Pinky Gonzales BubblesUp In Oregon

Pinky Gonzales

Digital services company BubbleUp has tapped music marketer Pinky Gonzales to lead a company expansion in the Pacific Northwest. He is a former partner at echomusic and Belmont University Adjunct Professor.
The new office will compliment the company’s existing operations in Tennessee, Texas and Connecticut where they handle digital services for Margaritaville, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band and BB King’s Blues Clubs.
BubbleUp CEO Coleman Sisson explains the expansion: “Portland is a great town full of technical and creative talent to compliment our existing operations. With the addition of Pinky Gonzales, a guy we’ve done a lot of business with over the years, we’re hitting the ground running. It’s an exciting move for all of us.”
Several new hires are planned for the Portland office, specifically tech and design talent.
Gonzales will also play a role in the recently announced Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE), an entrepreneurial endeavor led by ad agency Wieden + Kennedy and sponsored by Google, Nike, Target and Coca Cola.
Contact info:
Pinky Gonzales, West Coast Operations BubbleUp™
(615) 513-­5607
[email protected]

Rascal Flatts Feted For No. 1 Single, Platinum Album

MusicRow Pres./Owner Sherod Robertson (R) presents a plaque to Jason Sellers (L) for the song reaching No. 1 on MusicRow's CountryBreakout chart. Photo: Christie King

Music executives gathered last night (8/3) to celebrate the recent chart-topping success of the Rascal Flatts hit “I Won’t Let Go,” from the pens of songwriters Jason Sellers and Steve Robson. It was the band’s 13th career No. 1 single.
ASCAP and the Flatts’ label home Big Machine Records hosted the evening at Nashville’s downtown Hard Rock Cafe. Big Machine boss Scott Borchetta upped the ante when he shared news that Rascal Flatts’s Nothing Like This album has been certified platinum.
“As we all know, the one-million sales mark of any album by any artist in the current environment is a big, big deal and I’m proud as can be that our first album with Rascal Flatts has hit this milestone,” said Borchetta. “Working with Gary, Joe Don and Jay over the last year has been an absolute blast and I look forward to making a lot more great Rascal Flatts music with them. They are consummate professionals, are ridiculously talented and it seems that they are having more fun than ever being in Rascal Flatts. I’m honored to have them with us at Big Machine.” Since 2000, the band has sold more than 20 million albums.
Publishers were on hand to salute the songwriters behind the “I Won’t Let Go.” Sony/ATV’s Troy Tomlinson toasted Sellers, and BMG Chrysalis’s Darrell Franklin read a letter from Robson, who was in London with his family and unable to attend.
Jay DeMarcus spoke for the band, “With God’s help we have been able to bring together a wonderful group of people to surround and reinvigorate our career. We are living a dream come true.”

Jay DeMarcus, Jason Sellers, Joe Don Rooney, Gary LeVox and Scott Borchetta. Photo: Ed Rode


American Idols Talk Recording, Touring

Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery

The 2011 American Idols Tour made its Nashville stop on Saturday (7/30), thanks to Music City resident and Top 10 finalist Paul McDonald. Show winner Scotty McCreery and runner up Lauren Alaina are, of course, also pursuing musical careers through Nashville. The trio of performers all sat down with local press to share some thoughts on life, post-Idol.
Life for all three, particularly teenagers McCreery and Alaina, has changed forever. One year ago when they first auditioned, the latter two were average high schoolers on summer break. Now they’re playing to audiences of thousands on a massive arena tour and hearing their songs being spun on country radio. While they may be young, the differences between the Idol show process and the difficult task of becoming a major label star are not lost on them.
“For the album, I look for songs that I can relate to so that I can feel it and sing my heart out,” says McCreery, whose upcoming Mercury release is due sometime this fall. “The audience that listens will feel that and appreciate it. For the [American Idol] show, you can pick songs that you can sing but if the audience doesn’t like it you’re done for and you’re going home next week.”
“I feel like my album has a lot of different types of songs,” adds Alaina, who is recording with Byron Gallimore. “Sweet ballads with good stories, and some really fast songs people can dance to. We still have to listen to all the songs and decide which ones will make the album.”

Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald, on the other hand, is nearly 10 years older than McCreery and Alaina and had already been making a go at a musical career prior to Idol. But the show has definitely afforded him considerable visibility and a big springboard for whatever his next step will be.
“Last year I was touring with my band across the country,” he recalls. “Doing all my original music, in a 15 passenger band, trying to make it the old-fashioned way. It’s a different scene these days. I was loading my gear in the venues, opening for bigger acts, and now we’re playing arenas.”
The 2011 Idol tour has been on the road for long enough now that even the less seasoned contestants have started to get a good feel for the life of a touring artist. Prior to the Nashville stop, the tour hit McCreery’s homeland in Raleigh, NC.
“Raleigh was incredible! They were seated all the way to the rafters,” he says. “All the Idols had a great time there, saying how energetic and crazy it was. It was also nice to get back and see friends and family in the crowd.”
“I’m always looking in the crowd and judging if they’re on their feet or I’m gonna have to work,” he continues. “Mainly I’m just thinking it’s great to be here. It’s amazing I get paid to do it.”
Nashville, being an industry town and the home of their label, is a slightly different animal. The artists all expressed a need to perform well in front of their industry peers, but have now gained enough stage and screen experience to not let it rattle them.
“There’s definitely a lot of people I’m looking to impress,” says McCreery, “but I don’t look at it as pressure. I just look at it as incentive to have more fun. That’s when you put on a good show, when you have fun and people see that.”
“When I get on a stage it’s like my body flips a switch and I’m in stage mode,” explains Alaina. “I’m more comfortable on the stage than anywhere. I’m a little nervous about tonight because this is where my label is and all the really important people that are part of my career are here. My whole family is also here. I perform better in front of people I don’t know than people I do.”
During the Idol show, the contestants had weekly mentoring sessions with Interscope head Jimmy Iovine and an assortment of popular artists and producers. The prevailing sentiment that they’ve taken away is that it’s important to know who you are artistically, and to hold fast to that as creatively as possible.
“Just be yourself,” says McDonald. “I wanted to sing Ray LaMontagne and Jimmy [Iovine] said ‘No one knows that, you should sing James Blunt ‘You’re Beautiful.’’ I said, ‘I don’t know man, do you want me to go shirtless too?’ Stick to your guns, no matter what. You can get intimidated really easily by the mentors. I’ve been doing it for so long, I kinda knew who I was. [Producer] Don Was said ‘Dude you’re record’s a whole lot cooler than what you’re doing on the show. Why don’t you do this stuff? I was like, ‘I’m trying!’”
“Stay in your lane and be you,” concurs McCreery. “Don’t change it up. I could have been country one week, and been Frank Sinatra another, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to sing country and stay true to my roots and what I grew up with.”
McCreery’s determination to stay true to himself already seems to be paying off. His debut single “I Love You This Big” has hit Top 20 on all charts, and the video is on the way. The jury might still be out on how successful he will be, but the 17-year-old has a pragmatic outlook on the crazy jigsaw puzzle of building an artistic career.
“I have plenty more to learn,” notes McCreery. “I’m young and it’s early to get in this business. You have to pick the songs, relate to the audience, and do a lot behind the scenes to make the process smooth. We had a team meeting two days ago to lay down the groundwork. We set goals up and said ‘This is what we want to do, and this is how we’ll get there.’ Hopefully it works out.”
Hey man, we’re rooting for you.

My Good Girl Music Revamps With Name Change

Stephanie Greene and Mark Bright today (8/4) announced exclusively with MusicRow a renaming of their publishing company, previously known as My Good Girl Music. Going forward the company will be known as Chatterbox Music.
The publishing house will continue its joint venture with Sony/ATV, and all staff and songwriters will remain in place.
Chatterbox songwriters include Mallary Hope, Jamie Teachenor, Jason Saenz, Allison Veltz, and recent signing April Geesbreght.
Stephanie Greene and Ashley Hertzog can be reached at their new email addresses:
[email protected]
[email protected]

The Chatterbox team pictured earlier this summer signing new writer Allison Veltz. (L-R): Mark Bright, Ashley Hertzog, Allison Veltz, Sony/ATV's Troy Tomlinson, and Stephanie Greene.

Strait Bringing The Good Time This September

George Strait has a Sept. 6 release date for his new studio album, Here For A Good Time. The title track is already No. 10 on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout chart eight weeks after release. Written by Strait, his son Bubba Strait, and revered songwriter Dean Dillon, it is the artist’s 89th career single. As if that wasn’t enough testament to Strait’s longevity, the upcoming album will be his 39th studio set for MCA.
The Country Music Hall of Famer teamed with Bubba and Dillon for seven of the album’s 11 tracks. He co-produced the project with longtime collaborator Tony Brown at Shrimpboat Sound Studio in Key West, FL where they have recorded his last three albums. is offering an exclusive album pre-order package that includes the full length Here For A Good Time CD, a limited edition T-Shirt, poster and instant download of the single.
During his 30-year career, Strait has sold nearly 69 million records.
Here For A Good Time tracklist:
1.  Love’s Gonna Make It Alright, Al Anderson/Chris Stapleton
2.  Drinkin’ Man, George Strait/Bubba Strait/Dean Dillon
3.  Shame On Me, George Strait/Bubba Strait
4.  Poison, Chuck Cannon/Allen Shamblin
5.  Here For A Good Time, George Strait/Bubba Strait/Dean Dillon
6.  House Across The Bay, George Strait/Bubba Strait/Dean Dillon
7.  Lone Star Blues, Gary Nicholson/Delbert McClinton
8.  A Showman’s Life, Jesse Winchester
9.  Three Nails And A Cross, George Strait/Bubba Strait/Dean Dillon/Bobby Boyd
10. Blue Marlin Blues, George Strait/Bubba Strait/Dean Dillon
11. I’ll Always Remember You, George Strait/Bubba Strait/Dean Dillon

Industry Ink Wednesday (8/3/11)

Preston signing Dolly Parton to BMI in the late 1960s. (seated) Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton. Standing Bill Earl Owens, and Preston. Photo:

Living Legends Meet
Revered music exec Frances Preston will be the featured guest on One on One with John Seigenthaler Friday, Aug. 5 at 7:00 p.m. on NPT-Channel 8. The half-hour interview with the acclaimed journalist focuses on Preston’s storied career as President and CEO of BMI, and touches on many of the songwriters and dignitaries that she has worked with.
HFA Inks ONErpm
The Harry Fox Agency has announced licensing and Administration Services agreements with ONErpm. ONErpm is a global digital distribution solution and direct-to-fan music store for independent artists, and labels. Under the licensing arrangement, HFA will clear songs on behalf of ONErpm’s clients for distribution to key digital music stores in the U.S. ONErpm also recently announced the launch of a Facebook application which enables musicians and labels to market and sell their music from their Facebook page.

Odie Blackmon

Blackmon Leading Songwriting Class
Hit songwriter Odie Blackmon will teach a class at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music starting Aug. 25. “The Nashville Number System for Songwriters” will be held 15 Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. and is for adults and teens who write songs, sing, or play an instrument but may not read traditional music. Blackmon is a Grammy nominee whose hits include George Strait’s “She’ll Leave You With A Smile,” Lee Ann Womack’s “I May Hate Myself In The Morning,” and Gary Allan’s “Nothing On But The Radio.” Details here.
Bomar Contact Update
Woody Bomar’s Green Hills Music Group has a new phone number: 615-478-0313. Green Hills is working with writers Paul Duncan, and Dave Rivers, and maintains catalog from Bonnie Baker, Bob Regan, Rick Giles, Georgia Middleman, and Steve Williams. The company has cuts on upcoming releases from Eden’s Edge, The Dirt Drifters, Hunter Hayes, and songs on current albums by Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Jake Owen and Rachel Holder. The address remains 1231 17th Ave. S. Nashville, TN 37212, and [email protected]
Execs To Be Honored
Industry execs Martha and Mike Borchetta, and Bonnie Garner will receive WHINNY awards this October from the Women’s Horse Industry Network for their efforts and involvement in the equine industry.
Williams Working With Weirs
Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and his two daughters were working in Nashville this week. Among their appointments was a session with vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams. Weir has been training with Williams since the 1980s.

Cracker Barrel Exclusives From Jason Michael Carroll, Oak Ridge Boys

Two new country offerings are hitting shelves at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Jason Michael Carroll—a one-time server at the restaurant in his North Carolina hometown—has released the CD Numbers exclusively through the store. The album is available now and contains 11 new songs and one previous hit “Alyssa Lies.”
The Oak Ridge Boys will release their new album It’s Only Natural through the Cracker Barrel exclusive music program on Sept. 19. The CD celebrates the thirtieth year of “Elvira” with a re-recording of that signature hit, along with six other hits, plus five new songs.
In addition to the CD, the Oaks will celebrate another  milestone on Aug. 6 when they are officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

CRS Sneak Peek

Country Radio Seminar organizers are giving an early look into what lies ahead at CRS 2012. The annual event will return to the downtown Nashville Convention Center Feb. 22-24, 2012.
Keynote—Bob Pittman, Clear Channel’s Chairman of Media and Entertainment Platforms, kicks off CRS 2012 with the keynote address on Wed., Feb. 22.
Research—CRS has commissioned a far-reaching national Country radio study, which will debut exclusively at CRS 2012.
Education—Panels will cover social media in-depth, digital transition challenges, promotion strategies, branding and ratings, as well as the latest in PPM and radio diary technology.
Musical Performances—A special Wednesday night performance event is debuting at CRS 2012, along with Friday’s popular New Faces show, the PRO songwriter showcases and three label luncheon concerts.
Awards—The Country Radio Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony unofficially kicks off CRS 2012 in the Nashville Convention Center on Tues., Feb. 21, 2012.
More than 2,600 industry professionals attended Country Radio Seminar last year. Details and the early bird registration rate of $399 are available for a limited time at or by calling (615) 327-4487.

Church Enjoys Heavenly Sales

Capitol Chieftain Mike Dungan and his flock of the Capitol faithful have created a revival of sorts. First and foremost they receive a righteous shout out for launching Eric Church into the No. 1 spot on both the Top 200 and Country album charts with sales of almost 145,000 units. Secondly, their efforts have had the devout effect of raising country’s YTD album sales increase into heavenly territory above that of overall sales. According to Nielsen SoundScan, country album sales YTD are now up 2.9% while overall album sales are only up 1.8%.
And let’s not “pew pew” Church’s digital sales. The Chief album was downloaded over 51,000 times or 35% of total album sales. This is a lofty number which shows that country fans are rapidly jumping over the country chasm, aka—digital divide.
The congregation is still out on how this might have happened. Typically album sales are radio driven. Yet Church’s current single “Homeboy” is outside the Top 10 on mainstream radio charts and the single shows up this week at a lackluster No. 17 on the country tracks chart, hardly divine positions. (“Homeboy” has gone Gold however, in less than 21 weeks.)  And yet Chief is the second highest country debut of the year (behind Brad Paisley), outselling others this year that hit debut weeks with “perfect” textbook setups. So what has made the difference?  Could it be the artist’s strong touring schedule? Social networking?
“Is Eric the new Hank Jr.?” asks sales veteran Neal Spielberg. “There’s hits and then there are polarizing records that touch people and create rabid fans. Church has done a great job of converting people into solid fans.”
Church’s manager John Peets from Q Prime South has a pretty strong theory. “Yes it feels like a sea change of sorts for the country music industry,” he says. “The story here is that Eric didn’t get the traditional exposure that you would expect to be necessary to reach these levels. It wasn’t there for him, although we’re grateful for everything we did get. But what it tells me is that the new power is in the hands of the people. That is to say, the magic is created by great records with a point of view. And that’s what Eric has done with three great albums. It’s like we’ve reached a tipping point of sorts. We are just blown away and encouraged by this. It’s like Eric’s music represents something even bigger than him.”
“We have always put everything we have into making the best records possible,” explains Church. “Complete, individual pieces of work that strive to be as different and innovative as they are creative and artistic. It is a journey that at times has led us down the road less traveled. It is very humbling and rewarding to learn that a lot of people decided to follow us down this path. I can’t thank my fans enough and look forward to where this trip takes us next.”
Are we writing a new page in the country music sales handbook? Is social networking and digital word of mouth gaining critical mass? That would be great, since the existing book hasn’t delivered stellar results over the past few years. Please comment below…

Richard Falken Joins Cumulus Nashville

Richard Falken

Cumulus Radio is beefing up its Nashville team with the addition of radio vet Richard Falken. The CMA and ACM award-winning radio producer has been named Director of Promotion over all of the cluster’s local stations. Falklen makes the move from Clear Channel where he served as producer of Gerry House and The House Foundation for the past six years.
At Cumulus Falken will report directly to VP/Market Manager, Mike Carpenter. The cluster includes Super Talk 99.7/WTN, 92Q/WQQK, 95.5-FM/WSM, Classic Hits 97.1/WRQQ, and i106/WNFN.
Falklen is also the owner and president of Lighthearted Productions, Inc., and has held positions at Wolf Fang Productions, Ltd., Music Sales Corporation and The Lou Levy Music Company in New York City.
A graduate of Arizona State University and Florida State University, Falklen is a committee member for the Music City Tennis Invitational and current president of the Middle Tennessee Tennis Association.