Cody Johnson Tops MusicRow Radio Chart With ‘The Painter’

Cody Johnson sits atop the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart this week with “The Painter.”

The romantic song written by Kat Higgins, Benjy Davis and Ryan Larkins appears on Johnson’s recently released album Leather. Johnson performed “The Painter” for the first time at the CMA Awards in November, which proved to be one of the top musical moments of the night.

“The Painter” currently sits at No. 16 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and No. 15 on the Mediabase chart.

Click here to view the latest edition of the MusicRow Weekly containing the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart.

My Music Row Story: Grand Ole Opry’s Dan Rogers

Dan Rogers. Photo: Chris Hollo

The “My Music Row Story” weekly column features notable members of the Nashville music industry selected by the MusicRow editorial team. These individuals serve in key roles that help advance and promote the success of our industry. This column spotlights the invaluable people that keep the wheels rolling and the music playing.

Dan Rogers began his work with the Grand Ole Opry as an intern and is now the show’s Vice President & Executive Producer. In this role, he produces Opry shows up to seven nights a week and is shepherding the iconic show toward its upcoming 100th year.

A native of Xenia, Illinois, Rogers received a B.S. in communication from the University of Evansville and an M.S.Ed. in educational psychology from Eastern Illinois University.

He was the Executive Producer of the Opry’s album Opry Unbroken: Empty Room, Full Circle containing tracks recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic when the Opry played on to a worldwide livestream and radio audience despite not having a live audience in the Opry House. He also executive produced the NBC television special Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years Of Country Music and Dolly Parton’s 50th Opry anniversary special, also on NBC, and consulted on 2023’s inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards and Christmas at the Opry network broadcasts. He created, wrote, produced and co-hosted the radio series That Summer as well as additional specialty programs for WSM Radio and was a writer/production assistant on the syndicated radio show America’s Opry Weekend. He co-authored the Opry’s book Backstage At The Grand Ole Opry and authored an Opry-centric country music trivia book. Prior to his current Opry role, he worked in Opry areas including marketing, communication and strategic partnerships.

Rogers serves as President of the Opry Trust Fund, assisting members of the country music community in need as well as other organizations.

MusicRow: Where did you grow up?

Rural Route 2, Xenia, Illinois. Population 450 at the time—now down to 380.

Rogers visits the Opry as a child

Wow! Were you musical when you were growing up?

Not in the least, but I always appreciated music. Some of my earliest memories are listening to the Grand Ole Opry and going to shows with my parents. Illinois is farm country, so [my priorities were] the farm, family, school and country music.

What were your career goals at that time?

My number one career goal was to do something that wasn’t reliant upon the weather for your success, as was our family farm. Other than that, I just had it in my head that you went to college and did something that paid the bills. But I somehow. didn’t realize until near the end of college that you could do something that not only paid the bills but also enriched your life and the lives of others.

I went to the University of Evansville in Indiana. It was a small college, and I loved the college experience so much that I thought I wanted to be a part of that for other students by working in administration. There were so few job opportunities when I graduated with a graduate degree specifically for that sort of role, that I had to seek out other opportunities, thinking that I would end up working in higher education when the economy turned around and colleges were hiring again. Instead, I went down a whole other path here at the Opry. Of course, I’m glad I did.

Tom T Hall & Dan Rogers as a child

How did you make that transition?

I had continuing education dollars from my professional position, so I used those to basically work toward another graduate degree that earned me the opportunity to intern at the Opry. I started here as a marketing intern in 1998.

What were some of your earliest memories of the magic of the Opry?

I first came to the Opry as a fan during Christmas time in my kindergarten year. I had listened to the Opry, so when I started as an intern I came in wide-eyed and listening intently to every conversation going on everywhere. It was all so interesting how people attempted to fulfill the mission of keeping this great place rolling. I was learning everything from what happens on Monday for Saturday night’s show, to how the Opry worked to attract the next generation of fans and artists, to the community that had developed among Opry fans even in the days before social media.

Every new person I met and every conversation I had with a Grand Ole Opry member was all so fascinating to me. Anytime Garth Brooks was on, we might have a week’s notice to sell those tickets, and we’d have a packed house. That was just energizing and fun to watch from the moment you said it was happening until he walked out on stage.

I was assigned everything under the sun, but everything was interesting in its own way. I remember taking Jeanne Pruett and Jeannie Seely to welcome centers across the state of Tennessee to thank the good people who work behind those counters for their support of the Opry. I basically got to eavesdrop on their conversations for two straight days, which were very memorable to say the least.

Dan Rogers, Jeannie Seely, Bill Anderson and Vince Gill

How long were you an intern before you came on?

I started April of ’98 and my official internship was over in August. The last day of my internship, my supervisor at the time said, “We don’t have any open positions or you would be our first choice. You clearly love this place and love Nashville. If you want to stick around and do what you’re doing, we’ll do our best to help you find a job somewhere in Nashville.” It was a long six months or so of trying to pay the bills and racking up some credit card debt, but it was great. Every day was just about proving myself to the people at the Opry and acting like I was looking for a job when I really just wanted one here.

[I eventually came on] as the Assistant Marketing Manager. Then I was Marketing Manager, Senior Marketing Manager, Director of Marketing, Senior Director of Marketing and then Producer, Show Producer and now this current title.

Dan Rogers, Charley Pride, Gina Keltner and Crystal Gayle

Tell me about getting the job as Vice President/Executive Producer.

I continue to be incredibly thankful for the opportunity and for the support both from the people who gave me the opportunity and those with whom I work today. If ever there was a team, this is a team. They say “it takes a village.” This is an incredible village. You don’t do up to seven shows a week featuring up to 10 artists on each show by yourself. I was just incredibly honored, excited and thankful for the people I’ve worked with to get the job. I was indebted to people who I knew had bent folks’ ears about me. If you had told me when I was a kid that artists whose music I enjoyed were going to go to bat for me and say they wanted me to be entrusted with this incredible institution—I would have never believed that.

You started your new role in 2019, shortly before the pandemic took over the world. What was navigating that like?

At the end of the day, the Opry came out of the pandemic much stronger than beforehand. I think those who love the Opry were reminded why they love the Opry during that time. Saturday night after Saturday night I would sit at my desk and watch the comments coming through online of people saying, “We live halfway around the world and we set our alarm clocks [for the Grand Ole Opry livestreams] because we wanted to be a part of this as it was happening,” and “I haven’t interacted with people this week. This is what I’ve been looking forward to.”

Carly Pearce & Dan Rogers

I would get texts from people who I admired so much saying, “Oh my God, that was a great show. You’re making something great happen.” So you had people who loved it before being reminded why it was so important, and then you had people discovering this show in the oddest of circumstances. I believe more people probably saw the Opry when Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood took the stage together to a completely empty auditorium than had ever seen it before.

What are some of the proudest things you’ve been a part of while you’ve been at the Opry?

One show that I look back on and am so thankful for is our 5,000th Saturday night broadcast, which was October of 2021. We were able to have two sell-outs and it was what a great night at the Opry should be with new stars, superstars and legends of country music [on the bill]. I loved our tip of the hat to the past, but at the same time, you had artists singing their latest hits. You had folks like Connie Smith and Jeannie Seely on stage next to Dustin Lynch and Chris Young next to Vince Gill and Darius Rucker. That’s one that I’ll always appreciate.

Just a month or so ago, we celebrated Keith Whitley. I loved that show. It felt like the Opry gave Mr. Whitley his due and celebrated the icon he’s become since he passed away. That started with a call from Garth Brooks the night after he had inducted Keith Whitley into the Country Music Hall of Fame, saying, “What if we did this?” So, in addition to doing 220 other shows in that timeframe, we were also constantly thinking about how we could create this really great, meaningful show for Keith Whitley.

Any time we add a new member to the Opry I am both proud of the new member and for the new member. Scotty McCreery was just invited to join the family. I will never forget how he looked at me that night and said, “You made my night. No, you made my life.”

Jelly Roll & Dan Rogers

What’s a day in the life like for you?

They’re long, long days, but almost every day of my life I wake up excited about what’s to come either that night or that week. There’s always something special on the horizon, so a day in my life is usually fun and full of gratitude.

I’m not at every single show—I don’t feel like I have to be because I completely trust our team—but I’m at almost all of them. [Laughs] If we’re doing our job, there’s always a reason to be here. If there’s a person who’s debuting, I want to be here to say welcome. Night after night, there are moments I simply don’t want to miss.

Who have been some of your mentors through the years?

This job is incredible in that so many people can affect what you do in a great way. It really does feel like, in this community, everyone wants the Opry to succeed. There aren’t really competitors, there are collaborators. Sooner or later you find yourself working with almost everyone in the industry somehow, and I feel like I’ve learned something from so many people, including Opry members and young artists who are just knocking it out of the park.

Bill Anderson has been an Opry member longer than anyone in our history. Jeannie Seely has played the show more times than anyone in our history. I think about how much we can all learn from them and their staying power. I have mentors across the board from artists, managers, folks who are part of the business here and people who work alongside us every day. I want to be more like the people I see at the Opry who are, as much as anything else, are simply beloved members of a special community. Les Leverett was the Opry’s photographer before I ever came to the Opry. He made his mark in his own way and also just enjoyed the hell out of it. He created this great life, part of which was because of loving what he did here. We should all be so lucky.

Dan Rogers & The Oak Ridge Boys

What do you still have yet to do?

All of us here are really excited about the Opry’s 100th anniversary, which is in just two years. I see it as a huge opportunity. It’s really important to me that we recognize the shoulders on which we’re standing, and also use that opportunity as a catalyst to push the Opry into its next century. We want to celebrate country music and Nashville, and to thank everybody who’s been a part of our success to date.

Still left to do is to grow the Opry’s audience even more, to make it more easily accessible to everyone who loves music and country music around the world. I want us to help more people by growing the Opry Trust Fund and by utilizing the Opry to help others as we have done in the past few weeks with Susan G. Komen and Habitat for Humanity. I have my personal list of people that I would love to play the Opry for the first time. I want to see James Taylor sing “Sweet Baby James” on the Opry stage, and I want to see Eddie Vedder do a Johnny Cash classic. Another goal is to enhance the Opry artists’ experience and make sure the next generation of superstars is firmly planted in that circle.

DISClaimer Single Reviews: Luke Grimes Releases ‘Relaxed, Thoughtful’ New Cover

There are some folk music vibes in this roundup of current country tracks.

Matt Schuster, Lizzie No and Luke Grimes all have acoustic-based tunes, shining brightly amid the rocking sounds of Eddie Montgomery, Caroline Jones, Kameron Marlowe, Bigg Vinny and Brian Kelley. Also here for your listening pleasure is country rap from C’ing Jerome as well as classy country pop from The Frontmen and straight-up, old-school R&B from Robert Finley.

But the folkies ruled the day. Luke Grimes has the Disc of the Day, and Lizzie No is taking home a DISCovery Award. 

Writers: Caroline Jones/Brandon Ratcliff/Pete Good; Producers: Caroline Jones/Brandon Hood/Ric Wake; Label: CJ
– A member of Zac Brown Band since last year, Jones also continues her solo career with a new album titled Homesite. It kicks off with this fiery country-rock blast. That’s Jones on lead guitar mixed in with her spitfire delivery. Exciting stuff. 

BRIAN KELLEY / “How We’re Livin'”
Writers: Brian Kelley/Micah Carpenter/Jimmy Robbins/Mark Trussell; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: Big Machine Records
– A big, loud, rompin,’ stompin,’ proud-to-be-country bore.

LIZZIE NO / “Annie Oakley”
Writer: Lizzie No; Producers: Lizzie No/Graham Richman/Patrick Dillett; Label: Thirty Tigers/Miss Freedomland
– Very cool. It begins with a folkie strum then builds into a crashing acoustic rocker with stacked vocal harmonies and a haunting refrain. It is a dusty, lonely-motel road song with a languid, philosophical vocal attitude. Every note fascinated me. 

Writers: Bobby Pinson/Jami Grooms/Mark McGuinn/Rusty Tabor; Producer: Nick Gibbens; Label: Average Joes Entertainment
– He spends money foolishly, which mirrors his self-destructive lifestyle. As he fritters away his life and his funds, he takes stock of his situation while guitars crunch and crash around him. The powerful singing is amplified by a frothing, foaming arrangement that amps up the emotion. I’m in.  

BIGG VINNY / “Battleground”
Writers: Vencent Hickerson/James McNair/Joe Ragosta/Marc Fortney; Producer: Skidd Mills; Label: BV
– Vencent Hickerson (Bigg Vinny), previously gained notoriety as a member of Trailor Choir and as a contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser (where he dropped from 426 to 242 pounds). Now returning to music, he rocks out while singing of perseverance and pride. It sounds ready-made for stadium sound systems. 

ELI YOUNG BAND & GEORGE BIRGE / “Amy’s Back In Austin”
Writers: Brady Seals/Stephen Allen Davis; Producer: Duane Propes/Brandyn Steen; Label: Records Nashville
– There is a new tribute album to the music of Little Texas. These two Lone Star State artists pull their talents on a remake of this sad, breezy 1995 hit. Capable. Sturdy. 

C’ING JEROME / “Countrified”
Writers: Chris Jerome Blanton/Virgule Marshall; Producer: Virgule Marshall; Label: Average Joes Entertainment
– It’s country rap with some goofy “wooooh” high notes wafting in the background. The slightly cheesy, relentless, spare rhythm track is also kind of quirky. Weirdly listenable.

DYLAN MARLOWE / “You See Mine”
Writers: Dylan Marlowe/Corey Crowder/Hunter Phelps; Producer: Joe Fox; Label: Sony Music Nashville
– His duet single with another Dylan (Scott) continues to climb. In the meantime, he has a new solo video of this track. It’s a mean-spirited ditty about him shadowing (stalking?) his old girlfriend when she’s out on a date with someone new. He hopes that seeing his truck will ruin her night.

KAMERON MARLOWE / “Tennessee Don’t Mind”
Writers: Charles Kelley/Daniel Tashian; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: Sony Music Nashville
– A scampering rockabilly beat rolls beneath this tempo tune. As always, Marlowe is a sterling vocalist here, hitting high notes effortlessly and wailing with fervor. 

ROBERT FINLEY / “Sneakin’ Around”
Writers: Robert Finley/Dan Auerbach/Kenny Brown/Eric Deaton/Patrick Carney; Producer: Dan Auerbach; Label: Easy Eye Sound
– Finley is a master R&B showman whose blues-soaked tunes are produced in Nashville by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. On this mid-tempo groove, he demonstrates how universal “cheatin'” songs can be. Also check out his ballad “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” and his rocker “What Goes Around.” The blind, raspy-voiced songster is not a country artist, but his vivid storytelling on these tracks kind of makes you wish he was. Finley stages his Grand Ole Opry debut this Saturday evening (Dec. 9).

LUKE GRIMES / “Clay Pigeons”
Writer: Blaze Foley; Producer: Dave Cobb; Label: Mercury Nashville
Yellowstone star Grimes continues his pursuit of country stardom with this brilliantly written folk-country outing. His relaxed, thoughtful reading of the lyric feels like he’s sitting right next you. The song comes from the late Texas tunesmith Blaze Foley. Essential listening. 

Writers: Lindsay Rimes/Matt Rogers; Producer: Mickey Jack Cones; Label: Broken Bow Records
– This is a supergroup fronted by Richie McDonald of Lonestar, Tim Rushlow of Little Texas and Larry Stewart of Restless Heart. The trio’s six-song EP begins with this full-throated power ballad. They tag-team lead vocals, then combine their charismatic singing on chesty harmony choruses. These are some mighty singing men. Thrilling listening.

Writers: Matt Schuster/Abram Dean/Emily Falvey/John Newsome; Producer: Chris LaCorte; Label: Warner Music Nashville
– Schuster continues to show immense promise. This aching, melancholy ballad of lost love hits an emotional bullseye thanks to his plaintive, penetrating tenor vocal underscored by sweetly sympathetic strings and steel. Heartbreak on the hoof. 

Kane Brown’s ‘Heaven’ Becomes Eighth Country Song To Reach RIAA Diamond Status

Kane Brown

Kane Brown has earned his newest career milestone with the prestigious RIAA Diamond certification for his multi-week, breakout hit single, “Heaven.”

The singer-songwriter is only the eighth artist in country music to achieve the massive accomplishment with 10 million certified units in the U.S. Brown was surprised with the news at home today with a heartfelt video from fellow Diamond-selling artists Luke Combs, Hillary Scott (Lady A), Tyler Hubbard (Florida Georgia Line) and Darius Rucker.

“An incredible talent with 23 RIAA certified titles and accolade upon accolade across genres, today, we are thrilled to recognize Kane Brown’s first Diamond for his single ‘Heaven.’ This enchanting hit has clearly struck a chord with fans—topping 10 million certified units! Congratulations to Kane, his creative partners and RCA Nashville team on this rare milestone,” says RIAA COO Michele Ballantyne.

Brown released “Heaven” on his record-breaking, self-titled debut deluxe album in 2017, which upon its release, made Brown the first artist in Billboard history to top all five Billboard country charts simultaneously. With his Diamond certification, Brown joins a select group of only seven other country artists whose careers boast the rare fete, including Chris Stapleton (“Tennessee Whiskey”), Sam Hunt (“Body Like A Back Road”), Combs (“Beautiful Crazy”), Rucker (“Wagon Wheel”), Lady A (“Need You Now”) and Florida Georgia Line (“Cruise”).

With the honor, Brown becomes the first Black artist in country music to earn the certification with an original song. In addition to “Heaven,” Brown to date has earned 23 RIAA certifications, including recently-earned 8X Platinum “What If’s,” 4x Platinum “Be Like That” and “One Thing Right;” 3x Platinum “Good As You,” “Homesick” and “Lose It;” 2x Platinum “Thank God” and Platinum “Like I Love Country Music.” His debut album Kane Brown is also 3x Platinum.

MusicRow’s 2024 N.B.T. Industry Directory Highlights The Next Generation Of Leaders

MusicRow has revealed its 2024 N.B.T. Industry Directory list, highlighting a rising class of music industry leaders.

Now in its fifth year, MusicRow’s N.B.T. Industry Directory is the first and only list of its kind, showcasing Nashville music business professionals who occupy important roles at their respective companies. This class of professionals are on a trajectory of excellence to successfully lead the Nashville music industry into the future.

All members of the 2024 N.B.T. Industry Directory are featured in MusicRow’s current Touring & Next Big Thing Issue, which releases today (Dec. 5). Single copies of MusicRow’s 2024 Touring & Next Big Thing Issue are available for purchase at for $45, and are included with yearly MusicRow subscriptions.

The members of MusicRow Magazine’s 2024 N.B.T. Industry Directory are:

Kayla Adkins, Creative Mgr./Publishing – River House Artists
Courtney Allen, Sr. Dir., A&R – Concord Music Publishing
Benji Amaefule, A&R Mgr. – Warner Chappell Nashville
Jess Anderson, Dir., Media Relations – Big Loud Records
Tatiana Angulo, Dir., Streaming Marketing – Universal Music Group Nashville
Kristen Ashley, Manager – Red Light Management
Joel Beaver, Assoc. Dir., Marketing – Monument Records
Bennett Beckner, Music Agent – CAA
Courtney Beebe, Assoc. Dir., Media – Sony Music Nashville
Art Benson, Vice President – The Kinkead Entertainment Agency
Preston Berger, Creative Mgr. – Black River Publishing
Molly Bouchon, Dir., Marketing & Artist Development – SMACK
Raffaella Braun, VP, National Promotion – Triple Tigers Records
Amy Buck, Sr. Dir., Marketing, Global Touring – AEG Presents
Rachel Burleson, Dir., Streaming – Big Machine Label Group
Nina Carter, Sr. Dir., Creative | Events & Partnerships – BMI
Kodi Chandler, Dir. of Business & Client Development – Hill Entertainment Group
Keena Cheatham, Promoter Rep. – Messina Touring Group
Adam Cohen, VP – Global Touring – AEG Presents
Nick Coulson, Producer, SiriusXM – Highway Mornings with Cody Alan & Macie Banks – SiriusXM
Lauren Crawford, Dir., Marketing – BMG Nashville
Courtney Daly, Dir., Streaming – Big Machine Label Group
Jodi Dawes, Dir., Media Marketing – Universal Music Group Nashville
David DeVaul, Sr. VP Music Sports and Entertainment – Pinnacle Financial Partners
Noah Dewey, VP Creative Nashville – Anthem Entertainment
Crystal Dishmon, Artist Manager – ShopKeeper Management
Andrea Evenson, Director – Shore Fire Media
Becca Fisher, Mgr., Strategic Partnerships – Academy Of Country Music
Nina Jenkins Fisher, Sr. Dir., Creative – Jody Williams Songs
Andy Friday, Head of Creative/Publishing – Major Bob Music, Inc.
Lauren Funk, Sr. Creative Dir. – Endurance Music Group
Ashley Gaskin, Publicist – Essential Broadcast Media, LLC
Katie Germano, Music Agent – CAA
Jamie Graves, Dir., Streaming – Warner Music Nashville
Jeremy Groves, Sr. Creative Dir. – SMACK
Stephanie Hagerty, National Dir., Radio – Warner Music Nashville
Hannah Haggerty, Assoc. Business Mgr. – Farris, Self & Moore
Duane Hobson, Assoc. Dir., Membership – ASCAP
Chris Hrovat, Agent, Country – WME
Kara Jackson, Sr. Creative Dir. – Spirit Music Nashville
Evyn Mustoe Johnston, Sr. Dir. of Membership – ASCAP
Candice N. Jones, Dir., Marketing & Communications – National Museum of African American Music
Nicole Judd, Marketing Mgr. – Grand Ole Opry
MaryAnn Keen, Assoc. Dir. Nashville Creative – BMI
Colleen Kelley, Associate – Loeb & Loeb LLP
Erin Kidd, Creative Dir. – WinSongs Music
Dan Killian, Business Mgr. – FBMM
Heather Kinder, Chief Of Staff – Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group
Basak Kizilisik, Owner & Artist Mgr. – Eighteen Company
Harrison Klein, Sr. Artist Mgr. – Why&How
Anna Kolander, Artist Mgr. & Sr. Dir. A&R/Creative – Activist Artists Management
Aubrey Landon, Creative Dir. – Sony Music Publishing
Rummy Le Guevel, Accounting Mgr., Business Management – Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group
Betsy Lee, Business Manager – FBMM
Darby Leiber, Manager – Make Wake Artists/Range Media Partners
Jason Leiss, Business Mgr. – FBMM
Zach Lund, Dir., A&R – Universal Music Publishing Group
Drew Magid, Artist Mgr. – Big Loud Management
Chris Martignago, A&R Executive – Prescription Songs
Ritz McCain, Sr. Editor, Christian & Gospel – Spotify
Jason McColl, Sr. Dir., A&R – Sony Music Nashville
Marissa Messer, Dir., Digital Marketing – BMG Nashville
Marisa Mineo, Head of Tour Marketing – The Neal Agency
Jill Moody, National Membership Dir. – Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)
Vanna Moua, Creative Dir. – Rhythm House
Mark Noel, VP Artist Management – Triple 8 Management
Kayla Ott, Sr. Dir., Marketing – Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC)
Emily Peacock, Sr. Creative Dir. – Jonas Group Publishing
Megan Pekar, Associate – Loeb & Loeb, LLP
Brandon Perdue, Sr. VP, A&R + Publishing – Riser House Entertainment
Gator Pizer, Assoc. Business Mgr. – Farris, Self & Moore
Jason Plum, VP Senior Relationship Mgr. – City National Bank
JT Pratt, GM – Otter Creek Entertainment
Cade Price, GM/Mgr. – Play It Again Music
Lizzy Rector, Publishing Mgr. – Big Machine Music
Hayley Riddle, Agent, Country – WME
Carter Robinson, Sr. VP, Music Entertainment and Sports Group – Pinnacle Financial Partners
Joey Russ, Artist Manager – Neon Coast
Bryce Sherlow, A&R Mgr. – Warner Chappell Nashville
Brianna (Bri) Small, Dir., Digital Content & Partnerships – Warner Music Nashville
Jenna Smith, Marketing Communications Mgr. – SESAC Music Group
Marissa Smith, Music Agent – UTA
Catherine Snead, Director – Sacks & Co
Grace Stern, Agent, Contemporary – WME
Ben Strain, Sr. Creative Dir. – MV2 Entertainment
Carly Strickland, A&R Dir. – Big Machine Label Group
Alex Strong, Vice President – First Horizon Music Industry Group
Conley Sweeney, Account Dir. – Girlilla Marketing
Alex Tamashunas, Creative Dir. – Creative Nation
Jenni Tay, Artist Relations Mgr. – Amazon Music
Josh Tomlinson, Dir. of Creative – BMI Nashville
Elisa Vazzana, Music Agent – UTA
Kelli Wasilauski, Dir. of Operations, Nashville – The Oriel Company
Abbey Watson, Creative Services Coord. – SESAC
Grace Watson, Sr. Dir., Streaming & Revenue – Black River Entertainment
Kate Watson, Sr. Mgr. of Industry Relations – Country Music Association
Sarah Beth Watson, Dir. of Publicity – Sweet Talk Publicity
Austin Wells, Attorney – Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Max Wiebrecht, VP, Corporate & Special Events – Wasserman Music
Lindsay Will, Sr. Dir., A&R – Round Hill Music
Hannah Wilson, Dir., A&R – Universal Music Group Nashville
Kelsey Worley, Sr. Creative Dir. – BMG
Patrick Worstell, Mgr., Artist Development – Warner Music Nashville
Melodie Zack, Vice President – Regions Bank Entertainment Division
Lauren Zimmerman, Assoc. Dir., Digital Marketing – Sony Music Nashville

MusicRow Reveals Next Big Thing Artists Class Of 2024

MusicRow is proud to reveal its list of artists who are predicted to become the Next Big Thing (NBT) in 2024. The 10th annual NBT list features 11 artists, who are each profiled in MusicRow‘s latest 2024 Touring & Next Big Thing print issue, which releases today (Dec. 5).

Boasting a stand-out group of rising stars in the country music industry, MusicRow’s Next Big Thing Class of 2024 includes a wide range of talent, diverse in sound, style and level of success. What each artist has in common, though, is extraordinary talent and a passion for today’s ever-evolving country music format. These future superstars will expand the boundaries of country music, carrying the torch of the format both to its loyal fans and into the mainstream.

Single copies of MusicRow’s Touring & Next Big Thing print issue are available for purchase at for $45, and are included with yearly MusicRow subscriptions.

MusicRow Magazine’s 2024 Next Big Thing Artists:

Warner Music Nashville | 33 Creative | WME | self-published | BMI

Singer-songwriter Avery Anna grew up in picturesque Arizona. She started singing at 10 years old, quickly picking up the guitar and piano, but it was via TikTok that Anna began to realize her full potential. Hopping in a bathtub for acoustics, Anna’s videos of her singing blew up overnight. Now with 1.6 million followers and more than 36 million likes, Anna is sharing her own music with the world. She recently released her debut EP Mood Swings, and her Gold-certified “Narcissist” has made a major statement, reaching No. 1 on SiriusXM The Highway’s Hot 30 Countdown and garnering more than 166 million global streams. Anna has also made an impact with releases such as “Self Love,” “Worst In Me” and “I Will (When You Do)” alongside Dylan Marlowe. The rising star, who has been featured on multiple artists-to-watch lists, is wrapping up her headlining “Treat Yourself Nice Tour,” and has supported Jordan Davis, Cole Swindell and Breland out on the road. Her ear-worm pop-country sound and mastery of vulnerability and connection will undoubtedly bring Avery Anna’s music to more and more fans as time goes on.


Big Loud Records/Back Blocks Music | Big Loud Management/Back Blocks Music | WME | Big Loud/Back Blocks Music Publishing | BMI

Ashley Cooke has built her fanbase by being unapologetically herself. The Parkland, Florida native wrote her first song at age 11 and moved to Nashville at 18 to attend Belmont University. Unlike many others, however, she did not study music, but after entering the school’s revered Country Showcase on a whim and winning, Cooke decided to give music a real shot for a year. When the pandemic had other plans, Cooke took her pop country sound to TikTok, where her music and bubbly personality began to find a big audience. She has since garnered over 200 million global streams with chart climbing hits like “Never Til Now” with Brett Young and “It’s Been A Year.” Cooke released her debut album Shot In The Dark in July, containing 24 tracks inspired by true tales of love, heartbreak and all the moments in between, such as “Mean Girl” featuring Colbie Caillat and her new radio single “Your Place.” Cooke, who was also voted MusicRow’s 2023 Discovery Artist of the Year at the MusicRow Awards this summer, took on her first-ever headlining tour this fall and will join Jordan Davis on the road in early 2024. Her authentic songwriting chops and hooky country sound will allow Cooke to continue on her rise in the coming year.


Big Machine Label Group (Big Machine Records) | TKO Artist Management | WME | Little Louder | BMI

Country singer-songwriter Jackson Dean is rising quickly with his lyric-driven, outlaw style of country music. The Maryland native burst on the scene with his atmospheric debut album Greenbroke. Dean’s breakthrough single “Don’t Come Lookin’” was the fastest debut to reach No. 1 in 2022 and cemented him as the youngest solo male country artist to reach the top of the charts with a debut. The rugged music video for the track also earned a nomination at the 2023 CMT Music Awards for Breakthrough Male Video of the Year. Dean’s follow-up single, “Fearless (The Echo),” is currently climbing the top 25 at country radio after being most added upon impact. Dean released his Live At The Ryman album in April, including the fan-favorite track “Heavens to Betsy.” He recently spent time on the road with Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Parker McCollum and Jon Pardi and was nominated for New Male Artist of the Year at the 2023 ACM Awards. Dean will hit the road on his first headlining tour in January on the “Head Full of Noise Tour,” and will also join Lainey Wilson’s “Country Is Cool Again Tour.” Dean’s focus on building fans with his unique artistry will serve him well as he continues blazing his own trail.


Sony Music Nashville (RCA Nashville) | Triple 8 Management | WME | Combustion Music | BMI

You can find rising singer-songwriter Corey Kent’s music at the intersection of rock infused country, heartland values and red dirt grit. The road warrior has been developing his show for 15 years, but broke out in a big way with the single “Wild As Her.” With nearly 400 million global streams, the exciting track became a Platinum-certified No. 1 hit and garnered Kent a nomination for Breakthrough Male Video of the Year at the 2023 CMT Awards as well as a People’s Country Choice Award nomination for New Artist of 2023. He released his major label debut album, Blacktop, in June. The 10-track album features “Wild As Her,” fan-favorites “Gone as You” and “How You Know You Made It” and current single “Something’s Gonna Kill Me.” Throughout 2023, Kent supported Parker McCollum, Jason Aldean and Ashley McBryde’s tours, as well as played some headlining shows of his own. He will join McCollum again in February. With over 600 million on-demand career streams, Kent has been named to multiple artist-to-watch lists. The hunger from Kent’s growing fanbase will only propel him further into country music stardom.


Sony Music Nashville (Columbia Nashville) | Red Light Management | WME | Sony Music Publishing | BMI

With a sound built around edgy electric twang, smoldering gritty rock and bluesy tenderness, Kameron Marlowe is quickly becoming one of country music’s most exciting new acts. The North Carolina native launched onto the scene with his now Platinum-certified debut “Giving You Up,” which has garnered more than 680 million streams to date. In 2022, Marlowe released his debut album We Were Cowboys, produced by Dann Huff. With “Giving You Up” and his Gold-certified hit “Burn ‘Em All” on the tracklist, the project was one of 2022’s top streaming country albums on Spotify. The country crooner’s talent and rabid fanbase have landed him on multiple artist-to-watch lists. Now Marlowe is beginning his sophomore chapter of music with recent release “Tennessee Don’t Mind,” an ode to his life on the road. He is currently out on his headlining “I Can Lie Tour,” following recent tours with Luke Bryan and Jordan Davis earlier this year. Next year, Marlowe will join Lainey Wilson for the Australian leg of her “Country’s Cool Again Tour.” With his authentically cool niche and powerful voice, Marlowe is undoubtedly one of country music’s next big things.


Average Joes Entertainment | Arcade Management | WME | Average ZJS Music Publishing | BMI

Bryan Martin’s story thus far is that of a blue-collared man whose raw talent was finally uncovered. Hailing from the oil fields of Louisiana, Martin lives the stories he writes, and his authenticity is paying off. Released in late 2022, Martin first captured the music industry’s attention with “We Ride,” an outlaw country tune that resonated so well with fans that it now boast over 80 million streams. He’s followed that up with other succesful releases like “Goin For Broke,” “Memory To Drown” and more. Building on albums If It Was Easy and Self Inflicted Scars, Martin dropped his newest album Poets & Old Souls in March, containing the everyman anthem “We Ride.” He made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 2023, and after opening for artists such as Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert and Warren Zeiders, Martin will join Morgan Wallen for 10 dates on his “One Night At A Time Tour” in 2024. With over 426 million cumulative streams and 750K social media followers, Martin’s true-to-life lyrics and his raw, expressive delivery will continue to earn him more and more fans as he heads into a new year.


Warner Music Nashville | Ignition Management | UTA | Ignition/Warner Chappell | BMI

Chase Matthew is on the fast track to becoming one of Nashville’s hottest newcomers. A rare native of Music City, Matthew independently built his career with his infectious personality, rowdy live performances and relatable music. After reaching more than 360 million global career streams with tunes such as the Gold-certified “County Line” and “She Loves Jesus,” Matthew released his 25-track, major-label debut album, Come Get Your Memory, in June. As the follow-up to his breakout project Born For This, Come Get Your Memory includes multiple fan-favorites such as “Make a Memory,” “Moonlight,” “Where There’s Smoke” and “Outlaw Gospel,” as well as Matthew’s steamy single “Love You Again,” which is climbing at country radio and was the most-added debut single release upon impact. On the live front, Matthew recently wrapped his headlining “Come Get Your Memory Tour” following his “Love You Again Tour,” and he made his Grand Ole Opry debut in March. Now with more than 600 million global career streams and more than two million followers across social media, Matthew continues to make waves as one of country music’s buzziest new acts.


Sony Music Nashville/Columbia NY (Columbia Nashville) | Punch Bowl Entertainment | UTA | Sony Music Publishing | SESAC

Megan Moroney has become a force to be reckoned with as she has begun to make her mark on country music. The Georgia native’s career took on warp speed with her breakout single “Tennessee Orange.” The song became Moroney’s first No. 1 hit at country radio and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. In 2023, Moroney–who refers to herself as an “emo cowgirl”–released her debut album Lucky, including wry, clever tunes like “Traitor Joe” and “Sleep On My Side” alongside truth-tellers like “Girl In The Mirror.” The project quickly drew major acclaim by the industry and fans alike, and spurred Moroney’s currently-rising single “I’m Not Pretty.” In September, she released a deluxe edition of the album, delivering three new songs to her engaged and hungry fanbase. Moroney was nominated for New Female Artist Of The Year at the 2023 ACM Awards as well as New Artist of the Year and Song of the Year at the CMA Awards. Currently on her sold-out “The Lucky Tour,” Moroney will join Kenny Chesney’s “Sun Goes Down 2024 Tour” next spring. Her sharp penmanship, close attention to aesthetics and undeniable talent have fueled Moroney’s meteoric rise, and her star will only continue to ascend.


Universal Canada/UMG Nashville/The Core Records | The Core Entertainment | The Neal Agency | Warner Chappell | BMI

Canadian-born and Nashville-based singer-songwriter Josh Ross focuses his music on the primary themes of country infused with a fresh, modern sound. Debuting with his independently released ballad “First Taste of Gone,” Ross has built a reputation for writing from personal experiences, causing him to tally more than 240 million streams across his collection of songs. Some fan-favorites of Ross’ include “On A Different Night” and “First Taste of Gone,” as well as his country-rock anthem “Ain’t Doin’ Jack” and the emotional track “Red Flags.” In 2023, Ross garnered his second Top 5 Canadian radio hit with “On A Different Night.” After hitting No. 1 in Canada, Ross is currently climbing the U.S. country radio charts with “Trouble.” On the live front, Ross spent a lot of 2023 on the road with Nickelback and Brantley Gilbert for the “Get Rollin’ Tour,” and he will support Bailey Zimmerman on “Religiously. The Tour.” in 2024. He also made his Grand Ole Opry debut, won Breakthrough Artist or Group of the Year at the 2023 Canadian Country Music Association Awards and landed on multiple artist-to-watch lists. Ross’ unique sound will undoubtedly continue to pull fans in across genres as he heads into the next year.


BBR Music Group/Wheelhouse Records | Neon Coast | WME | Verse 2 Music/Sony Music Publishing | BMI

Dylan Schneider started performing and writing songs at the age of 14. He began to build an audience for his talent when he began posting videos to his Facebook page. When Schneider began to make his own music, he developed his own unique blend of country that merges modern pop sensibilities with a down-home feel. Schneider’s fans and over 1.2 million social media followers have enjoyed popular releases such as “How Does It Sound” and “Right Girl” as well as multiple EPs, banking an upwards of 303 million on-demand streams. After a snippet of Schneider’s newest tune “Ain’t Missin’ You” went viral on social media, the sound racked up more than 119 million TikTok views, 118K user-generated TikTok videos and 30 million on-demand streams, before climbing to No. 3 on TikTok’s Country playlist. Giving into fan demand, the rising country star’s “Ain’t Missin’ You” is currently climbing the country radio charts. To name a few other career highlights, Schneider has toured with Florida Georgia Line, Kane Brown, Morgan Wallen, Dan + Shay, Granger Smith, Mitchell Tenpenny and more, co-wrote Dustin Lynch’s Top 5 hit song “Momma’s House” and scored two RIAA-certified Gold records. With a fanbase with a voracious appetite, Schneider’s star will only continue to rise in 2024.


UMG Nashville (Mercury Nashville) | Strong World Management | UTA | Concord | BMI

The War And Treaty was formed in 2014 by the enormously talented husband and wife Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter. While the electrifying duo has long been respected by their peers in country and Americana music alike, country music fans at large took notice of them with the release of their major label debut album Lover’s Game. Garnering both fan and critical acclaim, Lover’s Game featured The War And Treaty showing off their penmanship, soulful harmonies and unmatched vocal ability on tunes such as “That’s How Love Is Made,” “Blank Page” and the title track. The singers have become in-demand collaborators, including featuring on “Hey Driver” with Zach Bryan. The War And Treaty has been recognized by the Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association, Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry and Americana Music Association, and recently earned a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. They have dominated stages across the globe including North America, Europe and Australia, headlining their own shows and opening for a diverse group of living legends. As time goes on, more and more music fans will undoubtedly discover the unmatched talent of The War And Treaty as they continue to impact the country genre.

Dustin Lynch Graces The Cover Of MusicRow’s 2024 Touring & Next Big Thing Issue

MusicRow Magazine has released its 2024 Touring & Next Big Thing Issue, with Broken Bow Records’ Dustin Lynch on the cover.

Lynch has “built one of the most consistent recording careers in modern country music” (Billboard), achieving nine No. 1 hits; four top five albums; 10 Gold, Platinum and multi-Platinum certified singles and tallying over 5.4 billion cumulative global streams. His sixth studio album, Killed The Cowboy, is boldly making a statement. The follow-up to Blue In The Sky, which delivered the history-making, double-Platinum, six-week No. 1 “Thinking ‘Bout You (feat. MacKenzie Porter)”—the most-played song at country radio in 2022, landing at No. 1 on the Mediabase and No. 2 on the Billboard Year-End Country Airplay charts—also featured hit singles including the No. 1 “Stars Like Confetti” and “Party Mode.”

Launching the “Killed The Cowboy Tour” in 2024, Lynch has headlined packed venues and toured with country’s biggest names such as Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley and Kane Brown, and is next on deck to support Blake Shelton’s “Back To The Honky Tonk Tour.” Since his Platinum breakout “Cowboys and Angels” in 2012, the Tennessee native has earned industry recognition as a Grand Ole Opry member as well as high-profile nominations for the Academy of Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards and CMT Music Awards.

Inside MusicRow‘s Touring & Next Big Thing Issue is the 10th annual Next Big Thing class of artists, consisting of Avery Anna (Warner Music Nashville), Ashley Cooke (Big Loud Records/Back Blocks Music), Jackson Dean (Big Machine Label Group), Corey Kent (Sony Music Nashville), Kameron Marlowe (Sony Music Nashville), Bryan Martin (Average Joes Entertainment), Chase Matthew (Warner Music Nashville), Megan Moroney (Sony Music Nashville/Columbia NY), Josh Ross (Universal Canada/UMG Nashville/The Core Records), Dylan Schneider (BBR Music Group) and The War And Treaty (UMG Nashville).

This issue also features the N.B.T. Industry Directory Class of 2024, which highlights rising Nashville music business professionals who are having a major impact on the industry. MusicRow’s N.B.T. Industry Directory is the first and only list of its kind. These industry members occupy important roles at their respective companies, and are on a trajectory of excellence to successfully lead the Nashville music industry into the future.

“Being labeled as the ‘Next Big Thing’ is a term that is often used in the entertainment industry. It refers to someone who has shown immense potential and talent, and is predicted to have a significant impact in their field in the near future,” shares MusicRow Owner/Publisher Sherod Robertson. “This moniker is more than a label—it’s what we all strive for in our pursuit of success in the Nashville music industry. Regardless of age, experience or level of success, claiming the title of ‘Next Big Thing’ is always a worthy endeavor. Cheers to those that have been anointed this much-lauded epithet.”

The 2024 Touring & Next Big Thing Issue features top agents including WME’s Nate Towne, CAA’s Chad Kudelka and UTA’s Matthew Morgan in a round table discussion about the issues and opportunities facing our business. AEG Presents’ Adam Weiser spoke to MusicRow about cultivating connection at live events for this issue, and KultureCity’s Uma Srivastava talked about her work to create concerts more inclusive for those with sensory issues.

MusicRow highlights Mtheory’s Equal Access program and its participants in this issue, and The Oak Ridge Boys talk about their 50 years on the road. This issue also includes a look at Mint House’s new boutique hotel in Nashville. Additionally, the 2024 Touring Directory is included in this issue, featuring contact information for touring transportation, production companies, rehearsal spaces and insurance firms.

Single copies of MusicRow’s 2024 Touring & Next Big Thing Issue are available for purchase at for $45, and are included with yearly MusicRow subscriptions.

Chayce Beckham Maintains Top Five Position On MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart

Chayce Beckham. Photo: Matthew Simmons

Artist-writer Chayce Beckham has remained at No. 5 on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart for three weeks now.

Beckham’s status has been maintained by his rising single “23.” Because he wrote “23” alone, Beckham receives all the points from the song’s airplay and streaming, placing him in the upper echelons of the MusicRow chart with just one charting song.

Zach Bryan returns to No. 1 on the chart this week. Ashley Gorley (No. 2), Jelly Roll (No. 3) and Randy Montana (No. 4) complete the top five.

The weekly MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart uses algorithms based upon song activity according to airplay, digital download track sales and streams. This unique and exclusive addition to the MusicRow portfolio is the only songwriter chart of its kind.

Click here to view the full MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart.

Scotty McCreery Invited To Become A Member Of The Grand Ole Opry

Garth Brooks invite Scotty McCreery to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Photo: Courtesy of Grand Ole Opry

Multi-Platinum country artist Scotty McCreery was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry on Sunday night (Dec. 3) by member Garth Brooks.

While performing at last night’s Opry Country Christmas show, McCreery was surprised with a wrapped gift from Brooks.

Scotty McCreery invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Photo: Chris Hollo

“Merry Christmas,” the icon said. “This is a Christmas present to the Grand Ole Opry.” He added, “We would love to invite you to be the newest member of the Opry.”

“Holy cow. Yes, I would love to,” McCreery replied. “I grew up listening to your records Garth and you’re a part of what made me want to do this for a living and I didn’t think that dream would become a reality, but it is because of all of y’all sitting in this house tonight. God bless y’all.

“When I got started doing this people asked, ‘what are your goals?'” McCreery shared. “And I’d say ‘one day I’d like to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.'”

Since releasing his first studio album in 2011 after winning the 10th season of American Idol, McCreery has sold more than four million albums and achieved five consecutive No.1 hits: RIAA Platinum-certified “Damn Strait,” RIAA Gold-certified “You Time,” RIAA Gold-certified “In Between,” RIAA Platinum-certified “This Is It” and RIAA triple-Platinum certified “Five More Minutes.” The North Carolina native has earned one triple Platinum, five Platinum and four Gold singles as well as one Platinum and two Gold albums. He has won multiple awards throughout his career, including ACM, CMT and BMI honors.

Pictured (L-R): Vice President and Executive Producer of the Grand Ole Opry, Dan Rogers; Scotty McCreery; Garth Brooks; and McCreery’s Manager, Scott Stem. Photo: Chris Hollo

“We’re thrilled to extend this much-anticipated invitation to our friend Scotty,” said Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers. “Whether he’s on the Opry performing his hits, putting his spin on some old favorites during a performance on one of our Opry Country Classics shows, or offering a holiday set as he did tonight, Scotty consistently delivers and is always at home on the Opry stage. It’ll be exciting to hear the words ‘Scotty McCreery, you’re a member of the Grand Ole Opry!’ in the early days of 2024.”

McCreery’s induction date will be announced soon.

Nate Smith Tops MusicRow Chart With ‘World On Fire’

Nate Smith. Photo: Matthew Berinato

Nate Smith‘s “World On Fire” is at No. 1 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart this week.

Smith wrote the breakup hit with Ashley Gorley, Taylor Phillips and Lindsay Rimes. With over 80 million global streams to date, “World On Fire” is one of 26 tracks on Smith’s deluxe version of his self-titled album.

Next year, Smith will set out on the “World On Fire Tour” and join Morgan Wallen‘s “One Night At A Time Tour.”

“World On Fire” currently sits at No. 4 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and on the Mediabase chart.

Click here to view the latest edition of the MusicRow Weekly containing the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart.