Country Hall Hosts Jerry Foster • Newcomers Play Puckett’s

Jerry Foster

Poets and Prophets With Jerry Foster
Acclaimed songwriter Jerry Foster will take a seat at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on Sat., Sept. 10 as the latest subject of the Poets and Prophets: Legendary Country Songwriters series. Along with Bill Rice, the acclaimed duo wrote songs for some of country music’s biggest stars of the 1960s and ’70s, including Mickey Gilley (“Here Comes the Hurt Again”), Jerry Lee Lewis (“Would You Take Another Chance on Me”), Johnny Paycheck (“Someone to Give My Love To”), Charley Pride (“The Day the World Stood Still”) and Conway Twitty (“Ain’t She Something Else”). The duo is one of the most honored songwriting teams in history, and both were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.

Foster will sit down with Museum Editor Michael Gray for the 90-minute interview on Sept. 10 at 1:30 p.m. in the Museum’s Ford Theater. It will include a performance, recordings, photos and film clips from the Museum’s Frist Library and Archive. Immediately following, Foster will sign autographs in the Museum Store. Details and live streaming of the interview at

The Lunabelles

Puckett’s Up ‘N’ Comers Night
Puckett’s Grocery in downtown Nashville has teamed with Sony, ASCAP, and PCG Nashville to showcase new artists on Monday nights. The series called Puckett’s Up ‘N’ Comers Night launches with a string of performances by Sony act The Lunabelles, including a show tonight (8/29) as well as Sept. 19. The band is currently working on its debut album.

On Sept. 26 the showcase series will feature rising songwriters Carly Pearce, Elliot Collett, Brent Cobb and Cailtlyn Smith.

Details at

Industry Ink: Dierks, Lifenotes, HealthTrust Dinner

Capitol Records artist Dierks Bentley has hit the brakes to join up with Red Light Management’s Nashville office. Red Light also just announced the addition of music industry veteran Tracy Gershon to the staff.

• • • •

Things are about to get spooky for the Paradigm Agency, which just signed Funk/R&B group Here Come The Mummies to its talent roster. The mysterious nine piece band, comprised of several professional musicians, performs onstage in mummy costumes in order to remain anonymous. Members have adopted stage names such as Eddie Mummy, Mummy Cass, and K.W. Tut. “Here Come the Mummies are a fresh, original music act,” says Bob Kinkead of the Paradigm Agency. “They combine incredible musical skill with unparalleled showmanship. They represent everything Paradigm looks for in a new act.” Here Come The Mummies is currently touring and will release its fifth independent album in October.

• • • •

Farris Nicole Warwick

Congratulations go out to Recording Academy Project Manager Alicia Warwick and husband Chris on the birth of their daughter Farris Nicole Warwick. She was born August 16 and weighed 6 lbs., 14 oz.

• • • •

Condolences to family and friends of Lofton Creek Records founder and CEO Harold Shafer, who passed away Saturday (8/27) from complications following a fall and a stroke. He was 76. The successful businessman from Jacksonville, Florida launched Lofton Creek Records and brought in Mike and Martha Borchetta to help run the business. The label first hit with Keith Bryant’s “Riding With The Legend” in 2004 and then had another smash with Heartland’s “I Loved Her First” in 2006. In 2008, Lofton Creek was named MusicRow’s Mid-Size Label of the Year. Shafer’s visitation will take place 6-8 pm Tuesday (8/30), and his memorial service is 11 am Wednesday (8/31) at Hardage Giddens Funeral Home in Jacksonville.

• • • •

The first Evening in the Round at the HealthTrust Conference Dinner, sponsored by BMI, took place at the Opryland Hotel on August 16. Over 600 attendees from the hospital industry enjoyed performances from songwriters Sarah Buxton, Billy Montana, Lee Thomas Miller, and Doug Johnson.

(L-R): (back) BMI’s Bradley Collins and Rick Schrock, guitarist Tom Bukovac, BMI’s Jack Flynn, HealthTrust COO Ed Jones, Doug Johnson, Billy Montana, Trinity Health Leadership Sr. VP Supply Chain & Capital Projects Management Louis Fierens II, and HealthTrust VP Marketing & Members Services Doug Swanson; (front) Lee Thomas Miller, BMI’s Jessica Frost, and Sarah Buxton. Photo: Julie Stuckey

Gershon Joins Red Light Management

Tracy Gershon

As first tipped by MusicRow last week, Red Light Management has officially announced the hiring of longtime music business pro Tracy Gershon. She joins the Nashville office where she will continue to co-manage Big Machine recording artist Ella Mae Bowen, and Erin Enderlin, as well as manage the writing interests of Grammy-winning artist and songwriter Rodney Crowell. She will also take an active role handling A&R for the Red Light roster.

Gershon was most recently a Sr. VP at Warner Chappell Music, and has held executive posts at EMI and Sony Music publishing, Sony Records and Warner Bros. records.

“Returning to management makes perfect sense for me,” says Gershon.  “I moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in 1988 and managed several artists. For the past two decades, I have worked as an A&R executive at both record labels and publishing companies. This experience, along with the vision and resources of [Red Light head] Coran Capshaw, make the transition to Red Light an exciting foundation for which to build my clientele.”

The management firm’s Nashville roster includes Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alabama, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, The Lunabelles, Jennette McCurdy, Kip Moore, Jon Pardi, Tammy Wynette estate, Third Day and Kerrie Roberts.

Gershon can be reached at:
124 12th Ave. S., 6th Floor
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 279-3784, [email protected]

Red Light Management has offices in Charlottesville, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York.

Charlie Cook On Air

Tweeting For Radio, Artist and Listener

You can go to another page on this site and see that Taylor Swift has over 7 million twitter followers. I have answered a few of her tweets but alas, have not heard directly back from her.

That is the downside of Twitter—it is most often a one way communication. Except for Blake Shelton, who apparently puts down his beer to tweet back unless he’s mastered one hand texting. As an aside for Blake: don’t drink and drive and don’t text and drive. Get Blake a driver.

I like Twitter. I don’t really use it too much because even I don’t care what I am doing 24/7. I can’t expect many others care. And when you have nothing to tweet for a couple of days does that make you look pathetic? Now you see what I do in my free time.

That said, Twitter is a cool marketing tool for Country Music acts because we know that there is no more loyal group of fans than Country Music fans. If Taylor can tweet that she enjoyed Minneapolis and that the crowd was responsive I can see her fans wishing they were there to see the show.

If Blake tweets that he had to step off stage to pee, I can see his fans, well maybe they wouldn’t exactly want to be there, but they become engaged in his irreverence.

I have spoken to Scott Borchetta about this a couple of times and I know that he works closely with his acts to stay engaged in blogs and tweets. Scott is one of the best marketers in our genre and he gets it as well as anyone. He also knows that Twitter is only one way to market. And that is my point today.

Earlier this year I read an article by an Erica Swallow (I am so glad that this is not being tweeted to Blake) on Mashable. Erica used examples of successful tweets so I went back and looked at those and then some of the artist sites.

What many artists miss are the opportunities to use their fans as viral marketers. If I follow an artist I would be included in the tweets, but I am always looking for a way to pay off the listener. On the radio side we talk about a promotion benefiting the sponsor, the listener, and the station. Two out of three is not good enough.

What do your artists do to pay off the listener? A contest for a free download a day?   How about a personal phone call to one of your followers each week? A promotion to win a pair of tickets when you’re in their market? This is the kind of stuff that will encourage tweet-chatters to share tweets and hashtags in their personal social network.

Not only will this help you build your followers but build the kind of additional loyalty that help you sell an extra 10,000 downloads over the life of a CD.

Now, you cannot live on Twitter alone. Facebook still is the big gun for your acts but one of the things that I like about Twitter over Facebook is the longer life span of a tweet and the apparent immediacy that Twitter brings. Because Twitter has become so associated with breaking news it appears to be more “important” and not so much a social gathering spot like Facebook.

So how does all of this tie Radio and your Artists together? I know that many radio stations follow acts and forward tweets about those acts to their followers but how about making sure that you’re not missing these opportunities? Why not take the initiative away from the radio programmer and guarantee that your activities are being sent to the right people?

Do radio stations have a list of hashtags of their acts anywhere on their websites? This is the kind of stuff that the Country Music listeners expect from the music and their stations. Make their life easier and yours more accessible. If you think that following someone is as easy as stumbling across them on Twitter you’re wrong. Everyone needs to reach out.

Remember that this has to benefit all three elements. Radio, Artist and the Listener.

Celeb Real Estate

T-Swizzle and company will be lounging at this palatial estate.

Taylor Swift and Sheryl Crow recently bought pricey pads in Nashville. According to this celeb real estate site, Swift purchased the house once owned by UMG boss Luke Lewis in Northumberland. The sale was first reported by the Nashville Post.

Crow is proud new owner of a Forest Hills estate, according to the Nashville Business Journal.

And John Rich is hawking his former Love Circle residence—which sits in the shadow of his new home Mt. Richmore—in the video below.

Untitled from Phillip Poynor on Vimeo.

The Band Perry at The Ryman Is a Virtual Sell-Out

Being in The Band Perry is a really good place to be. According to TBP reps, the sibling trio’s first headlining show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium (scheduled for February 20, 2012) virtually sold out in 20 minutes this morning.

However, as of this posting, some individual tickets (no pairs) to the show appear to still be available for purchase via Ticketmaster.

“It’s an amazing thing. So much of our creative efforts have come inside Nashville … and it’s the center of our creativity,” Kimberly Perry recently told The Tennesean about the Ryman show. “We so much revere that (Ryman) stage. And I feel like there’s an amazing spirit about that place.”

TBP has played the Ryman stage before as part of the Grand Ole Opry and other multi-artist events, but this will the group’s official debut as headliners.

Kimberly and brothers Neil and Reid are still rolling strong on their 2010 album The Band Perry, which has produced the hits “If I Die Young” and “You Lie.” The album’s fourth single, “All Your Life,” is currently at No. 31 on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart and climbing rapidly.

Curb College Announces Chairman, Promotions

Rush Hicks

Belmont’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business (CEMB) has named Rush Hicks Chairman of the Music Business Program for the coming academic year. He has over 25 years experience as an artist manager and music business attorney and has been an assistant professor in the Curb College since 2005. In his new role, Hicks will continue to teach while overseeing the academic operations of the Music Business program including curriculum development, course scheduling, and adjunct faculty hiring. Reach him at
[email protected]

Jim Kaiser

Longtime adjunct professor and AES President Jim Kaiser will join the college full-time as Instructor of Audio Engineering Technology. He has two decades of experience as an entrepreneur and engineer, including recently working as mastering engineer with MasterMix Nashville where his credits included Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney, and more.  [email protected]

Drew Ramsey

On board as an adjunct since 2008, Drew Ramsey is joining full time as Instructor of Songwriting. With more than 20 years experience, he is a two-time Grammy nominated songwriter, and multi-Grammy winner with production partner Shannon Sanders, who together recorded songs by India.Arie, John Legend, Jonny Lang, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and Nicole C. Mullen. [email protected]

Dwayne O'Brien

Dwayne O’Brien, co-founder and songwriter behind hitmaking band Little Texas, will join the music business faculty full-time as Instructor of Music Business. [email protected]

Jamie Stamey

Jamie Stamey, who has worked at Belmont since 2008, is promoted to full time Internship Coordinator. [email protected]

Weekly Chart Report (8/26/11)

Arista Nashville’s Ronnie Dunn was recently in Norfolk, VA to perform at a USO-sponsored show. Dunn’s current single “Cost Of Livin’” is at No. 16 on the CountryBreakout Chart. (L-R): Dunn and WUSH PD Brandon O’Brien

Congratulations to record promoter Johnny Mitchell, whose family just got a little larger with the addition of great granddaughter Alayna Grace Clouse. The newborn is Mitchell’s sixth great grandchild, born to Daniel Spann and Brandy Clouse. Mother and baby are both well.

Don Wilson, PD of Thunderbolt Broadcasting’s WYVY/Union City, TN is exiting the station at the end of this week to accept a ministry position in Orange Park, FL. Station manager Jason Aldridge will serve as interim PD until his replacement is named.


Kudos to Toby Keith and Show Dog-Universal’s promotion team for giving their superstar boss a second week at No. 1 on the CountryBreakout Chart with “Made In America.” Keith Urban’s “Long Hot Summer” jumps 4-2, moving ahead of still gaining duets “You and Tequila” (Kenny Chesney/Grace Potter) and “Remind Me” (Brad Paisley/Carrie Underwood) as well as Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”


One hot discussion topic recently has been the prevalence of rural/outlaw/redneck themes in country music, and there’s no shortage of opinions on the matter [Full disclosure: I provided my own opinion on this site a couple weeks ago]. Truthfully, it hardly seems to matter what a jaded critic says when you’ve got chart bullets galore and your record is knocking on the door of No. 1 glory.

Which makes me wonder how the folks in small market radio feel about it all, since it is ostensibly this very type of place inspiring the writers to pen these songs. Many PDs and MDs seem to agree that there’s a certain pride among small town dwellers, echoed in songs like Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” and Rodney Atkins’ “Take A Back Road.”

“Small towns, backroads, rivers and fishin’ is what we are and who our listeners are,” muses Dave Tyler of WTRS/Ocala, FL. “With that said I personally find it a little fatiguing to hear another ‘Where I came from’ or or ‘my town is so small’ song but they seem to climb the charts and get requests.”

“We appreciate them since we’re in that type of surrounding,” adds George Henry of WDXX in Selma, AL. “Our audience very much relates to it. People who live in the city only wish that their lives were that simple. I hope Nashville keeps them coming. Country music still needs to reflect the country lifestyle. Otherwise, it ain’t nothing but contemporary pop.”

“The recent influx of ‘outlaw’ or ‘rebel’ songs is proving successful because they are in line with the thinking of our listeners,” agrees Mike Thomas of KFAV/Warrenton, MO. “In light of the economy, world and national events, many people have a ‘mad as hell, not gonna take it anymore’ attitude and I think the country genre has tapped into that.”

Listeners are a key part of the picture, and their active engagement with the stations has helped the rise to popularize some of the new crop.

Leah Seawright’s last single [“On The Backroads”] was top 10 phones for us and Rodney Atkins current single [“Take A Back Road”] is also Top 10 phones,” says Ted Cramer of WIFE/Connersville, IN. “My market knows it is a rural area just outside a metro and is proud of the country lifestyle maintained here.”

To borrow Dave Tyler’s expression above, there does however seem to be a little fatigue–or at least the threat of it–with the trend.

“Like most good ideas, too much of a good thing can lead to overkill,” cautions Mike Thomas.

“It seems like once a theme gets accepted by one or two good records, everyone jumps on the bandwagon and then we have several (tons) of records from un-noticed artists that come, take up our time, and go,” says Susie Martin of WATZ/Alpena, MI. “Just because that seems to be the theme at the time. It’s the same thing we get around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July and they are starting to come in for 9/11.”

Bandwagon or not, the rise in popularity of more rural and outlaw-themed material could indicate a major shift in listener demographics. Which, some say, is quite a good thing for the longevity of country radio.

“These songs are bringing a younger audience to Country Radio,” says Ken Scott of WJVL/Janesville, WI. “This music has an attitude and this audience relates well to it! It’s simply art imitating life. These young people are, for the most part, struggling middle class workers. Many are content with their existence, working hard at a not so glamorous job, spending time with family and friends, and looking forward to the weekend. This is their reality and they’re okay with that. All these songs are little anthems for a simple, good life, that is truly American. There’s an audience turnover in progress. We still have our baby boomers and generation X, but it’s time to program for this new audience, the Millennials, because they’re our future and they’re diggin’ us!“

Upcoming Singles
August 29
Reba/Somebody’s Chelsea/Valory
Chris Cagle/Got My Country On/Bigger Picture
Risa Binder/You Made It Rain/Turnpike
Vince Gill/Threaten Me With Heaven/MCA

September 6
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow

September 12
Kevin Fowler/That Girl/Average Joes
Chris Young/You/RCA
Ashley Gearing/Me, My Heart and I/Curb
Crystal Shawanda/Love Enough/Sun/Nine North

• • • • •

New On The Chart—Debuting This Week
Artist/song/label — chart pos.
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow — 72
LiveWire/Tater Fed/LiveWire Records — 76
Buddy Jewell/Jesus, Elvis and Me/Diamond Dust — 77
Steve Richard/Love’s Gotta Go Somewhere/Force MP — 78
Pistol Annies/Hell On Heels/Columbia — 79
Bomshel/Halleluy’all/Curb — 80

Greatest Spin Increase
Artist/song/label — spin+
Lady Antebellum/We Owned The Night/Capitol — 557
Miranda Lambert/Baggage Claim/Columbia — 516
Eric Church/Drink In My Hand/EMI Nashville — 511
Blake Shelton/God Gave Me You/Warner Bros./WMN — 370
The Band Perry/All Your Life/Republic Nashville — 335

Most Added
Artist/song/label — New Adds
Lady Antebellum/We Owned The Night/Capitol — 35
Eric Church/Drink In My Hand/EMI Nashville — 30
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow — 26
Reba/Somebody’s Chelsea/Starstruck/Valory — 14
Steel Magnolia/Bulletproof/Big Machine — 14
Chris Young/You/RCA Nashville — 13
The Band Perry/All Your Life/Republic Nashville — 12
Hunter Hayes/Storm Warning/Atlantic/WMN — 11
Miranda Lambert/Baggage Claim/Columbia — 10

On Deck—Soon To Be Charting
Artist/song/label — spins
Jason Sturgeon/The Cover/Toolpusher/Spinville — 194
Coleman Brothers/Beer-Thirty/PVI — 185
The O’Donnells/She Leaves The Light On/Song Valley Music — 173
Ira Dean/Beer or Gasoline/Average Joes Entertainment — 173
Brett Eldredge/It Ain’t Gotta Be Love/Atlantic/WMN — 166

Last Tuesday (8/16) KAJA/San Antonio hosted “KJ Heartstrings” to benefit local children’s charities supported by “For the Love of Kids & Harleys.” Josh Abbott, Rick Trevino, Josh Thompson, Joe Nichols, Roger Creager, and The JaneDear Girls played to 3,000 KJ listeners at the Cowboys Dancehall for an acoustic night that raised over $20,000. (L-R): Joe Nichols, Josh Abbott, Rick Trevino, Roger Creager, KAJA Programming Assistant Bree Wagner, Josh Thompson, KAJA PD Travis Moon, and the JaneDear Girls’ Danelle Leverett and Susie Brown

Matt Gary (17 Music Entertainment) pulled together a winning team of family and industry to play golf with PGA pro Ken Duke at the Nationwide Tour Midwest Classic Pro-Am kick-off event in Kansas City. Matt also performed a live show at the pairings party the night before. (L-R): Mike Kennedy (KBEQ-Q104, Kansas City), John Ettinger (Quarterback Records/Ettinger Talent Associates), Golf Pro Ken Duke, Mike Gary and Matt Gary.

Reba played a set at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this past weekend, and visited with with KLMJ/Hampton, Iowa. Reba’s “Somebody’s Chelsea” is at No. 63 in its second week on the CountryBreakout Chart. (L-R): Janet Betten, Reba and KLMJ MD Mike Betten

Breaking News: Sony Exits Hit Nashville

Sony Music Nashville laid off 12 staffers this week as part of a restructuring, MusicRow has confirmed.

Among those exiting are Jimmy Rector, Mike Wilson, Stephanie Cox and Debbie Linn.

Columbia’s radio promotion team was hardest hit.

Exiting are:

• Columbia Nashville VP National Promotion Jimmy Rector ([email protected], 615-293-6669)

• Columbia Director of National Promotion Mike Wilson, had been at the label group for about 20 non-concurrent years,([email protected], 615-557-8884)

• Regionals Diane Monk (Arista), Jennifer Thorpe (Columbia), Cliff Blake, Steve Pleshe (RCA), and David “Bubba” Berry (BNA).

• Columbia Promotion Coordinator Ben Sterling, (615-556-5602, [email protected]).

• Sr. Director of Strategic Marketing Debbie Linn, who had been at the label 21 years, (615-293-6962, [email protected])

• Monument Publishing’s Stephanie Cox and Ben Strain ([email protected], 615-319-8007)

• A&R Coordinator Tim Riffle, ([email protected], 951-315-3751)

• Director Field Sales, Marketing & Catalog Development Mike Rivers ([email protected], 615-500-8346).

Rector has a message for the industry, “Hire Ben Sterling, then we’ll worry about me.” Sterling was a seven-year employee of the label.

Doug Morris is settling in as the company’s CEO, and has started restructuring. The reorganization hit Nashville following many lay-offs at Sony’s New York operations. A new regime was announced recently for the pop/rock division of Sony’s RCA, resulting in the exit of about 20 staffers, including several VPs. The New York Post reports that the wider plan is to fold Jive into RCA. Morris also broke off Epic from Columbia and brought in L.A. Reid as chairman of Epic, where about 50 team members have exited.

Morris took office on July 1, 2011, making the move from his former post leading Universal Music Group as chairman. The 72-year-old brings with him five decades of experience. He has a track record of successful mergers, namely the PolyGram and Universal merger under his watch, and was expected to smooth over any rough edges remaining at Sony following the 2004 merger with BMG.

This story will be updated as it develops.

email [email protected] or call 615-349-2171 with news tips, or to share updated contact information

Jake Owen Reveals “Barefoot” Album Release

Jake Owen’s third studio album, Barefoot Blue Jean Night will be released August 29. The single “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” was recently certified a Digital Gold Single by the RIAA and is rapidly approaching Platinum with over 800,000 downloads to date. It has also entered the Top Five this week on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart.

Owen is currently wooing audiences worldwide as part of Keith Urban’s Get Closer World Tour. He will also get some time in the national spotlight September 6 when he helps announce (along with The Band Perry) the final nominees in five CMA Awards categories live on ABC from the Good Morning America studios in Times Square. The announcement will air in the 8:30 AM/ET half-hour segment of the program and Owen will also perform “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” during the broadcast.