Inside Track on Music Row: Summer Edition

June/July 2021


Big Machine Music announced an exclusive co-publishing agreement with songwriter/producer Matt Dragstrem and the acquisition of his Matt Drag Music catalog. The catalog includes No. 1 hits such as “I’ll Name The Dogs” (Blake Shelton), “One Margarita” (Luke Bryan), “Sippin’ On Fire” (Florida Georgia Line), “Why We Drink” (Justin Moore) and “Be A Light” (Thomas Rhett ft. Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin and Keith Urban) as well as cuts by superstars Maren Morris, David Guetta, Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, Dan + Shay, G- Eazy, Charlie Puth, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne and more. Most recently, Dragstrem has nearly a dozen songwriting and producer credits on Rhett’s Country Again: Side A and Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album. Dragstrem officially joins BMM’s acclaimed roster, which includes Laura Veltz, Jessie Jo Dillon, Ryan Hurd, Brett Young, Brandy Clark, Eric Paslay, Maddie & Tae and more. “I am excited to join the Big Machine Music team! I’ve known this talented crew for many years and it’s good to finally get to work with them. I’m eager to see what the future holds,” shares Dragstrem. Follow @bigmachinemusic on Instagram.



Louisiana native Payton Smith has launched his music video for “This Ain’t That Song” (Big Machine Records), directed by Doltyn Snedden. Captured out on the bayou in his home state, the clips showcases the self-taught guitar slinger overcoming the complexities of broken love with a change of scenery, and just maybe, change of heart. Payton penned the song with Casey Beathard.

“This is one of my favorite videos I’ve ever shot,” Payton shared with CMT. “It made me feel so proud to be from Louisiana, but it also made me so proud to be able to tie that into the song and into the story.” More at  


Chris Lane knows how to pick a good location to kick off a tour. His Fill Them Boots Tour opens October 28 in Memphis at The Soundstage at Graceland and will run for the rest of 2021 and into spring of 2022.  He will be joined by Tyler Rich for October-December dates, Ernest for January-March 2022 dates, and Lily Rose for all 31 dates. The tour is set to wrap in Pittsburgh, PA, March 12.

Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster. The tour’s title echoes Lane’s current chart-climber, “Fill Those Boots” (Big Loud Records). By the way, Lane is a new dad as he and wife Lauren welcomed their son Dutton Walker Lane on June 8. Full tour listings and more at


Leading up to the Memorial Day weekend, The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project (TCDJHP) teamed with the Shepherd’s Men (of the Atlanta-based Shepherd’s Center) to honor its founder, the late Charlie Daniels. Each spring, the Shepherd’s Men organizes a multi-city event where participants run, march, and swim to bring awareness to veteran suicides. This year, during the Nashville stop on Thursday, May 27, participants strapped-on 83 pounds of weight, representing Daniels’ 83 years of life.

“Veteran suicides were a critical concern to Charlie, and just a few weeks before he passed, we agreed that this issue should become a major priority within our overall mission,” explains TCDJHP co-founder and Daniels’ longtime manager David Corlew. “He believed so much in the Sheperd’s Men’s work, so this is an epic way of honoring Charlie and continuing his mission of saving lives.”  

The 15-mile ruck march began at Daniels’ grave in Mt. Juliet, TN, and ended at Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN. To donate or for more information, visit


Gary Allan treated fans in Nashville to an exclusive album release concert for his new project Ruthless at the newly opened Fifth + Broadway complex in Nashville. Fans responded swiftly to the news, with tickets gone within a few hours of announcement for what is Allan’s first show in Nashville in eight years, since back-to-back sold-out shows at The Ryman.

Speaking of the new album, Allan said, “This is a montage of everything I have done since my last album. It’s what I love. I remain influenced by the ‘90s – as well as by the ‘80s. Twenty-six tracks were cut for this album. Then I went back to the studio and recorded three or four more tracks. Then I returned for two more. From each of these many sessions, I pulled out the cool stuff that I wanted on the record.”  Thirteen tracks made the final cut for Ruthless. Stream the album via  


Big Machine Label Group and CreatiVets have released “Heroes” featuring country superstar Justin Moore. The track is the newest release in the campaign surrounding new music releases on the 20th of every month in tribute to the 20 veterans that commit suicide every day. Intending to shed additional light on that troubling statistic—shared in a study by the Department of Veterans Affairs—all partners are aligning to drive attention to the issue, while magnifying real-life stories told through music intended to help combat veterans. CreatiVets empowers wounded veterans to heal through the arts and music. Through songwriting sessions, they are providing veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress and brain injury the opportunity to use art, music and creative writing to share their experiences and enabling them with tools they can use the rest of their lives. More at  Serving as a connector for opportunities that magnify CreatiVets within the entertainment space, Big Machine Label Group continues to contribute to CreatiVets’ operational initiatives through Scott and Sandi Borchetta’s Music Has Value Fund.  Justin Moore’s traditional country sound boosted his fifth studio album, Late Nights and Longnecks, to No. 1. 



The I’ll Fly Away Foundation, which uses the power of music to engage children and improve their lives through songwriting, has announced a partnership with the Kirklees Council, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and Stax Music Academy. Through this partnership, the I’ll Fly Away Foundation will be connecting children from the United Kingdom and the United States through an online songwriting workshop to unlock their creative potential and help inspire their dreams.

“I’ve always believed every crisis has a silver lining and because of the pandemic we were able to form an international songwriting collaboration project earlier than planned. We knew we needed to bring hope to young people in both our nations. Our partners are like family and we have come together to unite our children in song,” shared Betsy Brumley.  Founded in 2011 by husband-and-wife team Betsy Brumley and Kevin Bernier, the I’ll Fly Away Foundation celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2021.  More about the Foundation at


Gladys Knight, the soul music icon and Motown star, made a memorable appearance at the 2021 CMT Music Awards in June and is continuing her country connection with her appearance on a new song.  However, her voice is not the lead vocal but rather the backing singer for her husband of twenty years, William McDowell, on his new song title “Country Water.” In fact, Gladys helped produce the track – about homemade moonshine – in addition to lending her backing vocals.  The accompanying music video was shot on their property in Asheville, North Carolina during the pandemic.   

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