Nashville Music Publisher Jeff Carlton Dies

Longtime Nashville music publisher Jeff Carlton died on Monday (Aug. 20). He was 66.

Carlton spent more than 30 years in Nashville’s music publishing industry, championing songwriters including Tony Martin, Lee Thomas Miller, Monty Criswell, Jimmy Ritchey and more.

While working at Willin’ David Music, the company earned seven BMI million performing pop singles penned by Will Jennings, and three No. 1 country singles penned by writers Carlton developed and signed to their first publishing deals.

Carlton spent time at Stroudavarious Music and later Hamstein Music for eight years; during that tenure, the companies earned more than 75 Top 10 country singles. He also worked for a decade with writer Tom Shapiro.

Later on as an independent publisher he signed writer Erin Enderlin, who earned the NSAI “Song I Wish I Had Written” award for Alan Jackson’s “Monday Morning Church” and a Grammy nomination for “Last Call” by Lee Ann Womack.

During tenures at Bigger Picture and Vibe Room Music, he worked in developing artist/writers including Sam Hunt and Brandy Clark. In 2013, he was brought on as Creative Consultant for THiS Music and Parallel Entertainment Publishing. He also served in a consultant role with Ashley Gorley’s Tape Room Music.

Carlton was part of Leadership Music’s Class of 1997. He was honored with the NSAI’s President’s Award in 2016. Earlier this year, AIMP honored Carlton with the AIMP Nashville Independent Spirit Award.

Jeff Carlton (R) earns the NSAI President’s Award, with Lee Thomas Miller.


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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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