AIMP Nashville Awards Nominees Announced

The Nashville Chapter of the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) has announced the nominees of the fifth annual AIMP Nashville Awards.

Five independent music publishers and 10 songwriters each received more than one nomination, including publishers Big Machine Music, Big Yellow Dog, Creative Nation, Kobalt Music, and SMACKSongs, as well as songwriters Barry Dean, Jessie Jo Dillon, HARDY, Ryan Hurd, Ashley McBryde, Matt Stell, Laura Veltz, and Allison Veltz Cruz.

An in-person ceremony had been slated for April 27, 2020 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony will not be rescheduled or held virtually; instead, winners will receive their awards via mail.

Voting runs from July 20-24, with the winners to be announced the following week. Those who would like to vote must visit by July 23 to either ensure their membership is in good standing or sign up to become an AIMP Nashville Chapter member.

“While this is not how we envisioned this year’s AIMP Nashville Awards, we still want to honor the work of the fabulous songwriters, artists, and publishers in our community who deserve to be recognized,” said Ree Guyer, Vice President of the AIMP Nashville Chapter and Co-Chair of the AIMP Nashville Awards. “This is an unprecedented situation but not one we can’t overcome. We hope to see everyone in person again soon.”

“While we wish we could bring the Nashville community together at the Ryman this year, we’re still excited to honor the hard work of our local independent publishers and songwriters,” said John Ozier, President of the AIMP Nashville Chapter. “In times like these, we need music even more than ever. These companies and individuals are doing their part to keep people entertained during this unpredictable time, and they must be celebrated.”

Last year’s winners included HARDY, Aaron Eshuis, Leslie Roberts, “Made for You” (penned by Benjy Davis, Joey Hyde and Neil Medley), Luke Combs, Jessie Jo Dillon, Celia Froehlig, and more.

The full list of nominees for 2020 are:

AIMP Publisher of the Year
Big Machine Music Publishing
Kobalt Music
Curb Word Entertainment
Peer Music
Downtown Music

AIMP Rising Songwriter of the Year
Allison Veltz Cruz
Alysa Vanderheym
Hunter Phelps
Jameson Rodgers
Jennifer Denmark
Sam Sumser

AIMP Rising Artist-Writer of the Year
Hailey Whitters
Kylie Morgan
Matt Stell
Runaway June
Ryan Hurd
Tenille Townes

AIMP Songwriter of the Year
Ashley Gorley
Luke Combs
Laura Veltz
Hillary Lindsey
Jordan Schmidt

AIMP Artist-Writer of the Year
Ashley McBryde
Brothers Osborne
Luke Combs
Morgan Wallen
Old Dominion

AIMP Song Champion of the Year
Alex Heddle
Brad Peterson
David Israelite
Greg Gallo
Lee Krabel
Stephanie Cox

AIMP Publisher’s Pick
– “God And Country Music” (Barry Dean, Lori McKenna, Luke Laird) independently published by Creative Nation. Recorded by George Strait.
– “One Night Standards” (Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally) independently published by SMACKSongs, River House, Canned Biscuit Songs. Recorded by Ashley McBryde.
– “Seeing Other People” (Emily Falvey, Jason Afable, Matt McGinn) independently published by SMACKSongs, McGinntellectual Property, Rarespark Media Group. Recorded by MacKenzie Porter.
– “Small Town Hypocrite” (Caylee Hammack, Jared Scott) independently published by Plaid Flag Music. Recorded by Caylee Hammack.
– “To Hell And Back” (Jessie Jo Dillon, Maren Morris, Laura Veltz) independently published by Big Machine Music, Big Yellow Dog, Revelry, Kobalt Music. Recorded by Maren Morris.
– “Wish For The World” (Aaron Eshuis, Joe Clemmons, Ryan Hurd) independently published by Big Machine Music, Mojo Music & Media. Recorded by Ryan Hurd.

AIMP Song of the Year
– “10,000 Hours” (Dan Smyers, Jason Boyd, Jessie Jo Dillon, Jordan Reynolds, Justin Bieber, Shay Mooney) independently published by Big Machine Music. Recorded by Dan & Shay and Justin Bieber.
– “Beer Never Broke My Heart” (Jonathan Singleton, Luke Combs, Randy Montana) independently published by Big Machine Music, 50 Egg Music. Recorded by Luke Combs.
– “Heartache Medication” (Barry Dean, Jon Pardi, Natalie Hemby) independently published by Creative Nation, Song Factory, Pulse Nation, MV2 Entertainment. Recorded by Jon Pardi.
– “One Man Band” (Brad Tursi, Josh Osborne, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen) independently published by Wrensong Entertainment, Anthem Entertainment, Twelve6 Entertainment, SMACKSongs. Recorded by Old Dominion.
– “Prayed For You” (Allison Veltz Cruz, Ash Bowers, Matt Stell) independently published by Big Deal Music, Wide Open Music, Endurance Music. Recorded by Matt Stell.
– “The Bones” (Jimmy Robbins, Maren Morris, Laura Veltz) independently published by Big Yellow Dog, Big Machine Music, JRM Publishing, Round Hill Music. Recorded by Maren Morris.

Manager Erv Woolsey Launches Label Imprint

Pictured (L-R): Allen Mitchell, The Erv Woolsey Co/Rollin’ The Dice Records; Stone Senate’s Paul Zettler, David Zettler, Clint Woolsey, James Edwards and Ted Hennington; Erv Woolsey, CEO & Founder of the Erv Woolsey Company.  Photo: Justin Mayotte

Longtime Nashville manager Erv Woolsey, CEO & Founder of the Erv Woolsey Company (EWC), has launched a label imprint under the EWC umbrella, Rollin’ The Dice Records, which will operate under a distribution deal with Copperline Music Group.

The first signing for the new imprint is the group Stone Senate, which will release their rendition of George Strait’s 1985 classic “The Fireman” on July 17. Stone Senate is led by vocalist/guitarist Clint Woolsey—son of Erv Woolsey—alongside dual lead guitarists James Edwards and Ted Hennington, with Paul Zettler on bass/vocals and David Zettler on drums/vocals. In 2014, the band released their first album, 1, produced by Vance Powell and Eddie Spear, with five singles released to active rock, classic rock and triple A radio, both terrestrial and streaming. In 2016, Stone Senate teamed up with guitarist Kenny Olson (Kid Rock, Seven Day Binge, Kenny Olson Cartel) to co-produce record number two, Star City, which featured three radio singles. They are set to release a new album later this year.
The Nashville-based, digital-focused record label imprint will focus primarily on select Erv Woolsey Company artists to execute all marketing and distribution of releases.

“We aren’t by any means trying to play the mainstream record label game,” says Woolsey. “But with modern technology and so many creative outlets at our disposal in this day and age, it allows us the opportunity to give our newer artists or select passion projects a stronger start and higher profile early in the development of their career.”

“Copperline Records is in business to connect and create multiple avenues for record labels to give their music a way to be heard by the masses. On behalf of the whole team at Copperline Music Group, we are eager to develop passion projects for the great Erv Woolsey,” adds CMG Head of A&R and Label Acquisitions, Dewayne Brown.

The Erv Woolsey Company is home to country star Lee Ann Womack plus flagship artist and music legend George Strait, among others.

For more information, visit

2020 MusicRow Awards Category Profile: Robert K. Oermann Discovery Artist of the Year

Following the announcement of this year’s nominees for the 32nd annual MusicRow Awards, we take a look at the MusicRow Robert K. Oermann Discovery Artist of the Year category. The award will honor a Nashville developing artist who demonstrates significant talent and potential to rise.

The MusicRow Awards will be announced virtually among multiple MusicRow platforms on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. Presenting Sponsor of the 2020 MusicRow Awards is City National Bank.

Click here to see the full list of MusicRow Awards nominees.

Winners are determined solely by MusicRow Magazine subscribed members. Voting is now open and closes on July 17 at 5 p.m..

To receive a ballot to vote in the MusicRow Awards, become a MusicRow member here.

Avenue Beat powered onto the scene with the debut “Ruin That For Me,” which has amassed over 11 million global streams to date and continues to rise at country radio. The Genzennial trio comprised of Sami Bearden, Savana Santos and Sam Backoff is spreading like wildfire through social media apps including TikTok, thanks to their melodic brand of pop, keen lyrics, and saucy titles like “Thank You Anxiety” and “I Don’t Really Like Your Boyfriend.”

Jameson Rodgers is storming country radio with his debut single “Some Girls.” The rising star previously released two successful independent EPs, accruing millions of streams and fans. He spent much of 2019 supporting Luke Combs on tour and playing his own headlining dates. Rodgers, a Mississippi native, initially made his mark on Music City as a songwriter, and earned an additional MusicRow Awards nomination this year for Breakthrough Songwriter, as co-writer of hits by Florida Georgia Line and Chris Lane.

Niko Moon is warming up summer radio with his playful, self-penned debut single “Good Time.” Though it is his first time on the radio as an artist, Moon has a strong musical track record as a longtime collaborator with Zac Brown Band, having credits on five of the band’s No. 1s. Moon is co-writing and co-producing his debut EP, set for release later this year. He is a Texas native who relocated to Georgia at age 10. The result is his own hooky blend of southern music meets sunny hip-hop.

Payton Smith is primed for success with his debut single “Like I Knew You Would,” which he co-wrote. The Louisiana native is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter known for a stage presence that belies his 20 years. These talents have helped him accrue over 20 million global streams. As a self-taught musician, Smith has an online video series called It Started With A Song, covering artists who influenced his music, ranging from Pearl Jam and John Mayer, to George Strait and Chris Young.

Randall King is a modern traditionalist with a strong following in his native Texas, playing 150 dates per year and self-releasing music before signing with Warner Music Nashville in 2019. Now he’s working with seasoned producers Bart Butler and Ryan Gore, and is still bringing plenty of twang to his new music, including recent releases “She Gone” and “Hey Cowgirl.” King’s 2018 self-titled and self-produced album has contributed to his more than 15 million on-demand streams.

Trea Landon is a rising singer-songwriter who is primed for success with the release of his Dirt Road Dancin’ EP, produced by hitmaker Scott Hendricks, who is nominated for Producer of the Year. Landon began playing guitar and writing music at age 16. Citing fellow Georgia natives The Peach Pickers as one of his major influences, he followed in their footsteps to Nashville in 2015 and landed a publishing deal with Dallas Davidson’s Play It Again Music.

Label Veteran Abbe DeMontbreun-Stroud Dies At 64

Abbe DeMontbreun-Stroud

Label veteran Abbe DeMontbreun-Stroud died on June 19, 2020, at age 64.

Born to James and Dorothy DeMontbreun in Nashville on June 29, 1955, DeMontbreun-Stroud was an executive assistant to music producer and label head Jimmy Bowen.

“I loved Abbe D. Abbe and a couple dozen bright, talented and hard-working women played a major role in taking country music from its first million seller with The Outlaws to a major record selling genre,” said Bowen. “The pain is gone…you can rest now my friend.”

DeMontbreun-Stroud attended Stevens College and was herself an artist. DeMontbreun-Stroud’s friend of 31 years, Abbe Nameche (Wrensong Music Publishing and former Capitol Nashville co-hort), was thankful and fortunate to have been by her side.

Nameche shares, “I will always remember and cherish Abbe’s beauty, both inside and out, her elegant southern accent, subtle sense of humor and endless generosity.”

A celebration of DeMontbreun-Stroud’s life is being planned by her many Nashville friends and former co-workers.

Spotify Expands Into 13 Global Markets Including Russia

Spotify expanded its service into 13 new markets this week, including Russia, one of the world’s top 20 largest streaming markets, bringing Spotify to a total of 92 markets worldwide. Spotify is offering both its Free and Premium services in each of its 13 new markets, which include Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Russia is the 17th-biggest streaming market in the world and on pace to be the 10th-biggest streaming market by 2030. More than 87% of fans in Russia now access music through streaming, compared to 61% adoption globally, and 68% adoption in the United States, according to the IFPI.

“Today’s launch opens the door for nearly 250 million fans to start discovering new music from around the world on Spotify, and for artists in the region to reach the increasingly connected global audience of fans,” said Gustav Gyllenhammar, Spotify VP, Markets and Subscriber Growth. “Launching in these 13 markets is an important moment in Spotify’s journey, especially as we welcome fans and artists in growing music markets like Russia, where streaming is being widely adopted and where we see a significant opportunity for Spotify.”

As a part of Spotify’s expansion, it has introduced 200 new playlists featuring artists from across the region that are available to fans around the world. To highlight Russia’s rich musical culture, for example, Spotify has added almost 100 playlists, including editorially curated playlists like Hip-Hop Cannon and New Music Friday Russia, and “This Is” playlists featuring popular Russian artists. Personalized Spotify playlists like Release Radar, Daily Mix, and Discover Weekly, which are informed by the listening habits of individual fans, are also now available in Russian.

Tim McGraw Gets Virtual Surprise With Pandora Billionaire Plaque

Tim McGraw. Photo: Big Machine Records

Tim McGraw was surprised by the Pandora team during a Zoom call recently with a Billionaire Plaque honoring his streaming milestone on the platform. This was the first time in Pandora’s 20-year history they have presented this honor virtually.

Presented by SiriusXM’s Storme Warren during the ‘Tim McGraw Fan Q&A Powered by Pandora and The Highway,’ McGraw was recognized for garnering over seven billion lifetime spins as he stands as one of the Top 25 Most-Streamed artists of all time on Pandora.

Surpassing over 12 million streams per week on Pandora, McGraw keeps the momentum going with his latest hit “I Called Mama” and forthcoming album Here On Earth due Aug. 21, as he remains in the 100th percentile of all artists on the platform.

“I’ve been so fortunate to do this as a career and have done it for so long.  I’ve had 30 years in the music business, and it’s brought me everything good in my life,” McGraw said. “Music is such catharsis to me and has been since I was little boy. To know that maybe, in some little way, my music has been that for someone else, is all any artist really wants.”

Gibson Offering $59,000 Reward For Lost Shipping Ledgers

Photo: Gibson

Gibson is launching a global search for some key missing shipping ledgers from 1959-1960. The Gibson family is asking for assistance in recovering the missing 1959-60 ledgers, and upon validation of the ledgers’ authenticity, the person or persons who safely returns the books will receive a $59,000.00 cash reward, with zero questions asked.

The 1959-1960 Gibson ledgers contain the shipping records of all the Gibson guitars created during that year, and proudly documents an important period in Gibson’s 126-year old history — the pinnacle of the Gibson Golden Era. The 1959-1960 shipping ledgers in question disappeared from Gibson’s archives around 30 years ago.

In addition, Gibson is seeking to recover pre-1970 documents, blueprints, and unique Gibson historical assets. Gibson is willing to evaluate relevant items and individual rewards terms on a case-by-case basis. The company reserves the right to validate information and to authenticate materials as genuine articles prior to issuing rewards for pre-1970 items, which may include cash, Gibson gift cards, instruments, and experiences (conditions apply).

“As a custodian of Gibson, I am very excited about this search. I hope we can recover these ledgers as they contain important information about the pinnacle of our Golden Era,” says Gibson Historical Committee member Cesar Gueikian. “It will be interesting to see where in the world they surface, given that the last time they were seen was in Michigan. While they are dusty old books to anyone else, these ledgers are part of our history, DNA, and our iconic past. These ledgers contain the shipping information, including the serial numbers and shipping party, for the most valuable guitars in history; the Gibson 1959 and 1960 bursts.”

The 1957-1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars are some of the most intrinsically valuable in history. Only 643 of the 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard were made and it has become one of the most iconic guitars in history. ‘58-‘60 guitars have been adopted by some of the world’s greatest guitarists including Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Duane Allman, Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry, Slash, Joe Bonamassa, Don Felder, Joe Walsh, and many more.

Validation requests (including written description, photograph/video of the items, as well as a contact email and phone number) can be sent to [email protected] or [email protected].

Brent Cobb To Release New Album In October

Brent Cobb. Photo: Don VanCleave

Brent Cobb will release his upcoming album, Keep ‘Em On They Toes, on Oct. 2 via his own label, Ol’ Buddy Records, and Thirty Tigers. The 10-track album was produced by Brad Cook, follows two projects released via Low Country Sound/Elektra, 2018’s Providence Canyon and 2016’s Shine On Rainy Day.

Today, he has released the new album’s title track, along with a video directed by Christian Hansen.

“To try and not infiltrate the listener’s spirit’s own interpretation of Keep ‘Em On They Toes, I’ll just say that it was initially inspired by the birth of my son,” Cobb says. “With that said, it’s a mantra that I live by. One that I hope anyone could live by. That mantra is, if it’s good for your own heart, and you got a good heart, do it. Do it whether folks see it coming or not. Live your own life. Be happy.

“To me, listening to this album feels like I’m sitting there with somebody, having a conversation,” Cobb adds. “I would hope that it feels like sitting with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. There’s nothing like being alone and listening to an album that is quiet and conversational—like those old records by Jerry Lee Lewis, Roger Miller, or Willie Nelson. I hope my music is that way to somebody now.”

1. Keep ‘Em On They Toes
2. Shut Up And Sing
3. Good Times And Good Love
4. Sometimes I’m A Clown
5. This Side Of The River
6. Dust Under My Rug
7. Soapbox
8. When You Go
9. The World Is Ending
10. Little Stuff

Amazon Music Launches Developing Artist Program

Amazon Music is rolling out a new developing artist program—Breakthrough—aimed at elevating and amplifying new artist voices as they evolve throughout their careers. Gabby Barrett is among the initial crop of Breakthrough Artists selected for the program.

Amazon Music has already seen success with the Breakthrough campaign with Barrett’s debut album, GOLDMINE. Released last month, Goldmine’s first-day streams exceeded any other debut country album ever on Amazon Music globally, and the album ended the week as the most-streamed debut country album in history, with Amazon Music delivering the highest percentage of streams for the album of any streaming service in the US.

Breakthrough will champion emerging artists at the most crucial moment in their careers through a variety of methods, including global marketing support, custom merch stores on, increased visibility across Amazon’s playlists and programming, high-profile Amazon Original tracks available only on Amazon Music, support for the artists’ Twitch channels, and more.

As part of the new program, Amazon Music is also revealing a new global Breakthrough playlist which will serve as a new home for the best music from the best rising artists from around the world. Covering multiple genres and languages and available across all tiers of Amazon Music, the Breakthrough playlist is the destination for the best music from the emerging artists. Featured artists will span a variety of genres including country, UK rap, R&B, indie, and more and will have their own mini-documentary, as well as support from Amazon Music in creating brand new Amazon Original tracks.

Drawn from the U.S., U.K., and Germany, Amazon Music’s first selection of Breakthrough artists include:

  • Rising country powerhouse Gabby Barrett
  • Emerging R&B singer Kiana Ledé
  • Breakout U.K. Rap star Jay1
  • 19-year-old rising alt R&B singer/poet Arlo Parks
  • Critically acclaimed folk pop group Provinz
  • Rising German pop sensation Malik Harris

Reminder: Voting For The 2020 MusicRow Awards Ends Friday

Voting for the 32nd annual MusicRow Awards closes on Friday, July 17 at 5 p.m. CT. Active MusicRow members have already received their ballots.

To receive a ballot to vote in the MusicRow Awards, become a MusicRow member here.

This year’s honors will be announced virtually among multiple MusicRow platforms on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. Presenting Sponsor of the 2020 MusicRow Awards is City National Bank.

Nominees for the MusicRow Awards are determined by a committee comprised of critics and tastemakers, with outside nominations being considered for Breakthrough Songwriter and Breakthrough Artist-Writer. Male and Female Songwriter nominees are based on data from MusicRow’s Top Songwriter Chart. Eligible projects were active between April 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020.

Click here to see the complete list of nominees.

The Top 10 Album All-Star Musicians Awards will also be announced on Aug. 18, recognizing the studio players who played on the most albums reaching the Top 10 of Billboard‘s Country Album Chart during the eligibility period.