‘American Idol’ Finds New Life On ABC

A little more than a year after American Idol crowned its last singing star and went off the air, the show has been resurrected with a new life at ABC-TV. The network announced its acquisition of the show this morning on Good Morning America ahead of its renewals and series pickup announcements.

“‘American Idol’ on ABC…that has a nice ring to it,” said Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney|ABC. “‘Idol’ is an entertainment icon, and now it will air where it belongs, in ABC’s lineup of addictive fan favorites alongside ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘The Bachelor.’ America, get ready for the return of a bigger, bolder and better-than- ever ‘Idol’.”

No details have been offered yet as to what the new configuration of the popular show, which ran for 15 seasons on Fox, would look like, and no on-camera talent has been announced yet.

The show signed off with a legion of still-loyal viewers, though its numbers had dissipated a bit in recent years. At the height of its popularity, the competition averaged 31 million weekly viewers for each of two telecasts, and ranked No. 1 in adults 18-49 for seven consecutive seasons. Its season premieres regularly out-rated the Oscars as the biggest entertainment telecasts of the year, and even towards the end, it garnered huge ratings, with the final season averaging a 3.0 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.5 million viewers.

”ABC’s passion and enthusiasm make them a perfect home for ‘American Idol,’ said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia Group. “We are excited to be partnering with them to discover the next generation of talented artists. It’s an irresistible combination that means now is the ideal time to welcome back one of the most successful shows in the history of contemporary television.”

No word yet on whether longtime host Ryan Seacrest would potentially return to his hosting duties for the competition, which made household names out of artists like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, since he’s now at Disney as Kelly Ripa’s new full-time Live! co-host.

Watch the announcement below:

Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival Announces Daily Lineup

The Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival has announced the daily lineup breakdown for its third annual event, slated for Sept. 23-24, 2017 Franklin, Tennessee.

Justin Timberlake, a partner and producer for the festival, will headline on Saturday, Sept. 23. Also on the Saturday lineup are The Avett Brothers, Gary Clark Jr., Walk The Moon, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Better Than Ezra, Shovels & Rope, Jerry Douglas Band, Nikki Lane, Colony House, Karen Elson, Ruby Amanfu with Steelism, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Colter Wall, The Texas Gentlemen, Sinclair, The Shadowboxers, Blackfoot Gypsies, Jillian Jacqueline, The Bros. Landreth, and Bishop Gunn.

The lineup for Sunday, Sept. 24 will feature Eddie Vedder, Ryan Adams, Mavis Staples, Fitz and The Tantrums, The Revivalists, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Valerie June, Langhorne Slim, Joseph, The Sweet Tea Project, Pokey LaFarge, Amanda Shires, Larkin Poe, Muddy Magnolias, The Band of Heathens, Banditos, Kingfish, Devon Gilfillian, The Sisterhood, Towne, and The Settles Connection.

Single Day Pilgrimage Passes, available for $135, go on sale this Friday, May 12 at 10 a.m. CT at pilgrimagefestival.com.

Florida Georgia Line, Lady A, Eric Church, More Set For ‘Good Morning America’ Summer Series

Country will be well-represented on Fridays this Summer during Good Morning America‘s Summer Concert Series, with Florida Georgia Line and Nelly, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, and Dierks Bentley all slated to perform on the star-studded Summer lineup.

The GMA Summer Concert Series will kick off later this month with a performance by Green Day, and will continue every Friday throughout the summer with performances by artists from every type of music. The concerts, held at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, are free to attend and can also be viewed on Good Morning America Fridays from 7-9 a.m. on ABC.

GMA Summer Concert Series Schedule:
May 19 – Green Day
May 26 – Florida Georgia Line & Nelly
June 2 – Fifth Harmony
June 9 – The Chainsmokers
June 16 – The Lumineers
June 23 – Little Big Town
June 30 – Bebe Rexha
July 7 – Big Sean
July 14 – Lady Antebellum
July 21 – Zedd featuring Alessia Cara
July 28 – Imagine Dragons
Aug. 4 – Linkin Park
Aug. 11 – Bleachers
Aug. 18 – Eric Church
Aug. 25 – Paramore
Sept. 1 – Jason Derulo
Date TBD – Dierks Bentley*


Bobby Karl Works The Room: Second Annual AIMP Awards


Chapter 561

When is an awards show more like a par-tay?

Why, when it’s the AIMP celebration, of course. Those initials stand for Association of Independent Music Publishers. On Monday, the organization staged its second annual awards show at the Ryman Auditorium (May 8).

As was the case last year, the event was characterized by unbridled schmoozing, light-hearted stage banter, gloriously unvarnished performances and immense joie de vivre.

“Welcome to the loosest awards show in Nashville history,” said Storme Warren. “Sit down!” The attendees were merrily milling around amid the Ryman pews, oblivious to the 7 p.m. starting time. “You’ve been with songwriters long enough!” Well, what do you expect when you throw a 6 p.m. cocktail party in front of your gala?

To give you some idea of the flavor of this event, here are some snippets of acceptance remarks.

“Thanks to the open bar for making this speech possible,” said Clint Lagerberg, who won Song of the Year for “Blue Ain’t Your Color” with co-writers Hillary Lindsey and an absent Steven Lee Olsen.

“It’s kinda cool [that] I’ve gotten an award for being drunk in a bar and forcing people to listen to a song on my iPhone,” said Song Champion winner Courtney Crist of HoriPro Entertainment.

Rising Independent Songwriter of the Year winner Kelly Archer wryly observed, “Getting a ‘rising’ award in your 16th year in publishing…is kinda like [being] a houseplant that withered, and the next thing you know, it’s good as new. That’s how I feel tonight.”

“I’m looking around at everybody I grew up with,” commented Carla Wallace, whose Big Yellow Dog won the AIMP Publisher honor.

“This is without a doubt the music-community feel-good event of the year,” observed BMI’s Jody Williams.

The briskly-paced show featured acoustic performances of various AIMP song nominees. Everyone who performed did a number that they did NOT write.

So Old Dominion did a lively, upbeat arrangement of Maren Morris’s “’80s Mercedes.” Maren subsequently won the Artist-Writer of the Year award. “All of you in this room I’ve written with or had a beer with, thank you so much,” she said, “the people I respect most in this world.”

She was the night’s only double winner. Maren also earned a Publisher Pick Award for “Rich,” performed with feisty sass on the show by Natalie Hemby. “We actually wrote together today, so this is so cool,” said Maren of her cowriters and co-winners Jessie Jo Dillon and Laura Veltz (who was a hoot). The award is for a song that is not yet a hit.

Rising Independent Artist-Songwriter of the Year (RIASY) nominee Devin Dawson sang a tender rendition of “Sleep Without You,” which was an AIMP Song of the Year (AIMPSY) nominee.

RIASY nominee Carly Pearce performed the Song of the Year winner, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” giving it a soulful spin. RIASY nominee Ryan Beaver did a relaxed, low-key rendition of AIMPSY nominee “Head Over Boots.”

Vocally, RIASY nominee Caitlyn Smith’s performance of AIMPSY nominee “Vice” was terrific. The looped, hip production of RIASY nominee Walker Hayes on guitar and percussion distracted from it, alas.

Unquestionably, the performance of the evening was by Brandy Clark. The RIASY nominee totally nailed AIMPSY nominee “Kill a Word.” It drew a standing ovation.

The Rising Independent Artist-Songwriter of the Year winner was Natalie Hemby, whose Puxico CD is an artistic triumph. “I want to keep going; I want to keep growing,” she said. “Thank you for encouraging me to make a record. I didn’t want to do it for a long time.”

The Independent Songwriter of the Year winner was Busbee, who was not present. Daniel Lee accepted.

Presenters included Bob DiPiero, Brad Tursi, RaeLynn, Hillary Lindsey, Don Schlitz (“I’ve worked for nearly every independent publisher in this town”), Robin Palmer, Jon Pardi, Brothers Osborne (“And the winner is Brothers Osborne!” Alas, not this time, although we still adore them), Maren Morris, Pat Rolfe, Celia Froelig and John Ozier.

“In the past year, we’ve doubled in size.” said AIMP executive director Ozier. “It’s just great to be on this side of the business,” said Big Yellow Dog winner Kerry O’Neill. “Sixty per cent of Billboard’s charts are filled with people that are published independently,” added Warren.

It was such a fun time. Dozens of youngsters with start-ups were there, working the room with their own kind and/or with vets such as Leslie Fram, Leslie Tomasino DiPiero, Marc Beeson, Mark Brown, David Ross, David Preston, John Marks, John Allen, Michael McAnally Baum, Mike Sistad, B.J. Hill, Tim Wipperman, Walter Campbell, Dennis Lord, Anthony Smith, Andrew Kintz, Kos Weaver, Pat Higdon, Craig Wiseman, Barry Coburn and Sherod Robertson.

Befitting the festive atmosphere of this awards event, the dress code was all over the map. It was everything from cocktail sheaths to blue jeans, from ball caps to fedoras, from high heels to sandals, from floor-length frocks to mini skirts, from sport coats to flannel shirts, from cowboy boots to sneakers, from t-shirts to designer western wear. Floral fabric was used for both ball gowns and full dress suits.

Luke Laird, Nicolle Galyon, Arturo Buenahora, Ben Vaughn, Jewel Coburn & Jason Morris (who is recovering from shoulder surgery), Cindy Owen, Dennis Lord, Ree Guyer Buchanan and Eric T. Parker mingled.

Here’s another wonderfully eclectic aspect of this gig: It is a boatload of fun that only lasts an hour and ten minutes. So we can get back to partying.



Grammys Officially Set For NYC In 2018

The 60th annual Grammy Awards will take place at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at a new time: 7:30–11 p.m. ET and 4:30–8 p.m. PT. The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will mark the 46th consecutive year that CBS will broadcast the show, and the network has a commitment in place to host it through 2026.

Most recently, Madison Square Garden hosted the 45th GRAMMY Awards in 2003. Music’s Biggest Night has been broadcast from Staples Center in Los Angeles for the past 14 years.

The Grammy telecast’s return to Madison Square Garden is estimated to bring $200 million in economic benefit to the city.

“Playing host to the music industry’s marquee awards show is a unique creative, artistic and economic boon to the rich cultural fabric of our city,” said NYC mayor Bill de Blasio. “We welcome the Grammy Awards back to New York City with open arms and we look forward to continuing to partner with a music industry that supports access and empowerment in the arts.”

“MSG has been the site of many of the most legendary and enduring moments in music history — and we think the 2018 Grammys will be a perfect addition to that great legacy,” said James L. Dolan, executive chairman, The Madison Square Garden Company. “We are thankful to Mayor de Blasio and all of those who worked so hard to make this return possible.”

Nashville Predators Winning Streak Forces CMT Music Awards Venue Change

As the Nashville Predators advance to the Western Conference Final of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the team’s winning streak has forced a venue change for this year’s CMT Music Awards.

The show will move to Nashville’s Music City Center from its usual venue at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Hosted by Nashville star Charles Esten, the 2017 CMT Music Awards will air live on Wednesday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Superstars Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Thomas Rhett are set to perform with additional artists, presenters and special guests being announced soon.

Nominations will be announced tomorrow, Tuesday, May 9. Fan voting will go live via CMT.com and continue until Monday, June 5 at 12:01 a.m. ET/PT.

Weekly Register: Willie Nelson Debuts At No. 1 With ‘God’s Problem Child’

Willie Nelson‘s new album, God’s Problem Child, debuted atop the country albums chart this week, moving 36K, according to Nielsen Soundscan. The album is Nelson’s ninth for Sony/Legacy Recordings, and marks his second country album chart-topping album in less than two years, following Django and Jimmie, his 2015 collaboration project with Merle Haggard. God’s Problem Child also entered the Top 200 at No. 10.

Following Nelson is Brad Paisley‘s Love And War at No. 2, with 10K, and Keith Urban‘s Ripcord at No. 3 with 9.1K.

While Chris Stapleton‘s latest album From A Room: Vol. 1 will make its chart debut next week, his Traveller album remains in the Top 5 this week, with 7.7K. That puts Traveller at 1.915 million units sold (album only) and the album has been on the country album rankings for 104 weeks.

Old Crow Medicine Show‘s 50 Years of Blonde On Blonde debuts at No. 5 this week, with 6.3K. It also tops this week’s Bluegrass album chart.

Also debuting this week was John Mellencamp‘s Sad Clowns and Hillbillies, which topped the Americana chart with 35K.




On the country digital tracks rankings, Sam Hunt‘s “Body Like A Back Road” continues in the top spot, with 51K sold this week, for 856K to date.

Brett Young‘s “In Case You Didn’t Know” is at No. 2, with 30K, followed by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood‘s “The Fighter” at No. 3, with 24K. Luke Combs‘ “Hurricane” is at No. 4, with 23K, and The Voice contestant Lauren Duski has this week’s top debut, with her rendition of Billy Dean’s “Somewhere In My Broken Heart” moving 19K to land at No. 5.

Overall, digital tracks are down 24.7 percent, while country digital tracks are down 22.8 percent.

Information provided by Nielsen Soundscan.




Brad Paisley To Launch Weekend Warrior World Tour May 18

Brad Paisley will launch his 2017 Weekend Warrior World Tour May 18 in Saratoga Springs, New York. In addition to stateside shows, the tour will visit Norway and Sweden. Special guests on the U.S. leg of the tour will be Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant and Lindsay Ell. Bryant will also be on the Canadian, Norway and Sweden dates, while Ell will also be on the Canadian dates.

Paisley has partnered with Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, for Band Against Cancer to help spread the word of community-based treatment, options and support. As a tour sponsor, Sarah Cannon will provide on-site resources at each tour stop that are powered by askSARAH, Sarah Cannon’s cancer helpline. Sarah Cannon has adopted Paisley’s No. 1 hit “Today” as the campaign’s 2017 theme song.

 As part of the partnership, Paisley is providing an opportunity for his fans to engage in the cause, by participating in a ‘Get One, Give One’ campaign for his new album Love And War (released Friday, April 21). When fans purchase the new album for a special limited time price of $15 via bandagainstcancer.com and bradpaisley.com, they can send an additional free copy to a patient going through the cancer journey.

For a full list of tourdates, visit bradpaisley.com.

In Pictures: Jerrod Niemann, Devin Dawson, Levon, SOLID, Steven Curtis Chapman

Jerrod Niemann Attends The 143rd Kentucky Derby

Pictured (L-R): Jerrod Niemann and Morgan Petek Niemann. Photo: Courtesy Jerrod Niemann

Jerrod Niemann and wife Morgan Petek Niemann attended the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday, May 6.


Devin Dawson Makes Opry Debut

Pictured (L-R): Adrian Michaels, National Dir., Radio & Streaming, WMN; Megan Joyce, Sr. VP, Business & Legal Affairs, WMN; Lisa Ray VP, Brand Management, WMN; Cris Lacy, VP, A&R, WMN; Nick DiMaria (guitar); Devin Dawson; Austin Smith (guitar); Sally Williams, GM, Grand Ole Opry; Todd Ramey, Sandbox Entertainment; Wyatt Thomas, Sandbox Entertainment; Ashlee McDonald, Sr. Dir., Brand Management, WMN. Photo: Courtesy WMN

On the heels of his Late Night with Seth Meyers national television debut, Devin Dawson made another important debut Friday night (May 5) singing for a packed house at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Dawson opened with his single “All On Me” followed by a moving performance of his new song “Dark Horse.”

Dawson will perform tonight at the Association of Independent Music Publishers Awards where he is nominated as a Rising Independent Artist-Writer of the Year. The awards will be held at the Ryman Auditorium.


Levon Rocks In Cleveland

Pictured (L-R): Columbia Nashville’s Cliff Blake, Bob Wheatley, WDSY’s Wookie, Sony Music Nashville’s Lauren Thomas, WQMX’s Jody Wheatley, WDSY’s Mark Anderson, Levon’s Ryan Holladay and Michael David Hall, WUBE’s Grover Collins, WQHK PD Dave Michaels and wife Peg, WUBE’s Ron James, iHeart Cleveland’s Keith Abrams and wife Betty, Columbia Nashville’s Shane Allen, Levon’s Jake Singleton, Janet Connolly and husband, WGAR’s Charley Connolly, and WOGI’s Dave Anthony and wife Kathie. Photo: Courtesy Sony Music Nashville [click photo to enlarge]

Country trio Levon performed at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Friday night (May 5) as part of an extensive radio tour promoting their new single “Why Oh Why.” The group will release their self-titled EP on May 12.


SOLID Holds First Music Industry Publicity Panel

Pictured (back row, L-R): SOLID Education Co-Chair Matt Pramstaller, Jewly Hight, Joe Hudak, Ann Powers, Ebie McFarland and SOLID President Basak Kizilisik; (front row, L-R): SOLID Secretary Emma Tur, SOLID Communications Chair Elise Anderson and SOLID Education Co-Chair Sarah D’Hilly. Photo: Sarah Comardelle

Nashville’s Society of Leaders in Development (SOLID) held Press & Publicity: The Art of the Pitchan hour-long panel hosted by Nashville publicist and owner of Essential Broadcast Media, LLC Ebie McFarland, Thursday (May 4) at Main Street Gallery in East Nashville.

The panelists included NPR Music’s critic and correspondent, Ann Powers, music critic and journalist, Jewly Hight, and senior editor of Rolling Stone Country, Joseph Hudak.

McFarland, a SOLID alumni herself, led panelists through several topics including what to do versus what not to do in a pitch, timing for a pitch, what to include in a pitch and what connects them with an up-and-coming artist.

Press & Publicity: The Art of the Pitch was the first publicity panel SOLID has held in their series of music-industry related panels for members.

Find out more about SOLID here.


Steven Curtis Chapman Performs At The White House

Pictured: Steven Curtis Chapman. Photo: Courtesy The White House

Steven Curtis Chapman performed at the 66th Annual National Day Of Prayer ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 4. Appearing before many faith leaders from around the U.S., Chapman performed two songs, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “The Lord’s Prayer.” The ceremony was held in the Rose Garden at the White House. 

“I’m humbled and grateful every time I’m invited somewhere to sing about the love and grace of God,” Chapman shared. “Sometimes it’s in a prison or an orphanage, sometimes it’s in Carnegie Hall, and sometimes it might even be in our nation’s capital at the White House. It’s always and only for His glory.”

Exclusive: Liz Rose Offers Her Life In Song On Upcoming Solo Album

Nashville songwriter Liz Rose, who helped Taylor Swift craft many of her early hits, and who co-wrote Little Big Town’s Grammy-winning and CMA 2015 Song and Single of the Year “Girl Crush,” will soon release her own stories for the world to hear.

Rose’s first solo album, Swimming Alone, is essentially her autobiography in song. The album, produced by Nashville luminary Mac McAnally, will release May 12 via Liz Rose Records.

“First I never thought I would do it,” Rose says. “All these ideas started coming to me and I think ‘Swimming Alone’ was the first title. I also had ‘Grocery Money’ and ‘Yellow Room.’ I thought, ‘These are such good titles, but they are really my story,’ and I just don’t think I could use those titles and write about anything but me.”

Each title is intriguing, a gateway into a vignette from Rose’s coming-of-age in small-town Texas, a patchwork of love, pain, devotion, and yes, some rebellion and regret.

Rose welcomed a who’s-who of her closest songwriting friends, including Lori McKenna, Stephony Smith, Caitlyn Smith, Natalie Hemby, Lisa Carver, and more, to help her bring her intimate stories into song.

“Sacred Ground,” which Rose co-wrote with her Love Junkies cohorts McKenna and Hillary Lindsey, recollects the yellow brick house where Rose grew up, with the backyard where her sister married.

Originally, the trio intended to pitch the song to other artists, but Rose fought to keep the song centered on her own childhood story.

Rose says, “Really, these songs are all so personal, so everyone was really patient with me, to be able to say, ‘I need to write this, but we are not going to pitch it, because if we try to make it pitchable, it won’t be my song anymore.’ Everyone was really amazing to hang in there and do that with me.”

Several tracks trace Rose’s childhood, from the dreamy, innocent “Five & Dime,” and the wistful “Woodstock,” to the coming-of-age track “Tulsa,” with its line about being a California dreamer in a hot Texas town.

“I was a wild kid,” Rose says. “I wanted to run away and be a hippie. I was 13 and I got a wild hair, got mad at my parents, got scared that my best friend was running away and I thought, ‘I have to go and take care of her.’ With Corey [Crowder] and Lisa [Carver], we drank wine and beer one night and they were like, ‘Tell that story of Tulsa.’ So I got some nerve up and told the story.”

“Letters From Prison” details a teenage relationship with an ex-boyfriend who ended up in prison. “I was 14 or 15 and we were going to run away and get married,” Rose recalls. “He was a sweet guy, but he ended up in prison. He would write letters and send them here to the office.”

“Ex-Husbands,” a light-hearted take on her own marriage history, is at once unflinchingly honest and hilarious, with the punch line: I don’t have ex-boyfriends, just ex-husbands to my name.

“That tends to be the song everybody gravitates toward,” says Rose. “My husband and I hang out with one of my ex-husbands and we are very close. My current husband and my ex-husband think it is hysterical.”

“Yellow Room” began as an ode to a simple room, and ended up a tribute to Rose’s late father.

Rose credits collaborators Stephony Smith and Lisa Carver with kickstarting the recording process. “They made me go into the studio and begin recording. Stephony was the first person to make me get in front of a mic. She said, ‘Just sing.’” BMI’s Jody Williams also encouraged Rose to be the one to sing the songs to life.

Those instructions were no easy thing to accomplish in Nashville, which Rose calls “a songwriter’s town, but it’s also a singer’s town, and I’m not a singer.”

Smith, who stopped by Rose’s office during MusicRow’s recent interview, countered the notion: “I thought that you kind of sold yourself short and you had a sweet, innocent sound that’s kind of heart wrenching.”

Today Rose says she is at peace with where her life’s path has taken her; though in her stunning album closer, “My Apology,” she apologizes to anyone she may have hurt along the way, including herself.

“You go through those years where you go, ‘Oh, I can’t believe I did that. What are people thinking of me?’ Now it’s like, ‘That’s how I got here. I haven’t killed anybody. I hope I haven’t hurt anybody. And I hope I’m a good person, and truly, it’s my truth.

“I’m not going to lie about it now. I have to laugh at myself, and if my kids aren’t mad at me, I’m ok. All my brothers and sisters and my mom are talking to me. All my exes that are living don’t despise me.”

As for the prospect of more solo albums, Rose says, “This may be it. I feel like I’ve told my story. After I wrote ‘My Apology,’ I never thought, ‘I wish I could write this other song and put it on there.’ I feel like it’s finished and it tells a story. I’m good with it for now.

“I’m not trying to get cuts, and I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to get a record deal or be a touring artist. I just had to do this for me, and I’m lucky enough to have the best songwriters, producers, musicians and friends around me. I just want to get it out and see what happens. I want people to discover it.”

Rose will celebrate the album’s release with a party at Nashville venue The Country on May 17 at 6 p.m. She also has hopes to perform some one-woman shows to share her songs and stories.

Rose’s willingness and fearlessness to spontaneously try new ideas seems to encompass her approach to most things, be it writing songs, starting publishing company Liz Rose Music, or opening her clothing and accessories outpost Castilleja, in Nashville’s Edgehill area.

“Everything I do, it’s like, ‘Oh that sounds like a good idea, let’s figure out how we do that.’ Just the fact that [Swimming Alone is released on] Liz Rose Records…if I had a plan, I would have thought of cooler names.”