Dustin Lynch & MacKenzie Porter Remain At No. 1 On MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart

Dustin Lynch and MacKenzie Porter continue their reign on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart this week, marking a two-week No. 1 for their duet “Thinking ‘Bout You.” Lynch is credited as a songwriter on the single alongside Andy Albert, Hunter Phelps, and Will Weatherly.

The duet originally appeared as a collaboration on Lynch’s album Tullahoma with Lauren Alaina. When Alaina wasn’t available to be a part of the single release, Lynch put a call out to the country music community for submissions for the part from up-and-coming female artists.

“I had my team remove all the names from the submissions and just number them so I wouldn’t be persuaded based on if I knew who it was, what camp they’re a part of, what they look like. On my first listen I ended up pointing to file number two or whatever it was. Two weeks later, I’m still listening through and keep coming back to it. It ended up being MacKenzie Porter,” Lynch explains. “We all gravitated to her performance, and I think there’s reason for that.” Click here to read MusicRow‘s full interview with Dustin Lynch.

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

Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Mickey Guyton, Jimmie Allen Among Grammy Nominees

Pictured (L-R, top row): Chris Stapleton, Mickey Guyton; (L-R, bottom row): Jimmie Allen, Brandi Carlile

The nominees for The 64th Grammy Awards were revealed Tuesday (Nov. 23), with plenty of Nashville’s finest musicians well-represented.

In the country categories, Mickey Guyton and Chris Stapleton dominate with three each. Stapleton, who nearly swept the CMA Awards earlier this month, is nominated for Best Country Album (Starting Over), Best Country Song (“Cold”), and Best Country Solo Performance (“You Should Probably Leave”). Guyton, who gave a historic performance on this year’s Grammy Awards, is also nominated for Best Country Album (Remember Her Name), Best Country Song (“Remember Her Name”), and Best Country Solo Performance (“Remember Her Name”).

Jimmie Allen, the CMA’s newly crowned New Artist of the Year and the ACM’s New Male Artist of the Year, is the only country artists nominated in the four general field categories, as Best New Artist.

Miranda Lambert accepting the Best Country Album award for Wildcard at the 63rd Grammy Awards on March 14, 2021. Photo: Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Kacey Musgraves, whose album Star-Crossed was deemed not eligible for Country Album of the Year, is nominated for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance for “Camera Roll,” a song from that project.

Maren Morris is nominated for Best Country Song for “Better Than We Found It,” and is nominated for Best Country Duo Or Group Performance alongside her husband Ryan Hurd for their duet, “Chasing After You.” Miranda Lambert is nominated in the Duo/Group Performance category with Elle King for “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home),” and with Jon Randall and Jack Ingram for The Marfa Tapes (Best Country Album).

Carrie Underwood is nominated alongside her duet parter Jason Aldean in the Country Duo/Group Performance category for “If I Didn’t Love You.” She is also nominated for Best Roots Gospel Album for My Savior.

Brothers Osborne are nominated for Duo/Group Performance for “Younger Me,” and for Best Country Album for Skeletons.

Other country artists represented in the nominees list are Luke Combs (Best Country Solo Performance for “Forever After All”), Dan + Shay (Best Country Duo Or Group Performance for “Glad You Exist”), Thomas Rhett (Best Country Song for “Country Again”), and Walker Hayes (Best Country Song for “Fancy Like”). Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson are nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, Parton for her A Holly Dolly Christmas and Nelson for his That’s Life.

Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson are also nominated in country categories, including Isbell’s “All I Do Is Drive” for Best Country Solo Performance and Simpson’s The Ballad Of Dood & Juanita for Best Country Album. Elsewhere, Simpson received a nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions).

A slew of Nashville writers, including Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Brady Clark, Brandi Carlile, Hailey Whitters and Ruby Amanfu are nominated alongside Alicia Keys and Linda Perry for Song of the Year with “A Beautiful Noise,” recorded by Keys and Carlile.

Brandi Carlile and wife Catherine Shepherd at the 2019 Grammy Awards. Photo: Courtesy Sacks & Co.

In addition to garnering two nominations for Song of the Year for both “A Beautiful Noise” and her own “Right On Time,” Carlile earned a whopping five nominations, including for Record Of The Year and Best Pop Solo Performance (“Right On Time”), and Best American Roots Performance (“Same Devil” with Brandy Clark).

Like Musgraves, Carlile’s single “Right On Time” was shifted to the best pop performance category rather than the American Roots division.

In the American Roots categories, Yola came out with two for Best American Roots Song (“Diamond Studded Shoes”) and Best Americana Album (Stand For Myself). Jackson Browne (Downhill From Everywhere), John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band (Leftover Feelings), Los Lobos (Native Sons), and Allison Russell (Outside Child) are represented alongside Yola for Best Americana Album.

Other nominees in the American Roots categories were Jon Batiste, Billy Strings, The Blind Boys Of Alabama & Béla Fleck, Brandy Clark, and Rhiannon Giddens.

In the Christian and Gospel category, Cece Winans earned three nominations for Best Gospel Performance/Song (“Believe For It”), Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song (“Believe For It”), and Best Gospel Album (Believe For It).

Dante Bowe was nominated three times in the Best Gospel Performance/Song category, for “Voice Of God,” “Joyful,” and “Wait On You,” the latter recorded by Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music.

Other Nashvillians represented in the Grammy nominees include Ashley Gorley and Ben Johnson (“All My Favorite Songs”) and Kings of Leon in the Best Rock Song category. Additionally, The Black KeysDelta Kream and Steve Cropper‘s Fire It Up are both nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Gramps Morgan‘s Positive Vibration is nominated for Best Reggae Album, Nashville Symphony Orchestra conductor Giancarlo Guerrero earned a nomination for Best Orchestral Performance (“Adams: My Father Knew Charles Ives; Harmonielehre”) and Sam Ashworth and others are nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media (“Speak Now.”)

Jon Batiste led the nominees this year with 11, including for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for “Cry.” Young artists made up the pop and general field nominees, with Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. garnering eight each, and Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo nabbing seven. All five are under 28.

The 2022 Grammy Awards will return to the Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, broadcasting live on the CBS Television Network and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+ at 8 – 11:30 p.m. ET / 5-8:30 p.m. PT.

Final round voting to determine Grammy winners will take place from Dec. 6, 2021 to Jan. 5, 2022. Click here for a full list of 2022 Grammy nominees.

Recording Academy Reveals Nominees For 64th Grammy Awards

The nominees for The 64th Grammy Awards were announced today (Nov. 23) by Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and Board of Trustees Chair Tammy Hurt.

To help reveal the nominees of all 86 categories, the Recording Academy also enlisted country star Carly Pearce, as well as comedian Nate Bargatze, past Grammy nominee Jon Batiste, past Grammy nominees BTS, four-time Grammy award-winner H.E.R., CBS Mornings anchor Gayle King, rock band Måneskin, and past Grammy nominee Tayla Parx.

In the general categories, including Best New Artist, and Album, Song, and Record Of The Year, the Recording Academy expanded the nominee count from 8 to 10. This is also the first year that the nominees will reflect the elimination of nomination review committees in general and genre fields, as well as other changes.

The 2022 Grammy Awards will return to the Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, broadcasting live on the CBS Television Network and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+ at 8 – 11:30 p.m. ET / 5-8:30 p.m. PT.

Final round voting to determine Grammy winners will take place from Dec. 6, 2021 to Jan. 5, 2022.

Here are the top nominees in selected categories:

Record Of The Year
“I Still Have Faith In You,” ABBA
“Freedom,” Jon Batiste
“I Get A Kick Out Of You,” Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
“Peaches,” Justin Bieber Featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon
“Right On Time,” Brandi Carlile
“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat Featuring SZA
“Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish
“Montero,” (Call Me By Your Name) Lil Nas X
“drivers license,” Olivia Rodrigo
“Leave The Door Open,” Silk Sonic

Album Of The Year:
We Are, Jon Batiste
Love For Sale, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe), Justin Bieber
Planet Her (Deluxe), Doja Cat
Happier Than Ever, Billie Eilish
Back Of My Mind, H.E.R.
Montero, Lil Nas X
Sour, Olivia Rodrigo
Evermore, Taylor Swift
Donda, Kanye West

Song Of The Year
“Bad Habits,” Fred Gibson, Johnny McDaid & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Ed Sheeran)
“A Beautiful Noise,” Ruby Amanfu, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Alicia Keys, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Linda Perry & Hailey Whitters, songwriters (Alicia Keys And Brandi Carlile)
“drivers license,” Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo, songwriters (Olivia Rodrigo)
“Fight For You,” Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)
“Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)
“Kiss Me More,” Rogét Chahayed, Amala Zandile Dlamini, Lukasz Gottwald, Carter Lang, Gerard A. Powell II, Solána Rowe & David Sprecher, songwriters (Doja Cat Featuring SZA)
“Leave The Door Open,” Brandon Anderson, Christopher Brody Brown, Dernst Emile II & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Silk Sonic)
“Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” Denzel Baptiste, David Biral, Omer Fedi, Montero Hill & Roy Lenzo, songwriters (Lil Nas X)
“Peaches,” Louis Bell, Justin Bieber, Giveon Dezmann Evans, Bernard Harvey, Felisha “Fury,” King, Matthew Sean Leon, Luis Manual Martinez Jr., Aaron Simmonds, Ashton Simmonds, Andrew Wotman & Keavan Yazdani, songwriters (Justin Bieber Featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon)
“Right On Time,” Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile)

Best New Artist
Arooj Aftab
Jimmie Allen
Baby Keem
Glass Animals
Japanese Breakfast
The Kid Laroi
Arlo Parks
Olivia Rodrigo

Best Pop Vocal Album
Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe), Justin Bieber
Planet Her (Deluxe), Doja Cat
Happier Than Ever, Billie Eilish
Positions, Ariana Grande
Sour, Olivia Rodrigo

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Love For Sale, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
Til We Meet Again (Live), Norah Jones
A Tori Kelly Christmas, Tori Kelly
Ledisi Sings Nina, Ledisi
That’s Life, Willie Nelson
A Holly Dolly Christmas, Dolly Parton

Best Country Solo Performance
“Forever After All,” Luke Combs
“Remember Her Name,” Mickey Guyton
“All I Do Is Drive,” Jason Isbell
“Camera Roll,” Kacey Musgraves
“You Should Probably Leave,” Chris Stapleton

Best Country Duo Or Group Performance
“If I Didn’t Love You,” Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood
“Younger Me,” Brothers Osborne
“Glad You Exist,” Dan + Shay
“Chasing After You,” Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris
“Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home),” Elle King & Miranda Lambert

Best Country Song
“Better Than We Found It,” Maren Morris
“Camera Roll,” Kacey Musgraves
“Cold,” Chris Stapleton
“Country Again,” Thomas Rhett
“Fancy Like,” Walker Hayes
“Remember Her Name,” Mickey Guyton

Best Country Album
Skeletons, Brothers Osborne
Remember Her Name, Mickey Guyton
The Marfa Tapes, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall & Jack Ingram
The Ballad Of Dood & Juanita, Sturgill Simpson
Starting Over, Chris Stapleton

Best American Roots Performance
“CRY,” Jon Batiste
“Love And Regret,” Billy Strings
“I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” The Blind Boys Of Alabama & Béla Fleck
“Same Devil,” Brandy Clark Featuring Brandi Carlile
“Nightflyer,” Allison Russell

Best American Roots Song
“Avalon,” Rhiannon Giddens With Francesco Turrisi
“Call Me A Fool,” Valerie June Featuring Carla Thomas
“CRY,” Jon Batiste
“Diamond Studded Shoes,” Yola
“Nightflyer,” Allison Russell

Best Americana Album
Downhill From Everywhere, Jackson Browne
Leftover Feelings, John Hiatt With The Jerry Douglas Band
Native Sons, Los Lobos
Outside Child, Allison Russell
Stand for Myself, Yola

Best Bluegrass Album
Renewal, Billy Strings
My Bluegrass Heart, Béla Fleck
A Tribute to Bill Monroe, The Infamous Stringdusters
Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions), Sturgill Simpson
Music Is What I See, Rhonda Vincent

Best Folk Album
One Night Lonely (Live), Mary Chapin Carpenter
Long Violent History, Tyler Childers
Wednesday (Extended Edition), Madison Cunningham
They’re Calling Me Home, Rhiannon Giddens With Francesco Turrisi
Blue Heron Suite, Sarah Jarosz

Best Gospel Performance Song
“Voice Of God,” Dante Bowe Featuring Steffany Gretzinger & Chandler Moore
“Joyful,” Dante Bowe
“Help,” Anthony Brown & Group Therapy
“Never Lost,” Cece Winans
“Wait On You,” Elevation Worship & Maverick City Music

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song
“We Win,” Kirk Franklin & Lil Baby
“Hold Us Together (Hope Mix),” H.E.R. & Tauren Wells
“Man Of Your Word,” Chandler Moore & KJ Scriven
“Believe For It,” Cece Winans
“Jireh,” Elevation Worship & Maverick City Music Featuring Chandler Moore & Naomi Raine

Best Gospel Album
Changing Your Story, Jekalyn Carr
Royalty: Live At The Ryman, Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition, Maverick City Music
Jonny x Mali: Live In LA, Jonathan McReynolds & Mali Music
Believe For It, CeCe Winans

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
No Stranger, Natalie Grant
Feels Like Home Vol. 2, Israel & New Breed
The Blessing (Live), Kari Jobe
Citizen of Heaven (Live), Tauren Wells
Old Church Basement, Elevation Worship & Maverick City Music

Best Roots Gospel Album
Alone With My Faith, Harry Connick, Jr.
That’s Gospel, Brother, Gaither Vocal Band
Keeping On, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Songs for the Times, The Isaacs
My Savior, Carrie Underwood

Click here for a full list of 2022 Grammy nominees.

Sony Music Publishing Nashville Ups Josh Van Valkenburg To EVP, Creative

Josh Van Valkenburg

Sony Music Publishing Nashville has announced the promotion of Josh Van Valkenburg to Executive Vice President, Creative.

In his new role, Van Valkenburg is responsible for leading the team’s A&R strategy, supporting SMP Nashville’s roster, developing new talent, and delivering new creative opportunities for the company’s songwriters. He reports directly to CEO, Sony Music Publishing Nashville, Rusty Gaston.

Throughout his career, Van Valkenburg’s singings have garnered over 70 No. 1 hits on country radio. He has worked alongside chart-topping songwriters and producers including 4-time BMI Songwriter of the Year Ross Copperman, Jon Nite, Lindsay Rimes, Chris DeStefano, and 2021 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Josh Osborne, as well as artist-writers such as Brett Eldredge and Chase Rice.

Prior to becoming EVP, Creative, Van Valkenburg held the position of Sr. VP Creative and has spearheaded SMP Nashville’s creative efforts since 2015. He has been with the company since 2005, launching his music publishing career at EMI Music Publishing. He was later promoted to the A&R team as Creative Manager in 2008, and in 2012 Van Valkenburg joined the Sony/ATV creative team as Creative Director.

“Our Sony Music Publishing family is committed to lifting up and empowering all of our songwriters, from Nashville to the entire world,” Van Valkenburg shares. “This ethos begins at the top with Jon Platt and Rusty Gaston, to whom I am so grateful for this opportunity. I’m so proud of our entire Nashville team and our recent wins as ASCAP and BMI Publisher of the Year. We’re just getting started on an incredible journey and I’m fired up to be a part of it!”

Gaston adds, “Josh is one of the smartest music publishing executives I have ever met. He leads the way in thinking strategically with every songwriter on our roster, and he takes actions that lead to results. We couldn’t be prouder to have him on our team.”

Bobby Karl Works The Room: CMHOF Inducts Marty Stuart, Dean Dillon, & Hank Williams Jr.

Pictured (L-R): Country Music Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees Dean Dillon, Marty Stuart and Hank Williams Jr. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Chapter 650

The long-delayed inductions of the 2020 Country Music Hall of Fame honorees were finally staged — in style — on Sunday evening (Nov. 21) at the museum’s CMA Theater.

Performances by 10 stars honored Marty Stuart, Dean Dillon and Hank Williams Jr. during a three-hour presentation attended by a who’s-who of the Nashville music biz. Standing ovations abounded from the vaccinated crowd.

Marty, Dean and Hank were told they were to become the latest members of the Hall in February 2020. Then came the COVID lockdown, so no ceremony was staged. As we all know now, that interruption of our regular lives is now approaching its second anniversary.

Connie Smith performs onstage for the 2021 Medallion Ceremony. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

“I hope you guys enjoy this long-awaited night as much as I plan to,” said the CMA’s Sarah Trahern in welcoming the throng. The delay has been so long that Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young asked for a moment of silence for the six ( ! ) Hall of Famers who have died since we last gathered — Kenny Rogers, Harold Reid of The Statler Brothers, Charlie Daniels, Tom T. Hall, Don Everly and Charley Pride.

As always, Young presided over the ceremony. Following a video biography about Marty, Pastor Evelyn Hubbard of Tunica, Mississippi took to her B-3 organ to lead the band in a rousing version of his gospel song “It’s Time to Go Home.” Accompanied by Charlie Worsham on lead guitar and harmony vocals, Emmylou Harris rocked out on “Tempted.” Ashley McBryde ably interpreted the honoree’s song “The Observations of a Crow.”

Connie Smith inducted her husband. “This is a special moment,” she said. “Reconciliation is a gift from God, and Marty has that gift. He brings people together. Marty makes people feel better whenever he’s around. I’m as proud of who he is as I am of his accomplishments.”

“I love country music — I still feel like I am an ambassador for it,” commented Marty, adding that the artform deserves the same attention and respect as jazz, classical music and other genres. “I believe God loves country music,” he added. “This [honor] is The Ultimate.”

Dean Dillon (Larry Dean Flynn) was introduced by Young and a video bio that underscored his lonely, unsettled childhood. Kenny Chesney sang the contemplative “A Lot of Things Different” (co-written by Dillon and Hall of Famer Bill Anderson). Inspired by Chris Stapleton’s version of “Tennessee Whiskey” (cowritten by Dillon and Linda Hargrove), Brittney Spencer offered a deep-soul rendition of the song. Then George Strait took the stage to sing the beautifully crafted “The Chair” (Dillon with Hall of Famer Hank Cochran), one of 20 charting titles that the songwriter has penned for the superstar.

Pictured: George Strait speaks onstage for the 2021 Medallion Ceremony. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

King George inducted Dean. “All those years and all those songs, and here we are,” said George. “It’s so hard to dream about [but] I knew you’d be in the Hall of Fame.”

“When I hitch-hiked here in 1973, I wanted to be… a singer and an artist,” Dean reflected, adding that he eventually gave up making records to concentrate fully on songwriting. “It’s the smartest decision I’ve ever made in my life. I want to thank my sweet Lord for giving me this wonderful gift.” The songwriter became teary-eyed as he concluded, “Thank y’all so much.”

Did you know that a teenaged Hank Jr. made a pop, 45-r.p.m. single on Verve Records billed as “Bocephus?” Me neither, but that’s what his video bio revealed.

Shooter Jennings saluted Hank with “Feelin’ Better,” a song that appeared on Hank’s 1977 LP The New South. Eric Church performed with just his guitar, singing an impassioned “A Country Boy Can Survive,” augmented by an autobiographical sung intro. Alan Jackson and his Strayhorns band conjured a lovely mood with an expressive version of “The Blues Man.” Brenda Lee inducted Hank Jr.

“All my rowdy friends ARE coming over tonight,” said Hank. “I WAS born to boogie. And THIS is a family tradition,” he added, referring to his legendary Country Music Hall of Fame father.

Pictured: Alan Jackson performs onstage for the 2021 Medallion Ceremony. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Connie Smith returned to the stage to sing the event’s traditional finale, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

No pressure, performers: The audience included such Hall of Fame legends as Brenda, Connie, Emmylou, Anderson, Ray Stevens, Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn, Don Schlitz, Charlie McCoy, Jimmy Fortune of The Statler Brothers, Teddy Gentry & Randy Owen of Alabama, Jerry Bradley and Randy Travis. Not to mention such talents as Jonell Mosser, Paul Kennerley, Jim Horn, Cheryl White, Shawn Camp, bodacious Hannah Dasher, Jeannie Seely, Donna Stoneman, John Hall and Andrea Zonn, plus DeFord Bailey’s musical kids.

“Tonight is Homecoming,” said Trahern. “Tonight IS the Night,” said Hall of Fame board chair Mary Ann McCready.

Clearly delighted in seeing one another after so long an absence were David & Susana Ross, David & Karen Conrad, Peter & Karen Cronin, John Peets, John Zarling, John Marks, Bill Ivey, Bill Denny, Steve Lasssiter, Mike Milom, Mike Molinar, Michael McCall, Troy Tomlinson, Del Bryant, Melanie Howard, Barry Mazur, Alan Stoker, Lon Helton, Rod Essig, Keith Bilbrey, Jessica Nicholson, Joe Galante, Debbie Linn, Diane Pearson, Tom Roland, Gary Overton, Tony Brown, Jerry & Ernie Williams, Aaron Hartley, Seab Tuck and Ken Levitan. The fashion plate of the night was Dave Pomeroy, resplendent in a red lame jacket and crimson pork-pie hat.

This was the 25th annual Medallion Ceremony, but it was the first for Ken Burns country documentary mastermind Dayton Duncan. He said he was only expecting some acceptance speeches, not the fabulous musical cornucopia that this event always is. I assured him that this is the way Music City does things, year-in, year-out.

Being mindful of health / safety, the usual post-ceremony cocktail supper was scrapped. Perhaps it will return when we induct Ray Charles, Eddie Bayers, Pete Drake and The Judds early next year. Stay tuned.


Dustin Lynch & MacKenzie Porter Score CountryBreakout No. 1

Dustin Lynch and MacKenzie Porter jump to the top of the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart this week with their duet “Thinking ‘Bout You.” This is Porter’s first CountryBreakout No. 1 and Lynch’s third. Lynch is credited as a songwriter on the single alongside Andy Albert, Hunter Phelps, and Will Weatherly.

“Thinking ‘Bout You” tells the exciting and relatable tale of exes reconnecting via a phone conversation: “The chorus was a bit of a one-take, lyrically, for me,” Lynch tells MusicRow of the “Thinking ‘Bout You” writing session. “I was just name-checking places that people have ended up or I’ve done life at through the years. There’s definitely a personal connection to the lyric of the song.” Click here to read the full interview with Dustin Lynch.

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

DISClaimer Single Reviews: Keb’ Mo’, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Olivia Evans

Keb’ Mo’. Photo: Jeremy Cowart

Nashville artists dominate this overview of current Americana recordings.

Admittedly, I’m mixing in some pop with this column, notably by durable Music City rocker Tommy Womack and new popster Olivia Evans. But there’s no denying the Americana bona fides of our own singer-songwriters Erin Enderlin, Gary Burr and Kent Blazy.

Nor those of our Disc of the Day winner, Keb’ Mo’, whose new album I eagerly await. The DISCovery Award goes to the majestic young alt-country vocalist, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, also a Nashvillian.

They’re all competing in a worthy field that also includes Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Single Girl Married Girl and Nathan Bell.

Writers: Nathaniel Rateliff/Sam Cohen/Patrick Meese; Producer: Brad Cook, RMB & Elijah Thompson; Label: Stax
–I was initially put off by this. The choppy tempo and oddball melody just didn’t seem to work with the horn blasts and riffs. But the more I listened, the more it grew on me. The stop-and-go vibe actually becomes quite addictive. As always, Rateliff puts his whole soul into the lead vocal.

OLIVIA EVANS / “Leave It Behind”
Writers: Nash Overstreet/Olivia Schelske/Shane Stevens; Producer: none listed; Label: Interstreet/Middle Gypsy
–Olivia is the daughter of country star Sara Evans, but the sound on her debut EP Level is pop all the way. Her vocal on this sweet-sad heartbreak ballad is a folkie soprano layered with enchanting stacked harmonies. Elsewhere on the CD, you’ll find thumpy rhythm tunes, R&B balladry and hip-hoppy tuneful bangers. Extremely promising.

KEB’ MO’ / “Lean On Me”
Writers: Bill Withers; Producer: Keb’ Mo’, Vince Gill & Tom Hambridge; Label: Rounder
–Nashville’s leading bluesman pays tribute to his buddy Bill Withers, whom we lost last year. Keb’ Mo’ takes this familiar refrain at a gentle, steady pace with a nicely shaded vocal embrace embellished by lovely gospel-quartet harmonies. It is drawn from his forthcoming (Jan. 21) album Good To Be, which will feature collaborations with Darius Rucker (”Good Strong Woman,” the set’s first video), Old Crow Medicine Show (”The Medicine Man”) and Broadway’s Kristin Chenoweth (”Quiet Moments”). Meanwhile, he has landed on Toby Keith’s new album with his song “Old Me Better.”

ERIN ENDERLIN / “If I’m Not In Hell”
Writers: Erin Enderlin/Kimberly Kelly/Kayla Ray; Producer: Erin Enderlin; Label: Black Crow
–As a songwriter, Enderlin has cuts by Alan Jackson (”Monday Morning Church”), Reba, Bill Anderson, Terri Clark, Lee Ann Womack (”Last Call”), Randy Travis, Rodney Crowell, Rhonda Vincent, Luke Bryan (”You Don’t Know Jack”) and more. As a record maker, she specializes in deeply etched portraits of honky-tonk pain. This hard-country ballad is super cool, telling the tale of a grieving woman who drinks away the pain while her life falls apart around her. What a line: “If I’m not in Hell, I’m headed that way.”

TOMMY WOMACK / “Pay It Forward”
Writers: Tommy Womack; Producer: Tommy Womack & Jonathan Bright; Label: Schoolkids
–Longtime Nashville rock hero Tommy Womack turns up the heat on his new CD I Thought I Was Fine. The set kicks off with this deep-twang, frothing track with Tommy’s droll, dry vocal contrasting with the driving tempo. I have loved him since his days in Government Cheese and The Bis-Quits in the ’90s. He’s survived cancer and a car crash and is still rocking splendidly, I am pleased to report. Buy this record.

CALEB LEE HUTCHINSON / “Slot Machine Syndrome”
Writers: Caleb Lee Hutchinson/Brent Cobb; Producer: Brent Cobb; Label: CLH
–This young Nashville singer-songwriter displays his wondrously deep, warm, country baritone on this swampy, twangy, melancholy honky-tonk ballad. It’s guaranteed to hook you and is the title tune of his new EP, which I heartily recommend.

GARY BURR / “Shout a Little Louder”
Writers: Gary Burr; Producer: Gary Burr; Label: GB
–Gary’s pal Ringo Starr plays drums on this track, but the real reason to listen is the songwriter’s passionate performance of the anti-war lyric. You’ll find the stately peacenik anthem on Gary’s self-penned and produced new CD Shout. He remains one of the coolest dudes in town. Ridiculously talented, too.

KENT BLAZY / “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”
Writers: Kent Blazy/Garth Brooks; Producer: none listed; Label: KB
–This new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee has a CD appropriately titled Me & My Guitar. The stark, simple musical settings make the lyrics jump out at ya. Especially on this country lyric about an empty, hollow, haunted guy who lost his wife and home and now looks forward to nothing. Blazy’s tender, tremulous vocal quivers with sadness while acoustic guitars ripple around him.

Writers: Daniel Morosi; Producer: Tom Gardner; Label: SGMG
–This folk-pop band’s latest is titled Three Generations of Leaving because it is a song cycle about the trials and tribulations of a mother, daughter and granddaughter who deal with everything from insecurity to drug dependency. Although the album chronicles this in a semi-narrative fashion, the songs can also stand on their own. Lead vocalist Chelsea Coy carries this languid, mournful, mesmerizing track with minor-key organ and guitar accompaniment. Elsewhere, you’ll find girl-group harmonies, Appalachian banjo, a hillbilly waltz, jazzy chords and more.

NATHAN BELL / “Retread Cadillac”
Writers: Nathan Bell; Producer: Brian Brinkeroff & Frank Swart; Label: NeedtoKnow
–Bell is an intense showman who champions working people, takes Fascists to task, waves a BLM banner and honors truth in the political, poetic lyrics of his new collection Red, White and American Blues. Guest vocalists include Aubrie Sellers, Patty Griffin and Nashville’s supreme soul sister Regina McCrary. The last named is heard on this slow-burn ode about a Black ex-con who makes his bitter way through a new life on the road while blues guitars moan along. Gripping.

Joe Fisher Relaunches Boom, Adds Shaina Botwin As Sr. Director, A&R [Exclusive]

Pictured: Shaina Botwin

Joe Fisher is relaunching Boom, the publishing company he, Keith Urban and hitmaker Ross Copperman started in 2017.

Fisher is expanding on the success Boom has had with writers Jimmy Robbins (“Half Of My Hometown,” “The Bones,” “Sure Be Cool If You Did”), Boom’s first signee, and Jordan Minton (“Good Time,” “Best Thing Since Backroads”). Now the roster includes Minton as well as hit writer Rodney Clawson (“Amarillo Sky,” “I Saw God Today,” “American Kids”), and writer-artists James Barker and Erin Kinsey.

“Being fortunate enough to add a legend like Rodney Clawson to the team is invaluable. He just raises the bar on so many levels. Jordan Minton is on the fast track to being a superstar songwriter. He just puts in the work and gets the job done,” Fisher tells MusicRow. “I am really excited to announce we’ve signed a couple of really talented singer/songwriters in Erin Kinsey and James Barker who fronts the James Barker Band. They are both making great music and just getting started.”

Fisher has also expanded the Boom staff, adding Shaina Botwin as Sr. Director, A&R. Botwin began her career at age 18 as Digital Marketing Manager at Broken Bow/BMG. Most recently she worked at Creative Nation for almost four years before joining Fisher to relaunch Boom.

“From my very first meeting with Joe, we both felt very excited about what was to come with Boom,” Botwin shares. “Being a part of this new vision and new era of Boom is very exciting to me. There is an opportunity to really grow something from ground zero with a new roster and new team.”

Now the two are building upwards, with visions of a familial atmosphere to develop writers at Boom.

“My goals start at wanting to help the songwriter first,” Fisher says. “I want to build a tight-knit publishing house at Boom with a great atmosphere that people want to write for.”

Botwin adds, “We’re all here because we’re fans of music and to get to be a publisher is pretty much the closest you can be to that creative process. That’s what drives me and has always been my passion, getting to surround myself with the insanely talented songwriters that we get to work with.”

Deana Carter On ‘Strawberry Wine’: ‘I Will Never Tire Of Singing That Song’ [Interview]

Deana Carter

Beloved entertainer Deana Carter is commemorating the 25th anniversary of her 5x Platinum debut album Did I Shave My Legs for This?, containing country No. 1s “We Danced Anyway,” “How Do I Get There,” and her titanic “Strawberry Wine.”

To celebrate, Carter released 25th anniversary edition of the album, which included unreleased tracks and a version of “Strawberry Wine” with Ashley McBryde, Lauren Alaina, Martina McBride, Kylie Morgan, and Vince Gill. A new version of the title track is also included with guest vocals from McBryde, Gill, Sara Evans and Terri Clark.

Carter is also headlining the Ryman tonight (Nov. 18) for the very first time to celebrate the release. Special guests Charles Esten, Breland and more are set to appear.

In an interview with MusicRow, Carter spoke about the staying power of her debut album, ’90s country, and her Ryman show tonight.

MusicRow: You and Lainey Wilson were a smash as presenters at the CMA Awards last week, even getting the whole audience to sing “Strawberry Wine” along with you. How fun was that?

I was absolutely blown away by the whole arena singing “Strawberry Wine” with us, all of the artists singing & being so supportive…and the standing ovation just blew me away! The writer for the show, David Wild, told me the CMA’s have never had a standing ovation during a presenter spot. What an unforgettable moment!

I will never be able to thank Robert Deaton enough for giving me the opportunity to have another iconic CMA moment with my new best friend Laney Wilson. When we were rehearsing on Tuesday night, we realized we have family in Louisiana in the same area. It was so great spending time with her and I think that authentic connection made our few minutes presenting the award to Chris Stapleton for Single of the Year really special.

You welcomed a slew of guest artists on the re-release of Did I Shave My Legs for This? What did these voices bring to the project?

It was really important to me to have guest artists on this 25th anniversary re-release and to have ones that I connected with at some point or another.

I have written with Lauren Alaina and she and Ashley McBryde did a special appearance at the ACM Honors show, so that was a great segue to have them join me again. Martina McBride came out a little before me and I always looked up to her. I have also written with her in the past…so I really wanted her to be a part of it.

Terri Clark and Sara Evans and I have worked together over the years and I truly love their unique artistry and senses of humor, so they had to be with me on Shave.

Kylie Morgan is a new artist with such a distinct voice that really stands out, so that was important to include a brand new unique artist in the mix.

And having Vince Gill play guitar on the new collab tracks meant everything to me because he supported the Shave album when it came out in 1996 by stopping by my in-store at Tower Records on West End and had so many great things to say about me as a new artist from the very beginning. That was a HUGE deal in the community embracing my record, I believe. Also, I lost my daddy in 2010 (Fred Carter, Jr.) who was one the amazing A-team Nashville guys on the Row, so I just had to have Vince featured in his absence. That was super special to me.

What songs were you most excited to re-release with this project?

I am so excited for the world to hear our new versions of “Strawberry Wine” and “Did I Shave My Legs For This?” with the collaborations. I so hope that radio will play the new versions so the other artists get their moment in the spotlight on these songs. They are just so special.

I want them to climb the charts, I want them to get nominated for awards. I am just so happy to share these!

Some Spotify data recently came out that showed a resurgence of popularity of ’90s country with Gen-Z. “Strawberry Wine” was one of the most-discovered ’90s country songs in the U.S. in the past 3 months. Why do you think that song has been so evergreen?

Thanks to outlets like Spotify and recurrent radio airplay, artists have had the good fortune of being heard through changes in the marketplace. That is not lost on me and I am very grateful to have one of the most recurrently played albums in the genre.

I also believe that the truth in the songs, “Strawberry Wine” in particular, strike such a chord with people is because it either takes them back to a place and time if they’re older, or it connects them to a place and time, like their parents, or good memories, or their friends and family if they’re younger. That song has grown to mean more to more people because it speaks truth about the sweetness of youth and that even when life doesn’t pan out like you thought, it is still okay to hope that it will always pan out for the best.

I will never tire of singing that song and loving all of the fans in groups singing it together, whether families or friends or couples or kids or grandparents or whatever.

You’re headlining the Ryman tonight for the first time ever. How does it feel to get to do that?

I am so excited to be doing my first headline show at the Ryman! Being a Nashville native and a ‘Row kid’, I truly treasure the historical and cultural significance of that beautiful place. I have definitely sung at the Ryman, but never had my own show there. Having Charles Esten, Breland, and some other special guests is going to be even sweeter.

BREAKING: Date & Location Announced For 57th ACM Awards

The Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, where the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards will be held.

After having held its last two awards ceremonies in Nashville, the Academy of Country Music will return to Las Vegas for the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards on Monday, March 7, 2022 at Allegiant Stadium.

In August the Academy announced that its 2022 awards would be livestreamed exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, marking the first time a major awards show has done so exclusively. The event will livesteam on Prime Video in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Information regarding tickets will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We are thrilled to return to Las Vegas to celebrate country music’s party of the year in this incredible brand-new stadium and on the Prime Video streaming service for the first time ever,” says Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “We can’t thank the city of Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium enough for welcoming us for the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards—a party so big only a stadium can hold it!”

R.A. Clark is executive producer of the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards. Whiteside is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.