones, CMA Song Of The Year ‘Look At Us’ by Vince Gill, and of course, CMA song Of The Year ‘Chiseled In Stone’ by Vern Gosdin. Between Father and son they have had 33 #1’s and hits and have sold over 70 million records. For more info visit



The National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched guided walking tours of Nashville’s legendary Music Row.  The tours are conducted in partnership with Let’s Go Travelin’ Tours and Historic Tours of America’s Old Town Trolley Tours.  Tours will trace the history of Music Row’s development, spanning from the 1950s and ‘60s when artists including Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, and Bob Dylan recorded there to today’s biggest stars such as Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell. In addition to highlighting many of the artists who have recorded on Music Row, the tour will share behind-the-scenes stories of how music is created, from songwriting, to recording, to promotion. Tours begin at Bobby’s Idle Hour, 1028 16th Ave. South in the heart of Music Row. Visitors have the option to ride the Old Town Trolley there or to travel to the district on their own. Tickets can be purchased at or



On Saturday, June 30, Summer NAMM hosted the ‘Make Music Experience’ at Nashville’s Music City Center. It was an all-day, all-access pass for the prosumer audience to trial the latest music and pro audio gear from top manufacturers. You could participate in career-enhancing educational sessions, demo products and enjoy fun, interactive events and performances. Also, there was time to enjoy live music with Lillie Mae, MONA and the Delta Saints on the outdoor stage. Among the many opportunities… Martin Guitar invited guitar and uke players of all levels to perform at Summer NAMM at the Martin Guitar and Strings Open Mic event. Everyone who played received a Martin T-shirt, a set of Martin strings, and be entered to win a Martin Guitar.  And Fender showcased their Fender Play, the easiest way to learn guitar and ukulele.



Dierks Bentley earns his 17th career No. One single with ‘Woman, Amen’ when it topped the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase/Country Aircheck singles charts. It is the lead single from his just-released ninth studio album THE MOUNTAIN.  Bentley co-wrote 10 of the album’s 13 new tracks that are unified by themes of presence and positivity, and range in style from textured rock to acoustic folk. The Arizona native has amassed more than one billion digital streams, countless additional nominations from the ACM, CMA and Billboard Music Awards while earning 13 GRAMMY nominations – including at least one stemming from each of his last six albums.  See a list of upcoming tour dates at



Big Machine’s latest ‘Golden Girl’ Carly Pearce celebrated her 50th Grand Ole Opry performance. Her management team, label heads and Grand Ole Opry member Jeanie Seely and WSM’s Bill Cody was on hand to present her a special award! More info at:



Absolute Publicity has signed Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels and his non-profit veterans organization, The Journey Home Project, for public relations representation. The Journey Home Project is a not-for profit organization that assists other not-for-profits in securing funds to help causes that benefit veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The Journey Home Project was founded in 2014 by country music legend Charlie Daniels and his manager, David Corlew. More at



Congrats to Songwriter Kyle Fishman. Kyle has re-signed an exclusive publishing agreement with Play It Again Music. Kyle was honored in April along with 74 other songwriters as part of The Nashville Songwriter’s Association International (NSAI) Spring No. 1 Party. NSAI recognized 75 songwriters (23 songs) for their No. 1 achievements during the period of August 2017-December 2017. The event was sponsored by SunTrust Bank and held at The Listening Room Cafe, the songwriters were presented plaques for topping the Billboard Country or Christian, Airplay, Digital, and Hot Charts and/or Mediabase Country Airplay Chart. Kyle’s cuts include Dustin Lynch’s ‘Small Town Boy,’ as well as cuts by Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Cole Swindell and Florida Georgia Line.



The nationally-syndicated radio and television program, ‘Sunday’s Kind of Country,’ has signed with ProMO Image for exclusive public relations representation. Founded in 1995 by four-time CCMA/ICMA National Radio Personality of the Year, Robby Lynn, the show got its start in Beaumont, Texas as a 3-hour “positive message, Christian-based country” radio show. Today, ‘Sunday’s Kind of Country’ radio show is syndicated on 41 stations across the country, capturing top-ratings in nearly every market and 29,900 listeners per quarter-hour (Rating Survey, Sept. 2016), and the television show reaches 48 markets, with additional expansion announcements coming soon. Through social media alone, the show has garnered over 198,000 Facebook Likes, and more than 260,000 followers, averaging over 14,000 new likes, 4.4 million video views, 11 million new reaches, 1.5 million post engagements and over 24,000 page views per month. Fans can listen to the show weekly online at every Sunday morning. Links: Facebook: Sunday’s-Kind-of-Country-Radio-TV or TuneIn: Sunday’s-Kind-of-Country.



Singer/songwriter Karen Waldrup is releasing the music project she calls ‘the album she’s always wanted to make’ on July 13 in partnership with The Fuel Music.  ‘Justified,’ produced by award-winning producer Garth Fundis (Trisha Yearwood, Alabama, Sugarland, etc), is an eleven song album featuring a fresh new country sound meshed with the soulful nostalgia of Waldrup’s home state of Louisiana.  Waldrup wrote or co-wrote 9 of the 11 tracks with Nashville friends and fellow songwriters including Julia Cole, Anthony Smith, Donnie Skaggs, Ed Hill, Brian Kolb and others.  The album features title track and heart-felt thank you to fans ‘Justified,’ the catchy party anthem ‘What Goes On In This Bar (Stays In This Bar),’ Waldrup’s viral version of ‘I Hope You Dance,’ the Lori McKenna penned love song ‘Sometimes He Does’ and the vibey and sultry ‘Slow and Easy.’  Details at



MCA’s Kacey Musgraves is no stranger to writing songs. She wrote her first song at the age of eight, when she wrote a song called ‘Notice Me’ for her elementary school graduation. Kacey has come a long way since her critically acclaimed album  ‘Same Trailer Different Park,’ which was produced and co-written by Shane McAnally and Luke Laird and released on March 19, 2013. Musgraves was also nominated for four Grammy Awards at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards (2014), tying Taylor Swift and Lorde for the most nominations received by a woman that year. Kacey has come full circle since she was the 7th runner up in Season 5 (2007) in Nashville Star. Kacey recently received a RIAA platinum certification for her debut album ‘Same Trailer Different Park.’ Way to go Kacey!



RCA’s Kane Brown and several hundred of his closest friends celebrated on the roof top of Nashville skyscraper to celebrate his number one hit ‘Heaven.’ Written by Shy Carter, Matt McGinn and Lindsay Rimes. He also received six plaques for certification, consumption and chart accomplishments last month at the rooftop celebration. “Kane Brown has been the most streamed album of 2018 and that Brown is the only artist to have topped all five of Billboard’s country sales and airplay charts simultaneously,”  said Goodman. The single ‘Heaven’ was certified platinum for 1,000,000 plus sales in April. “Heaven” is the second number one country hit for both Shy Carter and Matt McGinn and the first for Lindsey Rimes. Kane’s speech was short and sweet and went straight to the point, thanking the songwriters, his label and producer. Not a man of many words but of lots of talent.



HEART’s Nancy Wilson, Rodney Crowell, Sara Evans Kane Brown, Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, R & B’s legend Booker T. Jones (Booker T. and the MGs),  newcomers Chris Lane and Walker Hayes, and the iconic Tony Joe White are among the judges for the 2018 International Songwriting Competition (ISC). Music Row is well represented with Industry exec judges to include Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito and Black River’s Gordon Kerr. ISC is sponsored by: Berklee College of Music; Celebrity Access; Eventric; GigSalad; Lurssen Mastering; Merch Cat; Musician Wellness; Musicians Institute; PreSonus; Pro Tour Nutrition; oneRPM; SongU; Sweetwater; Tunedly; and Vocal Eze. More info at



The Marshall Tucker Band (MTB) has signed on as featured talent for 14 of 21 newly-announced live concert dates on the two-year Lynyrd Skynyrd Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour. “Great news! We are thrilled to be able continue onward celebrating the legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd,” said MTB lead singer Doug Gray. “Lots of new dates have been announced. Thanks to the Skynyrd team and fans for having The Marshall Tucker Band along for the ride during this magical time in the history of southern rock.” The two-year farewell tour crosses the country throughout the rest of this year to give fans one last memorable night of Skynyrd’s classic American Rock-and-Roll. The 2019 dates for Skynyrd’s farewell tour will be announced soon.  Tour updates at … Additionally, hit singer/songwriter CJ Solar, who celebrated his first Top 15 single with ‘Airplane,’ opened two shows on the  Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tour on June 29 in Raleigh and June 30 in Charlotte.  CJ wrote ‘Airplane,’ the first single from his ‘Get Away With It’ EP, with Westin Davis and Rick Huckaby. Rolling Stone Country listed it as one of their “10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week” as it neared the Top 15.



Kelly Willis’ seventh full-length studio album, BACK BEING BLUE, is her first solo project since 2007’s Translated from Love. Willis’ husband Bruce Robison produced the new album entirely in analogue in his rural recording studio in the pair’s home state of Texas. Willis wrote six of the 10 tracks herself, with help from the likes of Rodney Crowell on the additional four. Notable guests on the record include Eleanor Whitmore (of The Mastersons and Steve Earle and the Dukes), Mark Spencer (of Son Volt) and Trevor Nealon (of Band of Heathens). The album is available at

Over the course of three album releases, pure country music artist Josh Ward has proven himself to be a radio magnet.  His two previous albums ‘Promises’ in 2012 and ‘Holding Me Together’ in 2015 generated a total of nine #1s making Ward a steadfast resident of the Texas Regional Radio Chart for seven years running. Ward’s new single ‘All About Lovin’’ off his new album hit #1 on the Texas chart.  His fourth full length album MORE THAN I DESERVE was released on May 4th amassing almost  300,000 streams in the first few weeks of release.  It debuted at #15 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart and at #5 on the iTunes country albums chart.  To date, Ward’s music has garnered over 2 million views on YouTube and over 3 million streams on Spotify globally.  Check tour dates at



Gretchen Wilson, the GRAMMY Awarding winning multi-platinum singer, songwriter, producer and label president, has hit the road on her The Workin’ Women Tour, which will run through early September. Oregon native (and my friend) Jessie G, the first artist signed to Gretchen’s Redneck Records label, will be featured on all of the tour dates and she and her band will open many of the dates. “This is going to be a really fun summer,” said Gretchen. “I’ve got a really great band put together that’s a little more Southern Rock and a little more on the heavy edge of Country, and we’re ready to go!” Gretchen met Jessie G, who is supporting her debut single ‘Army Ranger,’ in Portland, Oregon several years ago. Jessie was in a battle of the bands competition, where she won the opportunity to open for the Redneck Woman herself. Gretchen could hear the performance from her bus and knew she was listening to someone special. Updated tour info at and



Bobby Marquez’ new video, ‘The Cowboy Way,’ is a tribute to his late father-in-law who passed away last year after a tough battle with pancreatic cancer. The song is dedicated to all daddies who upheld integrity and remain heroes to their kids. The video, produced by Pinkerton Productions, can been seen on the popular music show, Cheyenne Country and at You Tube.  ‘The Cowboy Way,’ is the title track of Bobby Marquez’s new album which has already earned the entertainer several honors including a Will Rogers award from the Academy of Western Artists and a CMA of Texas award, along with the distinction as the theme song for the annual Gene Autry Museum Festival. The album is available online through Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Rhapsody, Spotify, Pandora and other outlets. Fans can purchase CDs at the world famous Ernest Tubb Record Shop.  More at





Brooke Eden, Brett Young, Eli Young Band, Ronnie Dunn,

Reba, Mitchell Tenpenny, Drew Baldridge and Runaway June

Preshias Harris is a music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at Follow her blog at

Send me music stuff, I love to get it! /  TN/USA.  Google “Preshias”

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