In Pictures: Kelsea Ballerini, Levi Hummon, Charley Pride

Kelsea Ballerini Sparkles With Award Wins

Kelsea Ballerini. Photo: Sweet Talk Publicity

Kelsea Ballerini with her honor from the Radio Disney Music Awards. Photo: Sweet Talk Publicity

Kelsea Ballerini earned two award wins this past weekend, including The Freshest-Best New Artist, an all-genre award at the Radio Disney Awards, and Breakthrough Female Artist at the American Country Countdown Awards.

Ballerini teamed with pop star Daya for a collaboration on Ballerini’s latest single, “Peter Pan,” and Daya’s “Hide Away” for the Radio Disney Awards. She performed her gold-certified song “Dibs” for the ACCAs.


Levi Hummon Visits ACM

Pictured (L-R): Erick Long, ACM; Levi Hummon; Brooke Primero, ACM Photo: Michel Bourquard/Courtesy of the Academy of Country Music

Pictured (L-R): Erick Long, ACM; Levi Hummon; Brooke Primero, ACM
Photo: Michel Bourquard/Courtesy of the Academy of Country Music

The Academy of Country Music welcomed The Valory Music Co. recording artist Levi Hummon to the office while he was in Los Angeles. While at the Academy, Hummon performed songs off his new self-titled EP.

Dan Rather Talks With Charley Pride

Charley Pride speaks with Dan Rather. Photo:

Charley Pride speaks with Dan Rather. Photo:

Charley Pride discusses his life and career during an hour-long interview with Dan Rather for The Big Interview, set to air Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. ET on AXS TV.

CMHoF To Host Concert Celebration Of Sam Phillips

Clockwise from top left: JD McPherson, The Planet Rockers, Webb WIlder, Margo Price

Clockwise from top left: JD McPherson, The Planet Rockers, Webb Wilder, Margo Price

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will host a special concert, Boppin’ the Blues: A Celebration of Sam Phillips, on Saturday, May 28, at 2 p.m., in the museum’s CMA Theater. The performances are presented in support of the exhibition Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips, which will end its run June 12.

Paying homage to Phillips will be rockabilly, country and roots-oriented artists influenced by his work including: JD McPherson, the Planet Rockers, Margo Price and Webb Wilder. Following the concert, participants will sign a commemorative Hatch Show Print poster, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

Oklahoma native JD McPherson has explored Sun-era rock & roll and rhythm & blues on two albums of original material.

Rockabilly combo the Planet Rockers—Eddie Angel, Sonny George, Bill Swartz, and Mark W. Winchester—formed in Nashville in the late 1980s, branding their music “100 Percent Tennessee Rock & Roll.” The band’s album Return of the Planet Rockers, was recorded in 2014 at Phillips’s Memphis studio.

Featured on Saturday Night Live in April, Illinois native Margo Price cut her 2016 debut solo album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, at historic Sun Studio in Memphis.

Raised in Mississippi, charismatic Webb Wilder has been blending rockabilly, British pop, country, and blues in creative ways since releasing his debut album, It Came from Nashville, thirty years ago.

One of the most innovative and inspiring figures in the history of American music, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips introduced the world to Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, Rufus Thomas, Ike Turner and many more. Blurring class and color lines, Phillips set out to undermine barriers of racial segregation and discrimination, just as the Civil Rights movement gathered force.

Co-curated by Presley biographer Peter Guralnick, author of the biography Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘N’ Roll, the exhibition takes an in-depth look at Phillips and the social and cultural impact of the music he captured on such revolutionary recordings as Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88,” Presley’s “That’s All Right,” and Cash’s “I Walk the Line.”

The program is included with museum admission and free to museum members. Guests can make reservations at or by calling 615-416-2001. The program will be streamed live.

Industry Ink: City of Hope, SOLID, Don Cusic, 95.3 The Bull

Celebrity Players Named For City of Hope Game

Citiy of Hope logo

Confirmed artists for this year’s City of Hope Celebrity Baseball Game are Charles Esten, Vince Gill, Chris Lane, Scotty McCreeryBret Michaels, David Nail, RaeLynn and Jamie Lynn Spears. Artists will compete on teams sponsored by the Grand Ole Opry and iHeartCountry. The game will take place on June 7 at 3 p.m. at First Tennessee Park in downtown Nashville. Support from the Nashville community and its country music artists directly benefit City of Hope’s mission to find cures for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.


SOLID Renames Annual Auction

SOLID Nashville Music MarketSOLID (Society of Leaders in Development) announced this week that the Music Row Yard Sale & Auction has officially changed its name to the Nashville Music Market. The annual event hosts a sale and auction of music items, memorabilia, meet & greets, autographed guitars and more during the week of CMA Music Festival. This year’s 14th annual event will take place Saturday, June 11 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (location TBD).


Don Cusic Releases Hank Williams Book

hankw_570Author, country music historian and Belmont University professor Don Cusic has released Hank Williams: The Singer and the Songs, which recounts Williams’ legendary recording career. The lyrics to all of Williams’ songs are featured, well as the stories behind some of those songs.

During his career, Cusic has served as Country and Gospel Editor for Record World and Cashbox, a columnist for Music City News, album reviewer and special correspondent for Billboard and book reviewer for MusicRow Magazine. He has worked for the Country Music Association, Monument Records, and more.


95.3 The Bull Hires Steve Summers

Steve Summers with Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks

Steve Summers with Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks

MusicRow reporting station 95.3 The Bull in Rockford, Illinois, has hired radio personality Steve Summers to join their staff as morning show host, effective Aug. 23. The delayed start dates is due to a non-compete clause with his previous employer.

Summers has more than 30 years experience at Rockford stations WZOK and WXXQ with roles as Program Director, Operations Manager, and Morning Show Talent.

“When I returned from vacation in February, I was informed I was no longer employed. I considered other opportunities outside of the stateline, but my passion for the Rockford area and helping out charities mirrored the attitude of 95.3 The Bull,” said Summers. “This is home. I couldn’t be more excited to join a locally-owned and operated company in Mid-West Family Broadcasting. Over the last two years, they have shown a commitment to making a difference with local businesses, local residents, and country music fans. To say I’m thrilled is an understatement.”

Female Country Artists Garner RIAA Digital Gold Certifications

RIAASeveral female country artists garnered digital gold certifications from the RIAA’s Gold and Platinum Program in April.

Carrie Underwood‘s “Smoke Break” and “Heartbeat” were both certified as digital gold singles.

Kelsea Ballerini‘s “Dibs,” Jana Kramer‘s “Whiskey,” and Maren Morris‘ “My Church” also earned digital gold single certifications.

However, the larger certifications for April went to Chris Young, Florida Georgia Line, and Canaan Smith.

Florida Georgia Line’s debut hit “Cruise,” has ben certified as a diamond-certified single by the RIAA, signifying 10 million units combining sales and streaming figures.

Young had four tracks certified as digital platinum singles, including “Aw Naw,” “You,” “Gettin’ You Home,” and “Who I Am With You.” His single “Neon” was certified as a digital gold single.

Smith’s “Love You Like That” also garnered a digital platinum single certification.

Garth Brooks, Bob Doyle, Ben Farrell, Joe Harris Named To IEBA Hall Of Fame

Bob Doyle with Garth Brooks in 1988.

Bob Doyle with Garth Brooks in 1988. Photo: Courtesy Splash PR

Garth Brooks, Bob Doyle, Ben Farrell, and the late Joe Harris will be inducted into the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) Hall of Fame during this year’s 46th annual IEBA Conference. The ceremony will take place in Nashville on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

During his decades in the business, Brooks has become one of the world’s best-selling artists, with six albums that sold 10 million-plus. Brooks is booked in-house and managed by Bob Doyle & Associates. His tour is promoted exclusively by Ben Farrell, president of Lon Varnell Enterprises.

Ben Farrell, Tom Paquette, Garth Brooks and Tim Reese at Thompson Boling Arena

Pictured (L-R): Ben Farrell, Tom Paquette, Garth Brooks and Tim Reese at Thompson Boling Arena. Photo: Courtesy Splash PR

Booking agent Harris first heard Brooks in 1988 and immediately signed him to Buddy Lee Attractions. “Uncle Joe, you know we owe it to you,”  a lyric from “The Old Stuff” on Brooks’s 1995 release Fresh Horses, is a musical tribute to Harris, who died in 1996.

Garth Brooks with Joe Harris. Photo: Alan Mayor

Garth Brooks with Joe Harris. Photo: Alan Mayor

“I was lucky that the people I found in those first couple of years were on the side of writers, artists, and musicians,” Brooks told Patsi Bale Cox for her book The Garth Factor. “I met too many creative people who had been run over by the business and I won’t say it made me paranoid, but it did make me watchful.”

IEBA’s Hall of Fame includes Dick Clark, Johnny Cash & Lou Robin, The Doobie Brothers, Erv Woolsey, Dale Morris, George & Nancy Jones, and Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo.

Logan Brill Signs With Warner/Chappell Music, Aligns With ASCAP

Logan Brill

Logan Brill

Red Light Management artist Logan Brill is making some big career moves.

The singer-songwriter has signed with Warner/Chappell Music following a time with Carnival Music Publishing. She also moved from BMI to ASCAP and continues to assemble her Nashville team including: Red Light Management, United Talent Agency, Scott Safford at Safford Motley, and HBPR.

“We’ve been watching Logan gracefully create a credible musical identity for herself in town and on the road,” said Ben Vaughn of Warner Chappell Music. “Logan loves to craft songs and also has a strong appreciation of great songs and the great songwriters that populate Nashville. Everyone at W/C is honored to be a part of her journey.”

Brill has honed her craft by co-writing with the likes of Scooter Carusoe, Nathan Chapman, Randy Montana and Devin Dawson.

Exclusive: Dallas Davidson Has Georgia (And Downtown Nashville) On His Mind

Pictured (L-R) The Peach Pickers members Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson

Pictured (L-R) The Peach Pickers members Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson

Settling into his office inside Play It Again Music Publishing’s sleek new location in downtown Nashville, songwriter and President/CEO Dallas Davidson is clearly proud of the work he and his staff have put into the new space. This spring, the company moved to the new location, after opening the Nashville office in 2014.

He wanted Play It Again’s new space to be equally inspiring and functional for Play It Again’s writers, including Maggie Rose, Brian Kolb, Houston Phillips, Kyle Fishman, and Trea Landon.

Davidson says, “For so many years, I’ve been at big publishing companies. They’ve got rooms with two folding chairs and a piano in them. C’mon, we are better than that, so I wanted to make sure my writers felt appreciated and were given a creative environment to write songs. It’s hard to write when you can hear through the walls. I soundproofed all this stuff, the floors, the ceilings the walls. We did it right.”

The site was previously an art gallery, but is now home to writers rooms, a recording space, and lounge area. The night before, Davidson had holed up in the main office with a trio of fellow singer-songwriters including Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and James Otto, playing classic Otis Redding songs, in preparation for the Georgia On My Mind concert, a star-studded benefit concert set for Tuesday, May 10, at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.

Just outside the office is a wall filled with mementos of Davidson’s considerable accolades. He has penned 22 No. 1 hits, including Lady Antebellum’s “We Owned The Night” and “Just a Kiss,” Billy Currington’s “That’s How Country Boys Roll” and Blake Shelton’s “Boys ‘Round Here.”

With his Peach Pickers co-writers (and fellow Georgia natives) Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins, they garnered hits like Shelton’s “All About Tonight” Joe Nichols’ “Gimmie That Girl,” Luke Bryan’s “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” Jack Ingram’s “Barefoot and Crazy.” Davidson has been awarded with five CMA Triple Play Awards, and was named the Nashville Songwriters Association International Songwriter of the Year in 2012.

The downtown location is also a center of operation for Play It Again Music Publishing’s management clients, including Rose and The Morrison Brothers. Davidson credits Play It Again Executive VP Austin Marshall with helping the company to expand its services.

“Austin kind of brought the management in. As a publisher you are the manager. We wanted to take it a step further and make sure our artists we signed were not making mistakes,” Davidson says. “We felt like we had enough insight to help them from making bad decisions. That’s why we wanted to do it, for their sake. Really, we were doing it already.”

Peach Pickers members Rhett Akins and Dallas Davidson receive MusicRow Challenge Coins for penning

Peach Pickers members Rhett Akins and Dallas Davidson receive MusicRow Challenge Coins in celebration of several No. 1 songs. Davidson penned “Kick The Dust Up,” Akins penned “That Don’t Sound Like You,” “Just Gettin’ Started,” and “Ready Set Roll.” Together, they were honored for penning “Tonight Looks Good On You.”

Meanwhile, the Georgia on My Mind concert is a musical love letter to the songwriters’ home state and a way to raise funds for Georgia schoolchildren.

As in past years, they will bring several of their famous friends to help out. This year’s bill includes Georgia natives Luke Bryan, Billy Currington, The Peach Pickers, Craig Campbell, Jordan Rager, Cole Taylor, Travis Denning, and Jon Langston, as well as Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Trea Landon, Maggie Rose, Mannie Fresh, Big Boi, and more.

Georgia has become a hot-bed of rising country artists in the past few years.

“Somebody could say, ‘Georgia boy moves to town and knew a bunch of other Georgia boys and that’s how he’s doing good.’ Nah, I don’t agree,” says Davidson. “He’s got a hit song. You don’t have a hit, you don’t have shit. I think there is certainly a camaraderie. It’s kind of like Texas was, it’s what country music caters to right now.”

This year’s event will include a tribute to soul icon and Georgia native Otis Redding, who Davidson calls “one of my favorite singers in the world, ever.”

“Otis was kind of like Willie [Nelson] in his phrasing,” Davidson says. “I don’t care what people say about [my music], if it’s not country or whatever. I write songs to feel good, and that’s what Otis did.”

Redding’s daughter, Karla Redding-Andrews, who is also vice-chair of the Georgia Music Foundation, will be in attendance. Davidson became a board member for the Georgia Music Foundation a few years ago and became so involved that he was named Chairman.

“I had so many ideas and got so involved. I just wanted to make sure we had some money to give some people because it’s pointless if you don’t,” he said. “It’s my home state, so I would have never said no.”

Davidson points to Marshall as the secret to bringing the show together.

“He is so important to everything I do,” says Davidson. “He’s the one really doing the behind-the-scenes duties on the charity. I get the artists to show up, and he does the behind-the-scenes. And we’ve got a good team.”

With proceeds from the 2015 concert, the Georgia Music Foundation established a new Music Preservation, Education and Outreach Grant Program, and presented 12 Georgia schools and organizations with checks for $5,000. Davidson hopes to top that amount this year, and to see the concerts grow and expand.

“Hopefully, we will have a show in Atlanta and one here,” says Davidson. “Our goal is to take the show to the Bridgestone Arena for a massive show. There are a lot more tickets involved at the Bridgestone, so we have to get more acts involved, and different types of [music] genres involved, but we are chipping away at it. It just keeps building, as long as I maintain my friendships with these guys, I hope they will keep showing up. The more money we make, the more we can give away, and pass along the blessings we’ve gotten from music.”

Tickets for the Georgia On My Mind concert $49.50 and $39.50 and can be purchased via Ticketmaster outlets and

Artist Updates: Martina McBride, Jimmy Wayne, Frankie Ballard, CMA Music Festival

Martina McBride Showcases Culinary Talent On Hallmark Channel

Cristina Ferrara and Martina McBride. Credit: Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: steve lucero/Alexx Henry Studios, LLC

Cristina Ferrare and Martina McBride. Credit: Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: steve lucero/Alexx Henry Studios, LLC

Singer, songwriter and cookbook author Martina McBride visited Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family series, where she made Roasted Shrimp Cocktail, and discussed Mother’s Day, as well as her love of party planning.

Watch the segment below.


Jimmy Wayne’s Walk To Beautiful Featured in CBS’ Mike & Molly

Jimmy Wayne Mike & Molly

Jimmy Wayne’s memoir, Walk To Beautiful, was featured Monday night (May 2) in the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, starring Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell. The episode centered on teen homelessness, foster care and adoption — topics core to Wayne’s life story.


Frankie Ballard Sets October Tour Dates For England, Scotland and Germany

Frankie Ballard

Frankie Ballard

Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville’s Frankie Ballard is set to return overseas this October with 10 dates in England, Scotland and Germany as well as a jaunt farther afield to Holland and Ireland. The tour is another sign of the Michigan native’s growing popularity as he prepares to release his new album, El Rio, on June 10.

“Our first trip was such a great time, we decided to come back for more,” says Ballard. “I’m anxious to see how the new album reacts overseas…it’ll have its sea-legs by October!”

For tour dates, visit


CMA Sets Artist Lineup For CMA World GlobaLive! Showcase

2016-CMAMusicFestival-Logo-Badge-4CThe CMA Music Festival has announced the lineup for CMA World GlobaLive!, a free, international country music showcase set for Monday, June 6, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Nashville. This year the show will be held on the outdoor stage at the Hard Rock Cafe for the first time. Among the performers are Australia’s Troy Cassar-Daley, Karin Page, and Caitlyn Shadbolt, Canada’s Raquel Cole, Brett Kissell, and Chad Brownlee, New Zealand’s Kayla Mahon, and the United Kingdom’s Frankie Davies and Pauper Kings.

DISClaimer: Diamonds In The Duos

Photo: Courtesy Morris Artist Management

Big & Rich

It’s the Day of the Duos.

The three best country singles this week all come from teams—Florida Georgia Line, Maddie & Tae and Big & Rich, the last with an assist from Tim McGraw.

I had a dickens of a time picking between them. Sound-wise, I tilt toward the Big & Rich collaboration. Song-wise, Maddie & Tae definitely have the edge. Call it a draw for the Disc of the Day honor.

There’s no uncertainty about our DisCovery Award winner. LANco earns that prize easily.

Writers: Big Kenny/John Rich/Tim McGraw; Producer: Big & Rich; Publishers: Big Love/Songs of Kobalt/J Money/Kobalt Songs/Stylesonic, BMI/ASCAP; B$R (track)
– Sensual and melodic, this sways in a gentle breeze of a production. The harmony vocals mirror one another beautifully. Superb in every way.

C.J. SOLAR/Hard One To Turn Down
Writers: none listed; Producers: Brent Anderson/C.J. Solar; Publisher: Sea Gayle; Sea Gayle (track)
– He’s a strong singer, with excellent country phrasing. The heartbreak song is solid, too, with a meaty, memorable chorus. Keep an eye on this guy.

Maddie & TaeMADDIE & TAE/Sierra
Writers: Maddie Marlow/Taylor Dye/Aaron Scherz; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Super Big/Big Machine, ASCAP/BMI; Dot
– The fourth single from this team’s debut CD is its cleverest song yet. Maddie & Tae saucily call out a cold-hearted bitch named Sierra while a burbling, bopping track bounces behind them. Irresistible.

KENT ROSE/All That American Night
Writers: Kent Rose; Producer: Chris Casello; Publishers: Memory Train, BMI; Memory Train
– Chicagoan Kent calls himself, “The Voice That Remembers” to call attention to his throwback style. This peppy, catchy, tuneful track has a hint of rockabilly in its grooves, and there’s a touch of Roy Orbison and/or Buddy Holly in his throaty singing.

MIKE SMITH/Little Bit of Us
Writers: Mike Smith/Bobby Ross Avila/Issiah Avila/Frank David Stallworth; Producer: The Avila Brothers; Publishers: Smithouse/Defenders of Music/Universal/Sublime Basement Tunez/Franky Fade, ASCAP/BMI; 22
– Extremely pop, right down to the Doobie-esque guitar riffs. Pass.

Writers: busbee/Nate Cyphert/William Wiik Larsen; Producer: Joey Moi; Publishers: BMG Platinum/Pulse Ventures/BBRCOFFEE/IDAP/BMG Rights Management,BMI/ASCAP; Big Machine
– Well sung and nicely produced. The power ballad’s lyric stirs in religious words to illustrate how deeply in love he is.

MAIDEN DIXIE/The Whiskey’ll Miss Me
Writers: Channing Himes/Jonathan Krentz/Graham Becker; Producer: Makoa Johnson/Maiden Dixie; Publishers: none listed; Navigator (track)
– Whichever one of you is singing harmony, you’re off pitch. Also, the arrangement drags.

CRAIG MORGAN/I’ll Be Home Soon
Writers: Justin Ebach/Steven Dale Jones/John King; Producers: Craig Morgan/Byron Gallimore; Publishers: Wordspring Music/ Word Music/ Son Of Austin Songs/Songs of Black River/ Songs of Razor and Tie; ASCAP/SESAC; Black River (track)
– This is one of the finest male singers this format has. He soars magnificently in the chesty choruses of this mighty tune. The finale is thrillingly soulful.



LANco/Long Live Tonight
Writers: Brandon Lancaster/Jason Reeves; Producer: Jay Joyce; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Concession 114 Music/Neon Cross Music/WB Music Corp./Sonic Graffiti, BMI/ASCAP; Arista (track)
– LANco is a five-member ensemble that stages its debut single with a punchy backbeat and exciting harmony vocals. The tempo is pulse pounding and the lead singer has loads of heart. A winner.

Writers: Jaren Johnston/Neil Mason/Jesse Frasure; Producer: Dann Huff; Publishers: Sony-ATV/Texa Rae/Nettwerk One B/Revelry/Nevada House/Rio Bravo/Telemitry, ASCAP/BMI; Big Machine
– If her love gets him so high, how come this sounds like such a downer?

Live Nation Teams With NextVR For Virtual Reality Concert Series

Live Nation Entertainment logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation Entertainment)

Live Nation has partnered with NextVR for a series of virtual reality concerts featuring hundreds of performances from Live Nation artists.

The virtual reality experience will allow access to every nuance of a show, from backstage access, to front-row and on-stage views during the performances. NextVR’s proprietary 3D VR audio program will be utilized for the performances.

Live Nation and NextVR are currently working on the lineup of artists that will be involved, though they have stated that all Live Nation events are possible candidates for inclusion in the virtual reality series. The first music experience will take place this summer, with a schedule of events due later this year.

A NextVR rep tells MusicRow that initially all programming will be free, but that pay-for-view programs will follow. Fans can download the free NextVR app for Gear VR to view the live music events, with additional viewing platforms to follow.

“We are excited to bring music fans a new and completely immersive way to see their favorite artists perform in places they may not have access to,” said Jordan Zachary, chief strategy officer at Live Nation. “It’s an exciting opportunity for Live Nation to have a partner with such a strong foundation in live, virtual-reality broadcast technology helping us redefine how we deliver content and terrific experiences on behalf of the world’s most exciting performers.”