Rootsy "1861 Project" Bridges Past And Present

Many notable Nashvillians have contributed to a new Civil War-themed album called The 1861 Project. They will gather at The Basement to celebrate the release on Tues., July 19 at 7 p.m.
With a narrator setting the backdrop for the audience, performances of the unique project run more like a play than a traditional concert. The show debuted Wednesday night (7/13) on Music City Roots.
Musical colleagues Thomm Jutz, Peter Cronin and Paul Schatzkin teamed to create the passion project of story songs about the Civil War. The album doesn’t re-create the sound of the period, instead it is an acoustic, roots-driven offering with performances by John Anderson, Marty Stuart, Dana Cooper, Chris Jones, and more.
Producer Jutz—whose track record includes work with Nanci Griffith and Mary Gauthier—helmed The 1861 Project. Following countless hours of historical research, he and Cronin wrote about half of the songs on the album. Also offering contributions are tunesmiths Irene Kelley, Charley Stefl, Jon Weisberger, Mark Fain, Stan Webb, Jefferson Ross, and Dana Cooper.
Some of the songs are derived from true stories handed down through generations, while others are historical conjecture. “I Have” tells of a man walking home barefoot for hundreds of miles following the surrender at Appomattox. Another song, “Eyes,” relates the story of an Irish immigrant, one of many drafted into Union service from their new home in New York City. The exuberant “Gospel Train” is from the perspective of a runaway slave “riding” the Underground Railroad to freedom.
These are among the stories that unfold in Volume 1: From Farmers To Foot Soldiers, which focuses on the period’s working class. Meanwhile, Jutz, Cronin and Schatzkin say plans for Volume 2 are already taking shape.
Timing for the project’s release coincides perfectly with the sesquicentennial of The American Civil War. Completion of the album also represents a personal victory for German-born Jutz, who is in the midst of the naturalization process to become an American citizen.

Row Roundup

>>Lyric Financial has moved to Music Row. The financial services company which specializes in providing funding solutions for music professionals and companies has a new home at 2 Music Circle South, across the street from the CMA. Lyric founder Eli Ball invites interested parties to stop by for a visit and some sweet tea.
>>Insiders are reporting that Mr. Honey Bee, aka Blake Shelton will likely land in the top position on both the Top 200 album chart and the Country album chart at the close of this week with debut scans of about 110,000 units of his new album Red River Blue. The Voice coach has also added “video host” to his career resume. Shelton (via video) joins groups backstage as they tour the Grand Ole Opry sharing personal stories and film clips. As part of the newly-offered tour, guests see artist dressing rooms each decorated with unique themes such as “Cousin Minnie,” “Wagonmaster,” “Little Jimmy,” and “Mr. Roy,” (honoring Opry greats Minnie Pearl, Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Dickens, and Roy Acuff, respectively.)
>>Musical legend Ricky Skaggs’ newest CD,Country Hits Bluegrass Style (Skaggs Family Records), will be in stores July 19. The 14-song release is a mix between Skaggs’ country and bluegrass roots, something he has been sharing with fans around the country during his current Treasure Chest Tour. Skaggs’ first two country #1 singles and standouts on the new album, “Crying My Heart Out Over You” and “I Don’t Care,” are accompanied by eight more #1 country hits, such as “Cajun Moon” and “Highway 40 Blues.” A 14-time Grammy Award winner, Skaggs is well known for both his country music classics as well as his bluegrass hits. Skaggs Family Records was formed in 1997 and has since released 12 consecutive Grammy nominated classics. The artist has won a total of eight ACM Awards and eight CMA Awards, including CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1985.

Chesney Tour By The Numbers

Photo by Danny Clinch

A run-down of the 2011 Corona Presents Kenny Chesney’s ‘Goin’ Coastal’ Tour.

Here’s what it takes to make Goin’ Coastal a reality:
• 1,000,000—number of tickets sold thus far on the tour, with numerous shows left to go.
• 110—number of workers, including crew, drivers, caterers, sound and lighting techs, and musicians. For stadium shows, the number shoots up to 140.
• 23 trucks and 10 buses in Chesney’s fleet. While the trucks barrel on to the next stop, buses return home between shows along with the band and crew,
• 60,000—miles logged each tour.
• 80,000 pounds—weight of the ‘Goin’ Coastal’ stage set-up.
• 8—number of hours to set up for one show.
• 3—number of recent sold-out shows at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
• 3—number of sides on the “periaktoi” columns which frame the stage. Influenced by ancient Greek theatre, one side features video tiles, the second features lighting and strobes, and the third is all mirrors.
• $39.50 plus fees—cheapest seat to his stadium show with ZBB in Kansas City, Missouri on July 30.
• $225 plus fees—most expensive ticket for the same show.

MR's Ross Shares Sales Insight With News 2

WKRN News 2 tapped MusicRow Publisher David Ross to give industry insider perspective for a story on last night’s evening news. The segment explored the recent bump in digital album sales, which climbed 19% in the first two quarters of 2011.
MusicRow subscribers who regularly follow Ross’s sales analysis will be familiar with the facts he shared with News 2. While digital album sales are on the rise, total album sales which include digital, are still on the decline. “Overall all genre album sales are down 34% over the last six years, and country music is down 44%,” Ross told reporter Jamey Tucker.
See the video below, following commercial. Or read the story here.

Weekly Chart Report (7/15/11)

New No. 1 – Lady Antebellum “Just A Kiss”
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Easton Corbin visited with WCTK/Providence staff at Showcase Live/Foxboro, MA on July 10. Mercury recently celebrated Corbin being the first solo male country artist in 17 years to have his first two singles reach No. 1 at radio. (L-R): WCTK MD Jessica Tyler, Corbin, and Mercury’s Sally Green

Following a record-setting heatwave in the South and many other parts of the country, it’s evident that summer is in full swing. That means a number things for all of us: vacations near water, painful sunburns, and of course, summer songs on country radio.
Every year artists try their hand at recording and releasing a summer classic, but only a special few are fortunate enough to make it happen. There are ample offerings at present, so we checked in with a few CountryBreakout Reporters to see what listeners love. Many name-checked Keith Urban’s “Long Hot Summer” (No. 19) and Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” (No. 7) right off the bat.
“Favorite song for the younger generation is ‘Dirt Road Anthem,’” says Susie Martin of WATZ/Alpena, MI. “After that, it’s Keith Urban’s ‘Long Hot Summer’ and Kenny Chesney/Grace Potter duet ‘You and Tequila.’”
“The new Keith Urban is firing up our phones big time,” echoes Boomer Kingston of KGKL/San Angelo, TX
“Listener favorites would have to be a toss up between Taylor Swift’s ‘Mean’ and Jason Aldean’s ‘Dirt Road Anthem,’” adds CW Simon of KMKS/Bay City, TX.
“Wolf listeners can’t get enough of ‘Long Hot Summer,’” chimes in Colby Ericson of KVWF/Wichita. “We’ve set several records for heat in the past month and of course we would latch on to this one!”
Jake Owen’s latest, which hit No. 10 this week, also received some praise for its summer theme.
“Current top requests for us is Jake Owen’s ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night’ because it is an uptempo cooker,” says Ted Cramer of WIFE/Connersville, IN.
“Best summer song of the season is Jake Owen’s ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night,’” agrees JR Runyon of KCNY/Conway, AR. “I just wish it was longer, but then don’t we all wish summer was too?”
Other popular tunes included Scotty McCreery, Zac Brown Band and the latest from Sawyer Brown.
“Our listeners’ favorite new summer song is without a doubt the new Sawyer Brown song ‘Smokin’ Hot Wife,’” says Heath Shelby of KWCK/Searcy, AR
“Our top requested summer song—a song that’s popular in summer even if it doesn’t sound typically summer—is ‘I Love You This Big’ by Scotty McCreery,” says Dave Spencer of WBKR/Owensboro, KY.
“Central Maine is lovin’ ‘Knee Deep’ by Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett,” says Andy Capwell of WEBB/Augusta, ME. “Alan Jackson’s ‘Long Way To Go’ and Phil Vassar’s ‘Let’s Get Together’ are also getting a solid response.”
Time will reveal how enduring these songs will be. When asked about their favorite classic summer songs, a few titles invariably come up. Interestingly, the song that came up most often among CountryBreakout reporters was Kid Rock’s 2008 crossover hit “All Summer Long.”
“Can’t wait to get out the northern summer songs like Kid Rock’s ‘All Summer Long,’ which is specifically about northern Michigan,” says Susie Martin.
“Kid Rock’s ‘All Summer Long’ is still one of our most requested summer songs, and my favorite is still Kenny Chesney’s ‘Summertime,’” says Doug Rogers of WJMG/Shawano, WI.
“Alan Jackson’s ‘Summertime Blues’ is still one of my all time favorites,” suggests Boomer Kingston of KGKL.
“Older tunes getting requests include Kid Rock’s ‘All Summer Long’ and Phil Vassar’s ‘Six Pack Summer,’” says Ted Cramer of WIFE.
“As far as classics, the two we still get calls for are Kid Rock’s ‘All Summer Long’ and the ‘Summer Fun Mix’ of Alan Jackson’s ‘Good Time,’” says Heath Shelby of KWCK.
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Frozen Playlists: KTJJ, KTTI, Sirius XM, WAAG, WDXX, WHWK, WJVL, WPPL, WTRS

Upcoming Singles
July 18
LeAnn Rimes/Give/Curb
Craig Morgan/This Ole Boy/Black River
Kristin Chenoweth/I Want Somebody/Sony/CO5
Taylor Swift/Sparks Fly/Big Machine
Darren Warren/Cowboy Up and Party Down/NuCorp/Nine North
July 25
Montgomery Gentry/Where I Come From/Average Joe’s
Blake Shelton/God Gave Me You/Warner Bros./WMN
Martina McBride/I’m Gonna Love You Through It/Republic Nashville
Sonia Leigh/My Name Is Money/Southern Ground/BPG
Eric Paslay/Never Really Wanted/EMI Records Nashville
Keith Bryant/Can’t Tell Somebody Who To Love/Jordash
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New On The Chart—Debuting This Week
Artist/song/label — chart pos.
Taylor Swift/Sparks Fly/Big Machine — 48
Blake Shelton/God Gave Me You/Warner Bros./WMN — 52
Eric Lee Beddingfield/Great Depression/Rebel Dawg Music — 72
Craig Morgan/This Ole Boy/Black River Entertainment — 79
Susan Cattaneo/Girls Night Out/Jersey Girl Music — 80
Greatest Spin Increase
Artist/song/label — spin+
Blake Shelton/God Gave Me You/Warner Bros./WMN — 543
Taylor Swift/Sparks Fly/Big Machine — 413
Keith Urban/Long Hot Summer/Capitol — 408
Toby Keith/Made In America/Show Dog-Universal — 328
Brad Paisley feat. Carrie Underwood/Remind Me/Arista — 281
Most Added
Artist/song/label — New Adds
Blake Shelton/God Gave Me You/Warner Bros./WMN — 41
Taylor Swift/Sparks Fly/Big Machine — 30
Martina McBride/I’m Gonna Love You Through It/Republic Nashville — 17
Rascal Flatts f. Natasha Bedingfield/Easy/Big Machine — 14
Montgomery Gentry/Where I Come From/Average Joe’s — 12
Eric Lee Beddingfield/Great Depression/Rebel Dawg Music — 8
On Deck—Soon To Be Charting
Artist/song/label — spins
Katie Armiger/I Do But Do I/Cold River — 234
Montgomery Gentry/Where I Come From/Average Joe — 223
Cash Creek/Unlikely Angel/Ohana Music Group — 197
Big & Rich/Fake ID/Warner — 194
Martina McBride/I’m Gonna Love You Through It/Republic Nashville — 180

Columbia Nashville newcomer Bradley Gaskin made a stop at WIL/St. Louis to serve up a round of "Mr. Bartender," his self-penned, debut single. (L-R): Sony Nashville Senior VP Promotion Skip Bishop, APD/MDWIL Danny Montana and Gaskin.

Sherry Lynn filled Court House Square in Hampton, Iowa, June 28 for the Chamber of Commerce’s “Tuesday on the Town” series. Sherry’s show was selected to raise funds for the Franklin County Relay for Life. (L-R): KLMJ/Hampton, IA's Mike Betten, Sherry Lynn, Janet Betten

Hot Day, Cool Pics

Chris Young kicked-off release day for Neon Tuesday morning (7/12) with a performance on ABC’s Good Morning America.

(L-R): Sam Champion, George Stephanopoulos, Chris Young, Josh Elliott, Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer

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Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones of Steel Magnolia played fan-selected new single, “Without You” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

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CMT Unplugged: The Avett Brothers debuted this week at and on the Starburst® Facebook page, the exclusive sponsor for the series.

Gregg Allman, Robert Plant Set For Americanafest

Robert Plant and Gregg Allman are confirmed for the Americana Music Association Festival and Conference.

The Americana Music Festival and Conference, running October 12 -15 in Nashville, has announced appearances by Gregg Allman, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, Justin Townes Earle, the Jayhawks, North Mississippi Allstars, Foster and Lloyd, and The Civil Wars.
Sure to be a highlight of the four-day event is the Americana Honors & Awards show, set for Thurs., Oct. 13 at the Ryman Auditorium. Jim Lauderdale will continue his tenure as master of ceremonies, joined for another year by Buddy Miller and his All-Star house band.
Daytime conference sessions will primarily take place at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown hotel and nighttime Festival showcases will feature 100-plus acts at five local hotspots. All conference registrants get priority access to the evening shows and a ticket to the Honors and Awards.
Early bird Festival and Conference registration ends July 31, offering a discounted fee and priority awards show seating. Americana Music Association members receive a discounted registration rate over non-members. Single tickets to the awards go on sale July 29 to the general public. Details at

Luke Bryan's Samsung Summer Krush Concert in Nashville

Capitol Records Nashville artist Luke Bryan will kick-off the Samsung AT&T Summer Krush concert series in Nashville on Wed., July 20. Tickets to the one-hour concert at the Grand Ole Opry House are free through radio promotions, street teams, and registration at Prior to the show, fans will have the opportunity to experience the Samsung Infuse™ 4G.
A portion of the performance will air exclusively on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Aug. 11 as part of Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines album launch week. The album will be in stores Tues., Aug. 9.
Other artists performing as part of this series include Coldplay and The Band Perry who are participating in other cities and venues this summer.

Industry Ink Thursday (7/14)

Mark Gray

Republic Adds To Radio Team
Republic Nashville has hired Mark Gray as Director of Southwest Promotion. Gray will begin immediately, based in Nashville and working Republic Nashville acts Martina McBride, The Band Perry, Eli Young Band and Sunny Sweeney.
Gray replaces Crystal Williams and will report directly to National Director of Promotion Matthew Hargis. “Mark is a road dawg with a big heart who loves Country music!” says Hargis. “We are very excited to have him join the Ape den at Republic Nashville.”
Gray’s career began at Clear Channel in Charlotte, NC. He quickly moved up the ranks and landed the job of WKKT Marketing Director. Eventually Gray relocated to Nashville to be tour manager for Troy Olsen. “Republic Nashville has amazing talent and I’m ready to hit the road running,” says Gray. “This is a great opportunity and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and tackle the Southwest. It’s an honor be a part of this team.” He can be reached at (704) 906-4970 or [email protected].
TCN Relocating Headquarters
The Country Network is moving its headquarters from Nashville to Boca Raton, Fla. The change was announced recently in the Palm Beach Post. According to the newspaper, TCN will maintain an office in Nashville. The network plans to hire 20 employees in its new home base, where it has leased a 3,800-square-foot office and is looking for studio space. TCN CEO Warren Hansen owns a home in Boca Raton.

Kay Clary (L) in an inspired vintage gown at the Americana Music Awards with Jayne Rogovin and Jim Lauderdale. Clary often scores saris like this at Goodwill and alters them to her taste.

• • • BMI media maven Kay Clary is profiled in today’s Tennessean, in an article highlighting her cool vintage fashion sense. She discusses her favorite stores, love of pieces circa 1964, and thrift-store hunting for newbies.
• • • Media industry veteran Erik Logan is continuing with Oprah’s Harpo Studios in a new role. Along with fellow Harpo Pres. Sheri Salata, Logan will serve as president of OWN network. Logan’s ties to Nashville include serving on the CMA board of directors and a successful career in radio.
• • • Former SoundExchange Executive Director John L. Simson has re-established a law practice in Washington, D.C. and has joined Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg.
• • • ZMX Music is a growing company offering direct-to-fan sheet music delivery through artist websites, Facebook, and MySpace. Founder Eric Ziering will be in Nashville July 19–22 for meetings about the company. Contact Lori Meadows at [email protected] or Kate Richardson at [email protected] to inquire about an appointment. Among the artists already on board with ZMX Music is Josh Kelley.
• • • Known as The Claw, the stage from U2’s 360 tour will be hitting the auction block after the tour ends. For additional information, 3D renderings, size specs and more visit
• • • United Stations Radio Networks has launched, a full-time, internet-only radio station programmed with live Country music concerts. Now in its eighteenth year, “The Road” is a nationally distributed radio show hosted by Charlie Cook and offering concert performances from country stars. offers the archived concerts from the radio show.

Warner To Sell $1.05b in Junk Bonds Before Sale reported (7/6) that Warner Music Group (WMG) is planning to sell $1.05 billion of high-yield bonds before the company is taken over. The bonds being offered will consist of:

  • $150 million 9.5% senior secured notes by WMG Acquisition Corp due June 2016
  • $695 million senior debt due Oct. 2018 by WMG Acquisition Corp
  • $200 million senior bonds due Oct. 2019 by WMG Holdings Corp.

The Wall Street Journal notes 7/13 that the price guidance on the bonds has been set at, “weaker-than-expected levels.” WSJ notes, “The talk on the secured senior notes of $150 million is at a price of 104 to 104.5, while the $695 million notes due Oct. 1, 2018 are at a yield of 11.55% to 11.75%, and the $200 million senior notes are at 13.25% to 13.75%.”
Bloomberg Business Week explains the background behind the sale terms. “The all-cash acquisition by U.S. billionaire Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings LLC is valued at $3.3 billion and will be funded with committed financing from Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS AG and equity funding from Access. Warner Music’s shareholders agreed to the acquisition at a special meeting for $8.25 per share in cash, according to a statement distributed by Marketwire.”