Truck Auctions Culminate 'Road to the Ram Jam'

kp-truckOn Tuesday (Jan. 22) Kellie Pickler will be the first of five artists to have their 2012 Dodge Ram Laramie Longhorn truck auctioned as part of Dodge’s “Road to the Ram Jam.”
Five trucks in all will be sold throughout the next three months, to benefit select charities. Other artists taking part include Brantley Gilbert, whose truck will be auctioned off on Feb. 5, Billy Currington (Feb. 19), Zac Brown Band (March 5), and Easton Corbin (March 18).
Pickler’s proceeds will go towards the USO Warrior and Family Care program’s long-term effort to help wounded, ill and injured troops, families and caregivers in recovery.
“I love everything there is to love about my Ram Truck,” said Pickler. “And I have to be honest I am a little sad about giving it up but its for a great cause, and we really want to raise a lot of money for the USO, so please log on and bid.”
Gilbert has selected Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) as his charity, while Currington selected Team Rubicon. Zac Brown Band’s proceeds will support Camp Southern Ground, and Corbin is directing funds towards the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.
“The Road to the Ram Jam” series included exclusive video, prizes, free music downloads, as well as a chance to win trips for two to the exclusive Ram Jam concert, held Dec. 29, 2012 in Nashville, Tenn. The show featured performances by all five participating artists. Watch highlights from the concert’s live stream here.
Fans will have two weeks to bid on each truck. To get more information on Pickler’s truck, visit ebay.

Primetime 'Nashville': 'I'm Sorry For You My Friend'

Rayna and Juliette’s pre-tour press event.

Hidden motives abound as Rayna (Connie Britton) and Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) kick off their Red Lips, White Lies tour. Picking up from the last episode, Juliette married boyfriend Sean in a quickie wedding, then left him at the altar instead of going though with the large flashy wedding his mother had planned. Instead Juliette took a private jet to the first show on the tour.
While signing autographs for fans outside the venue, Barnes is shocked to be served an annulment request from Sean. Instead, Barnes insists on a divorce that is a quick as their marriage, leading to more animosity between the two.
Her personal troubles spill over into rehearsals, where Juliette refuses to sing a song she wrote about Sean, titled “Love Like Mine” (penned by Kelly Archer, Justin Weaver, and Emily Shackelton). During rehearsal and performance scenes, Barnes performs “Boys and Buses” (written by Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark, and Josh Osborne) and later “Telescope” (which, in reality, is currently at No. 33 on the MusicRow Country Breakout chart for Panettiere and written by Hillary Lindsey and Cary Barlowe). During rehearsals, she keeps playing long over her allotted rehearsal time, prompting Rayna’s producer Liam to lie in the middle of the stage until Barnes leaves.
The episode includes several of Nashville’s own television journalists, including Charlie Chase and Lorianne Crook, GAC’s Storme Warren and CMT’s Katie Cook. Barnes uses an interview with Cook to send a message to husband Sean admitting that their attempt to marry was a mistake (while hiding from her fans that the two are actually married). The admission doesn’t work, and, after flying out to meet with Sean and his representative, Barnes agrees to an annulment.
Meanwhile, Rayna convinces Liam to fill in as her guitar player, after more than one attempt to find the right fit for her band and tour. Liam reluctantly agrees, though he deadpans that he nor anyone else can take the place of Deacon. As the mayoral election in Nashville is the next day, she ultimately decides to return to Nashville to support Teddy on election night. Teddy is elected mayor (and Rayna is officially First Lady of Music City), though side conversations reveal Coleman had more votes and that, unbeknownst to Teddy or Rayna, Rayna’s father Lamar bought the extra votes that Teddy needed to win.
Deacon Claybourne, still playing guitar for The Revel Kings, invites niece Scarlett to visit him during a concert in Texas. Scarlett O’Connor hitches a ride with her songwriting partner/sometimes romantic partner Gunnar Scott, who is also headed to town, but with a different motive–this episode reveals he has a brother, Jason Scott, who served six years of jail time. His crime? An armed robbery incident where Gunnar abandoned his brother. Gunnar has gone to meet him as he is released. Shortly after bringing his brother back to a hotel room, the two brothers reminisce about their younger years and their mutual love of music, singing the duet “I’m A Lonesome Fugitive.”
Scarlett is initially starstuck by Cy, the lead singer for The Revel Kings, until Cy isolates Scarlett and attempts to make out with her. Uncle Deacon becomes suspicious and rushes in on the pair, throwing Cy onto a table, roughing him up a bit and immediately quitting the band.
While Scarlett is getting a harsh lesson in some of the apparent job hazards of touring, her ex Avery Barker is getting some lessons of his own. He’s still sleeping with his manager Marilyn, who tells him his contract with label chief Dominic is a bad deal. Barker visits Dominic in Atlanta, and Dominic convinces him to sign the deal, leaving fans to wonder who is right about the deal–Dominic or Marilyn? (though ‘neither’ is probably closer to the right answer).
In one scene, Rayna James performs the song “Buried Under,” (written by Chris DeStefano and Natalie Hemby), Barnes is shown sitting in her dressing room, pondering her recent life events.
Meanwhile, at the end of the episode, after Teddy and his family celebrate his victory, a familiar character returns. Peggy (the woman who overdosed on pills in an earlier episode) returns to congratulate him on his win–and gets a little more intimate than she should to a man who is now a married mayor.

• • •

In next week’s episode, be on the lookout for two country star guest appearances. Chris Young and Brantley Gilbert both greet Rayna James (Britton) during a No. 1 party. See a preview photo below.

Chris Young and Brantley Gilbert on 'Nashville.' Photo: ABC/Chris Hollo

Chris Young and Brantley Gilbert on ‘Nashville.’ Photo: ABC/Chris Hollo


BMI Debuts Corporate Positioning Campaign

PrintBMI has launched a new corporate positioning campaign, which the company says is focused on its “leadership, heritage and innovation within the music industry.” The campaign will be featured in print and online publications and launch from MIDEM, the annual international music industry conference in Cannes, France.

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of BMI’s corporate identity and capabilities within the evolving music and entertainment business and to reflect its enduring commitment to music creators. The new slogans include: Write OnPowered By, and Valuing Music Since 1939.
The campaign logo includes a symbol that resembles a red spark, representing a spark of creativity. It is a play on the original logo from the ’40’s, which used an asterisk to indicate a spotlight on the writer. The new visual identity does not replace the current corporate BMI logo.
Ads in the campaign feature photos by legendary rock and roll photographer Danny Clinch. BMI tapped creative agency Delevante for the campaign.

Ratings Rundown: 'Idol' Premiere and 'Nashville'

idol-new-judgesSeason premiere ratings of American Idol fell 19 percent from last year, according to Nevertheless, it was last night’s (1/16) top show and won every hour among the major networks. Idol fell 19 percent in the 18 and 49 demographic and in total audience. It attracted 17.9 million viewers, down from 21.9 last year. The new judging panel includes Keith Urban, returning judge Randy Jackson, and new-to-the-show feuding divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.
• • • •
ABC’s Nashville averaged 6.5 million viewers last night. According to the L.A. Times, the show is attracting an unusual set of viewers—it is tied as the most popular new show among women 18-34. For advertising reasons, the network expected, and wants to, draw in more 18-49 year old fans. Among the theories for the younger-skewing watchers: thanks to hit acts including Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, younger women like country music more than older women. Or perhaps younger women are more interested in Hayden Paneittere, or the competing singers storyline. The program also has unusually high DVR numbers.

Republic Nashville Signs Winner of 'The Voice'

Republic Nashville has signed Cassadee Pope to its roster. The young singer-songwriter emerged while competing on NBC’s The Voice and winning the Season 3 title in December 2012.
As a member of Team Blake (Shelton), Pope excelled throughout the competition, displaying diverse musical tastes and talents, covering songs like Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.” After a performance of Miranda Lambert’s “Over You,” the tune catapulted to the No. 1 spot on the iTunes All Genre Chart.
“I am so excited to be joining the very talented Republic Nashville family. I am so passionate about my music and I couldn’t be more excited to have this amazing team to back me as I embark on this next chapter in my career,” said Pope.
“Cassadee was a standout from day one and once she delivered her incredible version of Miranda Lambert’s “Over You,” I started working over my NY label partner Monte Lipman (CEO of Republic Records) to try to convince him that Cassadee belonged in Nashville,” said Big Machine Label Group President Scott Borchetta. “Each week Cassadee continued to knock down big Country songs by Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Faith Hill, and after she won we were THRILLED to find out that Cassadee was on the same page with us and wanted to come to Nashville. The BMLG Team is over the top excited about Cassadee Pope!”

(L-R): Front Row – Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta, Cassadee Pope, Republic Nashville President/BMLG EVP Jimmy Harnen;Back Row – BMLG, VP of A&R Allison Jones and BMLG General Manager Andrew Kautz (Photo Credit: Amy Fucci)

Pictured (L-R): Front Row – Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta, Cassadee Pope, Republic Nashville President/BMLG EVP Jimmy Harnen; Back Row – BMLG, VP of A&R Allison Jones and BMLG General Manager Andrew Kautz (Photo Credit: Amy Fucci)

Scotty McCreery To Launch First Headlining Tour

scotty-mccreeryFormer American Idol winner Scotty McCreery will launch his first headlining tour, the Weekend Roadtrip Tour 2013, beginning on Feb. 14 at Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. The 25-city tour will go through May. Currently, 16 show dates have been announced, with more to come.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of great cities over the last year with Brad Paisley and some other great country artists,” explains McCreery. “This time I get to play some new places with a show that’s all my own.  I can’t wait for my fans to see what we’ve lined up for them on my Weekend Roadtrip Tour 2013.”
McCreery says the tour’s title was born from the singer and college student’s day-to-day experiences. “Right now, I’m balancing my music career with my second semester at North Carolina State University. I go to school early in the week and get to play my music every weekend.  So, calling this tour the Weekend Roadtrip Tour just made sense.  Plus, what college student doesn’t love a good roadtrip?”
The tour will be sponsored by humanitarian organization World Vision.
Weekend Roadtrip Tour 2013 Dates:
Feb. 14 – Bethlehem, Pa. – Sands Bethlehem Event Center
Feb. 15 – Niagara Falls, N.Y. – Rapids Theatre
Feb. 16 – Atlantic City, N.J. – Golden Nugget
Feb. 21 – Pittsburgh – Stage AE
Feb. 22 – Dover, Del. – Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
Feb. 23 – Charleston, W.Va. – Clay Center for the Arts
Mar. 8 – Plant City, Fla. -Florida Strawberry Festival
Mar. 9 – Kansas City, Mo. – Uptown Theater
Mar. 28 – Aurora, Ill. – Paramount Theatre
Apr. 18 – Albany, N.Y. – The Palace Theatre
Apr. 19 – Wallingford, Conn. – Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre
Apr. 20 – Wilkes-Barre, Pa. – F.M. Kirby Center
Apr. 26 – Robinsonville, Miss. – Horseshoe Casino
May 10 – Lancaster, Pa. – American Music Theatre
May 11 – Hampton, N.H. – Casino Ballroom
May 12 – Morristown, N.J. – Mayo Performing Arts Center

CMT Adds VP of Creative Services

Peter Mannes

Peter Mannes

CMT’s Sr. VP of Brand Strategy, Marketing and Creative, Dee McLaughlin, announced that Peter Mannes has been hired as VP, Creative Services for CMT. The position is effective immediately, and Mannes will direct efforts of the creative team in creation, development and production of all on and off-air production and graphics for CMT. Mannes will be based in Nashville.
“From award-winning promo work to his successful brand campaign executions, to his vast experience working with other nets, Peter’s broad skillset is exactly the synergy we were seeking,” says McLaughlin.
Mannes has over 20 years experience in the media industry. Prior to his work at CMT, he was with Sundance Channel, where he was Director of Brand Marketing. His previous career ventures include founding Argot Media, a full-service creative production agency that worked with several TV networks, including History Channel, Biography and Bloomberg Television. Mannes also held the position of VP, Production for Global Media Holdings/Global Japan where he supervised production of all on-air promos, series, specials, print and marketing projects for the launch and operation of two television networks developed for the Japanese market, SheTV and SF.
Earlier in his career, Mannes was a production manager for MTV Networks. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1991.

Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town at CMA Music Festival

LIttle Big TownLuke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and Carrie Underwood are the first artists announced to perform during 2013’s CMA Music Festival.
Luke Bryan“What an exciting lineup – and we are just getting started,” said Steve Moore, the Country Music Association’s CEO. “Ticket sales are stronger than ever and we are always researching and developing ways to enhance the Festival experience for our attendees and the artists who continue this time-honored tradition of giving back to the fans.”
carrie_underwood300The CMA Music Festival will take place Thursday through Sunday, June 6-9. The event began in 1972 at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, bringing in 5,000 fans. 40 years later, the event brings in tens of thousands of country music fans from all 50 states and numerous countries. Once again, this year the CMA Music Festival will be recorded to air as part of an ABC television special.
lady antebellum1More artists slated to perform during the event will be announced soon.

Underwood, Kear and Tompkins Celebrate No. 1 "Blown Away"

Pictured (L-R): ASCAP's Mike Sistad, Big Yellow Dog's Carla Wallace, co-writer Josh Kear, Carrie Underwood, co-writer Chris Tompkins, producer Mark Bright, Big Loud Shirt's Craig Wiseman and Sony Music Nashville's Gary Overton

Pictured (L-R): ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, Big Yellow Dog’s Carla Wallace, co-writer Josh Kear, Carrie Underwood, co-writer Chris Tompkins, producer Mark Bright, Big Loud Shirt’s Craig Wiseman and Sony Music Nashville’s Gary Overton

Nashville’s music industry braved chilly, rainy weather on Wednesday (Jan. 16) to help Carrie Underwood and ASCAP songwriters Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins celebrate the No. 1 song, “Blown Away.” Held at the Country Music Association offices, CMA CEO Steve Moore introduced ASCAP’s Mike Sistad to kick off the party.
Kear has four songs on Underwood’s current album and penned Lady Antebellum‘s smash hit “Need You Now,” while Tompkins has penned songs for Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton. Together, Kear and Tompkins also penned Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” and Luke Bryan‘s “Drunk On You.”
The writers and singer accepted plaques, medallions and congratulations from the CMA’s Brandi Simms, Big Loud Shirt’s Craig Wiseman, Country Radio Broadcasters and Carla Wallace of Big Yellow Dog Music.
“I’m just honored that they write songs and I get to sing them,” said Underwood. “I’m a lucky lady indeed. I’m lucky to know you guys. Whatever way the song get to me, just keep doing what you’re doing. I definitely look forward to more of these in the future. It’s just such a blessing to be able to write songs and hear songs that are amazing and that I know from the first second that I hear them start to play, that I want to sing them.”
“We respect you as an artist and you are such a great singer and we know that with the kind of songs that we write, we can deliver something that at least touches on something that you might want to record,” said Tompkins. He also thanked ASCAP, Sistad, Big Loud Shirt and singer Caitlin Lynn, who sang the demo for ‘Blown Away.’ “Carrie’s such a strong singer so we needed a strong singer.”
“You changed our lives,” Kear told Underwood, referring to his and Tompkins’ hit “Before He Cheats.” “Everything we’ve had since then, all comes back to that song.”
The gracious singer was quick to reflect the praise back to Kear. “Well then you changed your own life by writing it.”

Chesney Sets Album Release Date

lKenny Chesney will release his next album April 30 on Blue Chair/Columbia Nashville Records. The as-yet-untitled project will be the follow up to 2012’s Welcome To The Fishbowl.
Released June 19, that project was his 13th studio album and has yielded hits “El Cerrito Place,” “Come Over,” and “Feel Like A Rock Star,” featuring Tim McGraw. After 30 weeks on the charts, the album has sold over 605,000 copies.
Chesney will kick off his No Shoes Nation Tour on March 16 in Tampa, Fla.
His career has resulted in 24 No. 1 singles and more than 30 million in album sales.