Eli Young Scores Solid Debut

Eli Young Band’s Life At Best debuted with sales of 35K units, including a notably high 46 percent digital downloads. Fueled by hit lead single “Crazy Girl,” the project came in at No. 3 on the Country Album Chart (Nielsen Soundscan).

Spending a second week at No. 1 on that chart is Luke Bryan, moving 52K copies this week for RTD totals nearing 200K. Jason Aldean lands at No. 2, moving about 37K per week after 42 weeks on the chart. And Eric Church sells 31K to slide into No. 4 after just as many weeks.

On the digital tracks front, Lady A has two songs in the top 5 country downloads, both from upcoming release Own The Night, and moving about 60K each.

The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” is at No. 1 with 83K. Also faring well are downloads of the Brad/Carrie duet (68K), and Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” (70K).

Jay Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne is ruling the land, with 177K units for a two-week RTD total of 619K.

Hunter Hayes Plans Album Release

Multi-instrumentalist Hunter Hayes will release his debut self-titled album on Atlantic Records October 11.

The young artist from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, co-produced it with Dann Huff, and played every instrument. Included among the 12 tracks of Hunter Hayes are his current single “Storm Warning,” which is climbing the charts. Full track list below.

In addition to his own music, Hayes has also co-written songs for artists such as Rascal Flatts and Montgomery Gentry and shared the stage with Trace Adkins, Lady Antebellum, LeAnn Rimes, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and more. He just wrapped up his stint on Taylor Swift’s Speak Now World Tour 2011 and made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He’s now planning his fall Most Wanted tour.

Hunter Hayes Track Listing:
1. Storm Warning
2. Wanted
3. If You Told Me To
4. Love Makes Me
5. Faith
6. Somebody’s Heartbreak
7. Rainy Season
8. Cry
9. Somebody But Me
10. What You Gonna Do
11. More Than I Should
12. All You Ever

Indiana State Fair Tragedy Claims Seventh Life

The Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

A seventh fatality from the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair was confirmed this week. It is unknown how many fans remain hospitalized. Sugarland, who was scheduled to perform at Indiana, resumed its tour over the weekend, opening the first show back on the road with a moment of silence.

Meanwhile, a class-action lawsuit claiming negligence has been filed by against the state of Indiana, promoter Live Nation, and stage rigging company Mid-America Sound Corp. An Indiana judge has ordered the state to preserve the wreckage from the staging in case it is needed for further investigation.

Elsewhere, four people died when a stage collapsed at Belgium’s Pukkelpop music festival last week. Officials claim a fifth was dead before the severe storm hit the site.

Taking extra precautions to prevent another disaster, TMG/AEG Live moved Kenny Chesney’s Sun., Aug. 28 concert at Gillette Stadium near Boston to Fri., Aug. 26, citing “the US National Hurricane Center’s forecast that hurricane-level storms may occur in New England.”

On a tiny positive note, the kidneys of the seventh Indiana victim, a 24-year-old, were donated to others.

Weblinks: Sony, Aerosmith, Amy Winehouse

Tyler wants you to Walk This Way over to iTunes.

• • • Restructuring continues at Sony Music Entertainment following Doug Morris joining the company as CEO. A new regime was announced this week for RCA’s pop/rock division, resulting in the exit of about 20 staffers, including numerous VPs, according to Billboard.
• • • Hits from Aerosmith’s back catalog will be coming to iTunes, thanks to an agreement between Apple and Columbia Records reported this morning by The New York Post. The deal covers songs from 1973-1987, such as “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion.” They will be released digitally for the first time on Sept. 6. Flamboyant frontman Steven Tyler has given the band’s career a recent resurgence due to his gig on American Idol.
Music from The Beatles debuted on iTunes in November 2010 after a long hold-out. Others still fighting the release of individual tracks through the digital giant include Garth Brooks and Kid Rock.
• • • Toxicology reports on the late singer Amy Winehouse show no illegal drugs were in her system when she died, but did find alcohol. It is unclear if legally obtained drugs were also found. The report was inconclusive about cause of death. More information is expected in October.

Ticket Technology War Escalates

Touring is big business and filling the seats in a club or a giant stadium starts with one transaction—the ticket sale. The service charges that are collected from the sale of tickets is also big business. Ticketmaster, owned by Live Nation Entertainment is the big dog in this market, currently dominating ticket sales at venues worldwide. But AEG, another concert promotion giant is set to unveil its own offering, Axs Ticketing, in an effort to capture some of the lucrative ticket fees for itself.
The ticket market is sure to become a battleground as Ticketmaster and now AEG fight for marketshare. The competition began as a result of the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger last year when the Justice Department called for additional ticket outlets to be created as a merger condition.
AEG’s Axs Ticketing
This new service, according to the Wall Street Journal, is set to begin selling seats at two Denver venues, the Ogden Theatre and the Bluebird Theater. Soon, two AEG-owned theaters in San Francisco will be added and by the end of 2012 all 100 of AEG’s venues—such as the Staples Center in L.A. and O2 in London—will utilize Axs. The ticketing software was built by Outbox enterprises and has been about a year and a half in development. Axs will place tickets on its website and on venue websites.
Ticketmaster Gets Facebook Enhancement
Further raising the ticketing bar, Ticketmaster is set to introduce a new interactive Facebook-driven feature that allows ticket buyers to see where their Friends are sitting.

According to Mashable, “With the upgrade, Facebook members can now connect their accounts to view a Facebook-infused event seat map that highlights where friends are sitting with miniature Facebook flags. The feature is live for more than 9,000 events on Ticketmaster and Live Nation sites. The interactive seat maps experience is now designed to help Facebook users see where their friends are sitting, purchase nearby tickets, tag themselves into their seats, nudge their Facebook friends to do the same and share their seats with friends on Facebook.”

“We studied the way people bought tickets,” says Kip Levin Ticketmaster EVP of eCommerce told Mashable. “People said they would buy tickets …because they knew where their friends were sitting.”

DISClaimer Single Reviews (8/24/11)

There are plenty of marquee males marching into this listening session.
You’d be a fool to ignore the new sounds being made by Eric Church, Chris Young, Billy Yates, The Kentucky Headhunters or Billy Burnette. All of them are guaranteed to brighten your day.
But the fairer sex comes up with this week’s column’s honors. I have raved before about Joy Williams and her partner John Paul White in The Civil Wars. Listen to this duo and be enchanted.
Among all the stars on tap today, only one is a bona fide country queen. That would be Connie Smith, who has the Disc of the Day.
There is a singer-songwriter up in the Cumberland River town of Ashland City, TN who was utterly unknown to me until today. She sings in a throaty, husky alto that is gripping. As a songwriter, she is equally gritty on ballads (”Should I Run”), boppers (”Love a Good Love Song”) and story songs (”Daddy Went to Prison”). Her name is DeeAnn Dominy, our DisCovery Award winner whom some Music Row star maker needs to sign up pronto.
Writer: DeeAnn Dominy; Producer: DeeAnn Dominy & Jack Harris; Publisher: DeeAnn Dominy, ASCAP; Dizzee (track) (www.DeeAnnDominy.com)
—This Ashland City gal has a six-song sampler called Based on a True Story. This simply produced track showcases her husky vocal style and an extraordinary gift for truthful, down-to-earth lyrics. Talent scouts take note: There’s a whiff of stardom here.
Writer: Chris Young/Luke Laird; Producer: James Stroud; Publisher: Runnin’ Behind/EMI April/Universal Careers/High Powered Machine, ASCAP/BMI; RCA (track)
—Chris switches gears to a groove tune. As always, he sings with brilliant, burnished luster, even when the lyric is a romantic trifle like this one.
Writer: Billy Yates; Producer: Billy Yates; Publisher: Graysongs, BMI; M.O.D. (track) (www.billyyates.com)
—The title tune to Billy’s latest is a lilting, light hearted ode to straightforward honesty and simplicity. The gist of it is, don’t sell yourself out, don’t worry about making it big, have a good time and be whoever you are. Highly personable and wonderfully engaging. I dare you not to tap your foot and smile.
Writer: Billy Burnette; Producer: Billy Burnette; Publisher: Rock N Roll With It/Bi-Lo-Tex, BMI; Rock N Roll With It (track) (www.billyburnette.net)
—Burnette returns with a dynamite set of self-penned tunes, including some with such stellar collaborators as Gary Nicholson and Shawn Camp. The title number is a delightful, neo-rockabilly romp with some terrific guitar picking and a slap-back beat that just doesn’t quit. Jitterbug yourself into a frenzy.
THE CIVIL WARS/Poison & Wine
Writer: none listed; Producer: Charlie Peacock; Publisher: none listed; Sensibility (track)
—This Nashville male-female duo (John Paul White and former CCM disc maker Joy Williams) has a CD titled Barton Hollow that is a fabulously mesmerizing audio experience. This haunting, throbbing track has been featured on the soundtrack of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy and is now the subject of the team’s new video. Call it country, pop, Americana, folk or whatever you like, but this entire album is essential listening. Buy it at once.
ERIC CHURCH/Drink in My Hand
Writer: Eric Church/Michael Heeney/Luke Laird; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publisher: Sony-ATV Tree/Sinnertina/Sony-ATV Acuff-Rose/Universal Careers/High Powered Machine, BMI; EMI Nashville (track)
—This rumbles out of the chute like a muscular, stompin’ bull on a rampage. The cleverly penned lyric drawls of howling party times. Play it and make every day a weekend vacation. If you don’t already own every note of music this man has made (most definitely including the brand-new Chief), you are out of your cotton-pickin’ mind.
RICK KRAUSS/If I Could Do It Over
Writer: Rick Krauss; Producer: Rick Krauss; Publisher: Rick Krauss, BMI; Relkay (track)
—Not to be confused with Nashville’s Alison or Viktor, this guy is a Maryland troubadour with an 18-song presentation called The Edge of Heaven. This is labeled as the “single,” but like the rest of the tracks, it screams “demo.”
CONNIE SMITH/Long Line of Heartaches
Writer: Marty Stuart/Connie Smith; Producer: Marty Stuart; Publisher: Marty Stuart/Connie Smith/Bug, BMI; Sugar Hill (track)
—Connie’s first new album in 13 years dropped yesterday. On its title tune, this peerless stylist cries from the heart while Gary Carter’s emotional steel guitar echoes every note. I remain hopelessly in love with this woman and her stunning voice.
Writer: The Kentucky Headhunters; Producer: The Kentucky Headhunters, Wayd Battle & Richie Owens; Publisher: Them Young Boys/Mr. Eric/B. Headed/Bug, ASCAP/BMI; Red Dirt (track) (www.thekentuckyheadhunters.com)
—The reunited Headhunters kick off their comeback album with this Southern-fried garage rocker, sporting plenty of grinding guitar and vocal attitude. Welcome back, boys. You have been sorely missed.
SHAWN CAMP/Jesus, My Old Dog and Me
Writer: Shawn Camp/Will Nance/Steve Dean; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Ann Wilson/Bridge Building/Dino’s Song Shop/Shawn Camp/Sony-ATV, BMI; Cloud 10 (track) (www.dogcountrysongs.com)
Dog Country is a CD compiling songs written about man’s best friend. Participating tunesmiths include Jason Wyatt, Mandy York (”Bebe’s Riding Shotgun”), Ron Wallace (whose song features the timeless line, “I wish that I was half the man that my dog thinks I am”), Steve Oliver, Rusty Van Sickle (who contributes two songs), Mark Nesler and Melissa Duval. Shawn has the sweetly sad ballad set closer. A portion of the album’s proceeds benefits Happy Tales Humane in Franklin, TN.

GAC To Sponsor Own The Night Tour

GAC has announced it will sponsor Lady Antebellum’s Own The Night 2011 tour which will feature Josh Kelley on all dates and Randy Montana and Edens Edge on a rotating basis. The 21-city tour begins Nov. 11 in Knoxville, then moves on to Macon, GA. (11/12) and Pikeville, KY. (11/13).
“GAC and everyone who works over there have always shown us so much love and support, even from the very beginning of our career and the release of our first single,” said Lady A’s Dave Haywood. “This Own the Night tour has been so much fun to plan. We’re excited that we’ll have our friends at GAC out on the road with us and helping us put together a once-in-a-lifetime experience for country music fans.”
The trio’s album Own The Night is set to launch on Sept. 13, co-produced with veteran Paul Worley. “We’re definitely more in tune with each other musically and personally than ever,” Dave explains. “It’s an exciting place to be. This album was created from the ground up—we are writing these songs, playing these instruments and creating these arrangements. With Own The Night, more than ever before, I think we share a real feeling of accomplishment both as a band and as friends.”

Snapshots: Paisley, EYB, Hoge, Nick Lowe

Brad Paisley recently played to a sold-out crowd at the Olympia Theater in Dublin, Ireland. Paisley posed for a picture with Maureen Grant, who was celebrating her 62nd year as manager of the backstage bar in the Theater.

(L-R): Rob Beckham, WME; Noel McHale, Promoter MCD Concerts; Paisley, Grant, Damien O’Donoghue, Chief Operations Officer-MCD Concerts; and Orin Murphy, Webmaster MCD Concerts. Photo By: Ben Enos

Eli Young Band’s current single “Crazy Girl” was recently certified gold by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000 downloads and their label Republic Nashville presented them with plaques commemorating the milestone. The song from the band’s latest album Life At Best (released Aug. 16) is currently inside the Top 10 and climbing on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart.

(L-R): EYB's James Young, Big Machine Label Group's Kelly Rich, EYB's Mike Eli, Big Machine Label Group's Scott Borchetta, EYB's Jon Jones, Chris Thompson and Triple 8 Management's George Couri.

Nashville singer/songwriter Will Hoge fulfilled a lifelong dream last Friday (8/19) when he made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. Vince Gill, who appears on Hoge’s album Number Seven, introduced Hoge to the audience and made a special request to play his song “Baby Girl.”

(L-R): Hoge, Amy Grant, Vince Gill. Photo By: Chris Hollo

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum welcomed British pop legend Nick Lowe to its Songwriter Session on Saturday, August 20. During the interview segment, Lowe discussed his ties to country music, including writing “The Beast In Me” for Johnny Cash and covering Tom T. Hall’s “Shame On The Rain” for his upcoming album The Old Magic.

(L-R): Sirius XM Radio’s Jeremy Tepper, Nick Lowe, Museum Writer/Editor Michael McCall and Yep Roc Records’ Glenn Dicker. Photo by John Russell

Artists Pitch In For Upcoming Benefits

Happy Tales Humane is teaming with Hank3 for a night of fundraising at the 2011 One Big Wag, which takes place Saturday, August 27 at Liberty Hall at the Factory in Franklin. Hank3, an advocate for animal rescue, will headline the event before departing on tour to support his three new albums Ghost to Ghost/Guttertown, Attention Deficit Domination, and Cattle Callin’. “Animals have been an inspiration in my life since I was a kid, they’ve helped me through some hard times,” says Hank3. “They can’t speak for themselves, so I’m proud and happy to do what I can to raise money to help out.” Tickets are available here.
• • • • •
Country duo Joey + Rory will perform a special concert at the Franklin Theatre, 8 pm Saturday, September 17. The one night only event called “Rockin’ For Riders” is presented by Carhartt and benefits Saddle Up!, Middle Tennessee’s oldest recreational therapeutic horseback riding program and the only one exclusively serving youth and children with disabilities. Tickets range from $75 – $125 (or $400 for a table) and are available here.
• • • • •
Charlie Daniels and wife Hazel will host “Have You Forgotten?,” a benefit commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks, at the Nashville Palm on Tuesday, September 20. Country artists Chris Young and Darryl Worley will also be be on hand for the event benefiting Stars For Stripes, a nonprofit aimed at providing quality celebrity entertainment for men and women deployed overseas. Guests John and Jan Vigiano (parents to brothers who died in the Twin Towers on 9/11) and Lieutenant Jason Redman (www.woundedwear.org) will be honored. Tickets are available by calling Paige Dixon at 615-742-3193.
• • • • •
MCA Nashville’s David Nail is lending his support to his friend, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for “International Football & Country Raffle.” The event benefits the Jay Cutler foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of children with juvenile diabetes. Raffle tickets are $2, and the winner gets a trip (incl. airfare, lodging, and $500 spending money) for two to London to see the Bears play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium. Additionally, the winner gets another trip to Chicago (incl. airfare, lodging, and $500 spending money) to see the Bears play the Carolina Panthers and to see David Nail in concert at Joe’s Bar on October 1.
• • • • •
Nashville songwriter Reggie Hamm is presenting the 4th Annual Bella Bash at the Loveless Barn October 20. The event benefits Hamm’s Angel Wings Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for children suffering from Angelman Syndrome and other rare neuro-genetic disorders. Pitching in for the effort are Amy Grant, Bob Carlisle, The Martins and Gary Mule Deer. The celebrity red carpet starts at 6:30 pm and doors open at 7. Tickets are available here.

Marcus & Colvin Form Entertainment Law Firm

Kent Marcus, Esq. and Jeff Colvin, Esq. have combined forces to form Marcus & Colvin, LLP., a Nashville entertainment law firm with offices at 21 Music Square West.

Previously, Marcus established KMM, P.C. in 2008, an entertainment law firm based in Nashville, to provide focused business affairs and legal counsel for artists and companies in the music industry. Marcus spent several years in the film and television industries, as well as working in business affairs for both independent and major record labels. He has represented major acts including Kings of Leon, Paramore, and Randy Houser.

“I could not be more excited about the growth of our firm,” states Marcus. “Jeff stepped in and made an immediate contribution of great service, perspective, and professionalism.”

Colvin is a Nashville-based attorney, primarily representing artists and industry personnel in transactional matters in the entertainment industry. Colvin attended Pepperdine University School of Law, where he received a JD in 2003, and is currently a Master’s candidate in Pepperdine’s acclaimed Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.

Colvin says, “I’ve long admired Kent’s practice, and working with him now has only confirmed that he is at the forefront of our profession. I’m honored to partner with him, and am thrilled to help grow this practice.”

The new firm has also expanded its operations and services with a unique of-counsel “bridge” with the prestigious New York and Los Angeles based entertainment law firm Carroll, Guido & Groffman, LLP.