QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“Songs write themselves, we just hold the pen” – Garth Brooks on stage at the 2020 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, TN.
Seven-time ACM Award-winner, Chris Stapleton, leads nominees at the 56th ACM Awards with six nominations in four categories: Entertainer of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (Starting Over as both artist and producer) and Song of the Year (“Starting Over” as both artist and songwriter).
The awards ceremony will be broadcast on CBS from Nashville on Sunday, April 18 at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT. The nominations celebrate yet another monumental year for Stapleton following the release Starting Over, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart this past November. Out now on Mercury Records Nashville (stream/purchase at https://strm.to/CSStartingOverAlbumPR).
Starting Over is an album of startling prescience, featuring fourteen tracks that examine life’s simplest joys and most serious struggles. Once again produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, the record continues to receive overwhelming critical praise and landed on several “Best of 2020” lists including NPR Music, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Esquire, Vulture, The Tennessean and The New York Times.
AIMP has rescheduled the 2020 AIMP Songwriter Series featuring Ryan Beaver, Dillon Carmichael, Ian Christian, Colin Elmore, Jeff Garrison, LJ, and Tiera. This event, to be held March 10 at the Listening Room Café, will be a writers’ round of these up-and-coming songwriters in the independent publishing community, who have not yet had a song charting higher than a Top 20 on the Billboard or Mediabase charts. The class of seven promising writers was selected by a special committee made up of music industry professionals, based on submissions from current AIMP Nashville members. This will be a socially-distanced event with masks required when not seated. AIMP members attend free; non-members $5.00. For those wanting to attend virtually, there will be a livestream available through the Listening Room’s website.
Country Music Hall of Fame legend Ronnie Milsap follows up his all-star Duets, featuring Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Billy Gibbons, Luke Bryan and George Strait, with a 10-song slice of the soul country he’s inhabited for the last half century. A Better Word for Love explores the R&B-steeped sound that has long been the 6-time GRAMMY award-winner and 3-time Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year winner’s trademark. Teaming with longtime co-producer Rob Galbraith, the pair sought to celebrate the genre-blurring kind of country that led him to an unprecedented four CMA Album of the Year Awards, as well as the coveted CMA Entertainer of the Year.
“I have been blessed to work with some of the very best songwriters in the world,” Milsap reflects. “Over the years, they’ve kept bringing me unbelievable songs, and in some cases, they’ve let me hang onto them because I loved them so much. We wanted to build this album around them, so they wouldn’t be treasures only Joycee and I could hear.” More at https://ronniemilsap.com/
Oh Boy Records—the country’s second oldest artist-owned independent label and the oldest in Nashville—celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a series of special releases and events. Founded in 1981 by legendary singer, songwriter and musician, John Prine, along with his longtime manager, Al Bunetta, Oh Boy has gone on to release more than fifty audio and video recordings and continues today as a vital part of Nashville’s independent music community with the recent signings of emerging artists Tré Burt, Arlo McKinley and Kelsey Waldon.
Of his initial inspiration to start the label, Prine had shared, “Every time I’d go to a little concert hall or a club, I was filling it up. So I thought, ‘Why not make music just for those people.’” Prine’s widow and President of Oh Boy, Fiona Whelan Prine shares, “As long as there are people who want to listen to good music, who will value the singer-songwriter then we will keep on going.”
To commemorate the milestone, Oh Boy will share a new documentary series chronicling the label’s rich history and legacy via their YouTube page. More at www.ohboy.com.
Brett Young previews new music with the release of stomping tempo tune “You Got Away With It” (BMLG). A sky-scraping chorus anchors the buoyant new track of unexpected love. Crafting smooth lyrics and a mix that flows with his signature croon, Young teamed up with longtime producer Dann Huff and co-writers Justin Ebach, Ashley Gorley, Jon Nite and Jimmy Robbins. Listen to “You Got Away With It” here: https://BrettYoung.lnk.to/YGAWIPR
“We’ve been recording a ton of music over the last year and I couldn’t wait any longer to share some of the material from this new chapter,” Young said. “’This song was a blast to write, and ultimately pushed me into a bit of a new sonic territory in the studio that I’m really proud of.” The momentum for Young’s latest Top 10-and-climbing single “Lady” continues to build following six back-to-back No. 1 hits. He was named ASCAP’s 2018 Country Songwriter-Artist of the Year and has also garnered nominations from ACM, Billboard, Teen Choice, CMT and CMA Awards. For additional information, visit BrettYoungMusic.com.
JD Motorsports with Gary Keller has announced that Redneck Riviera Whiskey, created by legendary country music artist John Rich of Big & Rich, will serve as an associate sponsor on Jeffrey Earnhardt’s No. 0 Chevrolet for the entire NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Earnhardt returns to JDM full-time with primary partner, ForeverLawn, after running the majority of the schedule in 2020. This new partnership with John Rich and Redneck Riviera Whiskey will showcase their brand of premium spirits prominently on the C-Post of Earnhardt’s Camaro. More at www.TeamJDMotorsports.com Redneck Riviera celebrates the men and women who make America the greatest nation in the world. It’s based on not only a work ethic that’s second to none but also a passion for making the most of every moment. Info at www.redneckriviera.com.
Taylor Hicks lends his musical talent to the movie Stars Fell on Alabama, recently released on-demand and digital. GRAMMY®-winning American Idol and Alabama native Hicks appears as himself in the film and performs a cover of The All-American Rejects’ “Gives You Hell,” which is available now on music platforms along with his version of the jazz standard “Stars Fell on Alabama.”
“Porch Swing,” a song from Hicks’ upcoming album, is also featured in the film. The romantic comedy also stars Big Time Rush’s James Maslow, Ciara Hanna (Devil’s Revenge/ TV’s “Power Rangers Megaforce”) and Zebedee Row (Ghost in the Graveyard).
Stars Fell on Alabama follows successful Hollywood agent Bryce Dixon returning to Alabama for the first time in 15 years for his high school reunion. When he learns he’s the only one of his friends who isn’t married with children, he convinces his client, starlet Madison Belle, to pretend to be his girlfriend. But he soon learns that success has different meanings, and romance may be closer than he thinks. To stay updated with Taylor Hicks, follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and visit https://www.taylorhicks.com/
The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project (TCDJHP), a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting our nation’s military veterans, is barreling ahead with its late founder’s mission to help our former men and women in uniform. Since the passing of Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Daniels last year, co-founder David Corlew (and Daniels’ longtime manager) has donated $25,000 to various organizations that directly aid veterans and their families. Recent contributions include $10,000 to A Soldier’s Child, which benefits children of veterans, and $5,000 to God’s Word for Warriors, a non-profit committed to serving spiritually wounded and emotionally distressed vets.
“Our mission is to continue our vision and commitment to the supporting of our veterans as they reintegrate from service to civilian life,” explains Corlew. “The loss of Charlie, combined with the impact of Covid, has made it even more difficult to do. But the need is there, and as you can see, we are unwavering in efforts to serve.” TCDJHP’s daily operations rely solely on public donations. To donate, visit https://www.thecharliedanielsjourneyhomeproject.org/
A romantic at heart, Tyler Rich often embraces both his courtship and year-long wedded bliss with actress Sabina Gadecki as a musical muse. But the past was not always so kind and inspired the reflective “Better Than You’re Used To”.
“I wrote ‘Better Than You’re Used To’ for everyone out there looking for someone to treat them better, and for everyone that’s already found it,” expresses Tyler. “My wife and I both had been through some interesting relationships in our past, and this was the song to tell that story from a different angle.”
Tyler penned the message of love and encouragement alongside Corey Crowder and Alysa Vanderheym with thoughts of a release later this summer. After playfully teasing the demo on TikTok, Tyler received an overwhelming response with over 3 million views, expediting plans for a Valentine’s Day weekend rush. During a holiday that often finds many re-evaluating their worth, “Better Than You’re Used To” is a reminder for both single people and those in relationships of knowing your value and how you should be treated. Visit www.TylerRich.com for updates or follow on Instagram and TikTok.
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL of FAME NEWS:
Country Music Hall of Fame member Ray Stevens may have just turned 82, but to him, age is just a number. The ever-energetic Stevens is releasing four brand new albums over the course of the next few months. Stevens recently returned to Curb Records to bring his music to fans across the globe. The GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, through Curb, began digitally dropping the new material with the release of Great Country Ballads on February 26. Additional releases throughout the spring include Melancholy Fescue (High Class Bluegrass) on March 26, Slow Dance on April 23, and Nouveau Retro (What’s Old Is New Again) on May 21.
“These new recordings are the ‘soundtrack of my life,’ so to speak,” explains Stevens. “I had a great time making these records and I hope others will enjoy them too.” Stevens and Curb are also planning to release all four new albums in a special edition box set, Iconic Songs of the 20th Century (The Soundtrack of Our Lives), available for purchase on June 18. More info at www.raystevens.com
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame mourns the loss of 2006 inductee Jim Weatherly (“Midnight Train To Georgia”), who has died at age 77. “We were stunned and saddened to learn of Jim Weatherly’s passing,” says Sarah Cates, NaSHOF Board Chair. “Jim’s family asked that we share this heartbreaking news on their behalf, and we are honored to draw close to them during this difficult time.” “Jim personified the essence of a Hall of Fame songwriter,” says Hall of Fame songwriter / NaSHOF Board member Pat Alger. “He wrote several of the greatest and most iconic songs in history and did it all with grace, gratitude and dignity. He was a wonderful performer and a hero to many, including Ole Miss fans who remember him as one their greatest quarterbacks. To quote one of my favorite Jim Weatherly songs, he’s now ‘where peaceful waters flow.’” Weatherly died in his sleep at home in Brentwood, Tennessee from natural causes. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia, daughter Brighton and son Zack, and siblings Sherrie Winter, Elise Black and Shan Weatherly. More about Jim’s great songs at https://www.songhall.org/profile/jim_weatherly
Independent country duo Diamond Dixie has released their latest music video “Lock It Up,” premiered online via Taste of Country. In typical Diamond Dixie fashion, the sisters deliver a confident and fierce swagger befitting of the bold and somewhat brazen lyrics that command a love interest make the relationship official.
Produced and directed by Kyle Stallings (Worthwhile Media), “Lock It Up” was filmed on location at Orlando’s famed entertainment destination Icon Park. The concert footage was captured at Tin Roof, one of two music venues in Icon Park where the girls appear regularly.
“‘Lock It Up’ has such an edgy, country-rock feel to it,” states Gabriela. “We told our producer Grady Saxman to make it gritty, and he REALLY dialed it up!” “It’s so different from any of our other originals!” exclaims Bianca. “That guitar lick totally shreds and makes the whole thing so catchy.”
“Lock It Up,” co-written with hit-writer Rick Huckaby, is the third single released from Diamond Dixie’s debut album Growing Wings. Music, updates and more at https://www.diamonddixie.com/
A hopeless romantic, Noah Schnacky writes from his heart and with “She Broke My Heart” looks at lost love as a minor detour to finding the one. A reminder that the end of one relationship could be the start of something even better, the new track is out today via Big Machine Records. Listen now http://noahschnacky.lnk.to/SheBrokeMyHeartPR.
“I wrote this song as a ‘positive spin’ to what can be a difficult time,” Noah shares. “Often times serendipity in my life has come through the most challenging times.”
Reflecting on the upside of a breakup, Noah penned “She Broke My Heart” alongside Lindsay Rimes and Laura Veltz . Embracing the new challenges of quarantine, the 24-year-old has continued to document this current stage of his life through his music and socials, which has certainly resonated with fans as he’s become one of Country music’s leading TikTok sensations with over 6.5 million followers. “She Broke My Heart” follows “Every Girl I Ever Loved” and last year’s debut self-titled EP with over 67 million streams. Much more at https://www.noahschnacky.com/
FULL CIRCLE NEWS:
Known for his laid-back vibe and charming lyrical breakdown of the simplest topics, Deluge Music’s Johnny Gates gets back to the dating basics with new single “Flirt,” available now on all digital streaming and purchase platforms. With a driving backbeat and of-the-moment mentality, Gates breaks down the start of any relationship in a flattering, feel-good way.
“With ‘Flirt,’ I was just really trying to describe a typical Nashville Friday night with my friends, probably at Red Door, and maybe meeting someone new and just really living in that moment with them and keeping it cool. Learning about where she’s from, stories behind tattoos, and just talking until last call,” Gates told HollywoodLife that premiered the track February 25.
After nearly a year off the road due to the COVID pandemic, Gates will take the stage at Nashville’s City Winery on March 9, and will hit the road the following week with fellow artist Sam Grow for three sold-out shows. Updates at https://www.thejohnnygates.com/
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood – recently quarantining at home on the heels of a recent positive Covid test by a member of their team – are going to be spending a bit more time there. Subsequent tests they’ve had in recent days have indicated Trisha has contracted Covid, while Garth remains negative. “The Queen and I have now tested twice,” he confirms, adding, “Officially, she’s diagnosed as ‘on her way out of the tunnel’ now, though, which I’m extremely thankful for.” Severe winter weather in Tennessee prevented the couple from getting tested until almost a week after their initial exposure; once they did, they continued to quarantine together. More about Garth and links to episodes of Studio G at https://www.garthbrooks.com/
HEARTLAND TV NEWS:
Heartland TV premiered the music video for Tori Martin’s latest single “What Would Dolly Do?” in February. LuckySky Music recording artist Tori Martin continues to chase her dreams with this catchy, up-tempo track, making listeners of all ages turn up the radio. “What Would Dolly Do?” has already seen airplay success rising to #15 on the Texas Regional Radio Chart and it is currently at #54 and climbing on the MusicRow chart. This nod to the iconic Dolly Parton, the entrepreneurial and creative queen of rhinestones, dreams, community development and innovation, is the lead single from Tori’s album Lucky. The idea for the song originated when Tori visited Dollywood and read personal handwritten notes from Dolly to her parents.
Tori shares, “Dolly is a woman who lives unapologetically and has never given up. She is one of my true heroes! I wrote this song as an ode to myself, but also to inspire others to never quit. Dolly feels like a fairy godmother and hopefully, this song will sprinkle a little magic every time you hear it.” Video, music and more at https://www.thetorimartin.com/
Country newcomer, AC Jones has released her latest single, “You Wouldn’t Know Me Now,” a poignant and powerful track that re-introduces her stronger and more resilient self to the world. Produced by Sean Giovanni (John Legend, Big & Rich, Tim McGraw, Meatloaf) and co-written by William (Billy) Atherholt and Pete Nanney, the mid-tempo song affirms a newly found self-reliance and courage forged only through intense heartache and introspection subsequent to a failed relationship.
“You Wouldn’t Know Me Now” follows AC’s recent successful single releases “Buses and Trains,” “Mr. Moon,” and “Castle,” which all climbed into Music Row’s Top-40 Country Breakout chart, the latter two also breaking into Billboard’s Indicator chart. After four years of balancing a musical career and college education in biochemistry, AC Jones dove into her country music career full-force. Her latest EP, Campfire Sessions, was recorded live around a bonfire at a KOA in Waterloo, IA during her 2019 summer tour. Listen to the new single via https://www.acjonesmusic.com/
Adkins Publicity President/CEO Scott Adkins has promoted Makenzie Clayburg to Director of Publicity and Social Media effective immediately. In her new role, Clayburg will supervise and coordinate day-to-day strategy along with Adkins, Vice President of Publicity Kelli Wasilauski and Publicity Coordinator Haley Moriva for Adkins Publicity’s roster of music, film, television, podcast, cannabis and lifestyle clients. Adkins clients include Dennis Quaid, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tanya Tucker, The Judds and Naomi Judd, Chingy, Brenda Lee, Bill Anderson, Jamie O’Neal, Lewis Brice, Dani Taylor, Steve Wariner, Gene Watson, Taylor Hicks, Phil Vassar, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bellamy Brothers and and Danny Wimmer Presents’ festivals Bourbon & Beyond and Hometown Rising. Clayburg joined Adkins Publicity as an intern in January of 2018 and transitioned to a full-time Publicity Manager upon graduation from Belmont University in May of 2018. See https://www.adkinspublicity.com/
INT’L MEDIA NEWS:
I am SO proud of my European colleague, Christian Lamitschka, the publisher of Country Music News International (CMNI). I write album reviews and cover No. 1 parties for that publication, as well as submitting other news items from Music City. Now, Country Music News International Magazine with its weekly Newsletter and Radio Shows in English and German, joins Copenhagen FM Radio Station, Rødovrekanalen 105.9FM. Country Music News International will be part of the show “Roots & Country Klub” that airs twice a month on Wednesdays on the station and via the station’s website. Country Music News International was started 2011 with the goal of bringing country music news to the entire world. The magazine quickly found readers from all over the world. Since its launch, CMNI has reached over 1.6 million readers in the U.S, almost half-a-million in Germany and hundreds of thousands in the U.K., Russia, France, and beyond. Follow the CMNI blog at http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com
INT’L MUSIC NEWS:
As always, last month’s Valentine’s Day was about hearts and flowers, but love is action. British country trio Essex County embraces the concept in their new single “For You,” available now. Written by Andrew Dorff and Josh Osborne, the song extols the virtues of true love. The song felt personal to the band’s singer Nate Bass who has been with his girlfriend since they were children.
Essex County will donate a portion of the proceeds from “For You” to Music Health Alliance, a non-profit that provides the U.S. music industry with free healthcare advocacy and support through access to health insurance, medical testing, mental health resources, medications and more. Music Health Alliance (https://www.musichealthalliance.com/) is personal to the brothers who have received emergency health care assistance from the group.
“We thought this was a brilliant opportunity to give back to the people who stood in the gap for us when we had no one else,” Kieran Bass said. “Hearts and flowers are nice. But people showing up when you need them is priceless. They were love in action for us, and we just want to say, ‘Thank you.’” See https://www.essexcountyband.com/
Carly Pearce hosted a live streamed concert event February 24 for her new album, 29 (Big Machine Records) in which she shoulders her own tough truths throughout. The CMA Award-winning singer/songwriter crafts a classic return to the genre with the seven-song collection, exploring the pain and courage that allows space for growth.
The Kentucky native has carved her place in Country music writing about life as it’s lived. Honing her natural talent as a 16-year-old performing full-time at Dollywood to harsh perspective in adult relationships, the experiences guided her Platinum-certified, No. 1 hits “Every Little Thing” and “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” Teaming with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, Carly mines vulnerability with the same candor that defined Tammy Wynette.
As the siren warnings of “Next Girl” climb into Top 30 at Country radio and her catalogue bursts over 1 billion streams, Carly marks a new chapter coming of age.
Music and info at https://www.carlypearce.com.
(Pump House Records)
Nick Norman, the flagship artist signed to Lee Brice’s Pump House Records, delivers his 11-track, self-titled album — the label’s first offering — on Friday, March 5. Produced by Brice, renowned songwriter Rob Hatch (“I Don’t Dance,” “Goodnight Kiss”), and producer/engineer/songwriter Elisha Hoffman, Nick Norman features special guests Jamey Johnson (“The Cock Crows”), Josh Abbott (“Rolling in the Grave”), the impeccable vocals of Rebecca Lynn Howard (“Going Through the Motions”), and Brice adding background vocals and guitars throughout.
Brice says, “From start to finish this has been a labor of love. I grew up with Nick and it makes sense we’d do this together. I’m proud to make his album the Pump House debut and support his musical introduction on a national level.”
Nick Norman’s album releases on the heels of Brice’s 2020 CMA Award (Musical Event of the Year, “I Hope You’re Happy Now” with Carly Pearce) and three back-to-back #1 country radio hits: “One of Them Girls,” “I Hope You’re Happy Now” and “Rumor.” Listen to “The Cock Crows” (ft Jamey Johnson) and more at https://www.nicknormanmusic.com
Multi-platinum performer and RCA Nashville recording artist Chris Young’s impressive catalog of hits – including his eleven No. 1 singles and top 30 and rising track “Famous Friends” – has surpassed the 4 Billion streams mark worldwide. Chris got word of the total tally while filming the soon-to-be-released “Famous Friends” music video with Kane Brown in Nashville, directed by Peter Zavadil. Written by Chris with Cary Barlowe and Corey Crowder from a headline tour stop in Tampa in 2018, “Famous Friends” was teased by Chris and Kane on social media last year. The autobiographical song mentions Rutherford County, where Chris grew up in Tennessee, and Kane’s hometown of Hamilton County along with Nashville’s Davidson County. An anthemic tribute to the names, faces, and legendary stories that make up each hometown, “Famous Friends” is Chris and Kane’s first collaboration since working together on Kane’s 2017 song “Setting the Night On Fire.” As a prolific creator, Chris has given fans 7 studio albums in 15 years including Losing Sleep, his third project in less than two years. Check out https://www.chrisyoungcountry.com/welcome
Appalachia Made Co. (AMCO) intends to build a country lifestyle experience like none other and to bring the Nashville music scene and top nationwide artists to the Appalachian region. AMCO is a country lifestyle and destination travel brand that strongly focuses on the mission to help create new jobs in the heart of coal country. AMCO officially launches its 2021 schedule of powersports and live music events in Williamson, W. Va., which is home to the Hatfield McCoy Trail system, 600+ miles of some of the best off-road vehicle trails in the nation. An early believer of the AMCO movement and brand is rising country music star, and “Artist to Watch in 2021” Kameron Marlowe. Adhering to local COVID-19 restrictions, AMCO will kick off our Hatfield McCoy Trail riding season with the first AMCO Whiskeyfest presented by Weed Cellars, featuring Kameron Marlowe on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at the historic Williamson Field House in Williamson, W. Va. Tickets and info at https://www.appalachiamade.com/
MISC. ROW NEWS:
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville marathon and half marathon originally scheduled for April 24-25 has been postponed. The organizers hope for “a strong return in the Fall of 2021.” As the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville marathon utilizes Nissan Stadium as a key venue for the event, the new Fall 2021 race date is dependent on the Tennessee Titans home schedule and thus will be confirmed and communicated as soon as the NFL schedule is available. Updates at https://www.runrocknroll.com/Events/Nashville
Veteran indie recording artist, Charles Parker (CMP Records, Baltimore, MD), has released his latest single, “Story Of Our Lives;” the track is available now via all digital retail outlets and streaming platforms. Co-produced alongside Frank Starchak, the original tune lends an abstract insight to the intricacies of relationships young, old, budding or fading. Parker infuses motifs into the storyline to consummate a deeper meaning; while “finger snaps” represent the “time” it takes to harvest a new romance or see beyond the cloud of a love lost.
Pulsed acoustic and electric guitar, 80s-inspired drums and modern bass enliven the dark, smoky tones. The new single follows the momentums generated by Parker’s acclaimed, and most recent release, “When Jesus Calls,” and a series of tunes including “Love Is Us” and “Say Goodbye,” which ranked #73 and #86 on the charts, respectively. Parker also released the title track from his debut album Bring Back the Sun which became the first of the artist’s discography to enjoy radio chart activity (MusicRow Country Music Breakout Chart). Listen to the song, watch videos and more at https://www.charlesparkermusic.com/
MUSIC ROW NEWS:
ACM’s Reigning Male Artist and Album of the Year award-winner, Luke Combs, is nominated in three categories at the 56th ACM Awards: Entertainer of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and Music Event of the Year (“Does To Me” feat. Eric Church). The awards ceremony will be broadcast on CBS from Nashville on Sunday, April 18 at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT. The nominations add to another milestone week for Combs, whose new single, “Forever After All,” was just shipped to country radio and is already certified RIAA Platinum.
The new single continues Combs’ triumphant run at country radio, following the success of his previous single, “Better Together,” which spent multiple weeks at #1 on both the Mediabase/Country Aircheck chart and the Billboard Country Airplay chart. This is Combs’ tenth-consecutive #1 single—a first on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart—as well as his ninth single to spend multiple weeks atop the chart and seventh-consecutive, multi-week #1. Music, info and mor at https://www.lukecombs.com/
NASHVILLE SONGWRITER’S NEWS:
Songwriters may be wondering about the $424M in ‘unmatched money’ and what they should do, according to NSAI. Songwriters receive two kinds of royalties from streaming. Performance royalties are delivered through a P.R.O. such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and GMR. Mechanical royalties are delivered to songwriters via their publishers. This is where the $424M is. When streaming companies failed to find out who to pay, they held back mechanical royalties called ‘unmatched’ money. The Music Modernization Act created a nonprofit collective called The MLC to take all of that unmatched mechanical money and pay it to its rightful owners. This service is free. Streaming services pay the MLC and no commission is taken from songwriters. On Feb 15, 20 interactive streaming companies turned over $424M in historical unmatched mechanical royalties to the MLC and must report the remaining data they have for each unmatched song by June 2021. Later this year, the MLC will include all unmatched songs in its public database for copyright owners to claim. Full details about the program and how to claim at https://www.themlc.com/
NUMBER ONE NEWS:
Following the release of back-to-back No. 1 singles, platinum-selling smash “Prayed For You” and “Everywhere But On,” Records Nashville/Arista Nashville’s Matt Stell nabbed the most added title at the end of February with 39 first week stations as his brand-new single, “That Ain’t Me No More,” impacted country radio across the nation.
“The early reaction to ‘That Ain’t Me No More’ has really been incredible,” shared Matt. “This song really impacted me and it seems to be resonating with folks at country radio as well. I’ve said it before but the thing that almost all of us in the music business have in common is a passion for the music itself. Seeing the positive reaction from people who’ve made music their life’s work is really special.”
With “That Ain’t Me No More” delivering Matt’s first new music since October’s Better Than That EP, the Arkansas native is one of only seven debut country artists in the last five years to have their first two singles top the charts. Matt has amassed 380 Million cumulative streams to date. More at https://www.mattstell.com/ @MattStellMusic.
ONES TO WATCH NEWS:
Exuding a notable maturity in his voice, newly 21-year-old Payton Smith offers the complexities of broken love with “This Ain’t That Song,” via Big Machine Records – listen here: https://paytonsmith.lnk.to/TATSPR.
“’This Ain’t That Song’ is a great representation of what I love about songwriting. You think it will go one way and then, the story completely turns around on you, bringing even more focus to each lyric,” says Payton. “My favorite lines are in the second verse where all the things you should, or think you would be feeling, end up the opposite.”
The Louisiana native, who CMT heralded a 2020/2021 Listen Up artist, MusicRow named to their Next Big Thing Class of 2021 and Taste of Country enlisted as one of 2020’s Hottest Country Artists Under 25, is known for his impeccable self-taught guitar skills and clear imagery. Payton succinctly amplifies the emotionally-driven song in an acoustic video filmed just outside of Nashville in Liepers Fork. Music, news and videos at https://www.paytonsmithmusic.com.
OUTLAW MUSIC NEWS:
Country Rewind Records will release the next single title from the LP – Outlaw Billy Don Burns, The Country Blues on March 15 with distribution by Select-O-Hits. The single will also be available for streaming and download on all digital music platforms.
“It is a great album, Billy Don sounds great, as he always does. The songs are fantastic. He sings about the truth and hard times, but he tells a tale of warning and a tale of heart with this album,” exclaims Shooter Jennings. “Long live Billy Don Burns and his very important place in the history of Country and Western Music.”
The album was produced by Executive Producers, Charlie Ammerman and Thomas Gramuglia and co-produced by Billy Don Burns / Jeff Williams / Mike Randolph at “The Den” Nashville Music Group. Additional production and engineering and mixing by Aaron Dethrage at EastSide Manor Studios East Nashville. Mastered by John Forbes and Aaron Dethrage. These recordings are a follow up to Country Rewind Records previous releases of such greats as Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, Connie Smith, Jeannie C. Riley, Rex Allen Sr., Carl Smith, Rex Allen Jr. and more. Details at www.countryrewindrecords.com.
Hosts Ace and Maddie have launched Nashville based music podcast, Stories from the 615. With its radio show format, the podcast recounts personal stories as well as the stories of soon-to-be legends in the Nashville area. Each episode features trivia, current events, guest call-ins, and new singles from favorite new indie artists. Available on all streaming platforms Wednesday, March 10.
In the first episode, Ace and Maddie try to convince listeners to fall in love with them by answering some of the “36 Questions to Fall in Love.” They also discuss Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks and their impact on music and the world. The next few episodes will feature Tik Tok famous Chloe Collins and up-and-coming artists like Joe Johnson and Grace O’She.
“I believe in this podcast because we are willing to give a voice to the underdog,” says Maddie. “We are creating a heartfelt, safe space for our guests to come as they are and be celebrated. Ace and I have been through a lot together and the greatest traits we have in common are our love of entertainment and laughing through the hard times.” Details at https://www.storiesfromthe615.com/
National Geographic will premiere its newest unscripted series, Breaking Bobby Bones, May 31 at 10/9c with two back-to-back episodes, then moving to Sundays at 10/9c with two new episodes premiering each week. Produced by BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production arm for National Geographic, the 16-part series is hosted and executive-produced by award-winning American radio and TV personality Bobby Bones, a bestselling author and a full-time mentor on ABC’s American Idol. In each half-hour episode of Breaking Bobby Bones, Bobby crisscrosses the country to meet everyday heroes who have extraordinary jobs, hobbies and abilities, welcoming him with open arms to give him a crash course in their specialized skills. Bobby accepts the challenge of living a day in their lives and attempting the tricks of their trades, which often means pushing past his own comfort zone, like dangling over the Grand Canyon 4,000 feet above the Colorado River despite his greatest fear in life—heights. Along the way, Bobby is able to make a personal and compassionate connection with each person’s unique life story. More at https://bobbybones.iheart.com/
Following the continued streaming success of her latest releases, breakout artist Bailey James continues to showcase her musical versatility and rebellious style with a brand-new rock-influenced single “Bitter.”
This song, which features multi-instrumentalist and solo artist Mia Morris, is currently available on all streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, and more. After releasing a number of soulful country and blues-style singles digitally as well as Whiskey Rain, a song with rap and hip-hop duo Twang & Round (music video can be seen HERE), Bailey continues to showcase her love of music and dives into the rock genre with “Bitter.” This song, which was written by Bailey, Mia and local artist Kelli Johnson, calls out the bitterness in those who bring people down.
“Bitter is a turn in my music that I’ve been waiting to make. It shows my rock influence. I love Nirvana and Black Sabbath, and I wanted to show some of my love for rock in my music,” says Bailey. News, music and videos at https://www.baileyjamesgang.com.
Black River Entertainment has signed hit songwriter and artist Ray Fulcher to its artist roster. With more than 30 million streams as an artist in his own right and 3 billion streams as a songwriter, Fulcher has amassed a loyal fanbase.
“Fans are the reason I write songs,” said Fulcher. “They are the lifeblood of our industry, and without them.”
Black River joins an accomplished team alongside WME, Universal Music Publishing, River House Publishing, and Badlands Management. They all look forward to a music-filled 2021, complete with a fall tour as Fulcher is set as support for Luke Combs for the third time. Songwriting ignited Fulcher’s career as he’s the co-writer of eight songs on Luke Combs’ Platinum debut album, This One’s For You. More information on Ray Fulcher’s music, tour dates, merchandise and more at https://www.rayfulchermusic.com/ and follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok.
Craig Campbell didn’t have to look far for motivation for his new single “What A Girl Will Make You Do.” Whether it’s a wife, girlfriend, mom, or daughter, women can make you do crazy things because you love them. Written with Brian Davis and Blake Bollinger, the song is available on Grindstone Records.
“When this idea was thrown out at our writing session, I knew right away I wanted to chase it down,” said Craig. “Having two daughters and an amazing wife has been very inspirational in my musical journey, and when we wrote this song I knew they had to be in it somehow. Recording it was a fun process, even with all the Covid challenges, and I have been chomping at the bit to let the world hear this one.”
The new single follows Craig’s popular thirst-quenching “All My Friends Drink Beer” release. The music video featured his notable friends like Jaren Johnson from The Cadillac 3, Randy Houser, Granger Smith and other familiar faces who recorded their own segments during last year’s quarantine. More at https://www.craigcampbell.tv/
We have a winner! The 21st NSAI Annual Song Contest has concluded with the final judging being viewed on Facebook. The annual event from Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) was presented by Martin Guitars and Strings and CMT. An incredible group of Top 10 finalists were presented to the judging panel: Leslie Fram (CMT), Jackie Renner (C.F. Martin & Co.), Tim Hunze (Anthem Entertainment) and Steve Bogard (Professional Songwriter / NSAI Board President). The submission “I Do” submitted by Matthew Soileau of Spring, Texas, took home the Grand Prize, and Claire Bunnik of Pefferlaw, Ontario, was declared the winner of the Lyric-Only category with her submission “Raising A Son”. The Lyric-only runner-up was “Somewhere in the Neighborhood” by Steven Huff of Dayton, OH. View the full contest results at https://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/21st-annual-song-contest-finals
One of Nashville’s hottest alt-country/roots rock bands, Flying Buffaloes, are preparing to descend on Huntsville, AL in celebration of the one-year anniversary of their critically-acclaimed debut album, Loaded & Rollin’. The band will deliver their signature high-voltage live performance set at Sidetracks Music Hall (415 East Church Street, Huntsville) on March 13 at 8:30 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.). General admission tickets are $15 through Event Brite. Reserved seating (table for 2/tables for 4) are available for $25 and $50 respectively and include tickets for the show. More info at Sidetracks Music Hall’s website at https://hsvsidetracks.com/ Called a “collective of rip-roaring Americana players” by Mother Church Pew, Flying Buffaloes are best described as the Allman Brothers meets the Eagles. Straddling the line between country and rock, the group served as the opening act for Red Dirt Country artist, Wade Bowen, as well as the hard-driving rock band, Drivin N Cryin. The sonically tight, five-piece high-energy group cut its musical teeth along Nashville’s famed neon strip (a.k.a. “Lower Broad”) and is now on the “first-call” list for Music City’s hottest venues and showcases. Info and tickets at https://www.flyingbuffaloes.com/welcome
Multi-Platinum group LANCO brings to life the clever lyrics behind their new roots-rock anthem “Near Mrs.” with the release of its official music video via YouTube. The track’s video shares personal footage of their wives, which is intertwined with a hard-charging live performance that the band is best known for. The official music video was Directed by Devon Lancaster.
“We wanted to heighten the last line of the chorus ‘I would have missed out on you’ and show off exactly who that person is to us,” lead singer Brandon Lancaster said. “Looking back on everything from late-night hangs, weddings and babies…we have so much to be grateful for and this video represents that. This is something really special for our close-knit family to have in years to come.”
The song was written by Lancaster, Shane McAnally and Jeremy Spillman. More at www.lancomusic.com
Lewis Brice celebrates love with the music video for his endearing single “It’s You.” People.com exclusively premiered the video which was co-written by Brice with Ben Simonetti and Niko Moon and co-produced by Lee Brice and Simonetti. The single has been one of Brice’s most successful to date, amassing more than 15 million streams since its release. The song’s sweet sentiment effortlessly comes to life in the intimate video which features Brice’s girlfriend, Denelle Manzer.
The video was directed by Chase Lauer (Sam Hunt, Lee Brice, Brett Young, Trace Adkins) and Becca Heup (Mitchell Tenpenny, Walker Mcguire, Filmore, Jerrod Niemann) at the Analog at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville.
“When I envisioned the video for ‘It’s You’ in my head, I saw something simple and sweet, no big crowds or anything over the top,” shared Brice. “This song is a personal one and has a lot of meaning to me so it was important that the video stayed true to the message of the song. I don’t need anything else, it’s you I need.” More at http://www.lewisbrice.com/
WWWEBSITES TO CHECK OUT:
WHO’S LOOKING * WHO’S CUTTING:
Carrie Underwood, Eddie Montgomery, Mo Pitney, Brad Paisley, Chris Young and Jason Aldean.
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Inside Track is a Monthly Music Column by Preshias Harris
Send me music stuff, I love to get it! / Preshiaswriter@hotmail.com TN/USA. Google “Preshias”
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 www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com .