Top Nashville Executives Make ‘Billboard’ Women In Music List


Billboard recently released its list of the 100 Most Powerful Female Executives in Music, including many Nashville-based executives.

Lori Badgett (Senior vp/team manager, Nashville Entertainment; City National Bank). Badgett has spent more than 20 years providing financial services to companies and individuals in the music business throughout the country. In 2011, Badgett helped launch and now manages the Nashville office for City National Bank.

Ali Harnell (Senior vp, AEG Live). Harnell has managed the Southeast region for AEG Live since 2004 where she oversees all aspects of booking and operation and national touring activity for Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Hunter Hayes, and others. She is the co-creator of the international country music festival C2C and has produced the annual All For The Hall benefit concerts in Nashville since 2009.

Linda Edell Howard (Partner, Adams and Reese). Howard has been a strong advocate for creators’ rights. She Adams and Reese in 2001 and opened the firm’s Music Row office. She has almost 30 years of experience in the areas of entertainment, new media and technology, and domestic and international intellectual property law and is the leader of the Entertainment/New Media team.

Cris Lacy (Vp A&R, Warner Music Nashville). One of the label’s top breakthrough stories this year has been 23-year-old William Michael Morgan with his debut hit single “I Met A Girl,” which came nearly four years after Lacy signed him to the label.

Cindy Mabe (President, Universal Music Group Nashville). UMG Nashville’s roster of artists keeps lining up the accolades, from breakthrough artists Sam Hunt and Chris Stapleton in 2015, to newcomers Brothers Osborne winning Vocal Duo of the Year at this year’s CMA Awards.

Mary Ann McCready (Founding co-owner/president, Flood Bumstead McCready & McCarthy). McCready was the first female VP of National Sales and Marketing for a major record company and the first female recipient of the CMA’s Founding President’s Award. FBMM represents entertainers, members of the music business, and professional athletes.

Lou Taylor (CEO, Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group). Business manager Taylor leads a primarily female 78-person staff, overseeing a roster that includes Gwen Stefani, Meghan Trainor and the Las Vegas residencies of Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears.

Sarah Trahern (CEO, Country Music Association). In addition to spearheading this year’s 50th annual CMA Awards, which aired Nov. 2 on ABC, Trahern helped the CMA earn another honor. Thirty of country music’s biggest artists teamed for the three-song medley “Forever Country,” which became one of only three songs to debut on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart in its 58-year history.

Kelli Turner (CFO/executive vp operations and corporate development, SESAC). Turner was appointed Executive Vice President, Operations, Corporate Development and CFO of SESAC in July 2014. Turner is charged with overseeing finance, corporate development, licensing and administrative functions. Turner played a key role in increasing SESAC’s revenue from $182 million to $206 million in 2016, in part through a deal with Universal Publishing Production Music.

Sally Williams (GM, Ryman Auditorium). The incoming chairman of the Country Music Association has increased attendance 175 percent over eight years and oversaw a $14.5 million expansion in time for the Nashville institution’s 125th anniversary in 2017.

Weekly Register: Miranda Lambert, Garth Brooks Dominate Country Albums Chart



Garth Brooks has a strong hold on the Top 10 country album rankings this week, as his recently-released albums Christmas Together and Gunslinger take three of the top five slots this week. Garth and Trisha Yearwood‘s Christmas Together is at No. 2 with 30K sold, while the Christmas album combined with Gunslinger lands at No. 3 with 23K. The solo Gunslinger project is at No. 4 on the country albums ranking with 19K.

However, it is Miranda Lambert who takes the top ranking this week, with The Weight Of These Wings moving 31K, for a total of 153K. Brett Eldredge‘s Christmas project Glow rounds out the Top 5, with 14K sold this week.

Several albums have reached the 500K units mark, enough to earn Gold certification. Those titles include Blake Shelton‘s If I’m Honest, Thomas Rhett‘s Tangled Up, and Joey + Rory‘s Hymns. Also of note is Gillian Welch’s latest, Boots No. 1- The Official Revival Bootleg, comes in at No. 30 selling 3.8K.

Overall album sales have declined 16 percent year to date, while overall digital album sales have declined 20.6 percent. Country album sales are down 6.7 percent, while country digital sales are down 16.8 percent year to date.

The Voice contestant Sundance Head

The Voice contestant Sundance Head


The Voice contestant Sundance Head debuts at No. 1 country and No. 14 overall on the digital tracks sales charts, with “Me and Jesus” selling 28K. Fellow The Voice contestant Billy Gilman‘s rendition of Martina McBride’s “Anyway” debuts at No. 4 country and No. 22 overall, moving 21K units.

Keith Urban‘s “Blue Ain’t Your Color” lands at No. 2, with 27K. Little Big Town‘s “Better Man” lands at No. 3, with 21K, while Florida Georgia Line (ft. Tim McGraw), lands at No. 5 with “May We All” moving 16K.

Overall digital track sales are down 24.7 percent year to date, while country track sales are down 22.7 percent year to date.

All information courtesy of Nielsen Soundscan.

Creative Nation Signs Duo Muscadine Bloodline

From (L-R): Luke Laird, Creative Nation; Beth Laird, Creative Nation; Charlie Muncaster; Gary Stanton; Jeff Skaggs, Creative Nation.

From (L-R): Creative Nation’s Luke Laird and Beth Laird, Muscadine Bloodline’s Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton; Jeff Skaggs, Creative Nation.

Independent Nashville music company, Creative Nation has signed new duo Muscadine Bloodline to its roster. The duo is made up of Gary Stanton and Charlie Muncaster from Mobile, Alabama. The two moved to Nashville in 2015 and officially formed the duo last December.

“Working with Creative Nation just made sense. I’m very lucky I get to surround myself with so many talented folks every day,” says Muncaster.

Stanton says, “When I walked into the Creative Nation office on Music Row, it felt like a home filled with a very talented family. Luke and Beth really cared about what we wanted to do and saw our vision. Nashville isn’t always open to change and thinking outside the box, but Creative Nation defies that mindset and that’s why it felt wrong not to join the team.”

Creative Nation hit songwriter/producer and co-owner, Luke Laird, adds, “I first heard Muscadine Bloodline on Spotify and was immediately captivated by their music. I just knew we had to work together. Their writing style combined with their seasoned live performance makes for a killer combination. I’m truly honored to have them join the team.”

Co-owner & CEO, Beth Laird, says, “Their songs, harmonies and live performance are undeniable and they are great guys with an incredible worth ethic that fit right in with our team.”

Muscadine Bloodline joins Creative Nation’s roster of artists and songwriters, including: Barry Dean, Kassi Ashton, Lori McKenna, Luke Laird, Maggie Chapman, Natalie Hemby, Steve Moakler and Tyler Johnson.

Nashville Artists Claim Five Spots On ‘Forbes’ Highest-Paid Musicians List

Pictured (L-R): Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan

Pictured (L-R): Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan

At $170-million, Taylor Swift is Forbes’ highest paid musician—and celebrity for that matter—from June 2015-2016. Based in Nashville is Swift’s record label (Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group), management (Swift-owned 13 Management), music publisher (Sony/ATV) and PR (Tree Paine’s Premium PR).

Additional Nashville-based entertainers on the annual list include Garth Brooks at No. 6 at $70 million, with touring totals soaring into the nine-figure territory.

Outside of the Top 10 are Kenny Chesney at No. 13 with $56 million, tied with Justin Bieber. Luke Bryan takes No. 19 with $53 million from touring, and endorsement deals. Toby Keith sits at No. 22 with $47.5 million from touring, a Ford endorsement deal and his chain of restaurants and brand of Mezcal.

The Forbes list measures pretax income before deducting management fees. Numbers are based on data from Pollstar, Nielsen and the RIAA, as well as interviews with managers, agents, lawyers—and some stars themselves. See the full list at

LifeNotes: Hit Songwriter Mark Gray Passes

Mark Gray

Mark Gray

Singer-songwriter Mark Gray has died at age 64.

As a Columbia Records artist in the 1980s, Gray had five Top 10 country hits. He also co-wrote big hit singles for Alabama, Janie Fricke, Gary Morris and several other stars.

He was born Mark Eugene Gray, the youngest of seven children in Vicksburg, Mississippi. His mother died when he was two years old, and he was raised by an aunt and uncle in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.

His aunt was a gospel singer, and Mark Gray was brought up in a strict, religious environment. He began playing piano as a youngster and was soon performing with gospel groups.

As a teenager, he competed and became a finalist on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in Memphis. Gray also worked as a commercial jingle singer early in his career.

By the early 1970s, he had formed a gospel group called The Revelations. While performing in it, he was spotted by The Oak Ridge Boys in 1972. The group brought him to Nashville to work for its publishing company and to fill in as its occasional piano accompanist on the road.

mark-gray-magicGray then joined the gospel act The Downings. He recalled that the group fired him after one of its members saw him having a beer. He spent the next several years developing his songwriting while performing in nightclubs in Jackson, Mississippi.

He was invited to join the rock band Exile in 1979. He remained with the group until 1982, and co-wrote its first country single, “The High Cost of Leaving.”

Janie Fricke recorded Gray’s co-written “It Ain’t Easy Being Easy” and made it a No. 1 hit in 1982. Alabama had chart-topping successes with his co-written “Take Me Down” (1982) and “The Closer You Get” (1983). Gary Morris hit the Top 10 with Gray’s “Second Hand Heart” in 1984.

By then, Mark Gray had been signed as a solo artist by Columbia Records. He debuted on the country charts in 1983 with “It Ain’t Real” and “Wounded Hearts,” both of which he co-wrote. That winter, he was featured on the first country music Caribbean cruise, headlined by Ricky Skaggs, Reba McEntire and The Whites.

The label poured promotional money into Gray’s career, showcasing him in Chicago with media flown in, placing his albums prominently in stores, touring him with top pop stars, offering radio-station giveaways and funding concept videos. Gray’s extended clip for “Left Side of the Bed” made history as country’s first mini-movie music video. In 1984, the song became his first Top 10 hit.

“If All the Magic Is Gone” (1984) and “Diamond in the Dust” (1984) also became top-10 country successes for him. Mark Gray scored his biggest hit in 1985 via a duet with Tammy Wynette on a remake of the Dan Hill pop song “Sometimes When We Touch.” Later in that year, he had his final top-10 hit, “Please Be Love.”

He continued to provide successful songs to other artists. Melissa Manchester’s “Nice Girls” (1983) and Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Til You and Your Lover Are Lovers Again” (1983) were both co-written by Mark Gray.

Others who recorded his songs include Tanya Tucker, George Jones, Razzy Bailey, The Temptations, Ray Stevens, Aretha Franklin, Lobo, Mac Davis, Shelly West, Rita Coolidge, Helen Cornelius, Steve Winwood, Don King, The Four Tops and Dobie Gray.

Mark Gray’s Columbia albums were Magic (1983), This Ole Piano (1984) and That Feeling Inside (1986). He left the company in 1987 and thereafter recorded for independent labels. His later work included duets with singer Bobbi Lace.

Mark Gray passed away on Friday, Dec. 2. Visitation with the family began yesterday afternoon and continues on Monday from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. The funeral service will follow at Sellars Funeral Home in Lebanon, Tennessee. Mark Gray will be buried in Learned, Mississippi.

Dolly Parton Organizes Telethon To Support Gatlinburg Wildfire Victims

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is organizing a telethon to support those affected by the recent wildfires in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, MusicRow has exclusively learned. The telethon is set for Dec. 13 in Nashville.

“I know there are a lot of great events being planned to help the people of East Tennessee, however, I am planning a telethon to support the ‘My People Fund’ where 100% of the money will help those who lost their homes in the wildfire. I am planning on doing this on Dec. 13th in Nashville, Tennessee,” the singer says.

100 percent of all donations made to Dolly’s My People Fund will go directly to support those affected by the wildfires. No administration costs will taken out of donations given to the fund.

Parton announced the My People Fund on Nov. 30, after the airing of Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, and has already pledged to provide $1000 each month to Sevier County families who lost their homes.

More information on the telethon, including artist lineup and syndicates, is forthcoming.

Artists interested in taking part can contact [email protected] and [email protected].

Granger Smith Hospitalized After Concert Injury

Granger Smith

Granger Smith

Granger Smith has been hospitalized after sustaining injuries Friday night (Dec. 2) during his concert at Sayreville, New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom.

Smith was standing on a monitor when it gave way, causing the singer to fall from the stage and into a metal barricade. Still, Granger finished his set, including a performance of “Backroad Song.”

Smith was taken to a nearby emergency room, and was then admitted to a Level 1 trauma center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His injuries included two separated, broken ribs, as well as a punctured and partially collapsed lung.

“I took a pretty hard spill last night in Jersey,” Smith said via Twitter. “Thx for the well wishes! Y’all mean the world to me. I’ll be out of the hospital & 100% soon!”

All shows and appearances through the weekend have been cancelled, including shows at City Limits Saloon in Raleigh, North Carolina (Dec. 3) and Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth (Dec. 4).

Information about Smith’s additional December shows is forthcoming.

Eric Clapton’s Personal Guitars Going Fast At Nashville’s Gruhn Guitars

Eric Clapton. Photo: Gruhn Guitars

Eric Clapton. Photo: Gruhn Guitars

Nashville’s Gruhn Guitars is offering a collection of 29 guitars owned and used by guitarist Eric Clapton. The collection includes both vintage and modern guitars, including two pre-WWII Martin acoustics, recently-issued Gretsch, Roland and Gibson electric guitars, and fretless Music Man bass, and an Epiphone Les Paul autographed by Les Paul.

Over half of the collection is already sold, but prices range from $20,000 to $150,000 per guitar. Each guitar is accompanied by a photo of Clapton with the guitar and a signed letter from him attesting ownership and use.

For more, visit

AB9720 Eric Clapton 1941 Martin 000-45

AB9720 Eric Clapton 1941 Martin 000-45

Maren Morris Set For First ‘Saturday Night Live’ Appearance


Columbia Nashville singer/songwriter Maren Morris is set to make her first appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live as the musical guest for the Dec. 10 episode. The host of the episode will be WWE superstar John Cena.

Earlier this week Morris announced that The Hero Tour 2017 will kick off in New York City on Feb. 2, 2017 and after selling out her previously announced Nashville, Tennessee, show in only three minutes, Morris added an additional stop in her hometown for April 4.

Tonight (Dec. 2), Morris will appear on CMT Crossroads with Alicia Keys.

Musicians Team With WSMV For Gatlinburg Wildfire Fundraiser

John RIch

John Rich

Nashville’s WSMV Channel 4 has teamed up with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for a fundraiser to benefit victims of the recent wildfires in East Tennessee. The fundraiser is being held Friday (Dec. 2) from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The event will broadcast on WSMV Channel 4, and will feature performances and appearances from Peter Frampton, John Rich, John Oates, Kristian Bush, Ty Herndon and more. Other artists will share pre-recorded messages during the broadcast.

Funds from the event will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville Emergency Response Fund. Channel 4 will collect monetary donations online and in person (cash or check only). Those wishing to give can visit or visit Highland Park Church at 5710 Knob Rd. in Nashville on Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. to drop off donations.

Donations can also be made directly to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Dolly Parton has also announced the My People Fund, expected to give $1,000 a month to each family who lost their homes in the devastation. Interested parties can visit to donate there, too.