Weekly Register: Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban

keith urban fuse album cover1The first five album titles this week on the Top Country Albums Chart read like a line in a good country song; After lighting a Fuse, she Crash My Party now it Feels Like Home so Here’s To The Good Times, Based On A True Story.
Keith Urban’s Fuse from Capitol Records Nashville debuted strongly this week on the top of the Country chart (and No. 1 overall) with 98k albums sold. The No. 2 position went to Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party selling another 53k, his 4th week (900k RTD), followed by Warner Bros. Sheryl Crow‘s debut Country album, Feels Like Home, at No. 3 (No. 7 overall) selling 36k in its first week.
Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times sold another 19k units  (1.1M RTD) while Blake Shelton‘s Based On A True Story sold 11k (887 RRD). Also debuting this week is George Jones’ Amazing Grace selling 2k.
sheryl crow artworkLove it or hate it, Miley Cyrus‘ newest single “Wrecking Ball” sells 477k units this week (883k RTD). Let’s move on.
The top Country track this week (No. 11 overall) is Bryan’s “That’s My Kind Of Night” selling 99k (607k RTD). Urban and Miranda Lambert‘s duet single, “We Were Us,” sells 32k in its first week out, sitting at No. 8 (No. 40 overall).
Next week releases will include Billy Currington‘s We Are Tonight, who is featured on the current issue of MusicRow Magazine, Chris Young‘s A.M., and Justin Moore‘s Off The Beaten Path.

650 AM WSM General Manager Tom English Resigns

Tom English

Tom English

650 AM WSM General Manager Tom English has resigned. English’s last day with the historic radio station will be Friday, Sept. 27. He has accepted a currently undisclosed opportunity outside of radio.
“This past 18 months has been some of the best of my career,” English said in a statement. “As I’ve said before, Steve Buchanan basically handed me the keys to this priceless Classic, said ‘Don’t wreck it’ and let me drive. I cannot thank him enough for that support and trust. And I cannot thank this amazing team enough for their hard work, patience and the education they have afforded me. No team with whom I have ever worked has more passion and dedication toward a radio station.”
English was appointed General Manager of 650 AM WSM in 2012. He has served in numerous capacities during his 30-year career in broadcasting. Previously, English served as VP/Market Manager for Clear Channel Radio in Nashville (including WSIX). He was with the station for eight years, and was named Clear Channel Innovation Award-winner in 2005 and 2006. He also served as chairman of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters in 2008.
Applications are being accepted for the General Manager position at 650 AM WSM at rymanhp.com.

Kobalt Label Services Adds Quinn

Diarmuid Quinn

Diarmuid Quinn

Kobalt Label Services (KLS) has named Diarmuid Quinn as President of Kobalt Label Services – North America, according to Richard Sanders, Chairman of Kobalt Label Services and President of Kobalt Music Group.
Reporting to Sanders, Quinn’s role will include leading and staffing up Kobalt’s growing label services operations in the U.S., signing artists for global release campaigns, as well as developing North America marketing campaigns for international KLS clients.
“Kobalt is changing the music industry, and Diarmuid Quinn is the right person to help us execute our vision,” said Willard Ahdritz, Founder and CEO of Kobalt Music Group.
Most recently, Quinn was Chief Executive of management/marketing company TourDForce Productions, which worked with Martina McBride, Richard Marx, the Beach Boys, Mark Knopfler and others. Previously, Quinn served as COO of Warner Bros. Records/President of Reprise Records until a company restructuring in 2010. Quinn also co-produced the documentary Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin’ Down A Dream.

Court Ruling Grants Pandora Summary Judgement

ascaplogoA ruling has been made in the Southern District of New York’s federal rate court requiring all publishers licensed by ASCAP to remain subject to the organization’s Pandora license through Dec. 31, 2015. The decision, announced today (Sept. 18) allows Pandora to resume using the PRO’s collective works regardless of publishers’ attempts to “withdraw” new media licensing. Further, a rate trial date has been set to begin on Dec. 4 to determine the rate Pandora will pay going forward.
EMI was the first to begin withdrawing its catalog in April 2012, followed by the remaining Sony/ATV copyrights in January when it successfully negotiated a 25 percent higher royalty rate. Universal Music Publishing Group and BMG withdrew respective digital rights from ASCAP in July, while Kobalt was scheduled to do so in October. Warner/Chappell had postponed withdrawing until 2014.
The motion for summary judgment, reported since last November, sought an interpretation of the consent decree under which ASCAP is subject by the government. Pandora asked the court to determine if selective withdrawals of so-called “new media” rights by ASCAP-member publishers violated the PRO’s consent decree. ASCAP’s prevailing royalty rate under its consent decree was reported by Billboard‘s Aug. 10 print magazine to be 1.85 percent of licensee revenue.
In a statement from ASCAP CEO John Lofrumento said: “ASCAP’s more than 470,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members make their living creating the music without which Pandora would have no business. The Court’s decision to grant summary judgment on this matter has no impact on our fundamental position in this case that songwriters deserve fair pay for their hard work, an issue that the Court has not yet decided. ASCAP looks forward to the December 4th trial, where ASCAP will demonstrate the true value of songwriters’ and composers’ performance rights, a value that Pandora’s music streaming competitors have recognized by negotiating rather than litigating with creators of music.”
“Pandora continues to firmly believe that musicians must be fairly compensated for their work,” said Chris Harrison, Pandora’s Assistant General Counsel. “We are committed to a responsible, sustainable and equitable royalty structure that benefits and grows the entire industry and does not discriminate against new technologies.”
Pandora recently appointed Brian McAndrews to succeed Joe Kennedy as CEO, President and Chairman.

Grammy Nominations Concert Set For Dec. 6

grammynom_rgbThe Grammy Nominations Concert Live – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night has been set for Dec. 6 and will air live on CBS-TV at 10 p.m. ET. The one-hour special, which will take place at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, sets the stage for the upcoming 56th Annual Grammy Awards by revealing nominations in several categories. The show will also include performances by both nominees and past Grammy winners as well.
Last year’s special, which was held for the first time ever in Nashville at downtown’s Bridgestone Arena, helped garner huge ratings for the Grammy Awards and the second-largest viewing audience for the broadcast since 1993. The telecast also doubled its social media from the prior year, generating 24.8 million comments.
Details regarding ticket sales, presenters and performers for the Grammy Nominations Concert Live will be announced in the coming weeks. The 56th Annual Grammy Awards will be held live from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014.

DisClaimer: Americana In The Spotlight

jason isbell southeasternIt’s Americana Music Week in Nashville. During the past few months, DisClaimer has shone its spotlight on such 2013 Americana awards contenders as Rodney Crowell & Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, and Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison. Today, let’s look at a few other prominent folks this genre boasts as its own. The DisCovery Award this week goes to The Lone Bellow. They’re Georgia natives who are Brooklyn-based and members of the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy. They are also spectacularly listenable. The Disc of the Day prize is a little more difficult to pin down. All of these writer-artists are so deserving. Guy, Kim, Will and Iris are all familiar names to anyone who follows Nashville music. I love them all immensely, but am tossing the honor to one of our city’s newer residents, Jason Isbell.
THE LONE BELLOW/You Never Need Nobody
Writers: Zach Williams/Sam Ashworth; Producer: Charlie Peacock; Publishers: Zachary Ray Williams/Patron and Profit/ASCAP/BMI; Descendant (track)
-This trio’s Americana fest showcase is at The Mercy Lounge Wednesday night (Sept.18). If you missed The Lone Bellow at the Grammy Block Party earlier this year, go and become a believer. The calling cards here are wondrous harmony singing, superbly soulful songwriting by member Zach Williams and instantly catchy melodies. Unreservedly recommended. This track is from their eponymous titled debut album. Buy it.
SARAH JAROSZ/ 1,000 Things
Writers: none listed; Producers: Gary Paczosa and Sarah Jarosz; Publisher: none listed; Sugar Hill (track)
-Sarah’s Build Me Up From Bones CD and her fall tour both launch next week. This moody track from it finds the singer-songwriter swooning among strings and gentle percussion. Dreamy.
THE CIVIL WARS/The One That Got Away
Writers: Joy Williams/John Paul White/Charlie Peacock; Producer: Charlie Peacock; Publishers: Here’s To Me/Sony-ATV/Shiny Happy/BMG Rights Management/Patron and Profit/BMI; Columbia (track)
-These two — Joy Williams and John Paul White — have made almost as many headlines with their on-again, off-again musical partnership as they have for their actual music. Somehow, they’ve pulled together a second collection. It kicks off with this minor-key, mid-tempo lament about being trapped and lost in a feverish, unwanted, addictive romance. Compelling and captivating.
KIM RICHEY/Angels Share
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Yep Roc (track)
-Kim’s Americana convention show is Friday at 8:00 p.m. at The Rutledge. This achingly slow ballad appears on her current Thorn In My Heart collection. She mourns a lost love under a lonely moon while drowning her sorrow. Produced with languid, eloquent, perfect clarity, this is a brilliant showcase for her lustrous voice. On tracks such as “Come On,” you’ll find Kim in her soaring, ultra-melodic, country-rock mode. This gal should be crowned an Americana Queen.

The Lone Bellow

The Lone Bellow

Writers: Will Hoge/Ashley Gorley/Zach Crowell; Producer: Will Hoge; Publishers: External Combustion Music/Songs of Southside Independent Music/Out of the Taperoom Music/Who Wants to Buy My Publishing/2013 BMG Platinum Songs/ Will Hoge Music; BMI/ASCAP; Cumberland Recordings (track)
-Will’s new CD is titled Never Give In. It comes out next month, but is available for pre-orders now at a discounted price. Meanwhile, he has a video available of its stirring first single, “Strong.” It’s about a salt-of-the-earth guy who’d give you the shirt off his back and who’ll love one woman all his life. I understand that it has been tapped as the 2014 theme song of the Chevy Silverado truck campaign, so get ready to hear it a bunch. Raspy voiced Will has been a rocker and a swamper who now seems to be morphing into a blue-collar country boy. In any guise, he’s a soul man.
Writers: L. Ortega; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publisher: none listed; Last Gang (track)
-Her album doesn’t drop until Oct. 8, but its title tune is already streaming. Its an echoey ballad that’s for every unknown, back-alley singer who dreams of making it big someday. “I wrote this song for those who are like me/Lost in the shining stars of Nashville, Tennessee,” she sings with winning sadness. I remain a fan.
JASON ISBELL/Flying Over Water
Writer: Jason Isbell; Producer: Dave Cobb; Publisher: Songs of Emchant/Fame, BMI; Southeastern
-Jason’s new Southeastern CD has been showcased on NPR, featured on CBS This Morning, performed on Conan and praised in many other media outlets. This urgent ode to love and distance has a rocking, electric track, but elsewhere on the collection he is more in a folk mode with simpler accompaniment. Either way, he’s one helluva poetic communicator. Troubadour triumphant.
Writers: G. Louris/C. Rose; Producers: Jordan Lehning, Caitlin Rose and Skylar Wilson; Publishers: Pearl Tower/Absinthe/Warner-Tamerlane, BMI; ATO (track)
-This snappy country-rocker puts a solid backbeat behind her fragile-rose soprano vocal. It’s one of the many delights to be found on her second album, The Stand-In. The collection is somewhat more fully produced than her debut. Caitlin is the daughter of top Music Row tunesmith Liz Rose. In a just universe, she would be a huge mainstream country success like her mom. As it is, we’ll accept her and cherish her as one of our city’s most literate and lilting alt-country artists.
GUY CLARK/My Favorite Picture of You
Writers: Guy Clark/Gordy Sampson; Producers: Guy Clark, Chris Latham and Shawn Camp; Publishers: EMI April/BMG Chrysalis, ASCAP; Dualtone (track)
-The tender title tune of this master song craftsman’s current CD is about his wife Susanna, who died last year. No one, but no one, can tell a story in song like this man can. His rumpled, well-worn vocal delivery is just as affecting as his extraordinary lyric. Last week, Guy was presented with an ACM Poet’s Award. In 2004, he was named to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Americana Music Association gave him a Lifetime Achievement honor in 2005. This collection, his first in four years, presents 11 new reasons why he deserves these and whatever other accolades we can bring him.
IRIS DEMENT/Go On Ahead and Go Home
Writer: Iris Dement; Producers: Bo Ramsey, Richard Bennett and Iris Dement; Publisher: Songs of Iris, ASCAP; Flariella (track)
-Backed by organ, guitar and rippling piano, this gospel anthem welcomes the “homecoming” that belongs to the faithful when they pass on. As usual, she sings with ringing, homespun authority. Produced in Music City, the entire Sing the Delta album will restore your faith in the power of country music. Much of it is informed by meditations on our mortality, but death has never sounded more inspirational.

'Chasing Nashville' To Premiere in October

chasing nashville logoLifetime docu-series Chasing Nashville will premiere Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 10 p.m. ET. The series follows four teenage entertainers through their budding professional lives as they pursue dreams of a recording contract. Each entertainer is coached and recruited for high-profile showcases by scouts, including producer Keith Thomas and writer-producer Deanna Walker.
The participants in Chasing Nashville include:
Autumn Blair – A true coal-miners daughter, Autumn hails from one of the back hollers of West Virginia and is related to Loretta Lynn.
Helena Hunt – From Clyde, N.C., Helena lives in an actual log cabin and is known for her incredible music talent, including her prowess while playing the banjo.
Lauren Marie Presley – Originally from Red Water, Texas, Lauren’s single mother puts everything behind her daughter’s dream while constantly reminding her that she may be related to the legendary Elvis Presley.
Savannah Little – From Pikeville, Ky., Savannah comes in tow with a mom who manages every aspect of her career and spares no expense to ensure that she shines.
The series also features entertainers Julia Knight, Celeste Turner and Tyra Short.
Lifetime has ordered nine hour-long episodes of the series.
Chasing Nashville is produced by Superfine Films and Thinkfactory Media. Steven Miller (Hillbilly Blood: A Hardscrabble Life) and Justin Green (Hillbilly Blood: A Hardscrabble Life) executive produce for Superfine Films. Adam Reed (Preachers’ Daughters), Adam Freeman (Gene Simmons Family Jewels) and Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) serve as executive producers for Thinkfactory Media, along with Lifetime’s Rob Sharenow, Gena McCarthy, Kimberly Chessler and Abigail Harvey.

No. 1 Celebration: Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel”

Pictured (L-R): Gaylord Entertainment/Grand Ole Opry’s Steve Buchanan, SESAC’s Tim Fink, co-writer Ketch Secor, BMI’s Clay Bradley, Darius Rucker, producer Frank Rogers, and Capitol Nashville’s Mike Dungan. Photo: Rick Diamond

Pictured (L-R): Gaylord Entertainment/Grand Ole Opry’s Steve Buchanan, SESAC’s Tim Fink, co-writer Ketch Secor, BMI’s Clay Bradley, Darius Rucker, producer Frank Rogers, and Capitol Nashville’s Mike Dungan. Photo: Rick Diamond

Monday night (Sept. 16), guests gathered at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium to celebrate Darius Rucker’s No. 1 hit “Wagon Wheel.” BMI and SESAC hosted the celebration on the Ryman’s stage, where guests wandered in the footsteps of so many storied performers. Written by Ketch Secor and icon Bob Dylan (who was not present), “Wagon Wheel” is published by Blood Donor Music and Special Rider Music.
BMI’s Clay Bradley welcomed the crowd, congratulating both Rucker and the song’s writers. “Where else would Bob Dylan, Ketch Secor and Darius Rucker come together but in Nashville, Tennessee,” he said before handing Secor a BMI guitar to celebrate his first No. 1. “We expect big hits to come out of that guitar,” he joked.
The song’s producer Frank Rogers stepped up to briefly discuss the story behind “Wagon Wheel” and Rucker’s fervor to record it. SESAC’s Tim Fink joined the stage to present special plaques and praise “Wagon Wheel,” saying, “’It’s been done in folk and bluegrass and now Darius Rucker brings it to country in a way I don’t think anyone else could.”
UMG’s Mike Dungan commanded the crowd’s attention, taking the stage to present “Impaler Awards” and honor the song. “It’s great to make music that has some impact, but it’s great to work with someone that changes your life,” he said, referencing his friendship with Rucker.
Presentations followed by Country Radio Broadcaster’s Bill Mayne and The Opry’s Steve Buchanan, who revealed plans to induct Old Crow Medicine Show into the Opry Tuesday evening, Sept. 17. Avenue Bank’s Ron Cox was also present to announce that a contribution had been made in the writers’ names to the Martha O’Bryan Center, where Secor volunteers.
Secor took the microphone to convey thanks and discuss the meaning of his first No. 1 song. “I’m humbled but ever so proud to share this song and this special night with my hero Bob Dylan,” he said.
Finally, Rucker expressed his gratitude, saying, “This is my sixth No. 1 in country music and that’s amazing to me. It’ll probably be the biggest song I ever have.” The singer ended his speech by turning to Secor and saying, “The best thing that came out of this for me was my friendship with Ketch.”
After the presentations ended, guests continued to mingle on the stage while evening light filtered through the Ryman’s stained glass windows.

Amy Grant, Kirk Franklin To Host 44th Annual Dove Awards

44th Annual Dove Awards logoThe Gospel Music Association has revealed Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin as hosts for the 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards. Gaither Vocal Band, Michael W. Smith, Tamela Mann and TobyMac are also confirmed as the first performers for the show, with more performers to be announced soon. The first round of presenters include Dr. Bobby Jones, Isaac Carree, Jaci Velasquez, Lacrae and Pastor Rick Warren.
The awards show will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., at 7:30 p.m. CT.
The show will be broadcast on Monday, Oct. 21st at 8:00 p.m. ET exclusively on the UP network. Tickets are available now at the Allen Arena box office in Nashville or at ticketsnashville.com.
GMA Executive Director Jackie Patillo states, “There are not too many names more synonymous with Christian and Gospel music than our hosts Amy and Kirk. We are so grateful for their contributions to the Dove Awards throughout the years and we’re excited to have them as the co-pilots of what is turning out to be one of the most compelling nights of music ever on the Dove stage.”
For a complete list of Dove Award nominees, visit doveawards.com.

MusicRowPics: Zane Williams

Singer-songwriter Zane Williams stopped by the MusicRow offices on Monday (Sept. 16) to perform songs from his album Overnight Success. The title track is a song he calls autobiographical. “It’s how to become an overnight success in the industry in 10 easy steps,” he said. A few of those steps include buying a second-hand amp, playing every day for nine or 10 years, eating fast food at every meal, firing the original band, buying a new van, burning out on music and coming back to it, and finally getting a shot at the “big time.” “I’ve lived every line in this song,” says Williams.
“I didn’t grow up listening to country music and didn’t grow up in a musical family,” says Williams. “It took me a while to figure out where I fit.” With his penchant for story songs, and his strong twangy vocals, it seems Country is a place his songs can call home. His songwriting has garnered plenty of awards and attention. He won the John Lennon Songwriting contest, and his song “The Big Picture” was the Grand Prize-winning entry in the 6th annual CMT/NSAI Song Contest. Williams is currently signed with BE Music & Entertainment for management, label representation and publishing. His songs have been recorded by Pat Green and Jason Michael Carroll (“Hurry Home”).
He performed “On A Good Day,” penned in the snowy mountains of Telluride, Colo. A couple hired him to perform at their wedding at their spacious log cabin in Telluride. A heavy snow fell during the event, leaving Williams unable to fly out to his next show. “I’m sitting there in this large log cabin with 25-foot bay windows and watching snow fall on the mountains, and I thought it would be a good setting for a song,” said Williams.
The song, along with “When You’ve Got A Woman” and “Overnight Success,” are on Williams’ album Overnight Success, produced by Williams and Tom Faulkner, who may be best known for helping create jingles for Motel 6 and Chilis’ babyback ribs. “He had so many great ideas on how to arrange things and different instrumental lines, that I brought him in to produce the album,” says Williams. Williams wrote every song on the project, which was recorded near his home in Dallas.
For more information on Zane Williams, visit zanewilliamsmusic.com.