Black River Overflows With Entertainment At CRS Luncheon

Pictured (L-R): Black River's VP of A&R, Doug Johnson; John King; Kellie Pickler; Black River's, CEO Gordon Kerr; Craig Morgan; Black River's General Manager, Greg McCarn; Black River's VP Promotion, Bill MackyPhoto: John Russell

Pictured (L-R): Black River’s VP of A&R, Doug Johnson; John King; Kellie Pickler; Black River’s, CEO Gordon Kerr; Craig Morgan; Black River’s General Manager, Greg McCarn; Black River’s VP Promotion, Bill Macky. Photo: John Russell

On Friday (Feb. 21), MusicRow attended Black River Entertainment’s CRS event at Nashville’s Convention Center, featuring performances by Craig Morgan, Kellie Pickler and John King, among others. Legions of industry officials packed into the convention center’s massive performance hall, filled with excitement and scrumptious southern nosh, including greens, potatoes and fried chicken. While guests feasted and socialized, two screens played songs by Kacey Musgraves, Billy Currington, The Band Perry and other artists with songs published by Black River Publishing.

Craig Morgan appeared on stage in a blaze of red light and kicked off the event with songs from his album The Journey, including “Party Girl” and “We’ll Come Back Around.” Morgan took pause to thank the crowd, saying, “I’m excited to be here. We love what we do and we have you all to thank for that.” Morgan, who previously served in the Army, commemorated our country’s veterans, before launching into a powerhouse performance of his single “Wake Up Lovin’ You,” which earned him a standing ovation from the crowd.

Country darling Kellie Pickler took the stage next to perform songs from her album The Woman I Am. The singer enjoyed a busy and profitable 2013 touring on behalf of her album, winning ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and performing on her 7th USO Tour. “Country radio is the messenger telling my story to the rest of the world,” she said. “We’re so excited to have new music out to share with you today.” Pickler performed “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Selma Drye,” named after the singer’s grandmother, and her latest single “Closer To Nowhere,” before raising her cup to the audience with a heartfelt “Cheers.”

The afternoon’s final performance featured songwriters Kelsea Ballerini, Josh Osborne, Forest Whitehead and Black River’s newest addition John King. The quartet sat in an intimate replica of Nashville’s Bluebird Café to the right of the stage, performing snippets of songs, including Osborne’s co-written hits “Drunk Last Night,” “Dust” and the Grammy-winning “Merry Go Round.” Afterwards, King jumped onstage for a full band performance of three songs, displaying the enthusiastic showmanship of a veteran act. “I’m the new Black River baby, and I’m so happy to be here,” he said, before rounding out the afternoon with a performance of his single “Tonight, Tonight.”

When the event ended, guests dispersed as quickly as they had arrived, proceeding to the remaining CRS events on a temperate Nashville day.

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Michael Smith is the Operations Manager at MusicRow Enterprises, where he works in the sales and editorial departments, and manages MusicRow's CountryBreakout Chart. He holds a BA from Vanderbilt University. Please send feedback to [email protected]

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