Universal Music Group Sets Record With Nine Of Top 10 Albums On ‘Billboard’ 200

Universal Music Group established a new record this week, with nine of the Top 10 albums in the Billboard 200, only the fourth time that’s occurred in the chart’s 64-year history. UMG is responsible for all four of those instances.

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, said via a statement, “UMG’s unprecedented track record on the album chart is a direct result of our long-term commitment to our artists—providing them with the best resources and expertise the industry has to offer. Behind each of these incredible albums are teams of dedicated employees, partners and entrepreneurs who are guided by a shared passion for helping artists achieve their full creative and commercial potential—and I salute all of them.”

The Billboard 200 for the week of Aug. 21-Aug. 27 features UMG-released albums at the top three positions, as well as numbers five through 10 – with folklore by Taylor Swift (Republic Records) at No. 1; Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon by Pop Smoke (Victor Victor Worldwide/Republic) at No. 2; Legends Never Die by Juice WRLD (Grade A/Interscope) at No. 3; King’s Disease by Nas (Mass Appeal/Caroline) at No. 5; My Turn by Lil Baby (Quality Control Music/Wolfpack Global/Motown) at No. 6; Pray 4 Love by Rod Wave (Alamo/Geffen) at No. 7; Blame it on Baby by DaBaby (SCMG/Interscope) at No. 8; Imploding the Mirage by The Killers (Island) at No. 9; and Hollywood’s Bleeding by Post Malone (Republic) at No. 10.

Republic Records represents three albums, including No. 1 and No. 2; Interscope Geffen A&M charted three albums, including No. 3; Capitol Music Group accounts for two albums and Island Records accounted for one.

This is the first time in 2020 when a single company is responsible for nine of the Top 10. UMG first achieved this feat during the chart week ended Nov. 30, 2013. The second time occurred in the chart week ended Sept. 29, 2018, and the third time was on the chart week ended Nov. 17, 2018.

Charlie Daniels Jr. Continues Father’s Legacy With Launch Of Charlie Daniels Brand, Inc.

Charlie Daniels Jr., son of the late Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Daniels, has announced a new direction for his father’s legacy. On Sept. 1, the late superstar’s longtime company, CDB, Inc., will transition to Charlie Daniels Brand, Inc., with Daniels Jr. stepping into the role of company president. He will also retain his duties as president of CDB Music, LLC.

Charlie Daniels Brand, Inc., will focus on product branding and licensing, various Charlie Daniels legacy projects, as well as official CDB merchandise.
“My mom and I were devastated over the passing of my father,” Daniels Jr. says. “As the dust settles, we want to keep his legacy alive and extend it for future generations. So, we have established a new company to do just that. We’re excited for what the future holds.”

“I was blessed to have been a small part of an incredible journey that lasted almost 50 years,” notes Daniels’ longtime manager David Corlew. “I’m glad to see that Hazel and Charlie Jr. are committed to extending the legacy of my friend, patriot and gifted artist, Charlie Daniels.”

“We are keeping some of the original management staff in place and will continue to search for opportunities to operate together again as a full team,” Daniels Jr. adds. “We will always be a family. Dad left a beautiful flame behind him, and to honor his legacy, we want it to shine brightly for many years to come.”

Carrie Underwood Unveils Track List, Guests For Christmas Album ‘My Gift’

(Photo by Joseph Llanes)

Carrie Underwood welcomed some special guests on her upcoming new Christmas album, My Gift, collaborating with John Legend on the original song “Hallelujah,” and inviting 5-year-old son Isaiah to appear on the holiday classic that inspired the album title, “Little Drummer Boy.” Underwood has revealed the track list for the new project, due out digitally and on CD on Sept. 25 and on special red vinyl edition on Oct. 30.

In anticipation of the Fall album, Underwood has also released the new original song, “Let There Be Peace,” which is available now and as an instant grat track when the album is pre-ordered. Acclaimed gospel quartet The McCrary Sisters, who have performed backing vocals on previous Underwood songs including “Choctaw County Affair” and “The Champion,” can also be heard on the album.

My Gift features a combination of traditional holiday favorites like “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and “Away In A Manger,” as well as several originals. Two of the new songs are written by Underwood, frequent collaborator Brett James (“Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Something In The Water”), and her Cry Pretty co-producer, David Garcia.

My Gift can be pre-ordered in various formats now, and an exclusive version of the My Gift CD and special white vinyl with a bonus Christmas card from Underwood will be available only at Target. New merchandise bundles are also available.

My Gift Track List:

  1. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Traditional)
  2. O Come All Ye Faithful (Traditional)
  3. Let There Be Peace (Carrie Underwood, Brett James, David Garcia)
  4. Little Drummer Boy (featuring Isaiah Fisher) (Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati, Katherine Davis)
  5. Sweet Baby Jesus (Carrie Underwood, Brett James, David Garcia)
  6. Hallelujah (with John Legend) (John Stephens, Toby Gad)
  7. O Holy Night (Traditional)
  8. Mary, Did You Know? (Buddy Greene, Mark Lowry)
  9. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin)
  10. Away In A Manger (Traditional)
  11. Silent Night (Traditional)

Reba McEntire, Marty Stuart, Miranda Lambert To Take Part In Country Music Hall Of Fame Fundraiser Concert

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has teamed with numerous artists in the country music community, as well as YouTube, to stage the most ambitious fundraiser in the museum’s history.

The virtual fundraiser BIG NIGHT (At The Museum) will premiere on Oct. 28, 2020 at 8 p.m. CT on the Country Music Hall of Fame’s YouTube channel. The pandemic has created a set of circumstances that has allowed staff to safely remove historic instruments from their exhibit cases and be played. For this event, artists will be paired with historic instruments for a unique evening of music and history.

Artists taking part include Emmylou Harris, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Keb’ Mo’, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, The War and Treaty, Alison Brown, Kane Brown, Rodney Crowell, Carlene Carter and more. Marty Stuart will host the event, with audio supervision by Dave Cobb.

The evening will generate support for the museum and its ongoing exhibitions and educational programs. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum closed in mid-March due to COVID-19 restrictions. By June, the organization had laid off 73 employees and furloughed 101 staffers, representing nearly half of the approximately 400 employees working for the Hall of Fame and its associated services.

During the program, viewers will be encouraged to donate to the museum through YouTube Giving.

The Country Music Hall of Fame is set to re-open to the public on Sept. 10.

Jordan Feliz Teams With Lecrae, Hulvey For "Glorify" Remix

Jordan Feliz has teamed with 2x Grammy winner Lecrae and Reach Records’ Hulvey for a remix of “Glorify.”

“Glorify (ft. Lecrae & Hulvey)” follows a Feliz/TobyMac/Terrian version of the song, which released July 10, and is the latest in a string of hits, including “Witness,” “Changed” and “Faith,” from Feliz’s album Future, which topped Billboard‘s Top Christian Albums chart. Feliz penned the song with Jordan Mohilowski and longtime collaborators Colby Wedgeworth and Paul Duncan.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been as excited for a song as I am for this one,” Feliz says. “Glorify means ‘praise and worship,’ but the sub-context of the word actually is to acknowledge and reveal the majesty and splendor of God by one’s actions. For me, coming out of this hard season of anxiety, stress and messed up priorities, now all I want my life to do is to glorify. I want to reveal the majesty of God by my actions.”

Feliz first broke through with his single “The River,” which spent 12 weeks at No. 1 and was named ASCAP’s Christian Music Song of the Year and earned Feliz his first Gold certification. Each of his five subsequent radio singles has landed in the Top 10, with “Witness” earning a second No. 1 for the singer. He has been nominated for five Dove Awards and earned 2016’s New Artist of the Year honor. Feliz is currently working on his follow-up to his sophomore LP, Future.

Song Suffragettes Conclude August Celebration Of 19th Amendment’s Centennial Anniversary

Song Suffragettes recently teamed with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission for four live shows in August, titled Live From Nashville: Song Suffragettes.

Special guests for the shows included Lindsay Ell, Maddie & Tae, Ashley McBryde and Runaway June. They joined a lineup that included Kalie Shorr, Erin Grand, Chloe Gilligan and Jenna Paulette along with Julie Williams, Carter Faith, Raquel Cole, Bree Doster, Stevie Woodward, Ava Suppelsa, Trannie Anderson, Mignon, Emily Landis, Mia Mantia, Kasey Tyndall, Mia Morris and bonus special guest Caylee Hammack.

The four shows were livestreamed from the Song Suffragettes’ home stage at The Listening Room Café with “Votes For Women” buttons provided to all patrons courtesy of the WSCC. The Aug. 17 show welcomed Melanie Curtis and Melissa Lowe from the all-female Highlight Pro Skydiving Team who presented Song Suffragettes with a “Votes for Women” flag the day before they and their team made a historic skydive into Nashville’s Centennial Park.

Song Suffragettes also took part in The Hermitage Hotel’s commemoration of the 19th Amendment. Shorr, Williams, Grand and Caroline Marquard performed three songs including a classic suffrage protest song titled “Let Us All Speak Our Minds.” A key destination for both pro- and anti-suffragists during the final battle in Tennessee to secure the 19th Amendment’s ratification, The Hermitage Hotel event featured dignitaries and speakers who recounted the story of how Tennessee was the final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment.

Song Suffragettes also facilitated two U.S. National Anthem performances by Stoney Creek Records’ Lindsay Ell before Major League Baseball games on two historic dates. The first performance opened the Baltimore Orioles game on Aug. 18, the day Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment in 1920. The second performance happened on Aug. 26 before the Washington Nationals game on the day the 19th Amendment was officially certified into the U.S. Constitution 100 years ago.

NSAI 21st Annual Song Contest Opens Sept. 1

The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) along with presenting sponsors Martin Guitars and Strings and CMT, have announced details for the 21st Annual Song Contest. Beginning Sept. 1 at 12 p.m. CT, songwriters around the world are invited to submit their songs and/or lyrics for a chance to win up to $5,000 cash, a mentor session with songwriter-artist and the Academy of Country Music’s (ACM) 2020 New Female Artist of the Year Tenille Townes and hit songwriters Ross Golan and Joe London of And the Writer Is… (Grand Prize category winner) or Grammy-winning songwriter Brett James (Lyric-Only category winner), 1 of 12 Martin Guitar prize packages (each including a Martin guitar and Martin Authentic Acoustic Strings), a one-year single-song contract with Anthem Entertainment, a CMT prize package and more.

Each year the contest provides an opportunity for songwriters of all genres to have their song(s) and lyrics evaluated and judged by industry professionals through several phases of judging, with every entry receiving a scorecard with their judging evaluation. Up to 22 entries will place in the contest, and the live final judging phase for the Song Category will feature the Top 10 Finalists’ entries vying for the Grand Prize.

During the first round of judging, all eligible submissions received by NSAI will be judged in their respective categories by music industry professionals and scored to determine whether they move on to a second round of judging during which the top ten finalists and up to ten honorable mentions will be determined for the Song Category, the Lyric-Only winner and runner-up. In February of 2021, the top ten finalists for the Song Category will be scored during a live-streamed event where a music industry-based celebrity panel of elite music industry professionals will score each submission, with the highest total score receiving the Grand Prize.

Beginning Sept. 1 at 12:00 p.m. Central, entries can be submitted online at nsai.cmt.com or they can be mailed to the NSAI office (NSAI–ATTN: Song Contest, 1710 Roy Acuff Place, Nashville, TN 37203). All entries mailed in must include the submission form, entry fee, printed lyric sheet, and one audio CD (unless a Lyric-Only entry). Entry fees are $35 per song for current NSAI members and $45 per song for non-NSAI members. There is no limit to the number of songs that songwriters can submit, and all submissions must be submitted or postmarked by Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. CT.

Texas Hill To Release New Self-Titled EP Sept. 25

Texas Hill, the newly-formed group comprised of Craig Wayne Boyd, Casey James and Adam Wakefield, is releasing their debut self-titled EP on Sept. 25. The band is also dropping a new single, “Easy On The Eyes” today (Aug. 28) on all streaming platforms.

The group first tested the Texas Hill concept with a series of co-headlining shows in late 2019. In June, they officially announced the new trio, all former reality show contestants: Boyd and Wakefield placed 1st and 2nd on separate seasons of NBC’s The Voice, while James placed 3rd on ABC’s American Idol.

“Easy On The Eyes” is one of five tracks on the upcoming EP, along with previously released singles “Four Roses” and “Darkest Sky.”

Track List:
1. Four Roses (Craig Wayne Boyd/Casey James/Shannon Lawson/Adam Wakefield)
2. Easy On The Eyes (Craig Wayne Boyd/Casey James/Morgan Myles/Adam Wakefield)
3. Love Me When I’m Leaving (Adam Wakefield)
4. Sugar Cane (Craig Wayne Boyd/Brad Crissler/James Leblanc)
5. Darkest Sky (Ryan Beaver/James Leblanc/Mike Walker)


Luke Combs, Carly Pearce, Ingrid Andress, Gabby Barrett To Announce CMA Awards Nominees On Sept. 1

Pictured (clockwise from top left): Luke Combs, Carly Pearce, Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress

Nominees for The 54th Annual CMA Awards will be revealed Tuesday, Sept. 1, with select categories announced by Luke Combs and Carly Pearce on ABC’s Good Morning America broadcast live during the 8:30 a.m. local time half-hour block from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.

Immediately following, Ingrid Andress and Gabby Barrett will reveal the remaining CMA Awards categories in addition to the CMA Broadcast Awards finalists on CMA’s YouTube and Facebook, which can be viewed worldwide. The stream will also be available on GoodMorningAmerica.com and GMA’s Facebook.

The 54th Annual CMA Awards is a production of the Country Music Association. Robert Deaton is the Executive Producer, Alan Carter is the Director and David Wild is the Head Writer.

Cooper Alan’s "New Normal" Reaches Heights On iTunes, TikTok

Cooper Alan’s latest single, “New Normal,” was an instant hit from the moment it was released, landing at No. 1 on the iTunes country chart, and reaching No. 6 on the all genres chart. The song was also streamed over 114,000 times on Spotify the first day of release, and has struck a chord with many fans on TikTok, who are using the song as background to their own videos and sharing their ‘new normal’ with their family and friends.

“New Normal” was written by Cooper Alan, Seth Mosley and Victoria Shaw, with Shaw and Mosley producing. The song came out of a zoom conversation between Cooper Alan and his co-writers.

“While the pandemic has caused a lot of struggle and hardship, we all found that we have experienced little blessings along the way,” said Alan. “That’s what this song is about. It immediately struck a nerve with my friends on TikTok from the first day that I started posting little teasers of the song. My TikTok now has over 3 million likes so it was a no brainer to release it as soon as I could. As an independent artist it has been really amazing how people keep finding my music and joining me on this journey.”

Alan has achieved another milestone as well: with his “covid-caroling,” imitations of popular singers singing “Savage,” and all-around fun content, the 24-year-old has gone viral on TikTok – hitting 3.1 million likes, with over 417,000 followers.