Country Artist Granger Smith Preps Full Length Album

Granger Smith

Granger Smith

Country artist Granger Smith finds success as an unsigned artist from both his touring and strong online engagement. His resume includes an EP that hit No. 2 on the iTunes Country Chart and No. 6 on the all genres chart. The debut single “Backroad Song” reached the No. 2 position on the iTunes Country chart and sold 32,000 singles in its first week.

The EP, named 4×4, was released on May 4 of this year via Thirty Tigers. It is co-produced by Granger and Frank Rogers.

Granger has certainly taken an “out of the box” mentality and faced the grind of the road to connect with fans. He says that after his tour concludes this fall, he will have visited every state. Many fans discovered him after watching viral videos of his alter ego Earl Dibbles, Jr. This character developed as a chance to do something different. He recruited his brothers and filmed a video set to the song “Country Boy Song.” The video has amassed over 9.5 million views.

Smith is currently in Nashville writing with Frank Rogers and working on finishing up his full length album due this fall.

Pictured (L-R): Eric Parker, Kelsey Grady, Granger Smith, Sarah Skates, Sherod Robertson, Troy Stephenson

L-R: MR’s Eric Parker, Kelsey Grady, Granger Smith, MR’s Sarah Skates, Sherod Robertson, Troy Stephenson

Martina McBride On Building Brand with Nash Icon

Pictured (L-R): Scott Borchetta, Martina McBride. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images/Music Biz Awards.

Pictured (L-R): Scott Borchetta, Martina McBride. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images/Music Biz Awards.

Martina McBride took time to discuss with MusicRow her recent projects including a new deal with Nash Icon. The move marked her rejoining the Big Machine Label Group fold after stepping away to independently release her Everlasting soul and R&B cover album.

“I learned you have a lot of responsibility in releasing your own album,” McBride said on the red carpet of the Music Biz awards in Nashville last Thursday (May 14). “It’s important to surround yourself with great people and I’m super excited about the Nash Icon deal because of that—being surrounded by the best in the business. They think outside the box, have passion and positive energy. That’s half the battle and feels really good.

“There are quite a few differences between this Nash Icon deal and my old deal with Republic Nashville. Nash Icon has a string of radio stations with Cumulus. They’ve signed us to make new music for that format. So it’s a great opportunity to create and have a place for our fans to hear our music. And to be apart of something innovative, groundbreaking and a whole new format in country music.”

Martina McBride. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images/Music Biz Awards.

Martina McBride. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images/Music Biz Awards.

The first release on the label, headed by Jim Weatherson and Scott Borchetta, was Reba McEntire’s Love Somebody. Ronnie Dunn, McBride and most recently Hank Williams Jr. have been tapped to record new music for the Cumulus partnership of 26-operating Nash Icon radio stations, which is also distributed to stations nationwide through Westwood One.

McBride also discussed building her brand outside of music. In October of last year she released a book about hosting and entertaining titled, Around the Table (William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishing).

“The most successful way to build your brand is to be yourself,” McBride continued. “I love to cook and entertain and really wanted to write a book that made it easy for people who are overwhelmed or have never done it before.”

Another way McBride spends her time is with philanthropic efforts. Those include countless domestic violence projects, such as work with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Network to End Domestic Violence, Tulsa Domestic Violence as well as Loveisrespect and the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline to create the “My Time to Shine.” She also lends support to Middle Tennessee’s annual YWCA Celebrity Auction, Kids Wish Network, and Stand Up 2 Cancer Telethon.

“Philanthropy for me is all about using this platform to do some good and raise awareness and make a difference,” McBride summed of her efforts that earned her the Music Biz’s Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award last week.

McBride has sold over 18 million albums, which have included 20 Top 10 singles and six No. 1 hits. As she preps her next project, she recently invited songwriters to the Big Machine Label Group offices to discuss her upcoming work.

Industry Ink: SESAC Pop Awards, Mike Curb Honored, Taylor Childress, SoundExchange Series

SESAC 2015 Pop Music Award

Nashville executives travelled to the SESAC 2015 Pop Music Awards, held recently at the historic New York Public Library. City National Bank, an official sponsor of the event, was represented by executives Lori Badgett and Jim Irvin at the event, where they joined SESAC Vice President Ellen Truley on the red carpet.

The SESAC Pop Awards honor the top songwriters and publishers in the Pop, Urban and Rock music genres. The event draws over 450 writers, publishers and other music industry tastemakers and presented Performance Awards to such notables as American Authors, Young The Giant, Disclosure and Alt-J.

Pictured (L-R): SESAC’s Ellen Truley and City National Bank’s Jim Irvin & Lori Badgett. Photo: Shawn Ehlers

Pictured (L-R): SESAC’s Ellen Truley and City National Bank’s Jim Irvin & Lori Badgett. Photo: Shawn Ehlers

Metro Historical Commission Honors Mike Curb

Mike Curb received the Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Metro Nashville Historical Commission, during the group’s 40th Annual Preservation Awards at the Nashville Downtown Public Library on May 19. The Achievement Award is given to an individual in recognition of his/her commitment to preservation, education and advocacy of Nashville history. Curb was honored for his work in preserving Historic RCA Studio B, the Quonset Hut, the RCA Building, RCA Studio A and Music Row.

In his introduction of Curb, Commission member Don Cusic stated, “Nashville is known as Music City U.S.A. Music Row is the heart of Music City and Mike Curb is the heart of Music Row.”

Pictured (L-R): Metro Historic Commission member Don Cusic, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (who presented the award to Curb), Mike and Linda Curb.

Pictured (L-R): Metro Historic Commission member Don Cusic, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (who presented the award), Mike and Linda Curb.

Curb’s Taylor Childress Receives A2IM Appointment

Curb Records VP Taylor Childress was recently appointed to the A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) President’s Advisory Committee. The new board’s term will begin on July 4, 2015 and the new board and Advisory Committee and officers will officially be introduced during A2IM’s 10th Anniversary during Indie Week (June 22-25).

SoundExchange Series at The Bluebird

The SoundExchange Influencers Series is returning to Nashville’s Bluebird Café on Wednesday, May 27. Legendary gospel and R&B singer BeBe Winans will be joined by recent breakthrough gospel artist Jonathan McReynolds and young singer/songwriter Alexa Cruse. The SoundExchange Influencers Series demonstrates the impact of legacy artists on today’s music and provides a forum to address issues currently facing our music legends, namely, fair pay and recognition for all sound recordings across all mediums and all eras of music.

Artist Pics: Cole Swindell, The Swon Brothers, BMLG, BMI, Chase Bryant

Cole Swindell Kicks Off Pickin’ On The Patio

ACM’s New Artist of the Year Cole Swindell was surprised by a plaque presentation from the RIAA honoring his first three consecutive No. 1 singles before kicking off Warner Music’s Annual Pickin’ on the Patio.

Pictured (L-R): President and CEO, John Esposito, VP of Brand Management, Justin Luffman, Director of Communications and Gold & Platinum Program Recording Industry Association of America, Liz Kennedy Holman, EVP of Communications and Marketing, RIAA and KPentertainment/Red Light Management’s Waylon Weatherholt.

Pictured (L-R): President and CEO, John Esposito, VP of Brand Management, Justin Luffman, Director of Communications and Gold & Platinum Program Recording Industry Association of America, Liz Kennedy Holman, EVP of Communications and Marketing, RIAA and KPentertainment/Red Light Management’s Waylon Weatherholt.

The Swon Brothers At Golf & Guitars Charity Golf Tournament

Arista Nashville’s The Swon Brothers were part of the May 19th line-up of golfers, performers, and good times at KNCI Sacramento’s two-day Golf & Guitars 2015 charity golf tournament and concert. Colton’s foursome took home second place, with winnings going to his charity of choice: The Salvation Army.

Pictured (L-R):  KNCI Music Director Bre, Love and Theft’s Stephen Barker Liles, KNCI Program Director Byron Kennedy, The Swon Brothers’ Zach Swon, A Thousand Horsettes’ Whitney Coleman and Morgan Hebert, and The Swon Brothers’ Colton Swon

Pictured (L-R): KNCI Music Director Bre, Love and Theft’s Stephen Barker Liles, KNCI Program Director Byron Kennedy, The Swon Brothers’ Zach Swon, A Thousand Horsettes’ Whitney Coleman and Morgan Hebert, and The Swon Brothers’ Colton Swon

BMLG Supports Outnumber Hunger

With Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery at the helm, Big Machine Label Group lent a hand at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee in Nashville to continue their support of Outnumber Hunger.

Pictured (L-R): Danielle Bradbery, Scott Borchetta and Cassadee Pope. Photo: Kenny Jackson

Pictured (L-R): Danielle Bradbery, President/CEO BMLG Scott Borchetta and Cassadee Pope. Photo: Kenny Jackson

Hangout Fest With BMI

BMI performers at Hangout Music Fest included Elle King, Colony House, duo Steelism, and more.

Colony House 44: Showing off their backstage food options, BMI songwriters and Nashville-based indie rockers Colony House stands with BMI’s Bradley Collins (far left) and Mark Mason (far right) at the BMI Stage at Hangout Music Festival.

Colony House 44: Showing off their backstage food options, BMI songwriters and Nashville-based indie rockers Colony House stands with BMI’s Bradley Collins (far left) and Mark Mason (far right) at the BMI Stage at Hangout Music Festival.

Chase Bryant Hosts Country Music Hall Of Fame’s Words & Music

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum hosted its annual year-end celebration in honor of Words & Music, the museum’s flagship education program. Middle Tennessee participants and their families gathered in the museum’s Ford Theater for Words & Music Night along with host Chase Bryant.

Pictured (L-R): Cristy McNabb, Southwest Airline’s Community Affairs & Grassroots Regional Leader Ana Schwager, Recording Artist Chase Bryant, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s VP of Development Lisa Purcell and Director of Education and Public Programming Ali Tonn. Photo: Jason Davis, Getty Images

Pictured (L-R): Cristy McNabb, Southwest Airline’s Community Affairs & Grassroots Regional Leader Ana Schwager, Recording Artist Chase Bryant, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s VP of Development Lisa Purcell and Director of Education and Public Programming Ali Tonn. Photo: Jason Davis, Getty Images


Arranger/Musical Director Bill Walker Named Next Nashville Cat

Bill Walker

Bill Walker

Arranger and musical director Bill Walker will be featured at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s quarterly program series Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians on Saturday, May 30.

An interview with Walker will take place at 1:30pm at the Ford Theater inside the museum, included with museum admission and free to museum members. The program will be streamed live at

The program will support the current Hall of Fame exhibit Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats. The weekend event will include vintage recordings, photos, and film clips.

Walker has worked with Johnny Cash, Eddy Arnold, the Statler Brothers, Chet Atkins, Ray Charles, Loretta Lynn, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Ann-Margret, Roy Rogers, Billy Walker, Ferlin Husky, Donna Fargo and Wanda Jackson, among others.

For more information on this program or to purchase a museum ticket or membership, visit

NMPA Honors Include Senator Corker, Billy Joel, Among Others

NMPAThe National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) will honor Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Legendary singer-songwriter Billy Joel, Former ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento, and publisher Ralph Peer II during their annual meeting in New York City on June 17.

The event will feature performances by Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter LeAnn Rimes and singer-songwriters Westrin & Mowry. The keynote address will be given by National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu.

Senator Corker will receive the NMPA President’s Award that night from his efforts aimed at resolving the issues the digital age is causing music publishers and songwriters.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker

Billy Joel will be honored for his contributions to songwriting and advocacy for his profession.

The first-ever NMPA Industry Legacy Award will be presented to LoFrumento and the Lifetime Service Awards will go to Ralph Peer II for his career in music publishing.

“This year is incredibly significant for music publishers and songwriters, so it is only fitting that we have such important honorees at our Annual Meeting,” said NMPA President and CEO David Israelite. “Additionally, we’re excited to recognize Senator Corker’s steadfast commitment to helping songwriters succeed. Without his leadership helping creators achieve a fair wage in a free market, we would not be making the progress I believe we are making today.”

Mountain Music Champion Passes Away


Joe Wilson

Folk-festival organizer Joe Wilson died on Sunday, May 17, at age 77.

Wilson was a passionate champion of the music of his Appalachian homeland. He is best known as the director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. He was also a sideman, a journalist, a lobbyist and a fund-raiser.
Joe Wilson was a native of the community named Trade in the East Tennessee mountains. Raised in a musical family, he left home at age 17. After earning a two-year degree at Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, he hitch-hiked to Nashville.

He got a job in Marty Robbins’ band and went on the road with the superstar. Then he began writing for The Progressive magazine, covering the civil-rights movement in the Deep South. He also became a fund-raiser for historically black colleges.

Wilson was hired to lead the NCTA in 1976. This organization was founded in 1933, but achieved new prominence under his leadership. During his 28 years with the NCTA, he put together nearly 50 national and international tours that took mountain musicians such as Ricky Skaggs around the world.

He was a mentor to the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Jay Orr and a hero to such musicians as Dudley Connell of The Seldom Scene, Sammy Shelor of the Lonesome River Band and Jerry Douglas of Allison Krauss & Union Station.

Joe Wilson helped to create the Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax, VA. He wrote the text for all of its exhibits and narrated all of the video clips at the venue.

The Crooked Road music-heritage trail in Virginia was also his brainchild, and he wrote a 2006 book about it. He helped to reinvigorate the National Folk Festival and came to Nashville with it in 2011. Among the performers were The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Darrell Scott, Larry Cordle, The McCrary Sisters, The Whites, Aubrey Ghent and Emmylou Harris.

He wrote the liner notes for the 1988 CD that reissued the pioneering 1928-30 country records of Grayson & Whitter. The duo was the first to record the famous folk tune “Tom Dooley.” After his retirement, Wilson settled in Whitter’s hometown of Fries, VA.

Joe Wilson had been in declining health for several years. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Blue Ridge Music Center.

The Producer’s Chair: Carl Jackson

Carl Jackson.

Carl Jackson

By: James Rea

Two-Time Grammy Winner Carl Jackson appeared on The Producer’s Chair on Thursday, May 28, 2015 Douglas Corner at 6 p.m.

Anyone who knows anything about bluegrass, knows the name Carl Jackson. He now has songwriting, production or publishing credits on over 650 albums with over 450 cuts as a writer. His song “Little Mountain Church House,” which was the 1990 International Bluegrass Music Association Song of the Year, has been recorded by over 100 artists. According to Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, Carl has written eight of the top bluegrass songs of all time.

Artists featured in Carl’s enormous body of work include: Emmylou Harris (13 albums), Dolly Parton (16 albums), Vince Gill (16 albums), Glen Campbell (16 albums), Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Dwight Yoakam, Garth Brooks, John Anderson, Pam Tillis, Radney Foster, Joe Diffie, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, Marty Stuart, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams Jr., Rodney Crowell, Linda Ronstadt, Keith Whitley, George Jones, Rhonda Vincent, Patty Loveless, Ashley Monroe, Travis Tritt, Merle Haggard, Jon Randall, Blake Shelton, Joey + Rory, Nancy Sinatra, Tony Rice, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Mountain Heart, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tricia Yearwood, Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Keb’ Mo’ and the Father of bluegrass himself Bill Monroe.

He won his first Grammy in 1992, for his album with John Starling entitled Spring Training. A few months later he received a Dove Award for Southern Gospel Song of the Year,“Where Shadows Never Fall,” recorded by Glen Campbell. The beautiful ballad,“No Future In The Past,” by Vince Gill was a huge songwriting success for Carl and was named the No. 1 Country Song of the Year for 1993 by Radio & Records magazine.

Carl’s second Grammy was for the 2003 Country Album of the Year, Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’ – Songs of The Louvin Brothers. “How’s The World Treating You,” an incredible duet from the album, featuring James Taylor and Alison Krauss also won the 2003 Grammy for Vocal Collaboration of the Year, for which Jackson received a Grammy certificate.

Carl has 5 IBMA Awards, 3 ASCAP Awards, and an International TV Programming Award. He’s a Mississippi Musicians Hall of Famer and an SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats inductee. He won SPBGMA Songwriter of the Year twice.

Another monumental Jackson project Mark Twain: Words & Music released in 2011, tells the life story of the great Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and contains magical musical performances by Emmylou Harris, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent, Bradley Walker, The Church Sisters, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, Marty Raybon, Val Storey, Vince Gill, Joe Diffie and Ricky Skaggs, as well as narration by Garrison Keillor, along with Jimmy Buffet, as the voice of Huck Finn, and non-other than Mr. Clint Eastwood, as the legendary Mark Twain. Carl even performs a song himself, entitled “Safe Water,” co-written with his buddy, Jerry Salley.

For the past two-and-a-half years, Jackson has been engrossed in his latest project that was released on May 12, titled Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited. The project involves a multi-artist, star-studded tribute to the “Big Bang of Country Music” that happened in Bristol, Tenn. during the summer of 1927.

The state of Mississippi honored Carl with an official Country Music Trail Marker in his hometown of Louisville, Mississippi.

The state of Mississippi honored Carl with an official Country Music Trail Marker in his hometown of Louisville, Mississippi.

The Producer’s Chair: What have you been doing since our last interview in 2012?

Carl Jackson: I play every Monday night at The Station Inn with Larry Cordle and Val Storey, along with Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Catherine Marx on keyboards, Doug Jernigan on steel guitar, Mike Bub on bass and Larry Atamanuik on drums.

The Orthophonic Joy project has taken my time completely for the past two and a half years.

I’ve worked with Dolly and with Brad Paisley. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent, Nu-Blue and The Trinity River Band have recorded my songs. I’ve got another Bradley Walker project basically in the can. I’m working on a Joey + Rory gospel project.

Did you come up with the idea of Orthophonic Joy, or was it brought to you?

Rusty Morrell brought the idea to me. He’s a native of Bristol. It was kind of a dream of his to do something to honor the Bristol Sessions. He was very familiar with the Louvin Brothers project that I did years ago and the Mark Twain project.

Rusty and I have known each other for a long time—over 20 years. It made me feel really good that he trusted me with the idea. He told me, If you take this on I know it will get done right. If you agree to do it. I’ll come up with the funding.” We both approached the State of Tennessee and then the State of Virginia also came onboard to help fund the project. Then we were able to land distribution through Sony Legacy.

Where does one begin, on a project of this magnitude?

There’s a lot of prep work. You start making phone calls to people that you want to take part in the project. So, the first calls I made were to Vince, Marty Stuart, Emmylou, Dolly—artists like them that are my close friends. They certainly know and love the history of the music.

Then you branch off and you get superb artists like my dear friends, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, etc. I try to mix things up a lot when I do these things—I have some country artists on this one. I’ve got some pop artists like Sheryl. Keb’ Mo’ is on there. There’s a wide variety—plus some new artists. I always try to include some new artists that deserve recognition.

As far as new artists, I added The Shotgun Rubies, a group I put together made up of Val Storey, Delnora Reed, and Dani Flowers. There are The Church Sisters who are phenomenal singers. They’re an ancient 19 years old. And a new kid named Corbin Hayslett. Corbin is the winner of our contest. We had a contest similar to what Ralph Peer did in 1927, when he put the ad in the paper and asked people to come to Bristol to show up to audition. We did a Facebook campaign.

Originally there were 76 tracks recorded during the Bristol Sessions. How did you decide what songs were going to be on the new project?

I went through the box set of the Bristol Sessions more than once. I picked out probably my 25-30 favorites. And as I started bringing the artists on board I would usually have two or three tracks in mind that I felt would be best for them. It was kind of like the Louvin Brothers Project. It just fell into place.

Vince Gill said, “I want to do a Jimmie Rogers tune.” I said, “Well, Jimmie Rogers only did two tunes on the sessions.” Those were his first two recordings ever, and that was, ‘Sleep, Baby, Sleep’ and ‘The Soldier’s Sweetheart.’” He said, “Well, I dang sure don’t yodel. So let’s do ‘The Soldier’s Sweetheart.’”

Who are the musicians on the album?

Some of the bands are self-contained, like the Rangers. But there is also Aubrey Haynie, Andy Leftwich, Kevin Grantt, Dennis Crouch, Bryan Sutton, Ashley Campbell, Steve Martin is playing the banjo on his track, Adam Steffey, Spencer Strickland, Rob Ickes, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Tony Creasman, Catherine Marx and I’m playing probably 85 percent of the guitar.

Who engineered the project?

The tracks were recorded by John ‘Hip Hop’ Caldwell. And Luke Wooten did mixing and mastering for me, as always.

Where did you record the album?

I recorded the vast majority of it at Station West, Luke’s studio over in Berry Hill. There were a couple of things that were done outside of there. I did Sheryl’s vocals at her place. I did Vince’s vocals over at his house. Brad’s guitar and vocal parts were done at his house.

Does the album, in some fashion, pay tribute to Ralph Peer?

There are 37 tracks on this 2-CD set, but 18 of them are music and 19 of them are narrations. My narrator is Eddie Stubbs and the script was written by Dr. Cindy Lovell who is the director of the Mark Twain Home and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. It’s a beautiful script, and Eddie was the perfect voice to tell the story. And, yes, we tell the entire story. Pop Stoneman finally gets the credit he deserves for encouraging Ralph Peer to come to Bristol in the first place. Pop Stoneman is really a lot more behind the whole Bristol Sessions than people realize. He was already a big star in 1927.

Is there was one magic moment that stands out during the project?

Do I have to pick one?! There were many. I love the song “The Storms Are On The Ocean.” It’s one of my favorite songs that was recorded back in ’27 on the Sessions. Written long before then, I’m sure. That was my favorite one, so I was holding it back for Dolly. She liked it a lot, of course, but then she asked me to play her some more things just to see what else I had in mind. I played her “When They Ring Those Golden Bells.” And she immediately said, “That’s the one I want to do. I’ve been singing that since I was a little girl.” So that was a really neat moment, a bit of divine intervention.

I wanted Keb’ Mo’ on the project, but he was one of the few artists that I didn’t know. But my engineer John Caldwell knew him and picked up the phone and called Keb. We were in the studio at Station West, and when he called Keb was one block away carrying one of his guitars over to Joe Glaser. And Keb came straight to the studio and we recorded “To The Work.” And I had never met him before. He was a super nice guy and great player. And so that was another bit of divine intervention.

Keb had a young boy with him who was a protégé of his. He was even named after him. His name was Keb Hutchings McMahon. He calls himself ‘Keb’ H’ Mac’. While Keb and I were talking about what we were going to do on the record, he looked over at me and said, “It might be a good idea to let little Keb play on here, too.” I had heard little Keb and he was good, so we wound up putting little Keb on his first ever recording with Keb’ Mo’ doing “To The Work.” That was a special thing that I was able to give to somebody. Corbin Hayslett winning the contest and being on the project was another. Corbin is a great guy, and he’s an old soul. He’s 21 years old, but if he’d been born in 1927 he’d have been bigger than Babe Ruth. Babe hit 60 homeruns in 1927. That’s pretty big. 

Are any of the descendants of any of the original artists on the project?

At 85 years old it’s really cool to have Jesse McReynolds on it and playing his granddaddy’s fiddle which was played on the original 1927 sessions. Charles McReynolds played the fiddle that Jesse is playing. In 1927 Charles played it on the original session in a group called The Bull Mountain Moonshiners, I believe. Jesse has recorded Johnny Goodwin and “The Girl I Left Behind” with just me and him standing in the studio with just guitar and fiddle and then also talking about it. And there’s also Jimmy Edmonds, whose granddaddy Norman Edmonds played on the original sessions. Jimmy is part of The Virginia Luthiers. They’re on the record, too, doing “Train On The Island” with Larry Cordle.

How about the musical arrangements—did you do all of them?

I did them all. There’s a couple of cases, like in Corbin’s case. Corbin sent his video for the contest of him doing Darling Cora”with just him and a clawhammer banjo. It absolutely smoked off the screen. So, I cut Corbin live with a bass. It’s Corbin Hayslett along with Dennis Crouch playing bass, and its Corbin’s arrangement.

I gave Doyle Lawson the arrangement on “I’m Redeemed.” It’s the opening track. It was originally done by the AlcoaQuartet. It’s an old traditional hymn. Doyle went in and did it with his group. So, in other words, there are a few things. “Sweet Heaven When I Die”—Steve Martin and The Steel Canyon Rangers—we all basically arranged that together. But most of them I’m the arranger on.

Has anyone presented the thought of a documentary or a movie about the Bristol Sessions?

We’re doing it. It’s already in the works! We’ve got tons of footage from the project that is being put together that we hoped would be out at the same time to release in a package. I hope there will be a package that contains everything at some point. But the documentary is to follow, yes.

Is there a possibility that there might be a tour or a concert of some sort?

Yes, there is. We actually opened in Galax, Virginia last weekend. We did two days with about 10 of the artists off of the CD. There is talk of doing some things. We are going to do Larry’s Country Diner. On June 2, we’re doing Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam and yes, there is talk of doing a theatre run or something like that. It’s a really cool thing for stage.

Disc One

  1. Don’t Deny Yourself The Sheer Joy Of Orthophonic Music” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “I’m Redeemed” performed by The Alcoa Quartet) Eddie Stubbs
  2. I’m Redeemed” (Traditional arrangement by Doyle Lawson) Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  3. All They Needed Now Was Talent” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “Bury Me Beneath The Willow” performed by The Carter Family) Eddie Stubbs
  4. Bury Me Beneath The Willow’” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) Emmylou Harris
  5. Tonight He Is Playing The Old, Old Tune At Police Headquarters” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “Black-Eyed Susie” performed by J.P. Nester & Norman Edmonds) Eddie Stubbs
  6. Black-Eyed Susie” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) Marty Stuart
  7. An Early Tradition of Scrapping For Rights And Royalties” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “When They Ring Those Golden Bells” performed by Alfred G. Karnes) Eddie Stubbs
  8. When They Ring Those Golden Bells” (Dion De Marbelle) (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) Dolly Parton
  9. I Wish I Had Some Rocks To Throw At Them” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “The Storms Are On The Ocean” performed by The Carter Family) Eddie Stubbs
  10. The Storms Are On The Ocean” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) Ashley Monroe
  11. Any Song With A Story Will Go To The People’s Hearts” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “I Am Resolved” performed by Ernest V. Stoneman & His Dixie Mountaineers) Eddie Stubbs
  12. I Am Resolved” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) The Shotgun Rubies
  13. A Hoedown Social In A Mountain Cabin” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “Sweet Heaven When I Die” performed by The Tenneva Ramblers) Eddie Stubbs
  14. Sweet Heaven When I Die” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson, Steve Martin, and The Steep Canyon Rangers) Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers
  15. Daddy Never Knew When He Would Come Up With An Idea For A Song” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “The Soldier’s Sweetheart” performed by Jimmie Rodgers) Eddie Stubbs
  16. The Soldier’s Sweetheart” (Jimmie Rodgers) Vince Gill
  17. Where The Blues Meets The Church” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “To The Work” performed by Alfred G. Karnes) Eddie Stubbs
  18. To The Work” (Fannie J. Crosby & William H. DoaneKeb’ Mo’

Disc Two

  1. Singers Who Had Not Visited Bristol During Their Entire Lifetime Arrived” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “Where We’ll Never Grow Old” performed by Alfred G. Karnes) Eddie Stubbs
  2. Where We’ll Never Grow Old” (James C. MooreThe Church Sisters
  3. Love, Loss, And The Perils Of The Moonshine Business” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “Darling Cora” performed by B.F. Shelton) Eddie Stubbs
  4. Darling Cora” – (Traditional arrangement by Corbin Hayslett) Corbin Hayslett
  5. Ramblers Riding The Longest Train I Ever Saw” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “The Longest Train I Ever Saw” performed by the Tenneva Ramblers) Eddie Stubbs
  6. In The Pines” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) Brad Paisley & Carl Jackson
  7. Twenty-One Good Years At The Throttle” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “The Wreck Of The Virginian” performed by Blind Alfred Reed) Eddie Stubbs
  8. The Wreck Of The Virginian” (Alfred ReedAshley & Shannon Campbell
  9. Prized And Practical, Brutal Ballads” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “Pretty Polly” performed by B.F. Shelton) Eddie Stubbs
  10. Pretty Polly” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) Carl Jackson
  11. Tremendous Heart Punch And Appeal” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “The Wandering Boy” performed by The Carter Family) Eddie Stubbs
  12. The Wandering Boy” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) Sheryl Crow
  13. Gotta Catch That Train” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “Train On The Island” performed by J.P. Nester & Norman Edmonds) Eddie Stubbs
  14. Train On The Island” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson & Larry Cordle) Larry Cordle & The Virginia Luthiers
  15. History Saws And Strums Along With Itself” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “Johnny Goodwin” performed by the Bull Mountain Moonshiners) Eddie Stubbs
  16. Johnny Goodwin/The Girl I Left Behind” (Traditional arrangement by Jesse McReynolds & Carl Jackson) Jesse McReynolds & Carl Jackson
  17. Introducing The Orthophonic Choir” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “At The River” performed by the Tennessee Mountaineers)
  18. Shall We Gather At The River” (Traditional arrangement by Carl Jackson) The Chuck Wagon Gang & The Orthophonic Choir
  19. The Birthplace Of Country Music” (Narrative: Cindy Lovell; Background score: “I’m Redeemed” performed by the Alcoa Quartet, “At The River” performed by Tennessee Mountaineers, and “Shall We Gather AT The River” (Refrain) performed by The Chuck Wagon Gang & The Orthophonic Choir) Eddie Stubbs

Luke Bryan Shares Details Behind Artifacts in New Exhibit

Luke sees his exhibit for the first time with his mother in the background and manager Keri Edwards behind. Photo: Jason Davis/Getty Images for CMHOF

Luke sees his exhibit for the first time with his mother in the background and manager Kerri Edwards behind. Photo: Jason Davis/Getty Images for CMHOF

Luke Bryan’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum summer exhibit, Luke Bryan: Dirt Road Diary presented by Citi, opens to the public today, May 22.

Bryan took time to answer questions about a handful of the most meaningful artifacts during a press preview event in Nashville earlier this week. Those included his first guitar, the first song he wrote, a piano from his room and a backpack he almost lost at school.

“For years, some of my first instruments were at home,” said Bryan. “We loved having them there, but this forced us to bring them to Nashville. Once they leave here, I’ll be able to take them to some of my guitar guys to get them tuned up for wherever their resting place may be.”

  • First Guitar –“I was traveling to visit family friends on a Greyhound from Tallahassee, Fl. to Jennings, Louisiana when I was 14-years-old. I had a Walkman with No Fences (Garth Brooks), Killin’ Time (Clint Black) and Too Cold At Home (Mark Chesnutt) and listened to those albums the whole way. During that trip, there was a kid who was probably 16-years-old playing guitar and I saw how the girls swooned. Then we went to Gatlinburg, Tenn. where there were people playing guitars on the street and over those few weeks I got really inspired. Back home, I knew there was a gentleman named Connel Anderson who had guitars. He brought an extra one over and I’m sure it took me three months to learn how to tune it. Now I think, how did this guitar that was once leaned up against my bed when I was around 14-years-old, make it to the Hall of Fame? Wow!”
  • First song – “We found the very first song I wrote and performed for my church called “The Day He Turned Me Around.” It was a Christian song we found in my piano bench. I remember being on stage putting it on the pulpit and being really nervous to sing it in front of my family in the audience. You don’t realize at the time what you’re laying the groundwork for. Since then, something has spilled on the lyrics and you can’t see half of them as the ink has faded over time. That was probably when I was around 15-years old and it’s neat to see that piece of paper again.”
  • Wurlitzer Spinet Piano – “It’s a family friend’s piano that I don’t know if we ever formally asked to bring up here, but it’s here! I took piano briefly in 3rd-4th grade and it didn’t really stick. But the piano lived in my room because there was limited space in our house. When I started playing guitar it made me get back into piano, but I’m still quite limited on it. I learned Ronnie Milsap chords but never learned how to make big runs or learn theory. I played it quite a bit though. My brother worked the night shift and I would pay piano while he was sleeping at night. He ran me off quite a bit! The piano wound up at my mothers house and I would play it from time to time when I’d go home.”
  • Backpack – “It looks like an old army pack that probably my dad had. It started as my brother’s backpack and had his name written really big on it. I left it somewhere in school in second or third grade and one of the teachers came on the bus saying we have ‘Chris Bryan’s backpack.’ I wasn’t paying attention and she turned to walk off the bus and then realized it was mine. I wrote my name on it to make sure that didn’t happen again.”
Luke Bryan's childhood piano. Photo: Jason Davis/Getty Images for CMHOF

Luke Bryan’s childhood piano. Photo: Jason Davis/Getty Images for CMHOF

“I was really pleased at the stuff my mother was able to find,” said Bryan. “I’m just so enamored by the city of Nashville and the music scene. Anytime I can be associated with the staples of Nashville: The Opry, The Hall of Fame, Music Row–I’m very honored.

“I remember taking my dad through [the Hall of Fame] one time watching a video of Garth when I first moved here. It’s pretty cool knowing that people will be moving to town, taking their families and showing them my exhibit.

“I’m a total geek. Today I was pulling off Wedgewood [Avenue] and saw the Hall of Fame’s billboard. I remember being here 10-years ago driving on the 440-loop seeing other artists up there. It’s surreal.”

Additional items in the summer exhibit include:

  • Little League baseball uniform and glove
  • Second grade denim jacket
  • A script from his high school production of Annie Get Your Gun, in which he starred
  • Handwritten lyrics to his 2014 chart-topping single, “I See You”
  • Stage props from his Spring Break concerts
  • Tour posters
  • Stage clothes worn by Bryan at concerts and awards shows
  • Music awards, including trophies for his ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year wins
  • Bow and arrows used by Bryan on the Outdoor Channel reality series Buck Commander: Protected by Under Armour

Luke Bryan: Dirt Road Diary will run through November 8, 2015 at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame.

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