Nashville Agent Shari Lewin Named Partner At WME

Shari Lewin. Photo: Jake Harsh

Shari Lewin. Photo: Jake Harsh

WME agent Shari Lewin, who joined WME’s Nashville office in 2011, has been named as partner, it was announced this week.

Lewin focuses on endorsement deals and brand partnership opportunities for the agency’s entire country roster.

In 2016, Lewin was responsible for landing a television campaign for Brad Paisley to be featured in Nationwide’s “Song for Every Side” campaign. She also designed and executed a 360-deal with Field & Stream naming Jason Aldean the first celebrity spokesperson for the private label hunting / fishing brand sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

She secured Nitto Tires as the presenting sponsor and Budweiser as an additional sponsor of Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots Tour, and she secured Bayer as the title sponsor for Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour for the second year in a row.

She is also a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

DISClaimer: Have Yourself A Merry, Music-Filled Christmas


It’s beginning to look a lot like you-know-what.

And so, on this day, I am crowning Nashville’s king and queen of Christmas 2016. They are Chris Young and Jennifer Nettles, who have this year’s finest new Music Row holiday albums. They sing their faces off on It Must Be Christmas and To Celebrate Christmas, respectively. Buy them both, and your tree trimming party will be a smash.

Those two share the Disc of the Day award. Because we have no newcomers here, there is no DisCovery Award this week.

Writers: Joan Javits/Tony Springer/Phil Springer; Producer: Mark Miller; Publishers: Tamir (ASCAP); Pearl (track)
Christmas Together is the first duet album by Garth and Trisha. It is a Target exclusive. While he has his moments on it (”Ugly Christmas Sweater”), her solo performances steal the show. She brings just the right kittenish, mercenary purr to this perennially entertaining delight. “Hard Candy Christmas” and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” are also Trisha standouts. He has a duet with James Taylor on a Thanksgiving tune.

Writer: R. Alex Anderson; Producers: Kacey Musgraves, Misa Arriaga & Kyle Ryan; Publishers: none listed; Mercury (track)
A Very Kacey Christmas is a blast from start to finish. Where else can you find cha-cha, reggae, western-swing and Hawaiian arrangements on one holiday collection? Her star collaborators include Leon Bridges (”Present Without a Bow”), Willie Nelson (the weed-themed “A Willie Nice Christmas”) and, most notably The Quebe Sisters on this Hawaiian tune as well as on “Let It Snow.” Heartily recommended.

Writers: Frank Loesser; Producers: Jay Newland/Rob Mounsey; Publisher: Frank, ASCAP; Warner Bros.
– Brett went to New York to record his Glow holiday collection, which is full of brassy, old-school pop charts. His imitation of Harry Connick Jr. is spot-on in the vocal department. So if that’s what you’re looking for this season, climb aboard. But if you are seeking a country Christmas album by a country singer, this is not it. Also, he and Trainor both lack the wit and wink that should be in this performance.

REBA/Winter Wonderland
Writers: Felix Bernard/Richard Smith; Producers: Reba/Doug Sizemore; Publishers: WB, ASCAP; Nash Icon (track)
– Reba’s My Kind of Christmas is a Cracker Barrel exclusive. This collection throws you a bit of a curve ball. There is no band. It is just a singer and a pianist. And, surprise, it works. When the singer is as ornamented as Reba and the piano player is as creative and inventive as Catherine Marx, you enjoy every note. It starts with this standard and adds 10 more very, very familiar tunes.

CHRIS YOUNG & ALAN JACKSON/There’s a New Kid in Town
Writers: Don Cook/Curly Putman/Keith Whitley; Producers: Corey Crowder/Chris Young; Publishers: none listed, ASCAP/BMI; RCA (track)
– Chris’s It Must Be Christmas is THE essential holiday country collection to own this year. Boyz II Men join him on “Silent Night.” Brad Paisley duets on “The First Noel.” Alan Jackson is his partner on this modern Nashville Christmas classic, which I never tire of hearing. Other stunners include a fantastic new seasonal song called “Under the Weather” and a ferociously rocking treatment of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” This man is a singer’s singer, and you need this music in your life. What a gift.

Writers: Katharine K. Davis/Henry Onorati/Harry Simeone; Producer: Julian Raymond; Publishers: EMI/International Korwin/EMI Mills/Sony-ATV; Big Machine (track)
– Jennifer’s To Celebrate Christmas is a triumph. This lady inhabits the holiday repertoire like few others can. She totally rocks “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” offers a completely unexpected delight with “Celebrate Me Home” and brings fellow vocal goddess Andra Day along with her on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Whether it’s “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Circle of Love” or “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” these are performances that will pin your ears back. She doesn’t really have the pipes for “O Holy Night,” but more than makes up for that misstep via this collaboration with Idina Menzel. It is, simply, the best version of this standard ever.

Writers: traditional; Producers: Jay DeMarcus/Rascal Flatts; Publisher: public domain; Big Machine (track)
– I’m all for creative arrangements. But here and in several other places on the CD The Greatest Gift of All, the group takes leave of traditional melody and goes off into aural parts unknown. At a slender 10 tracks, this is the briefest of this year’s Nashville holiday offerings.

AMY GRANT/Tennessee Christmas
Writers: none listed; Producers: none listed; Publishers: none listed; Capitol CMG
– Judging by my informal survey of local retailers, Amy’s new Christmas album is the hit of the season. It seems to be sold out everywhere and is hard to find. With reason: Tennessee Christmas is a lovely record. The arrangements twinkle like holiday lights. Her vocals are luminous. The repertoire is a wintery wonderland. One nice touch is the fact that she interjects spoken-word passages about her fondest holiday memories.

SELAH/Rose of Bethlehem
Writers: Lowell Alexander; Producers: Jason Kyle Saetveit, Todd Smith, Allan Hall & Nicol Sponberg; Publishers: Birdwing/EMI, ASCAP; Curb (track)
– File this one under “arty.” Selah is a CCM vocal trio with a penchant for elaborately arranged performances. No one is a hair-raising singer, but when they combine their voices, magic happens. Dolly Parton guests on her own tune “Once Upon a Christmas,” pop singer Plumb drops by for “Mary Sweet Mary” and the Annie Moses Band appears on a medley. This title tune is typical of the CD’s tone. The record gets bonus points for being dominated by newer songs, rather than standards. It is also l-o-n-n-n-ng, at 15 tracks.

LORETTA LYNN/White Christmas Blue
Writers: Lynn/Shawn Camp; Producers: Patsy Lynn Russell/John Carter Cash; Publishers: Sure Fire/Scamporee/International Dog, BMI; Legacy (track)
– Loretta Lynn and Shawn Camp win the award for the best new country Christmas song of 2016, and he harmonizes with the legend on its catchy choruses. It is the title tune and standout track of her new LP, which is available on vinyl. The other groovy tunes are her self-penned “To Heck With Old Santa Claus” and “Country Christmas.” But both of these were on her 1966 Christmas album, as were “Blue Christmas,” “Away in a Manger” and “Frosty the Snowman,” all of which are reprised here. More original material would have helped this project, since my thoughts drifted when she sang overly familiar standards. One other highlight is her reading of Clement Moore’s classic 1822 poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

ASCAP Launches Redesigned Website, “Member Access” Portal


Performing rights organization ASCAP has launched its newly-redesigned website, including its dedicated “Member Access” portal.

The site provides a unified online experience across desktops, mobile devices and other platforms so that ASCAP members can easily conduct their business globally, 24/7. Within the new Member Access, members will find improved self-service options, more information-at-a-glance, a simplified process for reporting performances, the ability to contact ASCAP with a single tap and more.

These improvements follow the launch of ASCAP’s redesigned music repertory database, ACE.

“The changes we are making to and Member Access demonstrate that ASCAP is committed to giving our members the best services possible,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “The new design and interface are fresh and intuitive. The development of these state-of-the-art digital tools by our new digital team, led by Chief Strategy and Digital Officer Alice Kim, is part of a cross-departmental initiative to make our interactions with members more seamless and effective. They are the early results of our continued strategic focus on technology and innovation for the benefit of our songwriter, composer and music publisher members, aimed at making ASCAP the most progressive organization for performance rights management.”

For more, visit

Garth Brooks Lines Up Major Donation For St. Jude

garth-brooks-featuredFrom now until Dec. 25, Garth Brooks will donate $20 from the sale of each copy of his Target exclusive boxed-set The Ultimate Collection to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

A light-hearted phone call with iHeartMedia personality Bobby Bones during the St. Jude Radiothon last week sparked the fundraising initiative. Upon hearing that the radiothon raised over $1.3 million in a single day, Brooks was inspired by the generosity of the show’s listeners.

“Just when I thought the Radiothon couldn’t exceed any more expectations, this happens,” said Bobby Bones. “I half-jokingly suggested that Garth sign up to donate $20 a month during the broadcast, but I never expected him to go above and beyond like this. St Jude is a really important cause for so many people, and it’s very humbling that we’re able to help inspire these acts of kindness.”

“After talking with Bobby on the show last week, I was stunned when I heard just how much money the show had raised in one day,” said Garth Brooks. “It really motivated me to get involved and see how I could try and help such an amazing cause. Hats off to Bobby and his team for putting together an inspirational broadcast that is really making a difference to a lot of people’s lives.”

Brooks currently has top three titles on BuzzAngle’s Country Album Chart, with his recently released projects The Ultimate Collection, Christmas Together and Gunslinger.

Warner/Chappell Music and Sea Gayle Sign Kelley Lovelace

Ryan Beuschel (WC), Christina Wiltshire (SG), Kelley Lovelace, Ben Vaughn (WC), Jake Gear (SG), Mike Owens (SG), Chris DuBois (SG), Brad Paisley (SG) in Paisley’s home bar, “Ye Olde Potion Room Pub.”

(L-R): Ryan Beuschel (Warner/Chappell), Christina Wiltshire (Sea Gayle), Kelley Lovelace, Ben Vaughn (Warner/Chappell) and Sea Gayle’s Jake Gear, Mike Owens, Chris DuBois, and Brad Paisley in Paisley’s home bar, Ye Olde Potion Room Pub.

Warner/Chappell Music and Sea Gayle Music have signed a worldwide co-publishing agreement with Grammy-nominated songwriter Kelley Lovelace. Lovelace’s work has been recorded by Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Sheryl Crow, and many others. He has 23 Top 10 hits to his credit, including 16 No. 1s (eight of which were recorded by Paisley). Warner/Chappell and Sea Gayle will also represent a significant part of Lovelace’s back catalog.

“Signing with Warner/Chappell and Sea Gayle is truly the best of both worlds for me—I couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect partnership,” said Lovelace. “I have had such incredible enthusiasm and motivation from both companies that it’s actually causing me to dig a little deeper and write a little more. I think my best songs are the ones I will be a part of in the future. I haven’t been this optimistic in a long, long time. Feels like I just moved to town.”

“There is a very short list of songwriters that have earned the success that Kelley has achieved,” said Chris DuBois, Co-Owner, Sea Gayle Music. “He has as much talent in the writer room as anyone I have ever known and I speak for everyone at Sea Gayle when I say how proud and honored we are to welcome him to this partnership between Sea Gayle and Warner/Chappell.”

Ben Vaughn, Executive Vice President, Warner/Chappell Nashville, added, “In an ever-evolving industry, one thing that does not change is the importance of a great idea. Kelley Lovelace has proven, time and time again, that his craftsmanship and wordsmithing is among the elites in the songwriting profession. On behalf of the entire WCM team, it is a great pleasure that we enter into this new partnership with our friends Kelley Lovelace and Sea Gayle.”

Lovelace is the recipient of MusicRow magazine’s Song of the Year award for “He Didn’t Have To Be,” which was co-written and recorded by Paisley. Lovelace has been nominated for country song of the year by all of the major awards shows, including the Grammys, CMA Awards and ACM Awards. Lovelace is represented by attorney Chip Petree.

NMPA, YouTube Reach Agreement to Distribute Unclaimed Royalties


The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), on behalf of music publishers and songwriters, and YouTube have negotiated an agreement to distribute royalties for musical works used in videos on YouTube where ownership was previously unknown.

The agreement addresses the challenges around identifying ownership of musical works, and it will help solve the problem of attribution so that music publishers and songwriters can not only be paid for works viewed on YouTube in the past where ownership was previously unknown, but also be paid for those identified works moving forward.

Music publishers will have the ability to opt into this agreement during the opt-in period, which opens on Dec. 12, 2016 and will remain open through Feb. 28, 2017.

Following the opt-in period, YouTube will provide participating publishers with a list of songs YouTube may have been unable to obtain proper ownership information for. This will allow participating publishers to claim ownership in those songs and receive accrued royalties from the period between August 1, 2012 through December 31, 2015.

The claiming window will be 3 months long. After the claiming window, participating publishers will receive claimed accrued royalties. Any accrued royalties that remain unclaimed will be distributed to participating publishers based on each publisher’s market share and on revenue paid for known usage on YouTube during the initial accrual period. The agreement, however, will not affect the rights of any publisher or songwriter who does not choose to participate.

This process will be repeated for future 12-month usage periods beginning on January 1, 2016 and ending on December 31, 2019.

“We appreciate YouTube’s willingness to work with us on behalf of the industry to help pay out millions of dollars in previously unclaimed royalties to publishers and songwriters,” NMPA President and CEO David Israelite said regarding the agreement. “It is essential that we work with digital services like YouTube – the most popular digital platform for music discovery – to fix the challenge of incomplete ownership information to ensure royalties are no longer unmatched and music owners are paid accurately by the platforms that rely on their work.”

“The revenue earned by the music industry on YouTube continues to grow significantly year over year, and we’re committed to making sure that publishers are paid for the usage of their works on our platform,” said Tamara Hrivnak, Head of Music Partnerships, Americas for YouTube and Google Play. “We are excited to partner with the NMPA to address the industry-wide challenges associated with identifying publishing ownership on digital platforms.”


2017 Alive At The Bluebird Series Includes Michael McDonald, Vince Gill, Jason Isbell

bluebird cafe 2014The 2017 Alive At The Bluebird concert series will welcome more than 100 songwriters including Jason Isbell, Michael McDonald, John Oates, Amy Grant, and Vince Gill. The benefit shows for Alive Hospice kick off Jan. 3, 2017 with hit songwriter Al Anderson and friends.

The concert series has raised more than $900,000 for Alive Hospice over the years. By the end of the 2017 series, that total is expected to exceed $1 million.

Alive At The Bluebird runs the month of January and includes 32 concerts. Select dates go on sale Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 a.m. CST.

Among the concert highlights:

Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Buddy Miller; Saturday, Jan. 7 at 9:30 p.m.; $65

Jeff Black, Sam Bush, John Oates; Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 9:30 p.m.; $65

Gary Burr, Michael McDonald, Jim Photoglo, Mike Reid; Friday, Jan. 20 at 9:30 p.m.; $75

Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Don Schlitz; Wednesday, Jan 18 at 9:00p.m.; $100

A full calendar of shows, marked A Benefit for Alive Hospice, is available at

Emmylou Harris, Rufus & Martha Wainwright Present Nashville Noel Nights

nashville-noel-nights-posterRufus & Martha Wainwright and their longtime family friend Emmylou Harris will present Nashville Noel Nights at the Ryman Auditorium on Dec. 18 and 19. The Wainwright’s annual Christmas show, Noel Nights, has entertained audiences all over the world and this will be its Music City debut.

Special guests include Alison Krauss, Chris Stills, Jamey Johnson, Venus and the Moon, Kennedy Rose and Karen Elson.

First performed in 2005, the show is part concert and part family reunion, often enlisting friends as guest stars. Brother and sister Martha and Rufus are the children of folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and the late Kate McGarrigle. The Christmas show features three generations of the Wainwright and McGarrigle families: Loudon, Jane McGarrigle, Sloan Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche.

This year Nashville Noel Nights will benefit the Kate McGarrigle Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation of Tennessee. Tickets and details here.

Randy Travis Tribute Slated For Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena In February

Randy Travis. Photo: Robert Tractenberg

Randy Travis. Photo: Robert Tractenberg

On Feb. 8, music stars will gather at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for a tribute to Randy Travis. Tickets for the event go on sale to the general public Friday, Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. CT at all Ticketmaster locations and the Bridgestone Arena Box Office.

Titled 1 Night. 1 Place. 1 Time.: A Heroes & Friends Tribute to Randy Travis, the event will so far feature performances from Alabama, Kenny Rogers, Rodney Atkins, Chris Janson, Jamey Johnson, Montgomery Gentry, Michael Ray, Ricky Skaggs, Michael W. Smith, The Randy Travis Band, Tanya Tucker, Josh Turner. More performers are expected to be announced.

The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee suffered a massive stroke in 2013 and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Randy Travis Foundation; a 501(c)3 non-profit that raises money for stroke research and rehabilitation.

“It’s amazing to see the support that Randy has received from the music industry since his stroke. We’re thrilled to have all of these artists come out and pay tribute to him,” said producer of the event and Travis’ manager, Tony Conway of Conway Entertainment Group.

1 Night. 1 Place. 1 Time.: A Heroes & Friends Tribute to Randy Travis is produced by Mary Travis along with Conway, Mike Smardak of Outback Concerts of Tennessee, Inc. who is also the promoter of the event and Kirt Webster of Webster and Associates.

Magic Mustang Music Signs Radney Foster

(From Top Left, Clockwise): Magic Mustang Music’s Juli Newton-Griffith; BBR Music Group’s Jon Loba; BBR Music Group’s Colton McGee; Radney Foster; BBR Music Group’s Benny Brown.

(From Top Left, Clockwise): Magic Mustang Music’s Juli Newton-Griffith; BBR Music Group’s Jon Loba; BBR Music Group’s Colton McGee; Radney Foster; BBR Music Group’s Benny Brown.

BBR Music Group has signed Radney Foster to its Magic Mustang Music publishing roster.

The Texas singer-songwriter has crafted numerous chart-topping songs, including hits for Sara Evans (“A Real Fine Place To Start”), and Keith Urban (“Raining On Sunday,” and “I’m In”). Foster has also notched his own hits with 1992’s “Just Call Me Lonesome” and 1993’s “Nobody Wins.”

He has also had cuts by Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, The Dixie Chicks, and Darius Rucker.

“I’m so excited to be working with Benny, Juli and Noah and the whole team at Magic Mustang,” says Foster. “Their enthusiasm has sparked a whole new wave of creativity in me.”

Foster is writing a book of short fiction to accompany his upcoming album and is set to make his professional stage debut this winter in Troubadour, premiering at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre on Jan. 18, 2017.

“I am elated to have such a great songwriter and icon on our roster,” says Juli Newton-Griffith, VP of Publishing for Magic Mustang Music. “His talents are limitless and this is going to be a fun ride!”