Industry Ink: CMA Foundation, Rock The Cradle, No Shave November, Dickinson Wright, Hart Street Entertainment

CMA Foundation, Charles Kelley Announce Research Funding For National Association For Music Education

Pictured (L-R): Glenn Nierman, President, President; Elijah Micheaux; Sarah Trahern, Chief Executive Officer, CMA; Charles Kelley; Ron Samuels, Board Chairman, CMA Foundation; Beth Slusher, President and Chair, Give a Note Foundation Board. Photo: Dusty Draper / CMA

Pictured (L-R): Glenn Nierman, President, President; Elijah Micheaux; Sarah Trahern, Chief Executive Officer, CMA; Charles Kelley; Ron Samuels, Board Chairman, CMA Foundation; Beth Slusher, President and Chair, Give a Note Foundation Board. Photo: Dusty Draper / CMA

During the annual conference of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the CMA Foundation and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum announced a $150,000 grant from the CMA Foundation to the Give A Note Foundation. In 2011, the NAfME created the Give A Note Foundation to strengthen music education opportunities through grants and research. The grant will bring CMA’s music education funding for 2016 to a record $2.6 million, bringing the organization’s total contributions to $13.6 million. The grant recipients for 2016 will be announced in coming months.

The grant will fund a national study on access to music education that can be analyzed and made available to organizations who wish to make informed decisions for philanthropic gifts in music education – where the need exists, and where the infrastructure exists to make gifts sustainable and impactful.

“We couldn’t think of a better platform to talk about the importance of supporting sustainable music education programs than sharing this expanded strategy with the teachers who are on the front line of this important issue every day,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

“The CMA continuing their mission to support music education is something all of us artists are proud to be part of,” said Kelley. “But, what really takes it to the next level for me is that they continue to reevaluate where the money is going so that the resources can be used where they are most valuable. I think that evolution of giving makes an even bigger impact on these kids.”


Rock the Cradle Benefit Concert Features Craig Wiseman, Jeffrey Steele, Sarah Buxton

Pictured (top row L-R): Erik Milam, Dan Thompson Rachel Stimpson, Mark Stimpson, Connie Bradley, Jeffrey Steele, Andrew Kintz, Shane Tallant, Troy Tomlinson; (bottom row L-R): Michelle Milam, Sarah Buxton, Craig Wiseman

Pictured (top row L-R): Erik Milam, Dan Thompson, Rachel Stimpson, Mark Stimpson, Connie Bradley, Jeffrey Steele, Andrew Kintz, Shane Tallant, Troy Tomlinson; (bottom row L-R): Michelle Milam, Sarah Buxton, Craig Wiseman

The Rock the Cradle Songwriters Night, supporting newborns in need, was held lOct. 21 at the Loveless Barn in Nashville. Craig Wiseman, Jeffrey Steele and Sarah Buxton performed for the benefit attendees. Proceeds benefit newborns in need at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and the Beaman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Shane Tallant served as host of the annual event while Connie Bradley and Troy Tomlinson served as event co-chairs. The guests at the packed venue enjoyed a cocktail reception preceding a full dinner buffet.

Performing in the round, each tunesmith took turns singing their hits to a fully engaged audience. Wiseman, a 2015 inductee to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, performed chart-toppers “Live Like You Were Dying” (Tim McGraw) and “Boys ‘Round Here” (Blake Shelton).

Steele’s performances included “The Cowboy in Me” (McGraw), a song co-written with Wiseman, as well as “Raise ‘Em Up” (Keith Urban/Eric Church). He stunned the audience with his shredded version of “Gone” (Montgomery Gentry).

Accompanied by her husband Tom Bukovac, Buxton entertained the guests with “Sun Daze” (Florida Georgia Line), “Put You in a Song” (Urban) and “Stupid Boy” (Urban). Buxton referred to Wiseman as her first mentor when she came to Nashville who called the event “the stuff that matters.”


No Shave November Reminder

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 11.53.49 AMParticipants in this year’s No Shave November fundraiser for St. Jude Kids are encouraged to stop by the Country Music Association office on Monday, Nov. 2 at 9:15 for a quick “Day 1” photo.

Currently, this year’s Chairman of the Beard, Josh Turner‘s team (The Backwoods Boys) is in the lead. To date the fundraiser has earned $540,000 to benefit children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

To participate, put down the razor for the month of November. Register online and donate a $30 entry fee, then stop shaving. Awards will be given to the best beard, the worst beard, and other prizes. To register, visit Then, create or join a team, and encourage friends and family to join the team and donate. On November 1, post a date-stamped “Day 1” photo to On Nov. 30, post a date-stamped final photo.

The Beard Bash will be celebrated in Nashville on Dec. 1.


Dickinson Wright PLLC Adds Two Staffers

DW Leaders Logo REVAMP FINAL 2011-12Dickinson Wright PLLC, a full-service law firm with international offices, has hired Ariel Mason and Dustin Kovacic as associate attorneys. Mason joins the firm’s downtown Nashville office and Kovacic joins the office on Music Row.

Dustin Kovacic worked as a law clerk in Dickinson Wright’s Music Row office prior to his employment. He assisted in drafting producer, songwriter, management, pitching and consulting agreements for entertainment clients. He also researched and drafted memos on various topics for litigation including copyright and employment law. Kovacic also worked extensively on a major publishing catalogue sale purchase during his time at the firm.

Prior to joining Dickinson Wright, Kovacic worked as an Intern for Nashville entertainment law firm Shackelford, Zumwalt & Hayes, LLP. He continued his work in entertainment law as a Law Clerk at Crownover Firm, LLP, in Summer 2014, led by Dickinson Wright’s current Entertainment Law Practice head Derek Crownover. In law school, he served as Senior Development Editor for the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law. He was also a member of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society.

Mason previously worked for Dickinson Wright as a summer associate in the Nashville office, where she composed arguments for inclusion in trial briefs and motion memoranda.

Both Mason and Kovacic are Vanderbilt University Law School graduates. Mason received her undergraduate degree in English and History from Vanderbilt University, and Kovacic earned a Bachelor of Music degree and a degree in Political Science from the University of Florida.


Hart Street Entertainment Staffs Up

Julie Reliford

Julie Reliford

Hart Street Entertainment has hired Julie Reliford as VP, PR & Marketing. Reliford’s career began in the mid-’90s at Decca Records, where she worked with Shelia Shipley Biddy. She later worked at Sony Publishing, before moving into a focus on marketing including for a technology company, mental health services, internet marketing, and eventually director of marketing for a financial services company.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Julie Reliford to the Hart Street Entertainment team,” announced Hart Street president Zach Farnum. “Marketing and Public Relations are a vital part of this industry and I know that Julie will rocket Hart Street and our artists to the top in both of those fields. She has proven time and time again throughout her career to be innovative and driven, and she truly cares about her clients and their successes.”

That drive and dedication is echoed by one of her recent clients, hit singer/songwriter Phil Vassar. “Julie is an excellent publicist,” says Vassar. “I really appreciated her taking the time to get to know me and then finding media angles that fit my personality. She was always available when needed and was in daily contact with my manager. She is always willing to go the extra mile and is a pleasure to work with.”

Reliford can be reached at 615-645-9592 or at [email protected].


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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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