Gospel Hall Holds 2009 Inductions

The GMA Foundation inducted artists Michael W. Smith, Dolly Parton, Dr. Bobby Jones and The Dixie Hummingbirds along with music producer Lari Goss into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame on Feb. 2 at a ceremony at Richland Country Club.

Established in 1971, the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame has inducted more than 150 members including Elvis Presley, Amy Grant, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sandi Patty, The Oak Ridge Boys, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Billy Graham and the Jordanaires.

(L-R): Steve Brallier, executive director of GMA Foundation; Inductee Lari Goss; Inductee Lyndon Baines Jones of Dixie Hummingbirds; Inductee Michael W. Smith; Inductee Dr. Bobby Jones; Inductee Dolly Parton; Ed Harper, chairman of the GMA Foundation Board; John W. Styll, president and CEO of GMA; Inductees Dixie Hummingbirds Sundray Tucker (daughter of deceased Ira Tucker), Carlton Lewis, William Bright and Torrey Nettles. Photo: Aaron Crisler

(L-R): Steve Brallier, Exec. Dir of GMA Foundation; Inductee Lari Goss; Inductee Lyndon Baines Jones (Dixie Hummingbirds); Inductee Michael W. Smith; Inductee Dr. Bobby Jones; Inductee Dolly Parton; Ed Harper, chairman of the GMA Foundation Board; John W. Styll, Pres./CEO of GMA; Inductees Dixie Hummingbirds Sundray Tucker (daughter of late Ira Tucker), Carlton Lewis, William Bright and Torrey Nettles. Photo: Aaron Crisler

Baldrica Adds Duties To VP Post

Sony Music Nashville Vice President, Marketing Tom Baldrica will take on oversight of the label group’s Creative Services department alongside his current responsibilities spearheading Media and Artist Development.

A 16-year label veteran, Baldrica first arrived at BNA in 1993 as Southeast regional. Working his way through the ranks, he was named to then-new role of Vice President, Marketing in September 2006, handling all of the label group’s imprints including Arista Nashville, BNA Records, Columbia Nashville, and RCA Nashville.

When announcing Baldrica’s new duties Exec. VP Butch Waugh remarked, “Tom has been working closely with our Creative department over the past year to ensure a consistent image and marketing message. Tom’s keen eye coupled with his knowledge of the marketplace makes this a natural move to place our artists in their best position to enjoy success.”

January 09 Sales Story

Almost escaping notice, January 2009 has trailed off into obscurity, but the short story regarding country sales continues to be, “more of the same.” Top 75 Current Country sales fell short of the 300k mark again this week reaching about 295,000 units. Year-to-date country sales are now down 20.5%. One bright spot is country digital album sales which are up 36.1%, but not enough to make up for the lost revenue from physical sales. Pat Green launched a new CD this week which scanned 18,195 units, enough to take the No. 2 spot behind Taylor Swift’s 55,102 units. Green also kicked off his headline Jaegermeister Country tour in Atlanta last week, which will visit 25 major markets in the next three months.

It may be too early to express certainty, but it appears that country digital album downloads are increasing as a percentage of total country album sales. Last year country digital albums averaged about 7.4% of total country album sales, for ’09 the number has jumped to 12.7%.

On the pop side, Bruce Springsteen leveraged his Super Bowl performance to debut at No. 1 with 223,741 scans, edging Swift out of the top spot which she owned for eight consecutive weeks. Overall album sales are down 12% YTD.

On the horizon we have debuts coming this week from Dierks Bentley and Aaron Tippin.

Performance Rights Act Back in Congress

The Performance Rights Act, which would create a sound recording performance right for terrestrial radio, was reintroduced to Congress today (2/4). The bill would require radio stations, which already pay royalties to songwriters for broadcasting their music, to also pay the artists and musicians performing the songs, as well owners of the master recordings.

Under the proposed legislation, the parties involved would negotiate rates amongst themselves, or those rates could be set by the Copyright Royalty Board and paid to SoundExchange. The bill also makes accommodations for small broadcasters, public and religious radio stations.

AM and FM radio is the only music platform that does not pay a fair performance right to artists and musicians for the use of their work. Satellite, cable and internet radio compensate artists when they play their music. The Performance Rights Act would bring the United States in line with almost every other nation in the world.

Among those supporting the legislation were Tennesseans Bob Corker (R-TN) in the Senate, and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in the House of Representatives.

ACM Adds More Fan-Voted Awards

The ACM’s three newcomer awards—Top New Female Vocalist, Top New Male Vocalist and Top New Vocal Duo or Group—will be opened up to fan voting for the first time this year. Exclusively at GACTV.com, voting for the categories will run Fri., Feb. 13 through Thurs., March 5. After those winners are announced on March 9, they will move on to compete in the new Awards category, Top New Artist. Fan voting for that category will then run March 16-April 5, with the winner being announced live during the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 5.

Through a new partnership with the ACM, GAC will air several television specials surrounding the fan-voted awards, including a show featuring nominees and a special on the winner. The first GAC program featuring the nine nominees premieres Feb. 20 and will be hosted by reigning Top New Male Vocalist Jack Ingram. On March 19, GAC will debut a show hosted by Sara Evans, wherein the winner in each category will perform and receive the awards for Top New Female Vocalist, Top New Male Vocalist, and Top New Vocal Duo or Group.

As previously reported, most nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards will be announced Wed., Feb. 11 in Nashville.

Vince Gill Kicks off Hall of Fame Residency

Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill opened his run as the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s 2009 Artist-in-Residence last night (2/3). Treating the intimate Ford Theater audience to an acoustic set, Gill accepted requests and ran through numerous hits such as “Go Rest High On That Mountain,” “Liza Jane,” and “When I Call Your Name,” as well as newer songs like his Leslie Satcher co-write “Bread And Water,” and “Buttermilk John,” penned for the late session musician John Hughey.

Gill was joined onstage by bandmates Mike Bub, Billy Thomas and Pete Wasner, as well as guests Danny Flowers performing “Tulsa Time,” and The Statler Brothers’ Jimmy Fortune singing “Elizabeth.” The sold out residency continues on February 17 and 24.

Pictured, from left to right, are Bub, Thomas, Wasner, VP of Museum Programs Jay Orr, Gill and Museum Director Kyle Young. Photo: Donn Jones

Pictured L-R: Bub, Thomas, Wasner, VP of Museum Programs Jay Orr, Gill and Museum Director Kyle Young. Photo: Donn Jones


All of a sudden, there is a banquet of Nashville-oriented jazz releases on hand.

This is a growing, strong and highly gifted segment of our music community, so this week we’re throwing the spotlight on it.

There is something to recommend in every disc here. But the clear winner of the Disc of the Day award is the always amazing Take 6. Good luck at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, guys. I’m rooting for ya.

Our DisCovery Award goes to a young lady named Heather Rigdon.

Writer: Jeff Steinberg; Producer: Rod Magaha; Publisher: none listed; RM (track) (www.rodmagaha.net)
—The title tune to trumpeter Magaha’s new CD is a dreamy, piano-flecked ballad. The purity of his tone is outstanding, and the phrasing couldn’t be more precise. Elsewhere on the set, he works his magic on standards like “The Look of Love,” “When I Fall in Love” and “How Long Has This Been Going On.” Rod also has a new, six-tune EP called Stand Up for Love. Both discs are enthusiastically recommended.

Writer: none listed; Producer: Cliff Goldmacher; Publisher: none listed; HR (track) (615-320-7233)
—The debut album by chanteuse Rigdon is called Young & Naive. From the opening notes of this title track she stakes her claim as a distinctive, off-the-beat phraser, a languid stylist and a charming, minor-key melody manipulator. Promising in the extreme.

TAKE 6/Sweet Georgia Brown
Writer: Maceo Pinkard/Kenneth Casey Sr./Ben Bernie; Producer: Mark Kibble; Publisher: Warner Bros./WB, ASCAP; Heads Up (track)
—The Nashville press corps has been practically mum about the fact that the current Take 6 CD The Standard is up for three Grammys. Just so you know, four of the six are Middle Tennesseans, the disc was recorded here and best-arranger nominee Cedric Dent teaches at MTSU. The excitement over the CD is understandable, since it is what the jazz community has been begging for from these guys for years, an album of standards. This opening track is Take 6 at its best, jiving a cappella harmonized vocals and whistling by Mark Kibble. Elsewhere, guests include guitarist George Benson (”Straighten Up and Fly Right”), Aaron Neville (”Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans”) and member Claude McKnight’s star brother Brian (”What’s Going On”). I LOVE this record.

KAREN JOHNS & COMPANY/Southland Summer
Writer: Karen L. Johns/Kevin Sanders; Producer: James Johns & Karen Johns; Publisher: Vital Force, ASCAP; PtarmiganMusic/Jazz (track) (www.karenjohns.com)
—Star and Season, the new CD by Nashville club fave Johns and her band, is a mixture of standards (”Stars Fell on Alabama,” “Desafinado,” “If,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Night and Day”) and splendid original tunes like this one. I love the way she alternates spitting short notes with drawled passages, growling effects and high soprano leaps. This is a vocalist of uncommon ability, and the band cooks with gas.

Writer: Victor L. Wooten; Producer: none listed; Publisher: VixLix/Bug, ASCAP; Heads Up (track) (www,victorwooten.com)
—This bass-playing virtuoso is nominated for two Grammy Awards as a member of The Flecktones. His current, almost entirely self composed Palmystery solo disc is a brain buzzing, sonically dazzling pastiche of shifting time signatures, burbling bass passages, evolving melodies and alternating emotional moods that completely captures your attention from this opening track onward. The various collaborators are a who’s-who of the Music City jazz scene. Heads Up International, the label of both this and the Take 6 CD, is a Cleveland, Ohio label that obviously has great taste.

Writer: Felix Cavaliere/Edward Brigati Jr.; Producer: Frank Marino, Gary Dales & Diane Marino; Publisher: EMI April/Jemaxal, ASCAP; M&M (track)
—Alto vocalist Marino’s CD is titled Just Groovin.’ On its title tune, she duets with one of Nashville’s nicest Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers. Her liquid voice fits nicely with Felix Cavaliere’s brighter, spunkier tone. The lady is evidently well connected. Also contributing to her CD are Kirk Whalum, Mark Douthit, Rod Magaha and other high-profile instrumentalists. I don’t think the strings were needed, however.

Writer: Nelson/Breeland/Buskirk; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Glad/Pappy Daily/Sony ATV Tree, BMI; Blue Note (track)
—Two Men with the Blues was recorded live at Lincoln Center last year. Wynton sings in spots as well as playing his distinctive trumpet. Willie is just Willie. I have always thought that his “Night Life” was essentially a jazz song, and now it is. I guess jazz agrees with The Red-Headed Stranger. His next project is with western swingers Asleep at the Wheel.

Randy Houser

“Boots On”

Universal Records South

Randy Houser’s “Boots On” is the followup single to his hit debut single “Anything Goes.” Taken from his first Universal Records South album Anything Goes, the song was penned by Houser with Brandon Kinney and inspired by Houser’s dad.

“Melodically, the song was based on that slide-blues-guitar riff you hear,” says Houser. “As we were sitting down to write, I started playing that lick. And I remembered something that my Daddy always told me: ‘If you’re going to go out, make sure you go out with your boots on.’ Toward the end of his life, we had this talk and I had to make some difficult decisions at the time. I was just 21 years old when he passed, and it was tough. But I will say this: he did go out with his boots on. He didn’t die; he lived. He really did.”

Houser is currently on the Jagermeister Country Tour with Pat Green. His songs have been recorded by Trace Adkins (”Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”), John Michael Montgomery (”If You Ever Went Away”) and many others.


Hall of Fame Names 2009 Class

L-R: Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell, Charlie McCoy; Photo: John Russell

The Country Music Association announced today that Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell, and Charlie McCoy will become the newest members of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame. They will be officially inducted at the Medallion Ceremony, which takes place during an annual springtime reunion of the Hall of Fame membership.

Clark, being inducted in the “Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975” category, was host of Hee Haw from its 1969 debut until its final broadcast in 1992, and never missed an episode. During the early ’70s, he achieved a string of Top 10 Country singles. He was recognized by his peers with seven CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year in 1973, and earned a 1982 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Alabama Jubilee.”

Mandrell will be the fifth artist inducted in the “Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present” category, which was created in 2005. Her professional music career began at age 11 and by 24 she had her first No.1 single with “The Midnight Oil.” Throughout the ‘70s and ’80s, she continued to achieve success with hit singles including the song that would become her signature hit, “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.” Mandrell received four CMA Awards. She took home the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award in 1979 and 1981, and became the third female artist to be named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1980. One year later, she made history as the first artist to win the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award two years in a row.

McCoy will be inducted in the “Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980” category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the “Non-Performer” and “Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II” categories. He was a regular performer on Elvis Presley‘s Nashville and Los Angeles sessions in the mid ’60s, while also working with Bob Dylan on such legendary albums as Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde. At his peak, McCoy was performing on more than 400 sessions a year. He was the first musician to use the “Nashville Number System” in the recording studio. Among the most famous tracks featuring McCoy: George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, and Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”

The inductees were revealed this morning at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum during a press conference hosted by CMA Chief Executive Officer Tammy Genovese. Clark was introduced by his friend, Country Music Hall of Fame member Carl Smith; Mandrell was introduced by her sister Louise Mandrell; and McCoy was introduced by his friend, Country Music Hall of Fame member Mel Tillis.

Tates Move To Cherry Lane

Cherry Lane Music has signed songwriters Sam and Annie Tate to a long-term, worldwide co-publishing agreement. Michelle Berlin, Director of Creative & Marketing and head of the Cherry Lane Nashville office, made the announcement today (2/3) about the writers of No. 1 singles from Reba McEntire (“Somebody”), Emerson Drive (“Moments”), and Rodney Atkins (“If You’re Going Through Hell”). Among the other artists who have added to the Tates’ tally of more than a dozen gold, platinum and multi-platinum records are Randy Travis, Gary Allan, Joe Nichols, and Montgomery Gentry.

Sam and Annie Tate have received two prestigious NSAI Creativity Awards, as well as two ACM nominations for Song of the Year. They were named SESAC’s Songwriters of the Year in 2006.

The Tates’ music has been heard in television (ER, The Incredible Hulk), advertisements (The Gap, Coors, Pepsi-Cola, Gino’s Pizza, General Motors) and films (Miss Congeniality II, Space Truckers).