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”

Luke Bryan Reveals Dates For Las Vegas Exclusive Headliner Shows

Reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan, along with Concerts West/AEG Presents and Resorts World Las Vegas, has announced the dates for his first-ever headlining-run of shows in Vegas beginning Friday, Feb. 11.

“We are looking forward to putting a show together for the fans in Vegas that will be a unique way to see me in concert, something different than coming to a show on the road,” shares Bryan. “When I saw the renderings and all of the state-of-the-art technology that The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas was offering I just knew this was a place I had to headline. I am already working on ideas and set lists for these shows and can’t wait to get in front of the fans on this new playground where I can create a fun and super high energy experience.”

Bryan joins the property’s additional founding headliners alongside Celine Dion, Katy Perry and Carrie Underwood. He is scheduled for six shows running February 11-12, 16, 18, 19, and 20 with more to be announced soon.

The shows will take place at The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas, the new 5,000-capacity, world-class theatre that will open its doors this November. Tickets, plus VIP and premium ticket packages, will go on sale to the public starting Monday, May 24 at 12 p.m. CST at AXS.com.

Carrie Underwood Announces First Las Vegas Residency To Kick Off In December

Carrie Underwood. Photo: Jeremy Cowart.

Seven-time Grammy award winner and three-time ACM Entertainer of the Year Carrie Underwood has announced her first-ever residency, REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency, beginning Dec. 1 at The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas.

Underwood joins Celine Dion, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan as the founding headliners at the Strip’s highly-anticipated new 3,500-room luxury destination, which is set to open June 24. The 5,000-capacity, world-class theatre will open its doors in November 2021 and is exclusively programmed and operated by Concerts West / AEG Presents.

“Touring is one of my favorite things I get to do as a performer and we’ve all really been missing that. I love being on the road and coming to the fans where they live but it will also be fun to get to do multiple shows in one place where people will be able to come to get that concert experience and have some fun in Las Vegas at the same time,” says Underwood. ”It’s such a special honor to be one of the first artists to get to perform in a brand new, beautiful, state-of-the-art theatre at such an exciting new destination as Resorts World Las Vegas.”

Underwood has also arranged for a donation of $1 from each ticket sold for her shows to be contributed to Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. She has been involved with the organization for more than 15 years.

Underwood’s first six shows are scheduled for December 1, 3, 4, 8, 10 and 11 with Bryan kicking off his six-show engagement on Friday, February 11.

Tickets, plus a limited number of VIP and premium ticket packages, will go on sale to the public starting Monday, May 24 at 12 p.m. CST at AXS.com.

Warner Chappell Nashville Inks Global Publishing Deal With Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson

Warner Chappell Music Nashville has signed a global publishing deal with singer, songwriter, producer, and frontman of pop punk band Boys Like Girls, Martin Johnson.

Johnson most recently co-wrote and co-produced Lady A’s current single, “Like A Lady,” and penned and produced Elle King and Miranda Lambert’s “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home).” Aside from his work as an artist, Johnson has past cuts and production credits with artists spanning genres including, Jason Derulo, Dan + Shay, Pentatonix, Flo Rida, Karmin, Gavin DeGraw, Daughtry, Avril Lavigne, and more.

Currently releasing new music as an artist under his new wave alternative project The Night Game, his sophomore album Dog Years was released earlier this year.

Ben Vaughn, President & CEO, WCM Nashville, says: “I’ve known Martin for years and have always admired his work in and out of the Nashville market. He’s a true versatile talent whose sound isn’t bound by any one genre, and our team is so excited that he’s now landed in Nashville and has found a home at Warner Chappell.”

Johnson adds: “I’m jacked to take on the next chapter of my career with Warner Chappell. Ben, Katy Wolaver, and Spencer Nohe have been so supportive of me and it feels natural to join them as they lead the way to new opportunities in a new town. Katy has always been in my corner—even back during our time on the mean streets of the mid 2000s emo world—long before she had a stake in the game. And I’ll never forget Ben sticking his neck out to open doors and make me feel welcomed when I first came to Nashville. I’m so happy to have found a new friend and an incredible A&R in Spencer, and I look forward to the next phase of the ride with the entire Warner Chappell family.”

Jesse Frasure Returns To Pinnacle Of MusicRow’s Top Songwriter Chart

As a co-writer on Thomas Rhett’s “What’s Your Country Song,” Jordan Davis’ “Almost Maybes,” Blake Shelton’s “Minimum Wage,” and Michael Ray’s “Whiskey And Rain,” writer/publisher/producer Jesse Frasure has returned to the No. 1 spot on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart, only having been dethroned by Taylor Swift.

Swift is now at No. 8, with her “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” “Love Story” and “You All Over Me” fairing well on the country charts.

Josh Osborne moves up one this week to No. 2 on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart, with co-writer credit on Sam Hunt’s “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90’s,” Rascal Flatts’ “How They Remember You,” Carly Pearce’s “Next Girl,” and Morgan Wallen’s “Sand In My Boots.” Ashley Gorley rounds out the top three.

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

Click here to view the full MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart.

‘The Bones’ Wins Song Of The Year At The BMI Pop Awards

After winning the ACM and CMA Song of the Year award, Maren Morris and her co-writers have taken home the title at the BMI Pop Awards.

The crossover hit, written by BMI affiliates Morris and Laura Veltz along with Jimmy Robbins (ASCAP), appeared on Morris’ sophomore album, Girl, and climbed to the number 12 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 and No. 1 on Billboard Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts.

This is the first BMI Pop Award for the Morris and Veltz, who already have a combined total of 14 BMI Country Awards between them.

The co-writers were celebrated at the 69th Annual BMI Pop Awards, held virtually today (May 10). The company recognized the songwriters, publishers and administrators of the previous year’s most-performed pop songs in the United States across radio and digital streaming platforms.

Pop star Halsey was named Songwriter of the Year for having written four of the previous year’s most performed songs including “Nightmare,” “Graveyard,” “Be Kind,” and “You Should Be Sad.” With this award, Halsey earns her tenth BMI Pop Award after receiving accolades for Song of The Year at the 2020 BMI Pop Awards.

Sony Music Publishing won Publisher of the Year for the ninth time for representing 24 of the top 50 award-winning BMI Pop songs including hits “3 Nights,” “Boyfriend,” “My Oh My,” “Roses,” and “The Man.”

BMI also honored the songwriters, publishers and administrators of the 50 most-performed pop songs of the previous year. This year’s class of recipients included a record 59 first-time Pop Award winners such as BENEE, Edgar Barrera, Doja Cat, Trevor Daniel, Metro Boomin, Noah Cyrus, Roddy Ricch, SAINt JHN, JP Saxe and more.

Hits like “10,000 Hours” co-written by Jessie Jo Dillon and Shay Mooney, “I Hope” co-written by Gabby Barrett and Zach Kale, “Bang!” written and performed by AJR, Dua Lipa’s infectious dance anthem “Don’t Start Now” co-written by Caroline Ailin and Ian Kirkpatrick, and Taylor Swift’s “Lover” were also among the songs being recognized.

Read the full list of winners from 69th Annual BMI Pop Awards here.

Peermusic Nashville Adds Lee Greenwood To Publishing Roster

Pictured (L-R): Kendall Lettow, Creative Manager, Peermusic Nashville; Lee Greenwood; Michael Knox, SVP Peermusic Nashville; and Matt Michiels, Senior Creative Director, Peermusic Nashville. Photo: Jeremy Westby.

Peermusic Nashville has signed legendary artist and songwriter Lee Greenwood to an exclusive global music publishing deal. Greenwood has scored seven No. 1 country hits and, through this new deal, Peermusic will administer some of his most iconic songs, including the classic “God Bless The U.S.A.”

“Peermusic has had a special relationship with country music since it was founded, so adding a songwriter of Lee Greenwood’s stature to our roster is a truly special accomplishment for everyone here. Lee could obviously have his pick of publishers, so we’re thrilled he chose to sign with Peermusic,” says President & COO of Peermusic, Kathy Spanberger.

“It’s an honor to be a part of Mr. Greenwood’s legendary catalog,” says SVP Peermusic Nashville, Michael Knox. “It was exciting enough watching from the outside looking in, and now I get to be inside the circle with the real deal, a legend.”

“It’s important to me to have a publisher who will support my music and help me continue to share it with the world, and after getting to know Kathy, Michael and their team I know that they will. Peermusic has a long history with country music and I’m glad to now be a part of it,” says Greenwood.

Since beginning his career in the 1960s, Greenwood’s catalog features twenty-two studio albums and seven No. 1 hits, including “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” “Going, Going, Gone,” “Dixie Road,” and “Mornin’ Ride.” He has earned multiple awards, including a Grammy for Top Male Vocal Performance for “I.O.U.” in 1985.

Greenwood’s stand-out hit “God Bless the U.S.A.” has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001, and 2003), making it the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat. It also reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 shortly after 9/11.