Blake Shelton, Jimmie Allen, Michael Ray, Shy Carter Slated For LEVL UP Fest, Benefitting Live Event Professionals

Performers for the Live Events Lift Up Festival, also known as LEVL UP Fest, were announced today (Dec. 11), and include Blake Shelton, Dave Matthews, Jimmie Allen, Jason Mraz, Michael Ray, Shy Carter, The War And Treaty, John Rzeznik from the Goo Goo Dolls, Dispatch, Keala Settle, Mt. Joy, Augustana, Indigo Girls, Lucie Silvas, Annie Bosko, Bre Kennedy, CJ Hammond & Sloane, Veridia, Public, Michael Cerveris, the McCrary Sisters and Sam Wade.

Live streaming from the historic Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 8:30 p.m. ET, LEVL UP Fest is a benefit for the entertainment and events industry that has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The livestream will be available on NoCap Shows and Twitch.

Making special appearances will be rock legend, Roger Daltrey, actor/comic and poet, Steve Connell, Michael McDonald, Kenny G, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, All-American Rejects’ Nick Wheeler, Greta Van Fleet, Adam Gardner from Guster, Ray Parker Jr., Jerry Dipizzo from OAR, Taye Diggs, The Fray’s Ben Wysoki, The Harleys accompanied by Dublin Gospel Choir, Jim Sheridan of Ireland’s The Late Late Show, and Co-Host of Sirius XM The Highway, Storme Warren. Also from SiriusXM, Nicole Ryan from Hits 1 The Morning Mash Up, will host the evening live from The Ryman.

“Creating an incredible live show is what our team, and all of our production partners, do best. Speaking up, drawing attention to ourselves…not so much. We’re an industry of people who work behind the curtain, blending into the background, making our artists, entertainers, and guests the focal point in everything we do. We’re humbled to now have so many of them supporting us, showing their appreciation for their crews, and amplifying the message of Live Events Lift Up Festival,” said LEVL UP Fest Co-Founder and SVP of Sports & Fan Entertainment for PRG, Eileen Valois.

LEVL UP Fest’s presenting sponsor, Complete Health Partners—a Nashville-based healthcare clinic—is donating COVID-19 testing and medical consultation services for both the rehearsal and the live performance in order to reduce the risk of spread of the virus. More than 100 rapid tests will be administered by Complete Health Partners.

“As a local healthcare clinic, we’re here to serve our community, first and foremost. Our neighbors and our friends right here in Nashville are the people who make live music happen all over the country, and we know they’re hurting right now. We’re glad we can play a part in making this benefit event happen,” said Dr. Ty Babcock, owner of Complete Health Partners.

Willie Nelson Pays Homage To Fellow Icon Frank Sinatra With New Studio Album, ‘That’s Life’

Willie Nelson tributes his friend and fellow icon, Frank Sinatra, on his new studio album, That’s Life, out Friday, Feb. 26 on Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

Nelson and Sinatra were close friends, musical colleagues and mutual admirers of each other’s work throughout Sinatra’s lifetime. In the 1980s, Sinatra opened for Nelson at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and the two of them appeared together in a public service announcement for NASA’s Space Foundation. That’s Life continues Nelson’s longtime musical appreciation of Sinatra’s artistry and repertoire, an exploration exemplified by 2018’s My Way, which earned Nelson the Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Solo Album. This album includes classics made famous by Frank Sinatra, including “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Luck Be A Lady,” and “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning.”

Produced by Buddy Cannon and Matt Rollings, That’s Life was recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood—where Sinatra, the first artist to record at the facility, created many albums from March 1956 to November 1961—with additional recording at Pedernales Studios in Austin, Texas. The album cover painting of Nelson and his iconic guitar, Trigger, was created by painter and illustrator Paul Mann. It evokes classic Sinatra album cover In The Wee Small Hours.

Willie Nelson – That’s Life track listing (songwriters; Frank Sinatra version, date)
1. Nice Work If You Can Get It (Ira Gershwin & George Gershwin; Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First, 1962)
2. Just In Time (Adolph Green, Jule Styne & Betty Comden; Come Dance With Me!, 1959)
3. A Cottage For Sale (Larry Conley & Willard Robison; No One Cares, 1959)
4. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Cole Porter; Songs For Swingin’ Lovers!, 1956)
5. You Make Me Feel So Young (Josef Myrow & Mack Gordon; Songs For Swingin’ Lovers!, 1956)
6. I Won’t Dance – featuring Diana Krall (Jerome Kerr, Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach, Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields; A Swingin’ Affair!, 1957)
7. That’s Life (Dean Kay & Kelly Gordon, That’s Life, 1966)
8. Luck Be A Lady (Frank Loesser; My Kind Of Broadway, 1965)
9. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning (David Mann & Bob Hilliard; In The Wee Small Hours, 1955)
10. Learnin’ The Blues (Dolores Vicki Silvers; Session with Sinatra EP, single, 1955)
11. Lonesome Road (Nathaniel Shilkret & Gene Austin; A Swingin’ Affair!, 1957)

That’s Life is available for pre-order here.

Lee Brice Receives 12th New RIAA Certification Of 2020 With “One Of Them Girls”

Lee Brice has achieved another Platinum milestone with the RIAA Platinum certification of his single, “One Of Them Girls,” from his recent album release, Hey World. Brice has had a pretty shiny 2020 in spite of the pandemic, as the certification of “One Of Them Girls” marks Brice’s twelfth RIAA certification of 2020.

The single was released in April 2020 and rose to the top of the charts in late September, spending three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart, and two weeks atop the Mediabase chart.

“Congratulations to Lee Brice on 12 new RIAA Gold & Platinum Program certifications in 2020! A very rare feat and testament to Lee’s enduring musical success!” said Jackie Jones, VP Artist and Industry Relations, RIAA.

Brice recently topped the charts with “One of Them Girls,” which follows his No. 1 with Carly Pearce on “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” and his chart-topper just prior to that, “Rumor,” which was nominated for Single of The Year at the 55th Annual ACM Awards. One of the most-played country artists of all time on Pandora, he is a member of the company’s Billionaires Club.

Industry Ink: Runaway June, Cumulus Toy Drive, Midnite Jamboree

Runaway June Sends Love To Service Members With New Holiday AFE Concert

Runaway June is sending some cheer to servicemen and women with their first ever virtual concert, “When I Think About Christmas With Runaway June,” which is premiering on the Armed Forces Entertainment YouTube Channel. The concert has been made available to every service member around the globe during this holiday season, and is intended to boost morale for military families during this important time of the year to let them know how much Americans appreciate their sacrifices. The performance is available exclusively on the Armed Forces Entertainment YouTube Page now.

The trio is also is also teaming up with Cracker Barrel for a Christmas feature called “Cracker Barrel Sounds of the Season” alongside Carrie Underwood and Maddie & Tae. The family-friendly Christmas event will be released on Dec. 16 on Cracker Barrel’s YouTube and Facebook pages with the all-female lineup and will be available throughout the holiday season. Runaway June also recently partnered with CMT’s Radio Team and Seacrest Studio for a “virtual holiday party” for participating children’s hospitals across the country that are part of the Seacrest Network.


Cumulus Nashville Toy Drive A Major Success

Cumulus Nashville radio stations 103-3 Country, 104-5 The Zone, 92Q, Super Talk 99.7 WTN and 95.5 NASH ICON collected thousands of toys and gifts for children and seniors in need at the recent 13th annual Toy Field, presented by T-Mobile to benefit The Salvation Army’s Forgotten Angel Program at Nissan Stadium.

“Throughout the years, the Cumulus Nashville listeners have been generous with their donations. Today was a great day that will help create miracle moments for families in our community this holiday season,” said Major Ethan Frizzell, Area Commander—The Salvation Army Nashville Area Command.


Jeannie Seely’s Santa Paws Is Coming To Town Benefit Set For December 19

Jeannie Seely will host the second annual Santa Paws is Coming To Town benefit on Dec. 19 on the historical Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree at the Texas Troubadour Theatre in Nashville, with featured guest Tim Atwood. Guest performers include Allie Colleen, Michele Capps and Anita Stapleton, with more special guests to be announced. The all-star band will include Dug Grieves, Danny Davis, Kenny Sears, Eddie Bayers, Eddie Dunlap and Mike Nobel, and the show will be taped live for fans to watch during a live stream at 2 p.m. CT on the Ernest Tubb Record Shop Facebook page, and available to listen to on WSM 650 Radio and online.

Fans are asked to bring food, blankets, animal beds, puppy pads, cat litter, cleaning supplies, pet toys, treats and more to benefit the dogs and cats who find themselves in Nashville animal shelters at the start of a new year. The donations can be dropped off at the Texas Troubadour Theatre 2416 Music Valley Drive Nashville starting Dec. 12 through 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT.

Sturgill Simpson Releases Second Surprise Bluegrass Album

Sturgill Simpson thrilled fans by dropping his second surprise bluegrass album in two months: Cuttin’ Grass’ Vol 2 – The Cowboy Arms Sessions, on the heels of Vol 1, which released in October. The project was produced by David Ferguson and is out now digitally on High Top Mountain Records via Thirty Tigers/The Orchard. A vinyl pre-order is available now for release April 2, 2021.

Simpson reunited with an A Team of acoustic musicians, now dubbed “The Hillbilly Avengers,” for Cuttin’ Grass, Volume 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions to once again revisit and reinterpret his catalogue.

Pictured (L-R): Stuart Duncan (Fiddle, Vocals); Tim O’Brien (Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Vocals); Sierra Hull (Mandolin, Vocals); Scott Vestal (Banjo, Vocals); Sturgill Simpson; Miles Miller (Percussion, Vocals); Mike Bub (Bass); Mark Howard (Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Vocals). Photo: Semi Song

“On Volume 2, we recorded everything I was too afraid to do on Volume 1,” said Simpson. “It’s hard to deny that this is a much more personal record. I was thinking about my kids, my grandfather, my wife.”

Cuttin’ Grass Vol 2 – The Cowboy Arms Sessions Track List:
Call to Arms
Brace for Impact (Live a Little)
Oh Sarah
Sea Stories
Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)
Jesus Boogie
Keep It Between the Lines
You Can Have the Crown
Some Days
Hobo Cartoon

*All songs written by Sturgill Simpson, with the exception of “Hobo Cartoon” which is written by Simpson and Merle Haggard

Ralph Peer II To Become Executive Chair of peermusic, Mary Megan Peer Appointed CEO

Pictured (L-R): Ralph Peer II. Photo: Michael Baca; Mary Megan Peer. Photo: Sally Peterson

Ralph Peer II, current Chief Executive Officer of peermusic, is transitioning into the position of Executive Chair of the company, transforming his role within the company that he’s led for the past 37 years. Mary Megan Peer, former Deputy CEO, has been appointed to succeed him as Chief Executive Officer of the company, effective January 2021. The announcement marks a generational shift for the privately-owned company that has been led by the Peer family since its inception over 90 years ago.

As Executive Chair, Ralph Peer will retain corporate board responsibilities at the company and continue to provide his expertise. He will also continue to serve as a member of several industry boards, including the National Music Publishers’ Association and International Confederation of Music Publishers.

Mary Megan Peer came to music publishing with a multi-year investment banking background. In recent years she has become the youngest member on ASCAP’s Board, and been named to Billboard’s Power 100, Women in Music and International Power Players lists. She has helped the company land in Billboard’s Top 10 Publishers market share for both Radio Airplay and Hot 100 Songs for the last four consecutive quarters. She also led the acquisition of the largest independent K-pop publisher in South Korea, adding 40,000 Korean copyrights and works to peermusic’s catalogue as K-pop was bursting onto the international scene. peermusic Korea is now the third largest territory in the peermusic network in terms of revenue. She previously led the opening of peermusic’s first fully controlled office in mainland China, becoming the first global independent music publisher to do so.

In October 2020, she spearheaded the blockbuster deal that helped establish peermusic neighboring rights, an international partnership comprised of peermusic, Global Master Rights, Premier Muzik, and All Right Music. Its client roster encompasses 300+ record labels and 2,500+ performers whose recordings were in 24% of Billboard’s 2019 Year-End Hot 100 songs and 40% of the 2019 Year-End Top 20 songs.

Mary Megan Peer’s elevation to Chief Executive Officer marks the third generation of Peer family leadership at the company, which was founded by Ralph S. Peer in 1927. With his passing in 1960, his wife Monique Peer took on the role of peermusic’s CEO and guided the company for the next 20 years. Ralph Peer II took over leadership of the company in the early 1980’s. Under his leadership, peermusic has developed a global network of music publishing companies operating in 32 countries, with well over a half million titles in the company’s catalogue. During his tenure, peermusic has seen steady business growth, and over the past five years it enjoyed annual increases of 12% in receipts and 10% in NPS.

“It’s been a very satisfying challenge to have stewarded peermusic’s heritage repertoire made possible through the genius of my father and the savoir faire of my mother while simultaneously keeping our firm active and successfully engaged with contemporary repertoire and global music publishing policy,” said Ralph Peer II. “I feel privileged to engage with global cultures and intellectual property issues on a daily basis. In short, I love my job and relish the intellectual environment it provides. Now is the time for the next generation to step into this leadership role. Nothing could make me prouder or more pleased than to announce Mary Megan’s appointment as CEO. The entire family joins me in wishing Mary Megan and her team continued success in serving our valued artists and composers. As Executive Chair, I look forward to contributing to peermusic’s future for many years to come.”

“I’m honored to be named peermusic’s fourth CEO by my father at such a strong time in the company’s history. His principled leadership is reflected in peermusic’s client-centric ethos and the respect our colleagues have for writers and for each other. Like many in the company and within the industry, I have learned a great deal from him and am thankful to have the opportunity to continue to do so as he starts the next chapter of his career at peermusic. I look forward to continuing to work with the very strong senior management team he has created around the globe,” said Mary Megan Peer.

TriScore Music Inks Deal With Tim Mcgraw’s TMP Publishing Company, Signs Rob Williford

Pictured (L-R, back row): Blake Chancey, Steve Broome, Juli Griffith, Ben Vaughn, Scott Siman; (L-R, front row): Brad Warren, Rob Williford, Brett Warren

Nashville based music publisher, TriScore Music, has entered into a co-publishing agreement with Tim McGraw’s new publishing company, TMP. As part of the new deal, they also announced the signing of Rob Williford to the new co-publishing venture, in association with the Warren Brothers (Brad and Brett Warren).

Williford won the 2019 CMA Song of the Year award for “Beautiful Crazy,” and is a co-writer on two of Luke Combs’ most recent releases, “Forever After All” and “The Other Guy.” Warner Chappell Music will handle world-wide administration.

“We are really honored to partner with Tim McGraw on the publishing front,” said TriScore Principal, Steve Broome. “Obviously he is one of the greatest artists of all-time but there is nobody better at songs than Tim. I can’t think of a better publishing partner.”

“When Tim and the Warren’s approached us about signing Rob Williford to kick this thing off, it made perfect sense,” said TriScore VP, Juli Griffith. “Rob has established himself as one of the premier writers in Nashville and we look forward to many hits together.”

“We had met Rob a few years back and we encouraged him to go for it,” said the Warren’s. “We are glad we did! And now we are in business together and are excited to not only help find homes for his songs but writing together as well.”

“My passion has always been songwriting,” said Williford. “I met the Warrens when I arrived in Nashville 15 years ago, and I’m excited to be working together with two guys I’ve admired and respected for so long in this industry. I’m humbled and grateful to be a part of the TriScore team.”

“Being in the room with Rob and the Warren Brothers is really something special—the creative sparks fly and great music is a guarantee,” said Ben Vaughn, president/CEO Warner Chappell Music Nashville. “We appreciate the trust that Rob, the Warren Brothers, and TriScore have placed in us to take care of their copyrights”

Luke Bryan Jumps To No. 1 On ‘MusicRow’ CountryBreakout Radio Chart

Luke Bryan’s single moves up three positions from No. 4 to No. 1 this week on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart. The single was written by Dallas Davidson, Justin Ebach, and Kyle Fishman.

“Down To One” appears on Bryan’s latest album Born Here Live Here Die Here which released in August of this year after a postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to his album postponement, his Proud To Be Right Here Tour was rescheduled for May of 2021.

This year, Bryan and his wife Caroline signed on as brand ambassadors for Jockey International, Inc. and are featured in their new campaign “There’s Only One Jockey.”

Click here or above the view The MusicRow Weekly.

Jimmie Allen Named CMA Foundation’s Artist Ambassador For December

Jimmie Allen. Photo: John Shearer

The CMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, has announced Jimmie Allen as the Unified Voices for Music Education (UVfME) Artist Ambassador for the month of December. As this month’s Artist Ambassador, Allen will participate in a variety of virtual activities, using his unique musical experience to share the organization’s awareness and advocacy efforts in support of music educators, students and parents as they continue to encounter challenges due to the impact of COVID-19.

Allen is the second artist to participate as a Unified Voices for Music Education Artist Ambassador. CMA Award-winning artist Ashley McBryde served as the inaugural Artist Ambassador throughout November, meeting virtually with music educators to discuss obstacles they are currently facing and sharing how music education led to her career in country music. As an Artist Ambassador, McBryde also created a music lesson on building the major scale for teachers and students to utilize in both their in-person and virtual classrooms. To watch the webinar discussion and music lesson visit the CMA Foundation’s YouTube channel.

“We are excited to have Jimmie as the CMA Foundation’s December Unified Voices for Music Education Artist Ambassador,” says CMA Foundation Executive Director, Tiffany Kerns. “For many artists, like Jimmie, music has played a significant role in their lives. Whether making music, performing, or purely listening for enjoyment—it is something they cannot live without. Because of this, artists are incredible advocates for ensuring music has a place in a student’s well-rounded education. We look forward to amplifying Jimmie’s voice on behalf of students and teachers everywhere.”

“Music played such a huge role in my life growing up and I can’t imagine my childhood without it,” says Allen. “I have learned so many life skills through music. I’m looking forward to getting involved with the CMA Foundation’s Unified Voices for Music Education program and sharing the impact that music has had on my life with students across the country.”

Applications Open Now For The IBMA Foundation’s Arnold Shultz Fund

Drawing of Arnold Shultz. Photo: Courtesy The IBMA Foundation

The International Bluegrass Music Association’s philanthropic organization, The IBMA Foundation, has announced that Arnold Shultz Fund applications for grants to qualified activities, scholarships, or programs are open now through Jan. 31, 2021. In June 2020, the IBMA Foundation established the Arnold Shultz Fund using donations contributed specifically to support activities that increase participation in bluegrass music by people of color. The application may be downloaded here.

For fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021), the Arnold Shultz Fund will be awarding up to $5,000 in total for one or more qualified activities that increase participation in bluegrass music by people of color. Qualifying activities may include but are not limited to:

  • Programs designed to encourage participation in bluegrass music by people of color of any age (e.g. producing or distributing an educational bluegrass video, creating an online bluegrass workshop designed for people of color, bluegrass mentor program, etc.).
  • Bluegrass performance outreach programs to populations that are underrepresented in bluegrass.
  • Scholarship or expense reimbursement for people of color to attend a bluegrass music camp, take bluegrass music lessons, attend a school or program focused on bluegrass music or the bluegrass industry (e.g., music business), etc.
  • Funding for an instrument or instrument lending program, particularly if it benefits people of color with economic challenges that keep them from being able to own an instrument and play bluegrass music.

Priority will be given to programs or activities that demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and serving diverse, underrepresented populations in bluegrass music. Applicants may be an individual, school, group, organization, or government entity. People of color are people who are of racial/ethnic backgrounds that are underrepresented in bluegrass (Black; Asian; Hispanic/Latinx; Indigenous First Peoples; Indigenous Pacific Islander).

Arnold Schultz with Pen Vandiver. Photo: Courtesy The IBMA Foundation

Arnold Shultz was a legendary African American musician from western Kentucky. Best known as an extraordinary guitarist and fiddle player, he often played guitar with Bill Monroe’s fiddle-playing uncle, Pendleton (“Pen”) Vandiver. It was at these gigs that Monroe met Shultz and began to emulate Shultz’s backup guitar style. Shultz was impressed enough with Monroe’s progress that he hired Monroe to play guitar with him at dances, thereby giving Monroe his first professional music jobs.