Elektra Nashville Releases John Oates Album

John Oates, one-half of the award-winning duo Hall & Oates, is releasing Americana album Mississippi Mile April 12 on Elektra Nashville.
Contributors to the twelve-track set include performers/musicians Bekka Bramlett, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and co-producer Mike Henderson.
The tracks on Mississippi Mile were recorded in one take, with the exception of only two overdubs.
The project chronicles Oates’ musical inspirations from Curtis Mayfield’s “It’s Allright” to Allen Fraser’s “Dance Hall Girls” and even the Hall & Oates classic “You Make My Dreams Come True.”
He also offers two new self-penned originals to the set. “Deep River” is about the Nashville flood, while also paying homage to Doc Watson’s “Deep River Blues.” The album’s title-track is the other Oates original, kicking-off the album with his reverence for classic American music.
“This album is about honoring the tradition of the song itself,” he explains. “I wanted to go back to the songs that really shaped me when I was growing up. I wouldn’t be the musician that I am today without these songs. It’s a stripped-down effort to showcase what the song was before it ever made it on the record and became a hit. The music you hear on Mississippi Mile is as close to a live album as it gets.”

Industry Ink Wednesday

The Country Music Association, and special guests Little Big Town, unveiled plans at Belmont University for CMA EDU. (l-r) LBT's Phillip Sweet and Kimberly Schlapman, CMA Senior Coordinator of Partner Programs Sarah McGrady, CMA Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Sheri Warnke, CMA Board Member and LBT member Karen Fairchild, and LBT's Jimi Westbrook.

The Country Music Association and special guests Little Big Town earlier this week unveiled plans for a education-based, national college initiative named CMA EDU. The program is designed to engage undergraduate students with a hands-on opportunity to enhance their marketing and promotion skills.
Belmont University was chosen to host the pilot program for CMA EDU, which currently boasts more than 115 members. As enthusiasm continues to build, the program will expand to other universities.
Sarah McGrady, CMA Senior Coordinator of Partner Programs, spearheads the project. Dan Keen, a former ASCAP VP and instructor in music publishing at Belmont serves as faculty adviser for CMA EDU.
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Carter's Chord

Show Dog-Universal Music recording artists Carter’s Chord have signed with Jennifer Bohler’s Alliance Media for exclusive PR representation. The group just released their new single and music video, “A Little Less Comfortable.”
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The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will unveil the new photographic exhibition, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge: Thirty-Four Steps and Fifty Years on April 1. The exhibition will run through September 30, 2011, featuring a dozen photographs that capture memorable moments at Tootsie’s, including Jamey Johnson and Mel Tillis performing together; and Kenny Chesney and Steve Miller onstage.
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ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams recently announced the organization’s new board, elected to serve a two-year term commencing April 1, 2011. Among the Nashvillians on the board are songwriter Wayland Holyfield, and publisher Barry Coburn.
Here’s the complete list: songwriter Marilyn Bergman; composer Richard Bellis; composer Bruce Broughton; songwriter Hal David; composer Dan Foliart; songwriter Wayland Holyfield; composer Johnny Mandel; songwriter Valerie Simpson; songwriter Jimmy Webb; and composer Doug Wood; composer Stephen Paulus; Martin Bandier, Sony/ATV; Caroline Beinstock, Bienstock Publishing; Barry Coburn, Ten Ten Music; John L. Eastman, Edwin H. Morris; Roger Faxon, EMI Music; David Johnson, Warner Brothers Music; Dean Kay, Lichelle Music; Leeds Levy, Leeds Music; David Renzer, Universal Music; Irwin Z. Robinson, Cromwell Music; James Kendrick, Schott Music Corporation/European American Music Corporation; and Laurent Hubert, BMG Gold Songs.

Charting A Combined Course: Singles And Album Sales by Artist

Like a giant cruise ship returning home from the party, the music industry is slow to alter its direction (or perceptions). For decades we have been judging weekly sales based upon album units. But fair-minded industry observers are beginning to feel the impact from digital singles. This effect is becoming more pronounced because while singles improve, album sales have fallen. A few years ago a No. 1 country debut album might expect to easily top 100,0000 units as it marched out of the box and into consumer’s hands. But now expectations are lower. Even 50k units can be enough to earn the No. 1 position on the Current country Top 75 album sales chart.
Country Albums: This week, for example, Sara Evans rules the roost with her Stronger debut posting sales of over 55k units. Jason Aldean is No. 2 with almost 23k units this week.
Country Tracks: Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger” downloaded over 45k units for a No. 4 showing. Aldean, however, has five tracks showing on the Top 100 country digital chart. Including “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” his duet with Kelly Clarkson (47k units), he shows a total of almost 76k units.
Now let’s compare the retail value of the above examples plus a few more, derived the same way:
55k albums X $9.99=$550,000
45k singles X $1.29=$58,000
23k albums X $9.99=$230,000
76k singles X $1.29=$98,000
Thompson Square
12k albums X $9.99=$120,000
54k singles X $1.29=$70,000
Taylor Swift
16k albums X $9.99=$160,000
63k singles X $1.29=$81,000
Lady Gaga
20k albums (various) X $9.99=$200,000
231k singles X $1.29= $298,000
Yes, album sales mostly outweigh single sales in dollar value, but the gap, which swings widest during debut album weeks (see Evans) is starting to close. This week Lady Gaga proves the point that single sales are gaining on album sales (see above numbers). Moving forward, a combined value chart would be especially prescient in revealing what is truly happening at music sales cash registers. The methodology, considering specially-priced packages and such could be a bit cumbersome, but even if the above basic retail values were used across all units, its value would be undeniable.
Factually Focused
For the week ended 3-13-11 country album sales are down 13.7% YTD. Digital album sales continue to grow however, now totaling 19.8% of total country album sales for 2011. (Last year they were about 15% YTD at this time.)
In addition to Sara Evans’ No. 1 debut, Kenny Rogers released a Cracker Barrel special that took No. 8 honors with over 12.5k units. The other Top 10 players remain the usual suspects. Aaron Lewis, who debuted last week at No. 1, has slipped back to No. 4 on the the chart and his unit sales dropped about 53% to below 18k—not a bad showing considering it is quite normal to fall back 50-63% in the second week.
The remainder of the Top Ten shapes up like this: Jason Aldean (No. 2, 22k+); Lady Antebellum (No. 3, 18k+); Rascal Flatts (No. 5, 16k+); Taylor Swift (No. 6, 16k+); Zac Brown Band (No. 7, 15k+); Thompson Square (No. 9, 12k+); and The Band Perry (No. 10, 9k+).
Upcoming country album releases are still light, no heavyweight product is scheduled through the end of April.

CO5 Teams With Azar's Ride Records

CO5 Records has teamed with Steve Azar’s Ride Records, handling radio promotion duties for the independent label. The CO5 camp is hitting the ground running, taking on Azar’s new single, “Hard Road.”
This development follows the exit earlier this week of Ride promo staffers David Shaw and Jamice Jennings.
“Hard Road” is the third single from Azar’s Slide on Over Here album. It is the follow-up to his Top 20 hit, “Sunshine,” which also produced a No. 1 video.
Co-written by Azar and James House, the new single is “a song of hope” explains the singer. “We all go through hard times in life, but so often we get through them with the help of others. It’s great to know that when the weight becomes too dang heavy, there’s someone in your life to carry the load for a while.”
Azar’s career has charted hits including “Waitin’ on Joe,” “I Don’t Have to Be Me (Til Monday),” “You’re My Life,” “You Don’t Know a Thing,” “Moo La Moo” and “Sunshine.”
He is headed to St. Augustine, FL later this month to play in the 11th Annual Murray Bros. Caddyshack® Charity Golf Tournament.

Leon Russell Joins Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Elton John congratulates Leon Russell at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Acclaimed Nashville musician Leon Russell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday night (3/14), part of a class that includes fellow luminaries Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love.
Russell, who has contributed keys to albums by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, and projects from producer Phil Spector, joined the Hall under the “sideman” category.
During the star-studded event at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, Russell performed his “A Song For You,” accompanied by John Mayer on guitar.

Leon Russell. Click to read his bio.

From the podium, Russell thanked collaborator Elton John, bringing tears to the eyes of the British songman. The two paired for the acclaimed album, The Union. Russell explained that John “found me in a ditch at the side of the highway of life and took me up to the high stages with big audiences, and treated me like a king.”
John described Russell as his idol, adding that when they first met in the 1970s, that Russell looked like “something from outer space.”
Also joining the Hall were record execs Art Rupe of Specialty Records, and Jac Holzman of Elektra Records.
The television event airs Sunday night, March 20 at 9 PM on Fuse TV.

CO5 Expands Newmark's Role

David Newmark

CO5 Music is expanding the role of VP of Business Development David Newmark to include VP of Country Promotion responsibilities. He held this position prior to heading business development, and is again taking on the duties following the exit of Denise Roberts, who left CO5 to join Lytle Management.

Newmark will be hiring at least one new regional promotion rep.

The announcement was made by CO5 co-CEOs Tracy Brown and Todd Sievers.

Newmark can be reached at 615-469-1756 or [email protected]

DISClaimer Single Reviews (3/16/11)

This week, let’s do like the televised awards shows do.

Our Female Vocalist of the Week is Amber Hayes. Her sophomore single is every bit as lively, fun and delightful as her debut. I remain a fan.

The Male Vocalist of the Week is no stranger to DisClaimer honors. It’s Eric Church, who has won more prizes from this column than any other artist. “Homeboy” is just one more reason to love and revere him.

The winner of Group of the Week is Gloriana. Is there any other group in this genre that looks and sounds this good? I think not. These four kids deserve to become superstars.

So give all three of those releases a Disc of the Day award.

Chase Rice lost by just one vote on the reality show Survivor: Nicaragua. In addition, he is notable as a former University of North Carolina linebacker and as a member of the NASCAR pit crew for driver Ryan Newman. Now he has yet another career, as a country singer with a “spring break” single. He also has a DisCovery Award.


Writer: Amber Hayes/Bill DiLuigi/Mark Conklin; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Okie Girl/888 Blue/Jive Buddha, ASCAP; FUNL (888-875-1617 ext. 102)

—As before, she’s a twirling, swirling confection of pop-pop-pop fizz. Enjoy the moment. Get up and dance around the room. Grin while that steel takes its soaring solo. Laugh while you sing along deliriously.


Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Capitol Nashville (ERG)

—Superbly written, it’s a cautionary, minor-key address to a hip hopper heading down the wrong path. Everything this artist puts out raises the bar, burns with integrity and is a credit to this genre.

GLORIANA/Wanna Take You Home

Writer: Tom Gossin/Matt Serletic/Wendell Mobley; Producer: Matt Serletic; Publisher: Gossin/Melusic/Primary Wave Emblem/Warner-Tamerlane/Boatwright Baby, ASCAP/BMI; Emblem/Warner Bros.

—It’s pretty direct. He wants to have sex. Tonight. The joyous track is a choppy, chunky bopper, laced with fiddle and steel. As usual, their chorus harmonies are captivating. Catchy in the extreme.


Writer: C. Rice/J. Rice/B. Kelley; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Artist Revolution (877-999-9975)

—He’s hung over, but not for long. Rocking and promising, this is the debut country single from the first runner up on TV’s Survivor: Nicaragua.

GREG HANNA/Makin’ Love Real

Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Pheromone/Paradigm/Megaforce/RED (www.greghanna.com)

—It’s an over-the-top romance ballad that’s taken at a v-e-r-y slow pace, but his singing is so pure and true that it overcame any reservations I had about it.


Writer: J. Edmondson/D. Edmondson/A. Patrick/A. Heller; Producer: Joshua Swiger & The New Relics; Publisher: Supo Lavo, BMI; Blues Alley

—The third radio single by this band features hearty harmony singing and a rollicking instrumental performance. But there’s something faintly junky about the sound. I recommend a production upgrade.

EMERSON DRIVE/Let Your Love Speak

Writer: Danick Dupelle/Josh Bartholomew/Steven Lee  Olsen; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Quarterback (615-438-7667)

—The reggae-flavored rhythm and echo chambered baritone vocal are both ear catching. The song has hooks a-plenty.

ADAM FISHER/Freight Train

Writer: Adam Fisher/Josh Taylor; Producer: Eric Paul; Publisher: none listed; AF

—If I remember correctly, I have liked this guy in the past. He sings with great gusto here. The song, guitar work and production are either an homage to or are slavishly imitative of Waylon Jennings, depending on your point of view.


Writer: E. Todd/C. Owens; Producer: Jeff Cook; Publisher: none listed, BMI; Quest (CDX) (www.jeffcook-agb.com)

—Sung with a weary smile, he name drops “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Whiskey River,” “Always on My Mind,” “On the Road Again” and “Good Hearted Woman.” Plus, there’s an acoustic guitar playing in dropped-note Willie fashion. Enjoyable.

TYSON BOWMAN/Thank God For People

Writer: Tyson Bowman/Vince Lambert/Judy Rodman; Producer: Val Lupescu & Rick Filer; Publisher: none listed; Guitar Shark (track) (www.tysonbowman.com)

—The title tune to this fellow’s CD is an ode to understanding, opportunity and unselfishness. Heartfelt, if vocally wobbly.

Kick the Crap Outta Cancer—A Benefit for Jayne Rogovin

Jayne Rogovin and Manuel

Kick the Crap Outta Cancer, a benefit to support the medical fund of longtime Nashville music business publicist Jayne Rogovin, will be held Tuesday, April 5, 6–10 PM at Cabana restaurant.
The event will include performances by Raul Malo, Jim Lauderdale, Foster & Lloyd, Steve Cropper, Peter Cooper & Eric Brace, Mandy Barnett, Ruby Amanfu, James Intveld, Matt Urmy and others.
Beer, wine and creative southern cuisine from Cabana chef Brian Uhl are included in the price of admission and a silent auction will feature a variety of cool and eclectic items.
Tickets are $50 per person or $1000 for a VIP cabana for 10, and are available by logging on to www.cabananashville.com. Donations can also be made directly to the Jayne Rogovin Medical Fund at any SunTrust Bank.

Sony's Bush Hawg In Japan

New RCA Nashville recording group Bush Hawg was on a two-week tour of Japan and Guam for Armed Forces Entertainment when the area was struck by last week’s record 9.0 magnitude earthquake. The six-man group, consisting of band members Jim Phipps, Russ Caldwell, Craig Hand, Shaun Ames, Alex Wilshire, and Ben Helton, are now safe in Guam.
They were loading in for a performance at Yokota Air Base when the quake registered 5.0 at their base location, less than 30 miles from Tokyo. Temporarily stranded at Yokota, the band was able to assist in preparing barracks for relief workers. Bush Hawg has been sharing some of their experiences via their Facebook page.
The group is currently recording its debut album with multi-Platinum producer Michael Knox, with a release slated for later this year.

In this photo from earlier in their journey, several band members shared a ride in a Humvee. Pictured (l-r): Bush Hawg’s Shaun Ames, Craig Hand, Alex Wilshire, and Jim Phipps.

IODA Debuts Open API

IODA, has released a metadata and content API designed to increase exposure and revenue opportunities for content owners while enabling partners to monetize artist content more effectively. Open API provides access to metadata, buy links and media assets for partners and third party developers. The announcement was made March 15 at SXSW in Austin, TX.
Open API is a means to offer accurate data on demand—from release notes and track info to release dates, artist bios, images and more. All data is provided and approved directly by IODA’s rightsholders to ensure the accuracy and completeness. Metadata, as it is referred to is essentially the information required to properly compensate rightsholders. It is only possible to  pay those involved if one knows who they are and where to send the payments. As the range of uses for content becomes ever more complex, the Open API, like several other systems that have been announced previously, endeavors to make this important information available in real time to the appropriate parties. Click here to see an example use of this data. Interested developers should click here.
Known as the Independent Online Distribution Alliance, IODA is one of the industry-leading digital distribution companies for the global independent music and video community. IODA provides comprehensive services to record labels, physical distributors, artists, and filmmakers, including license negotiations; media encoding and metadata management; royalty payment administration and reporting; and marketing and promotional support. Founded in 2003, IODA represents a rapidly expanding roster of more than two million music tracks and thousands independent film and video titles. IODA distributes its music and video catalog to hundreds of digital storefronts worldwide, including all major digital music services like iTunes®, Amazon MP3 and Spotify, and mobile carriers and outlets such as Verizon Wireless, Sprint and Vodafone. The company’s website is www.iodalliance.com.