Black River Entertainment Launches Americana Imprint, Signs Duo Carolina Story

Pictured (L-R): Black River’s Gordon Kerr, Attorney Lauren Kilgore, Christian Barker, Carolina Story’s Ben Roberts, Black River’s Rick Froio, Carolina Story’s Emily Roberts, Black River Publishing’s Katie Barolak, and Black River Publishing’s Dave Pacula

Black River Entertainment CEO Gordon Kerr has revealed the label group has launched an Americana imprint, Black River Americana, anchored by first signing Carolina Story. The duo, which includes Ben and Emily Roberts, is signed to both Black River Americana and Black River’s publishing roster. They will return to the studio in July to begin work on their debut project for the new imprint.

Kerr states, “Americana music has a long history of celebrating the authenticity of life lived out through music. We are pleased to begin this journey forward as we celebrate, honor and embrace the art form of American Roots Music. Black River’s vision in establishing the studios, publishing house, management, and country and Christian labels has always been to ‘leave this place better than we found it,’ and adding Black River Americana to our label family is a natural next step in Black River Entertainment’s story.”

Ben and Emily Roberts met at Visible Music College in 2007. In 2009, they were married and set out on their first tour. Since then, they’ve played close to 1,000 shows across 43 states, including their home states of Arkansas and South Dakota.

“Every once in a while, you have that moment in the music industry that moves you more than you thought it could,” says Black River Records EVP Rick Froio. “Meeting Carolina Story, and then hearing them sing, was one of those moments. When Ben and Emily Roberts sing together, life just seems to come into focus. Honestly, it’s inspiring. I’m thankful to Christian Barker for introducing Carolina Story to us. It’s amazing the story that can be told when you keep yourself open to musical experiences you didn’t even know you were looking for.”

“From the moment we walked in the doors at Black River, we felt something different. Something special,” says Ben Roberts. “That initial feeling has only grown stronger since becoming a part of the Black River family. It’s just that. One big family. For years, we have been working extremely hard and searching for the right people to come alongside us and our music. We’re so incredibly glad to have found a true family of people who believe in not just our music, but in us as individuals. Black River is a place where we can truly grow and thrive all while being encouraged to be ourselves. It’s a breath of fresh air to be here.”

Sharing the sentiment, Emily Roberts adds, “Ben and I have been searching for a family like BRE for a very long time, and what’s great about this story is that they found us. Our goal has always been to let doors open ‘naturally and organically’ which we haven’t always been so patient in doing, but BRE has been worth the wait. We are thrilled about this partnership and can’t wait to get started!”


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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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