Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris Will Play SXSW Spotify House


Kacey Musgraves and new Sony Music Nashville signings LANco and Maren Morris will perform at the Spotify House at South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas, on March 16.

Musgraves will perform on the main stage at 6:15 p.m. after a set by Nashville musician Rayland Baxter at 4:30 p.m. Mexican pop duo Jesse & Joy will perform their first-ever set in English at 3 p.m., following early afternoon sets from Morris at 1:30 p.m. and LANco at noon.

Americana artist John Moreland will also take the side stage that day at 3:45 p.m., followed by Lucie Silvas at 5:30 p.m.

The Spotify House will be held from March 14-18, with performances across all five days. Other confirmed artists include CHVRCHES, Miguel, Vince Staples, The Kills, St. Lucia, and many others. RSVPs may be submitted at SpotifyHouse.com.

LifeNotes: “The Southern Gentleman” Sonny James Passes


Country Music Hall of Fame member Sonny James, one of the genre’s most prolific hit makers, has passed away at age 86.

Known as “The Southern Gentleman,” James died on Feb. 22, according to his website. In 1967, James became the first host of the CMA Awards. He was the first Nashville country star to get a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

During his long career, he placed more than 70 titles on the country hit parade and scored 43 Top 10 hits. Between 1967 and 1972, he had 16 consecutive No. 1 singles on the Billboard country chart.

In 1956-57, his singles “Young Love” and “First Date, First Kiss, First Love” became pop-crossover, teen-music successes. More than a dozen of his other country singles also placed on the pop charts.

He was born James Hugh Loden on May 1, 1929. The family’s hometown was Hackelburg, Alabama, which is where he began his career. He began playing guitar, mandolin and fiddle before he reached his teens and was soon touring with his parents and sister as The Loden Family. By the 1940s, the Lodens were regulars on WNOX in Knoxville.

Sonny James served in the National Guard during the Korean War. While overseas, he began writing songs for the first time. Following his discharge, he travelled to Nashville. Chet Atkins, who’d known him in Knoxville, admired his flat-top guitar skills and became his mentor. Atkins introduced him to Capitol Records executive Ken Nelson, who offered Sonny James a recording contract.

James first hit the Top 10 with 1953’s “That’s Me Without You.” Four more singles hit the charts in 1954-56. Then came “Young Love.” In 1956, it became a No. 1 smash on both the country and pop charts and sold a million. For the next few years, James toured as a teen idol.

During the 1950s, he was also a regular on TV’s The Ozark Jubilee. He got his star in Hollywood in 1961. The following year, he was invited to join the cast of the Grand Ole Opry.

His permanent return to the country hit parade began with 1963’s “The Minute You’re Gone.” An even bigger country hit came the following year, “You’re the Only World I Know.”

He was featured in a number of pioneering country feature films of the 1960s. These included Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar (1965), Nashville Rebel (1966), Las Vegas Hillbillys (1966) and Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967).

In 1967, he and Bobbie Gentry were chosen to co-host the first CMA Awards show. The show began its long run as a network television staple the following year.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Sonny James specialized in country versions of such pop hits as “Take Good Care of Her,” “I’ll Never Find Another You,” “A World of Our Own,” “Born to Be With You,” “Only the Lonely,” “Running Bear,” “Since I Met You Baby,” “It’s Just a Matter of TIme,” “My Love,” “Endlessly” and “Only Love Can Break a Heart.”

Sonny James played guitar on all of his recording sessions and his live shows always showcased his acoustic-guitar prowess. His soft-spoken humility and courtly manners brought him the nickname “The Southern Gentleman.”

In 1971, a cassette of his music accompanied the Apollo 14 space mission. He was rewarded with an American flag that had been taken to the moon.

In the 1970s, James branched out into song publishing and record production. He produced the first three albums by Marie Osmond. The first one included her breakthrough country hit, 1973’s “Paper Roses.”

In his own recording career, he signed with Columbia Records and immediately scored a No. 1 hit with 1972’s “When the Snow Is on the Roses.” Another notable big song for James during this era was 1974’s “Is It Wrong (For Loving You).”

In 1977, he traveled to the Tennessee State Penitentiary to record In Prison, In Person. A country band of inmates accompanied him on this landmark album.

Sonny James retired from live performing in 1983. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

He is survived by his wife Doris. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Sam Hunt, Big Sean, Lzzy Hale Announce Grammy Amplifier Winners


Sam Hunt, Big Sean, and Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale teamed to announce the winners of Hyundai and The Recording Academy’s fourth annual Grammy Amplifier program.

Chosen from about 4,000 entrants, the winners are hard rockers American Bombshell, R&B artist Kirby Maurier and Blake Shelton team member on season two of The Voice, Adley Stump. Each win one of three prize packages: a studio recording session with a Recording Academy producer, a live performance showcase series opening for a noted artist; or the filming of a music video with a celebrated director.

Maurier’s first album Doing The Most was released in July of 2015 and was featured by iTunes and Apple Music during its first week of release. It was one of the highest selling indie R&B albums in the South Atlantic Region for 2015.

Five-member rock band American Bombshell recently released the video for “No Regrets,” and are working on a full-length album by the same title.

Stump auditioned for season 2 of The Voice on a dare and secured a spot on Blake Shelton’s team. Her latest two musical releases have been in the iTunes Top 40 Country Chart and she contributed to the book “How They Sell Music.” Stump is currently recording in FAME Studios in Nashville.

“It takes a whole lot of passion, commitment and conviction to put yourself out there, to enter a competition and to be judged,” said Hunt. “There is no formula for making it in this business, but American Bombshell, Kirby and Adley have been given a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow as musicians. There’s absolutely nothing that gives us more pleasure than to be a part of an initiative like the Grammy Amplifier program, that gives these aspiring talents opportunities that will help them to develop their crafts.”

“It’s a privilege to be a part of a program that at its core provides young artists the opportunity to develop their artistry and share their passion with others,” said Dean Evans, CMO Hyundai Motor America. “GRAMMY Amplifier is a platform of discovery and mentorship, powering the creative genius within new artists to help them feel inspired, activated and focused on making their musical dreams a reality.”

Industry Ink: CMHoF Highlights Eric Church Co-Writers, CSM Acquires JHE, Volvo Adds Spotify

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Highlights Eric Church Exhibit With Songwriters Round

Pictured are (L-R): Jeff Hyde, Jeremy Spillman, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young, Luke Laird, and Casey Beathard. Photo: Abi Tapia, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Pictured are (L-R): Jeff Hyde, Jeremy Spillman, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young, Luke Laird, and Casey Beathard. Photo: Abi Tapia, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum closed out the Eric Church: Inside the Outsider exhibit with a songwriter round featuring some of Church’s go-to songwriters Casey Beathard, Jeff Hyde, Luke Laird, and Jeremy Spillman. The event took place on Saturday (Feb. 20) in the museum’s Ford Theater.


CSM Sport and Entertainment Acquires JHE Production

CSM Sport and Entertainment has acquired JHE Production, a live event agency founded in 1987.

JHE is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Services include event coordination, operations, production and creative services. In September 2015, the company opened an office in Nashville to service its growing client roster in the musical entertainment and corporate production market.

Zak Brown, Group CEO of CSM, commented, “This acquisition complements and expands our existing capabilities in CSM, simultaneously opening up group-wide opportunities for our clients and prospects in the North American sport and entertainment marketplace. The trend of attending live events in sport and entertainment, being led by the under 35s, looks set to continue. This group wants stadiums not sofas as they trade possessions for live experiences they can create, share and own.”

JHE Production Group President and CEO Jay Howard said, “Sports and entertainment has been the field of play for JHE since we produced our first live program in 1988. Joining an elite organization like CSM is a tremendous opportunity for JHE and allows us to be on the leading edge of their growth in North America. Our entire team is ready for the opportunities that are undoubtedly ahead.”


Volvo Supports Spotify


Volvo integrates Spotify. Photo: Volvo Car Group

Volvo integrates Spotify. Photo: Volvo Car Group

Volvo has announced it will globally integrate Spotify’s music-streaming app in its product, beginning this spring with the XC90, S90, and V90. The Spotify app will be available on the cars’ Sensus touchscreen interface, which will also allow customers to include handwritten characters to access music selections.

A premium Spotify subscription will be required.

The Spotify app is currently available to be used in Volvo’s cars via Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay, but Volvo states the native application will provide a richer experience and search functionality that a phone-based application cannot deliver.



Nashville Visitors Spent $22.2 Million On New Year’s Eve

Nashville, courtesy Nashville Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Nashville, courtesy Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

New Year’s Eve in Nashville in 2015 set a record for direct visitor spending at $22.2 million, up 28 percent from the record set in 2014 at $17.3 million. The Jack Daniel’s Bash on Broadway: New Year’s Eve in Music City also set a record with 24,346 hotel rooms sold, the most ever on New Year’s Eve and a sell-out for the city.

The event was the largest production ever for New Year’s Eve in Nashville. It included two stages, seven bands, the Music Note Drop and the longest fireworks show. As previously announced, an estimated 150,000 attended the Bash on Broadway.

Some 60 percent of visitors surveyed on New Year’s Eve said they were drawn to Nashville by the New Year’s Eve celebration on Lower Broadway. The event generated $1.02 million in national advertising equivalency with 42.4 million national media impressions.

Kings Of Leon headlined the Bash and were joined by Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini, The Whigs, Sugar & the Hi-Lows, Wild Cub and LANco.

“In seven short years, the Bash on Broadway has grown into a world-class event and the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in our time zone,” said Ken Levitan, Board Chair of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp and Co-President of Vector Management. “Record-breaking visitor spending, attendance and rooms sold underscore that this event is a major economic driver for the city during what is typically a slow time in the hospitality industry. We couldn’t do it without the support of Mayor Megan Barry and the help of Metro departments. In a way, the strong partnership with the City is as big a story as the success of the event itself.”

Dreamlined Entertainment Reveals First Signing In Co-Venture With Dune Grass Music

Pictured (L-R): Jason Campbell and Keith Stegall,  Dreamlined Entertainment Group; Neal Coty and Hannah Gilbert, Dune Grass Music; Brian Maher, Dreamlined Entertainment Group/Dune Grass Music.

Pictured (L-R): Jason Campbell and Keith Stegall, Dreamlined Entertainment Group; Neal Coty and Hannah Gilbert, Dune Grass Music; Brian Maher, Dreamlined Entertainment Group/Dune Grass Music.

Producer/songwriter Keith Stegall‘s Dreamlined Entertainment has inked a publishing co-venture with Dune Grass Music.

Brian Maher is the first songwriter to be signed under the co-venture. Maher co-wrote Justin Moore’s chart-topping hits “Small Town USA” and “Til My Last Day.” Maher has had other cuts by Taylor Swift, Jackie Lee, Gwen Sebastian, and Emerson Drive, among others.

Grammy-winner Stegall has produced Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band, among many others.

Dune Grass Music is a Nashville-based publishing company with six staff writers and offices in Berry Hill and Virginia. Neal Coty, creative director and exclusive songwriter, was a Mercury Records artist and has co-written singles for Blake Shelton, Mark Chesnutt, James Wesley, and Craig Morgan. Hannah Gilbert manages song pitching and administration.

“Combining the enormous talent, hard work and enthusiasm of Dreamlined’s and Dune Grass’ writers, with Brian Maher and the co-venture’s future writers, will produce tremendous synergy and great success,” says Stegall.

Coty adds, “Dune Grass writers are over the top excited about this opportunity to work with widely acclaimed veteran Keith Stegall. We can’t wait to get going.”

Taylor Swift Supports Kesha With $250,000 Donation During Legal Battle

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is the latest star to put her support—and in Swift’s case, a huge donation—behind fellow singer Kesha.

Country-turned-pop star Swift recently donated $250,000 to fellow pop star and Nashville native Kesha to aid in Kesha’s legal battle with producer Dr. Luke, according to E Online.

“In a show of support, Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time,” Taylor’s spokesperson Tree Paine said in a statement.

Kesha’s mom also confirmed the news by tweeting, “Taylor Swift has just generously donated $250,000 to Kesha, as a show of support during this difficult time. AMAZING!!”

Kesha’s mom also tweeted her gratitude for Swift’s support, saying, “A persons wealth is not measured by what they have but by WHO they help with it. And Taylor Swift is a truly RICH PERSON. Thank you,” she shared on social media. “Most important for Kesha, is that these beautiful, powerful women are standing behind her, letting the world see how powerful the truth is!”

Kesha filed a preliminary injunction motion that would allow her to release music outside of the authority of producer Dr. Luke, and would release her from her contract with Sony Music. The pop singer alleges that she was raped, and physically and verbally assaulted while working with the producer.

Kesha is signed with Dr. Luke’s publishing company, Prescription Songs, and label, Kemosabe Records (a Sony imprint). The contract requires he produce at least six songs on each of her albums, according to the New York Times. Kesha hasn’t released an album since 2012’s Warrior.

“Kesha Rose Sebert wants nothing more than to be able to record an album,” her lawyers wrote in the motion for preliminary injunction, which would block Sony and Dr. Luke from pursuing damages if she released music outside of her agreement. “Her only condition is that she be allowed to record with a record label that is not affiliated with someone who has emotionally and sexually abused her.”

State Supreme Court in Manhattan ruled on Friday (Feb. 19) that Kesha could not be released from her recording contract with Dr. Luke and Sony Music Entertainment, while the case is ongoing.

In a statement on Monday, Christine Lepera, a lawyer for Dr. Luke, said: “Kesha is already ‘free’ to record and release music without working with Dr. Luke as a producer if she doesn’t want to. Any claim that she isn’t ‘free’ is a myth.

“As Dr. Luke has said repeatedly, the allegations against him are outright lies that have been advanced to extort a contract renegotiation and money. Kesha and her counsel have cavalierly subjected Dr. Luke and his family to trial by Twitter, using a vicious smear campaign to ruin his reputation for financial gain while failing to support their claims.”

Other artists who have spoken out in support of Kesha include Lorde, Kelly Clarkson, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and more.

LifeNotes: Gospel Music Legend Buck Rambo Passes

Buck Rambo

Buck Rambo

Richard Fay “Buck” Rambo, patriarch of the gospel music family, The Rambos, died Sunday (Feb. 21) in Palmetto, Florida, at the age of 84. He was surrounded by his wife Mae and family members.

He was born in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, son of Noah Burton Rambo and Mary Irisilda Rambo. Buck was married to Mae Kutz Rambo on April 1, 1995.

Buck Rambo’s career spanned 60 years and includes many accolades including numerous Grammy and Dove Award nominations. He became a Christian in 1949, went into full-time ministry in 1954, and in 1960, he started a Gospel singing group, The Gospel Echoes, which later became The Singing Rambos with daughter Reba and her mother Dottie.

He was one of the first Board members for the Gospel Music Association and a founding father of the Gospel Music Hall Of Fame. In the early ‘60s, Buck was a member of the Board of Directors for the National Quartet Convention. In 1964, Buck sang for over a million people at the first Washington For Jesus Rally. He is author of the book, The Legacy of the Rambos, and was on the first Gaither Homecoming video.

The Rambos were asked to go to the Strategic Air Command Bases in 1966 and went on a six-week tour of our northern outposts in Greenland, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Iceland entertaining the United States’ troops. In February of 1967, because of the tremendous response to the Arctic Tour, they embarked on a six-week tour to Vietnam to sing for the U.S. military forces there. This was a life-changing experience for The Singing Rambos. They also participated in concert tours for the military several times in Europe and ministered in over 16 different countries doing live concerts and television, including a concert with the Holland Symphony where they sang for 350,000 people.

In 1968, The Singing Rambos began working in television. They were a huge part of the early beginnings of the 700 Club, PTL Network, TBN Network, and The Gospel Singing Jubilee–a weekly television show featuring popular gospel singing groups of that era.

After The Rambos disbanded in about 1994, Buck continued to travel and minister with his wife, Mae, for the next several years doing concerts in churches and as a missionary in many countries, with his latest trip being to Costa Rica in 1999. In retirement, Buck spent his time visiting hospitals, nursing homes and praying for the sick as well as painting beautiful stills. He toured occasionally with Rambo McGuire and was a featured soloist on their projects, Rambo Classics and Dove-Award winning Grassroots Rambos.

His wife Mae Rambo stated, “Today the greatest man on earth passed from this life to his Heavenly home to touch the face of God. Buck had the most amazing time walking through this life on earth, but he is now celebrating in the light and presence of our Lord. While he was preparing to leave this world he could indeed say, ‘It is well with my soul.’ Buck had a huge heart and when it stopped beating it broke ours. I know with time that my memories will bring a smile more quickly than tears, and I was honored and blessed to be his wife for almost 21 years.”

Survivors include his wife Mae, daughter Reba Rambo (Dony) McGuire, grandchildren Israel Anthem McGuire, Destiny Rambo McGuire, Dionne (Scott) Dismuke, Dyson Dismuke, sister Hilda Bullock, brothers Donald (Betty) Rambo, Jackie (Shirley) Rambo of Dawson Springs, KY, sister-in-law Anna Jo Rambo of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and brother-in-law James Ausenbaugh.

Arrangements are forthcoming and being handled by Williamson Memorial Home in Franklin, Tennessee.

SESAC Moves Into New Headquarters

SESAC's new Music Row headquarters.

SESAC’s new Music Row headquarters.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 22, performing rights organization SESAC’s global headquarters has a new address, at 35 Music Sq. E. in Nashville. The $20 million project, which occupies 110,000 square feet, resides at properties on Music Square East that the performing rights organization purchased from Benny Brown and his wife Carolyn, owners of Broken Bow Music Group.

The Music Row building will include all of the company’s core departments, including Writer/Publisher Relations, Business Affairs, Business Development Center, Corporate Relations, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Licensing and Royalty Distribution/Research Services Department.

The company phone number will remain 615-320-0055.

The move consolidates two offices that SESAC previously occupied at 55 Music Square E. and 66 Music Square E.



Weekly Register: Joey + Rory Earn No. 1 Country Debut

Joey and Rory 570 Hymns

Joey + Rory didn’t win a Grammy last week, but they can claim a No. 1 spot on the country album chart this week with Hymns. Due to some early sales ahead of its Feb. 12 street date, the project technically debuted on the chart last week, but it grabs No. 1 thanks to sales of 68K. It’s at No. 4 on the overall chart.

Chris-Stapleton-TravellerChris Stapleton’s Traveller got a sales boost from the Grammys. After winning Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance (for the title track), sales surged 60 percent, with 51K sold last week, and rising to 914K overall. Sam Hunt, another Grammy nominee, lands at No. 3 with Montevallo, with 20K sold last week.

Among the new arrivals are Vince Gill’s Down to My Last Bad Habit (No. 4, 17K), dirty country comedian Wheeler Walker Jr.’s Redneck S— (No. 8, 5.8K), and Wynonna & the Big Noise’s self-titled release (4.7K).

Meanwhile, new Big Machine Label Group artist Brett Young lands at No. 35 with his self-titled EP, and Lorrie Morgan’s Letting Go…Slow enters at No. 47.

Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” crashed the country digital tracks sales following their performance on the Grammys. The group won Best Country Duo/Group Performance, and the song’s writers picked up Best Country Song statuettes. Last week, the track surpassed 2 million units. This week, they add 48.5K to the grand total.

Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man” lands at No. 2 (40K), trailed by Carrie Underwood’s “Heartbeat” (37K), Maren Morris’ “My Church” (35K) and Cole Swindell’s “You Should Be Here.”

Sam Hunt

Sam Hunt

Hunt holds down the No. 6 and 7 positions with “Break Up in a Small Town” (28.5K) and “Take Your Time” (24K). Hunt and Underwood performed the latter track on the Grammys as part of a mashup with “Heartbeat.” Overall sales of “Take Your Time” should surpass two million units by the end of the month.

Brett Eldredge’s “Drunk on Your Love” (24K), Luke Bryan and Karen Fairchild’s “Home Alone Tonight” (23K) and Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” (20K) round out the Top 10.

Adele’s 25 jumps back to No. 1 on the overall album chart with 151K units (125K albums only). Flo Rida’s “My House” stays lodged at No. 1 on the overall digital tracks chart with 125K.

Information provided by Nielsen Soundscan.