Darius Rucker to Release New Album

Newly inducted Grand Ole Opry member Darius Rucker will release his third country album, True Believers, on January 22, 2013. Rucker served as co-writer on 10 of the album’s 12 tracks, including the title track and first single, and Frank Rogers returned as the project’s producer. Full track listing is included below.

“For this album, we really paid attention to what our friends and fans were telling us on the road,” shares Rucker. “The result is an album that I’m so proud of because my fans really have been the true believers since I released my first single to country radio. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it on January 22.”

Pictured at the Hall of Fame event are (L-R): UMG Nashville Chairman & CEO Mike Dungan; Darius Rucker; Frank Rogers. Photo: Chris Hollo

Rucker played the album in its entirety at a special event yesterday (10/30) at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Ford Theater. The stripped-down, intimate showcase (and one of the first official combined UMG-Capitol events) featured Rucker performing each of the album’s songs with his numerous co-writers. Highlights included the soulful, homesick plea “Take Me Home” (co-written with Frank Rogers and Monty Criswell), the heartbroken “Love Without You” (by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally), and “Miss You” (co-written with Rogers).

True Believers Track Listing:
1. True Believers (Darius Rucker, Josh Kear)
2. Miss You (Darius Rucker, Frank Rogers)
3. Wagon Wheel (Bob Dylan, Jay Secor)
4. Love Without You (Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally)
5. Radio (Darius Rucker, Luke Laird, Ashley Gorley)
6. Lost In You (Darius Rucker, Mark Nesler, Phillip White)
7. I Will Love You Still (Darius Rucker, Josh Kear)
8. Take Me Home (Darius Rucker, Frank Rogers, Monty Criswell)
9. Shine (Darius Rucker, Frank Rogers)
10. Heartbreak Road (Darius Rucker, Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins)
11. Leavin’ The Light On (Darius Rucker, David Lee Murphy, Phil O’Donnell)
12. Lie To Me (Darius Rucker, Rodney Clawson, Bob DiPiero)

Pictured at the Hall of Fame event are (L-R) Back Row: Bob Diperio, Ashley Gorley, Mark Nesler, Monty Criswell, David Lee Murphy, Rhett Akins, Rodney Clawson, Dallas Davidson. Front Row: Luke Laird, Phillip White, Frank Rogers, Phil O’Donnell, Darius Rucker, Brandy Clark, Josh Kear. Photo: Chris Hollo

BMI Country Award Winners

BMI honors Songwriters of the Year Luke Laird and Dallas Davidson. (L-R): BMI's Jody Williams, Luke Laird, BMI's Del Bryant, Dallas Davidson and BMI's Clay Bradley.

Tuesday night’s (10/30) BMI Country Awards honored the Country Songwriter, Song and Publisher of the Year, as well as legendary songwriter Tom T. Hall and the writers and publishers of the past year’s 50 most-performed songs on radio and TV from BMI’s country repertoire. The exclusive event was held at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Songwriter of the Year: Dallas Davidson, “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” and “I Don’t Want This Night to End” recorded by Luke Bryan; “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” by Justin Moore; and “Just a Kiss” and “We Owned the Night” recorded by Lady Antebellum.

Songwriter of the Year: Luke Laird, “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans; “Baggage Claim” by Miranda Lambert; “Drink in My Hand” by Eric Church; “You” by Chris Young; and “Take a Back Road,” recorded by Rodney Atkins.

Song of the Year: “Take a Back Road,” Luke Laird and Rhett Akins. Published by EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc. and Universal Music Careers, the song earned more than one million performances in 2011, making it one of the most-performed songs of the year in any genre of music.

Publisher of the Year: Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville, with 24 songs on the year’s most-performed list, including “Take a Back Road”; Taylor Swift’s “Mean”; Kenny Chesney’s “Live a Little”; Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl”; Keith Urban’s “You Gonna Fly”; The Band Perry’s “All Your Life”; and Blake Shelton’s “Honey Bee.”

Proof of Country’s Power: 10 of the top 20 most-performed works in the U.S. in 2011 from BMI’s repertoire were country songs

Tom T. Hall was named BMI Icon and saluted with a musical tribute by The Avett Brothers (“That’s How I Got To Memphis”); Dailey & Vincent (“Can You Hear Me Now”); Justin Townes Earle (“Homecoming”); and Toby Keith with Scotty Emerick (“Faster Horses (The Cowboy And The Poet)”).

As a recording artist in the early to mid 1970s, Hall had seven self-penned No. 1 singles: “A Week in a Country Jail,” “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died,” “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine,” “I Love,” “Country Is,” “I Care,” and “Faster Horses (the Cowboy and the Poet).” The Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee also wrote mega hits for others, including Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Dave Dudley’s “The Pool Shark,” Alan Jackson’s “Little Bitty,” and Bobby Bare’s “(Margie’s at) the Lincoln Park Inn” and “That’s How I Got to Memphis.”

More coverage of the BMI Country Awards will be posted later today in MusicRow’s exclusive column “Bobby Karl Works The Room.”

(L-R): Clay Bradley, Dallas Davidson, Del Bryant, Tom T. Hall, Luke Laird, Rhett Akins and Jody Williams

Country Performers Added to American Music Awards

Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift are among the latest artists added to the musical lineup of The 40th Anniversary American Music Awards, which will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live Sunday, November 18 (7-10 pm/CT) on ABC. Additional artists scheduled to perform during the broadcast include P!nk, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj, Linkin Park and Christina Aguilera. Additional acts and presenters will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Winners for the awards will be determined by online voting, which is open at amavote.com. For a list of nominations, as well as performer announcements, visit ama.abc.com. Both Swift and Underwood are nominated for Favorite Female Artist – Country, and Underwood’s Blown Away is up for Favorite Album – Country.

The 40th Anniversary American Music Awards is produced by dick clark productions, inc. Orly Adelson and Allen Shapiro serve as executive producers, and Larry Klein is the producer.

“No Shave November” Gets Hairy For St. Jude

Gentlemen, it’s almost time to liberate yourselves from at least one form of tyranny grooming for a full month. The Second Annual “No Shave November” competition for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital gets under way and squeaky clean on Thursday, Nov. 1.

All participants in this fuzzy fundraiser must begin November with a clean shave and post a photo of themselves with that day’s newspaper. On Nov. 30, participants will repeat the process with their final facial hair. On that day, Nashville-area participants will also gather for the annual “Beard Bash” where prizes will be awarded and a “No Shave November Champion” will be crowned. Cost to enter is $30 and registration is open at www.stjude.org/noshavenovember through tomorrow. Check out the event’s Facebook page here. Warner Music artist Charlie Worsham has written a catchy theme song for the event, and WMN also has t-shirts for sale.

The competition originally began as a friendly wager among co-workers at Warner Music Nashville and has now turned into a major fundraiser for the nonprofit hospital. The fundraising goal for 2012 has been set at $100,000 and Country Radio employees nationwide are encouraged to participate.

All clean-shaven participants in Nashville are encouraged to gather for a kickoff photo at Warner Music Nashville on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 10 am/CT.

Second Annual “No Shave November” Beard of Directors:
President – April Johnson (Warner Music Nashville)
Lou Ramirez (Warner Music Nashville)
George Meeker (State Farm Insurance)
Chuck Aly (Country Aircheck)
Josh Easler (Sony & Country Cares Board of Directors)
Keith Kaufman (Center Stage Tour Promotions & Country Cares Board of Directors)

Bobby Karl Works The ASCAP Country Awards

Brad Paisley wins ASCAP Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year.

Chapter 412

Georgia was on our mind at this year’s ASCAP Country Music Awards banquet.

Songwriter of the Year Ben Hayslip, a native of the Peach State, returned to the stage again and again, either to accept an award or to sing. He performed “I Don’t Want This Night to End” with fellow Georgians The Peach Pickers, then returned to sing “Honey Bee” with Peach Picker Rhett Akins. The former song was a big hit for another Georgian, Luke Bryan.

This was Hayslip’s second time to win ASCAP’s country songwriter prize. In addition, the Hayslip/Akins “Honey Bee” tied with “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” for ASCAP Country Song of the Year. “Barefoot” was penned by the organization’s Eric Paslay and Terry Sawchuk.

Another repeating winner was Brad Paisley. Thursday’s CMA Awards co-host was named ASCAP’s Country Songwriter/Artist of the year for the third time.

Sirius/XM Radio was ASCAP’s Partners in Music honoree. John Marks accepted and was joined onstage by Charlie Monk.

Now that Sony/ATV and EMI are joined, is it any wonder that it was named Country Publisher of the Year? Does anyone else even stand a chance?

In addition to the Haslip performances, the banquet was highlighted by the singing of ASCAP’s other top songs of the year. Paslay and Sawchuk drew a standing ovation when they were joined by a drum corps drawn from Vanderbilt’s marching band. Dave Barnes and Ed Cash performed their big hit “God Gave Me You.” Jason Sellers sang “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with his cowriters Andy Gibson and Paul Jenkins.

ASCAP Senior Creative Director Michael Martin with Songwriter of the Year Ben Hayslip.

The most rocking performance of the night was the banquet’s opening number, Kip Moore’s explosive “Crazy One More Time.” Josh Kelley, Ronnie Dunn, Chris Stapleton and 18 South performed a multi-song tribute to Bob McDill, who won the ASCAP Golden Note Award. With 31 No. 1 hits to his credit, we could have heard a multi, multi, multi song salute to McDill.

My favorite performance of the night was the Jon Randall and Sam Bush harmonizing duet on Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had a Boat.” That was part of a salute to Lovett as he was presented with ASCAP’s Creative Voice Award. Others who performed admirably during the tribute were Guy Clark and Robert Earl Keen.

“I wouldn’t be here tonight if it weren’t for Guy Clark,” Lovett said, noting that Clark championed his songwriting to producer Tony Brown. “It is an honor to be in the room with all you folks. ASCAP was home to me from the very first time I came to Nashville.”

Lyle Lovett accepts ASCAP’s Creative Voice Award.

Working with Lovett, “made me realize that if the people you hang out with are better than you are, you’ll get better,” said Brown. “He’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever met in my life.”

The gala was staged at its traditional home, the Presidential Ballroom of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on Monday evening (10/29). Attendees interpreted the “black tie/formal” invitation in a wide variety of ways. The ladies got out their velvets and sequins. The gentlemen’s outfits ranged from business suits to classy cowboy couture, from tuxedos to disrespectful work jackets and hoodies.

Gathering together were Tim Nichols, Tim Mensy, Tim Wipperman, Mark D. Sanders, Mark Ford, Marc Beeson, Marc Driskill (who has departed from ASCAP for Sea Gayle), Mike Milom, Mike Reid, Mike Hollandsworth, David & Susana Ross, Dave Berg, David Lee Murphy, Brett James, Brett Jones, Rusty Jones, Jim Foglesong, Jimmy Harnen, Doug & Linda Edell Howard, Travis Howard, Bob Regan and Robert Ellis Orrall.

Twinkling stars on hand in addition to Paisley and Lovett, included Deana Carter, Dierks Bentley, George Strait, new Opry member Darius Rucker, Martina McBride, RaeLynn from TV’s The Voice, Lady Antebellum’s Dave Hayward & Charles Kelley, Pistol Annie Angaleena Presley, and J.D. Souther, who has added acting to his resume via his appearances on TV’s Nashville.

Guests dined on salad greens with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices and slivered red onions topped with bacon and blue cheese crumbles and drizzled French dressing. The main course was glazed pork, shrimp, mashed potatoes and broccolini. Dessert was a trio of crème caramel in a shot glass, a fruit torte and a cream-cheese cookie. Table centerpieces were white and peach colored tea roses arranged with hydrangeas, roses and organza ribbons.

The talent fest in attendance featured Pat Alger, Wayland Holyfield, Allen Reynolds, Rory Bourke, Fred Knobloch, Carl Jackson, Gary Nicholson, Rick & Janis Carnes, Vince Melamed, Liz Hengber, Chris DuBois, Josh Kear and Kelley Lovelace. 

Working the room were John McBride, Gilles Godard, Randy Wachtler, Carla Wallace, Norbert Nix, Kyle Lehning, Garth Fundis, Kevin Lamb, Ken Levitan, Shelby Kennedy, newly installed Warner-Chappell chief Ben Vaughn, Tom Long, Horton Frank, Dan Keen, Walter Campbell, Frank Liddell, Belmont University’s Bo Thomas, Dale Bobo, Ralph Murphy, Clay Myers, Brent Maher, Stuart Dill, Kay West, Tony Conway, Dwight Wiles & Diana Johnson, Judy Turner, Sherod Robertson and Scott & Sandi Borchetta. Scott was running on fumes, having spent the past week on international promotion for the new Taylor Swift disc and getting four hours of sleep a night. Sandi is creating Big Machine’s new office building on Music Row.

This was the 50th anniversary of the ASCAP Country Awards, “a half century of honoring the best in country music,” noted ASCAP president Paul Williams. “For every song we honor tonight, I know you have 100 in a drawer somewhere. I know who you are.” Williams is a major songwriter, himself, with Grammy, Tony and Emmy awards to show for his efforts.

(L-R): Garth Fundis, Don Schlitz, Allen Reynolds, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP Publisher Board Member Dean Kay, ASCAP Golden Note Award honoree Bob McDill, Jon Randall, Ronnie Dunn, Josh Kelley, Jessi Alexander and Morgane Stapleton

Sony Music Nashville Signing

Pictured (L-R): Gary Overton, Angie Johnson, Lisa Ramsey Perkins (Sr. Director A&R, Sony Music Nashville)

Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Nashville, Gary Overton, has signed Missouri Air National Guard Tech Sergeant Angie Johnson to a recording contract with the label.

Johnson, a previous contestant on NBC’s The Voice for team Cee Lo Green, will be produced by fellow St. Louis native Josh Leo (Alabama, Love and Theft).

Johnson spent six years in the Air Force as an intelligence analyst and featured performer in the Air Force Tops In Blue Band after being honorably discharged. Her band, Sidewinder, gained attention after a video performing Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” was submitted on YouTube.

Toby Keith Revs Up ‘Hope On The Rocks’ Today

Toby Keith’s Hope on the Rocks was released today by Show Dog–Universal. The project is streaming at Spotify, and Amazon is selling the album’s standard edition for $5.00.

Keith partnered with Clear Channel Radio for a text-to-win promotion airing on country stations nationwide. Winners of daily cash prizes will be entered to win a new Ford F-150, then flown to a secret location to pick up the keys from Keith.

Lead single “I Like Girls That Drink Beer” is a hit heading into album launch week, with the title track set to be the follow up single.

Keith’s promotional appearances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and The Talk. He recently wrapped his 2012 Live In Overdrive Tour.

Also, a “Red Solo Cup (Live)” video was released today.



ASCAP Country Award Winners

Publisher of the Year: Sony/ATV/EMI Music Publishing. (L-R): Ed Williams, Ben Strain, Abbey Adams, Josh Van Valkenberg, Troy Tomlinson, ASCAP Board member Barry Coburn, Terry Wakefield, and ASCAP’s Randy Grimmett

Ben Hayslip accepts ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year

ASCAP’s Country Awards were presented Monday night (10/29) in the Presidential Ballroom of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Here’s a brief recap. See Bobby Karl’s in-depth coverage for MusicRow members here.

Songwriter of the Year: Ben Hayslip, who penned four of the most performed songs of the past year: “Honey Bee” (Blake Shelton), “I Don’t Want This Night To End” (Luke Bryan), “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” (Martina McBride) and “This Ole Boy” (Craig Morgan)

Country Music Song of the Year: “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” written by Eric Paslay and Terry Sawchuk; published by Cal IV Entertainment

Country Music Song of the Year: “Honey Bee,” written by Ben Hayslip; published by Warner/Chappell and This Music

Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year: Brad Paisley. It was his third win thanks to hits including “Camouflage,” “Old Alabama” and “Remind Me.”

Country Publisher of the Year: Sony/ATV/EMI, who had nine award-winning songs: “Bait A Hook,” “Camouflage, “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” “I Got You,” “I Won’t Let Go,” “Remind Me,” “Tomorrow,” “You” and “You Gonna Fly”

Golden Note Award: Bob McDill. ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams, and ASCAP Publisher Board member Dean Kay presented the award, and a special musical tribute included performances by Ronnie Dunn; Chris and Morgane Stapleton (“Amanda”); Josh Kelley (“Good Ole Boys Like Me”); and Jessi Alexander and Jon Randall, backed by their band 18 South (“Don’t Close Your Eyes”).

Creative Voice Award: Lyle Lovett. ASCAP Executive Vice President of Membership Randy Grimmett presented the award, and a musical tribute to Lovett featured Guy Clark (“The Waltzing Fool”); Robert Earl Keen (“The Front Porch Song”); and Sam Bush and Jon Randall (“If I Had A Boat”).

 ASCAP Partners in Music Award: Sirius XM Satellite Radio

The event celebrated ASCAP’s most performed country songs between April 2011 and March 2012. A total of 35 song honors were handed out, interspersed with performances by the writers of the top five most performed songs:
“Don’t You Wanna Stay,” written by Andy Gibson, Paul Jenkins and Jason Sellers
• “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” written by Ben Hayslip, Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Luke Bryan
• “God Gave Me You,” written by Dave Barnes
• “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” written by Eric Paslay, Terry Sawchuk, and Dylan Altman
• “Honey Bee,” written by Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins

(L-R): ASCAP EVP of Membership Randy Grimmett, Song of the Year honorees Cal IV Entertainment's Daniel Hill, Terry Sawchuck, Eric Paslay, Cal IV's Natalie Harker, Billy Lynn, and ASCAP's Michael Martin

(L-R): ASCAP’s Randy Grimmett, Jon Randall, Sam Bush, Creative Voice Award honoree Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Tony Brown

April Taylor Joins Webster PR

April Taylor

Kirt Webster, President of Webster & Associates, has announced April Taylor will join the firm as Senior Director, Publicity, effective Monday, November 12.

“Kirt has made huge waves in the music industry and his achievements have played a major role in the shaping of so many artist careers,” said Taylor. “I am honored to be a part of his team and excited to work with his star-studded roster.”

Most recently, Taylor was Promotions Director for Bluewater Broadcasting in Montgomery, AL. She previously spent six years with RCA publicity and Arista Nashville’s Artist Development & Marketing teams where she worked with artists including Kenny Chesney, Alabama, Martina McBride, Lonestar, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, and more. She holds a B.S. from Auburn University at Montgomery and a B.B.A. from Belmont University.

Contact Taylor by email or phone 615-777-6995.

Two CMA Awards to be Revealed on “GMA”

Winners in two CMA Awards categories will for the first time be announced on live television from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Plaza Thursday (Nov. 1) during ABC’s Good Morning America.

The winners for the Musical Event and Music Video of the Year will be named during the popular morning program, which will also include performances by Reba McEntire and an appearance by Awards co-host Brad Paisley. Fans in Nashville can attend the broadcast at the corner of Broadway and Fifth Ave.

“These two categories are normally presented during pre-televised activities and acknowledged during the Awards broadcast, which we will still do,” says Steve Moore, CMA CEO. “But being able to share the announcement of the winners live with the broader GMA viewership and the live audience in Nashville adds a whole new level of excitement for our fans and the recipients.”

Trophies will be presented to the winners prior to the start of the CMA Awards, and the ceremony will be hosted by Vocal Duo and New Artist nominee Love and Theft. The 46th Annual CMA Awards, co-hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, airs live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on ABC Nov. 1 at 7 pm/CT. Check here for a list of performers and presenters.