Celebs Helping Charities

Carrie_underwoodCarrie Underwood has established the CATS Foundation (Checotah Animal, Town, and School) to help with causes in her hometown area of Checotah, Oklahoma. She says, “My hometown is extremely supportive of me and I feel blessed to be able to create something as a way of giving back; to say thank you.” The CATS Foundation will help the community with general causes, needs and services. Private resources will fund the assistance. The first donation will be announced soon.
Acclaimed songwriter Craig Wiseman returns as host of the 5th annual Stars for Second Harvest concert, to be held Sept. 29, 7:30 PM at the Ryman Auditorium. Sponsored by O’Charley’s, the writer in-the-round style show features Rodney Atkins, Phil Vassar and Heidi Newfield, to name a few. The evening will help raise awareness of hunger issues in the Nashville community. Proceeds benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Ticket details at www.secondharvestmidtn.org.



Krista Marie in racing gear.

Broken Bow/Holeshot Records artist and ATV Motocross racer Krista Marie has been added to the bill of the 2nd Annual Halfway to Hazard Charity Trail Ride, Aug. 22-23, in Crockettsville, Kentucky. She joins Tim McGraw, Keith Anderson, Dierks Bentley, Danielle Peck, Randy Houser and others for the concert and ATV trail ride which benefits the Buckhorn Children’s Center.


The legendary, Grammy-award winning Charlie Daniels Band will take the stage as part of NSAI’s “It All Begins With A Song” Performance Series at the Wildhorse Saloon on Thurs., Aug. 27. Old Union will open. Tickets, starting at $25, are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com as well as the Wildhorse Retail Store. VIP packages are also available. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.


Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Jim Lauderdale and the SteelDrivers have signed on to perform at a concert for Thanks USA at the Ryman Auditorium on Mon., Nov. 9. The proceeds from the concert will fund scholarships for military-connected children and spouses. Tickets go on sale to the public tomorrow (8/21) at www.ticketmaster.com.

People Are Crazy; Braddock Is Good

Poet/Scribe Writes On

braddockheadshotBobby Braddock? His pen etches comedic lines like “I Lobster But Never Flounder” and co-writes a serious country classic such as “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

Quirky might be a good place to start, followed by talented, innovative and compelling. Braddock’s induction into the prestigious Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is proof that Music City’s songwriter community also embraces those adjectives to describe this writer’s work. Over a career spanning 40+ years he has achieved 13 No. 1 singles.

Last week I heard the lines, What brings you to Ohio? He said “Damned if I know” followed by the chorus God is great, Beer is good and People are crazy. I wondered if Lakeland, Florida’s songwriting legend had struck again. Turns out I was right —”People Are Crazy” sung by Billy Currington was co-written by Bobby Braddock and Troy Jones.

“A lot of times when people cowrite, one will often write more than the other,” says Braddock. “But this was very co-written, right down the middle with each of us pulling our weight. I had never met Troy, but we hit it off real well cause we both are originally from small Florida towns. He was nice enough to invite me to write this. I want to be clear—’People Are Crazy’ was his idea. I could have gone a million years and never thought of ‘God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy.’ Troy is a very clever fellow, he also wrote Kenny Chesney’s ‘Shiftwork.’ ‘People…’ is so quirky that two or three people said, ‘That’s Braddock all over it,’ but I said ‘No, my co-writer is pretty quirky too and we have sort of the same sense of humor.’ I was glad to get in on it.”

Like most songs, “People Are Crazy” didn’t go immediately from the demo session to the radio airwaves. “Yeah, it’s been around a little while,” Braddock  admits. “Chesney had cut it, but I think they felt it wasn’t like any of the other songs on the project so it didn’t get used. It sat around another year or so, but I just love this new record on it. Currington is the perfect artist for it.”

The song is about an old man (the Sage) and a younger man who meet in a bar and swap advice and stories about life and its travails. Surprisingly, the old man passes away and leaves his fortune to the man he met in the bar and hasn’t seen since. Perhaps the magic in the song—in addition to the chorus—is the matter-of-fact conversational tone between the two men.

Braddock’s career has flourished since the mid ’60s, but like all songwriters he has also had a few leaner years.

“My first No. 1— D-I-V-O-R-C-E—was 1968,” says Braddock, who was one of country music’s most prolific hitmakers during the ’70s. “When you’re hot some people return your calls a lot quicker. But then I went from the early ’80s to 1991 without having a big hit and a lot of people thought I had just quit writing songs. Then I had several hits in the ’90s with Tracy Lawrence and Mark Chesnutt. I never sit around worrying about dry spells or asking ‘When am I going to write another song?’ because whenever I diligently pursue songs they usually come. For me the only thing I worry about is other people’s perceptions.”

MR: Advice for young writers?
Braddock: In order to survive, songwriters today have to write hit singles. Because of downloading and the Internet —both bad and good—we’ve become a singles-driven business again. We had Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks selling 15-20 million units, but those days are gone. The biggest selling acts now are lucky to see 7 million. And the life of a single, instead of 3 or 4 months, can be closer to 8 months. Playlists have shrunk so the number of song slots are smaller. There was a time when writers could get a lot of songs on albums that weren’t singles, but more and more albums aren’t including things arty and good, they only want radio hits. Plus sales are down, so writers can’t rely on sales royalties. The big money comes from performances and downloads which comes mostly from the most popular songs which are like singles.

MR: It’s easy to say, “Write hit singles and get them cut,” but hard to do. Any thoughts on plugging and staying current?
Braddock: There are good pluggers and bad ones. I’m fortunate to be at a company that has good ones (Sony/ ATV). Terry Wakefield is as good as it gets. I’ve also had luck with several songs, plugging them myself and probably should do more. If a writer has a track record and a knack for pitching songs it is good to do. You need alligator hide to make sure the person you play it for feels comfortable in passing on your song. You have to understand that they hear 100s of songs a week and can’t take everything. I have heard stories about people that have burned bridges trying to pitch their own material. This town is too small to do that. While I’m playing a song for someone I’m trying to think of what I can say to them if they pass so they will feel comfortable and invite me back again. The music changes from year to year and so to stay current this rule applies for most any writer—listen to the radio and know what is going on. If you want to write left of center, you still have to know where that center is. A creative person can always lead, write a song that is different and it can even start a trend, but you have to know what is going on as a basis.

MR: You’re working on a second book?
Braddock: True. A couple of years ago I published Down In Orburndale. (http://www.downinorburndale.com) It wasn’t a best seller, but did pretty well in middle Tennessee. The new book is an epic/epoch sort of thing that, hopefully, will give the reader a strong sense of what it was like to live in the decades that span from the 1960s to the 2000s —in America in general, in Nashville in particular, and, most specifically, in the world of country music. I’m about 80% through and loving doing this probably more than any other creative project I’ve ever worked on. I start doing music and then can’t wait to get back to the book. In fact, at this time in my life I feel like I need an occasional hit to support my book writing habit. I hope to have the book finished in the late fall. Part of it concerns craziness in my life; two failed marriages and an emotional breakdown. It also deals with the songwriting process and many of the country music people I’ve known over the last few years walk through the pages of the book. Braddock: One thing I can say is it never gets old having a hit song. I remember the first time I heard a song of mine on the radio sung by Marty Robbins back in the ’60s. What a thrill it was. Even after all these years, it’s still a thrill. As Bill Anderson said when accepting a recent award, “Thanks to everyone for still allowing me to do this, I feel very, very fortunate.”

This article was first published for subscribers only in @Musicrow on June 3, 2009. See what David Letterman thought about this song, here.

GAP Chooses Ballestrini

Veronica Ballestrini (photo: Glenn Sweitzer)

Veronica Ballestrini (photo: Glenn Sweitzer)

Veronica Ballestrini, recently profiled in a New York Times article about Country’s new faces has been chosen for an in-store concert by GAP as part of the company’s Born To Fit series. The young singer/songwriter who has been making a name for herself online (No. 70 on MusicRow Twitter chart), will perform at the Waterbury, Connecticut GAP store on Aug. 20. The event will also signify the release of her new CD What I’m All About. The single, “Amazing,” from that collection has been climbing for six weeks on MusicRow’s Country Breakout chart.

“I’m incredibly honored to be chosen by the GAP for this special event,” said Veronica.  “I’ve already got a brand new pair of cool 1969 GAP jeans that I’ll be wearing for the show and can’t wait to play in them!”

PHOTO3Currently Ballestrini is on the road touring radio stations and performing. Online has been an integral part in her development. With over 130,000 MySpace friends and 12 million plays of her music, it is clear that acquiring fans through social networking has been her core strategy. Ballestrini’s  spends about four hours a day answering fan messages. “Every mesage I get, I answer myself,” she says. Her video is also getting unusually high demand for an indy artist on CMT.com.

Autographed copies of What I’m All About are being offered for $10.99 on veronicaballestrini.net as well as merchandise, a special CD/DVD limited edition bonus package and customized autographed photos.

“My first goal was just to get to Nashville and record an album,”  she told MusicRow during a recent visit. “Now that I’ve accomplished that, I want that music to get heard by as many people as possible. I’ve had so many people tell me that my music has helped them out or helped them to achieve their own goals, so it means a lot to me to be able to affect someone’s life like that.”

Block Party Cancelled, Currington On Letterman, Early Reba Sales

davidDue to severe storms predicted for this evening, the St. Jude folks have had to cancel tonight’s (8/20) 20th Anniversary Country Cares block party. They are hoping to reschedule, but don’t yet have a date.

“Absolute perfection,” is what David Letterman said of Billy Currington’s hit “People Are Crazy,” when the singer played the Late Show last night. See the video of Letterman and the performance here. The song was written by Bobby Braddock and Troy Jones. Read a recent Bobby Braddock interview here.


Reba McEntire released her first solo studio album in 6 years Tuesday (8/18) and it became the most-downloaded country album on iTunes in a matter of hours. By noon CT that day, Keep On Loving You, had also risen to the No. 3 most-downloaded album across all genres.

She stars in a new installment of Invitation Only, premiering tomorrow (8/21) at 8 PM/CT on CMT. The concert shows her performing before a small studio audience at the Grand Ole Opry House’s Studio A, taking questions from fans and revealing candid answers.

Photo attached features (from l-to-r): Jay Frank- Senior Vice President, Music Strategy, CMT; Brian Philips – President, CMT; McEntire; Scott Borchetta - President and CEO of Big Machine Records and The Valory Music Co.; and John Hamlin - Senior Vice President, Production and Development, CMT   Photo credit: Rick Diamond

Pictured at the taping of "CMT Invitation Only" (L-R): Jay Frank- Senior Vice President, Music Strategy, CMT; Brian Philips – President, CMT; McEntire; Scott Borchetta - President and CEO of Big Machine Records and The Valory Music Co.; and John Hamlin - Senior Vice President, Production and Development, CMT Photo credit: Rick Diamond

Swift’s Global Sales Soar


From Swift's photo shoot for the upcoming MTV VMA's. Photo by Rene Cervantes, MTV.com

Taylor Swift, who sold more albums last year than any other artist, is making a significant impact on the global music scene, earning Gold and Platinum sales certifications in fourteen countries. Her Fearless album, rapidly approaching quadruple-Platinum in the US, has earned the following international sales awards: Triple Platinum in Australia and Canada; Platinum in Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan; and Gold in the UK (2x), Norway, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Sales are driven partially by her single “Love Story,” which has topped airplay charts in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Big Machine Records reports that Swift has sold more albums than any artist in the world so far this year.

She is headed to the UK this week for her second string of sold out shows there this year, and is planning another trip overseas for a Nov. 23 headlining date at London’s Wembley Arena. Earlier this year, she also headlined a short series of shows in Australia, all of which sold out.

Upon her return from the UK, Swift resumes her US tour with a headlining show at Madison Square Garden, where tickets sold out in one minute.

Here in the States, Swift’s self-titled debut CD has been certified quadruple-Platinum, and she is celebrating her fourth consecutive No. 1 single. Her paid music downloads now exceed 19.5 million songs, she has more than a million followers on Twitter, and she has surpassed the 250 million mark for music streams on MySpace.

New Music From Dolly and More

dollyDolly Parton’s latest single, “Change It,” is from the Broadway Musical, 9 to 5. It is being delivered exclusively through AirPlay Direct.


Radney Foster has added a slew of tour dates in support of his album Revival, to be released Sept. 1 on his own Devil’s River label. The project features Dierks Bentley and Darius Rucker. The title track and first single for Texas radio is “A Little Revival.” In Nashville, Foster is set for an In-Store at Grimey’s New & Preloved Music on Sept. 16, and a Sept. 18 show at the Americana Festival at the Mercy Lounge.

Nashville-based ALL Entertainment has announced “Somebody Who Would Die for You” as its first single from flagship artist Buddy Jewell. It will ship to radio Aug. 31 with New Revolution Entertainment handling promotion. “Somebody Who Would Die for You” was written by Mark Narmore and Adam Wheeler.


Brady Seals' southeast radio promo tour kicked off in Huntsville at WDRM where he debuted his new single "Ho Down" on the Dan & Dingo morning show.  WDRM air staff shown here from left to right: A.J. McCloud, Dingo, Dan McClain, Brady Seals, Jim Tice, Stuart Langston.

Brady Seals' southeast radio promo tour kicked off in Huntsville at WDRM where he debuted his new single "Ho Down" on the Dan & Dingo morning show. WDRM air staff shown here from left to right: A.J. McCloud, Dingo, Dan McClain, Brady Seals, Jim Tice, Stuart Langston.


Guy Clark will release Somedays The Song Writes You, his second CD with Dualtone Music Group, on Sept. 22. Clark co-wrote all the album’s songs, some with old friends including Rodney Crowell and Shawn Camp, as well as some with newer artists Patrick Davis, Jedd Hughes and Ashley Monroe. Catch Clark Wed., Sept. 23  at The Belcourt Theater.

Becky’s Schlegel’s new single, “So Embarrassing,” arrived at Country radio last week via CDX Volume 481, and it can also be downloaded here. It is the debut single from her upcoming CD, Dandelion, on Lilly Ray/IGO Records (distributed by Select-O-Hits). It features renowned singer/instrumentalist Randy Kohrs on background vocals.

Emerald River recording artist Julia Burton shipped her latest single “Party Down” to radio on Aug. 17. The track is available to radio programmers on CDX Volume 481 and will be distributed via Play MPE. “Party Down” is featured on Burton’s debut album Woman From the Country, scheduled for release later this year.

Nashville based, Grammy-nominated, singer-songwriter and producer Tom Wurth releases the re-mixed and mastered project, If The Road Runs Out, on Sept. 8. The album comes from Echelon Records, a newly established independent label headed by Mike Dinwiddie, who is also the Mayor of Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Social Media: Revolution Or Fad?

This video presents a strong case for the “Revolution” answer…

S1 Signs Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow and Steve McMellon pictured in Los Angeles after concluding the deal.

Sheryl Crow and Steve McMellon in L.A. after concluding the deal.

S1 Songs Group global CEO Steve McMellon has announced the acquisition of the Sheryl Crow music publishing catalogue and also the execution of a co-publishing agreement for her future works.

The deal sees S1 Songs add 153 songs released by Crow between 1993 and 2008 to its existing portfolio of more than 30,000 songs, as well as securing the rights to her next two albums.

The global independent publisher is headquartered in London and Dublin. Pat Finch oversees the Nashville office. S1 Songs’ US President and Global Head of Creative is Neil Gillis.

Crow has career sales in excess of 30 million albums alongside 9 Grammy awards.

MusicRow Strategy Swells Stats

twitterMusicRow.com is pleased to announce it has been enjoying record-setting traffic. Recent weekly page views from the week of August 10 jumped over 35% compared with the week of July 20.

The record for most number of views in a single day was established on July 28 topping over 5,600 and then reset again slightly higher on August 13. Another top tier traffic level was scored Aug. 17 becoming the site’s best-ever Monday.

Based upon ongoing results, total August 2009 views are expected to leap 53+% compared with the total June 2009 views.

facebook1MusicRow Publisher David M. Ross attributes the traffic spikes and overall surge to the publication’s new content strategy and social network marketing. “Positioning content in the appropriate venue has been key,” says Ross. “Our marketing interviews, sales analysis and other proprietary features are going into the subscriber-only @Musicrow morning reports, aimed at our most professional readers. The more general stories and press release items wind up online, open to all.”

Ross also points to Twitter and a Facebook Fan page as playing a role. “We’ve been nourishing our Twitter presence for a long time,” says Ross, “and it’s been well worth the effort and time we’ve invested. Currently we have over 9,050 followers. We’ve been careful to build trust with the people from all over the world that have elected to tune into our news feed and encourage all our readers and friends to join the fun (www.twitter.com/musicrow).

“Info distributors are facing many of the same challenges and engagement issues as the entertainment industry we cover,” says Ross. “It’s all about staying ahead of the curve, and giving our readers the content they need—when they want it, how they want it and in whatever format they want it. We’re very blessed to have so much support.”

Strait’s Sales, CMA’s Songwriters Series, Redmond’s New Company

straittwangAs reported in this morning’s @MusicRow sales analysis article, George Strait’s new release is the top selling album in the U.S. this week. Twang debuted at No. 1 today on The Billboard 200 and the Top Country Albums chart selling over 155,000 units. This is the fourth time in Strait’s career that a new release has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and the 13th time debuting at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart.

King George co-wrote three songs on the MCA Nashville album, including the debut single, “Living for the Night.” His son Bubba also scored some writing credits. To view a rare on-camera interview with Strait, click here.


Chuck Wicks

Chuck Wicks

The CMA Songwriters Series hits New York City once again as Joe’s Pub welcomes an evening with some of Nashville’s finest songwriters on Wednesday, September 9 (6:30 and 9:30 PM/ET). It will be hosted by renowned tunesmith Bob DiPiero (“Blue Clear Sky,” “Can’t Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl”), and other participating songwriters include Chuck Wicks (“Stealing Cinderella,” “All I Ever Wanted”), Marv Green (“Amazed,” “Wasted,” “It Just Comes Natural”), and Ashley Gorley (“All American Girl,” “Don’t Forget to Remember Me,” “You’re Gonna Miss This”). Tickets are $25 each. For information about Joe’s Pub or to order tickets, visit www.joespub.com.



Joe Redmond

Joe Redmond has launched Redmond Promotional Services in addition to retaining his position as a promotion executive with Nashville-based Edgehill Music & Media. His extensive experience in record promotion includes senior posts at Warner Bros. Records Nashville, Mediabase, MJI Broadcasting, Lofton Creek Records, Robbins Nashville and Imprint Records. Redmond began his career in radio, working throughout Louisiana as a station manager, sales manager, operations manager, PD and MD.

Redmond Promotional Services has already secured three clients. It will specialize in tracking and analyzing information about song activity at radio, including chart numbers, adds, stations spins, syndication and frozen playlists. It will strive to deliver that information in an easy to understand package.