RCA Records, Sony Music Nashville Partner To Sign Elle King

Elle King. Photo: Corey Bost

RCA Records and Sony Music Nashville have announced a new partnership in support of global entertainer Elle King.

King’s new intoxicating duet with Miranda Lambert, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home),” has already racked up over 40 million streams globally. The single debuted at No. 1 in early March on both Billboard’s Rock Digital Sales Chart and the Country Digital Song Sales Chart. Additionally, King is the first female artist in history to have scored four radio No. 1 singles on different formats including Adult Pop Songs, Adult Alternative Songs, Alternative Songs and Country Airplay charts.

King has enjoyed over 1.5 billion streams worldwide. Her debut album Love Stuff featured her breakthrough single “Ex’s & Oh’s,” which earned her two Grammy nominations and is certified 4x Platinum. Her single “Shame,” off her second studio album Shake The Spirit, marked King’s fourth radio No. 1 single. King released her latest EP, Elle King: In Isolation, in summer of 2020, a collection of raw demos and songs she recorded acoustically while quarantining at home.

“Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” officially impacts country radio on June 14. King will join Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show this summer.

Country Music Industry Stalwart Patsy Bruce Passes

Patsy Bruce. Photo: Bev Moser

Businesswoman, songwriter and artist manager Patsy Bruce died on Sunday, May 16. She was 81.

Patsy’s impressive resume spanned industries, skill sets and states as she found success in the entertainment industry, event planning, tourism, journalism, activism and politics.

Born Patsy Ann Smithson in Brownsville, Tennessee to a military family. She married the late Ed Bruce, who was working as a car salesman and trying to break into music at the time. They met in 1964, married shortly after in Memphis, and moved to Nashville in 1966. The two had three children together before separating in 1986.

During their marriage, Patsy worked as Ed’s manager, during which time he became known as a singer, songwriter and actor. She was also a casting director, and worked on the TV show Maverick and the movie Urban Cowboy.

She is credited as a songwriter, along with Ed, on Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ iconic duet, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” She also collaborated with Ed on his songs “Texas (When I Die),” “Girls, Women and Ladies,” “(When You Fall in Love) Everything’s a Waltz,” “Ever, Never Lovin’ You,” and “After All.”

Patsy briefly served as president of the Nashville Songwriters Association International in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and she and Ed ran the Ed Bruce Talent Agency and their publishing companies during that period.

Patsy worked in event planning in the ’80s and ’90s, after her divorce. As owner of Events Unlimited, she converted the Super Dome into a one-third replica of the famed French Quarter for a $9 million Honda event with a team of 1,300 people. This success helped her win Events magazine’s Gala Award, the event industry’s top award. She also launched Patsy Bruce Productions Inc., a film and television production company.

She also became a political activist and community leader, working with Phil Bredesen’s campaign for Tennessee governor. After the election, Bredesen appointed Patsy to the Tennessee State Board of Probation and Parole, where she served for 10 years in the early 2000s. She also became involved in Bredesen’s wife Andrea Conte’s non-profit, You Have the Power, which provides support for victims of crimes.

In 2017 Patsy launched Songbird Tours, a songwriting-focused tour company in Nashville, with her son and songwriter Trey Bruce.

Patsy is survived by her devoted partner Jim Trout, son Trey Bruce (Laci); daughters Ginny Bruce and AnnMarie Bruce Pinhal (Joey); grandchildren Sara Bruce Manual (Greg), Maggie Bruce Emmick (Cory), Sela Bruce, Railee Bruce, Patrick Elder, Chelsea Jensen, Joseph Pinhal (Katie), Cathrine Pinhal and Juliana Pinhal; and great-grandchildren Eisley, Elynn, Lilah, Cason, Addison, Bentley, Bella and Cade; and her personal angel on the ground and caregiver, Meaghan Stack. She is preceded in death by her son, Beau Bruce, who died in 2019, and her parents, Henry and Hazel Smithson.

Memorial service details have not yet been announced.

Cassadee Pope Finds Herself And New Sound In Upcoming Project [Interview]

Cassadee Pope. Photo: John Shearer.

Singer-songwriter Cassadee Pope is back with new music that speaks to her musical past, present and future. Her brand new single “What The Stars See” serves as a sneak peek into her new project due out later this fall, distributed through The Orchard.

In the turbulent year of 2020, Pope used the time to think about what kind of music she wanted to pursue and who she wanted to be as an artist going forward. Like a lot of other people, she also used the time to reflect on her career up to this point.

“COVID forced everyone to just be still, think and reflect. Obviously, when you’re reflecting you think of your past, and my past is all pop-punk and touring and Hey Monday,” says Pope.

Before her win with Team Blake on season three of NBC’s The Voice, Pope was the frontwoman for the pop-punk band Hey Monday. Formed in 2008, Pope and her fellow bandmates toured around the world with the likes of We The Kings, The All-American Rejects, The Cab, All Time Low, and others before the group’s hiatus in 2011. However, after coming into town with a new record deal, Pope explains that she had initially shied away from her pop-punk roots.

“I already had a lot of proving to do to show everyone that I’m an artist. I’m a songwriter—I didn’t just sing covers on a reality singing competition show,” Pope shares. “The show really highlighted my story about being in Hey Monday, so people didn’t realize that I sang country as a kid… It was almost like I had to prove to people that I’m a country artist.” Pope continues, “There was a lot of pressure to fit a mold and I became kind of lost a few times in my career because of that.”

Over the last few years, Pope has started becoming comfortable in her own skin and learning to love the things that make her different from what is traditionally associated with country music. Through working on her mental health, Pope thinks that she has finally hit the sweet spot in combining her two musical worlds: country and pop-punk.

Cassadee Pope. Photo: John Shearer.

However, there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to this new dynamic sound. “Pop-punk has a lot of different versions and so does country,” Pope explains. “I love bands like Blink-182 but I also love bands like Foo Fighters, and they are not the same. I love artists like Little Big Town but I also love Maren Morris, and they aren’t the same.”

In order to figure out this new direction without losing her country sensibilities when it comes to songwriting, Pope began to write with artists and peers from her past, including Kevin Bard from Stereo Skyline, Paul DiGiovanni from Boys Like Girls, and Holiday Parade’s Andy Albert. Pope also teamed up with The All-American Rejects lead guitarist Nick Wheeler to help produce the project.

“I’ve known Nick for like 10 years now, maybe even more. We wrote a few times and every demo that came back sounded like I could release it the next day,” says Pope. “ I was convinced he was the guy and thought it was just meant to be. So I asked him if he would produce and he said yes!”

Accompanying Wheeler, in a surprisingly stunning marriage of music, is Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild. As one of Pope’s mentors and musical inspirations, the country powerhouse serves as co-producer on the upcoming project and even lends her voice as a feature on the album’s lead single.

“Having Nick who is a huge part of my past and where I come from on that pop-punk side, mixed with Karen who’s been a part of my more recent history and a mentor for me here in Nashville… blending those worlds just feels so right and so fun,” she shares.

Pope has given fans a glimpse into this next era of music with “What The Stars See,” available everywhere now. Teaming up with co-writers Jake Rose and Lindsey Rimes, the trio brought to life Pope’s wish of wanting to see what her exes were doing the night they broke up from the perspective of the stars.

The new track mixes a vulnerable, revealing lyric with a high-energy rock flare that is reminiscent of her Hey Monday days. Accompanied by fellow singer-songwriter Lindsey Ell lending her signature guitar riffs and Fairchild’s complimentary vocals, the new single delivers a striking preview of what to expect from Pope in the months to come as she takes off on her most honest project yet.

She also debuted the music video for the track today (May 14), directed by Ed Pryor and produced by Wes Edwards, which is a colorful take on the famed sci-fi action movie Blade Runner.

Pope is excited to be making the music that feels most authentic to her. “It has been the best experience ever in the studio; it has been the most fun I’ve ever had,” she gushes. “I’ve just been so focused on staying authentic and doing what makes me happy. It’s definitely opened up all these different doors in my brain when it comes to creativity and songwriting.

“I think the project as a whole, the way it’s shaping, is an album that really confronts things from my past that I’ve shied away from writing about until now and letting myself feel sad about it,” Pope admits. “The songs that came out of just that acceptance… I mean, they’re the most powerful songs I’ve ever written, so I think the gist of the album is just letting yourself feel whatever those feelings are and not just surviving but thriving from those experiences.”

Carly Pearce Is ‘Next Girl’ To Receive MusicRow No. 1

Carly Pearce claims the No. 1 spot this week on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart, earning a cumulative 38,294 spins in the 34 weeks since its release. “Next Girl” spent 15 weeks in the top 10 on the chart. The single was written by Pearce, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, and it appears on her latest project 29.

Pearce and Lee Brice won Musical Event of the Year for “I Hope You’re Happy Now” at both the 54th Annual CMA Awards and 56th ACM Awards. They also received a Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America for the single.

Click here or above to view the latest edition of The MusicRow Weekly.

Canadian Group James Barker Band Signs To Villa 40/Sony Music Nashville

James Barker Band. Photo: Matthew Berinato.

Sony Music Nashville and Villa 40 have announced that Platinum-selling group, the James Barker Band, has signed with Villa 40/Sony Music Nashville.

“It’s not every day you start working with an act that already has an engaged, global fan base,” says Villa 40 Co-Founder Brad Margolis. “We look forward to collaborating with our partners at Sony Music Nashville in continuing to build the band’s success in Canada and making them a household name in the U.S.”

Originally from Ontario, Canada, the band is celebrating the new record deal signing by releasing “Over All Over Again,” their first release through the label, today (May 14).

“We’re so excited to be putting new music out and starting this new chapter in the U.S.,” adds frontman James Barker. “They’ve been so great at allowing us to chase down different creative avenues while staying true to our sound.”

Building off the success and fan base the band has built in Canada, their signing with Sony Music Nashville and Villa 40 will contribute further their international success story.

BREAKING: ACM Heading Back To Las Vegas For 2022 Awards

 

The Academy of Country Music has revealed that it will head back to Las Vegas for its 2022 awards, after having held the last two awards ceremonies in Nashville.

The 57th ACM Awards will take place in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 24, 2022.

The 2021 awards ceremony, hosted at iconic country music venues including the Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry and Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, saw Luke Bryan walk away with Entertainer of the Year, with other honors handed out to Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, and more.

More details about the 57th ACM Awards will be announced at a later date.

BREAKING: Harvey Mason Jr. Named President/CEO Of Recording Academy

Photo: Courtesy of Harvey Mason jr.

Harvey Mason jr. has been appointed President/CEO of The Recording Academy, effective June 1.

Mason has been serving in the position on an unpaid, interim basis since January 2020. Prior to that, he was Chair of the Academy’s Board, a position he will now relinquish to prevent any conflict of interest with his business, Harvey Mason Media.

In a press release, the Academy says that although the Academy’s Board worked with a leading search firm and considered numerous candidates for the position, the committee and the Board as a whole concluded that no candidate matched Mason’s combination of skills and experience.

In a joint statement, search committee co-chairs John Burk and Leslie Ann Jones say: “We are delighted that Harvey will remain at the helm and continue to steer the organization through this pivotal time. As we journeyed deeper into our extensive search, it became clear that the best person for the job was Harvey. We are immensely impressed by the remarkable work he has done during his interim tenure and look forward to the continued evolution of the Academy under his effective, results-driven leadership.”

During Mason’s tenure, the Academy has made efforts to improve the transparency of the Grammy Awards process, made changes to voting procedures, and has made ensuring a more diverse and inclusive membership body a priority.

Shortly after Mason was appointed as Interim President/CEO, the Academy confronted the unexpected challenge of COVID-19 and the disruption it caused to the livelihoods of many Academy members and the music community. Under his leadership, MusiCares raised and distributed over $24 million to help struggling music creators through the crisis, and the Academy advocated in Washington for relief.

“There is nothing more rewarding than having the trust and respect of your colleagues and peers,” Mason says. “I am honored to have been appointed to continue to lead the Recording Academy on our transformative journey. While I had not initially expected to be in this position, I remain deeply invested in the success of the organization and am motivated to help us achieve our greatest ambitions. I will serve humbly with a steadfast commitment to building a more inclusive, responsive and relevant Academy.”

DISClaimer Single Reviews: Alan Jackson, Gary Allan, Brittney Spencer

Alan Jackson. Photo: Russ Harrington

Spring has sprung, but not all the blossoms are beautiful.

Today’s survey of current country sounds can serve as a textbook for what is wrong with some of the directions that contemporary country acts are taking. We have pop-rock, teen pop and hip-hop influenced tracks here, flaunting any classic definitions of the genre.

I have always been a traditionalist at heart. That’s why Alan Jackson easily wins the Disc of the Day award.

Mind you, I’m not averse to modern country stylings. Hence, my hearty endorsement of the tunes by Gary Allan, Mitchell Tenpenny, Brittney Spencer and our DisCovery Award winner, Savannah Keyes.

ROSS COPPERMAN / “Holdin’ You”
Writers: Ross Copperman/Ashley Gorley/Shane McAnally; Producer: Ross Copperman/Alex Mendoza; Label: Photo Finish Records
— Copperman has produced and/or written a blue-zillion country hits (Darius, Dierks, Kelsea, Phil, Jake, Brad, Eldredge, Gabby, etc. etc.), but his own music is quite pop. Processed vocals, electronic track, the works. A pleasant surprise.

GARY ALLAN / “Temptation”
Writers: Nicolle Galyon/Chase McGill/Jon Nite; Producer: Mark Wright/Tony Brown; Label: EMI Nashville
— Rocking and dramatic with a percussive undertow, bell-clear guitar chiming, a driving melody and a terrific vocal performance. Allan exchanges his rasp for tenor clarity and the shift is ear opening. Highly recommended.

SOUTHERLAND / “Boot Up”
Writers: Greg Bates/Matt Chase/Chris Rogers/Austin Taylor Smith; Producer: Greg Bates; Label: River House/Sony Nashville
— This has a slight “outlaw” vibe and more than a little macho attitude. Blue-collar listening.

ALAN JACKSON / “Where Have You Gone”
Writers: Alan Jackson; Producer: Robert Keith Stegall; Label: EMI Nashville
— Tender, wistful, yearning, profound and bluer than blue. A ballad of loss, wrapped in fiddle and steel and performed by a country-music master. “Sweet country music, where have you gone?” Amen, bro.

BRITTNEY SPENCER & COMMON HYMNAL / “Whiskey Lows”
Writers: Brittney Spencer/Shelley Scarr/Stephan Hovsepian; Producer: Will Reagan; Label: BS
— A plea from the depths of addiction that echoes with emotional truth and honesty. The gospel-infused performance of this ballad is riveting. Former Underwood backup singer Spencer steps into a solo spotlight with her debut on the Grand Ole Opry Friday night.

MITCHELL TENPENNY / “To Us It Did”
Writers: Mitchell Tenpenny/Michael Hardy/Jordan Schmidt; Producer: none listed; Label: Columbia Nashville/Riser House
— Marvelously energetic and charmingly written. It’s a anthem for small-town kids everywhere that Tenpenny sings with immense verve. Loved it.

WALKER HAYES & JAKE OWEN / “Country Stuff”
Writers: Walker Hayes/Joe Thibodeau/Adam Stark; Producer: Walker Hayes/Joe Thibodeau/Shane McAnally; Label: Monument Records
— Is this title meant to be ironic? Neither of these artists has shown much affinity for real country music. This utterly tuneless, monotonous outing doesn’t change that.

SAVANNAH KEYES / “I’m Not California”
Writers: Savannah Keyes/Blair Daly; Producer: Jason Afable; Label: SK
— Youthful, yet strong. Her singing has a striking clarity of tone and unmistakable confidence. The song is cool and hooky, too.

SAMMY KERSHAW / “Evangeline”
Writers: Bob McDill/Carson Chamberlain; Producer: none listed; Label: Kershaw
— Cajun-flavored party-tempo music. Tap your toes and smile while guitars stutter, fiddles saw and Sammy drawls his best honky-tonkin’ heartache phrasing.

ALANA SPRINGSTEEN / “California”
Writers: Alana Springsteen/Jerry Flowers/Jared Keim; Producer: Alana Springsteen/Jerry Flowers/Jared Keim; Label: none listed
— Contemporary pop-country with a sunny teen twist. Electronics mixed with acoustics. It gets old fast.

DREW GREEN / “The Rest of Our Lives”
Writers: Andrew Rollins/Drew Green/Mitch Allan/Russell Sutton; Producer: none listed; Label: Villa 40/Sony
— His singing voice is rather ordinary, but conveys sincerity. The song is a mundane romance outing.

CASSADEE POPE, KAREN FAIRCHILD & LINDSEY ELL / “What the Stars See”
Writers: Cassadee Pope/Jake Rose/Lindsay Rimes; Producer: Karen Fairchild/Nick Wheeler; Label: Awake
— The obnoxiously loud track is all rocked up, frothing, cluttered and junky. The vocals are pitched high above and piercing. I breathed a sigh of relief when it ended.

Reservoir Signs Breland To First-Ever Publishing Deal

Breland

Reservoir has announced the signing of Platinum-selling songwriter and artist Breland to a worldwide publishing deal. The signing includes his full catalog, including breakout hit “My Truck,” and future works. The agreement marks Breland’s first-ever publishing deal.

After finding success with a number of high-profile cuts for YK Osiris and ELHAE, Breland self-released “My Truck” on social media in February 2020. The track exploded, reaching Platinum certification, and helped pave the way for his signing a record deal with Bad Realm Records/Atlantic Records.

Breland has since released his debut self-titled EP in May of 2020, and followed that up with a two-song compilation titled Rage & Sorrow in honor of Juneteenth. He most recently released his newest single, “Cross Country,” plus a remix with Mickey Guyton.

“I’m a genreless songwriter that wants to blur the lines between cultures with my pen, and I’ve been looking for a team of people that would know how to take what I’m doing to the next level,” says Breland. “I think the Reservoir team embodies that genrelessness in a really exciting and progressive way.”

Reservoir EVP of Creative, John Ozier says, “Breland is a signing that really excites us. Not only is he creating some great country crossover songs, but he exudes such an inspiring energy that we know he’s going to be fantastic to work with.”

Adds Reservoir EVP Global Creative Director, Donna Caseine, “From New York to London, and Nashville to LA, our team is eager to dive in. Breland’s personality is infectious and his talent immeasurable. It’s an honor to welcome him to the Reservoir family.”

Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert Lead CMT Music Awards Nominees

Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert

CMT has revealed the nominees for the 2021 CMT Music Awards, country music’s only entirely fan-voted award show.

Maren Morris and Miranda Lambert lead the nominations with four each, including Female Video of the Year, Collaborative Video of the Year, and two nominations each for Video of the Year. Artists with three nominations include recently announced show co-hosts Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown, alongside Little Big Town and first-time nominee Mickey Guyton.

There were 13 first-time nominees, including Guyton, Dylan Scott, Hailey Whitters, HARDY, Lainey Wilson, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Niko Moon, Noah Cyrus, Parmalee, Ryan Hurd, Tyler Hubbard and Willie Jones.

The first round of nominees for the top honor, Video of the Year, includes 14 acts. The top five nominees for this category, determined from the first round of voting, will be announced on June 1. The top 3 nominees, from the second round of voting, will be announced on June 8. Final voting will be determined via social media and announced as the final category during the live show.

The CMT Music Awards air Wednesday, June 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT on CMT, with a five channel simulcast across MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network and TV Land. Each winner is selected by the fans, with voting now open at vote.cmt.com.

The nominees for the 2021 CMT Music Awards are below:

Video Of The Year
Best video of the year; awarded to the artist (male, female, group/duo or collaboration)

  • Carrie Underwood with John Legend – “Hallelujah”
  • Dierks Bentley – “Gone”
  • Elle King and Miranda Lambert – “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”
  • Ingrid Andress – “Lady Like”
  • Kane Brown – “Worldwide Beautiful”
  • Keith Urban with P!nk – “One Too Many”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “hole in the bottle”
  • Kenny Chesney – “Knowing You”
  • Maren Morris – “Better Than We Found It”
  • Mickey Guyton – “Heaven Down Here”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Settling Down”
  • Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris – “Chasing After You”
  • Sam Hunt – “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90’s”
  • Willie Jones – “American Dream”

Female Video Of The Year
Best video by a female artist; awarded to the artist

  • Carly Pearce – “Next Girl”
  • Gabby Barrett – “The Good Ones”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “hole in the bottle”
  • Maren Morris – “To Hell & Back”
  • Mickey Guyton – “Heaven Down Here”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Settling Down”

Male Video Of The Year
Best video by a male artist; awarded to the artist

  • Chris Stapleton – “Starting Over”
  • Darius Rucker – “Beers and Sunshine”
  • Kane Brown – “Worship You”
  • Luke Bryan – “Down To One”
  • Luke Combs – “Lovin’ On You”
  • Thomas Rhett – “What’s Your Country Song”

Duo/Group Video Of The Year
Best video by a duo or group; awarded to the artists

  • Brothers Osborne – “All Night”
  • Lady A – “Like A Lady”
  • Little Big Town – “Wine, Beer, Whiskey”
  • Old Dominion – “Never Be Sorry”
  • Parmalee and Blanco Brown – “Just The Way”
  • Runaway June – “We Were Rich”

Breakthrough Video Of The Year
Best video from an artist’s major breakthrough album; awarded to the artist (male, female or group/duo)

  • Dylan Scott – “Nobody”
  • Hailey Whitters feat. Little Big Town – “Fillin’ My Cup”
  • HARDY – “Give Heaven Some Hell”
  • Lainey Wilson – “Things a Man Oughta Know”
  • Mickey Guyton – “Black Like Me”
  • Niko Moon – “GOOD TIME (Ride Along Video)”

Collaborative Video Of The Year
Best video from a collaboration; awarded to the artists

  • Carrie Underwood with John Legend – “Hallelujah”
  • Chris Young and Kane Brown – “Famous Friends”
  • Elle King and Miranda Lambert – “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”
  • Keith Urban with P!nk – “One Too Many”
  • Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris – “Chasing After You”
  • Tim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard – “Undivided”

CMT Performance Of The Year
Musical performance on a television show, series or variety special on CMT; awarded to the artist (individual, group or duo)

  • From the 2020 CMT Music Awards – Brooks & Dunn and Luke Combs “1, 2 Many”
  • From the 2020 CMT Music Awards – Dan + Shay “I Should Probably Go To Bed”
  • From the 2020 CMT Music Awards – Jimmie Allen and Noah Cyrus “This Is Us”
  • From the 2020 CMT Music Awards – Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey “The Other Girl”
  • From the 2020 CMT Music Awards – Little Big Town “Wine, Beer, Whiskey”
  • From CMT Crossroads – Nathaniel Rateliff and Margo Price “Twinkle Twinkle”