Reba, Kenny Rogers, Alison Krauss Set For Dolly Parton Gatlinburg Telethon

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton will welcome several musical friends, including Reba, Kenny Rogers and Alison Krauss, to perform during Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. (ET). The telethon is set to air on Great American Country (GAC). The telethon will also be simulcast across multiple radio chains, including iHeart Media’s digital and select on-air platforms, Cumulus Media’s NASH Nights LIVE, TuneIn’s Country Roads channel. Additional celebrities joining Smoky Mountains Rise include will be announced soon.

The nationally-broadcast, three-hour telethon seeks to raise money for the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund, established by Parton, The Dollywood Company and Parton’s dinner theaters in the wake of last week’s wildfires in the entertainment icon’s home area of Sevier County, Tennessee.

“My home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is some place special,” Parton said. “Wildfires have affected many of the people—my people—who live in those beautiful mountains. We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet.”

The My People Fund will provide $1,000 each month to Sevier County families whose homes are uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the recent Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County will be eligible. A pre-application for those affected is available at

During the telethon, viewers will be asked to call 1-866-CARE MORE to donate to the My People Fund.

Anyone who would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the My People Fund may visit For those wishing to send donations via mail, those contributions should be sent to: My People Fund, c/o Dollywood Foundation, 111 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

Sunny Sweeney Preps New Album For 2017


Sunny Sweeney will release her fourth album, Trophy, on March 10 via Thirty Tigers. Trophy features some of the singer/songwriter’s most serious-minded compositions, and features writing from songwriters including Lori McKenna (who contributes four tracks to the project), Heather Morgan, and Caitlyn Smith.

The project was produced by Dave Brainard, who also produced Brandy Clark’s 12 Stories.

Trophy Track Listing

“Pass The Pain”
Jay Clementi/Monty Holmes/Sunny Sweeney

“Better Bad Idea”
Buddy Owens/Galen Griffin/Sunny Sweeney

“Nothing Wrong With Texas”
Lori McKenna/Sunny Sweeney

Brennen Leigh/Noel McKay

“Bottle By My Bed”
Lori McKenna/Sunny Sweeney

“Why People Change”
Heather Morgan/Sunny Sweeney

“I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight”
Chris Wall

“Grow Old With Me”
Lori McKenna/Sunny Sweeney

Lori McKenna/Sunny Sweeney

Caitlyn Smith/Sunny Sweeney

Global Music Rights Files Suit Against 10,000 Radio Stations On Behalf Of Songwriters

rmlcvsgmrIrving Azoff‘s Global Music Rights (GMR)—the first PRO startup in 70 years—has filed a suit in federal court for antitrust violations against the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC).

The suit comes after the RMLC’s Nov. 18 filing against GMR when negotiations broke down between the two parties ahead of a 2017 deadline in which GMR will begin licensing its own repertoire with radio. Stations could face six-figure fines after the new year if they lack a license to play material from GMR-represented writers, which are noted by the RMLC to account for 5-7.5 percent of its total radio airplay.

According to Wednesday (Dec. 7) complaint, GMR alleges the RMLC’s more than 10,000 U.S. radio stations have wrongfully colluded to underpay songwriters to play songs on the radio. Referring to the RMLC as a cartel, the suit alleges those stations control more than 90 percent of radio industry revenue, reaching more than 245 million listeners weekly.

“This is the most important fight of my professional life,” Azoff said. “I will not stop the fight for fairness to artists and songwriters.”

Attorney Daniel Petrocelli of O’Melveny & Myers is representing GMR in its search for antitrust damages, which are tripled under the law, and an injunction forbidding the RMLC from continuing anticompetitive conduct.

“This cartel has been a smashing success,” Petrocelli said. “Music is the lifeblood of terrestrial radio but, because of the conspiracy, owners of terrestrial radio stations pay only about 4 percent of their revenue—a tiny fraction—to the songwriters who create that music. Other media distributors such as streaming music services, which are not part of the terrestrial radio cartel, pay substantially more money to songwriters.

“Business is conducted every single day in this world, and in every single industry, by consensual arrangements. This industry is no different. If they want to play these works they need to pay fair market value,” Petrocelli went on to tell Variety.

GMR formed in 2013 and represents a total of 71 songwriters, including Nashville’s Shane McAnally, Luke Laird, and Paul Overstreet, in addition to Pharrell Williams, Ryan Tedder and the estates of Lennon and Ira Gershwin among many others.

Billy Currington Celebrates 11th Chart-Topper With “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”

Pictured (L-R): (front row) Co-writers Shy Carter (BMI), Mercury Nashville recording artist Billy Currington (ASCAP) and Cary Barlowe (SESAC), (back row) ASCAP's Beth Brinker, SESAC's Shannan Hatch, BMI's Josh Tomlinson, Major Bob Music's Tina Crawford, BMG's Chris Oglesby and Mercury Nashville's Damon Moberly. Photo by Ed Rode.

Pictured (L-R): (front row) Co-writers Shy Carter (BMI), Mercury Nashville recording artist Billy Currington (ASCAP) and Cary Barlowe (SESAC). (back row): ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, SESAC’s Shannan Hatch, BMI’s Josh Tomlinson, Major Bob Music’s Tina Crawford, BMG’s Chris Oglesby and Mercury Nashville’s Damon Moberly. Photo: Ed Rode.

Several members of the music industry elite turned out on Tuesday, Dec. 6 as ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, BMI’s Josh Tomlinson, and SESAC’s Shannan Hatch hosted a gathering to fete Billy Currington‘s 11th No. 1 single, “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To.” The shindig, held at SOUTH, also marked the final No. 1 party for 2016.

The two-week No. 1 was BMI songwriter Shy Carter‘s second No. 1 in the country format (following his work on Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue”), and it was SESAC songwriter Cary Barlowe‘s fourth No. 1 country single.

Among those celebrating were Major Bob Music’s Tina Crawford, who noted that Barlowe and Carter were in the middle of a co-writing session during CMA Music Festival a few years ago when Currington stopped by to say hello. The impromptu meeting became the full-fledged, three-way co-writing session that rendered the hit song.

Also on hand to celebrate “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” were producer Dann Huff, BMG’s Chris Oglesby, Mercury Nashville VP of Promotion Damon Moberly, UMG Nashville’s Royce Risser, CRB’s Holly Lane, First Tennessee Bank’s Andrew Kintz, and more. It was announced that Pinnacle Bank offered a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, on behalf of the songwriters.

Pictured (L-R): Shy Carter, Billy Currington and Cary Barlowe. Photo: Ed Rode.

Pictured (L-R): Shy Carter, Billy Currington and Cary Barlowe. Photo: Ed Rode.


Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack Set For Honky Tonk Highway Tour In 2017

Alan Jackson 2016

Alan Jackson 2016

Alan Jackson will embark on the Honky Tonk Highway Tour in 2017, along with special guest Lee Ann Womack on select dates.

Jackson’s 2017 tour will find the superstar playing arena and amphitheatre shows as well as some of the biggest annual festivals and multi-day events on the country music calendar. The first round of tour dates was recently announced, with more to be added soon.

Lee Ann womack

Lee Ann Womack


Jan. 20: Tulsa, Okla.; Paradise Cove **
Jan. 27: Pensacola, Fla.; Pensacola Bay Center **++
Jan. 28: Atlanta (Duluth), Ga.; Infinite Energy Center**++
Feb. 25: Laughlin, Nev.; Laughlin Events Center ^^
March 10: Durant, Okla.; Choctaw Casino Resort **
March 24/25: Rancho Mirage, Calif.; Aqua Caliente Casino **
April 8: St. Augustine, Fla.; St. Augustine Amphitheatre ~~++
April 9: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Tortuga Music Festival **
May 27: Forest City, Iowa; Tree Town Country Music Festival**
June 23: North Platte, Neb.; Nebraskaland Days **
June 24: Manhattan, Kan.; Country Stampede**
Oct. 28: Minneapolis, MN (Target Center) **

**Date is already onsale
^^Tickets onsale Friday, December 9
~~Tickets onsale Friday, December 16
++with special guest Lee Ann Womack

Waylon Jennings’ Lost Sessions Revived

waylonjennings-lost-nashville-sessionsWaylon Jennings: The Lost Nashville Sessions has been released by Country Rewind Records. Listen here.

The recordings, which have never been commercially available before, were originally made at Scotty Moore’s Music City Recorders on July 13, 1970.

For the new release, Grammy Award-winning producer Robby Turner, who played in Jennings’ band for many years, enhanced the production of the tracks. Project contributor Paul Martin was tasked with replacing all the bass guitar parts on the songs. Martin and his wife Jamie also added background vocals.

Waylon Jennings: The Lost Nashville Sessions track list

1. Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line
2. The Chokin’ Kind
3. Stop The World (And Let Me Off)
4. Anita, You’re Dreaming
5. Just To Satisfy You
6. Green River
7. Singer Of Sad Songs
8. Love Of The Common People
9. MacArthur Park
10. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
11. Mental Revenge
12. Time To Bum Again
13. Sunday Morning Coming Down
14. Young Widow Brown

CMA Elects New Board of Directors



The Country Music Association announced Wednesday (Dec. 7) the new Board of Directors. The appointments are effective on Jan. 1, 2017.

John Esposito completes his term as Chairman of the CMA Board and current CMA Board President Sally Williams, Vice President and General Manager of Ryman Auditorium, assumes that post. CMA President-Elect Bill Simmons, Partner at The Fitzgerald Hartley Company, will become President. Jody Williams, Vice President of Writer-Publisher Relations at BMI, has been named President-Elect. Kurt Johnson, Senior Vice President of Programming for Townsquare Media, has been named Secretary/Treasurer of the CMA Board.

“It has been my great honor to serve as Chairman of the CMA Board,” said Esposito. “It has been an especially great thrill to have served on this historic 50th Anniversary of the CMA Awards. Working with this Board and the great people who serve on it has been a major highlight of my career. I look forward to continuing to remain very active with CMA in other capacities. The Board is in great hands with Sally Williams as the incoming Chairman. She will further the mission of this organization.”

“2016 was a monumental year for CMA. We celebrated a half century of Country Music with a brilliant 50th Anniversary Awards broadcast and the groundbreaking ‘Forever Country’ song and video. Hats off to John Esposito, Sarah Trahern, and the entire CMA staff for exceeding all expectations,” said Williams. “The stage certainly is set for Country Music to enjoy growth not only domestically but also internationally. I’m excited about collaborating with Bill Simmons, Jody Williams, and the rest of the Board as we continue to work toward that vital goal.”

Following is a list of 2017 CMA Directors and Directors at Large:

Directors By Membership Category
Carryover Directors, who are serving the second year of a two-year term are listed below along with newly-elected Directors (indicated in bold).

Advertising/Public Relations/Media
Lon Helton, Country Aircheck
Brian Philips, CMT

Steve Buchanan, Opry Entertainment
Bill Mayne, Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.

Kix Brooks
Karen Fairchild, Little Big Town

Bob DiPiero, Love Monkey Music
Shane McAnally, SMACKSongs, LLC

Entertainment Services
Frank Bumstead, Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.
Dwight Wiles, Wiles + Taylor & Co., PC

Maria Molin Ljunggren, Capitol Music Group Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden
Milly Olykan, AEG Europe/The O2 London, London, United Kingdom

John Marks, Spotify
Sally Seitz, iTunes

Music Publisher/Performing Rights Organization
Michael Martin, ASCAP
Jody Williams, BMI           

Jimmie Lee Sloas
Biff Watson, Biff-Bangs Productions, Inc.

Personal Manager
Ann Edelblute, The HQ
Marion Kraft, ShopKeeper Management

Luke Laird, Creative Nation Music

Charlie Morgan, Emmis Communications, New York, N.Y.

Record Company
John Esposito, Warner Music Nashville
Randy Goodman, Sony Music Nashville

Talent Agent
Rob Beckham, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC

Talent Buyer/Promoter
Allen Anders, AEG Live, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Tony Conway, Conway Entertainment Group            

Touring Personnel
Terry Calonge, Richards & Southern
Everett Lybolt, Sound Image 

Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium

Lifetime Directors
J. William Denny, Denny Properties
Ralph Peer II, peermusic

Ex-Officio Members
Jim Free, The Smith-Free Group, LLC, Washington, D.C.
Butch Spyridon, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation
Kyle Young, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Directors at Large:
Marcie Allen, MAC Presents, LLC, New York, N.Y.
Jim Beavers
Steve Blatter, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, New York, N.Y.
Scott Borchetta, Big Machine Label Group
Becky Brenner, Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Country Radio Specialists, Seattle, Wash.
Chris DuBois, Sea Gayle Music
Mike Dungan, Universal Music Group Nashville
Kerri Edwards, KP Entertainment
Brett Eldredge
Ted Ellis, Harbour Media Partners, Ontario, Canada
Joe Galante, Galante Entertainment Organization
Jeff Garrison, Cox Media Group, San Antonio, Texas
John Hamlin, Switched On Entertainment
Ed Hardy, Hardy Media and Entertainment Group
Clint Higham, Morris Higham Management
Mary Hilliard Harrington, Red Light Management
John Huie, Creative Artists Agency
Clay Hunnicutt, Big Loud Records
Brett James, Cornman Music
Kurt Johnson, Townsquare Media, Dallas, Texas
Vivien Lewit, YouTube/Google, New York, N.Y.
Jon Loba, BBR Music Group
Deb McDermott, Media General
Ebie McFarland, Essential Broadcast Media
Mike McVay, Cumulus Media, Atlanta
Jim Ed Norman, The Curb Group
Brian O’Connell, Live Nation Nashville
Jason Owen, Sandbox Entertainment
Rod Phillips, iHeartMedia
Rob Potts, Rob Potts Entertainment Edge, Five Dock, Australia
David Ross, BossRoss Media
Darius Rucker
Stacey Schiltz, SchlitzLAW
Scott Scovill, Moo TV, CenterStaging, and Moo Creative Media
Bob Shennan, BBC, London, United Kingdom
Bill Simmons, The Fitzgerald Hartley Company
Jennie Smythe, Girlilla Marketing
Clarence Spalding, Maverick
Jeff Stevens, Jeff Stevens Music
Troy Tomlinson, Sony/ATV Music Publishing
Ben Vaughn, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Troy Vollhoffer, Premier Global Production Company, Inc.
Tim Westergren, Pandora, Oakland, Calif.
Chris Young

Industry Ink: NSAI Documentary, Entrepreneur Center, Tony Wood

Luke Bryan To Appear in NSAI Documentary

Luke Bryan recently visited the Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI) to appear in a documentary to be released in 2017. While there he congratulated some of Nashville’s top songwriters who were attending an awards breakfast and legislative briefing.


(L-R): Casey Summar, NSAI President Lee Thomas Miller, Trent Summar, Cole Taylor, Corey Crowder, Luke Bryan, Jason Duke, Jim Beavers, Melissa Peirce, Frank Rogers, Brett Beavers and NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison.


Leadership Change at Entrepreneur Center

Sam Lingo

Sam Lingo

Sam Lingo is leaving his post as President and COO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center effective Dec. 31. He has spent nearly seven years with the business incubator which has strong ties to Nashville’s tech and music communities. He will move into an advisory role in 2017. According to reports, it is unlikely his positions will be filled.




Tony Wood Wraps Year With Seven Christmas Cuts

Word Publishing’s Tony Wood is putting a bow on 2016 with seven cuts on new Christmas albums by Stars Go Dim, We Are Messengers, Travis Ryan, Selah, Austin & Lindsey Adamec and Alisa Turner.

Wood is celebrating his 25th year as a professional songwriter. He is a multiple Dove Award Winner with 29 No. 1s in his repertoire.

L to R- Word Publishing Staff and Tony Wood: Trevor Mathiesen, Jonathan Mason, Joel Timen, Tony Wood, Janine Appleton, Josh Bailey

(L-R): Word Publishing’s Trevor Mathiesen, Jonathan Mason, Joel Timen, Tony Wood, Janine Appleton, Josh Bailey

Top 5 Hits: Terry Calonge Talks Merch

terry-calonge-2016Richards & Southern CEO Terry Calonge spoke to MusicRow recently about his thriving merchandise business. “I love what I do and I wake up every morning supercharged because this is the most exciting time,” he says. “God has lined us up for this moment. And every time I say that, it gets bigger and better.”

Below are five highlights from the discussion. For an in-depth look at Richards & Southern, pick up a copy of MusicRow’s January 2017 print magazine, the Touring Issue.

It’s a growing operation.

Calonge: We recently bought 11 acres on I-65 at exit 97 near the Prevost bus company. We are designing a business campus with the main building set to house operations, distribution, production, administration and fulfillment. There will be a second building at the bottom of the hill. Plus, we have room for two additional 42,000 sq. ft. buildings for fulfillment and international distribution.

We’ve got a great crew of 45 people, with designers and logistics people who are the best in the world. They can move goods to a show in Australia in two days. My sons, Scot and Ryan, work with Luke Bryan and a lot of the younger acts. My wife Sheri is President and takes care of accounting and operations. We recently hired Sean O’Halloran to create video and still content, for example to post on Instagram. Sean also did a full-length music video on Julia Cole, which Richards & Southern paid for. The more we help our clients advance their brand, the more it is going to drive sales.

Retail statements tell a story.

Our job is to interpret an artist’s brand, and we do that by creating a retail statement. It is a group of merchandise that tells a deeper story about an artist. You can’t look solely at fabric or artwork. You have to put it all together, then step back and look at it from the eyes of the artist’s fans.

One of our very first clients was Cracker Barrel, and through that we learned about creating a retail statement or retail story. And as the story draws you in, you will be more likely to buy multiple pieces of merchandise. At Cracker Barrel, an example would be the John Deere table. At a Kenny Chesney concert, it could be a mini surfboard, or a No Shoes Nation flag.

Kenny Chesney has a fall-back career, in case this music thing doesn’t work out.

Kenny Chesney is one of the smartest marketing people on the planet. First of all, he is a wonderful human being. He cares about his fans and giving them something extra special every year.

Usually, Sheri and a designer will meet with Kenny at his home. And he already has mental images of what the title of that tour means to him. They all put together the images that are the retail statement—the store. Richards & Southern makes the concert assets—the big screens that cover the stage and the sound tower. Then the video folks bring those assets to life. Kenny directs every piece of that. He oversees the product line himself.

Because we created the ideas for merch first, all the concert assets lead right back to the merchandising stand. That’s one of the reasons why his per cap sales are so high. He will spend hours moving one little piece in a design. When someone spends that much time on the details, they soar past all the usual sales percentages. He sells more at the venue than anywhere else, but he also has amazing sales online. He doesn’t distribute his merchandise outside of his own outlets, to protect it and make it special.

Millennials love exclusivity.

As we’ve grown in the direct-to-consumer business online, we discovered the ways in which fans want to connect with artists. Merchandise is an extension of the experience of the show. Our job is to interpret the artist’s brand and to reach fans. So Richards & Southern offers different designs for different demographics. For example, Millennials and their parents.

Millennials want an even closer walk with an artist. They want to feel like they are having a genuine experience with the artist, like the tweets and posts are going to them personally. Millennials want to think you designed it for them and their friends personally. They want less of the names and picture, and more of the branding

You dream it, we can make it.

CID Presents is an amazing company and we work closely with them to give the fans who buy their VIP experiences exclusive products that aren’t available out in the marketplace. Whether it is a neon sign, a padded barstool or a hand-painted Adirondack chair for Kenny Chesney, we will make it happen. We have 145 clients and CID Presents works with a big portion of them. Right now we are working on freshening George Strait’s merchandise for Las Vegas, because some fans are buying VIP packages to every show.

In Photos: A2IM Celebrates Holiday Party Before Grammy Noms

Pictured (L-R): David Macias, Thirty Tigers; Taylor Childress, Curb; Stephanie Alexa, ATO Records; Benson Curb, Curb; Scott Robinson, Dualtone Records

Pictured (L-R): David Macias, Thirty Tigers; Taylor Childress, Curb; Stephanie Alexa, ATO Records; Benson Curb, Curb; Scott Robinson, Dualtone Records

Photos: William McClintic Photography

A2IM celebrated its holiday party at Nashville’s Pinewood Social on Monday, Dec. 5. Members from Curb Records, Thirty Tigers, Dualtone Records, ATO Records, Naxos, Compass Records, Average Joe’s, Good Time Inc. and others were present.

A2IM independent members collectively received 280/420 Grammy nominations for the 59th annual Grammy Awards.