Inside Track on Music Row – October 2018

From Loretta to LOCASH, Shelton to Skynyrd Get the Latest Industry News on the Nashville Inside Track

inside track on music row by preshias Harris


My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul. – Psalm 108:1



Brett Young
Photo Credit: Chapman Baehler

Brett Young is on the next leg of his hit-making journey with TICKET TO L.A. His highly-anticipated second album is scheduled for takeoff December 7 on BMLG Records and builds on one of the most successful new artist debuts in recent history. Fans can pre-order the album now on, where a limited number of destination bundles are available that also include either a California or Tennessee scented travel candle, enamel pin set, hand-numbered poster, plus a signed Album booklet.

“It’s been four-and-a-half years that I’ve been in Nashville,” said Young. “A lot has happened, the first record has been really good to me and I’m really, really proud of it. But just having a new batch of songs – it’s like breathing new life almost.”

The album follows four straight PLATINUM-certified No. One singles, one 3X Platinum smash and an ACM win for New Male Vocalist of the Year. More at and on social media.



Tim Williams, an artist and actor that would most recently be recognized as the face and voice of Trivago across North America, emerges on the Country/Americana scene with his debut project Magnolia City, now available on iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play & Spotify.  Produced by Norbert Hamm, Magnolia City features ten songs all chronicling a chapter in the Texan native’s life from the past 15 years residing in Berlin and the experiences he gained traveling the globe as an actor and spokesperson.  All songs on the album are written by Tim Williams and Norbert Hamm. More info at



Keith Urban once again will headline “Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville” for a third year in a row. The tenth annual event will take place at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and is free and open to the public. Gates will open at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31.

“Keith is the perfect artist to headline this signature Nashville event, and we’re excited to have him back for a third year,” said Ronnie Smith, Head of Corporate Bank, Regions Bank, and chairman of the NCVC board of directors. “Keith’s an incredible performer and an even better partner. He’s a global entertainer who takes Nashville to the world and invites his fans to experience Music City for themselves. His great music includes many different influences and will cap off a lineup of outstanding performers representing many different genres.”

Additional artists in the lineup include Peter Frampton, Judah & the Lion, Caitlyn Smith, Devon Gilfillian and the Fisk Jubilee Singers. It is definitely a very diverse group of talent this year for sure. Sirius XM super host Storme Warren and Today In Nashville personality Kelly Sutton will serve as emcees. The event will include the traditional Music Note Drop and the accompanying fireworks display to ring in the New Year.

Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight:  New Year’s Eve in Nashville Celebration Package includes choice of hotel and a Music City Midnight Party Pack which will include:  (2) Commemorative NYE Koozies; (1) Commemorative NYE Poster; (1) The Bang Candy Company – Cocoa Mix 8.5oz.; (1) The Bang Candy Company – Sparkle Bark 4.5 oz.; (1) Box of Tennessee Whiskey Shortbread; (1) Music City Magnet. Call 1-800-657-6910 or purchase online at



Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Carlene Carter will host an October residency at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Cafe. Aptly titled Wonderful World of Women Who Write, the series will feature some of her favorite female songwriters and collaborators. Lilly Hiatt and Elizabeth Cook will be featured at the October 2. Lauren Morrow and Pam Tillis are scheduled for October 16, and Gretchen Peters and Matraca Berg will join Carter on October 30. All shows are 9 PM/CT.

“I wanted to celebrate my return to Nashville by inviting women who inspire me in their writing,” said Carter, daughter of country music legends June Carter and Carl Smith and granddaughter of ‘Mother’ Maybelle Carter. Reservations will be available on a pre-paid basis for $25.00 one week ahead of each show date at



The Band of Kelleys, siblings Bethany, Victoria and Daniel Kelley, have signed with the new Billy Blue Records, headed up by industry veteran and songwriter/producer, Jerry Salley. The Band of Kelleys is a multi-award winning progressive bluegrass band based in Nashville. They have toured the US, sharing the stage with some of the most prestigious names in acoustic music.  The band is currently working on new music to be released in early 2019. More at




Ricky Skaggs has been officially inducted into the IBMA Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. The 15-time Grammy winner was inducted in Raleigh, N.C. at the 29th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards.  Skaggs was inducted by his longtime friend and fellow Grammy winner, Marty Stuart.  Skaggs took the stage to thunderous applause where he was bestowed the highest honor in bluegrass music.

“I appreciate this award so much,” said Skaggs upon accepting the honor. “This means so much to me because it’s the music of my youth. It’s the foundation of everything I’ve ever recorded. I want to thank the IBMA and all those who voted for me. And I want to thank the Lord Jesus. He deserves all glory.”

Along with Paul Williams, Tom T. Hall and the late Dixie Hall, Skaggs was inducted as part of the Class of 2018. More at

Here is a 2012 video of Skaggs and Stuart performing a spirited rendition “Rawhide” (no, not the theme from the classic TV western).




Hit singer/ songwriter CJ Solar, has signed with Dreamcatcher for all aspects of career management. Solar has also signed with WME for exclusive agency representation. Solar’s current single, “American Girls,” is currently receiving significant airplay. In addition to co-writing “American Girls,” the latest single from his Get Away With It EP, Solar co-wrote Morgan Wallen’s #1 single “Up Down” featuring Florida Georgia Line. Rolling Stone Country named him one of their New Artists You Need To Know, and Taste of Country named CJ one of their 5 Country Artists to Watch. More at


David Ball’s new album, Come See Me (Public Records), dropped in September following  “I Got A Broken Heart In The Mail,” the first single from the album that hit radio back in July. It is David’s first release of new music in eight years. If David went to Bakersfield and picked guitars with Buck Owens, it might have come out like “I Got A Broken Heart In The Mail.” Recorded at his home studio in Franklin, Tenn., this may be David’s most personal record yet. He wrote and produced every song. Aside from drums and percussion contributed by Scott Metko, David played all instruments.

“This is melodic, hooky country music, the kind I grew up on,” said David Ball. “It’s fun to listen to. This is under-produced, non-corporate country music.”

More info at and on social media.



Rising Country artist Jimmy Charles has launched his 501(3)(c) charity, #IAMNOTALONE, in tandem with his new single, “I Am Not Alone.” The organization focuses on ensuring that no one battling cancer feels alone in their journey and asks participants to sign a “contract” promising never to give up. Jimmy co-wrote the passionate song with C.J. Garton and Rich Fehle, and the track was produced by Grammy Award-winner Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell (Rod Stewart, Bruno Mars, Al Green, John Mayer). “I Am Not Alone” offers a powerful message of hope and strength – and Jimmy will donate 100% of the single’s sales to his new nonprofit. The song is from his upcoming EP and is available to Radio Programmers via PlayMPE and AirPlay Direct. Fans can find the track on Amazon and iTunes. Details at


Martina McBride is not letting the Nashville summer heat ruin her Christmas spirit, and is kicking off her gift giving with the release of It’s The Holiday Season. The 9-song holiday set will be released on October 19, the first with her new record label partner, BMG.  McBride also continues her The Joy of Christmas Tour tradition, this time bringing to life the harmonic, orchestral sounds on the album by using local symphonies on each stop.  But, before all that begins, she will release a second all-season cookbook, Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist For Real Life.  For this album, McBride collaborated with the late Patrick ‘Pat’ Williams to arrange a set of classic Christmas songs with accompaniment from more than 40 world-class musicians at the famed Capitol Studio in Los Angeles and Blackbird Studio in Nashville. Details at




Jeannie Seely and Michael Ray
Photo Courtesy of Preshias Harris

I attended the biggest birthday party on September 26th. The CMA (Country Music Association) celebrated its 60th anniversary with an invite-only industry party at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Everybody was there. Michael Ray, Craig Wayne Boyd, Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely, Gatlin’s Brothers, Lee Greenwood, Lee Brice, Julie Roberts and the list goes on. More than 20 acts performed 60 years of country hits, backed by my friend Joe Denim and his All-Star Band. Each artist performed a song honoring a different decade of music. Michael Ray and Craig Wayne Boyd performed back-to-back Merle Haggard classics, with Ray singing “Okie from Muskogee” and Boyd singing “The Fighting Side of Me.” My favorite performance of the event was Halfway to Hazard performing Montgomery Gentry’s “My Town” in a wonderful heartfelt tribute to their own Kentucky boy Troy Gentry.



Loretta Lynn will be honored with the “Artist of a Lifetime” award presented by Ram Trucks at this year’s all-female CMT Artists of the Year event premiering live Wednesday, Oct. 17. Academy Award and Oscar winner, and Coal Miner’s Daughter actress Sissy Spacek will bestow the award to Lynn.  She is the latest Artist of a Lifetime honoree following Merle Haggard (2014), Kenny Rogers (2015) and Shania Twain (2016). Loretta has more than five decades of recording and touring to her credit. Her songs tackled boundary-pushing topics drawn from her own life experiences as a wife and mother. “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Fist City” and “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” are just three of Lynn’s 16 country No. 1 singles. She has sold over 45 million records worldwide. Loretta Lynn’s latest studio album, Wouldn’t It Be Great (Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment) was released Friday, Sept. 28. This year’s show is dedicated to the women of country music and honors Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott. Check out Nashville Music Guide’s review of Wouldn’t It Be Great HERE. 



Dolly Parton is working on a new album, Dumplin’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. It will feature original music for the upcoming movie titled Dumplin’.  The album will also include a new version of Dolly’s 1971 song, ‘Here I Am,’ as a duet with pop artist Sia. The song is now available for download and streaming.  Dolly co-wrote six new songs for the album with Linda Perry. Guest stars on the soundtrack album include Miranda Lambert, Mavis Staples, Elle King, Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent and Miley Cyrus. The movie, ‘Dumplin,’ will be released later this year on Netflix. The album will be released November 30 on Dolly Records/RCA Nashville.  Updates at



Wondering what’s new with Waterloo Revival? The Show Dog Nashville duo are back with a new EP led by the breezy, infectious new single and title track ‘Wonder Woman.’ The song, on all digital music providers, headlines a three-song release. Produced by Jason Massey (Kelsea Ballerini) and executive producer Arturo Buenahora, Jr. (Dierks Bentley, Eric Church), the Wonder Woman EP also includes ‘Making Waves’ and ‘Back To You.’ Waterloo Revival’s George Birge and Cody Cooper are co-writers on all three tracks, joined by the legendary Marv Green and Ryan Tyndell  on the title cut. ‘Making Waves’ also credits Jason Massey and Dustin James, with ‘Back To You’ adding Massey and Corey Crowder to Birge and Cooper. Info at



Grand Ole Opry star and country music legend TG Sheppard has extended his 2018 Party Time Tour into the fall and winter months. Naming the tour after his No. 1 hit ‘Party Time,’ the recording artist will make stops in Indiana, Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana and Ohio.

“There’s nothing greater than looking out from the stage and seeing larger crowds that sing along to every song,” explains Sheppard. “The age group of today’s crowds who love country music is so varied. It’s an exciting time to be touring!”

Ranked as one of the Top 100 Country Artists of All Time by Billboard, the chart-topper is taking his 21 No. 1 hits out of the road such as “I Loved ‘Em Every One,” “Last Cheaters Waltz,” “Devil in the Bottle,” “Only One You,” of course, “Party Time,” and many more.  Now seeing resurgence in the popularity of traditional country music, Sheppard has been touring for more than 40 years. Tour dates and more at



The 49th Annual GMA Dove Awards is set for Tuesday, October 16, 2018, in Nashville, TN at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University. The GMA Dove Awards is an awards show produced by the Gospel Music Association. Since 1969 the GMA Dove Awards has honored outstanding achievements and excellence in Christian Music. The show celebrates our rich musical diversity. Awards are presented to individuals representing modern Rock, Rap/Hip Hop, Pop/Contemporary, Inspirational, Southern Gospel, Urban, Bluegrass, Country, Worship and more! For info and updates got to



Ciera MacKenzie has released her debut single “Weeping Willow.” (Personal note: I first met Ciera a few years ago at the Boulder Creek Guitars Summer NAMM Jam where she impressed me with her talent.)  “Weeping Willow,” written by MacKenzie, James Breedwell, and Emmy Award-winning Will Edwards, who also produced the track, illustrates a storyline of a woman growing from childhood to adulthood, holding onto the powerful memory of a weeping willow tree that grew and remained a constant throughout her life’s journey.

“My whole life has been preparing for this moment,” said MacKenzie. ” I’m so proud of this song and hope everyone finds their own weeping willow.”

The track is now available for download and streaming via all digital music services.  The single is the first from 17-year-old MacKenzie’s forthcoming debut album, currently slated for release in Spring of 2019 from Copperline Music Group. More at



Dark Horse Recording Studios, long known for its legendary top hit recording sessions as one of the most beautiful studios in greater Nashville, will be rolling out the red carpet over the next six months with an intimate series of VIP events to mark their 25th year. The intimate celebrations will honor the executive producers, artist managers, recording labels and extraordinary talent who have made the studio so legendary in the music industry. Center Stage Magazine will host the event coverage as a part of their Center Stage Presents™ which is aimed to bring the latest in music interviews and music videos featuring today’s hottest new artists, as well as established marquee entertainers, actors and performers. Center Stage Presents™ also airs on partner network My Jam Music Network. Dark Horse Recording Studios is located in Franklin, Tennessee, originally opened in 1993 and expanded in 2009.



LOCASH (Wheelhouse Records) and Pepsi® are teaming up for the first-ever Pepsi Tailgate Tour this football season. The traveling celebration will bring generations of football fans around the country a new way to enjoy game day with live performances from LOCASH and other special surprises.

“We’re super excited to be partnering up with Pepsi and being part of the Pepsi family. Teaming country music and football fans is the perfect combination for a party!!” Chris Lucas of LoCash says in a press release.

The news of the tour comes hot on the heels of the release of their latest single, “Feels Like a Party,” which was added to country radio on Tuesday (Sept. 4). “Good things sure do happen in pairs; Thank you, country radio for embracing this song, we’re so honored and appreciate your support,” adds LoCash’s Preston Brust. “This, on the heels of the Pepsi Tailgate Tour news made today an incredibly special day for us.”

With stops at key college and NFL matchups across the U.S., fans will be able to watch their favorite teams compete, and gather with friends and family to enjoy music, food, games and Pepsi products. Tour news and more at



Last month, the Pistol Annies (Angaleena Presley, Ashley Monroe and Miranda Lambert) took the stage at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater. This was a great ending to Lambert’s two-night stint as the museum’s latest artist-in-residence. Miranda shared cuts from their two previous albums, which includes their 2011 debut, “Hell on Heels”. She also shared some of the new material as well. The Pistol’s will preview the new music at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on October 25th and have set November 2nd as the release date for their third album Interstate Gospel. The album is the follow up to the platinum-selling group’s 2013 release Annie Up. The album definitely keeps the ladies deep rooted musical tradition, even though it’s been five years between the albums. The songwriting credits include songs written by all three artists collectively. For more information visit



Singer, songwriter and Broadway actor Gary Morris has released Sense of Pride to all major online retailers. The 13th release of his career, Sense of Pride is co-produced by Morris and Michael Bonagura (Baillie & The Boys) and features eight songs written or co-written by Morris. The ninth tune was co-written by Bonagura and wife Kathie Baillie.

Sense of Pride is the most personal musical work I’ve attempted,” Morris says. “The project has personal perspectives about my life and how I see the world.”

More at



A packed house at the RYMAN on September 19th celebrated the inaugural Nashville Songwriter Awards, presented by the Nashville Songwriters Association International and City National Bank. The top honor of the night, Song of the Year was awarded to Matt Dragstrem, Ben Hayslip, and Josh Thompson for “I’ll Name The Dogs,” recorded by Blake Shelton. Kentucky native Ashley Gorley was recognized as Songwriter of the Year for the 4th time, and Brandon Lancaster received the award for Songwriter-Artist of the Year. The evening included stories, videos, and incredible performances by some of today’s hottest artists who filled the RYMAN to honor the songs, songwriters, and those dedicated to the songwriting community. Performers included Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, Jamey Johnson, Chris Janson, LANCO, Kip Moore, Jewel, Darius Rucker, Brantley Gilbert, Travis Denning, and more.



Just days before its one year anniversary, current multi-CMA nominee Thomas Rhett’s Platinum album LIFE CHANGES earns its fourth consecutive chart-topping hit with the title track, notching his 11th career No. One. On September 21, Rhett also released of LIFE CHANGES DELUXE, which features three new tracks: ‘Country Gold,’ ‘Cardboard Heart’ and ‘When We’re 80.’ The digital version will also include three remixes of “Leave Right Now” and a track with updated lyrics for ‘Life Changes.’

“There’s no way for me to explain how it feels to have 11 number ones,” Rhett said. “This was the song that inspired the name of the album, and is so special for me because it’s my family’s story. It’s amazing that so many people have also been able to connect it to their own stories.”  Details at

Congrats to Blake Shelton and the writers of two of his recent chart-toppers who celebrated at a #1 party in Nashville September 18. ‘I’ll Name The Dogs’ was written by Matt Dragstrem, Ben Hayslip and Josh Thompson.”Every Time I Hear That Song” was written by Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey and the Warren Brothers.

Appropriately, the celebration was held at Blake’s new bar/restaurant, Ole Red.Ole Red was full to the brim with celebrants, who enjoyed the presentations by publishers, labels, producers and songwriters of both songs. Blake spoke highly of everyone he worked with, thanking all parties involved for the work to make the singles successful. Music, tour dates and more info at



Briana Renea (BR Production Co., LLC, Oregon City, Oregon), is set to make her debut on country radio with the release of her original tune, “Chasin’ Trouble,” slated to impact radio on October 4, 2018. The single arrives as a sneak peek to the Oregonian native’s forthcoming album release. The single will be available via all major digital retail and streaming outlets (Amazon/iTunes/Pandora/ Rhapsody/Spotify) on Friday, October 12, 2018. Co-written with Steve Mitchell (Grin Like A Dog Songs Publishing) and Will Hopkins (“She’s Killing Me”/Craig Wayne Boyd), and produced by Jason Wyatt at Watershed Studios in Nashville, the high-energy, giddy-up track snaps with saucy vocals and brazen lyrics to paint the portrait of a spunky gal who should be ID’d with a “WARNING” label. Likely torn from the pages of Briana Renea’s own journal, the storyline spotlights a female character that beams with no-nonsense independence and a sweet and salty panache. More info at



Southern Rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd are now on the first leg of their two-year Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour.  Earlier this year Skynyrd announced that after a career that has spanned more than 40 years and includes a catalog of more than 60 albums with more than 30 million units sold, they would embark on their final tour. Produced by Live Nation, the career-concluding two-year farewell tour will have logged over 50 stops by the end of 2018.  The tour derives its name from the band’s ‘The Last of the Street Survivors’ and their fifth studio album Street Survivors that is certified multi-Platinum by the RIAA. The tour marks a big moment for generations of fans, as Lynyrd Skynyrd has been touring consistently since the 90s. The farewell tour will take original member Gary Rossington joined by Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, Mark “Sparky” Matejka, Michael Cartellone, Keith Christopher, Peter Keys, Dale Krantz Rossington, Carol Chase and special guest Jim Horn across the country over the next two years. Find tour dates at



Billy Ray Cyrus’ global hit, “Goddess of Democracy,” continues to strike a nerve with fans and listeners everywhere. Cyrus has released the track on all digital music platforms after overwhelming demand on YouTube. It is the first song off his forthcoming album The SnakeDoctor Circus set for release this fall.  Cyrus recently wrapped a whirlwind media tour in New York, where he debuted an acoustic version of ‘Goddess of Democracy’ on Good Day New York and opened up about the grassroots foundation behind the song on LifeMinute.TV, MSN, Spotify and Yahoo and many more. Music, tour info and more at



The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), CMT, and C. F. Martin & Co. (Martin Guitar & Strings) are teaming up to present the 19th Annual NSAI Song Contest. Entries will be accepted online or by mail now through October 31, 2018 at 12:00pm CDST. With two categories, SONG and LYRIC-ONLY, the contest provides an opportunity for songwriters of all genres to have their song(s) judged by an all-star music industry panel for a chance at winning one of the twenty-three prizes. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $5,000 CASH, a mentoring session with legendary hit songwriter Craig Wiseman, a Martin guitar and strings, a one-year single song contract with ole, and other prizes. These include: two tickets to the 2019 CMT Music Awards show, a three day trip to Nashville including two nights of hotel accommodations and round trip flight. 10 Grand Prize Runners-Up will also each receive a prize pack. Entry details and info at



Eric Church’s October 5th,  Desperate Man, release is one of the year’s most anticipated albums, and now fans have even more reasons to look forward to the release date: 37 of them to be exact.  Church’s 2019 Double Down Tour will visit 19 cities and Church will perform six albums worth of material across two very different nights of music as well as a stadium-sized tour stop in Nashville, Tennessee, more than doubling the capacity where he previously set Bridgestone Arena’s attendance record upon the finale stop of his Holdin’ My Own Tour in 2017. In keeping with Church’s commitment to giving his fan club — known as the Church Choir — priority access, they will be able to purchase tickets during the fan club pre-sale.  To keep scalpers at bay and to ensure tickets end up in the hands of real fans, after the fan club pre-sale, tickets will be sold during Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan pre-sale. More information is available at



After burning up the charts with It’s Been AwhileDustin Collins is igniting country music once again with the release of his new lyric video for “Bonfire Songs” featuring Colt Ford. “Bonfire Songs,” was the fourth song written solely by Collins for It’s Been Awhile. The seven-track collection was released through Average Joes Entertainment on DCDL Entertainment. A true road warrior, the Bardstown, Ky. native spends hundreds of thousands of miles on the road playing honky tonks, fairs and festivals throughout the country. Tour dates music and a link to the ‘Bonfire Songs’ video at




Gary Allan, Jess Taylor, Jon Pardi, Chris Young

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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