Darius Rucker Invited to Join Opry

Brad Paisley inviting Darius Rucker to join the Grand Ole Opry. Photo: Chris Hollo

Darius Rucker received an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry from member Brad Paisley last night (10/2) during his performance at the Opry House.

After Rucker had performed “Alright,” “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” and his current single “True Believers,” Rucker fielded questions from the audience. After answering questions posed by two fans, Paisley appeared in the audience with a two-part question. First, “Are you still the worst poker player in the world?” Secondly, “Would you like to be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry?”

“Oh, you’re kiddin’ me!” exclaimed Rucker. “Yes, I would! Wow! Thank you for opening your arms and letting me in.”

Rucker then performed “Wagon Wheel” and Paisley performed an unannounced set of his own.

“It’s been clear from the moment Darius first stepped on our stage in 2008 in what high regard he holds the Grand Ole Opry and similarly how much Opry fans love Darius’ music,” said Opry VP/GM Pete Fisher. “We look forward to him becoming an official Opry member in just a couple of weeks.”

Rucker’s formal induction is scheduled for Tues., Oct. 16 at the Opry House, airing live on Noteworthy at the Opry on GAC at 8 pm.

Watch a video of the induction below.

DISClaimer Single Reviews (10/03/12)

Sweetwater Rain, Taylor Swift

This stack of platters has exactly the mix I like — superstars, unknowns, chart favorites and wanna-be’s.

Among the chart favorites are Chris Young and Steel Magnolia, both of whom have radio-ready new efforts. Among the wanna-be’s are the Josh Abbott Band and Bill Gentry, who have the two best indie singles of the week.

The finest of this week’s unknowns is the band Sweetwater Rain. Give that four-piece a DisCovery Award.

And then there is the superstar. That would be Princess Taylor. Yes, once again supreme writer-artist Taylor Swift has the Disc of the Day. I say this not because she is our sales queen, but because she simply has the best written and performed song.

JOSH ABBOTT BAND/I’ll Sing About Mine
Writer: Keane/Hood; Producer: Erik Herbst; Publisher: Zuzusita/Tiltawhirl, SESAC/BMI; PDT (track) (www.joshabbottband.com)
—I remain an enormous fan of this group. Its celebration of small-town life and culture rises above the rest by virtue of a head-to-the-skies melody, brilliantly pointed lyrics, hearty lead singing and super-tight instrumental work. The stuff that country dreams are made of.

CHRIS YOUNG/I Can Take it From There
Writer: Chris Young/Rhett Akins/Ben Hayslip; Producer: James Stroud; Publisher: Runnin’ Behind/EMI April/Rhettneck/EMI Blackwood/WB/Melissa’s Money/Get a Load of This, ASCAP/BMI; RCA (track)
—There’s nothing particularly memorable about the paint-by-numbers instrumental track, but when you have a vocalist this outstanding, that’s all you need. Besides, the song is cute, and, as always, Chris oozes country baritone charm.

JENNY SIMMS/Girl of a Gun
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; JS
—Much better than its unprofessional packaging would lead you to expect. The song is a decent “outlaw” piece of material, but it’s her ferocious, range-y vocal command of the track that is truly ear opening. Promising.

TAYLOR SWIFT/Begin Again
Writer: Taylor Swift; Producer: Dann Huff, Nathan Chapman & Taylor Swift; Publisher: Sony ATV Tree/Taylor Swift, BMI; Big Machine
—This intimate ballad whispers of the warm, wafting winds that carry a disillusioned heart into the climate of new romance. Marvelously evocative and expressive. Not to mention extraordinarily well written.

ASHLEY FORREST/Pourin’ Over Me
Writer: Kacey Coppola/Kate Coppola/Danny Myrick/Jeff Spence; Producer: Mark Moffatt; Publisher: EMI April/Soulride/BPJ/EMI Blackwood/Sophieopi, ASCAP/BMI; Truro (www.ashleyforrestmusic.com)
—She yearns for the sunny countryside while the happy instrumental track bobs and weaves around her. Innocent sounding.

BILL GENTRY/Hell and Half of Georgia
Writer: Tim James/Doug Johnson; Producer: Chad Carlson; Publisher: none listed; Tenacity (www.billgentrynation.com)
—The lazy, bluesy tune is super dreamy. The heartache, lonely-boy lyric is a model of finely penned details. The singer’s delivery nails every blue-eyed soul note, and the production is a terrific example of less-is-more taste. A total winner from an artist who has long been a fave in this column.

JAMEY JOHNSON & ALISON KRAUSS/Make the World Go Away
Writer: Hank Cochran; Producer: Buddy Cannon; Publisher: none listed; Mercury (track)
—The Nashville Sound lives! This exquisite production recalls the classic work of Chet and Owen, right down to the bell-like guitar notes, rippling piano and sighing steel. The vocalists are both at their pluperfect best, with Jamey harmonizing flawlessly behind Alison’s precise diction. And it goes without saying that the song is a masterpiece.

LIVEWIRE/Lies
Writer: Andrew Eutslre; Producer: Justin Woods; Publisher: Real Man/Parrot Island, BMI; Way Out West (track) (www.livewirecountry.com)
—Punchy country-rock propulsion backs a honky-tonk wailer who seems to simultaneously both demand and plead for the truth. Well worth your spins.

STEEL MAGNOLIA/Maybe I’m Amazed
Writer: Paul McCartney; Producer: Sir Paul McCartney; Publisher: Sony ATV, ASCAP; Revivermusic (CDX) (www.steelmagnoliamusic.com)
—This track first saw the light of day as part of a women’s cancer benefit effort in memory of Linda McCartney. Despite the credit given here, I don’t believe Sir Paul was actually involved in Meghan and Joshua’s recording of his iconic song. Whatever the case, the performance is stellar. That’s because both of these kids can sing their faces off.

SWEETWATER RAIN/Starshine
Writer: Anthony Smith/Robbie Harrington; Producer: Anthony Smith; Publisher: GMG/Rowandale, BMI; Curb (CDX)
—Very cool. It starts simply, with a heartfelt tenor urgently promising romance and destiny with a stark, throbbing, bass-and-guitar accompaniment. A soul-piercing female harmony voice adds to the excitement while the track builds in intensity and volume. This grabbed my attention from the first note and held onto it to the last. So nice I played it twice.

ASCAP To Honor Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett will be honored with the ASCAP Creative Voice Award during the 50th Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards. The invitation-only gala will take place Mon., Oct. 29 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, and will also salute the songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most performed Country songs from April 1, 2011 through March 31, 2012.

The prestigious ASCAP Creative Voice Award is presented to ASCAP members whose significant career achievements are equally informed by their creative spirit and their contributions to the greater community. Lovett joins a diverse group of previous honorees including Wyclef Jean, Green Day and Metallica.

“Lyle Lovett has forged a decades-long, award-winning career by committing to his own unique creative vision: in his songwriting, in his roles in film and television, and as a performer. He is often backed by his ‘Large Band,’ a musical collective that brings his singular fusion of American musical styles to life in grand fashion,” said ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams. “His passions also extend to advocating on behalf of his fellow music creators, and Lyle has often journeyed to Washington, DC to talk with legislators to help protect copyright. He is a musical hero in more ways than one, and we are thrilled to present him with the ASCAP Creative Voice Award.”

A four-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, composer and actor, Lovett has a career spanning more than three decades and fourteen albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues. His accolades include the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award.

The 50th ASCAP Country Music Awards will include the announcements of the Songwriter of the Year, Songwriter/Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Publisher of the Year. The evening will feature live performances of the top five most performed songs of 2011 by the award-winning songwriters and special guests. As previously announced, ASCAP will present legendary Country music songwriter Bob McDill with the prestigious ASCAP Golden Note Award.

City National Bank Hosts Social Media Luncheon

Martha Henderson

City National Bank recently held an exclusive luncheon and seminar entitled, “The Power of Social Media” at Nashville’s Stoney River restaurant. The event featured guest speakers Beverly Macy, CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and co-author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing, and Nic Adler, co-owner and manager of The Roxy and son of Lou Adler, who produced such notables as Cheech and Chong, The Mamas and the Papas, Up In Smoke and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Martha Henderson, Exec. VP and Manager of City National’s entertainment division greeted the guests, noting the event was such a success in Los Angeles she wanted to bring it to Nashville as CNB’s first official industry event in Music City. Representatives from CNB’s Nashville office included Holly Bell, Sr. VP Team Manager; Lori Badgett, VP Entertainment; and Diane Pearson, VP Entertainment/Team Leader.

Beverly Macy

Macy discussed the fundamental benefits of social media and its critical role in successful companies saying, “You must add value when using social media. If it doesn’t bring value to the table, someone else will do it.” Highlighting country artist Billy Dean’s use of Viddy.com, she discussed helpful tools to get the most from social media marketing and covered the various components of its history, regulation, influence on sales, use in crisis management and much more. Macy, who also writes a blog for the Huffington Post, shared the importance of companies setting policy and procedures related to social media and marketing.

Adler followed with an insightful demonstration of how he took the helm at The Roxy in 1998 and used social media and its then cutting edge concepts to return the legendary club to its original glory. “The phone had stopped ringing,” Adler confessed. “People were talking [negatively] about The Roxy on social media but we weren’t part of the conversation.” After Tower announced it was closing, Adler told the attendees he went to social media to change the negative conversation about The Roxy and the Sunset Strip.

Nic Adler

“It’s important to get involved with your community,” said Adler, sharing the story of how he once read a tweet from someone in The Roxy complaining about the weak gin and tonic. Adler sought out the tweeter in the room and offered a fresh cocktail.

After a delicious meal and insightful presentation, all attendees left with a signed book of Macy’s The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing including an engraved City National Bank bookmark tagging the chapter with The Roxy case study.

Benefit News (10/2/12)

The annual Capitol Street Party, set for 7 pm October 17 on lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, is a popular free outdoor concert but also serves as a benefit for a worthy cause. A portion of the proceeds from the event’s sponsorships, food and beverage sales and more from the show will go to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Performers at this year’s event include Luke Bryan, Kelleigh Bannen, and Jon Pardi.

• • •

Jana Kramer and Tyler Farr are scheduled to perform at Tin Roof 2 in Franklin tomorrow (10/3). The special concert, which starts at 7 pm, will benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). GAC’s Suzanne Alexander will host the event and admission is granted with a $20 donation to LLS.

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David Nail has partnered with Liberty Creek wines to anchor the company’s Tunes for Troops program, which is part of Operation Gratitude. Beginning in October, consumers who purchase specially marked bottles of Liberty Creek will be sending a copy of Nail’s The Sound of a Million Dreams in care packages to troops stationed overseas. In addition, Liberty Creek is also donating $15,000 to Operation Gratitude. More info here.

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Universal Music Publishing Group Nashville is presenting songwriters Andrew Dorff, Tommy Lee James, Jonathan Singleton and Sarah Haze plus special guests at the Bluebird Cafe on Thursday, Oct. 4 in the 9 pm slot. The show benefits UCLA brain cancer research. Tickets are $12, and available here.

• • •

Up-and-coming artist Lauren Winans will be the featured performer at an event Thursday, Oct. 4 at Tin Roof 2 in Franklin. The event includes a fashion show by Plato’s Closet and will raise funds for Happy Tales Humane. The music starts at 7 pm. More info here.

Video/Audio/Lighting Company LMG Expands Nashville Presence

Steve Austin

LMG, a national provider of video, audio, and lighting support, has opened a new office in Nashville. The location houses over 24,000 square feet of office and warehouse space, and will become a new base of operations at 1674 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN 37210.

LMG has hired Steve Austin as accounts manager to handle overall management, sales and project strategy, and account coordination for the new facility. Austin brings over 25 years of audiovisual experience to LMG, most recently including a decade as manager/producer at a leading staging firm in Nashville.

The local LMG Design Studio, which debuted in December at 408 Broadway, will remain open.

“Expanding our presence in Nashville helps to better serve our corporate clients and our growing list of tours, as well as the convention market with the new Music City Center in development,” says Les Goldberg, CEO/President of LMG. “And Steve’s depth of industry experience and knowledge of the Nashville market is the perfect addition to grow the LMG footprint in the region.”

LMG’s Nashville office can be reached at 615-627-9312, or toll free at 855-300-8990.

All-Star Lineup Set For ‘Love For Levon’

Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Gregg Allman, and John Prine will be among the musical guests celebrating the life and music of Levon Helm at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. for Love for Levon, tomorrow, October 3.

The all-star band will be led by Don Was and Larry Campbell, produced by Keith Wortman, and promoted by Ron Delsener and Jim Glancy. The Helm Family and Levon Helm Productions will support the production of the event.

The gathering also includes Roger Waters, John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Joe Walsh, Grace Potter, Garth Hudson of The Band, Marc Cohn, Jakob Dylan, Mike Gordon, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Bruce Hornsby, Jorma Kaukonen, The Levon Helm Band, Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples and Lucinda Williams.

All proceeds from the concert benefit the Helm estate including home, barn and studio, which continues to host a series of live performances called The Midnight Ramble Sessions. Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, The Black Crowes and My Morning Jacket have already been featured on the sessions.

Tickets are available to the general public at Ticketmaster or by phone at 800-745-3000 at the Izod Center box office.

For more information, visit www.loveforlevon.com.

Chris Young Plots Tour, Sells Out Ryman

Chris Young will launch the first leg of his headlining Liquid Neon Tour in November, and the first date will be a sold-out show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The concert date will mark Young’s first-ever headlining show in Music City.

Joining Young for the trek will be Thomas Rhett, whose “Beer With Jesus” is quickly scaling the charts, and RCA Nashville’s Joanna Smith (“We Can’t Be Friends”), who will open the shows. Young’s tour experience includes time with talents like Jason Aldean, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and more. His latest single, “I Can Take It From Here,” just shipped to radio.

Liquid Neon Tour Dates:
11/15 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
11/16 – Bristol, TN – Viking Hall Civic Center
11/17 – Pikeville, KY – Eastern Kentucky Expo Center
11/30 – Corbin, KY – The Arena

Additional Tour Dates Yet To Be Announced:
Youngstown, OH *with Eric Paslay and Joanna Smith
Bowling Green, OH
Evansville, IN
Huntsville, AL
Savannah, GA
Chattanooga, TN

IEBA Adds to Talent Lineup

The 42nd annual International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) conference, set for October 7-9, has added another round of performances and events, with more coming soon.

All major agency parties will be hosted at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium, including APA and Paradigm which kick off Sunday (10/7) with Joe Robinson, Yacht Rock Revue, Steel Magnolia, Edwin McCain, Kingston, Barenaked Ladies, Eli Young Band and Spin Doctors.

CAA will host Joe Nichols, Aaron Lewis, and Sarah Darling during a Monday (10/8) showcase before BLA represented Steve Holy, Rachel Farley, Parmalee, and Florida Georgia Line perform later in the evening. The Agency Group will wrap the conference on Tuesday (10/9) with Hinder, Leon Russell, and 3 Doors Down. 

Additionally, Utopia Artists acts Hangin’ with Stogie and The Young Adventurers will have a featured spot, in addition to the Bobby Roberts Company showcasing Morgan Frazier, and Parallel 49 highlighting G-Rule.

Two YouTube favorites, Chris Thompson and Landon Austin, will perform and share insight into during an interview hosted by Jay Frank. Further, Paula Abdul will join a panel discussion on Monday (10/8) on how reality TV has affected the music industry.

IEBA provides networking, showcasing and educational opportunities to strengthen relationships, foster growth and increase revenue for the live entertainment industry. It is an intimate organization representing over $1 billion in buying power.

Visit ieba.org for additional information.

RPME Adds New Management Client

(L-R): RPME President Scott Siman, Emily Roberts, Ben Roberts, RPME Manager Amanda Fletcher.

RPME artist manager Amanda Fletcher has announced the signing of Americana duo Carolina Story to the company’s management division.

“I’m thrilled to have signed Carolina Story to the RPM family,” says Fletcher. “I’ve followed the duo for some time. Between their amazing songwriting ability and fantastic live show, I’m proud to have them on board!”

Comprised of husband and wife Ben and Emily Roberts, Carolina Story has released three studio albums and performed over 400 shows. They join fellow RPME management clients Humming House and Yarn.