New Procedures For Election to the Country Music Hall of Fame

Updated 2/27: From the CMA “We received several questions about the criteria for the Modern Era and Veterans Era categories from the original release that went out on 2/25/09. After consulting with the Chairman and Co-Chairman of the CMA Awards & Recognition Committee, we have corrected and updated these two paragraphs to what is written below.”

The Country Music Association is instituting new category and voting procedures for coveted entry into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Three new members will continue to be inducted every year, with one each coming from the new categories, which will be renamed and defined as follows beginning with the 2010 ballots:

Modern Era: An artist becomes eligible for induction in this category 20 years after they first achieve national prominence. They will remain eligible for that category for the next 25 years. This replaces the former “Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present” category.

Veterans Era: An artist becomes eligible for induction in this category 45 years after they first achieve national prominence. This combines the former “Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975” (which was voted on annually) and “Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II” (which was voted on every third year in rotation) categories into one.

Rotating Categories: The third slot will continue to be a rotating category, with each group in the spotlight every third year. The Recording and/or Touring Musician and Non Performer slots will remain, joined by a new Songwriter category.

“In the past, songwriters and industry executives shared the same category that rotated every three years,” explains Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “With these new changes, the songwriters and non-performers now have their own rotating categories. This allows these talented and influential men and women a more frequent opportunity to join this intimate fraternity.”

For the first time, the Veterans Era and Modern Era categories will have separate Nominating Committees, each made up of 12 industry leaders who serve three-year terms. The Modern Era Nominating Committee will also oversee the Rotating Categories. Two anonymous Panels of Electors will be established, with one panel voting for the Modern Era and Rotating Categories, while the second votes for the Veterans Era category. Among all voters, there will be two rounds of ballots. In the first round, each voter will choose five candidates from the nominated list of 10-20 candidates. In the second round, voters will select one nominee from the top five.

These changes were approved by the CMA Board of Directors during the February Board meeting in Orlando, Fla. last week. The Hall’s 2009 class—made up of Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell, and Charlie McCoy—will be officially inducted in May.

CDs: Where Is The Love?

Post Valentines Day, where is the Love?

Post Valentines Day, where is the Love?

This week’s Nielsen SoundScan wrap covers results through the week ending Feb. 22. After last week’s love-filled Valentines Day/post-Grammy bump, overall sales slid, dropping 13% week to week. For country, the story was more pronounced as the format’s scans fell a full 26%.

The Top 75 Current Country list accounted for a total of 358k units, about half of country’s total sales for the week. YTD, country album sales are off 14.8% which compares closely with all-genre scans which are off YTD by 12%.

Looking at 2009 country sales, the top selling albums are Swift (560k), Plant/Krauss (132k), Swift (128k), Sugarland (121k), Dierks Bentley (115k), Zac Brown Band (108k), Darius Rucker (105k), Rascal Flatts (84k), Jamey Johnson (82k), and Lady Antebellum (69k). By label, a quick glance shows Big Machine (Swift & Swift), Universal (Sugarland, Johnson) each with two entries in the YTD Top Ten best sellers and Capitol (Bentley, Rucker, Lady A) rocks with three.

Digital albums continue to grow as a percentage of total country album sales, now hitting 11.9% of total country sales. In 2008 they were only 6.8% of total country sales.
Click Here to see the CD Release Calendar.  Next up are CDs from Jake Owen, Jack Ingram and Martina McBride.

Derek Joseph

“No Cool Way”

Little House Records

Derek Joseph was raised in the small rural farming community of Phelps, in upstate New York. The singer’s Grandfather was a banjo player and had a big influence on Derek’s love of music.

Derek began his musical education at age 8 with piano lessons, and by his teen years he was playing drums and singing with local groups. He was later hired as the lead singer for Outland, one of upstate New York’s premiere country groups.

Recently, Derek signed a recording contract with Little House Records Nashville. His first single, “No Cool Way” has been released to country radio and is currently climbing MusicRow’s CountryBreakout™ chart.

Derek will attend his first Country Radio Seminar in Nashville March 4-6. He says, “I look forward to making many new friends while I’m in town.”

Jamey Johnson Set For Downtown Shutdown

UMG Nashville is planning a Downtown Shutdown during Country Radio Seminar, a unique event which is open to the public as well as CRS attendees. On Wed., March 4 at 11:30 AM, Mercury’s Jamey Johnson will take to an outdoor stage at the corner of 5th Avenue and Commerce to perform a free concert, weather permitting. While many parties and performances surrounding the annual conference are only for those with CRS badges or invitations, UMG is taking this opportunity to reach out to the community at large for exposure, even luring them in with free food and drinks.

Tomorrow night (2/25) Johnson will perform on an encore airing of NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

North of the Border Natives Hang In Nashville

Hit songwriter/producer Victoria Shaw was cutting tracks for reigning Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year Jessie Farrell last night (2/23) at Sony Tree studios. The session included three songs co-written by Shaw, Farrell and Gary Burr especially for the project.

After leaving the studio, Shaw and Farrell headed to the Sommet Center to check out Nickelback‘s 1 AM rehearsal for tomorrow night’s (2/25) show. The rock band’s lead singer, Chad Kroeger, is co-owner of 604 Records, Farrell’s label home. The production company is under the Roadrunner Records umbrella with distribution through Universal Music Canada and worldwide through Roadrunner. Farrell, who has been working frequently in Nashville, is also nominated for the upcoming Juno Award for New Artist of The Year.

(L-R) Victoria Shaw, MusicRow Publisher David Ross and Jessie Farrell.

(L-R) Victoria Shaw, MusicRow Publisher David Ross and Jessie Farrell.

(L-R) Kroeger's fiance Marianne Gurick, Kroeger, Farrell and Shaw.

(L-R) Kroeger fiance Marianne Gurick, Kroeger, Farrell and Shaw.

ACM Radio Award Winners Revealed

Radio award winners for the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were notified of the good news this morning by Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town, who is also an ACM Board member. Winners were revealed ahead of time because the awards will not be given out during the live awards broadcast on April 5.

Local honorees include WSIX FM, which was named Large Market Station of the Year, and On-Air National Personality of the Year Lon Helton. Winners will be invited to participate in the telecast as the voices for bumpers leading into commercials during the ACM Awards.


National: Lon Helton, Country Countdown USA
Major Market: Dorsey Gang, KSCS-FM, Dallas, TX
Large Market: JD Cannon, WFMS-FM, Indianapolis, IN
Medium Market: Andy Ritchie, Alison West and Jimmy Holt, WIVK-FM, Knoxville, TN
Small Market: Brent Lane and Dana Cervantes, WYCT-FM, Pensacola, FL

Major Market: WSOC-FM, Charlotte, NC
Large Market: WSIX-FM, Nashville, TN
Medium Market: WIVK-FM, Knoxville, TN
Small Market: WYCT-FM, Pensacola, FL

Oscar Ratings Up, But Still Low

Last night’s (2/22) Academy Awards saw a 9 percent increase in ratings following an all-time low in 2008. An estimated 36.3 million people tuned in to see sleeper hit Slumdog Millionaire win eight statutes, including Best Picture. This is an increase of more than 4 million from last year, but still among the bottom three least-watched Oscars ever. reports the show on ABC won the night, averaging a 16.9 rating/26 share, dominating in every hour of primetime. Last year’s awards came in at 15.5/24. (The household rating considers all television sets in the US, while the share measures televisions sets that are turned on.) Also showing growth was viewership in the coveted adults 18-49 category, improved to last night to 9.5, from 8.4 in 2008.

By comparison, the recent Grammy Awards drew a 11.3 rating/18 share and about 20 million viewers. Last year’s season finale of American Idol was watched by an estimated 31.7 million viewers.

Tony Brown To Be Honored

Tony Brown

Tony Brown

Tony Brown will be honored for his contributions to the music industry with the 2009 Cecil Scaife Visionary Award on Mon., March 2 at The Musicians Hall Of Fame. Among those set to pay tribute to the acclaimed producer are musical guests, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn. A silent auction will include autographed items from Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member James Burton, who will be in attendance; as well as George Strait, Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill, Amy Grant and others. Email [email protected] to request an invitation to the event which benefits The Cecil Scaife Music Business Scholarship Endowment. A $200 donation secures admission.

With credits on over 100 million albums sold and 100 No. 1 singles, Brown most recently produced hit albums including Reba McEntire‘s Reba Duets, Heidi Newfeld’s solo debut, and George Strait’s Troubador, for which Brown won CMA and Grammy Awards. Brown started his career as a piano player with Elvis Presley, and eventually spent two decades helming MCA Nashville, where signed and/or produced superstars such as Brooks & Dunn, Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna Judd and Gill.

LaRawn Scaife Rhea founded the The Cecil Scaife Visionary Award to honor her father who was one of the first people to envision a music business program at Belmont University. His career included time at Sun Records alongside legendary producer Sam Phillips and a young Presley, as well as later work with Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and others.

Latocki Garners ADDY Award

Latocki Team Creative (LTC) picked up a Gold ADDY® Award on Saturday night (2/21) at the American Advertising Federation Nashville ceremony at local hotspot Limelight. The group was recognized for its excellent work on Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock and Roll 4-Disc Box Set.

“When Sony Legacy asked us to produce the Roy Orbison box set, it was an honor, and my team wanted to create a piece worthy of his legacy and his fans,” says Luellyn Latocki, owner and creative director for LTC. “Winning an ADDY® means that our peers think we got it right, and in Nashville, that means something.”

Orbison’s career encompassing set, which was also released in a limited-edition deluxe version, includes a book of liner notes, celebrity testimonials and previously unreleased photos.

    (L-R): LTC's Jeff Crump (graphic design & art direction), Luellyn Latocki (art direction), and Rebekah Lee Beard (production management).

(L-R): LTC's Jeff Crump (graphic design & art direction), Luellyn Latocki (art direction), and Rebekah Lee Beard (production management)

Love and Theft


Carolwood Records

Utterly delicious. It’s a foaming, frothy pop-country outing that’s drenched in melody, harmonies and happy-feet rhythm. This sparkles with sunshine and begs for a drive on an empty two-lane blacktop. Summer is officially here.
Robert K. Oermann, Music Row

Love and Theft is the Carolwood Records trio of Stephen Barker Liles, Eric Gunderson and Brian Bandas, and “Runaway” is the group’s debut single. The young group’s career to this point has been filled with some magic moments.

When making the rounds to the labels, they played a short showcase for Lyric Street A&R Chief Doug Howard who said, “You should never have made it into my office… you should have already been signed! Please don’t play for anyone else.”

To make matters sweeter, Taylor Swift heard the trio’s music and brought them on board as an opening act for her headlining concerts in 2008. Others quickly came on board–like Robert Ellis Orral and Jeff Coplan, who are producing the group’s debut album.

“We rehearsed for six months before we ever felt like we wanted to take our music out in front of people,” says Stephen. “We wanted to spend time writing music,” adds Eric, “and making sure we had the right songs to showcase our vocals and make our harmonies stand out.”

In fact, all three are able songwriters who wrote or co-wrote every song on their debut album. They met not long after each arrived in Nashville, and their special chemistry enabled them to forge a unique sound.

“We consciously decided not any one of us would be the lead singer,” says Eric. “We all rotate singing lead and see where the harmonies fall most naturally. In most songs, each of us will sing a different verse or the bridge. Then, our signature is that big three-part harmony on the chorus. It doesn’t really matter who’s singing lead or who’s singing harmony. Somehow it just works.”

“Nothing beats country songwriting,” says Stephen. “That’s as real as it gets and that’s why we’re here. We love what it represents and we want to carry it forward.”