Bobby Karl Works The Americana Cross County Lines Festival

Patty Griffin performing at our Cross-County Lines Festival. Photo: Sarah Comardelle

Patty Griffin performing at the Cross County Lines Festival. Photo: Sarah Comardelle

Chapter 456
The inaugural music event at Franklin’s Harlinsdale Farm was a success on every level.
The gig, Saturday’s “Cross County Lines Festival,” was staged by the Americana Music Association with Nissan as the presenting sponsor. Parking, security, ticketing and all the other logistics were flawlessly executed. Sound and lights were top notch. The grassy lawn was comfy, and the balmy weather couldn’t have been better. The concessions featured an array of food trucks (one offering a cheeseburger pie), and the merch tent offered vinyl LPs of several of the headliners.
Ah, yes, the headliners. Musically, the fest was a triumph. North Mississippi Allstars leader (and former Black Crowes guitarist) Luther Dickinson opened and earned himself some new fans. So did Joe Pug. The best of the openers was Nashvillian Parker Millsap, for whom I predict Americana stardom.
Winsome Ashley Monroe trilled delightfully. Show-stealing Brandy Clark was a revelation. She was practically a living tutorial on songwriting and backed up her troubadour talent with lively stage patter. Clark pointed out with some surprise how attentive and un-rowdy the crowd was. It’s true. The audience was as mellow and appreciative as could be.
Patty Griffin was super soulful, dipping frequently into gospel-tinged melodies and grooving steadily with her band. Rocking John Hiatt closed the show and matched Patty for soul-drenched delivery. During the daylight hours, there was a small, acoustic, secondary stage featuring assorted singer-songwriters.
I estimate that the six-hour fest drew about 2,000 folks. But take that with a grain of salt, since I have never been known as an expert crowd counter. Kids were admitted free, so the fest had a family-friendly vibe.
Several friendly faces dotted the landscape. Working the “room” were Garth Fundis, David Macias, Michael Gray (with his son, who is heading for UT this fall), Jaclyn Carter, Nina Miller, Pete Loesch, Jason Moon Wilkins (who is now with Thirty Tigers), Tracy Gershon, Jed Hilly, Shelley Mays and Jacqueline Marushka.
The outdoor fest capped a 10-day, 10-venue “Americana Experience” in Franklin. I didn’t know there were even 10 venues in Franklin, but evidently there are, including at least three that start with the word “Puckett.”
It is my understanding that Harlinsdale Farm is to become a city park. Which is excellent news. It’s across the street from The Factory, where we dined at Saffire, to the accompaniment of a gypsy-jazz fiddle-guitar-bass trio.
ama_cclfestival 10.33.27 AM Goes Live

Gus Wenner photo by Sacha Lecca

Gus Wenner, photo by Sacha Lecca debuted yesterday (June 1), and is the iconic magazine’s first franchise dedicated to a single genre. Senior Editor Beville Dunkerley is heading the publication’s first Nashville outpost from offices on 16th Ave. S. Also on board is Senior Editor Joseph Hudak.
To coincide with the website launch, the June 19 issue of Rolling Stone magazine will be its first all-Country edition. The cover will be revealed tomorrow, Tues., June 3 on Good Morning America. As of now, no plans have been announced for a regularly scheduled print magazine devoted to Country.
“For the week of our launch, we’ve crafted an editorial calendar that shows the breadth of our coverage,” said Dunkerley. “We have three huge interviews: one with a heritage act, one with a current chart-topper and one with a brand new act that’s causing a lot of buzz. Whether people love [artists like] Emmylou Harris or Taylor Swift or Sturgill Simpson, we have a little something for everybody.”
Given Country music’s ties to the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, Director Gus Wenner said that delving into the Country world isn’t a huge leap for the publication co-founded by his father Jann Wenner in 1967. “Everyone here in this building has a deep understanding of music history, and a deep love for rock ‘n’ roll,” said Gus Wenner on a recent call from his office in New York. “Country and bluegrass formed rock ‘n’ roll and all the artists that we have covered so heavily throughout the years, whether it’s Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan, have been greatly influenced by Country music.”
Beville Dunkerley

Beville Dunkerley

Driven by a deep appreciation for genre stalwarts George Jones, Tom T. Hall, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton, Gus Wenner and his team began discussing the possibility of a Country franchise last year. “It is a genre where there are so many fascinating things going on that we started talking about covering more Country on the website and people began to get on board and come up with editorial ideas. So I went down to Nashville to get a sense of the culture, musicians and the music industry.”
His exploratory trips to Music City solidified his plans to start RS Country. “I idolized Nashville a little, after years of listening to Nashville Skyline, and watching the show, and hearing so many great things about it,” he said. “But when I went down there it went above and beyond [my expectations]. Being in a place where the craft of songwriting is appreciated so much really left an impression on me. To be around so many people who had such a deep love for music and people who say what they think—I was blown away and impressed. I felt like that was the green light to put resources, and everything we have, behind this.” (Rolling Stone publisher Chris McLoughlin told Ad Age that $1 million was being spent on the site’s launch.)
According to Dunkerley, who previously started the Country news site The Boot, RS Country will cover plenty of “music nerd stuff.” The site will have about eight news posts per day, including song and video premieres, executive profiles, songwriter spotlights, unique video content, and day-in-the-life pieces, covering everything from mainstream Country stars to their neighbors in the Americana and bluegrass worlds. Freelance writers will contribute to the site’s content, as Dunkerley and Hudak are the only full-time local staffers.
Rolling Stone Country is likely to follow in the footsteps of its parent publication and stir up a little controversy from time to time. “We’re going to tackle controversial topics,” said Dunkerley. “We’re not going to glorify music that we don’t respect, and a lot of bad music is on the top of the charts. That’s not to say that we’re going to ignore it, but we’re not going to glorify it. We’ll try not to offend too many people, but oftentimes it is the more controversial articles that end up being water cooler fodder and leads to more eyeballs on the site.”
• • • •
Did you know? The logos of MusicRow magazine and Rolling Stone magazine were both created by the late graphic designer Bill Johnson.

Dot Records Signs Maddie and Tae

(L-R): Allison Jones, Scott Borchetta, Chris Stacey and Mike Molinar with Maddie and Tae

(L-R): Allison Jones, Scott Borchetta, Chris Stacey and Mike Molinar with Maddie and Tae

The first signing to BMLG’s Dot Records is duo Maddie & Tae, comprised of 18-year-olds Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye, MusicRow has confirmed. Their debut single “Girl In A Country Song” will impact radio this summer.
“I am thrilled that Maddie & Tae will be the first act to be released on Dot Records!” said Dot Records GM Chris Stacey. “They are phenomenally talented young ladies who have captured a sound that is unique in today’s Country landscape and I believe that they will send a message to the world that can’t be denied.”
maddie and taeThe duo first caught the attention of Big Machine Music Vice President Mike Molinar and staff writer/producer Aaron Scherz, and went on to impress Big Machine Label Group President and CEO Scott Borchetta. Maddie & Tae is also signed to Big Machine Music.
Working the single at radio will be previously announced promotion team Kris Lamb (Director of National Promotion), James Marsh (Director of Southwest Promotion), Bill Lubitz (Director of West Coast Promotion), Michelle Tigard-Kammerer (Director of Midwest/Northeast Promotion), EJ Bernas (Director of Southeast Promotion), Rachel Dobson (Promotion Manager) and Garrett Hill (Executive Assistant).
Marlow is from Sugar Land, Texas and Dye is from Ada, Oklahoma, which is also the hometown of Country superstar Blake Shelton.
Maddie & Tae moved to Nashville three days after high school graduation and cite Shania Twain, Loretta Lynn and Lee Ann Womack as influences.
Dot Records relaunched earlier this year.