Oak Ridge Boys Inducted Into Opry

(L-R): Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, Dickens, Opry Vice President & General Mgr Pete Fisher, William Lee Golden, Richard Sterban. Photo: Chris Hollo


The Oak Ridge Boys were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry this weekend by Opry member Jimmy Dickens. The legendary country music group made up of William Lee Golden, Joe Bonsall, Richard Sterban, and Duane Allen was invited to join the Opry last month by Dickens, who surprised the group by walking on stage dressed as a 4’11” William Lee Golden, including long beard and sunglasses.
After Dickens presented the members of the group with their Opry member awards, Joe Bonsall spoke first for the group, saying, “We’ve always been a friend of the Opry. We’ve always believed in the Opry and loved and respected every member of this brotherhood and sisterhood of country music. We’ve been nervous wrecks all day long because we knew how special this would be. This is a meaningful night, and is it different tonight than it ever has been when we’ve come down here to sing? You bet your life it is!”

“I can not think of any group or any person who deserve this honor more,” Former President George H.W. Bush said in a taped greeting, explaining that he’d been an Oak Ridge Boys fan since he first heard the group from inside the White House while they were singing “Elvira” on the White House lawn. “I ran outside like a little kid,” he said, “and I’ve been blessed to call them friends ever since. I think of the Opry and the Oaks both as American icons, beloved from coast to coast and known around the world. I can’t think of a better union. I love you boys, and my best to everyone at the Grand Ole Opry, one of my favorite places in America.”

The Oak Ridge Boys’ four-part harmonies and upbeat songs have created dozens of country hits and a No. 1 pop smash, earned them Grammy, CMA, ACM, and Dove awards, and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades. On September 19, the band will release a new CD to be sold exclusively at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. It’s Only Natural will feature new music and new recordings of select ORB hits, including “Elvira.”

(L-R): Grand Ole Opry Pres. Steve Buchanan; ORB Manager Jim Halsey; ORB members Golden, Allen, Bonsall, and Sterban; Opry VP/GM Pete Fisher. Photo: Chris Hollo

"American Songwriter" Under New Ownership

Albie Del Favero


Albie Del Favero has taken the reigns of American Songwriter magazine, joining the team as Co-Publisher, and President of its parent company ForASong Media, LLC.
Del Favero’s extensive background in media includes being founding publisher of the Nashville Scene. More recently he served as Nashville-area group publisher at SouthComm, which currently owns The City Paper and the Nashville Scene.
In his latest venture, Del Favero is teaming with former American Songwriter owners Robert Clement and Doug Waterman. They are still in-office at the outlet they purchased in 2004. The magazine has been operated out of Music City since 1984.
The bi-monthly print mag is coupled with American Songwriter’s extensive online activity, which includes free content, iPad apps and more. The May/June issue app alone has been downloaded 5,000 times. Del Favero tells MusicRow, “Besides realizing the full potential of the magazine, the strategy for the company going forward will be to leverage the traffic drawn to the free content on the website to build a membership base of amateur songwriters. These members will have access to tools to hone their writing skills and connect with professionals.”
Songwriting contests are one way American Songwriter attracts users, which have helped the publication amass an email list of over 30,000.
Del Favero admits that some people aren’t bullish on traditional media, but says the shuttering of comparable ‘zines including Performing Songwriter and No Depression has freed up advertising dollars.
He explains, “American Songwriter has a solid niche, a highly recognizable brand and is profitable.”
Albie Del Favero can be reached at [email protected] and (615) 945-2016.

“American Songwriter” Under New Ownership

Albie Del Favero

Albie Del Favero has taken the reigns of American Songwriter magazine, joining the team as Co-Publisher, and President of its parent company ForASong Media, LLC.

Del Favero’s extensive background in media includes being founding publisher of the Nashville Scene. More recently he served as Nashville-area group publisher at SouthComm, which currently owns The City Paper and the Nashville Scene.

In his latest venture, Del Favero is teaming with former American Songwriter owners Robert Clement and Doug Waterman. They are still in-office at the outlet they purchased in 2004. The magazine has been operated out of Music City since 1984.

The bi-monthly print mag is coupled with American Songwriter’s extensive online activity, which includes free content, iPad apps and more. The May/June issue app alone has been downloaded 5,000 times. Del Favero tells MusicRow, “Besides realizing the full potential of the magazine, the strategy for the company going forward will be to leverage the traffic drawn to the free content on the website to build a membership base of amateur songwriters. These members will have access to tools to hone their writing skills and connect with professionals.”

Songwriting contests are one way American Songwriter attracts users, which have helped the publication amass an email list of over 30,000.

Del Favero admits that some people aren’t bullish on traditional media, but says the shuttering of comparable ‘zines including Performing Songwriter and No Depression has freed up advertising dollars.

He explains, “American Songwriter has a solid niche, a highly recognizable brand and is profitable.”

Albie Del Favero can be reached at [email protected] and (615) 945-2016.

BMI Taps Ari Surdoval For Communications Post

Ari Surdoval


BMI has named Ari Surdoval Director, Corporate Communications & Media Relations. Surdoval will be based in BMI’s Nashville office, and will report to Kay Clary, Senior Director, Media Relations.
In his new role, Surdoval will direct press campaigns, create editorial content, and develop corporate and branding communications for both the business and creative communities.
“Ari is that rare combination of thinker and executor,” says Clary. “He will be an asset to BMI’s licensees, songwriters, and staff members alike, helping carry the message that BMI is a vital link in the chain that sustains the musical creativity we all get to enjoy. In a way, his approach mirrors BMI itself—an ideal marriage of creative and business.”
Most recently, Surdoval was a Communications Specialist for public relations giant Porter Novelli, where he created editorial, web and social media content, as well as messaging for members of the agency’s executive committee. He also served as the Editorial Director of Gibson Guitar Corp., where he developed the company’s extensive editorial, web and marketing services. Prior to his post at Gibson, Surdoval was Managing Editor of Performing Songwriter magazine. His previous roles also include Marketing Writer for Classic Media and Copy Editor for Condé Nast. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, with a focus in writing and history. A man of many talents, Surdoval is also a BMI songwriter.
Contact him at [email protected] and (615) 401-2880

Adkins/Chenoweth To Host ACA


Kristen Chenoweth


Trace Adkins


Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth will co-host the 2nd Annual American Country Awards, live from Las Vegas, Dec. 5 on FOX. Adkins returns to host the youngest of the nationallly televised country award shows and the only one that allows fans to vote in traditional and new categories such as touring. Adkins, a Grand Ole Opy member, has 15 Top Ten hits, plus Gold and Platinum albums with total sales above 10 million. In addition to his music career, he has worked as a television actor, voiceover narrator, commercial spokesman and author. Actor, singer Kristin Chenoweth has performed on stage, television and film. Her upcoming country album is set for release Sept. 13.
AMERICAN COUNTRY AWARDS is executive-produced by Bob Bain (TEEN CHOICE 2011, “Kids’ Choice Awards”). Paul Flattery, Tisha Fein and Fletcher Foster serve as producers; and Greg Sills is supervising producer. Michael Dempsey will direct the special.

Dill To Head Octagon Entertainment Nashville Office

(L-R): John Ferriter, Stuart Dill


Sports and entertainment firm Octagon Entertainment has announced its expansion into Nashville with the hire of management veteran Stuart Dill as Senior Vice President. Dill will spearhead Octagon’s management presence in country music and serve as GM of the new Octagon Entertainment office in Nashville. He will work closely with Octagon Entertainment Managing Dir. John Ferriter and Octagon Music Managing Dir. Peter Rudge on artist development and numerous other projects.
Making the move to Octagon with Dill are clients Billy Ray Cyrus, Laura Bell Bundy, and Jo Dee Messina.
“Octagon is an absolute leader in celebrity management as well as global branding,” said Dill. “Our current Nashville roster and future artist signings will allow us to take full advantage of the tremendous resources Octagon has to offer. Octagon continues to be on the cutting edge of new entertainment models that successfully brand and create opportunities for their clients, and I am thrilled to be a part of their team.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with Stuart and his team,” said Ferriter. “Stuart has been a close friend for years and I have always enjoyed our collaborations in the past. As a longtime fan of country music, I am thrilled to expand our entertainment division into Nashville as it has long been a personal priority and focus for me.”
Additionally, Belmont University graduate Zac Koffler will join Dill in the Nashville Octagon Entertainment office.
Octagon Entertainment is located at 1105 16th Ave. S., Ste. B., Nashville, TN 37212. Reach Dill here.

The Authenticity Debate, Revisited

Kanye West, Eric Church


There’s been much discussion lately on the subject of authenticity in country music, particularly among its male stars.
To quickly recap, CMT.com’s Chet Flippo took issue with Eric Church for appreciating high thread count sheets and Justin Moore for his self-appointed “outlaw” status, then The Tennessean’s Peter Cooper followed declaring that all the redneck posturing simply wasn’t believable. The subject has prompted numerous strong reactions on both sides, so here’s mine.
This weird obsession with country music’s authenticity, both from the artistic community and from critics, borders on preposterous.
I’ve been a big hip-hop fan for some time. Lately I see country music beginning to mirror hip-hop’s growth in some interesting ways, and I’m not just talking about Jason Aldean spitting a few bars in his current single.
An artist should be free to believably inhabit the characters in his songs, and not have that persona confused with his offstage life. And it probably goes without saying, but an artist should also sing about something.
Which brings me to my first point.
There are a group of artists, mostly male, who seem to think if they can spout off more country cliches than the last dude that it somehow magically conveys an air of authenticity. There have been so many songs in the last few years referencing dirt roads, tailgates, bonfires, and every other “country” trope that I’m starting to get them all confused.
As a fellow small-town southerner (Arab, Alabama: Pop. 7,500) I agree these things are, to some degree, part of life. In younger years I spent more than one Friday night drinking in a cow pasture (sorry Mom!), and Saturdays boating on the Tennessee River. And yep, I hung out in the Food World parking lot after dark. When you grow up in a place where there everything closes at 6, you improvise.
But here’s the problem: these songs aren’t about anything. Small town life is quite complex, a rich tapestry of joy, heartache, community, sin and salvation. The offending songs actually do it a great disservice by making it appear completely one-dimensional. So songwriters, can we stop doing that? Please?
On to the second point.
People in the listening world, particularly critics, insist on projecting this myth that an “authentic” country artist needs to work on an assembly line, kill deer with his bare hands, and live out the tales in his songs. He should probably also sleep on a dirt floor in a shotgun shack with no running water, if he’s worth his redneck salt.
Which is totally absurd. I can say with a pretty high degree of certainty that Johnny Cash did not, in fact, shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die. But accusing the Man in Black of not being authentic, well that’s blasphemy and I don’t want to be near anyone who’d ever suggest such a thing (you know, in case the lightning strikes).
I’m reminded of a period in hip-hop, following the all-too-real murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. New face 50 Cent was being touted as the realest rapper on the scene, presumably because he’d been shot multiple times. Jay-Z and Nas were having an epic feud through their songs about who was bigger, better, more real and true.
It was a strange time to be a fan, because there was so much to love (like Outkast putting Southern hip-hop on the map or Missy Elliott’s brilliantly weird pop hits) and so much to hate (most every P.Diddy song that sampled an FM rock standard or knifeplay at the Source Awards) at the same time. Many artists were releasing songs that varied thematically between chest-beating ‘realer-than-thou’ proclamations and misogynistic, booty-obsessed fare. (Speaking of which, is Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” really all that different from “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and the like? Just saying.)
The good news is hip-hop in 2011 has (mostly) gotten over itself. I don’t know that there was some great watershed moment for the genre, but people now seem to no longer be so obsessed with an artist’s street credentials so much as they just want a banging song.
For an example, see Kanye West. He may have drawn the ire of country fans for the Taylor Swift kerfuffle, but he’s one of the biggest artists in the game and nobody doubts his artistic credibility. What’s interesting is he didn’t grow up in an inner city slum surrounded by violence and poverty, nor does he pretend that he did. He grew up in a middle class, suburban setting outside Chicago. He wears skinny jeans and understands high fashion. No one seems the least bit bothered, long as he can crank out innovative jams like “Monster” or “Stronger.”
Hip-hop got over it, and so too will country music. Come at us with a great song, not one listing things that sound country. Create an artistic persona, and sing about the human experience with all its beauty, tragedy and utter strangeness. We’ll stop making such a fuss over your life outside music.
And for the record, I’m with Eric Church on high thread count sheets.

The Band Perry Announces New Tour

The Band Perry has announced The Purveyors of Performance Tour – a trek of approximately 75 dates that will include their own headlining shows, support dates for Keith Urban, Reba and yet-to-be-announced dates with one of Country music’s major touring forces. The tour kicks off Aug 15 and will continue into 2012 with performances at theaters, arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums.
August is a high profile month for TBP with the debut of a new video, the airing of the Teen Choice Awards (8/7) where they have two nominations, a performance on CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night To Rock on ABC (8/14), and a Jimmy Kimmel Live! concert (8/17).

“It has always been our dream to play Country music,” says the band. “We’ve been on the road as a family band for thirteen years and experienced the intimacy of theaters, the energy of county fairs and the joy of connecting with new faces as we support these amazing artists at arenas and amphitheaters. Artists like Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Reba were the ones who originally inspired us to dream big…now they have helped our dreams come true. We couldn’t be more grateful to them or excited about the future.”

The new video for their fourth Country single, “All Your Life” is planned for a mid-August debut. The cinematic video will feature TBP as a vagabond troupe and actually inspired the “Purveyors of Performance” theme of the upcoming tour.
The band is also celebrating the extended life of “If I Die Young,” which is now climbing the pop charts.
The Band Perry’s Purveyors of Performance Tour Dates:
8/15/2011 — LEWISBURG, WV (State Fair of West Virginia)
8/17/2011 — DES MOINES, IA (Iowa State Fair)
8/18/2011 — FAIRMONT, MN (Martin County Fairgrounds)
8/19/2011 — ABERDEEN, SD (Brown County Fair)
8/20/2011 — IMPERIAL, NE (Chase County Fair & Expo)
8/21/2011 — SAINT JOSEPH, MO (Trails West Festival)
8/24/2011 — MITCHELL, SD (The Corn Palace Festival)
8/26/2011 — GRAND ISLAND, NE (Nebraska State Fair)
8/27/2011 — PUEBLO, CO  (Colorado State Fair Grandstand)
8/30/2011 — MONROE, WA (Evergreen State Fair)
8/31/2011 — WALLA WALLA, WA (Walla Walla Frontier Days)
9/02/2011 — SALEM, OR  (L.B. Day Amphitheater)
9/03/2011 — LAKEVIEW, OR (Lake County Fair)
9/04/2011 — FILER, ID (Twin Falls County Fair)
9/09/2011 — OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CA (Scotiabank Place) [with Keith Urban]
9/10/2011 — TORONTO, ONTARIO, CA (Air Canada Centre) [with Keith Urban]
9/12/2011 — LONDON, ONTARIO, CA (John Labatt Center) [with Keith Urban]
9/15/2011 — WINNIGPEG, CA (MTS Centre) [with Keith Urban]
9/16/2011 — REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN, CA (Brandt Centre) [with Keith Urban]
9/17/2011 — REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN, CA (Brandt Centre) [with Keith Urban]
9/18/2011 — SASKATOON, SK, CA (Credit Union Centre) [with Keith Urban]
9/21/2011 — EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CA (Rexall Place) [with Keith Urban]
9/23/2011 — CALGARY, AB, CA (Scotiabank Saddledome) [with Keith Urban]
9/24/2011 — PENTICTON, BC, CA (South Okanagan Events Centre) [with Keith Urban]
9/26/2011 — VANCOUVER, CA (Rogers Arena) [with Keith Urban]
9/28/2011 — FORT SMITH, AR (Arkansas Oklahoma State Fair)
9/29/2011 — MARIETTA, GA (North Georgia State Fair)
9/30/2011 — ST. LOUIS, MO (The Pageant)
10/6/2011 — MOLINE, IL (iWireless Center) [with Reba]
10/7/2011 — BLOOMINGTON, IL (US Cellular Coliseum) [with Reba]
10/8/2011 — MARYVILLE, TN (Foothills Festival)
10/11/2011 — JACKSON, MS (Mississippi State Fair)
10/13/2011 — GREEN BAY, WI (Resch Center) [with Reba]
10/14/2011 — FT. WAYNE, IN (Allen County WMC) [with Reba]
10/15/2011 — HUNTINGTON, WV (Big Sandy Arena) [with Reba]
10/19/2011 — PHOENIX, AZ (Arizona State Fairgrounds)
10/20/2011 — BOZEMAN, MT (Brick Breeden) [with Reba]
10/21/2011 — CASPER EVENTS CENTER (Casper, WY) [with Reba]
10/22/2011 — BISMARCK, ND (Bismarck Civic Ctr) [with Reba]
10/27/2011 — SIOUX CITY, IA (Tysons Events Center) [with Reba]
10/28/2011 — ST. LOUIS, MO (Chaifetz Arena) [with Reba]
10/29/2011 — KANSAS CITY, MO (Sprint Center) [with Reba]
11/3/2011 — OMAHA, NE (Quest Center) [with Reba]
11/4/2011 — TULSA, OK (BOK Center) [with Reba]
11/5/2011 — WICHITA, KS (InTrust Bank Arena) [with Reba]
11/10/2011 — GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Van Andel Arena) [with Reba]
11/12/2011 — ATLANTA, GA (Gwinnett Center) [with Reba]
11/17/2011 — LAFAYETTE, LA (Cajundome) [with Reba]
11/18/2011 — BILOXI, MS (Mississippi Coast Coliseum) [with Reba]
11/19/2011 — TUPELO, MS (Bancorp South Arena) [with Reba]
 

Miranda On Tour: Last Leg

Miranda Lambert will kick off the last leg of her headlining tour The Revolution Continues on September 8 in Terre Haute, IN. Special guests are Justin Moore and Randy Rogers Band. On select dates Little Big Town, Charlie Worsham and Pat Green will also join the tour.
“The revolution continues, but not for too much longer, this is the last leg of the tour,” shares Lambert. “We have had so much fun. So many great bands came out to join us and some great artists as well. Don’t miss your last chance to see us on the road this year.”
Details at www.MirandaLambert.com.

Photo: James Minchin


 
September 8                  Terre Haute, IN              Hulman Center at Indiana State University
September 9                  Bloomington, IL              US Cellular Coliseum
September 10                Mankato, MN                 Verizon Wireless Center
September 17                Puyallup, WA                Western Washington Fair
September 22                Tupelo, MS                    BancorpSouth Arena
September 23                Panama City Beach, FL Frank Brown Park
September 24                St. Petersburg, FL         Tropicana Field
September 29                Bossier City, LA            CenturyTel Center
September 30                Baton Rouge, LA           Baton Rouge River Center
October 1                      Cedar Park, TX              Cedar Park Center
October 6                      Topeka, KS                   Kansas Expocentre
October 7                      Sioux Falls, SD             Sioux Falls Arena
October 8                      Rapid City, SD               Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena
October 9                      Billings, MT                   MetraPark Arena
October 11                    Missoula, MT                 Adams Center
October 13                    Eugene, OR                  Matthew Knight Arena
October 14                    Nampa, ID                     Idaho Center Arena
October 15                    Yakima, WA                  Yakima Valley Sundome
October 20                    Cape Girardeau, MO      Show Me Center
October 22                    Jonesboro, AR               ASU Convocation Center
 

Friday Fabulons: Dunn, Jackson and the New Crew Writers Round

Ronnie Dunn celebrated 25 years of hits at BMI’s Nashvhille offices on Aug. 5. Dunn’s repertoire includes standards like “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “Neon Moon,” and “She’s Not the Cheatin’ Kind,” as well as hits with well known co-writers such as “Red Dirt Road” (Kix Brooks), “That Ain’t No Way to Go” (Kix Brooks and Don Cook), “Believe” (Craig Wiseman), and many more that have altogether garnered an astounding 60 million performances.

(L-R) Jody Williams, VP, Writer-Publisher Relations, BMI; Dunn; Caryl Healey, Associate Director, Sales, Sony Music Nashville; Troy Tomlinson, President/CEO, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville; and Clarence Spalding, President, Spalding Entertainment. Photo: Thien Phan


 
>>Alan Jackson is on the cover of the current issue of Country Weekly, dated August 15. Jackson covers a variety of topics in the interview including his new single, “Long Way To Go.”  When asked about the story behind the song Jackson replied, “It’s just a fun summertime song –  I had something to drink one time and a bug flew in it and I kinda made a note of that….Some people have asked if I was sitting someplace warm or near a beach when I was writing it, but I was actually in Nashville and it was pretty cold!”
 
 
 
 
>>ASCAP Nashville recently hosted its New Crew Writers Round at the Basement, featuring songwriters Josh Dorr, Brent Wesley Rupard and Adam Sanders. The New Crew Writers Round is a quarterly event that showcases unsigned, up-and-coming singer-songwriters who have created a buzz and their own following.

(L-R) ASCAP’s Ryan Beuschel, Josh Dorr, ASCAP's Robert Filhart and LeAnn Phelan, Brent Wesley Rupard, ASCAP's Michael Martin and Marc Driskill, Adam Sanders, ASCAP's Mike Sistad. Photo: Jessica Draper