BBR Music Group Signs Byron Kennedy To Brand New Comedy Record Deal

Pictured (L-R:) Neal Spielberg, Spielberg Entertainment; Peter Strickland, Marathon Talent Agency; Byron Kennedy; Jon Loba, President, Recorded Music, BMG Nashville; JoJamie Hahr, SVP, BBR Music Group Not Pictured – Daniel Novick, Novick Law PLLC. Photo: Cody Heckber

Comedian Byron Kennedy has signed with BBR Music Group.

With the signing Kennedy finds himself among a familiar artist roster, since he was a recent executive at the label group. Formerly the VP of Promotion for Stoney Creek Records, an imprint of BBR Music Group, Kennedy comes from years of radio/music industry experience. Doing comedy on the side as often as he could, Kennedy was eventually encouraged to follow his true dream in the entertainment business: comedy. The trajectory of his comedy career took him from open mic nights to featuring, performing in Las Vegas, and beyond. The explanation for his fast start is exceedingly simple: he hated sitting in meetings.

Quickly switching gears from working to help build artist careers to now building his own as an artist, Kennedy kicked off an ongoing residency at the LA Comedy Club in the newly renovated STRAT Hotel, Casino and Sky Pod in Las Vegas on March 21. He’s planning a stop in Nashville in mid-July as he tours comedy clubs across North America.

“Byron Kennedy is one of the funniest people I have ever met,” says Jon Loba, President of Recorded Music at BMG Nashville. “Having worked with Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall among others, that says a lot. While he was a very capable label and radio executive, I always encourage our staff to follow their passions. Comedy has always clearly been his. We are so excited to join him in that journey and look forward to helping the world laugh at and with Byron, just as anyone who personally knows him has.”

“What is this life!?! The first time I signed a contract with BBR Music Group it was to promote their artists, the second time I signed a contract with BBRMG it was to BE one of their artists! THIS IS NUTS! I’d like to thank Jon Loba for his belief in me,” says Kennedy. “This is a dream come true and I don’t think anything I say here could possibly capture how grateful I truly am. We have all been through some crazy times the last 12 months and we need to laugh now more than ever. Getting to bring joy and laughter to people every week is such a blessing and BBR Music Group is now going to help me do that on a much larger scale! I hope we can all laugh together soon!”

Kennedy is managed by Neal Spielberg of Spielberg Entertainment and Peter Strickland of Marathon Talent Agency, who together helped launch the careers of Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall. Daniel Novick of Novick Law PLLC serves as Kennedy’s attorney.

Iconic Music Industry Leader Connie Bradley Dies

Connie Bradley

Iconic industry leader Connie Bradley, who spent more than three decades with ASCAP, passed away Wednesday morning (March 24) in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Bradley joined ASCAP in 1976, and rose to Senior Vice President and Nashville Head. Under her leadership, ASCAP signed and supported the careers of Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Rodney Crowell, Billy Currington, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, John Rich, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood and Chris Young, among many. She led the ASCAP Nashville office until 2010, when she stepped back to take the role of strategic advisor.

Bradley was born Connie Darnell in Fayetteville, Tennessee on October 1, 1945. She grew up in Shelbyville, Tennessee, studied at Middle Tennessee State University, and worked at News Channel 5 and in the mortgage industry before starting her career in the music industry. She spent time at Famous Music/Dot Records, the Bill Hudson & Associates public relations firm, and RCA Records before joining ASCAP.

Bradley was among a handful of pioneering women in the Nashville music industry that also included Jo Walker-Meador, Donna Hilley, Frances Preston, and more.

Connie Bradley with husband Jerry Bradley at his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019. Photo: Donn Jones/CMA

The Music Row stalwart was honored many times for her legacy and contributions to the music industry. Bradley was awarded the Nashville Symphony’s highest honor, the Harmony Award, in 2006. She was inducted into the SOURCE Hall of Fame in 2012.

The main conference room at ASCAP’s Nashville office was named the Connie Bradley Board Room in 2010.

She received the Country Music Association’s Irving Waugh Award of Excellence in 2018. Bradley served on the CMA Board of Directors from 1983 to 2012, having been elected both President and Chairperson.

(L-R) Connie and Jerry Bradley with Harold and Patsy Bradley at the Owen Bradley statue on Music Row. Photo: Courtesy of Jerry Bradley

Bradley is survived by her husband, renowned music executive Jerry Bradley, and step-children, Leigh Jankiv and BMI’s Clay Bradley.

Plans for memorial services have not been announced at this time.

“As head of ASCAP’s Nashville office for more than three decades, Connie Bradley was a mentor to so many of country music’s greatest songwriters and an indelible part of ASCAP’s history. She was a maverick leader in country music with an enormous heart who passionately advocated for the songwriters she loved so much. ASCAP and country music lost an iconic leader today. Our hearts go out to her family and the large community of songwriters who loved her,” says ASCAP Chairman and President, and songwriter Paul Williams of Bradley’s passing.

“I am so saddened to hear the news of Connie’s passing. She was one of the many trailblazers, along with Frances Preston and Jo Walker Meador, for women in the Nashville music business. Her passion for artists, songs and the Country Music industry as a whole paved the way for so many. Personally, I will miss her class, her stories and her humor. I am heartbroken for Jerry, and offer my deepest condolences to him and their family during this time,” says Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO.

Taylor Lindsey Appointed As Head Of A&R At Sony Music Nashville

Taylor Lindsey. Photo: Jessica Amerson

Sony Music Nashville has announced the appointment of Taylor Lindsey to oversee the company’s A&R Department as Senior Vice President, A&R. In her new post, Lindsey will work with the label’s roster, and she will continue to sign and develop talent. She will report to Randy Goodman, Sony Music Nashville’s Chairman and CEO.

The news follows the announcement that Jim Catino would be leaving his post as Executive Vice President of A&R when his contract ends on July 1, 2021.

“It is not often that we can so quickly and naturally look to an internal candidate to succeed a notable executive but there was never any doubt that Taylor Lindsey should fill this role. Since I arrived at Sony Music Nashville, Taylor has become a crucial part of our company. Her early and on-going work with Maren Morris, Luke Combs, Old Dominion, Mitchell Tenpenny and most recently Niko Moon gives me great confidence that she is the right executive at the right time to lead Sony Music Nashville’s A&R team to the next level,” Goodman says.

“I’m very excited to step into this new role and am so grateful for the opportunity to further the legacy of A&R at Sony Music Nashville. None of this would be possible without the mentorship and guidance I’ve received from Jim Catino over the course of my career. We have an amazing A&R team and a unique approach to artist development that offers our gifted artist roster unmatched commitment for the next evolution in their careers,” says Lindsey.

Lindsey joined the SMN A&R department in 2013. Prior to taking on this current expanded role, Lindsey was directly involved with the development of artists such as Old Dominion, Luke Combs, Maren Morris, Ryan Hurd and Mitchell Tenpenny among others. She has been instrumental in working with Niko Moon on his Platinum-certified “Good Time” and Jameson Rodgers on his Gold-certified “Some Girls Do.” Before joining Sony Music Nashville, Lindsey was at BMG where she signed and developed the careers of songwriters and artists; she pitched the catalogs of 13 chart-topping songwriters, including her award-winning sister, Hillary Lindsey. Moving to Nashville following four years at the University of Georgia, the sister team created Raylene Music which was later acquired by BMG.

Lindsey resides in Nashville with her husband, Grammy nominated songwriter Derrick Southerland, and their daughter, Lyle.

Big Machine Label Group And Jaren Johnston Announce Unique Partnership

Jaren Johnston. Photo: Kit Wood

Songwriter, producer, and The Cadillac Three frontman Jaren Johnston is partnering with Big Machine Label Group to collaborate on developing artists, as well as work with the label’s current roster. The unique partnership gives BMLG the first look at artists Johnston is developing, as well as lends his expertise on in-house projects for both A&R and production.

“Jaren is a favorite artist, writer, producer and person. When he rang me up about doing this together it was an immediate ‘yes’. He has free rein to go absolutely crazy and I can’t wait to see what he finds,” says BMLG Founder/CEO Scott Borchetta.

Johnston, who fronts the ACM nominated Group of the Year The Cadillac Three, has earned multiple awards nominations and written several No. 1 songs for other country artists. He was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Country Song with “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” (Tim McGraw ft. Faith Hill), as well as ACM Awards Song of the Year for “Raise ‘Em Up” (Keith Urban ft. Eric Church), a track that added to his CMA Triple Play accolade for three chart-toppers in a 12-month period. The accomplishment also celebrated “Beachin’” (Jake Owen) and “Sunshine & Whiskey” (Frankie Ballard). He has also served as producer for Keith Urban, Steven Tyler, Darius Rucker, Sam Williams and Drake White, among others.

“I’ve been part of the Big Machine family for six years. Scott has always been a champion of me and my band, The Cadillac Three. This partnership made total sense as yet another creative outlet for me, and I’m excited to be working with him and his team on this new project. I’m stoked to discover, develop and produce some bad ass new talent,” says Johnston.

Kenny Chesney Postpones Stadium Tour To 2022

Kenny Chesney. Photo: Jill Trunnell

Kenny Chesney has announced that he is postponing his tour to 2022.

All of the stadiums on the 2021 itinerary will still host Chesney’s 2022 tour. It will be a completely new show with a new name, new line-up, and lots of new music. All current tickets will be honored for the rescheduled show date. Beginning today (March 22), patrons unable to attend the rescheduled shows may request a refund at the original point of purchase.

“We have waited for so long, I can’t play knowing I would disappoint a portion of No Shoes Nation who wouldn’t be able to get into the stadiums and the amphitheaters,” Chesney says. “There’s no way around that this year. As much I hate postponing further, I would hate telling people who waited we won’t be able to let them come due to capacity restrictions. That’s just not fair.”

Messina Touring Group will announce the rescheduled dates for Chesney’s 2022 tour shortly.

Kenny Chesney 2021 Stadiums, Cities and States forthcoming for 2022:
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Fla.
American Family Field – Milwaukee, Wis.
Nissan Stadium – Nashville, Tenn.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Ga.
GEHA Field at Arrowhead – Kansas City, Mo.
U.S. Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minn.
Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, Pa.
Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, Pa.
Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill.
Bobcat Stadium – Bozeman, Mont.
Busch Stadium – St. Louis, Mo.
Lumen Field – Seattle, Wash.
SoFi Stadium – Inglewood, Calif.
Empower Field at Mile High – Denver, Colo.
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Ford Field – Detroit, Mich.
MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, N.J.
Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Mass.

The Station Inn’s JT Gray Passes

JT Gray. Photo: Courtesy The Station Inn

Earl “JT” Gray, the owner of Nashville’s world famous bluegrass mecca The Station Inn, died on Saturday (March 20) at age 75.

He was a 2020 inductee into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

On March 14, Gray appeared on international television during the Grammy Awards salute to America’s independent nightclubs. He always described The Station Inn as “a listening room.” The venue was a destination for lovers of acoustic music and hosted virtually all the top names in bluegrass for more than 40 years.

Gray was a guitarist and singer who was born in Corinth, Mississippi. He moved to Music City in 1971 to become a member of the Nashville-based bluegrass band The Misty Mountain Boys. The group played at venues throughout the city, including The Bluegrass Inn and Old Time Picking Parlor downtown and the Opryland theme park.

In 1976, he formed his own band, J.T. Gray & The Nashville Skyline. He took a hiatus from the group to become a member of Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys in 1979-81, then resumed leading Skyline. At various times, he also backed Vassar Clements, The Sullivan Family and Tom T. Hall.

He left Martin’s group to acquire The Station Inn in early 1981. Founded in 1974, the club was originally at 104 28th Ave. N., near Vanderbilt. In 1978, it moved to 402 12th Ave. S., in a then nearly deserted industrial area called The Gulch. It has remained there, now surrounded by modern condos, upscale retail establishments and fancy restaurants.

Gray renovated the club, which included installing some seats from the Flatt & Scruggs tour bus and decorating its wood-paneled walls with vintage posters. At first, he featured his Nashville Skyline band and other local acts. The Bluegrass Cardinals were the first national bluegrass stars to play the venue, followed the next day by Country Gazette. The humble, 150-seat club was soon full of bluegrass lovers.

The then-unknown family group The Whites began building a following via regular appearances at The Station Inn in 1981-82. The Nashville Bluegrass Band and The Dreadful Snakes got their starts at the nightclub. The venue was also a training ground for future country stars Dierks Bentley, Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton and Vince Gill.

Bill Monroe began dropping by unannounced to sit in with whoever was on stage. Ralph Stanley became a visitor, too. At one point, Stanley was joined at the club by his former band members Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley for an impromptu reunion. Such serendipitous events became common at The Station Inn. Among other notables known to drop in to “jam” were Bela Fleck, Stuart Duncan, Mark O’Connor, Alan O’Bryant, Roland White, Tim O’Brien, Sam Bush, Vassar Clements and Jerry Douglas. The club’s weekly Sunday night jam sessions were famous. Opry stars often dropped by following their Friday and Saturday night WSM broadcasts.

The Station Inn had a number of regular performers. Gray formed his band 16th Avenue in 1985, then assumed leadership of The JT Gray Band in 1988. That group endured as Station Inn mainstays until his passing. Peter Rowan & Crucial Country were resident Station Inn entertainers, as was the Sidemen group formed by Rob & Ronnie McCoury, which appeared at the club for 16 years. The Time Jumpers were weekly visitors at the venue for 13 years beginning in 1998 before outgrowing its capacity. The hilarious Doyle & Debbie country parody shows were also fixtures at The Station Inn. Jim Rooney staged his annual birthday celebrations there with John Prine. The old-time country band Old Crow Medicine Show was also a resident attraction.

But keeping the little club afloat was a constant challenge in the early years. Gray sometimes took work as a coach-bus driver for various touring music stars and did other “outside” jobs.

By 2000, the nightclub had become known worldwide as a bluegrass shrine. It was used for photo shoots and as a location for music videos. It was the site of live albums by singer-songwriter Shawn Camp and Grand Ole Opry comic/musician Mike Snider. Celebrities who visited the venue included Robert Duvall, Reese Witherspoon, William Shatner, Mel Gibson and Peyton Manning.

In 2003, JT Gray was given a Distinguished Achievement Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). Filmmaker Pat Isbey created a feature-length documentary in 2004 called The Station Inn – True Life Bluegrass with commentary by Roland White, Del McCoury, Fleck, Bush, Skaggs, Krauss and Stanley.

Gray began to face health challenges around this time. He had a series of heart-bypass operations while still in his 50s. Nevertheless, in 2005 he issued his first and only album, It’s About Time.

In recent years, the nightspot has launched a web channel—Station Inn TV—to live stream performances. Thousands of fans worldwide have tuned in.

The Country Music Hall of Fame opened a new exhibit devoted to The Station Inn this year. During the Grammy telecast, Gray announced the Best Country Album award going to Miranda Lambert. This year’s Bluegrass Grammy went to Station Inn graduate Billy Strings.

Throughout his life, JT Gray was a kind soul, a Southern gentleman and a generous spirit. He created a warm, welcoming environment for acoustic musicians and their fans, a venue where connections were made, collaborations were born, songs were auditioned and talent was nurtured.

Funeral arrangements are private, for the family. A Station Inn celebration of the life of JT Gray will be announced at a later date.

AIMP Nashville Announces Nominees For 6th Annual Awards

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

The awards will be held on April 27 at 4 p.m. CT at The Listening Room Café in Nashville. Only nominees and sponsors will be invited to attend in person, with masks and social distancing required. The event will also be livestreamed and made available to AIMP members.

Twenty three independent music publishers and 19 songwriters each received multiple nominations this year. Big Machine Label Group was the most-nominated independent publisher with 10 nods, followed by Round Hill Music with five, Concord Music Publishing with four, and Curb | Word Music Publishing, peermusic, Relative Music Group, SMACKSongs, Spirit Music, and Tape Room Music with three each. Ashley Gorley, HARDY, and Jonathan Singleton were the top songwriters with three nominations each.

This year’s categories include Rising Songwriter of the Year, Rising Artist-Writer of the Year, Artist-Writer of the Year, Song Champion of the Year, Publisher’s Pick, Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Publisher of the Year.

“In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, independent songwriters and publishers have pushed through and created truly fantastic art to get us to the other side of an unprecedented time,” says Vice President of the AIMP Nashville Chapter and Co-Chair of the AIMP Nashville Awards, Ree Guyer. “While we were forced to cancel last year’s event, we are happy to honor this year’s winners in a safe, socially distanced ceremony, and hope we’ll be able to celebrate with the full Nashville independent publishing community in 2022!”

“Given our currently trying times, it’s even more important to remember and honor the good from the past year,” says AIMP National Chair and President of the AIMP Nashville Chapter, John Ozier. “The independent music publishing community never stops, and this year showed its ingenuity as songwriters found new ways to connect and create music that both captured the moment and provided solace to listeners. We look forward to recognizing their achievements.”

Voting for all AIMP Nashville Chapter members will begin on March 24 and will end on March 30 at 5 p.m. CT. Those who would like to vote must visit by March 23 at 5 p.m. CT to either ensure their membership is in good standing or sign up to become an AIMP Nashville Chapter member.

The full list of nominees by category can be found below.

– Alex Kline (Ziggys Z Music)
– Benjy Davis (Big Machine Music)
– Jake Mitchell (Reservoir Media / Patrick Joseph Music)
– Matt Alderman (Curb | Word Music Publishing)
– Neil Medley (Mojo Music & Media / Son of a Carl Music)
– Nicolette Hayford (River House / SMACKSongs)
– Steph Jones (Disney Music Publishing / Hipgnosis Song Group)

– Avenue Beat (Tape Room Music)
– Jameson Rodgers (Combustion Music)
– Ruston Kelly (Concord Music Publishing)
– Ryan Hurd (Big Machine Music)
– Tenille Arts (Oven Music)
– Tenille Townes (Big Yellow Dog)

– Ashley McBryde (Jody Williams Songs)
– Brothers Osborne (King Pen Music)
– Carly Pearce (Altadena)
– Eric Church (Little Louder Music)
– Jon Pardi (Song Factory Music)

– Allison Jones (Big Machine Label Group)
– Ciara Shortridge (Curb | Word Music Publishing)
– Jake Gear (Hang Your Hat Music)
– Laurel Kittleson-Cobb (Curb | Word Entertainment)
– Trina Smith-Dort (Me Gusta Music)
– Ward Guenther (Whiskey Jam)

– “Beautiful Noise” written by Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Hailey Whitters, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Linda Perry, Ruby Amanfu
Independently published by Atlas Music Publishing, Big Machine Music, Carnival Music, Concord Music Publishing, Creative Nation, Deep Dark Robot Music, Happy People Music, Like Butta Baby Music, Maps and Records Music, peermusic
Recorded by Brandi Carlile & Alicia Keys

– “Better Than We Found It” written by Jessie Jo Dillon, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz, Maren Morris
Independently published by Big Ass Pile of Dimes Music, Big Machine Music, Heroes and Halos Music, Millicent Hill Music, JRM3, Muse Magic, Round Hill Music
Recorded by Maren Morris

– “Chasing After You” written by Brinley Addington, Jerry Flowers
Independently published by Adding Tone Music, Combustion Music, Downtown Music Group, Mojo Music & Media, Tape Room Music
Recorded by Maren Morris & Ryan Hurd

– “Give Heaven Some Hell” written by Ashley Gorley, Ben Johnson, Hunter Phelps, Michael Hardy
Independently published by Big Blue Nation Music, Caleb’s College Fund, Relative Music Group. Round Hill Music, Tape Room Music
Recorded by HARDY

– “Janice at the Hotel Bar” written by Hailey Whitters, Lori McKenna
Independently published by Carnival Music, Creative Nation, Concord Music Publishing, Maps and Records Music, Pulse Music Group
Recorded by Hailey Whitters

– “Things a Man Oughta Know” written by Jason Nix, Jonathan Singleton, Lainey Wilson
Independently published by Big Machine Music, Spirit Music
Recorded by Lainey Wilson

– “Ain’t Always the Cowboy” written by Brandon Kinney, Josh Thompson
Independently published by Big Machine Music, MV2 Music, peermusic, Whiskey Tub Music
Recorded by Jon Pardi

– “Bluebird” written by Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby
Independently published by Emileon Songs, Little Louder Songs
Recorded by Miranda Lambert

– “Die From a Broken Heart” written by Deric Rutan, Jonathan Singleton, Madison Marlow, Taylor Dye
Independently published by Big Machine Music, Jehovah Nissi Music, Seven Red Birds Publishing, Spirit Music
Recorded by Maddie & Tae

– “I Hope You’re Happy Now” written by Carly Pearce, Jonathan Singleton, Luke Combs, Randy Montana
Independently published by 50 Egg Music, Altadena, Big Machine Music, Jett Music, Spirit Music, Straight Dimes Publishing
Recorded by Carly Pearce & Lee Brice

– “One of Them Girls” written by Ashley Gorley, Ben Johnson, Dallas Davidson, Lee Brice
Independently published by 8Minute Publishing, Artist Publishing Group, Big Blue Nation Music, Caleb’s College Fund, Play It Again Music Group, Natalia’s Music Money, Round Hill Music
Recorded by Lee Brice

– “One Night Standards” written by Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally
Independently published by Canned Biscuit Songs, River House, SMACKSongs, Smackstreet Music, Tempo Investments
Recorded by Ashley McBryde

– “Some Girls” written by CJ Solar, Jake Mitchell, Michael Hardy
Independently published by Harding Road Music, Sea Gayle Music, Relative Music Group, West Pass Music
Recorded by Jameson Rodgers

– Michael Hardy (Relative Music Group)
– Ashley Gorley (Round Hill Music)
– Shane McAnally (Tempo Investments)
– Josh Thompson (MV2 Entertainment)
– Ernest K Smith (Big Loud Music)
– Hillary Lindsey (Concord Music Publishing)

– Big Machine Music
– Downtown Music Publishing
– Kobalt Music
– peermusic
– Round Hill Music
– SMACKSongs

DISClaimer Single Reviews: The Cadillac Three, Cam, Ronnie Milsap

The Cadillac Three. Photo: Dylan Rucker

Diversity is the name of the game in this edition of DisClaimer.

In a preposterously male-dominated genre, we have gender parity today—fully half of our contestants are female. With Tiera, Darius Rucker and Chapel Hart in the mix, country music made by Black artists is well represented. South American native Flo Olavarria adds a touch of Latin. Canadian country is along for the ride, too.

Because the sounds are so difficult to compare to one another, the Disc of the Day award is divided. The Male winner is Ronnie Milsap. The essential Female disc belongs to Cam. The Group award goes to The Cadillac Three.

The afore mentioned Flo Olavarria takes home the DisCovery Award.

JOEY HENDRICKS / “Yours Or Mine”
Writers: Joey Hendricks/Daniel Ross/Michael Whitworth; Producer: Daniel Ross; Label: Sony Music Nashville
— Producer Ross surrounds this earnest-sounding troubadour with an echoey swirl of yummy pop flavors. Hendricks sings with sweet sincerity.

DARIUS RUCKER / “My Masterpiece”
Writers: Darius Rucker/Ross Copperman/JT Harding/Josh Osborne; Producer: Ross Copperman; Label: Capitol Records Nashville
— Positive, sunny, upbeat and engaging, as usual. The happy-in-love theme is common, but its delivery in this finely crafted lyric is exceptional. Supremely playable. In case you missed it: earlier this week, producer and four-time BMI Country Songwriter of the Year Copperman signed a pop recording contract in New York.

CAM / “Till There’s Nothing Left”
Writers: Hillary Lindsey/Jeff Bhasker/Cameron Ochs/Tyler Johnson; Producer: Jeff Bhasker/Tyler Johnson; Label: RCA Records/Triple Tigers
— It goes beyond steamy and sensual, all the way to hot sex. I have always been captivated by this woman’s talent. This gorgeous, tempest-tossed ode to youthful passion renews my fandom. Cam rules.

LADY A / “Like a Lady”
Writers: Brandon Paddock/Dave Barnes/Hillary Scott/Martin Johnson/Michelle Buzz; Producer: Dann Huff/Martin Johnson/Brandon Paddock; Label: BMLG Records
— Hillary takes the lead in this zesty, female-proud ditty. The mood is sprightly.

CHAPEL HART / “You Can Have Him Jolene”
Writers: Chapel Hart; Producer: Chapel Hart; Label: none listed
— The trio rocks out on this feisty whiplash ride, with their flawless vocal harmonies intact. This CMT Next Women of Country act is outstandingly talented, and so far has been batting a thousand with its releases. The video is a hoot, too.

Writers: Dustin Lynch/Andy Albert/Hunter Phelps/Will Weatherly; Producer: none listed; Label: Broken Bow Records
— The small-town details in the lyric are groovy, and the tune bops along with verve. It originally appeared as a collaboration with Lauren Alaina. Top Canadian country star Porter is an able substitute.

JULIA COLE / “My Home Too (My Voice Too)”
Writers: Josh Berkowitz/Matt Wynn; Producer: Josh Ronen; Label: none listed
— The rhythm-happy song’s message of inclusion, empowerment and equality spans relationships, households and nations. It’s also as catchy as the dickens. Sing along.

RONNIE MILSAP / “Wild Honey”
Writers: Jim Weatherly/Nigel Wright; Producer: Ronnie Milsap/Rob Galbraith; Label: Black River
— A little bit hillbilly, a little bit soul, a little bit rock n roll, this toe tapper is pretty hard to resist. The legendary Country Music Hall of Famer still has plenty of kick in his delivery. We recently lost songwriter Weatherly, and this dandy concoction illustrates what a shame that is.

TIERA / “Not Your Girl”
Writers: Tiera/Cameron Bedell/Jack Newsome; Producer: Cameron Bedell; Label: Tiera
— Signed to Nicolle Galyon’s Songs & Daughters female-driven publishing company, this singer-songwriter is staking her claim to country authenticity with a new, five-song EP that showcases her heart warming, sweet/tart vocals and her flair for relatable lyrics. Wildly promising.

THE CADILLAC THREE / “Long After Last Call”
Writers: Jaren Johnston; Producer: The Cadillac Three; Label: Big Machine Records
— Easily their finest single to date, this has a restless rhythmic energy, a brilliantly understated lead vocal and a marvelously crafted lyric about a late-night hookup. I could definitely get used to this on country radio. Absolutely play this ACM nominated Group of the Year.

DREW GREEN / “Hooch”
Writers: Drew Green, Jordan Minton, Mark Trussell; Producer: none listed; Label: none listed
— The production is over-stuffed with busy audio effects. His rapped lyric is a repetitive loop that quickly wears out its welcome.

FLO OLAVARRIA / “Talking to Myself”
Writers: Flo Olavarria/Noah Henson; Producer: Flo Olavarria/Noah Henson; Label: none listed
— Now here’s a country biography you don’t read every day. Flo is a native of Chile who migrated to Canada, went back to Chile, began performing in Singapore, moved to Miami and now resides part time in Music City. She brings a Latina flair, a sharp pop sensibility and country verve to this peppy, female-positive bopper. I dig her pert attitude.

Jimmie Allen Renews Publishing Deal With Endurance Music Group

Jimmie Allen. Photo: John Shearer

Endurance Music Group has announced the renewal of its worldwide publishing agreement with multi-Platinum hit songwriter and recording artist Jimmie Allen.

Allen’s chart-topping singles include his debut, “Best Shot,” as well as his follow-up, “Make Me Want To,” which he co-wrote with EMG’s Paul Sikes along with Jennifer Denmark. His current single, “Freedom Was a Highway” with Brad Paisley, is climbing the country charts. Allen is nominated for New Male Artist of the Year at the upcoming 56th ACM Awards.

The BBR Music Group / Stoney Creek Records artist made history as the first Black artist to launch a career with two consecutive No. 1 hits on country radio.

“We couldn’t be happier to renew our deal with Jimmie,” says Endurance Music Group President Michael Martin. “His growth as a writer and artist has been inspiring to watch and we’re proud to have been a part of it. He truly embodies the evolution of modern country music songwriting. We’re so excited to be on this journey with him.”

“Michael, Mark [Ahlberg], Josh [Saxe], and the Endurance team have become like family. They’re super supportive of my creative vision, they take the time to check on me and see how I’m doing as a person outside of music, and that really means a lot to me. Re-signing with them was a no brainer for me—Endurance is a home I’m thankful to have. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with these amazing people as I create new music,” says Allen.

Allen has recently been in writing sessions with artists like legendary R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Babyface, multi-Platinum Latin hip-hop artist Pitbull, Grammy Award-winning rocker Rob Thomas, and southern rapper Yelawolf, a testament to his versatility and range as a songwriter.

His latest project, Bettie James, is a star-studded collaboration EP that features Paisley alongside Charley Pride, Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Nelly, Noah Cyrus, The Oak Ridge Boys, Rita Wilson, Tauren Wells, and Tim McGraw. In July, he will release his first ever book, a children’s book titled My Voice Is A Trumpet on Flamingo Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers.

Ross Copperman Signs With Photo Finish Records

Ross Copperman. Photo: Gus Black

Award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Ross Copperman has signed a deal with the New York-based Photo Finish Records.

Along with the signing, Copperman announced an upcoming solo project set for May 2021, his first in nearly 10 years.

“My friendship with Ross began in 2003 when we were interns, eager to take over the music industry,” says Michael Collin, general manager of Photo Finish. “I recognized his talent immediately, and since that time have loved watching his success as a writer/producer. I am proud to welcome him as a performing artist to the PFR family and excited that the stars finally aligned for us to work together in an official capacity. I look forward to showing the world what I’ve always known about Ross—that he is a gifted and brilliant artist.”

“I’ve closely followed the work the team at Photo Finish Records has done over the last decade,” says Copperman. “From discovery to development, they’ve done an incredible job breaking artists in the pop space. I’m so thrilled and grateful to have such an incredible team behind my new music.”

The Grammy-nominated songwriter has written and produced music for Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and more, as well as written major country hits including Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani’s “Nobody But You,” Luke Bryan’s “What She Wants Tonight” and Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey’s duet, “The Other Girl.”

Some of Copperman’s accolades include four BMI Songwriter of The Year awards, two Academy of Country Music award wins, 29 No. 1 radio hits and two Grammy award nominations. Copperman has also won two CMA Triple Play Awards for penning three No. 1 songs in a 12-month period.

The hit songwriter joins Photo Finish Records roster including SHAED, 3OH!3, Lakeview, guardin, and joan.