Industry Ink: Ronnie Milsap, Elle King, CMA, Jeffrey Steele, BMI
Grand Ole Opry Celebrates Ronnie Milsap’s 80th Birthday
The Grand Ole Opry celebrated the 80th birthday of legendary member Ronnie Milsap with a special “Ronnie Milsap & Friends” performance on Saturday night. Milsap was inducted into the Opry family on February 6, 1976.
Milsaps’ celebration featured peformances from the legend himself plus Trace Adkins, Mandy Barnett, Little Big Town, Don Schlitz, Jeannie Seely, and Mark Wills. The Show ended with a performance of “Honky Tonk Women” led by Milsap with Adkins, Little Big Town and Wills joining.
Portions of the show will air as a Saturday night Opry Live later this year on the Opry’s television broadcast home, Circle Nework, Circle All ACcess Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Elle King Surprises Beloved High School Teacher in Tulsa
When Elle King received a letter form Chouteau High School senior student, Emma Hughes, praising her teacher, Cathy Welker-Graham, King decided to pay a visit before her Tulsa show last Friday (March 24).
King and her guitarist surprised the student, teacher, and entire student body when she arrived to perform “America’s Sweetheart” and dedicate it to Welker-Graham.
“I didn’t always have the greatest experience in school,” laughed King. “But every few schools I would find a teacher who believed in me, and it gave me confidence and they told me that I could do something great with my life even if I was different. So I think that great teachers should be celebrated. It was important to me that we show this deserving teacher some well-earned gratitude.”
Chouteau High School Principal Clint Hall, who helped to coordinate the surprise said, “As educators, this is why we do what we do. We are here to make positive impacts on our students. It took a lot for me to keep a lid on this. Mrs. Welker-Graham is a rockstar teacher and Emma is a great kid! It could not have come together for two better people. This was priceless! Tears of joy from a lot of people today!”
King went on to record a new song at Tulsa’s legendary Church Studio before her show at Cain’s Ballroom. She performed hits from her new album, Come Get Your Wife, including “Tulsa,” for a sold out audience and special guests Hughes, Welker-Graham, and Hall.
CMA Hosts ‘MemberSIPS’ Focused On The Power of Women and Connection
CMA members gathered at CMA’s Nashville headquarters for a ‘MemberSIPS’ event featuring women across the music industry to discuss the power of connection and mentorship last Thursday (March 23).
Moderated by coach and consultant, Jorja White, participants were invited to bring a female colleague that they were impressed with or have mentored. CMA members in attendance, including 2023 CMA Membership Committee Chair Karen Fairchild, then broke into small groups to further network, share stories and provide their contact information so that each attendee left with at least one new connection. The women also had the opportunity to have a complimentary professional headshot taken while at the event.
CMA created MemberSIPS to cater to its members’ professional development needs—offering thematic presentations, discussions and gatherings, and providing members a networking opportunity while enjoying a beverage with one another. CMA members can look forward to the next MemberSIPS on Wednesday, April 12.
Stars Support 16th Annual Jeffrey Steele Benefit Concert
The 16th Annual Jeffrey Steele & Friends fundraising concert supporting The Alex LeVasseur Memorial Fund raised nearly $200,000 last Friday (MArch 24). All proceeds go t0 continuing the mission aiding overlooked and at-risk youth in the memory of Steele’s son, Alex LeVasseur, who passed away in 2007.
Country radio personality Storme Warren and Casey LeVasseur hosted the evening. The concert opened with a surprise performance by Gary LeVox (Rascal Flatts). Other surprise guests included Shay Mooney (Dan + Shay) country rapper Jelly Roll, and performers Ben Burgess, Steve Dorff, Preston James, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, LOCASH, Lit, Silence X Noise, Bridgette Tatum and The Warren Brothers
“Your generosity over the last 16 years has helped us to not only build a legacy for Alex, but to really make a difference in the lives of our youth in Middle Tennessee and beyond,” says the LeVasseur family. “We have raised more than $1.6 million to help nonprofits in our area who are championing our youth and the kids of our community and in other neighborhoods and communities across the country, to share Alex’s love and light to those who need it most.”
The LeVasseur family announced at the benefit concert that a $200,000 grant to the Brentwood Family YMCA is supporting the building of the Alex LeVasseur Memorial Skatepark.
The Alex LeVasseur Memorial Fund has been able to build partnerships and lend support to many youth-focused organizations. Through the Alex LeVasseur Memorial Grant, they have supported the building of 12 skateparks in underserved communities across the country. With The Beat of Life, a scholarship giving vulnerable youth access to music education, instrument lessons, and more has been established in Alex’s name.
BMI Presents At The Bluebird Cafe Highlights Local Nashville Songwriters
BMI continued its monthly songwriter showcase at the Bluebird Cafe on March 21 with Channing Wilson, Meghan Linsey, and Tyler Cain.
Linsey, runner-up from Season 8 of NBC’s The Voice, sang her songs “Over the Moon,” “You Ruined That Song,” and “Say It To My Face.” Since her time on The Voice, she’s toured internationally and worked with Chingy and Aloe Blacc.
Nashville songwriter Wilson has cuts with Luke Combs, Travis Tritt, Oak Ridge Boys and more. He performed songs from his latest album, Dead Man, including “A Little More Like Him,” “Good Morning Hot Coffee,” and “Sunday Morning Blues.”
Producer, songwriter, and artist Cain sang “The Dreamer,” “Forever and Always,” and “Suitcase Heart.” His previous collaborations include Darius Rucker, Big & Rich, Ruston Kelly, and Ashley Moore.
The next showcase, again hosted by BMI’s Shannon Sanders, is April 25 with a lineup to be announced in the coming weeks.