Industry Ink Wednesday (7/28/11)

Special Writer Round Tomorrow
Tom Douglas, Gordon Kennedy, Christy McDonald and Andrew Charbonnet are set for a special benefit performance tomorrow night (7/28) at The Rutledge, kicking off at 8 p.m. McDonald will close the show with a full-band performance. Proceeds from “Change The World Songwriters Night” will benefit cancer research at Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital.
Musical Chairs at Republic

(L-R): Megan Knutson and Kelsey Chandler


Republic Nashville President Jimmy Harnen has promoted Megan (Whalen) Knutson to Label Resource Manager and hired Kelsey Chandler as Executive Assistant. Chandler will fill Knuston’s previous position following her promotion. Most recently, she was a Client Associate at Merrill Lynch after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations with a concentration in Marketing at Auburn University. Both will report directly to Pres. Jimmy Harnen. Knutson can be reached at (615) 324-7901 or [email protected], and Chandler is available at (615) 324-7930 or [email protected], beginning Aug. 8.
Swift’s New York Hot Streak
Taylor Swift recently wrapped a run of four sold-out shows at Newark’s Prudential Center near New York City. She played to over 52,000 fans and earned rave reviews, impressing some of the nation’s toughest critics.
Chris Young on Kimmel
Chris Young is set for an appearance on ABC-TV’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight (7/27) where he will perform songs from the recently released NEON.
Josh Thompson on TV
Columbia Nashville’s Josh Thompson was on hand in Fayetteville, NC on Sunday, July 17 for a taping of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  Thompson performed a concert at Fayetteville Festival Park to help raise funds for a female homeless veterans shelter.

Josh Thompson on Extreme Makeover Home Edition.


BMI Buzz
BMI and local hotspot the Basement partnered to present acoustic sets from Joey Hyde, Morgan Myles and Deep River at the July 13 installment of BMI Buzz.

Pictured (L-R): BMI’s Beth Laird; Joey Hyde; Deep River members Luke Brindley, Rachel Beauregard and Bryan Dawley; BMI’s Jody Williams; Morgan Myles and BMI’s Mark Mason.

Johnny Reid Leads Canadian Country Noms

Nominees for the 2011 Canadian Country Music Awards were announced today (7/27), with Johnny Reid leading the way with six nods. The honors will be presented Sept. 12 in Hamilton, Ontario, and the show will be broadcast live on CBC Television, with an encore airing on CMT.
Driven by his album A Place Called Love, and hit single “Today I’m Gonna Try And Change The World,” Reid is up for Fans’ Choice, Single, Songwriter, CMT Video, Album and Male Artist. A Place Called Love also garnered nominations for his team in Album Design, Website, and Video Director.
Dean Brody is nominated in five categories: Fans’ Choice, Single for “Trail In Life,” Album, Songwriter and Male Artist. Additional nominations for the Brody team include Album Design and Website.
George Canyon, Gord Bamford and Deric Ruttan received four nods each. To view a complete list of nominees, go to www.ccma.org.
The Third Ballot for the 2011 Canadian Country Music Awards® is open. CCMA voting members received a email with instructions. The ballot closes at 5:00 PM EST on Wed., Aug. 17.
Brody and Paul Brandt have been added to the list of performers for the 2011 awards broadcast. They join previously announced acts George Canyon, Terri Clark, Doc Walker, Emerson Drive, Johnny Reid and Ronnie Dunn.
Country Music Week takes place September 9-12, 2011, in Hamilton, Ontario, culminating with the broadcast of The Canadian Country Music Awards.

Week Two Is Like The "Morning After"

This graph is intended to provide a snapshot of sales during the last half of 2010. Compare the list of upcoming releases in the text with what happened in 2010 to help determine if the country format will end up in positive sales territory for 2011.


Week Two is traditionally like the “morning after.” The sales party fireworks, stimulated from high visibility press exposure and the flexing of high-dollar marketing muscles, become dim as labels wake to a new reality. Traditionally, the hangover from the week two sales drop falls in the 60% range. This week new albums from Blake Shelton and Chris Young suffered the “week two” blues dropping 60% and 65% respectively. Also in “week two” is Ashton Shepherd who debuted with under 11k units, but fell 56% nevertheless.
Although the “week two” folks always take the biggest  W/W (week over week) hit, Blake, Chris and Ashton weren’t alone this week. W/W country album sales fell 16% on average and the Top 75 current list tumbled 27.5%.
The good news remains that the country format overall is up YTD 1.4%. Upcoming announced powerhouse releases are scarce, but crafty labels have a habit of clutching release information tightly to hinder competitor planning. Here’s a few of the names that should send SoundScan dials spinning: Eric Church 7/26, Trace Adkins 8/2, Luke Bryan 8/9, Lady Antebellum 9/13, LeAnn Rimes 9/27, Martina McBride 10/18 and Miranda Lambert 11/1.
RIP Amy Winehouse
A few notes on the U.S. sales ramifications of Amy Winehouse’s recent sad passing as calculated by Nielsen SoundScan.
>>More Amy Winehouse albums were purchased in the past week (ending 7/2411) than during the first six months of the year (50,000 this week vs. 44,000 YTD 2011 as of 7/17/11), according to Nielsen SoundScan.
–Back To Black – 37,000 total sales (36,000 are digital albums)
–Frank -7,600 total sales (7,000 are digital)
>>More than 95% of all Amy Winehouse album sales this week were digitally downloaded (46,000+ sales), according to Nielsen SoundScan.
>>Total U.S. spins for Amy Winehouse songs on Saturday, July 23, increased 170% over the previous week’s total spins, according to Nielsen BDS.
Thought For Today
This industry will soon need new revenue yardsticks. Something easy to understand, reliable and painstakingly accurate. SoundScan is quite satisfactory for point of sale at retail, however as the industry continues to evolve, it no longer provides the total picture. For example, what about endorsements, touring, paid TV appearances, clothing lines, etc. As artist brands continue to evolve, tracking album and single sales, both physical and digital is slowly becoming less representative of the total energy artist machines generate.
 
 

Parton at The "Dollywood Bowl"

Celebrating backstage with (L-R): Neil Warnock, The Agency Group; Parton; manager Danny Nozell, CTK Management; and Steve Martin, The Agency Group. Photo: Laura Eady/CTK Management


Dolly Parton set a personal best record when she sold more than 29,000 tickets over two shows at the Hollywood Bowl over the weekend (Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23). This marks the most tickets she has sold in a single city on one visit in the history of her 55-year career. She appropriately referred to the venue as the “Dollywood Bowl.”
The LA Times reports, “Parton operated with a queenly mettle that spoke to her five-decade journey from Appalachian hardship to Nashville aristocracy. She hardly required a throne to establish her position of power.”
The iconic singer is touring in support of her new Better Day album (Dolly Records, distributed through Warner Music Nashville). This leg of the Better Day World Tour runs through Aug. 3 before heading to Europe and Australia, then returns to the U.S. beginning Oct. 7.

Willie Nelson Gears Up For Farm Aid

As Willie Nelson prepares for his annual Farm Aid concert, he is set to be honored for 26 years of supporting agriculture with the long-running event.
Nelson will be inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame during a Aug. 12 ceremony, the morning before Farm Aid 2011 at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Set to perform at Farm Aid 2011 are Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz, Jamey Johnson, Jakob Dylan, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and more.
As Farm Aid’s founder and president, Nelson has worked to increase awareness about the loss of family farms, and has raised more than $39 million for the cause through the concerts.

DISClaimer Single Reviews (7/27/11)

Is it hot enough for you?
There’s nothing like Nashville in July-August to wear you out. And there are no ballads in this week’s column to cool you off.
The new sounds from Bomshel, Randy Travis, Montgomery Gentry and Marlee Scott are particularly hot stuff. Justin Moore follows up his tender “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” with a scorching little attitude tune titled “Bait A Hook.” The boy is on a roll. Hand him a Disc of the Day award.
Perhaps the hottest sounding performance of the day came from some unknown Texans billed as Brad Dunn & Ellis County. They’re an Austin bar band. Their CD shines with promise. Hands down, my DisCovery Award of the week.
MARLEE SCOTT/Beautiful Maybe
Writer: Tania Hancheroff/Marcus Hummon/Tia Sellers; Producer: David Kalmusky; Publisher: Universal/MGB/Careers/Ourtrinity/Coburn/Sillers with an I Think Tank, ASCAP/BMI; CO5 (www.marleescott.com)
—Brightly optimistic and positive. Produced with clarity and class. Irresistibly rhythmic, to boot.
RANDY TRAVIS/Everything And All
Writer: Troy Jones; Producer: Kyle Lehning; Publisher: Tiltawhirl/Carnival, BMI; Warner Bros.
—His burnished baritone voice remains one of the truly great things about the country-music format. This uptempo twangfest is a delightful showcase for it. Spin it.
RYAN TURNER BAND/Sweet Time
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; RTB (www.ryanturnermusic.com)
—The track has a cool nervous energy about it. His vocal doesn’t have a huge amount of personality, but he gets the job done on this tempo celebration.
BOMSHEL/Halleluy’all
Writer: Josh Kear/Mark Irwin; Producer: Chad Carlson; Publisher: Global Dog/Big Yellow Dog/LunaLight/Green Vinyl, ASCAP; Curb
—I dig these gals. If this sizzling, frothy, beat frenzy doesn’t get folks out onto the dance floor, I can’t imagine what will. Crank it up.
KATIE QUICK/Best In Me
Writer: Katie Quick/Ben Goldsmith; Producer: Katie Quick & Chip Hardy; Publisher: Katiequickmusic, BMI; KQ (track) (www.katiequick.com)
—She wrote all 14 tunes on her Valley Between Love CD, including this hand-clapping, banjo-propelled, sunny, toe-tapper of a single. Sweet as candy.
THE BAND PERRY/All Your Life
Writer: Brian Henningsen/Clara Henningsen; Producer: Nathan Chapman; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/How Bout That Skyline/Cactus Moser, BMI; Republic Nashville (track)
—This plea for lifelong devotion goes down smoothly, thanks to the lilting mandolin work, gentle percussion and oh-so-creamy vocal harmonies. The bluesy bridge is especially cool with its melodic shift and chiming bells.
BRAD DUNN & ELLIS COUNTY/Red White And Blue
Writer: Brad Dunn & Ellis County; Producer: Kevin Szymanski, Brad Dunn & Ellis County; Publisher: none listed; BD (track) (www.reverbnation.com/bradleyddunn)
—The grinding groove makes it sound kind of like a countrified ZZ Top. The title refers to the Texas state flag, and everything about this screams Lone Star State roadhouse rawk. The song and performance are both loaded with sweaty macho attitude. I’ll bet these guys are great live. Even the ballads on the band’s Ranch Cat album seethe with personality and individuality.
JUSTIN MOORE/Bait A Hook
Writer: Rhett Akins/Justin Moore/Jeremy Stover; Producer: Jeremy Stover; Publisher: EMI Blackwood/Rhettneck/Big Music Machine/Double Barrel Ace/Super 98/EMI April/Songs of Countrywood, BMI/ASCAP; Valory Music
—Her new boyfriend can’t hold his liquor, drives a Prius and eats sushi. But he can’t catch fish, skin a deer, drive a truck or belt Jack Daniels, so the redneck singer isn’t worried a bit that she’ll come running back. Highly humorous, enormously rhythmic and deeply drawled.
JOEL WARREN & JASON ALLEN/Straight Up Country
Writer: Steve Guidos/Bill Warrington/Ward Tolbert; Producer: Eric Paul; Publisher: Wynnestar/Bill Warrington/Song Brook, BMI/ASCAP; Wynnesong (track) (www.joelwarrencountry.com)
—The swingin’ honky-tonk band kicks up plenty of dust. Jason has the pipes to front the sound. Joel doesn’t.
MONTGOMERY GENTRY/Where I Come From
Writer: Rodney Clawson/Dallas Davidson; Producer: Michael Knox; Publisher: Big Red Toe/Amarillo Sky/EMI Blackwood/String Stretcher, BMI; Average Joe (CDX) (615-733-9983)
—Pretty much what you might expect from the title—a defense of the small-town, countrified lifestyle. It is better written than most songs like this, and the boys deliver it with their trademarked propulsive punch.

Eric Church's "Chief" Debuts Today

EMI Records Nashville’s Eric Church hangs out with WKKT/Charlotte PD Steve Geofferies following his show at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach last week.


EMI Records Nashville is releasing Eric Church’s third studio album, Chief today (7/26). Lead single “Homeboy” is already Top 10 on MusicRow’s Country Breakout Chart and the album is getting good early reviews.
Church is celebrating release day with a sold-out show tonight at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. The event, called “CHIEF: Deconstructed,” will have Church and many of the songwriters from the album sharing stories behind the songs—see writer credits below. Most of the album was written by Church and company when the artist spent a month in a secluded North Carolina cabin.
For Chief, Church once again teamed with producer Jay Joyce, who produced his first two albums. That collaboration has resulted in the Gold certification of his sophomore album Carolina, as well as six Top 20 hits (“How ‘Bout You,” “Two Pink Lines,” “Guys Like Me,” “Love Your Love The Most,” “Hell On The Heart,” and “Smoke A Little Smoke”).
Church, the reigning ACM New Solo Vocalist of the Year, will continue through October on Toby Keith’s Locked and Loaded Tour.
Chief track listing
1. Creepin’ (Eric Church / Marv Green)
2. Drink In My Hand (Eric Church, Michael P. Heeney, Luke Laird)
3. Keep On (Eric Church / Ryan Tyndell)
4. Like Jesus Does (Casey Beathard / Monty Criswell)
5. Hungover & Hard Up (Eric Church / Luke Laird)
6. Homeboy (Eric Church / Casey Beathard)
7. Country Music Jesus (Eric Church / Jeremy Spillman)
8. Jack Daniels (Eric Church / Jeff Hyde / Lynn Hutton)
9. Springsteen (Eric Church / Jeff Hyde / Ryan Tyndell)
10. I’m Gettin’ Stoned (Eric Church / Jeff Hyde / Casey Beathard / Jeremy Cradey)
11. Over When It’s Over (Eric Church / Luke Laird)

Randy Montana Digital Album Out Today

Mercury Nashville releases singer/songwriter Randy Montana’s self-titled debut album to all digital retailers today (7/26). Montana teamed with producer Jay Joyce for the project which includes “Ain’t Much Left Of Lovin’ You,” “1,000 Faces,” and “Last Horse,” which features Emmylou Harris on harmony vocals.
Montana has been getting plenty of good press to coincide with the launch. He is featured in the current issue of Country Weekly and was listed as one of E! News’ Hot New Country Guys. In addition, on July 28 AOL’s The Boot will feature a special video of Montana’s “1,000 Faces” on both homepages.
The rising singer has spent most of 2010 and 2011 on the road. He’s opened for Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Sugarland and Taylor Swift.

World of Bluegrass Attracts Genre's Biggest Names

Alison Krauss and Union Station will perform at the World of Bluegrass.


Bluegrass music’s premier indoor festival is just around the corner, with this year’s event celebrating the 100th birthday of the Father of Bluegrass Music, the late Bill Monroe. IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Week runs Sept. 26- Oct. 2 in Nashville with confirmed artists including Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, The Grascals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Dale Ann Bradley, J.D. Crowe & The New South, and Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers.
One highlight of the event is sure to be the International Bluegrass Music Awards, set for Thurs., Sept. 29 at the Ryman Auditorium. Award-winning artist, bandleader, songwriter and mandolin monster Sam Bush will host the 22nd annual show.
The World of Bluegrass Week also includes the Bluegrass Fan Fest, running Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 at the Nashville Convention Center.
For details on the World of Bluegrass, including tickets to the International Bluegrass Music Awards, go to www.worldofbluegrass.org or call 615-256-3222 (888-GET-IBMA). See a video preview of World of Bluegrass below.

Kevin Forbes And Brian Peterson Join BMI

Kevin Forbes


BMI welcomes Kevin Forbes and Brian Peterson to the company’s executive ranks. Both will be based in the organization’s Nashville office.
Forbes enters as Senior Enterprise Architect in BMI’s Information Services Group reporting to Camellia Petty, Vice President, Product & Application Development. He will serve as a bridge between different departments, refining BMI’s strategy, processes and information technology assets.
“Kevin is an award-winning strategist,” says Petty. “His wealth of experience as an enterprise architect will be an invaluable resource to BMI.”
Forbes has more than nine years of experience in the area, most recently for Prolifics and Healthways. He has ranked on the Enterprise Architecture lists of InformationWeek (No. 8 in 2010), and CIO magazine. Forbes began his career in the United States Air Force and attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Brian Peterson


Peterson joins as Senior Product Manager, and will help drive BMI’s social media and e-commerce product development. He reports to Nancy Merrill, Assistant Vice President, Product Management.
“Brian is a true leader,” says Merrill. “Brian is more than familiar with our target audiences—he’s actually developed new ways to better serve them.”
In 2008, he co-founded Bandbox, which allows artists to sell music directly to their fans from their websites, as well as Facebook and MySpace. In January 2011, he launched RedRovor, a social music app for Facebook. He sold both platforms earlier this year. Peterson’s experience includes Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Music. He graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara.