DISClaimer Single Reviews: Tim McGraw, Brian Kelley, Lanco, Kat & Alex

Tim McGraw. Photo: Robby Klein

Country’s big boys are strutting their stuff in today’s edition of DisClaimer.

And at what better time, with the ACM Awards set to air on Sunday night? So Luke Bryan, Lanco, Brian Kelley of FGL, Thomas Rhett and Jameson Rodgers are on tap with new songs. They are all bested by a superstar veteran, Tim McGraw, who nails down the Disc of the Day award.

This is a male-dominated stack of sounds, but there are three female voices worth your attention this week. One of them is the enduringly great Miranda Lambert, singing with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall and recorded in the great outdoors. Secondly, don’t miss the fiery Maggie Rose performance.

Third is our DisCovery Award winning duo Kat & Alex. Kat Luna sings lead on “Heartbreak Tour.” Partner Alex Garrido shines just a brightly on “You and the Radio.” Here’s a sweet touch: The eliminated American Idol alumni were married in January.

Writers: Jameson Rodgers/Hunter Phelps/Jake Mitchell/Brent Anderson; Producer: Chris Farren/Jake Mitchell; Label: River House Artists/Columbia Nashville
— For doggie lovers everywhere. It’s a raspy-voiced, slow meditation on life and mortality that concludes “good dogs don’t live long enough.”

THOMAS RHETT / “Country Again”
Writers: Thomas Rhett/Zach Crowell/Ashley Gorley; Producer: Dann Huff/Jesse Frasure; Label: Valory Music Co.
— He went Hollywood, but now he’s back to drinking beer, hunting, fishing, wearing boots, going to church, loving his honey, sitting at a campfire and hanging out in Tennessee. Ho hum.

KARISSA ELLA / “Maybe It Was Memphis”
Writers: Michael James Anderson; Producer: Zach Farnum & Karissa Ella; Label: Orchard/117 Entertainment
— The acoustic production is admirable. But her vocal performance is sharp and pitch-y. It doesn’t help that she’s asking for comparison to a Pam Tillis oldie that was a dang-near perfect record the first time around.

KAT & ALEX / “Heartbreak Tour”
Writers: Alex Georgia/Kat Georgia; Producer: Brad Hill; Label: Sony Music Nashville
— They are billed as “Country-Latin disrupters,” whatever that means. All I know is that the sound is very cool. Their harmonies are stellar. The production is echoey-groovy. The chorus is one massive hook. Turn it up. I’m in. Also check out their super rhythmic and equally hooky “You and the Radio.”

MANNY BLU / “Train”
Writers: Jessi Alexander/Ryan Beaver/JT Harding; Producer: Aaron Eshuis; Label: MB
— It’s a frothing rocker with loads of energy and sizzle. He’s asking for her love to “hit me like a train.” The rhythm section and electric guitar kick serious butt behind his youthful wail.

TIM McGRAW / “God Moves the Pen”
Writers: James Slater/Tony Lane; Producer: Byron Gallimore/Tim McGraw; Label: Big Machine Records
— Awesome. This man is a superstar for a reason. Is there anyone else in country music who chooses superb songs this consistently? This brisk tempo outing is a string of terrific lines about love and the act of writing. What a wonderfully satisfying country artist.

Writers: Jack Ingram/Miranda Lambert/Jon Randall; Producer: Jack Ingram/Miranda Lambert/Jon Randall; Label: Vanner Records/RCA Records Label Nashville
— Acoustic bliss with outdoor trio harmonies. It’s a honky-tonk cheatin’ song dressed up like a folk tune. Lovely listening. The Marfa Tapes album by these three stellar tunesmiths drops on May 7.

LANCO / “First Beer”
Writers: Brandon Lancaster/Tripp Howell/Jaren Johnson; Producer: Dann Huff; Label: Arista Nashville
— I fell in love with this right away. The nostalgic lyric is extremely well written, and the echoey, upbeat audio setting is perfect for the wistful mood. This act never disappoints.

BRIAN KELLEY / “Beach Cowboy”
Writers: Blake Redferrin/Brian Kelley/Jake Rose; Producer: Brian Kelley/Corey Crowder/Jake Rose; Label: Nashville South Records Inc/Warner Music Nashville
— Mellow, like summer in the Southern sun. The repetitive song is slim pickin’s, but this outing is all about the groove. Get baked and lay back stoned.

LUKE BRYAN / “Waves”
Writers: Zach Crowell/Ryan Hurd/Chase McGill; Producer: Jeff Stevens/Jody Stevens; Label: Capitol Records Nashville
— Highly evocative. It will bring back memories of every beach-spent summer of your youth while the swirling rhythm and anthemic production dazzle your brain today. Bryan’s vocal is one of the most passionate of his career.

CARL RAY / “I Can See Clearly Now”
Writers: Johnny Nash; Producer: none listed; Label: CRW
— Black country singer Carl Ray (Williams) was mentored by the late Johnny Nash, who gave him his start. Ray takes Nash’s million-selling 1972 reggae-tinged pop chart topper, adds his own lyric contributions and reinterprets the tempo to become a country rocker. Intriguing. And the message of hope is timeless.

MAGGIE ROSE / “What Are We Fighting For”
Writers: Alex Haddad/Larry Florman/Maggie Rose; Producer: Ben Tanner; Label: Starstruck
— I remain a massive fan of this blue-eyed soul stylist. This torrid, slow-burn performance is equal parts gospel emotion and blues ambiance. The woman should be some kinda superstar.

Taylor Swift Makes Top 10 On MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart

Taylor Swift appears at No. 9 on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart, as “Love Story” and “You All Over Me” from her re-recorded version of her 2008 Fearless appear on the country sales and airplay charts.

Jesse Frasure maintains the No. 1 position this week with credits on Blake Shelton’s “Minimum Wage,” Thomas Rhett’s “What’s Your Country Song,” Jordan Davis’ “Almost Maybes,” and Michael Ray’s “Whiskey And Rain.”

Corey Crowder remains at No. 2 this week on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart, and Josh Osborne stays at No. 3.

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.

BMI Elevates Leslie Roberts, Josh Tomlinson

Leslie Roberts, Josh Tomlinson

BMI announced today (April 12) the promotion of Leslie Roberts to Assistant Vice President, Creative, Nashville.

Roberts, who has been at BMI for 11 years, provides guidance for BMI songwriters both creatively and administratively, and helps coordinate showcases, seminars, and other events in BMI’s stacked calendar. This year, she has been integral in re-signing BMI affiliates such as Parker Welling and Thomas Rhett. She is responsible for planning and hosting the BMI Christian Awards and co-hosting the BMI Country Awards and is involved with college programs and outreach such as Catalog Cast, which has expanded to three additional universities this year. Roberts also oversees record company rosters and represents BMI within the AIMP and the Gospel Music Association.

Roberts will continue to work closely with Vice President, Creative, Nashville, Clay Bradley, and will be responsible for ongoing outreach, support, and career guidance for BMI affiliates and the songwriting community in Nashville. Additionally, she will provide further direction for the office’s team of Creative representatives.

BMI also announced the promotion of Josh Tomlinson to Director, Creative, Nashville.

Tomlinson joined BMI in 2016 after graduating from Belmont University, and since joining the company, has expanded his role from working in the country genre to include the full scope of Nashville’s multi-genre music community. He has also taken over the management of BMI’s ongoing participation in local showcase, 8 Off 8th, and is instrumental in the execution of BMI’s Rooftop on the Row series. Tomlinson also serves as the Nashville liaison for BMI’s Partnership and Events team.

Bradley says, “Leslie’s contributions to our Creative department and her commitment to songwriters is invaluable. She is a highly respected member of our community and has built incredible relationships within the industry. For years, songwriters from all genres coming out of Nashville have benefitted from her experience and expertise, so this promotion is truly well deserved. I’m also excited to recognize Josh’s dedication and passion for our writers. He’s always looking for new ways to support the local creative community and I know he’ll continue that with even more drive and enthusiasm in his new role. I appreciate everything that Leslie and Josh do every day for our affiliates.”

Blake Shelton Hits No. 1 On MusicRow Chart In 12 Weeks

In just 12 weeks, Blake Shelton bolts to No. 1 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart with “Minimum Wage.” The single, co-written by Nicolle Galyon, Jesse Frasure, and Corey Crowder, will appear on Shelton’s latest album, Body Language set for release on May 21.

April 16, 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of the day Shelton released his No. 1 debut single, “Austin.” To commemorate the occasion, he is releasing limited edition 7″ vinyl on his website featuring “Austin” on the A-side and “Problems At Home” on the B-side.

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

Sony Music Nashville Promotes Margaret Tomlin To VP, A&R

Margaret Tomlin. Photo: Angelina Oliva

Sony Music Nashville has announced the promotion of Margaret Tomlin to Vice President, A&R, Sony Music Nashville. Tomlin will report directly to Senior Vice President, A&R, Taylor Lindsey.

Tomlin has been with the label for six years, and previously held the positions of Representative, Manager and Director for the label group’s A&R Department. She has been directly involved with development of artists such as Tenille Townes, Adam Doleac, Andrew Jannakos, Kameron Marlowe, Willie Jones, Miranda Lambert, Kane Brown and Chris Young, among others.

She graduated from Syracuse University’s Bandier Program and moved to Nashville in 2013. Her first job in the music industry was Catalog Assistant at BMG Nashville.

“Margaret has been an important pillar of our department since she started in 2015. She’s been instrumental in the development and breaking of so many artists at Sony Music Nashville. Her song sensibilities and passion for artists have been integral contributions to our success. There is no one more deserving of her new stripes,” Lindsey says.

Tomlin adds, “Since joining Sony Music Nashville, I have been inspired by our extraordinary roster of artists and our innovative, collaborative team. I have immense gratitude for Jim Catino and Taylor Lindsey for their leadership, guidance, and confidence. I am thrilled to take on this new role and continue to work alongside our incredible A&R department.”

Congratulate Tomlin at [email protected].

DISClaimer Single Reviews: Logan Mize, Chrissy Metz, Canaan Smith, Chevel Shepherd

Logan Mize. Photo: John Shearer

Today belongs to country’s newcomers and baby acts.

First timers to DisClaimer include John PayCheck, Sydney Mack and our DisCovery Award winner, Timmy Brown.

One of our up-and-comers goes home with the Disc of the Day prize. That’s the endearing Logan Mize with his coming-of-age tune “Practice Swing.”

Writers: Jackson Michelson/Patrick Mencel/Justin Morgan; Producer: Jeff Pardo; Label: MCC/Curb
— If the tunes keep playing, maybe he’ll get over her. The sound here is a funky kinda pop with barroom country sentiments. Fresh and innovative.

Writers: Chrissy Metz/Dan Fernandez/Faren Rachels/Lainey Wilson; Producer: Jimmy Robbins/Derek Wells; Label: EMI Records Nashville
— The This Is Us star comes up to bat again, this time with a punchy, feisty, female-empowerment country rocker. Strong and catchy. Give her your spins.

TIMMY BROWN / “If You Were Here”
Writers: Timmy Brown/Joshua Gleave; Producer: Josh Gleave; Label: Independent
— This guy is a big favorite in New England, voted Male Artist of the Year in that region for five years straight. This resonant, nicely shaded production finds his hearty, charismatic baritone musing on the loss of a loving father. I think he has the goods.

Writers: Kellys Collins/Bill Luther; Producer: Todd Tidwell; Label: Country Sweetheart
— The soprano delivery of this 2018 winner of NBC-TV’s The Voice struck me as a little piercing at first, but youthful sincerity and heart carry the day. The lyric pleads for her Mama to love and understand her boyfriend. This teen delivers like a pro here. Keep your ears on her.

CANAAN SMITH / “Sweet Virgina”
Writers: Canaan Smith/Brian Kelley/Tyler Hubbard/Corey Crowder; Producer: Canaan Smith/Brian Kelley/Tyler Hubbard; Label: Round Here Records
— Laid back and mellow, with a wistful lyric about the gal he leaves behind back home. Sweetly relaxing.

TERRI CLARK / “The Highway”
Writers: Holly Williams; Producer: Terri Clark; Label: Baretrack/Orchard
— Ya gotta love this. It’s about how much a musician misses the road, misses the shows, misses the people and misses her life. And it has hooks to spare.

LOGAN MIZE “Practice Swing”
Writers: Randy Montana/Blake Chaffin; Producer: Daniel Agee; Label: Big Yellow Dog
— Holy moly, what a song. It’s a chesty, anthemic thumper about what it feels like to be reckless and 17 and trying your wings. Its truth hits you like a ton of bricks. I’ve always dug this guy, and never more so than now. A gem of a single.

BROTHERS OSBORNE / “I’m Not for Everyone”
Writers: John Osborne/TJ Osborne/Luke Dick/Natalie Hemby; Producer: Jay Joyce; Label: EMI Records Nashville
— I love these guys. This drawling, lightly humorous outing is packed with cool images in its misfit message. As usual, the production, vocal oomph, guitar hooks and audio charisma are unmistakable. Play, play, play it.

SYDNEY MACK / “Pretty Boy”
Writers: Sydney Mack/Wade Kirby/Shane Minor; Producer: none listed; Label: Sydy Wall Music
— She has an attractive, throaty alto that caresses the ear quite attractively. Her well-crafted song is a cautionary message to a ladies man. A crystal-clear production supports her perfectly. Recommended.

JOHN PAYCHECK / “Lone Stars”
Writers: John PayCheck/Scott Gabbey; Producer: Bill Mcdermott; Label: HorseBite
— His father was one of the greatest honky-tonk singers of ‘em all. This PayCheck faces an impossible comparison. Of course, he’s not nearly as soulful as his pop. But he gets points for trying with this frisky toe tapper.

Academy Of Country Music Honors Jimmie Allen, Gabby Barrett With Early Wins

Jimmie Allen, Gabby Barrett

The Academy of Country Music revealed Jimmie Allen as its New Male Artist of the Year and Gabby Barrett as its New Female Artist of the Year for the 56th ACM Awards. The announcement was made this morning (April 8). Both artists were surprised with a video from ACM Awards co-host, Keith Urban.

Signed to BBR Music Group’s Stoney Creek Records, Platinum-selling singer-songwriter Allen made history as the first Black artist to launch a career with two consecutive No. 1 hits on country radio–“Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To.”

Warner Music Nashville’s Barrett broke out onto the scene with her 5X-Platinum debut “I Hope,” which was the most-streamed country song of 2020. Her Platinum single, “The Good Ones,” is currently climbing at country radio. Barrett is also nominated for Single of the Year for “I Hope.”

“We are thrilled to present Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett with their first ACM Award wins. Jimmie and Gabby have experienced tremendous success at both country radio and streaming already, and we are proud to recognize them for such an extraordinary start to their careers,” says CEO of the Academy of Country Music, Damon Whiteside. “A huge congratulations to each of them for this well-deserved win, and to all of our nominees for being recognized for their incredible contributions to country music. We look forward to welcoming Jimmie and Gabby to the ACM Awards stage on April 18.”

The 56th ACM Awards will air live on Sunday, April 18 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Allen and Barrett will join more than 25 performers, including Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton, Ryan Hurd, Jack Ingram, Alan Jackson, Elle King, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris, Carly Pearce, Jon Randall, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, The War and Treaty, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, CeCe Winans, and Chris Young.

Urban and Mickey Guyton will serve as hosts, and televised event will broadcast live from three iconic country music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe.

Read the full list of nominees here.

Eric Church Reveals Fall Dates For The Gather Again Tour

Eric Church. Photo: Joe Pugliese

Eric Church is returning to the road this fall for a full arena tour. The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year and current ACM Entertainer of the Year nominee announced dates for The Gather Again Tour this morning (April 7).

Church will adopt an in-the-round set up, with the stage at the center of each arena floor in order to accommodate as many fans as possible at the selected 55 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, culminating at Madison Square Garden in the spring of 2022.

“When I talked to you back in February I told you that a North American tour was coming,” Church said in a video message to his fans. “We were still waiting on the right time to release the details. I’m excited to share that the time is now.”

Tickets to all U.S. dates go on sale to the general public Friday, May 7 at 10 a.m. local time at EricChurch.com. Church Choir members may access tickets early via pre-sale on Tuesday, May 4 at 10 a.m. local time. On sale information for the Canadian dates will be announced soon.

Church will appear in an upcoming PSA promoting vaccine education, produced by ACM Lifting Lives, The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, which will premiere during the ACM Awards broadcast on Sunday, April 18. He will release his triple album project, Heart & Soul, in the coming weeks.

The Gather Again Tour:
Sept. 17, 2021 – Rupp Arena – Lexington, Ky.
Sept. 18, 2021 – Nationwide Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 24, 2021 – Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse – Cleveland, Ohio
Sept. 25, 2021 – KeyBank Center – Buffalo, N.Y.
Oct. 1, 2021 – Alerus Center – Grand Forks, N.D.
Oct. 2, 2021 – Bell MTS Place – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Oct. 8, 2021 – PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh, Pa.
Oct. 9, 2021 – Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, Pa.
Oct. 15, 2021 – Ball Arena – Denver, Colo.
Oct. 22, 2021 – Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary, Alberta
Oct. 23, 2021 – SaskTel Centre – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Oct. 29, 2021 – Rogers Arena – Vancouver, British Columbia
Oct. 30, 2021 – Climate Pledge Arena – Seattle, Wash.
Nov. 12, 2021 – Thompson-Boling Arena – Knoxville, Tenn.
Nov. 13, 2021 – Ford Center – Evansville, Ind.
Dec. 3, 2021 – SNHU Arena – Manchester, N.H.
Dec. 4, 2021 – UBS Arena – Belmont Park, N.Y.
Dec. 10, 2021 – The Anthem – Washington, D.C.
Dec. 11, 2021 – The Anthem – Washington, D.C.
Dec. 17, 2021 – Bon Secours Wellness Arena – Greenville, S.C.
Dec. 18, 2021 – Greensboro Coliseum – Greensboro, N.C.
Jan. 7, 2022 – Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, Neb.
Jan. 8, 2022 – Denny Sanford PREMIER Center – Sioux Falls, S.D.
Jan. 14, 2022 – Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario
Jan. 15, 2022 – Canadian Tire Centre – Ottawa, Ontario
Jan. 21, 2022 – Van Andel Arena – Grand Rapids, Mich.
Jan. 22, 2022 – Little Caesars Arena – Detroit, Mich.
Feb. 4, 2022 – KFC Yum! Center – Louisville, Ky.
Feb. 5, 2022 – Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Ind.
Feb. 11, 2022 – CHI Health Center Omaha – Omaha, Neb.
Feb. 12, 2022 – Wells Fargo Arena – Des Moines, Iowa
Feb. 18, 2022 – T-Mobile Center – Kansas City, Mo.
Feb 19, 2022 – BOK Center – Tulsa, Okla.
Feb. 25, 2022 – Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, Va.
Feb. 26, 2022 – Spectrum Center – Charlotte, N.C.
March 4, 2022 – Amway Center – Orlando, Fla.
March 5, 2022 – Amalie Arena – Tampa, Fla.
March 11, 2022 – United Center – Chicago, Ill.
March 12, 2022 – Enterprise Center – St. Louis, Mo.
March 18, 2022 – Resch Center – Green Bay, Wis.
March 19, 2022 – Resch Center – Green Bay, Wis.
March 25, 2022 – Legacy Arena at the BJCC – Birmingham, Ala.
March 26, 2022 – Simmons Bank Arena – Little Rock, Ark.
April 1, 2022 – Dickies Arena – Fort Worth, Texas
April 2, 2022 – AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas
April 8, 2022 – Toyota Center – Houston, Texas
April 9, 2022 – Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, La.
April 15, 2022 – Moda Center – Portland, Ore.
April 16, 2022 – Spokane Arena – Spokane, Wash.
April 29, 2022 – ExtraMile Arena – Boise, Idaho
April 30, 2022 – Vivint Arena – Salt Lake City, Utah
May 6, 2022 – Pechanga Arena – San Diego, Calif.
May 7, 2022 – STAPLES Center – Los Angeles, Calif.
May 11, 2022 – Golden 1 Center – Sacramento, Calif.
May 13, 2022 – T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, Nev.
May 14, 2022 – Gila River Arena – Glendale, Ariz.
May 20, 2022 – Madison Square Garden – New York, N.Y.

Joel Katz Joins Barnes & Thornburg

Joel Katz

Renowned music and entertainment attorney Joel Katz has joined Barnes & Thornburg as Senior Counsel in the firm’s Atlanta office.

Katz was the founding chairman of Greenberg Traurig’s global entertainment and media practice. He resigned from the firm on Dec. 31, 2020. Katz has represented legendary entertainers from an array of genres, including artists, producers, record companies, concert promoters, and business leaders. His client list has included Jimmy Buffett, Jamie Foxx, Steve Harvey, Faith Hill, Julio Iglesias, Alan Jackson, Estate of Michael Jackson, Kris Kristofferson, Little Big Town, Ludacris, Tim McGraw, L.A. Reid, George Strait, James Taylor, Justin Timberlake, TLC, and others.

In a statement provided to MusicRow, the firm said: “Mr. Katz has a distinguished 50-year legal career representing numerous well-known artists, producers, record labels, prominent organizations in the music industry, and Fortune 500 companies. He also has been deeply involved in countless community and philanthropic organizations in Atlanta and around the country. He joins the firm’s award-winning Entertainment, Media and Sports Practice.”

John Alexander Reflects On Careers In Country Music, Wrestling And Baseball In New Memoir [Interview]

John “Alexander” Arezzi

Former country music executive John Alexander has lived a fascinating life working in various different industries from baseball, radio, professional wrestling and country music. Readers can get a glimpse of his life in his new memoir Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music and With The Mets which is available today (April 6).

“The process [of writing the book] really started for me over the past several years because I’ve done so many different things in my professional career,” says Alexander. “But it really wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I thought seriously about the opportunity to write my story.”

The book, published through Canadian publisher ECW Press, and co-written alongside Greg Oliver, offers a look into his past careers that some in Nashville may not have known. Oliver has written over 17 books, mostly about wrestling. “I felt that I had a book in me and now it’s here, so I’m very excited about it,” says Alexander.

Alexander, born John Arezzi, has worked at GAC, Black River Entertainment and most recently Bandtwango, and has managed and discovered artists like Patty Loveless and Kelsea Ballerini throughout his 20 years in the music industry. But this book goes deeper and takes a look at his years working with his two other loves, baseball and professional wrestling.

Alexander worked for the Single A minor league affiliate of the New York Mets, his favorite baseball team. Alexander loves baseball and could’ve seen himself working in baseball for the long run. The original name of his memoir was, I Shoulda Stayed in Baseball: My Wild Ride in Pro Wrestling, Country Music, and with the Mets.

John “Alexander” Arezzi with New York Met Cleon Jones in Shelby, NC, 1981

“I’ve always loved baseball and it was a lifelong dream of mine to work for the Mets,” says Alexander. But he would only spend one season with the Mets minor league team after discovering a country singer by the name of Patty Lovelace, later changed to Loveless, in a small, seedy bar in North Carolina.

“She just blew me away and I wondered why she was in this club,” says Alexander. “I introduced myself and I thought she was incredible. She told me her backstory about being a teenager in Nashville, being mentored by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, and working with the Wilburn Brothers.”

Alexander says he felt that Loveless was too talented to be playing in small bars throughout North Carolina so he dropped his baseball job and decided to become her manager. “It was a labor of love but I knew she was a star and I tried to help her get there,” says Alexander. “If she didn’t need me and if I didn’t need her, both of our lives would’ve been much different.”

Loveless later would go on to sign with MCA Nashville and become a country star winning two Grammy Awards and becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Alexander then moved back to New York and felt confident he could help discover other artists so he, along with a few partners, started Straight Up Management in the late 1980s.

Patty Loveless with John “Alexander” Arezzi at Madison Square Garden, 1994

The management company only lasted a few years and after it went under, Alexander decided to dabble in the world of professional wrestling, his first love since he was a kid growing up on Long Island.

“I was a wrestling fan since I was a young kid, I started watching it at 7-years-old and then later on as a teenager, I started my own little fan club location and got a press pass to be one of the ringside photographers at Madison Square Garden,” says Alexander. He even threw himself in the ring when he was a young adult under the name “John Anthony.”

Alexander started his own wrestling radio talk show in 1989 called Pro Wrestling Spotlight, and even started promoting wrestling fan conventions.

“There had never been anything like that in pro wrestling before and I felt that there was a market for it. I started it and it became the first of the wrestling fan conventions. I did that for several years,” says Alexander.

The wrestling world began to become too toxic and exhausting, says Alexander. Having to cover tons of steroid abuse stories as well as sexual assault allegations by wrestlers, Alexander felt he needed to switch gears yet again.

“I fell in love with country music because of [Loveless], listening to her on the radio and seeing her on outlets like TNN,” says Alexander. “When the wrestling part of my journey was getting old and weary to me and I had no stability, I tried to venture into the country [market] and got a job at a little startup station on Long Island called WMJC.”

After years at multiple country radio stations in the New York Metropolitan area, Alexander made his way to Nashville to work for GAC. He had already been visiting Nashville while working for the various radio stations in New York and was in love with Music City.

“When given the opportunity to go to country music and open up this office [at GAC] and work with all the labels on their marketing of artists whether they were A-listers or emerging, it was a dream come true for me. And I wound up to this day being in Nashville, it’s my home now.”

He would go on to spend 10 years with GAC and then move to Black River Entertainment, where he worked with artists like Sarah Darling, who he is still close friends with today, and then later discovering Ballerini who approached him one afternoon at a Mellow Mushroom.

“Even though I discovered her it’s not talked about a lot and not many people know the true story of how Kelsea got into Black River and all the help that was given to her before she exploded,” says Alexander. “All I can say is that I’m proud of her because I knew how driven she was when I was involved with her, I knew that she was going to find a way to make it.”

Pictured (L-R): John “Alexander” Arezzi under the name “John Anthony” with WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes in 1978. Photo: George Napolitano.

Alexander has lived his life by going with the flow, taking the opportunities as they come and not being afraid of change or new challenges. “You don’t know what’s going to happen day to day and you don’t know what opportunities will happen. One thing I know about myself is that I’ve never been afraid to blow the house up and start again, I’ve always been open to any opportunity that I would have a passion for.”

After resigning from Bandtwango as its CEO in May of 2020, Alexander is now back working in wrestling with a new podcast called Pro Wrestling Spotlight: Then and Now where he goes through and revisits every episode of his original wrestling radio show. “Each and every week we highlight what the show was 30 years prior in chronological order,” says Alexander.

Now with his memoir out, Alexander is excited for fans to get a glimpse into his crazy life and how he was able to find success in all the career paths he took. “I’m excited for people to read the whole journey especially the little twists of fate like sitting in a restaurant and you meet a Kelsea Ballerini or randomly going into a night club and you meet a Patty Loveless,” says Alexander.

“The thing I want most people to know about the book and my story is that it’s inspirational if you have a dream, if you have a goal, you don’t give up and even if you fail, if you can reinvent yourself and try it again, you do it.”