Bobby Karl Works The Room: CMHOF Inducts Marty Stuart, Dean Dillon, & Hank Williams Jr.

Pictured (L-R): Country Music Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees Dean Dillon, Marty Stuart and Hank Williams Jr. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Chapter 650

The long-delayed inductions of the 2020 Country Music Hall of Fame honorees were finally staged — in style — on Sunday evening (Nov. 21) at the museum’s CMA Theater.

Performances by 10 stars honored Marty Stuart, Dean Dillon and Hank Williams Jr. during a three-hour presentation attended by a who’s-who of the Nashville music biz. Standing ovations abounded from the vaccinated crowd.

Marty, Dean and Hank were told they were to become the latest members of the Hall in February 2020. Then came the COVID lockdown, so no ceremony was staged. As we all know now, that interruption of our regular lives is now approaching its second anniversary.

Connie Smith performs onstage for the 2021 Medallion Ceremony. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

“I hope you guys enjoy this long-awaited night as much as I plan to,” said the CMA’s Sarah Trahern in welcoming the throng. The delay has been so long that Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young asked for a moment of silence for the six ( ! ) Hall of Famers who have died since we last gathered — Kenny Rogers, Harold Reid of The Statler Brothers, Charlie Daniels, Tom T. Hall, Don Everly and Charley Pride.

As always, Young presided over the ceremony. Following a video biography about Marty, Pastor Evelyn Hubbard of Tunica, Mississippi took to her B-3 organ to lead the band in a rousing version of his gospel song “It’s Time to Go Home.” Accompanied by Charlie Worsham on lead guitar and harmony vocals, Emmylou Harris rocked out on “Tempted.” Ashley McBryde ably interpreted the honoree’s song “The Observations of a Crow.”

Connie Smith inducted her husband. “This is a special moment,” she said. “Reconciliation is a gift from God, and Marty has that gift. He brings people together. Marty makes people feel better whenever he’s around. I’m as proud of who he is as I am of his accomplishments.”

“I love country music — I still feel like I am an ambassador for it,” commented Marty, adding that the artform deserves the same attention and respect as jazz, classical music and other genres. “I believe God loves country music,” he added. “This [honor] is The Ultimate.”

Dean Dillon (Larry Dean Flynn) was introduced by Young and a video bio that underscored his lonely, unsettled childhood. Kenny Chesney sang the contemplative “A Lot of Things Different” (co-written by Dillon and Hall of Famer Bill Anderson). Inspired by Chris Stapleton’s version of “Tennessee Whiskey” (cowritten by Dillon and Linda Hargrove), Brittney Spencer offered a deep-soul rendition of the song. Then George Strait took the stage to sing the beautifully crafted “The Chair” (Dillon with Hall of Famer Hank Cochran), one of 20 charting titles that the songwriter has penned for the superstar.

Pictured: George Strait speaks onstage for the 2021 Medallion Ceremony. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

King George inducted Dean. “All those years and all those songs, and here we are,” said George. “It’s so hard to dream about [but] I knew you’d be in the Hall of Fame.”

“When I hitch-hiked here in 1973, I wanted to be… a singer and an artist,” Dean reflected, adding that he eventually gave up making records to concentrate fully on songwriting. “It’s the smartest decision I’ve ever made in my life. I want to thank my sweet Lord for giving me this wonderful gift.” The songwriter became teary-eyed as he concluded, “Thank y’all so much.”

Did you know that a teenaged Hank Jr. made a pop, 45-r.p.m. single on Verve Records billed as “Bocephus?” Me neither, but that’s what his video bio revealed.

Shooter Jennings saluted Hank with “Feelin’ Better,” a song that appeared on Hank’s 1977 LP The New South. Eric Church performed with just his guitar, singing an impassioned “A Country Boy Can Survive,” augmented by an autobiographical sung intro. Alan Jackson and his Strayhorns band conjured a lovely mood with an expressive version of “The Blues Man.” Brenda Lee inducted Hank Jr.

“All my rowdy friends ARE coming over tonight,” said Hank. “I WAS born to boogie. And THIS is a family tradition,” he added, referring to his legendary Country Music Hall of Fame father.

Pictured: Alan Jackson performs onstage for the 2021 Medallion Ceremony. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Connie Smith returned to the stage to sing the event’s traditional finale, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

No pressure, performers: The audience included such Hall of Fame legends as Brenda, Connie, Emmylou, Anderson, Ray Stevens, Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn, Don Schlitz, Charlie McCoy, Jimmy Fortune of The Statler Brothers, Teddy Gentry & Randy Owen of Alabama, Jerry Bradley and Randy Travis. Not to mention such talents as Jonell Mosser, Paul Kennerley, Jim Horn, Cheryl White, Shawn Camp, bodacious Hannah Dasher, Jeannie Seely, Donna Stoneman, John Hall and Andrea Zonn, plus DeFord Bailey’s musical kids.

“Tonight is Homecoming,” said Trahern. “Tonight IS the Night,” said Hall of Fame board chair Mary Ann McCready.

Clearly delighted in seeing one another after so long an absence were David & Susana Ross, David & Karen Conrad, Peter & Karen Cronin, John Peets, John Zarling, John Marks, Bill Ivey, Bill Denny, Steve Lasssiter, Mike Milom, Mike Molinar, Michael McCall, Troy Tomlinson, Del Bryant, Melanie Howard, Barry Mazur, Alan Stoker, Lon Helton, Rod Essig, Keith Bilbrey, Jessica Nicholson, Joe Galante, Debbie Linn, Diane Pearson, Tom Roland, Gary Overton, Tony Brown, Jerry & Ernie Williams, Aaron Hartley, Seab Tuck and Ken Levitan. The fashion plate of the night was Dave Pomeroy, resplendent in a red lame jacket and crimson pork-pie hat.

This was the 25th annual Medallion Ceremony, but it was the first for Ken Burns country documentary mastermind Dayton Duncan. He said he was only expecting some acceptance speeches, not the fabulous musical cornucopia that this event always is. I assured him that this is the way Music City does things, year-in, year-out.

Being mindful of health / safety, the usual post-ceremony cocktail supper was scrapped. Perhaps it will return when we induct Ray Charles, Eddie Bayers, Pete Drake and The Judds early next year. Stay tuned.


Dustin Lynch & MacKenzie Porter Score CountryBreakout No. 1

Dustin Lynch and MacKenzie Porter jump to the top of the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart this week with their duet “Thinking ‘Bout You.” This is Porter’s first CountryBreakout No. 1 and Lynch’s third. Lynch is credited as a songwriter on the single alongside Andy Albert, Hunter Phelps, and Will Weatherly.

“Thinking ‘Bout You” tells the exciting and relatable tale of exes reconnecting via a phone conversation: “The chorus was a bit of a one-take, lyrically, for me,” Lynch tells MusicRow of the “Thinking ‘Bout You” writing session. “I was just name-checking places that people have ended up or I’ve done life at through the years. There’s definitely a personal connection to the lyric of the song.” Click here to read the full interview with Dustin Lynch.

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

DISClaimer Single Reviews: Keb’ Mo’, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Olivia Evans

Keb’ Mo’. Photo: Jeremy Cowart

Nashville artists dominate this overview of current Americana recordings.

Admittedly, I’m mixing in some pop with this column, notably by durable Music City rocker Tommy Womack and new popster Olivia Evans. But there’s no denying the Americana bona fides of our own singer-songwriters Erin Enderlin, Gary Burr and Kent Blazy.

Nor those of our Disc of the Day winner, Keb’ Mo’, whose new album I eagerly await. The DISCovery Award goes to the majestic young alt-country vocalist, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, also a Nashvillian.

They’re all competing in a worthy field that also includes Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Single Girl Married Girl and Nathan Bell.

Writers: Nathaniel Rateliff/Sam Cohen/Patrick Meese; Producer: Brad Cook, RMB & Elijah Thompson; Label: Stax
–I was initially put off by this. The choppy tempo and oddball melody just didn’t seem to work with the horn blasts and riffs. But the more I listened, the more it grew on me. The stop-and-go vibe actually becomes quite addictive. As always, Rateliff puts his whole soul into the lead vocal.

OLIVIA EVANS / “Leave It Behind”
Writers: Nash Overstreet/Olivia Schelske/Shane Stevens; Producer: none listed; Label: Interstreet/Middle Gypsy
–Olivia is the daughter of country star Sara Evans, but the sound on her debut EP Level is pop all the way. Her vocal on this sweet-sad heartbreak ballad is a folkie soprano layered with enchanting stacked harmonies. Elsewhere on the CD, you’ll find thumpy rhythm tunes, R&B balladry and hip-hoppy tuneful bangers. Extremely promising.

KEB’ MO’ / “Lean On Me”
Writers: Bill Withers; Producer: Keb’ Mo’, Vince Gill & Tom Hambridge; Label: Rounder
–Nashville’s leading bluesman pays tribute to his buddy Bill Withers, whom we lost last year. Keb’ Mo’ takes this familiar refrain at a gentle, steady pace with a nicely shaded vocal embrace embellished by lovely gospel-quartet harmonies. It is drawn from his forthcoming (Jan. 21) album Good To Be, which will feature collaborations with Darius Rucker (”Good Strong Woman,” the set’s first video), Old Crow Medicine Show (”The Medicine Man”) and Broadway’s Kristin Chenoweth (”Quiet Moments”). Meanwhile, he has landed on Toby Keith’s new album with his song “Old Me Better.”

ERIN ENDERLIN / “If I’m Not In Hell”
Writers: Erin Enderlin/Kimberly Kelly/Kayla Ray; Producer: Erin Enderlin; Label: Black Crow
–As a songwriter, Enderlin has cuts by Alan Jackson (”Monday Morning Church”), Reba, Bill Anderson, Terri Clark, Lee Ann Womack (”Last Call”), Randy Travis, Rodney Crowell, Rhonda Vincent, Luke Bryan (”You Don’t Know Jack”) and more. As a record maker, she specializes in deeply etched portraits of honky-tonk pain. This hard-country ballad is super cool, telling the tale of a grieving woman who drinks away the pain while her life falls apart around her. What a line: “If I’m not in Hell, I’m headed that way.”

TOMMY WOMACK / “Pay It Forward”
Writers: Tommy Womack; Producer: Tommy Womack & Jonathan Bright; Label: Schoolkids
–Longtime Nashville rock hero Tommy Womack turns up the heat on his new CD I Thought I Was Fine. The set kicks off with this deep-twang, frothing track with Tommy’s droll, dry vocal contrasting with the driving tempo. I have loved him since his days in Government Cheese and The Bis-Quits in the ’90s. He’s survived cancer and a car crash and is still rocking splendidly, I am pleased to report. Buy this record.

CALEB LEE HUTCHINSON / “Slot Machine Syndrome”
Writers: Caleb Lee Hutchinson/Brent Cobb; Producer: Brent Cobb; Label: CLH
–This young Nashville singer-songwriter displays his wondrously deep, warm, country baritone on this swampy, twangy, melancholy honky-tonk ballad. It’s guaranteed to hook you and is the title tune of his new EP, which I heartily recommend.

GARY BURR / “Shout a Little Louder”
Writers: Gary Burr; Producer: Gary Burr; Label: GB
–Gary’s pal Ringo Starr plays drums on this track, but the real reason to listen is the songwriter’s passionate performance of the anti-war lyric. You’ll find the stately peacenik anthem on Gary’s self-penned and produced new CD Shout. He remains one of the coolest dudes in town. Ridiculously talented, too.

KENT BLAZY / “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”
Writers: Kent Blazy/Garth Brooks; Producer: none listed; Label: KB
–This new Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee has a CD appropriately titled Me & My Guitar. The stark, simple musical settings make the lyrics jump out at ya. Especially on this country lyric about an empty, hollow, haunted guy who lost his wife and home and now looks forward to nothing. Blazy’s tender, tremulous vocal quivers with sadness while acoustic guitars ripple around him.

Writers: Daniel Morosi; Producer: Tom Gardner; Label: SGMG
–This folk-pop band’s latest is titled Three Generations of Leaving because it is a song cycle about the trials and tribulations of a mother, daughter and granddaughter who deal with everything from insecurity to drug dependency. Although the album chronicles this in a semi-narrative fashion, the songs can also stand on their own. Lead vocalist Chelsea Coy carries this languid, mournful, mesmerizing track with minor-key organ and guitar accompaniment. Elsewhere, you’ll find girl-group harmonies, Appalachian banjo, a hillbilly waltz, jazzy chords and more.

NATHAN BELL / “Retread Cadillac”
Writers: Nathan Bell; Producer: Brian Brinkeroff & Frank Swart; Label: NeedtoKnow
–Bell is an intense showman who champions working people, takes Fascists to task, waves a BLM banner and honors truth in the political, poetic lyrics of his new collection Red, White and American Blues. Guest vocalists include Aubrie Sellers, Patty Griffin and Nashville’s supreme soul sister Regina McCrary. The last named is heard on this slow-burn ode about a Black ex-con who makes his bitter way through a new life on the road while blues guitars moan along. Gripping.

Joe Fisher Relaunches Boom, Adds Shaina Botwin As Sr. Director, A&R [Exclusive]

Pictured: Shaina Botwin

Joe Fisher is relaunching Boom, the publishing company he, Keith Urban and hitmaker Ross Copperman started in 2017.

Fisher is expanding on the success Boom has had with writers Jimmy Robbins (“Half Of My Hometown,” “The Bones,” “Sure Be Cool If You Did”), Boom’s first signee, and Jordan Minton (“Good Time,” “Best Thing Since Backroads”). Now the roster includes Minton as well as hit writer Rodney Clawson (“Amarillo Sky,” “I Saw God Today,” “American Kids”), and writer-artists James Barker and Erin Kinsey.

“Being fortunate enough to add a legend like Rodney Clawson to the team is invaluable. He just raises the bar on so many levels. Jordan Minton is on the fast track to being a superstar songwriter. He just puts in the work and gets the job done,” Fisher tells MusicRow. “I am really excited to announce we’ve signed a couple of really talented singer/songwriters in Erin Kinsey and James Barker who fronts the James Barker Band. They are both making great music and just getting started.”

Fisher has also expanded the Boom staff, adding Shaina Botwin as Sr. Director, A&R. Botwin began her career at age 18 as Digital Marketing Manager at Broken Bow/BMG. Most recently she worked at Creative Nation for almost four years before joining Fisher to relaunch Boom.

“From my very first meeting with Joe, we both felt very excited about what was to come with Boom,” Botwin shares. “Being a part of this new vision and new era of Boom is very exciting to me. There is an opportunity to really grow something from ground zero with a new roster and new team.”

Now the two are building upwards, with visions of a familial atmosphere to develop writers at Boom.

“My goals start at wanting to help the songwriter first,” Fisher says. “I want to build a tight-knit publishing house at Boom with a great atmosphere that people want to write for.”

Botwin adds, “We’re all here because we’re fans of music and to get to be a publisher is pretty much the closest you can be to that creative process. That’s what drives me and has always been my passion, getting to surround myself with the insanely talented songwriters that we get to work with.”

Deana Carter On ‘Strawberry Wine’: ‘I Will Never Tire Of Singing That Song’ [Interview]

Deana Carter

Beloved entertainer Deana Carter is commemorating the 25th anniversary of her 5x Platinum debut album Did I Shave My Legs for This?, containing country No. 1s “We Danced Anyway,” “How Do I Get There,” and her titanic “Strawberry Wine.”

To celebrate, Carter released 25th anniversary edition of the album, which included unreleased tracks and a version of “Strawberry Wine” with Ashley McBryde, Lauren Alaina, Martina McBride, Kylie Morgan, and Vince Gill. A new version of the title track is also included with guest vocals from McBryde, Gill, Sara Evans and Terri Clark.

Carter is also headlining the Ryman tonight (Nov. 18) for the very first time to celebrate the release. Special guests Charles Esten, Breland and more are set to appear.

In an interview with MusicRow, Carter spoke about the staying power of her debut album, ’90s country, and her Ryman show tonight.

MusicRow: You and Lainey Wilson were a smash as presenters at the CMA Awards last week, even getting the whole audience to sing “Strawberry Wine” along with you. How fun was that?

I was absolutely blown away by the whole arena singing “Strawberry Wine” with us, all of the artists singing & being so supportive…and the standing ovation just blew me away! The writer for the show, David Wild, told me the CMA’s have never had a standing ovation during a presenter spot. What an unforgettable moment!

I will never be able to thank Robert Deaton enough for giving me the opportunity to have another iconic CMA moment with my new best friend Laney Wilson. When we were rehearsing on Tuesday night, we realized we have family in Louisiana in the same area. It was so great spending time with her and I think that authentic connection made our few minutes presenting the award to Chris Stapleton for Single of the Year really special.

You welcomed a slew of guest artists on the re-release of Did I Shave My Legs for This? What did these voices bring to the project?

It was really important to me to have guest artists on this 25th anniversary re-release and to have ones that I connected with at some point or another.

I have written with Lauren Alaina and she and Ashley McBryde did a special appearance at the ACM Honors show, so that was a great segue to have them join me again. Martina McBride came out a little before me and I always looked up to her. I have also written with her in the past…so I really wanted her to be a part of it.

Terri Clark and Sara Evans and I have worked together over the years and I truly love their unique artistry and senses of humor, so they had to be with me on Shave.

Kylie Morgan is a new artist with such a distinct voice that really stands out, so that was important to include a brand new unique artist in the mix.

And having Vince Gill play guitar on the new collab tracks meant everything to me because he supported the Shave album when it came out in 1996 by stopping by my in-store at Tower Records on West End and had so many great things to say about me as a new artist from the very beginning. That was a HUGE deal in the community embracing my record, I believe. Also, I lost my daddy in 2010 (Fred Carter, Jr.) who was one the amazing A-team Nashville guys on the Row, so I just had to have Vince featured in his absence. That was super special to me.

What songs were you most excited to re-release with this project?

I am so excited for the world to hear our new versions of “Strawberry Wine” and “Did I Shave My Legs For This?” with the collaborations. I so hope that radio will play the new versions so the other artists get their moment in the spotlight on these songs. They are just so special.

I want them to climb the charts, I want them to get nominated for awards. I am just so happy to share these!

Some Spotify data recently came out that showed a resurgence of popularity of ’90s country with Gen-Z. “Strawberry Wine” was one of the most-discovered ’90s country songs in the U.S. in the past 3 months. Why do you think that song has been so evergreen?

Thanks to outlets like Spotify and recurrent radio airplay, artists have had the good fortune of being heard through changes in the marketplace. That is not lost on me and I am very grateful to have one of the most recurrently played albums in the genre.

I also believe that the truth in the songs, “Strawberry Wine” in particular, strike such a chord with people is because it either takes them back to a place and time if they’re older, or it connects them to a place and time, like their parents, or good memories, or their friends and family if they’re younger. That song has grown to mean more to more people because it speaks truth about the sweetness of youth and that even when life doesn’t pan out like you thought, it is still okay to hope that it will always pan out for the best.

I will never tire of singing that song and loving all of the fans in groups singing it together, whether families or friends or couples or kids or grandparents or whatever.

You’re headlining the Ryman tonight for the first time ever. How does it feel to get to do that?

I am so excited to be doing my first headline show at the Ryman! Being a Nashville native and a ‘Row kid’, I truly treasure the historical and cultural significance of that beautiful place. I have definitely sung at the Ryman, but never had my own show there. Having Charles Esten, Breland, and some other special guests is going to be even sweeter.

BREAKING: Date & Location Announced For 57th ACM Awards

The Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, where the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards will be held.

After having held its last two awards ceremonies in Nashville, the Academy of Country Music will return to Las Vegas for the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards on Monday, March 7, 2022 at Allegiant Stadium.

In August the Academy announced that its 2022 awards would be livestreamed exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, marking the first time a major awards show has done so exclusively. The event will livesteam on Prime Video in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Information regarding tickets will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We are thrilled to return to Las Vegas to celebrate country music’s party of the year in this incredible brand-new stadium and on the Prime Video streaming service for the first time ever,” says Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “We can’t thank the city of Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium enough for welcoming us for the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards—a party so big only a stadium can hold it!”

R.A. Clark is executive producer of the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards. Whiteside is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

Natalie Hemby Inks With CTM Outlander, Becomes The Company’s First Nashville Signee

Pictured (L-R, seated): Farris, Self & Moore’s Kella Farris, Outlander’s Leslie Ware, Natalie Hemby, CTM’s André de Raaff, Outlander’s Mike McKool Jr., Loeb & Loeb’s Megan Pekar; (L-R, standing): Loeb & Loeb’s Derek Crownover, Loeb & Loeb’s John Rolfe, CTM’s Jitze de Raaff, CTM’s Thomas Deelder, Outlander’s Jaden Warren, Loeb & Loeb’s John Frankenheimer

Grammy-winning songwriter Natalie Hemby has signed an exclusive publishing agreement with CTM Outlander, a joint venture between Outlander, a Dallas-based permanent capital company, and Netherlands-based publishing firm CTM.

The deal covers Hemby’s music rights of the last decade, consisting of of 189 released cuts, 26 unreleased cuts, 8 No. 1 songs and 26 past or current singles. It also includes an exclusive songwriter agreement for her future compositions.

Hemby is the first Nashville signee for CTM Outlander. The company’s CEO, André de Raaff, offers: “We have often looked with great interest at Nashville writers and catalogues but never found the right fit for us. When we came in contact with Natalie, we immediately felt that this is the right match for us. A great catalogue and a gifted outstanding writer with the skills and potential to write for the greatest artists in the world.”

“We love Natalie’s work and she has been a pleasure to work with. We are excited about our future together,” says Outlander’s Leslie Ware.

With eight country No. 1 hits, including Lady A’s “Downtown;” Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” and “Tornado;” Miranda Lambert’s “White Liar,” “Automatic” and “Bluebird;” Jon Pardi’s “Heartache Medication” and Justin Moore’s“You Look Like I Need A Drink,” Hemby is one of Nashville’s most in-demand songwriters.

The multi-talent has also had her share of global success, co-writing “Always Remember Us This Way” and “I’ll Never Love Again” from the blockbuster movie A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. She has had songs cut by Kelly Clarkson, Kacey Musgraves, Sheryl Crow, Lady A, Chris Isaak, and Blake Shelton, with a new release from Alicia Keys on the way. Additionally, Hemby co-wrote the track “Love In Slow Motion” on Ed Sheeran’s new album Equals.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be working with CTM Outlander Music,” Hemby adds. “They have a worldwide influence and are deeply respected across the globe. I’m excited to represent them within the Nashville circles, as well as expand my songwriting circles. This is a career milestone for me and I’m sincerely grateful for this opportunity.”

Niko Moon, Lee Brice Win At SESAC 2021 Nashville Music Awards

Pictured (L-R): SESAC’s Lydia Schultz, Lee Brice, SESAC’s Shannan Hatch

SESAC has revealed the winners for the 2021 Nashville Music Awards, which took place in a digital format. The winners were celebrated on SESAC’s website and social platforms.

Niko Moon was named SESAC’s Songwriter of the Year for the first time. Moon’s career includes several hit songs recorded by Zac Brown Band, including “Homegrown,” “Beautiful Drug,” “Keep Me in Mind,” and “Loving You Easy,” as well as the Rascal Flatts hit “Back To Life.” This year he earned his first No. 1 hit as an artist with “Good Time,” and also co-wrote the chart-topper “Gone,” recorded by Dierks Bentley.

SESAC writer Lee Brice‘s seventh career No. 1, “One Of Them Girls,” was named Song of the Year. The tune swept the Nashville PRO awards this year, winning Song of the Year honors at the SESAC, BMI and ASCAP Nashville awards. “One of Them Girls” was certified double-Platinum by the RIAA in August of this year. It spent three weeks at the No. 1 position on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and has remained in the Top 10 each recurrent week. Additionally, the song has over 390 million on-demand streams to date.

Warner Chappell Music took home the Publisher of the Year accolade, after most recently winning the award in 2019. The publishing company also won the BMI Publisher of the Year honor this year, in a tie with Sony Music Publishing.

Pictured (L-R): SESAC’s Shannan Hatch and Scott Jungmichel, 2021 Songwriter of the Year Niko Moon, SESAC’s ET Brown and Lydia Schultz

Additionally, Walker Hayes’ 16-week No. 1, viral hit “Fancy Like,” written by affiliate Josh Jenkins and published by SMACK Songs and Kobalt, was awarded a new honor, Sync Song of the Year.

“Songwriting and music publishing are at the very core of the music business, and we at SESAC love that we get to honor those contributions,” says Scott Jungmichel, President and COO, SESAC PRO. “We are happy to celebrate our top performed songs over the past year.”

“We are very proud of the songs we awarded this year,” adds Shannan Hatch, Vice President of Creative Services. “Our Nashville creative team worked hard to come up with creative, cozy, and safe gatherings to celebrate the successes of our SESAC songwriter and publisher family who won awards. We all look forward to the future when we can safely celebrate with everyone in person.”

For a complete list of SESAC 2021 Nashville Music Award winners and to see special messages from SESAC Country and Americana honorees, click here.

Scott Clayton Joins UTA As Co-Head Of Global Music, Partner

Scott Clayton

Agent Scott Clayton has joined the ranks at UTA as Co-Head of its Global Music Division and as a Partner. Alongside UTA Global Music Co-Heads Sam Kirby Yoh and David Zedeck, the trio will lead UTA’s New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville hubs to further solidify the agency’s reach across all genres. Clayton will continue to be based in Nashville.

Clayton joins UTA after his recent departure from WME where he was a Partner and Co-Head of the agency’s music division. He has guided the touring careers of successful acts, including John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, Kings of Leon, Dead & Company, Train, My Morning Jacket, Michael Franti, Rodrigo y Gabriela and many others. Prior to WME, Clayton previously worked at CAA for 17 years as a Co-Head of their Nashville office, served as the Co-Chair of the city’s Music City Music Council, and is a member of the Nashville Public Radio Board of Directors.

“Scott is the epitome of what we look for in a leader at UTA: he is a strong advocate for artists and has a long history of supporting and mentoring colleagues,” shares UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer. “Sam and David have done a great job building a world-class team and we are very excited for Scott to join us as we continue to grow our music practice.”

Kirby Yoh and Zedeck jointly add, “We are excited to have Scott join us as a Co-Head of the music group. He is a relentless champion for his clients, and we know that he will bring that same energy to UTA. He is a dedicated leader who has played a significant role in building so many people’s careers and we look forward to collaborating with him as we continue to build our team and do great work for our clients.”

“Over the past few years, I have witnessed the incredible job UTA has done to expand and elevate the music department,” states Clayton. “Sam, David, and the team have shown true innovation and leadership during this unprecedented time and have really delivered for their artists across all genres. I am very excited to be joining a company that has built a culture that is grounded in transparency with colleagues and in service to clients.”

Clayton’s hire follows a series of moves that UTA’s Music Division has made over the last year, adding numerous executives and agents to its ranks across multiple offices. The new hires include agents Jeffrey Hasson, Brett Saliba, Matt Korn, and Emily Wright, who are based in Nashville. In June 2021, UTA opened its new Nashville headquarters at the historic downtown site of the former Carnegie Library in the heart of Music City.

Jesse Frasure, Dallas Davidson, Ben Johnson, More Among Top Winners At BMI Country Awards

Jesse Frasure, Dallas Davidson, Ben Johnson

BMI has revealed its winners list for the 69th Annual BMI Country Awards. The winners were celebrated across all BMI digital and social channels.

Songwriter/producer Jesse Frasure was named Songwriter of the Year for the second time. He penned five of the year’s most-performed songs, including “Almost Maybes,” “Hole In The Bottle,” “One Big Country Song,” “One Thing Right,” and “What’s Your Country Song.”

“One of Them Girls,” co-written by BMI songwriters Dallas Davidson and Ben Johnson, won Song of the Year. The tune was also named Song of the Year at the ASCAP Country Music Awards last week. “One of Them Girls” was recorded by Lee Brice and certified double-Platinum by the RIAA in August of this year. It spent three weeks at the No. 1 position on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and has remained in the Top 10 each recurrent week. Additionally, the song has over 390 million on-demand streams to date. This honor marks the 30th BMI County Award for Davidson and the very first for Johnson.

For the first time in 33 years, the Publisher of the Year designation ended with a tie between Sony Music Publishing and Warner Chappell Music. Collectively, the publishing powerhouses represent a combined total of 36 of this year’s award-winning titles. Sony Music Publishing’s award-winning titles include “One Beer,” “Lovin’ on You,” “I Called Mama,” and “Beer Can’t Fix.” Warner Chappell Music’s titles include “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” “I Love My Country,” and “One Night Standards.”

BMI also celebrated the songwriters and publishers of the 50 most-performed country songs of the year. Among the songs honored are “Bluebird,” “Heartless,” “The Good Ones,” and “I Should Probably Go to Bed.” This year’s winners include 24 first-time BMI Country Award recipients, such as Ashley McBryde, Parker McCollum, and Taylor Kerr of Maddie & Tae. Additional winners include Miranda Lambert, Michael Hardy, Natalie Hemby, Shy Carter, Luke Combs, Kane Brown, and more.

“Songwriters and publishers are the lifeblood of our business and our Nashville community, and it is an honor to represent and award our members every year,” says Clay Bradley, VP, BMI Nashville. “We are thrilled to celebrate the phenomenal songwriters and publishers whose talent and hard work continue to propel our genre to new heights. We look forward to inviting you all back into our BMI home in 2022.”

For a complete list of 2021 BMI Country Award winners and to learn more about your favorite BMI songwriters, click here.