117 Entertainment Promotes Jessica Vandergriff, Mae Dowda In Publicity
117 Entertainment has announced the promotions of Jessica Vandergriff and Mae Dowda in the publicity department.
Vandergriff has been promoted from Publicity Manager to Director of Publicity. She is an Ohio native and graduate of Western Kentucky University. Vandergirff moved to Nashville in the summer of 2020 with a B.A. in public relations. After starting her career in book publishing, she joined 117 in June 2021 as the Publicity Manager, where she has been responsible for overseeing the public image and media strategy for 117’s diverse roster of clients.
Dowda came to Nashville from Alabama to pursue a career in public relations with dreams of working in music. Before coming to 117, she worked with clients in the tech, product and B2C sectors as a publicist for another entertainment group and an account coordinator. She began at 117 during the summer of 2021 as an intern before she took the role of Publicity and Tour Marketing Manager. In this role, Dowda takes charge of 117’s tour marketing department as well as supports the rest of the team in other publicity matters.
CMHOF Features David Hood in Nashville Cats Program
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (CMHOF) featured renowned bassist David Hood in a program for its in-depth interview series, Nashville Cats. The ongoing series highlights musicians and session singers who have played important roles in support of artists in either the recording studio or on concert tours.
As a member of the famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also known as “The Swampers“), Hood has created an unforgettable body of recorded work during his more than 60-year career. His first sessions included the 1960s R&B hits “I’m Your Puppet” by James & Bobby Purify and “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” by Aretha Franklin.
Hood became one of the most respected and in-demand studio bassists in R&B, pop and country music. While he was based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama—where he co-founded Muscle Shoals Sound Studio—Hood also logged considerable session work in Memphis and Nashville. He supplied the famous bass line and catchy solo spot on the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” and lent his groove to classic albums by CMHOF member Willie Nelson (Phases and Stages), Paul Simon (There Goes Rhymin’ Simon) and Traffic (Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory).
The Nashville Cats program—which included a brief performance, as well as vintage photos, audio and film clips—was filmed and will premiere at a later date as part of the museum’s Live at the Hall digital programs series, available to stream on the museum’s website. After the program, Hood signed commemorative Hatch Show Print posters.
Rick Lang Signs With Billy Blue Publishing
Billy Blue Publishing has signed multi-award-winning singer-songwriter Rick Lang.
With well over 100 cuts to his credit, including several album title tracks, over a dozen No. 1 hits and every song on the Grammy-nominated album Gonna Sing Gonna Shout, Lang has earned a spot as an established presence in the bluegrass community and beyond. Over the course of his career, Lang has received a nomination for a GMA Dove Award for his gospel release Look to the Light and a nomination for an IBMA Award in the Gospel Recorded Event Of The Year category for his single “Sailing On.”
Lang shares, “This is truly a blessing in my life. Not only am I grateful for the opportunity to continue to evolve and grow as a songwriter, but it’s fertile ground for someone like me who has a deep love and passion for writing bluegrass and Gospel music. Since the 2018 release of my Gonna Sing Gonna Shout project on Billy Blue Records, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Jerry Salley, Joe Dan Cornett, and the amazing staff at Billy Blue and to collaborate with some of their top songwriters. It has been both fun and rewarding, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.”
Nashville Behind The Song Showcases The Kinleys & More
The Kinleys, Doug Johnson, Don Henry and Tiffany Goss will perform at the “Nashville Behind The Song” brunch at City Winery on Aug. 5.
Hosted by industry veteran Debbie Zavitson between 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., the event will transport attendees into the captivating world behind the songs that have become a soundtrack to countless lives.
The Kinleys—identical twins Jennifer and Heather Kinley—charged seven Billboard Hot Country songs between 1997 and 2000, including “Please,” “Just Between You and Me” and “Somebody’s Out There Watching.” When Zavitson first saw the sisters perform, she teamed up with renowned songwriter Doug Johnson, then head of Epic Nashville, to nurture and develop the act.
Johnson, now VP of A&R of Black River Entertainment, will be joining The Kinleys on stage. His career includes breaking country music records with artist Lee Brice‘s “Love Like Crazy.” The track spent an astonishing 56 weeks on the chart and was named Billboard‘s Song of the Year.
Grammy-winning songwriter Don Henry will also grace the stage, captivating the audience with the stories behind some of the biggest hits in country music history. Henry is known for his contributions to songs such as Miranda Lambert‘s “All Kinds Of Kinds” and Kathy Matea‘s “Where’ve You Been.”
Alabama-native songwriter Tiffany Goss will bring her expertise on authentic delivery and connecting with the audiences. She previously worked with Clay Walker, Chris Janson, Brooks & Dunn, Brett Young and Delta Rae.
For ticket information and further details about Nashville Behind The Song, click here.
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