DISClaimer Single Reviews: Deborah Allen ‘Proves She’s Still A World-Class Singer’

Got the winter blues? Perhaps the country stars can help with that.

Our Male Performance du jour is bound to get your spirits up. It’s by Cole Swindell, and he’s rocking on “Drinkaby.” Today’s Female Disc of the Day belongs to veteran Deborah Allen, who proves she’s still a world-class singer on “All Or Nothing At All.”

Our Group winner is Dailey & Vincent. The sheer beauty of the band’s performance of “Colder Than Winter” is certain to warm your heart.

The DisCovery Award goes to Jordyn Shellhart. I can’t wait to hear more from this new talent.

Crank up the stereo and get cozy with these sounds.

JAKE OWEN / “My Boots Miss Yours”
Writers: Blake Bollinger/Brad Clawson/Brett Sheroky; Producer: Joey Moi; Label: Big Loud
— It’s a twangin’ dancefloor natural with pep in its step. Hillbilly romance on the hoof.

LUKE COMBS / “Growin’ Up and Gettin’ Old”
Writers: Luke Combs/Rob Snyder/Channing Wilson; Producers: Luke Combs/Chip Matthews/Jonathan Singleton; Label: River House/Columbia
— Homespun wisdom delivered by one of the most gripping vocalists in our genre. The themes of maturity and thoughtfulness are embedded in this beautifully crafted lyric.

ELIVIE SHANE / “Sympathy for the Devil”
Writers: Mick Jagger/Keith Richards; Producer: Robert Deaton/Danny Rader/Oscar Charles; Label: BBR
Stoned Cold Country is a 60th anniversary tribute album to the Stones, with tracks by Jimmie Allen, Brooks & Dunn, Brothers Osborne with The War & Treaty, Eric Church, Steve Earle, Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris & more. The “My Boy” singer Elvie Shane tackles this 1968 classic by fronting a track featuring buzz-saw guitar, congas and keyboards. He brings the lyric front and center, which means you’ll really grasp it, perhaps for the first time. Not only that, the sensational singer invests it with tremendous soul. I approached this with skepticism, but by the time he was finished, I was floored.

COLE SWINDELL / “Drinkaby”
Writers: Jon Pardi/Jordan Schmidt/HARDY/Hunter Phelps; Producer: Zach Crowell; Label: Warner
— A rockin’ good time. Technically, the lyric is about a breakup. But it’s really about a party. How’s this for a lyric—“Hush little cowboy don’t you cry/Bartender’s got you some whiskey on ice.” This one’s heading to the top.

DAILEY & VINCENT / “Colder Than Winter”
Writer: Vince Gill; Producer: Paul Worley; Label: BMG
— Heart stoppingly gorgeous. Gill’s ballad is taken to stratospheric emotional heights by Jamie Dailey’s thrilling vocal performance. The stunning production features the songwriter’s guitar solo, sighing strings and deft percussion and bass accents. The Grammy winning Opry stars move from bluegrass to mainstream country with their new Let’s Sing Some Country! album, which is where you’ll find this awesome masterpiece.

DEBORAH ALLEN / “All Or Nothing at All”
Writers: Deborah Allen/Margaret Phillips; Producer: Deborah Allen; Label: Orchard Entertainment
— Allen struts her vocal chops on this stately, monumental-sounding torch ballad. Her soprano shouts contrast with husky intimacies in the oomphy production. Well done, sister.

Writers: Robyn Ottolini/Jesse Slack; Producer: none listed; Label: Warner
— This is an extraordinary piece of songwriting. The singer looks at her downbeat present and muses about her uncertain future with intimacy, insight and artistry. It’s wonderfully candid and sung with endearing melancholy. Her best work to date.

Writers: Margo Price/Sharon Van Etton; Producer: Margo Price/Jonathan Wilson/Dexter Green; Label: Loma Vista
— The turn toward pop on Price’s new Strays album suits her well. The stacked harmonies, throbbing guitars and insistent drum pattern on this track are audio delights. As always, her songwriting shines. The eye-catching video features some nude dancing and tipping the pizza delivery boy with a joint. Also recommended on the album are her tunes “Lydia” and “Change of Heart.”

Writers: Jordyn Shellhart/Marc Beeson/Allen Shamblin; Producer: Cameron Jaymes; Label: Warner
— Her languid soprano delivery is kinda dreamy. The sweet-sad song is addressed to a beau who’s been bruised in love. A charismatic, highly listenable debut.

TIGIRLILY GOLD / “Shoot Tequila”
Writers: Kendra Slaubaugh/Krista Slaubaugh/Kevin Griffin/David Mescon; Producers: Pete Good/Shane McAnally; Label: Monument
— Rowdy, cute and clever. A femme drinking song with twin-like harmonies.

WILLIE JONES / “Them Girls Do”
Writers: Willie Jones/Justin Ebach/Nick Autry; Producer: Justin Ebach; Label: Sony
— An ode to party girls, taken at a leisurely pace with some banjo plucks. Pleasant but routine.

CMA Announces 13th Triple Play Awards Recipients

The Country Music Association has announced the honorees for the 13th CMA Triple Play Awards, which recognize the songwriters behind some of country music’s most notable No. 1 hits. The ceremony will be hosted by composer and CMA Board Member Jim Beavers on Wednesday, March 1 at Saint Elle in Nashville.

Jody Williams, Founder of Jody Williams Songs, will receive the CMA Songwriter Advocate Award, which is given to an individual who has dedicated their life to supporting and advancing the art of songwriting and the careers of songwriters, have proven to have an unprecedented historical impact on the songwriting community.

Williams has been a tireless, selfless song and songwriter advocate for more than 40 years. In addition to a long stint as the Head of Creative at BMI, he has spent years with both major publishers and his own companies. Some of the many songwriters Williams has mentored and championed over the years include Liz Rose, Ashley McBryde, Eric Church, Vince Gill, Maren Morris, Jeffrey Steele, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, Taylor Swift, Natalie Hemby and Alison Krauss.

“Being honored by the CMA with this award is the cherry on top of the incredible experience I have had serving on the CMA board,” says Williams. “Nashville’s songwriters have blessed me with a fulfilling career. I’m extremely grateful.”

The CMA Triple Play Award is presented to songwriters who pen three No. 1 songs within a 12-month period based on the Country Aircheck, Billboard Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts. The 16 songwriters being honored this year are Rhett Akins, Kurt Allison, Luke Combs, Jesse Frasure, Nicolle Galyon, Ashley Gorley, Charlie Handsome, Michael Hardy, Ben Johnson, Tully Kennedy, Shane McAnally, Chase McGill, Thomas Rhett, Ernest Keith Smith, Josh Thompson and Morgan Wallen.

Gorley remains the most decorated recipient, receiving his 19th and 20th CMA Triple Play Awards. Allison, Handsome, Johnson and Kennedy will all celebrate their first CMA Triple Play Award this year.

The 13th CMA Triple Play Awards Honorees:

Rhett Akins
“To Be Loved By You,” recorded by Parker McCollum
“Slow Down Summer,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Half Of Me,” recorded by Thomas Rhett featuring Riley Green

Kurt Allison
“Blame It On You,” recorded by Jason Aldean
“If I Didn’t Love You,” recorded by Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood
“Trouble With A Heartbreak,” recorded by Jason Aldean

Luke Combs
“Cold As You,” recorded by Combs
“Doin’ This,” recorded by Combs
“The Kind Of Love We Make,” recorded by Combs

Jesse Frasure
“Whiskey And Rain,” recorded by Michael Ray
“One Mississippi,” recorded by Kane Brown
“Slow Down Summer,” recorded by Thomas Rhett

Nicolle Galyon
“Gone,” recorded by Dierks Bentley
“Half of My Hometown,” recorded by Kelsea Ballerini
“Thought You Should Know,” recorded by Morgan Wallen

Ashley Gorley
“Sand In My Boots,” recorded by Morgan Wallen
“Beers On Me,” recorded by Dierks Bentley featuring Breland and Hardy
“You Proof,” recorded by Morgan Wallen
“Slow Down Summer,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Take My Name,” recorded by Parmalee
“New Truck,” recorded by Dylan Scott

Charlie Handsome
“I Love My Country,” recorded by Florida Georgia Line
“More Than My Hometown,” recorded by Morgan Wallen
“Wasted On You,” recorded by Morgan Wallen

Michael Hardy
“Single Saturday Night,” recorded by Cole Swindell
“Sand In My Boots,” recorded by Morgan Wallen
“Beers On Me,” recorded by Dierks Bentley featuring Breland and Hardy

Ben Johnson
“Take My Name,” recorded by Parmalee
“Best Thing Since Backroads,” recorded by Jake Owen
“New Truck,” recorded by Dylan Scott

Tully Kennedy
“Blame It On You,” recorded by Jason Aldean
“If I Didn’t Love You,” recorded by Jason Aldean
“Trouble With A Heartbreak,” recorded by Jason Aldean

Shane McAnally
“Half of My Hometown,” recorded by Kelsea Ballerini
“23,” recorded by Sam Hunt
“Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” recorded by Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce

Chase McGill
“Waves,” recorded by Luke Bryan
“Never Say Never,” recorded by Cole Swindell and Lainey Wilson
“Don’t Think Jesus,” recorded by Morgan Wallen

Thomas Rhett
“Country Again,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“Slow Down Summer,” recorded by Thomas Rhett
“She Had Me At Heads Carolina,” recorded by Cole Swindell

Ernest Keith Smith
“Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90’s,” recorded by Sam Hunt
“One Mississippi,” recorded by Kane Brown
“Wasted On You,” recorded by Morgan Wallen

Josh Thompson
“Whiskey And Rain,” recorded by Michael Ray
“Wasted On You,” recorded by Morgan Wallen
“Half Of Me,” recorded by Thomas Rhett

Morgan Wallen
“Wasted On You,” recorded by Wallen
“Thought You Should Know,” recorded by Wallen
“You Proof,” recorded by Wallen

Nominees Announced For 2023 AIMP Nashville Country Awards

The Association for Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) has revealed the final nominees for the 2023 AIMP Nashville Country Awards, celebrating the biggest hits of the past year penned and championed exclusively by Nashville’s independent publishing companies and their songwriters.

The event, sponsored by Spotify and open to all AIMP Nashville members, will take place at the Ryman Auditorium on April 5 at 6 p.m. Bob DiPiero and Craig Wiseman will serve as hosts.

“We are thrilled to bring the AIMP awards back to the Ryman to celebrate the Nashville community of independent artists, writers and publishers,” says Ree Guyer, President, AIMP Nashville Chapter. “The show promises to be an intimate and special experience, highlighting the best songwriting talent Nashville has to offer.”

Music Row veteran Jody Williams will be honored with the 2023 AIMP Nashville Spirit Award. Williams, who was previously recognized by the AIMP in 2016 as one of the inaugural co-recipients of the AIMP Nashville Song Champion Award, will be celebrated for his enduring and significant contributions to the independent publishing and songwriting community.

AIMP has introduced a new category for this years’ awards, recognizing the writers and publishers of the Most Streamed Song of the Year. The new category will supplement existing categories such as Rising Songwriter of the Year, Rising Artist-Writer of the Year, Artist-Writer of the Year, Song Champion of the Year, Publisher’s Pick of the Year, Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Publisher of the Year.

AIMP Nashville members were emailed updated voter eligibility and category requirements for the 2023 AIMP Nashville Country Awards on Dec. 14, 2022. Email [email protected] for a copy of the requirements if needed. The final voting period will open tomorrow (Feb. 1) and close at 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

See the full list of nominees below:
AIMP Rising Songwriter of the Year
– Ben Williams (Major Bob Music)
– Cameron Bedell (Liz Rose Music)
– Jenn Schott (RED Creative Group and Anthem Entertainment)
– Joe Fox (Liz Rose Music)
– Lydia Vaughan (Cornman Music)
– Ryan Beaver (SMACKSongs)
– Will Bundy (Cornman Music)

AIMP Rising Artist-Writer of the Year
– Ashley Cooke (Back Blocks Music)
– Corey Kent (Combustion Music)
– Ernest (Big Loud Publishing)
– Jackson Dean (Little Louder Music)
– Meg McRee (Hang Your Hat Music and Concord Music Publishing)
– Pillbox Patti (Nicolette Hayford) (SMACKSongs and River House Artists)

AIMP Artist-Writer of the Year
– Ashley McBryde (Canned Biscuit Songs)
– Hardy (Relative Music Group)
– Jimmie Allen (Endurance Music Group)
– Jordan Davis (Anthem Entertainment)
– Morgan Wallen (Big Loud Publishing)
– Walker Hayes (SMACKSongs and RareSpark Media Group)

AIMP Songwriter of the Year
– Ben Johnson (Artist Publishing Group and Taperoom Music)
– Ernest Keith Smith (Big Loud Publishing)
– Jesse Frasure (Rhythm House Music)
– Michael Hardy (Relative Music Group)
– Morgan Wallen (Big Loud Publishing)
– Shane McAnally (SMACKSongs and Tempo Investments)

AIMP Song Champion of the Year
– Cris Lacy – Co-President, Warner Music Nashville
– Erika Wollam Nichols – President / General Manager, The Bluebird Cafe
– Lee Krabel – Vice President, Publishing, SMACKSongs
– Sara Knabe – Owner, Cake Maker Music
– Shannan Hatch – Vice President of Creative Services, SESAC
– Tim Hunze – Vice President of Publishing, Big Machine Music

AIMP Publisher Pick of the Year
– “Already Crazy” written by Lauren Hungate, Tofer Brown and Carter Faith; independently published by Concord Music Publishing, Chromatic Music; performed by Carter Faith
– “As Far As You Could” written by Jimmy Robbins, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood; independently published by BOOM Music Group, Cinq Music Publishing; performed by Charles Kelley
– “Don’t Think Jesus” written by Mark Holman, Jessi Alexander and Chase McGill; independently published by Big Loud Publishing; performed by Morgan Wallen
– “Humble Quest” written by Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz and Maren Morris; independently published by Big Machine Music, Muse Magic, JRM Publishing, Round Hill Music; performed by Maren Morris
– “If He Wanted To He Would” written by Ben Johnson, Kylie Morgan and Zandi Holup; independently published by Artist Publishing Group, Bad Angel Entertainment, SMACKSongs, Tape Room Music; performed by Kylie Morgan
– “Man Made” written by Brett Sheroky and Ian Christian; independently published by Brett Sheroky Publishing, Still Working Music; performed by Matt Stell
– “Reverse Cowgirl” written by Jared Scott, Joe Fox and Zack Dyer; independently published by Plaid Flag Songs, Liz Rose Music; performed by Jon Pardi

AIMP Song of the Year
– “23” written by Chris La Corte, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Sam Hunt; independently published by Concord Music Publishing, Hang Your Hat Music, SMACKSongs, Tempo Investments; performed by Sam Hunt
– “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” written by Liz Rose and Taylor Swift; independently published by Liz Rose Music; performed by Taylor Swift
– “Circles Around This Town” written by Jimmy Robbins, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris and Julia Michaels; independently published by Big Machine Music, Muse Magic, JRM Publishing, Round Hill Music; performed by Maren Morris
– “Last Night Lonely” written by Dylan Marlowe, Joe Fox and Jimi Bell; independently published by Play It Again Entertainment, Liz Rose Music; performed by Jon Pardi
– “You Proof” written by Ashley Gorley, Ernest Keith Smith, Morgan Wallen and Ryan Vojtesak; independently published by Big Loud Publishing, Round Hill Music; performed by Morgan Wallen
– “You Should Probably Leave” written by Ashley Gorley, Chris DuBois and Chris Stapleton; independently published by Round Hill Music, Sea Gayle Music, Spirit Music Nashville; performed by Chris Stapleton

Top Independent Music Publishers of the Year
– Anthem Entertainment
– Big Loud Publishing
– Big Machine Music
– Round Hill Music
– SMACKSongs
– Tape Room Music

Jake Basden Joins Sandbox Entertainment Group As President

Jake Basden. Photo: Jason Myers

Music industry veteran Jake Basden is joining Jason Owen’s Sandbox Entertainment Group as President.

Basden brings with him over a decade’s worth of experience in Nashville. During his 12 years at Big Machine Label Group, he was named the 2019 PRWeek “40 under 40” designee and Young PR Professional of the Year winner. He spent a significant portion of his time at BMLG working music projects such as Taylor Swift’s record-breaking album releases, Steven Tyler’s solo country album, Sheryl Crow’s all-star Threads project, Thomas Rhett’s 20 No. 1 songs and Country Music Hall of Famer Glen’s Campbell’s final recordings.

At Sandbox, Basden will create well-established development strategies for the firm’s globally recognized artists, including Kacey Musgraves, Kate Hudson, Faith Hill, Dan + Shay, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town and Midland. He will also be hands on with Sandbox’s various media and entertainment entities including the highly anticipated Broadway musical Shucked premiering this spring.

“There is so much more to a successful launch, whether it’s an artist’s project, a Broadway show or long-term development. Perception can define reality, but you have to back it up with solid strategy and execution,” Basden shares. “To be in the trenches, finding events, building layers of messaging to create a solid foundation—and making sure the key players can deliver when the moment matters, the opportunity Jason has provided allows me to both stretch and take topflight people, TV and motion picture platforms to new places. That thrills me because I believe that marketing done as a well-thought-out strategy yields exponential returns. The Sandbox team is comprised of the highest caliber executives whom I have long admired, and I am grateful for the opportunity to join them.”

“Jake is the sort of star executive who recognizes this is not a business of boxes and lanes. He is beloved by all and brings elevation to everything he touches,” says Owen, Sandbox Entertainment’s Founder and CEO. “From conceptualizing events to executing campaigns, there’s no one whose vision can see a project from conception through to not just success, but the highest awards recognition for whatever arena they’re in. Sandbox’s incredible team was formed as an entertainment firm whether it meant movies, television, touring or career direction. Jake excels in all of those spaces. And let’s face it, he survived my dear friend Scott Borchetta for 12 years, so there is nothing he can’t do.”

Prior to moving to Nashville, Basden spent time in the New York offices of Ogilvy and Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, where he served as a Director in their Sports and Entertainment Division. While at BMLG, he was also heavily involved with multimedia projects in conjunction with Lionsgate (The Hunger Games), Netflix (The Ice Road), ABC (Nashville) and the various teams at FOX (American Idol) and NBC (The Voice). Basden led corporate and crisis communications for Borchetta and BMLG throughout the indie label’s most historic and groundbreaking moments, landing the company on Fast Company’s prestigious Most Innovative Companies list.

The University of Oklahoma graduate was also involved in the success of the Grammy-nominated trio Midland’s re-opening of the legendary Palomino, Jennifer Nettles’ acclaimed “I Can Do Hard Things” video, and Carly Pearce’s Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Female Artist of the Year campaigns.

Morgan Wallen’s ‘One Thing At A Time’ Album To Be Unveiled In March

Morgan Wallen has announced that he will release his third full studio album, One Thing At A Time, via Big Loud/Mercury/Republic Records on March 3.

Opening with track “Born With A Beer In My Hand” and closing with song “Dying Man,” the multi-Platinum artist plans to take listeners on a very personal journey throughout the expansive project.

“This record represents the last few years of my life, the highs and the lows,” Wallen states. “It also brings together the musical influences that have shaped me as an artist – country, alternative and hip-hop. There are 36 songs on this album because we just kept exploring with fresh lyrics, music and production ideas and these are the songs that felt right to me. It was a blast to create, and I was so grateful to be back in the studio to lay this out for my fans.”

He displays a wide range of influences in various songs on the new record—incorporating The Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider” into “Everything I Love,” a sample of Young Thug’s “Lifestyle” interpolated on “180 (Lifestyle)” as well as collaborations with Eric Church on “Man Made A Bar,” Hardy on “In The Bible,” and Ernest on “Cowgirls.” Wallen’s sister Ashlyne will be featured within the collection as well, singing the harmony on “Outlook.”

“I grew up in church singing three-part harmonies with my two sisters. That’s how I learned to sing, so this was a full-circle moment for Ashlyne and me,” he shares.

The cover art also holds family significance for Wallen as it was photographed at the home of his grandmother, Mamaw Boots, who passed away.

“My Mamaw Boots helped raise me. I had such a special bond with her, so I wanted to honor her with this new record,” Wallen adds.

Wallen previously dropped the One Thing At A Time’ (Sampler), which consisted of three tracks featured on the album. Tonight (Jan. 30), Wallen will release three more tracks to start the countdown to the full project’s unveiling.

One Thing At A Time Track Listing:
1. Born With A Beer In My Hand (Morgan Wallen, Zach Abend, Michael Hardy)
2. Last Night (John Byron, Ashley Gorley, Jacob Kasher Hindlin, Ryan Vojtesak)
3. Everything I Love (Morgan Wallen, Ashley Gorley, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak) Contains interpolation from “Midnight Rider” written by Gregg Allman, Robert Kim Payne
4. Man Made A Bar (Feat. Eric Church) (Rocky Block, Jordan Dozzi, Larry Fleet, Brett Tyler)
5. Devil Don’t Know (Travis Denning, Jared Mullins, Ben Stennis)
6. One Thing At A Time (Ashley Gorley, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak, Morgan Wallen)
7. ’98 Braves (John Byron, Josh Miller, Travis Wood)
8. Ain’t That Some (Chris LaCorte, Chase McGill, Josh Miller, Blake Pendergrass)
9. I Wrote The Book (Morgan Wallen, Michael Hardy, Cameron Montgomery)
10. Tennessee Numbers (Jordan Minton, Blake Pendergrass, Travis Wood)
11. Hope That’s True (Morgan Wallen, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak)
12. Whiskey Friends (Morgan Wallen, Ashley Gorley, Jonathan Hoskins, Ernest Keith Smith, Josh Thompson, Ryan Vojtesak)
13. Sunrise (John Byron, Blake Pendergrass)
14. Keith Whitley (Thomas Archer, Brad Clawson, Jared Mullins)
15. In The Bible (Feat. HARDY) (John Byron, Jeff Garrison, Jon Hall, Ben Johnson, Geoffrey Warburton)
16. You Proof (Morgan Wallen, Ashley Gorley, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak)
17. Thought You Should Know (Morgan Wallen, Nicolle Galyon, Miranda Lambert)
18. F150-50 (Jared Mullins, John Pierce, Ben Stennis)
19. Neon Star (Country Boy Lullaby) (Morgan Wallen, Ernest Keith Smith, Josh Thompson, Ryan Vojtesak)
20. I Deserve A Drink (John Byron, Devin Dawson, Jacob Durrett, Hillary Lindsey)
21. Wine Into Water (John Byron, Matt Jenkins, Blake Pendergrass)
22. Me + All Your Reasons (Morgan Wallen, Ashley Gorley, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak)
23. Tennessee Fan (Morgan Wallen, Ashley Gorley, Michael Hardy, Mark Holman)
24. Money On Me (Michael Lotten, Blake Pendergrass, Matt Roy)
25. Thinkin’ Bout Me (John Byron, Ashley Gorley, Taylor Phillips, Ryan Vojtesak)
26. Single Than She Was (John Byron, Ben Johnson, Ryan Vojtesak)
27. Days That End In Why (John Byron, Blake Pendergrass, Driver Williams)
28. Last Drive Down Main (Jerry Flowers, Ryan Hurd, Michael Lotten)
29. Me To Me (Morgan Wallen, Ashley Gorley, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak)
30. Don’t Think Jesus (Jessi Alexander, Mark Holman, Chase McGill)
31. 180 (Lifestyle) (Rocky Block, Ashley Gorley, Mark Holman, Blake Pendergrass, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak) Contains interpolation from “Lifestyle” written by Arsenio Archer, London Holmes, Dequantes Lamar, Bryan Williams, Jeffery Williams
32. Had It (Rocky Block, Alex Eskeerdo Izquierdo, Ryan Vojtesak)
33. Cowgirls (feat. ERNEST) (Rocky Block, Ashley Gorley, James Maddocks, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak)
34. Good Girl Gone Missin’ (Morgan Wallen, Ashley Gorley, James Maddocks, Ernest Keith Smith, Ryan Vojtesak)
35. Outlook (Morgan Wallen, Rodney Clawson, Jeff Hyde)
36. Dying Man (Ben Johnson, Blake Pendergrass, Josh Thompson)

Weekly Register: Hardy Makes Massive Debuts On Country Albums & Songs Charts

Big Loud rocker Hardy makes massive waves on both the top country streaming songs and top country albums charts this week.

Following the release of his ground- and genre-breaking album, The Mockingbird & The Crow, the decorated singer-songwriter’s 17-track project takes the top spot on the top country albums chart. The album makes a massive debut with 55K in total consumption (20K album only/42 million song streams) and helps Hardy secure 13 songs on this week’s country streaming songs charts, according to Luminate data.

Hardy also sees some action in the top five country streaming songs this week as his duet with Lainey Wilson, “Wait In The Truck,” claims the fourth spot with 8.9 million streams. Additionally, Hardy notches the highest debut on the songs chart at No. 14 with “Red,” his collaboration with label-mate Morgan Wallen, nabbing 5.1 million first-week streams.

Elsewhere on the albums chart, everyone shifts down one spot from last week. Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album moves to the second spot with 41K in total consumption (1.2K album only/50 million songs streams), Zach Bryan‘s American Heartbreak goes to third with 32K, Bailey Zimmerman‘s Leave The Light On falls to fourth with 20K and Luke CombsGrowin’ Up seals the top five with 18K.

On the songs side, the top three remain the same this week. Bryan maintains the top spot as “Something In The Orange” adds another 15 million streams, Zimmerman’s “Rock And A Hard Place” keeps second with 11 million and Wallen’s “You Proof” claims third with 9 million streams. Kane & Katelyn Brown‘s “Thank God” falls one spot to No. 5 with 8.2 million streams.

Carly Pearce Jumps To No. 1 On MusicRow Radio Chart

Carly Pearce made her way to No. 1 this week on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart with “What He Didn’t Do.” Pearce wrote the song alongside Ashley Gorley and Emily Shackleton.

In 2022, Pearce signed a new management deal with Starstruck Management. She hosted 15th Annual Academy of Country Music Honors. She also received several honors including CMA and ACM Musical Event of the Year (“Never Wanted To Be That Girl” with Ashley McBryde), ACM Female Artist of the Year, one of CMT’s Artists of the Year and induction into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.

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

DISClaimer Single Reviews: Chris Young Delivers ‘A Pile Driver’ With New Single

It’s Boys Town here at DISClaimer today.

Caitlyn Smith and Chapel Hart are trying their best, but this listening session belonged to the likes of Tyler Hubbard, Chris Janson, Mitchell Tenpenny, Hardy, Thomas Rhett and their musical brothers.

Riding at the front of the herd is Chris Young, who has the Disc of the Day.

Writers: Colton Pack/Garrett Nichols/Kyle Clark/Lindsay Rimes/Zach Beeken; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: RCA/1021 Entertainment
–Their best effort yet. It’s a sweet waltz about striving to become a better person, loaded with insight and philosophical musings. The lyric might be about being a work in progress, but this single is definitely a finished project. Play this.

THOMAS RHETT / “Angels (Don’t Always Have Wings)”
Writers: Thomas Rhett/Julian Bunetta/Jaten Dimsdale/Josh Thompson; Producers: Dann Huff/Julian Bunetta; Label: Valory
–This deliberately paced ballad expresses gratitude with a terrific falsetto leap in the chorus. Gently listenable.

Writers: Caitlyn Smith/Gordie Sampson/Troy Verges; Producer: Caitlyn Smith; Label: Monument
–The melody of this power ballad is vocally challenging, but she meets every low dip and high soprano passage with aplomb. A country performance that name checks Beethoven and Dostoevsky? Believe it.

CHRIS YOUNG / “Looking for You”
Writers: Chris Young/Chris DeStefano/James McNair/Emily Weisband; Producers: Chris Young/Chris DeStefano; Label: RCA
–One of my favorite male country voices returns with a pile driver that begs to be cranked up to “10.” The quest for love has seldom rocked so splendidly.

DREW PARKER / “At the End of the Dirt Road”
Writers: Ben Hayslip/Brock Berryhill/Jameson Rodgers; Producers: Phil O’Donnel/Scott Hendricks; Label: Warner
–Parker is up for a Grammy this year for co-writing the Luke Combs mega hit “Doin’ This.” He’s no slouch as a record maker, himself, as this title tune to his forthcoming EP illustrates. It’s an ode to rural bliss with some echoey guitar sonics added for atmosphere.

TYLER HUBBARD / “Dancin’ in the Country”
Writers: Jon Nite/Keith Urban/Ross Copperman/Tyler Hubbard; Producers: Jordan Schmidt/Tyler Hubbard; Label: EMI
–Lotsa fun. The bopper invites her out for a dance floor spin or three. The beats don’t stop for one moment. By the way, the video is hilarious.

MICHAEL WARREN / “Another Round”
Writers: Ben Stennis/Erik Dylan/Joey Hyde; Producer: Aaron Eshuis; Label: MW
–Breezy and utterly delightful. This wafting, airy, swirling outing captures young romance perfectly. Warren’s easy-going delivery is flawlessly matched by a dreamy production.

TOM WOPAT / “County Line”
Writer: Tom Wopat; Producers: Tom Wopat/David Finck; Label: TW
–Since his days on The Dukes of Hazzard and as a country hit maker of the 1980s, Wopat has carved out an enviable career as a Broadway-musicals star. His return to country record-making has a bluesy edge in this minor-key cautionary tale. It’s about a boy headed for trouble in a place where bad things happen. The recording with his road band sounds like it was recorded live in the studio.

CHAPEL HART / “Glory Days”
Writers: Danica Hart/Devynn Hart/Trea Swindle/Jim Beavers; Producer: none listed; Label: CH
–This bopper describes their life and adventures on the road and at home. It’s tuneful and enjoyable, but they need more polish in the production.

Writers: Mitchell Tenpenny/Andy Albert/Devin Dawson/Jordan Schmidt; Producers: Mitchell Tenpenny/Jordan Schmidt; Label: Riser House/Columbia
–The enveloping warmth of his voice is the magnetic attraction here. A throbbing production and the lyric of romantic regret add to the single’s magic. I’m into this sound all the way. Previously reviewed in November, the tune is getting a new boost this month with the release of its video.

HARDY / “The Mockingbird & The Crow”
Writers: Michael Hardy/Brett Tyler/Jordan Schmidt; Producers: Joey Moi/Derek Wells/Michael Hardy/Jordan Schmidt; Label: Big Loud
–This gifted fellow describes his journey as a tunesmith, accompanied by a beautifully twangy production, in the “Mockingbird” portion of the performance. Then he abruptly becomes a yelling, in-your-face hip-hopper in the rock-track “Crow” segment. You figure it out.

CHRIS JANSON / “All I Need Is You”
Writers: Ashley Gorley/Brad Clawson/Chris Janson/Mitch Oglesby; Producers: Julian Raymond/Chris Janson/Scott Borchetta; Label: BMLG
–A straight-ahead love song, delivered with his usual earnestness.

My Music Row Story: SMACK’s Robin Palmer

Robin Palmer

The “My Music Row Story” weekly column features notable members of the Nashville music industry selected by the MusicRow editorial team. These individuals serve in key roles that help advance and promote the success of our industry. This column spotlights the invaluable people that keep the wheels rolling and the music playing.

Born and raised in Amarillo, Texas, Robin Palmer arrived in Nashville in 1979 to attend MTSU, majoring in Recording Industry Management. She interned and worked for Jim Ed Norman’s publishing company, Jensong before it sold to Tree Publishing. Soon after, she went to work for Eddie Rabbitt’s Deb Dave/Briarpatch Music, making tape copies and pitching songs, working with such writers as Even Stevens, Thom Schuyler and Paul Overstreet. In 1984, James Stroud formed The Writers Group with songwriters Schuyler, Overstreet, and Fred Knobloch and Palmer joined as their song plugger. The company was successful with songs such as “Forever and Ever, Amen, “You Can’t Stop Love,” “When You Say Nothing At All” and “On The Other Hand,” among others.

Screen Gems-EMI (now EMI Music Publishing ,part of Sony Music) purchased The Writers Group catalog and Palmer began a 10-year stint as Creative Director, and Senior Creative Director under the leadership of Celia Froehlig. In 1996, Celia and Robin started their own Froehlig Palmer Music, and had many notable cuts, especially “Where The Green Grass Grows” (Tim McGraw) and “We Were In Love” (Toby Keith.)

In 2008, she re-connected with past acquaintance Shane McAnally, and they started working together, eventually getting their first No. 1 with “Somewhere With You” recorded by Kenny Chesney. Many more hits have followed, and the collaboration has grown to become SMACK Songs, which currently has a roster of 21 writers. Palmer currently serves as Chief Creative Officer of SMACK and continues her favorite role of developing and nurturing writers.

MusicRow: Where did you grow up?

Amarillo, Texas.

Were you into music as a kid?

Always. My mother played records constantly. She played Ray Charles, Marty Robbins, The Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap and even Broadway musicals. I would look at all the liner notes and read every bit, so I knew who some people were before I moved here.

Did you play any music?

I played piano.

Pictured (L-R): Marc Beeson, Robin Palmer, Bryan Kennedy and Celia Froehlig

Did you know you wanted to be in the music industry then?

No. I never would have gotten here if it hadn’t been for my brother Randy. He lived in Nashville and was working on songwriting. I wanted to see what was outside of Amarillo, and he offered me the chance to move to Nashville. He said, “You can come be my roommate and go to MTSU. It’s just down the road.” That’s how I got here. If it hadn’t been for him offering that, I don’t know what I would have done.

Did you study music business at MTSU?

I did but I didn’t mean to. I had no sense of direction. I thought I might want to do advertising or something in mass communications. On orientation day at MTSU, I walked into the Recording Industry Management department by accident because they were in the same building as mass comm. When I walked in, Geoff Hull, who was the head of the department, was talking about the music industry. I changed my major that day.

For my internship, they sent me to Jim Ed Norman‘s publishing company called Jensong. Walter Campbell was the plugger there and I interviewed with this woman named Paige Rowden, who later became Paige Levy.  She said, “We’ve had the worst male interns. If you’re you’re willing to work and have ovaries, you’re our intern.” [Laughs] She said, “I need help and an ally.”  

During my internship, I made tape copies, typed lyrics and just absorbed everything. I was keeping track of everybody that came in. I did notice there weren’t many women that came in to play songs or drop off cassettes.

Did that intimidate you or motivate you?

It made me want to do it more. I knew of the women pluggers in town who people thought were really good. You’re just a sponge taking it all in at that point. I would hear about Celia Hill, who became Celia Froehlig. I would hear about Pat Rolfe, Karen Conrad, and Judy Harris.

What did you do after your internship?

They ended up hiring me part-time, which was great. Then they sold that catalog to Tree, so I was in need of a job. After that, I did this series of fill-in-the-blank jobs—thanks to recommendations from Paige and Walter—where I would fill in for people. There was a company called Don Gant Music and their tape copy guy was going on the road with Tanya Tucker to play drums for the summer, so I filled in to make tape copies and clean the building there. I filled in at ATV Music and at Silver Line Gold Line, where I got to know Pat Halper and Noel Fox. I met a lot of people by being around all these different companies and seeing how they all did it differently.

Pictured (L-R, back row): Josh Osborne, Matt Jenkins, Ryan Hurd, Sam Hunt and Josh Jenkins; (L-R, front row): Robin Palmer and Shane McAnally

What was next?

I worked for a company called DebDave Briar Patch. Their plugger, Mason Cooper, helped bring me in.

It was Eddie Rabbitt, Even Stevens, Jim Malloy and David Malloy. Thom Schuyler was a writer there, and Paul Overstreet and Fred Knobloch would hang out there a lot. There were just so many great people there. They let me pitch which is unbelievable since we’re talking early ’80s and I had no experience.

We had a studio in the back and James Stroud played sessions there on a lot of records. James decided he was going to start a publishing company and Thom Schuyler was going to go with him. They asked me if I wanted to come over there too, and I did. Paul Overstreet ended up coming over there later. Cliff Audretch Jr. was there too. It was called The Writers Group and it did really well. It was during the early career of Randy Travis and we had all those Paul Overstreet songs [that Randy cut]. Thom and Fred were having hits too.

What was your first hit?

When I was at DebDave, one of the guys I’d filled in for at Don Gant Music—Chris Dodson—called me and asked if I had any songs for John Conlee. He said, “I can give them to Bud Logan, his producer.” I gave him a tape and then he called me and told me John Conlee cut this song called “Years After You,” which was a Thom Schuyler song. It became a top 5 hit.

How did you start working with Celia Froehlig?

Writers Group became really successful and sold to EMI Music. I went with it so I could go with the catalog. Charlie Feldman, who was running it, went to work at BMI in New York, so Celia Froehlig got hired to run the office, so one of the women I had heard about during my internship ended up being my boss.

It’s funny because I had an A&R executive—a female—call me and say, “Hey, if you need me to put a word in for you somewhere else, let me know.” When I asked why, she said, “Women don’t work well together.” The first day that Celia came in the building, I made sure to be there when she walked in. She was always so great to me and became a  mentor.

EMI was great. We had an awesome staff and great writers and had a great run of success. While there, I met and pitched songs to Shane McAnally, who was a Curb Records artist at the time.

Eventually, Celia offered me a chance to help start a new company, Froehlig Palmer Music. I had always dreamed of some ownership of what I loved so much: songs. We had some hits and some great times and I learned a lot.

Pictured (L-R): Shane McAnally, Whitney Daane, JT Harding and Robin Palmer celebrate “Somewhere With You.” Photo: Ed Rode

And thus, a new chapter opens.

Yes, I got reconnected with Shane McAnally around 2007, thanks to Erin Enderlin. She was borrowing a writers room and working with Shane. He brought in a CD and “Somewhere With You” was on there—along with some other great songs including the work-tape of “Last Call.” He mentioned that he heard Lee Ann Womack liked it but he wasn’t sure. The next time he came in, Lee Ann had cut it.

Renee Bell called and said, “Kenny Chesney needs one more song. We’re having a thing at Cabana. Kenny’s going to tell everybody exactly what he wants, but if you would just bring one song on a CD, he’s going take it out and listen to everything on the road.” I brought “Somewhere With You.” Then I got an email from Buddy Cannon‘s assistant that Kenny heard “Somewhere With You” and asked if he could get a lyric sheet. That’s when things turned around.

Wow. Then you two started building what is now SMACK.

Shane had all these other amazing songs. He was writing with Brandy Clark, Josh Osborne, Trevor Rosen, Jessie Jo Dillon, Matt Jenkins, Matt Ramsey and more.

We decided to rent an office in the basement of Carnival. Frank Liddell is a good friend and he rented us some space down there. We had two rooms, my little office and then Shane’s writer’s room. Sam Hunt and Kacey Musgraves were coming in to write. I had an amazing front row seat.

Matt McGinn was the first writer we signed together and then we signed Trevor Rosen with Wrensong.

SMACK writer Josh Jenkins celebrates SESAC’s 2022 Song of the Year, “Fancy Like.” Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for SESAC

Did you realize then how big this was going to get?

No. I always dreamed but it was bigger than any dream I could have had. Although I know Shane’s dreams—he probably planned the whole thing. [Laughs] I’ve learned how to dream bigger.

Now, as Chief Creative Officer at SMACK, what is most fulfilling about what you do?

Working with songwriters. Providing a safe environment and a home. Giving people what they need to be their best. That’s what we hope to do.

When you look back on your career, what sticks out about your journey?

I’ve been so lucky.  The way you’re successful is if you’re surrounded by really good people and I have been.

Concord Music Publishing Signs Corey Crowder, Acquires Majority Of Catalog

Pictured (L-R): Ashley Nite (Concord), Matt Turner (Concord), Jim Selby (Concord), Brad Kennard (Concord), Corey Crowder, Courtney Allen (Concord), Melissa Spillman (Concord), Garrett Stephenson (Concord), Jen Hubbard (Concord) gather together during the holidays. Photo: Audrey Spillman courtesy of Concord Music Publishing

Concord Music Publishing has announced the signing and catalog acquisition of country hitmaker Corey Crowder. The worldwide co-publishing deal is effective immediately and includes a majority of Crowder’s catalog and all future works.

Originally from Loganville, Georgia, Crowder relocated to Nashville in 2010 to pursue songwriting. He found early success with Chris Young, including his 3x multi-Platinum, three-week No. 1 “I’m Comin’ Over,” 2x multi-Platinum No. 1 “Think of You” (featuring Cassadee Pope) and “Hangin’ On.” Now one of Nashville’s most in-demand songwriters and producers, Crowder has celebrated several chart-climbing singles, including Florida Georgia Line’s “I Love My Country” and “Long Live,” as well as “Famous Friends” (Chris Young ft. Kane Brown) and “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” (Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line), earning him CMA’s prestigious Triple Play Award for 3 No. 1 songs in a 12-month span.

Crowder has notched 11 No. 1 songs across the U.S. and Canadian charts and has topped the charts as the No. 1 songwriter on both Billboard’s Country Songwriter and MusicRow’s Top Songwriter charts for multiple consecutive weeks.

Crowder is also an accomplished producer, with credits on Florida Georgia Line’s album, Life Rolls On, Justin Bieber’s “Yummy (Country Remix),” LoCash’s No. 1 “One Big Country Song,” and Chris Tomlin and Lady A’s hit “Who You Are To Me.” Other production credits include work for Brian Kelley, Chris Tomlin, Chase Rice, Cassadee Pope, RaeLynn and Jamie Lynn Spears, among others. Crowder has also stacked key placements on hit TV series, such as  Gainesville, Nashville, One Tree Hill, The Biggest Loser and The Real World.

“I’m excited for this next chapter working alongside a great team at Concord Music Publishing,” Crowder shares of the deal.

“We are incredibly thrilled that we have the honor of representing Corey’s amazing catalog, as well as working by his side for years to come,” adds Brad Kennard, SVP A&R at Concord Music Publishing in Nashville. “He is not only preceded by his top-level art and success, but also by his character and integrity. It’s an absolute privilege to welcome Corey to the Concord family.”