Brian Kelley Tells His Beach-Side Story On Debut Solo Project ‘Sunshine State Of Mind’ [Interview]

Brian Kelley. Photo: Ben Christensen

Brian Kelley, one half of the wildly successful country duo Florida Georgia Line, exudes happiness when talking about his debut solo album Sunshine State Of Mind, out today (June 25).

Kelley and FGL partner Tyler Hubbard revealed they would be releasing solo music in January of 2021. In March, Kelley announced his solo music venture, Nashville South Records, would be partnering with Warner Music Nashville to support an upcoming project.

Shortly after, Kelley released BK’s Wave Pack, a four-song collection that set the tone for his solo music that was clearly influenced by his upbringing in Florida. “Beach Cowboy” instantly became the buzzed-about track, with its surf guitar swagger and amusing lyrics that have you picturing Kelley “going John Wayne on these waves.”

Sunshine State Of Mind, with its whopping 17 tracks, finds Kelley really leaning in to his admiration for his home state, with songs about boating, fishing, and being by the water throughout.

“Besides my wife, Florida is probably my greatest muse,” says Kelley, who has called Florida home since 2016. “I love my home state. It’s a beautiful place. It’s got a lot of wonder, a lot of mystery, a lot of history. It’s very special to me.”

It was after Kelley wrote “Boat Names,” the album’s opening track, with Parker Welling and Casey Brown when he knew he was making a solo record.

“I wrote that the day before my birthday, and I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t show up for that day and didn’t write that song. That song was the guiding light. It was the anchor and the whole direction I needed for this project that kicked it all off. Once that song was written it really gave me a confidence to push forward and chase another crazy dream rather than just be comfortable with where I’m at in life.

“That little bit of un-comfortability—you could call it fear—I felt like that was a door that God had opened that I needed to run through. It was an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of having this solo outlet.”

Kelley had been saving ideas for a solo project for years. When the creative faucet opened, the music flowed. “The majority of the titles and songs on this album, except for probably two, were my ideas and my titles. I don’t say that to boast, just to say that I was on a mission and I knew where I wanted to go.”

“Say The Word,” a hazy, beachy love song co-written with Corey Crowder, Chris Loocke, Blake Redferrin and Joe Clemmons, features Kelley’s rich vocal in the spotlight on lyrics about shrimp boats and the Bahama breeze.

“When it came to [recording these songs] I think I found my lead voice,” Kelley says. “It was very important to me that that it sounded like me. It’s my most authentic self, with my voice on this project. It took a lot of hard work, and I’ve learned a lot over the years. I’m super thankful that I got to work with Joey Moi. I learned a ton from him.”

“By Boat,” co-written with Jimmy Robbins and Nicolle Galyon, is another tender standout on the collection. “It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written,” Kelley says. “With every song on this album, it didn’t feel like we were just trying to get so many songs for the year and cross it off our list. These are my soul songs, and they mean a lot to me. I’m very diligent and intentional with every line, melody, and vocal lick that I do. Every co-writer was living these songs out with me. We’re living them out together and they became our songs.”

But Sunshine State Of Mind isn’t just beachy love songs, though there are many. In addition to his vibey “Beach Cowboy,” Kelley has some fun with “Party On The Beach” and “Highway On The Water,” a tune about life on the water in which he makes a funny reference that it’s bad luck to bring bananas.

“It’s just a boaters thing. If there are bananas on the boat, they need to get off the boat. Bad things happen with bananas on the boat. It’s just a weird thing.”

Sunshine State Of Mind, with its hazy love tunes, beach party songs, and banana advice, is available everywhere now.

DISClaimer Single Reviews: The Isaacs, Nathaniel Rateliff, Yola, Valerie June

The Isaacs

The Fourth of July is almost upon us, and DisClaimer has the song for the holiday.

Our Disc of the Day winner is “The American Face” by The Isaacs. Previously noted for their work in Southern-gospel and bluegrass settings, the family band steps out with a solid country-rocker that will make you feel patriotic no matter what your political leanings.

It is just one of the many pleasures to be found in this week’s overview of current Americana sounds. Your ears will thank you when you lend them to John Hiatt, Nathaniel Rateliff, Yola, Valerie June and several others gathered here.

The DisCovery Award goes to singer-songwriter Grant Maloy Smith.

Writers: Jim Lauderdale/Robert Hunter; Producer: Jim Lauderdale/Jay Weaver; Label: Yep Roc
— This ballad has extra poignancy, in that it is awash in nostalgia for a departed loved one, and Lauderdale’s longtime lyricist Robert Hunter passed away last year. The singer’s familiar country drawl lingers long on every word. Hunter probably remains best known for his work with The Grateful Dead, but he had a highly creative, decades-long career as a collaborator with this Americana titan.

RODNEY CROWELL / “Transient Global Amnesia Blues”
Writers: Rodney Crowell; Producer: none listed; Label: RC
— Transient Global Amnesia is a real diagnosis, a temporary condition wherein the brain switches off temporarily. Rodney crafted this fever dream of a song while recovering from it in a hospital. His haunting delivery of the images is spoken-word poetry at its most beautiful. Jesus Christ, Bob Dylan, The Titanic, The River Styx and Yellowstone all make appearances as he contemplates mortality.

THE ISAACS / “The American Face”
Writers: Jimmy Yeary/Sonya Isaacs Yeary/Tom Douglas; Producer: Ben Isaacs/Bryan Sutton; Label: House of Isaacs
— For my money, Sonya Isaacs is one of the greatest female country singers walking on this planet. This splendid, electrified country-rocker surrounds her silvery delivery with potent percussion and her family’s always-stellar harmonies. The anthem-like lyric couldn’t be timed more perfectly for Independence Day. Toss your hat in the air. The album by the same title is due in August and will include Isaacs covers of Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” and The Beatles’ “We Can Work it Out,” among other new directions for the group.

Writers: John Prine; Producer: none listed; Label: Oh Boy/Thirty Tigers
— Drawn from an all-star John Prine tribute album that’s due this fall, this version of one of the late, great troubadour’s best known songs is delivered in a deliberate, acoustic setting. Simpson’s vocal interpretation is low key, allowing the lyric to breathe and live anew. A fitting salute to a humble genius.

THE FLATLANDERS / “Sittin’ on Top of the World”
Writers: none listed; Producer: Flatlanders & Lloyd Maines; Label: Rack ‘Em/Thirty Tigers
— Comprised of Texas stars Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, The Flatlanders are back with new music for the first time in 12 years. This advance track from the group’s Treasure of Love collection finds the boys totally rocking a cover of a classic popularized by Bob Wills, The Grateful Dead and Asleep at the Wheel, as well as its originators,The Mississippi Shieks. Smokin’ hot and ripe for massive airplay.

JP HARRIS’ DREADFUL WIND & RAIN / “Closer to the Mill”
Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Label: Free Dirt
— This Nashville carpenter and fretless banjo maker creates “Gothic Appalachian music” in an old-time string-band setting. Former Old Crow Medicine Show fiddler Chance McCoy is along for the lively, catchy, acoustic ride. It’s a heart-warming sound.

YOLA / “Diamond Studded Shoes”
Writers: none listed; Producer: Dan Auerbach; Label: Easy Eye
— Yola’s Nashville recorded debut album was an Americana sensation of 2019. Its follow up, Stand For Myself, is due July 30. This advance, peppy, feel-good single/video from it demonstrates that she’s still on a roll. Producer Auerbach (The Black Keys) once again surrounds her commanding voice with perfect instrumental textures, in this case a snappy little pop-rock ensemble. Tap yer toes and smile.

GRANT MALOY SMITH / “The Coal Comes Up”
Writers: Grant Maloy Smith; Producer: Grant Maloy Smith/Jeff Silverman; Label: GMS
— Smith has a penetrating, searing tenor voice that brings his lyrics of everyday Americans vividly to life. The highly effective harmonica work of Jelly Roll Johnson highlights this piercing, country-folk ode to coal miners. The new album, Appalachia: American Stories, drops tomorrow (6/25).

Writers: Valerie June; Producer: Jack Splash/Valerie June; Label: Fantasy Records
— This fabulously unclassifiable, unforgettable Memphis personality has two nominations at this year’s Americana Music Awards, thanks to her album The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers. This new single/video from it is a bouncing bundle of joy. It is sprightly, positive, uplifting roots-pop. Get on board.

JOHN HIATT & THE JERRY DOUGLAS BAND / “Long Black Electric Cadillac”
Writers: John Hiatt; Producer: none listed; Label: New West
— Hiatt’s soulful, bluesy growl finds a surprisingly sympathetic accompaniment in Douglas’s bluegrassy outfit. This ear-grabbing, addictive toe tapper is a highlight of his current collection, Leftover Feelings. You’ll crave more of this Dobro-rockabilly-blues sound, guaranteed. I am a diehard Hiatt fan, as well as a Douglas devotee, so I’m tickled by this new direction.

TODD SNIDER / “I Resign”
Writers: Todd Snider; Producer: none listed; Label: Aimless
— This groove-soaked slab of sound is directed at former business associates from whom Snider has declared his independence. It’s a slow stomper with loads of personality and profanity. He’s always been a one-of-a-kind songsmith, and that’s underscored here once more.

Writers: Nathaniel Rafeliff; Producer: none listed; Label: Stax
— This man has so much soul. His plea for spiritual freedom rings with gospel-tinged conviction. The yearning ballad grapples with divorce, faltering faith, escapism and a quest for meaning. Rateliff is due to drop a live album next month. In the meantime, get lost in this slow-burn meditation and check out his current duet with Willie Nelson, “It’s Not Supposed to Be That Way.” The man is a monster talent.

Unreleased Johnny Cash Live Album ‘At The Carousel Ballroom’ To Come In September

Johnny Cash. Photo: Courtesy of The John R Cash Trust

A never-before-heard Johnny Cash live album, Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24 1968, is slated for release Sept. 24 by The Owsley Stanley Foundation and Renew Records/BMG.

The historic concert was recorded in San Francisco by innovative sound engineer Owsley Stanley and captured in the heart of Haight-Ashbury just days before the release of Cash’s iconic At Folsom Prison album (and over six months before the arrival of the equally revered At San Quentin).  At The Carousel Ballroom serves as another time capsule from the era, with Cash leaning into songs about society’s outcasts, while playing a venue operated by The Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead.

At The Carousel Ballroom captures Cash in playful dialogue with his then-new bride June Carter and backed by his legendary band The Tennessee Three: guitarist Luther Perkins, bassist Marshall Grant and drummer W.S. Holland. His set list that evening diverged from other concerts of the time, with covers of two Bob Dylan compositions (“Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright,” and his earliest known recording of “One Too Many Mornings”) and songs such as “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.” The release marks the latest entry in the Owsley Stanley Foundation’s ‘Bear’s Sonic Journals’ series, which has previously included Stanley’s live recordings of The Allman Brothers Band, Tim Buckley, Doc & Merle Watson and many more.

The live album also features new essays by Johnny and June Carter Cash’s son John Carter Cash, Owsley Stanley’s son Starfinder Stanley, The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, and Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools, as well as new art by Susan Archie, and a reproduction of the original Carousel Ballroom concert poster by Steve Catron. The release will also be widely available in all digital formats by Legacy Recordings. “I’m Going to Memphis” from the Carousel Ballroom live recording is available now, as are pre-orders.

Johnny Cash At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24, 1968 Track List:
1. Cocaine Blues
2. Long Black Veil
3. Orange Blossom Special (CD and Digital only)
4. Going to Memphis
5. The Ballad of Ira Hayes
6. Rock Island Line
7. Guess Things Happen That Way
8. One Too Many Mornings
9. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
10. Give My Love to Rose
11. Green, Green Grass of Home
12. Old Apache Squaw
13. Lorena
14. Forty Shades of Green
15. Bad News
16. Jackson
17. Tall Lover Man
18. June’s Song Introduction
19. Wildwood Flower
20. Foggy Mountain Top
21. This Land Is Your Land
22. Wabash Cannonball
23. Worried Man Blues
24. Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man
25. Ring of Fire
26. Big River
27. Don’t Take Your Guns to Town
28. I Walk the Line

Sony Music Publishing Signs Global Deal With Relative Music Group [Exclusive]

Pictured (L-R, back row): Rusty Gaston, Jesse Matkosky; (L-R, front row): Michael Hardy, Dennis Matkosky, Jon Platt

Sony Music Publishing Nashville has signed a global publishing agreement with publishing and artist development company Relative Music Group.

Founded in 2017 by father/son duo Dennis and Jesse Matkosky, Relative Music Group has quickly found success with its first signed act, Michael Hardy, who recently became a Partner at the company.

Hardy has become one of Music Row’s most in-demand songwriters, with hits including his own No. 1 single “One Beer” featuring Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson, as well as Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country,” Morgan Wallen’s “Up Down,” Cole Swindell’s current top 5 hit “Single Saturday Night,” and many more. As an artist, the ACM New Male Artist of the Year nominee released his acclaimed debut album A Rock in 2020.

“Relative Music Group has done an incredible job of championing songwriters with an independent spirit that embodies everything that makes Music Row special. We’re thrilled to partner with Dennis, Jesse and Michael as we work together to elevate their company and vision to new heights,” says Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston.

Founders of Relative Music Group, Dennis and Jesse Matkosky, add, “We are so excited to be working with Rusty and the entire Sony Music Publishing family. It is clear they believe in our vision for the future of Relative Music Group and will be the perfect partners to help us get there.”

Hardy says, “It’s a dream come true to become partners with such great people. I’m excited to be working with the Sony team as well as my family, Dennis Matkosky and Jesse Matkosky. I feel like this is just the beginning for us and I can’t wait to see what the future holds with Relative Music”

Relative Music Group is also home to Bailey Bryan, who has recently had success with her new single “Play W/ Me,” which earned viral TikTok traction and has accumulated over 2 million views. In addition to creative development, the company specializes in a wide range of services for its songwriters, including synch. The company has secured over 350 synch placements throughout film and television, including promotions for Apple, Coke, the hit series Game Of Thrones, and many more.

Carly Pearce Invited To Join The Grand Ole Opry

Carly Pearce on stage at The Grand Ole Opry. Photo: Chris Hollo

Carly Pearce has been invited to be the latest Grand Ole Opry Member by the iconic Opry Member Dolly Parton. The invite happened off the Opry stage late last week, and the public announcement was held until Pearce’s Opry appearance last night (June 22) so she could experience the moment on the hallowed stage.

It was a full circle moment for the CMA and double ACM Award winner, who cut her teeth as a performer at Dollywood when she was a teenager. When the invitation was extended as seen in the video, Pearce though she was taping a promotion for the theme park. This is the first time Parton has asked someone to become a member of country’s longest running institution.

After the invitation video played for the packed Opry House, the crowd stood in applause as Carly expressed, “Truly this is the most precious place and the most precious family I could ever be a part of. I’ve experienced so many wonderful things in my career so far, but this takes the cake!”

“When one of ours has a special moment, it’s an honor to be part of that,” Parton said. “Carly is a real songwriter and bright heart – and I loved getting to ask her to do something so very special.”

Dolly Parton, Carly Pearce. Photo: Alexa Campbell

For Pearce, who has played the Grand Ole Opry 85 times, it was a moment she will never forget.

“[The Opry has] been the greatest love of my life since I was a young girl listening with my grandparents. All of the greatest writers, legends and pioneers have been on that stage, and I feel them in my bones anytime I walk in the stage door… To actually be asked to join the Opry family, there are no words,” Pearce said.

“Carly Pearce and the Opry have enjoyed a most special relationship since even before she made her Opry debut,” said Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers. “We’ve loved every minute of watching her star grow over the past few years and are thankful she reveres the Opry after more than 80 appearances even more than she did on her first night with us. Every night she plays the Opry, I try to make my way back to her to thank her for taking the time to visit us. Every single time she replies, ‘It’s my favorite place to be.’ Here’s to the Opry being Carly’s favorite place to be for the rest of what will no doubt be a long, successful career.”

Pearce will be officially inducted on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

Acclaimed Nashville Songwriter Ross Copperman Finds Artist Voice Again [Interview]

Ross Copperman. Photo: Gus Black

With 30 No. 1 country songs to his credit, Ross Copperman is a well-known name on Music Row. He’s been a part of massive country hits with Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Darius Rucker and more. He’s earned numerous songwriter awards, including two CMA Triple Play Awards and an ACM Songwriter of the Year win. Additionally, Copperman’s production work has garnered him several Grammy nominations.

While his work in the country space has no doubt kept him busy, Copperman’s musical story started in 2006 as an artist signed to the UK-based Photogenic Records—where Natasha Bedingfield was signed at the time. While he had success with pop-rock songs “As I Choke” and “All She Wrote,” Copperman felt the pull to something different.

“I did a lot of touring and making records—I did my time in the UK and I got burned out on being an artist when I was younger. I didn’t know what I was doing,” Copperman tells MusicRow.

With a need for a new direction, Copperman returned home to the United States and headed to Music City. “I knew that I was a songwriter first and I knew that Nashville was the Mecca of songwriting. I also knew that the way I wrote songs was in a very Nashville-style way of writing songs. So I came here and was embraced by the community immediately. I found people that loved songwriting as much as I did. I fell in love with it like everyone else that comes here and falls in love with it.”

Now, with nearly 20 years of success as a hit songwriter under his belt, Copperman is returning to the artist spotlight.

“That desire was always there. It never went away, I just buried it for a long time,” Copperman says. “The pandemic happened and I was like, ‘If I’m going to do it, this would be the time to do it.’ It gave me the time to be able to focus on it, and I found a team that believed in me and my music. That was a huge part of it, finding people that actually believed in what I was doing.”

Copperman signed with Photo Finish Records, and in May released his first EP in years, Somewhere There’s a Light On. The five-track project features piano-driven pop songs, with lyrical concepts that nod to Copperman’s country repertoire.

“I started writing these songs years ago, I’ve really always been writing these songs. I had the session with Ed Sheeran and we wrote ‘Electricity’ and ‘Therapy’ in the same day. I fell in love with those two songs, I was secretly hoping nobody would cut them. A year and a half passed and I played them for every artist in town because I was so excited,” Copperman says. “It just didn’t fit in country music. I finally asked Ed for his blessing to put them out myself and he was so gracious and supportive. That was a huge turning point for me.”

The title track for the project is an ethereal pop ballad with a fascinating bass drop, and finds Copperman singing the comforting message: “Take your time, feed your soul, if you ever find yourself alone, and you need a place that feels like home, somewhere there’s a light on.”

“The message behind that song is everything I stand for as an artist, reminding people that there’s good out there and no matter how hard your day is, somebody else is experiencing the same thing somewhere. Somewhere there’s a light on for you”

“Alex Mendoza, who co-produced this record with me, really helped me find my sound. My having produced so many albums, I felt like I needed that outside voice to help guide me. I wanted to be the artist in this scenario, I didn’t want to be producing myself, ” Copperman says of the project’s unique sound. “Alex brought perspective and was able to see it from 30,000 feet, whereas when you are the artist and you’re making music, it’s hard to see it from a different perspective. He brought a young energy to it, which really suited the songs. And he just brought perspective for me to be like, ‘Let’s do a drop here after this chorus.’ That’s my dream, to do songs with drops–I know how to make a country drop, but I don’t know how to do a legit pop drop.”

While Copperman admits he is a songwriter first, he’s excited to return to his own artistry.

“My dream is to ultimately play theaters, to get to that point where I can do theaters. I’m going to continue to just put out songs, I have more lined up to come this year,” Copperman sums. “I just want to continue to grow it and to give it all I have with a new sense of grounding.”

Copperman’s Somewhere There’s A Light On, his first collection of original music released in 10 years, is out now.

Luke Bryan Peaks On MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart

Luke Bryan earns his first No. 1 of 2021 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart with “Waves.” In April, the single swept that charts as the most added and highest debut for its impact week, debuting at No. 35 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart.

Writer credit for “Waves” goes to Zach Crowell, Ryan Hurd, and Chase McGill. The song also appears on the deluxe version of Bryan’s album Born Here Live Here Die Here.

Bryan has announced several gigs for 2021, the Proud To Be Right Here Tour kicking off in July and The 2021 Farm Tour in September. Planning ahead in 2022, he also announced the return of Crash My Playa for January and a Vegas residency for February.

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

DISClaimer Single Reviews: Thomas Rhett & Rhett Akins, Pryor & Lee, Shy Carter & Friends

Country music can rock you, touch your heart, or tickle your funny bone, and all three of those are in today’s DisClaimer.

You wanna rock? Let Shy Carter and his buddies show you how. If sentiment is what you crave, settle in with Pryor & Lee. As for humor, may I introduce you to today’s goofy DisCovery Award winner, Toby T. Swift?

My dad has been gone for several years, but Thomas Rhett’s is still very much with us. In fact, they played the Opry together last weekend. So as a sweet salute to Father’s Day, play his Disc of the Day winner, “Things Dads Do.”

DIRT REYNOLDS / “Battleship Chains”
Writers: none listed; Producer: Ryan Dishen; Label: Ditto
— This is a Nashville country-rock band. The song is a Georgia Satellites goldie. It rocks, but could use some production polish.

CHRIS YOUNG / “Rescue Me”
Writers: Matt McGinn/Chris Young/Christian Stalnecker/Josh Hoge/Mark Holman; Producer: Chris Young/Mark Holman; Label: RCA Nashville
— I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind taking a singer this strong and doubling the vocal track, but the sound is intriguingly “different” for him. The ballad pleads for her hand in a novel way. Toward the end, we do get to hear his vocal phrasing unadorned by production. I remain a fan.

PRYOR & LEE / “Good Ol’ Dogs & God”
Writers: Adam Wood/Doug Johnson/Elvie Shane/Trent Fisher; Producer: Doug Johnson; Label: Black River
— Pryor Baird and Kaleb Lee are dog lovers. Next Wednesday (June 23), they are doing a virtual concert for 130 animal-rescue organizations nationwide in conjunction with this single release. The gist of the ballad’s dobro-laced lyric is unconditional love, which is what you can count on from both your dog and your God. “Best friends, amen,” they sing. These two singers were roommates when they competed individually on The Voice. As a duo, they pack a punch.

THOMAS RHETT / “Things Dads Do”
Writers: Thomas Rhett/Rhett Akins/Matt Dragstrem/Chase McGill; Producer: Dann Huff/Jesse Frasure; Label: Valory Music Co.
— Sunday is Father’s Day, and who better to have a tender papa ballad than this guy? Singer-songwriter dad Rhett Akins launched one of our most consistent contemporary country hit makers. No wonder Thomas has crafted something so well written and perfectly produced. An emotional bullseye.

Writers: Lukas Nelson; Producer: Dave Cobb; Label: Fantasy
— This jangly country rocker is the single from the band’s new album, A Few Stars Apart. The record’s release party is at the Basement East on Wednesday (June 23). Lukas has papa Willie’s high, reedy tenor tone, but with a tougher edge. And he seems to be gaining strength with each new release. Americana programmers also take note.

GABBY BARRETT / “Footprints On The Moon”
Writers: Gabby Barrett/Jon Nite/Zach Kale; Producer: Ross Copperman/Zach Kale; Label: Warner Music Nashville
— This uber-produced, empowering, pop-rock banger says that anything is possible for you. After all, there are human footprints on the moon. Gabby goes for a three-peat.

TOBY T. SWIFT / “Cicada Love Call”
Writers: Toby T. Swift; Producer: none listed; Label: TTS
— Totally dumb and totally hilarious. He compares an ex-wife to a 17-year cicada who has come back to bug him. I love his oafish delivery as well as his flat-footed melody. Ya gotta love the lyric. Essential listening.

ZAC BROWN BAND / “Same Boat”
Writers: Zac Brown/Ben Simonetti/Jonathan Singleton; Producer: Ben Simonetti/Zac Brown; Label: Warner Music Nashville/Home Grown Music
— A summer jam, for sure. The bouncy tempo, upbeat hippie message and band vocal harmonies are all back, as strong as ever. Bop along.

RESTLESS ROAD / “Bar Friends”
Writers: Geoff Warburton/Jordan M. Schmidt/Kyle Clark/Tyler Filmore; Producer: Jared Keim; Label: RCA Nashville/1021 Entertainment
— This catchy thumper is a rousing celebration of buddy drinking. It’s such a toe tapper that it’s hard to sit still while it unspools. The trio continues to show promise.

Writers: Bryan Adams/Jim Vallance; Producer: none listed; Label: BBR
— Aldean has been singing this classic Bryan Adams ballad in his concerts for years. Now the studio version is an Amazon exclusive. It’s a reminder that he really can sing, which isn’t always evident in his rock-’em-sock-’em performances.

Writers: none listed; Producer: none listed; Label: Warner Music Nashville
— It’s a rowdy, shout-along, gang performance of a barroom banger that sounds exactly like a party. Raise a glass, turn it up and sing with them.

KAMERON MARLOWE / “Tequila Talkin’”
Writers: Dan Isbell/Kameron Marlowe/Ray Fulcher; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: Columbia Nashville
— I still dig his Southern-fried singing voice with its hints of r&b. This slow-burn romance tune simmers like a steamy summer afternoon. The video debuts today on YouTube.

Kenny Chesney Announces Here And Now 2022 Stadium Tour

Kenny Chesney. Photo: Allister Ann

Eight-time Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney will finally return to the road for his Here And Now 2022 Stadium Tour.

After his 2020 tour was forced to pause because of the pandemic, Chesney held out on rescheduling due to concern about who would not be able to attend sold-out stadium shows, last minute changes in protocols and the challenges of mounting stadium-sized concerts week-after-week with shifting local crews.

“When we hit pause on our 2020 tour, I never thought we would go much past the fall, let alone into 2021,” says Chesney. “The idea that it would be three years before I would stand in the end zone of Gillette Stadium, where No Shoes Nation was born, wasn’t something any of us could conceive.

“I still can’t really believe it,” he continues. “But in the middle of all of this, I know it’s true… and I know how much I miss being out there, being in the thick of the most passionate place in the world: No Shoes Nation. Anywhere they plant their flags, bring their passion, their friends and their will to rock, it reminds me that to be in the moment is everything No Shoes Nation is about!”

At long last, the 19-date Here And Now Tour kicks off April 23 in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium and closes with two shows at at New England’s Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Aug. 26 and 27. Chesney will hit Nashville’s Nissan Stadium on May 28.

The lineup will be revealed in the coming months, and all current ticket holders remain in the seats they’ve already purchased for Here And Now 2022.

Blue Chair Bay Rum Presents Here And Now 2022 Fueled by Marathon dates:
April 23 – Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Fla.
May 7 – Busch Stadium – St. Louis, Mo.
May 14 – American Family Field – Milwaukee, Wis.
May 21 – Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Ga.
May 28 – Nissan Stadium – Nashville, Tenn.
June 4 – AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
June 11 – Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, Pa.
June 18 – Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, Pa.
June 25 – Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill.
July 2 – GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, Mo.
July 9 – Bobcat Stadium – Bozeman, Mont.
July 16 – Lumen Field – Seattle, Wash.
July 23 – SoFi Stadium – Inglewood, Calif.
July 30 – Empower Field at Mile High – Denver, Colo.
August 6 – U.S. Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minn.
August 13 – MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, N.J.
August 20 – Ford Field – Detroit, Mich.
August 26 – Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Mass.
August 27 – Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Mass.

In This Issue: MusicRow’s Artist Roster Features Clint Higham & Ebie McFarland, Rachel Whitney, More

Nashville music industry publication MusicRow Magazine has released its 2021 Artist Roster print issue, featuring ASCAP songwriters and Arista Nashville band Old Dominion on the cover.

This year’s edition features exclusive editorials including a chat with industry stalwarts Clint Higham and Ebie McFarland who continue to serve as cutting edge leaders in our industry. Higham and McFarland discuss lessons learned from the pandemic, “cancel culture,” TikTok and NFTs, and more.

This issue also highlights the National Museum of African American Music which is now part of our Nashville landscape serving as the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. “Education is a big part of who we are and what we do,” says NMAAM’s President & CEO H. Beecher Hicks III of the institution. “We think that educating young people, educating the community to understand how significant African American music and African American culture is in middle Tennessee not only will draw more tourists, but also better train our community and our population to take the jobs that are coming our way as our community grows.”

Spotify’s Head of Editorial for Nashville, Rachel Whitney, discusses the art and administration behind curating some of country music’s biggest playlists. Spotify maintains over 100 different country playlists and aims to have something for everyone. “We cover a ton of ground in terms of trying to meet people where they are and creating the soundtrack to whatever they might be doing or whatever they might be looking for,” Whitney says.

Elsewhere in Artist Roster, Sound Healthcare & Financial CEO/Founder R.J. Stillwell talks about the last 15 years of his healthcare advocacy and insurance organization that helps artists, songwriters, musicians, and other creative types navigate the healthcare and insurance systems. Finally, with music always traveling in tandem with technology, this issue covers the basics of non-fungible tokens, commonly referred to as NFTs.

Additionally, Artist Roster contains five company directories complete with client rosters: Label, Management, Talent Agents, Publicity, and Artist Services (Business Management/Financial/Insurance, Digital Music, Legal, Marketing, Radio Promotion, and Organizations). This edition also offers a summarizing Artist Grid, which has become an indispensable tool connecting artists to their team members in each category.

Single copies of MusicRow’s 2021 Artist Roster print issue are available for purchase for $45, and are included with yearly MusicRow subscribed memberships.