Curb | Word Entertainment Ups Ciara Shortridge To Publishing VP Role

Ciara Shortridge

Curb | Word Entertainment has promoted Ciara Shortridge to VP, Country Publishing/A&R. She will help oversee the creative operations of the country roster alongside VP, Country Publishing & Creative, Colt Murski.

Curb | Word Music Publishing has had recent success with chart-topping hits that include Dylan Scott’s “Nobody” and “My Girl,” Luke Bryan’s “Down To One,” Jimmie Allen’s “Make Me Want To,” Lee Brice’s “Rumor” and current hit “Memory I Don’t Mess With,” and many more.

Chairman Mike Curb shares, “We are proud to welcome Ciara as VP, Country Publishing/A&R and we appreciate the wonderful creative contributions she has already made to our company, including helping to lead us through the challenges of this COVID period in a positive way.”

Shortridge is a NY native and a graduate of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont University. She has been with the company since the beginning of 2020, and most recently served as Senior Creative Director. Prior to Curb, Shortridge spent 10 years at Disney Music Publishing Nashville.

“I am so thankful for this incredibly exciting opportunity to help lead our team and it’s deep-rooted legacy into its next chapter of successes!” says Shortridge. “Representing the company and roster in this new role is a very meaningful, full-circle season in my life.”

NOW ACCEPTING: Applications For MusicRow’s N.B.T. Music Industry Directory

Applications are now open for the N.B.T. (Next Big Thing) Music Industry Directory, which will be featured in MusicRow‘s Touring/N.B.T. print issue which comes out on December 1.

MusicRow‘s N.B.T. Music Industry Directory is the first and only list of its kind, showcasing Nashville music business professionals who are rising through the ranks. This class of industry members occupy mid-level roles at their respective companies, and are on a trajectory of excellence to become future leaders in the Nashville music industry. Applicants should ideally have a minimum of 5 or more years experience in the music industry.

This Touring/N.B.T. print edition also includes the annual Next Big Thing artists listing, with editorial features focused on the touring segment of our industry.

To apply for inclusion in this year’s edition of the N.B.T. Music Industry Directory, please click here to access the application form. (Please note that not all submissions are guaranteed to be listed in the directory.)

Note: If you are submitting multiple candidates, you will need to click on SUBMIT at the bottom of the form before entering another candidate. Head shots can be sent to [email protected].

New submissions for the directory close on Friday, September 24, 2021. For questions, email [email protected].

NSAI Virtually Honors 2021 Nashville Songwriter Awards Winners

The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) has announced the winners of the 4th annual Nashville Songwriter Awards. The winners were honored by NSAI and presenting partner City National Bank through an online presentation this afternoon (Sept. 14).

The Song of the Year honor was awarded to Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby and Miranda Lambert for their song “Bluebird.” This hopeful tune was nominated for Song of the Year at the 54th CMA Awards, the 56th ACM Awards, and for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Ethan Hulse, a three-time Grammy nominated and Dove Award winning songwriter, was honored with Songwriter of the Year. Hulse, who wrote the recent Christian hits “Rescue Story,” “Stand In Your Love” and “The Father’s House,” also recently took home Songwriter of the Year at the BMI Christian Awards.

Country hitmaker Luke Combs was awarded with Songwriter-Artist of the Year. Combs achieved his eleventh consecutive No. 1 hit, “Forever After All,” this year and was recently revealed as a nominee for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year (“Forever After All”) for the upcoming 55th CMA Awards.

NSAI also honored many songwriters in the highly-coveted ’10 Songs I Wish I’d Written’ category, which are voted on by Professional Songwriter Members of NSAI honoring the work of their songwriter peers. Songs eligible for the award have at least one Nashville-based writer and charted in the Top 20 of Billboard Airplay chart in the Christian, country, mainstream top 40, and/or rock genres during the eligible period. The NSAI Song Of The Year is the highest vote-getter.

The ’10 Songs I Wish I’d Written’ winners include:

“7 Summers” – Written by: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Morgan Wallen

“Ain’t Always The Cowboy” – Written by: Brandon Kinney, Josh Thompson

“Chasin’ You” – Written by: Jamie Moore, Morgan Wallen, Craig Wiseman

“Die From A Broken Heart” – Written by: Taylor Dye, Maddie Marlow, Deric Ruttan, Jonathan Singleton

“Hell Of A View” – Written by: Casey Beathard, Eric Church, Monty Criswell

“I Called Mama” – Written by: Marv Green, Lance Miller, Jimmy Yeary

“I Hope” – Written by: Gabby Barrett, Zachary Kale, Jon Nite

“I Hope You’re Happy Now” – Written by: Luke Combs, Randy Montana, Carly Pearce, Jonathan Singleton

“One Night Standards” – Written by: Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde

“Starting Over” – Written by: Mike Henderson, Chris Stapleton

Viewers who missed the premiere have the opportunity to revisit the awards on the Bluebird Cafe’s official YouTube channel or NSAI’s official Facebook page.

Luke Combs Jumps Into Top 10 On MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart

Luke Combs. Photo: Zack Massey

Luke Combs jumps from No. 15 to No. 6 this week on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart. The country hitmaker is a co-writer on three of his charting songs, including “Forever After All,” “Cold as You,” and “South On Ya.”

Combs’ “Cold As You” and “South On Ya” co-writer Jonathan Singleton rises one spot to No. 2. In addition to his Combs co-writes, Singleton is credited on Lainey Wilson’s “Things A Man Oughta Know” and Zac Brown Band’s “Same Boat.”

Ashley Gorley maintains his position at No. 1 on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart for the ninth consecutive week.

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.

Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani Celebrate Back-To-Back No. 1 Hits

Pictured (L-R): “Nobody But You” co-writers and artists Ross Copperman (BMI), Tommy Lee James (BMI), Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, and Josh Osborne. (Not pictured: co-writer Shane McAnally). Photo: Steve Lowry

Blake Shelton recently celebrated his 27th and 28th Country Airplay No. 1 singles, “Nobody But You” and “Happy Anywhere,” with his wife and featured artist, Gwen Stefani.

Both Platinum-certified singles have racked up over 200 million streams a piece and mark Stefani’s first and second No. 1 country singles.

“Nobody But You” was co-written by Ross Copperman (BMI), Tommy Lee James (BMI), Josh Osborne (ASCAP), and Shane McAnally (ASCAP/GMR). Osborne, Copperman and Matt Jenkins (ASCAP) co-wrote “Happy Anywhere.” All songwriters were honored by the songs’ performing artists and their respective publishers on the BMI Creative Patio in one of the first celebrations of its kind since the start of the pandemic.

“Happy Anywhere” co-writers and artists Ross Copperman (BMI), Matt Jenkins (ASCAP), Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, and Josh Osborne (ASCAP. Photo: Steve Lowry

The outdoor party featured presentations from BMI’s Clay Bradley, Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito, and executives from Combustion Music, SMACKSongs, Sony Music Publishing, Still Working Music Group, Tape Room Music, and Warner Chappell Music.

Later that evening, The Voice coach performed for a packed house at Bridgestone Arena for his “Friends and Heroes 2021” Tour.

Aldean, Underwood Stay At No. 1 On MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart

“If I Didn’t Love You” by Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood is the reigning No. 1 single on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart. The song got a boost of +88 spins, inching it ahead of the No. 2 position by just 16 spins. This will be its second week at No. 1 earning a cumulative 8,182 spins in just seven weeks on the chart.

“If I Didn’t Love You” was written by Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, John Morgan and Lydia Vaughan and produced by Michael Knox.

Aldean is currently on the road for his Back in the Saddle Tour with Hardy and Lainey Wilson serving as support. Underwood will begin her first-ever residency, REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency in December with additional dates in 2022.

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

Nominees Revealed For 55th CMA Awards

The Country Music Association has revealed the nominees for the 55th Annual CMA Awards, which airs live from Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 10 (8:00 – 11:00 p.m. EST) on ABC.

Eric Church and Chris Stapleton lead the nominations, with five each. Other top nominees are Gabby Barrett along with mix engineer Jason Hall and producer Jay Joyce each with four nominations. Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris and Chris Young each earned three nominations a piece.

The nominees for the night’s top honor, the Entertainer of the Year award, include Church, Stapleton, Combs, Lambert, and Carrie Underwood.

Lambert also receives a nomination in the Female Vocalist category, and is joined by last year’s winner Morris, as well as McBryde, Barrett, and Carly Pearce. This is Barrett and Pearce’s first nomination for Female Vocalist Of The Year.

Church, Combs, and Stapleton appear in the Male Vocalist of the Year category alongside Dierks Bentley and Thomas Rhett.

Kane Brown received his first ever CMA Awards nomination this year. Other first-time CMA Awards nominees include Mickey Guyton, Ryan Hurd, Dave Cohen, Corey Crowder, Jordan Davis, Paul DiGiovanni, Matt Dragstrem, Jacob Durrett, Aaron Eshuis, Chris Galland, Charlie Handsome, Nicolette Hayford, Martin Johnson, Emily Landis, Manny Marroquin, Jim McCormick, Sean Moffitt, Travis Nicholson, Drew Parker, Ed Pryor, Teddy Reimer, Running Bear and Aaron Sterling.

Notably, Morgan Wallen‘s blockbuster album Dangerous: The Double Album is nominated for Album of the Year. Wallen was not eligible to be nominated for individual artist categories (Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year categories), but he was eligible for categories that honor artistic works (Single, Song, Album, Musical Event, and Music Video of the Year categories).

“This year, we have the opportunity to honor the superstars, new artists and emerging creators who are paving the way for country music,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “These nominees exemplify the creativity, passion and heart that make our country music community unlike any other genre. The breadth of voices is evident in this year’s nominations, and we could not be more thrilled to celebrate our deserving nominees in November!”

On the radio front, two MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart reporting stations earned nominations, WXFL for Station of the Year (Small Market) and WPAP’s Shane Collins and Tess Connell for Personality of the Year (Small Market).

Winners of the 55th Annual CMA Awards will be determined in a final round of voting by eligible voting CMA members. The third and final ballot will be emailed to CMA members Thursday, Oct. 1. Voting for the CMA Awards final ballot ends Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 6:00 p.m. CT.

See the full list of final nominees for the 55th Annual CMA Awards below:

Entertainer Of The Year
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Miranda Lambert
Chris Stapleton
Carrie Underwood

Female Vocalist Of The Year
Gabby Barrett
Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris
Carly Pearce

Male Vocalist Of The Year
Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

Vocal Group Of The Year
Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo Of The Year
Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

New Artist Of The Year
Jimmie Allen
Ingrid Andress
Gabby Barrett
Mickey Guyton

Musician Of The Year
Jenee Fleenor – Fiddle
Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar
Aaron Sterling – Drums
Ilya Toshinskiy – Banjo
Derek Wells – Guitar

Album Of The Year (Award goes to Artist, Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s))
29 – Carly Pearce
– Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Jimmy Robbins
– Mix Engineer: Ryan Gore
– Record Label: Big Machine Records

Dangerous: The Double Album – Morgan Wallen
– Producers: Dave Cohen, Matt Dragstrem, Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome and Joey Moi
– Mix Engineer: Joey Moi
– Record Label: Big Loud Records / Republic Records

Heart – Eric Church
– Producer: Jay Joyce
– Mix Engineers: Jason Hall and Jay Joyce
– Record Label: EMI Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

Skeletons – Brothers Osborne
– Producer: Jay Joyce
– Mix Engineers: Jason Hall and Jay Joyce
– Record Label: EMI Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
– Producers: Dave Cobb and Chris Stapleton
– Mix Engineer: Vance Powell
– Record Label: Mercury Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

Single Of The Year (Award goes to Artist(s), Producer(s) and Mix Engineer(s))
“Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown
– Producers: Corey Crowder and Chris Young
– Mix Engineer: Sean Moffitt
– Record Label: RCA Nashville

“The Good Ones” – Gabby Barrett
– Producers: Ross Copperman and Zach Kale
– Mix Engineers: Chris Galland and Manny Marroquin
– Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

“Hell Of A View” – Eric Church
– Producer: Jay Joyce
– Mix Engineers: Jason Hall and Jay Joyce
– Record Label: EMI Records Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

“One Night Standards” – Ashley McBryde
– Producer: Jay Joyce
– Mix Engineers: Jason Hall and Jay Joyce
– Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

“Starting Over” – Chris Stapleton
– Producers: Dave Cobb and Chris Stapleton
– Mix Engineer: Vance Powell
– Record Label: Mercury Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

Song Of The Year (Award goes to Songwriter(s))
“Forever After All”
– Songwriters: Luke Combs, Drew Parker, Robert Williford

“The Good Ones”
– Songwriters: Gabby Barrett, Zach Kale, Emily Landis, Jim McCormick

“Hell Of A View”
– Songwriters: Casey Beathard, Eric Church, Monty Criswell

“One Night Standards”
– Songwriters: Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally, Ashley McBryde

“Starting Over”
– Songwriters: Mike Henderson, Chris Stapleton

Musical Event Of The Year (Award goes to Artist(s) and Producer(s))
“Buy Dirt” – Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan
– Producer: Paul DiGiovanni
– Record Label: MCA Nashville / Universal Music Group Nashville

“Chasing After You” – Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris
– Producers: Aaron Eshuis and Teddy Reimer
– Record Label: Arista Nashville

“Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” – Elle King & Miranda Lambert
– Producer: Martin Johnson
– Record Label: RCA Records / Columbia Nashville

“Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown
– Producers: Corey Crowder and Chris Young
– Record Label: RCA Nashville

“Half Of My Hometown” – Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)
– Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Ross Copperman and Jimmy Robbins
– Record Label: Black River Entertainment

Music Video Of The Year (Award goes to Artist(s) and Director(s))
“Chasing After You” – Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris
– Director: TK McKamy

“Famous Friends” – Chris Young with Kane Brown
– Director: Peter Zavadil

“Gone” – Dierks Bentley
– Directors: Wes Edwards, Travis Nicholson, Ed Pryor, Running Bear and Sam Siske

“Half Of My Hometown” – Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney)
– Director: Patrick Tracy

“Younger Me” – Brothers Osborne
– Director: Reid Long


Finalists For Broadcast Personality Of The Year (by market size):
Weekly National
“American Country Countdown” (Kix Brooks) – Westwood One
“Country Countdown USA” (Lon Helton) – Westwood One
“Country Gold” (Terri Clark) – Westwood One
“The Crook & Chase Countdown” (Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase) – iHeartMedia
“Honky Tonkin’ with Tracy Lawrence” (Tracy Lawrence and Patrick Thomas) – Compass Media Networks

Daily National
“The Big D and Bubba Show” (Derek Haskins, Sean Powell, Patrick Thomas and Carsen Humphreville) – Compass Media Networks
“The Bobby Bones Show” (Bobby Bones, Amy Brown, “Lunchbox” Dan Chappell, Eddie Garcia, “Morgan #2” Huelsman, “Raymundo” Ray Slater, “Scuba Steve” Stephen Spradlin, “Mike D” Rodriguez and “Utility Hillary” Borden) – Premiere Networks
“CMT After Midnite” (Cody Alan) – Premiere Networks
“The Lia Show” (Lia Knight) – Westwood One
“The Music Row Happy Hour” (Buzz Brainard and Ania Hammar) – Sirius XM Satellite Radio

Major Market
“Angie Ward” – WUBL, Atlanta, Ga.
“Double-L” (Lois Lewis) – KNIX, Phoenix, Ariz.
“Hawkeye in the Morning with Hawkeye and Michelle” (“Hawkeye” Mark Louis Rybczyk and Michelle Rodriguez) – KSCS, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
“The Morning Bull: George, Mo & Cowboy Dave” (George Lindsey, “Mo” Monica Lunsford and “Cowboy Dave” Bayless) – KILT, Houston, Texas
“Tampa Bay’s Morning Krewe with J.R., Launa and Kevin” (“J.R.” Jon Jaus, Launa Phillips and Kevin Ebel) – WQYK, Tampa Bay, Fla.

Large Market
“Jesse Tack” – WUBE, Cincinnati, Ohio
“Jim, Deb & Kevin” (Jim Denny, Deborah Honeycutt and Kevin Freeman) – WFMS, Indianapolis, Ind.
“Lexi & Banks” (“Lexi” Elena Abatgis and “Banks” Jared Danielson) – KUBL, Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo, Utah
“Ridder, Scott and Shannen” (“Ridder” Shaun Ridderbush, Scott Dolphin, and Shannen Oesterreich) – WMIL, Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.
“The Wayne D Show” (“Wayne D” Danielson and Taylor Rosenberg) – WSIX, Nashville, Tenn.

Medium Market
“Brent Michaels” – KUZZ, Bakersfield, Calif.
“Ellis and Bradley Show” (Bill Ellis and Beth Bradley) – WSSL, Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.
“Julie and DJ in the Morning” (“Julie K” Kansy and “D.J. Thee Trucker” Dale Sellers) – WPCV, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.
“Mo & StyckMan” (“Mo” Melissa Wagner and “StyckMan” Greg Owens) – WUSY, Chattanooga, Tenn.
“Steve & Gina In The Morning” (Steve Lundy and Gina Melton) – KXKT, Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa

Small Market
“Barrett, Fox & Berry” (Bill Barrett, Tim Fox and Tracy Berry) – KKNU, Eugene-Springfield, Ore.
“Dr. Shane and Tess in the Morning” (Shane Collins and Tess Connell) – WPAP, Panama City, Fla.
“KTTS Morning Show with Nancy & Rick” (Nancy Simpson and Rick Moore) – KTTS, Springfield, Mo.
“Liz & Scotty in the Morning” (Liz Del Grosso and Scotty Cox) – KCLR, Columbia, Mo.
“Steve, Ben and Nikki” (Steve Stroud, Ben Walker and Nikki Thomas) – WXBQ, Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.


Finalists For Radio Station Of The Year (by market size):  
Major Market
KNIX – Phoenix, Ariz.
KNUC – Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.
KYGO – Denver-Boulder, Colo.
WNSH – New York City, N.Y.
WXTU – Philadelphia, Pa.
WYCD – Detroit, Mich.

Large Market
WFMS – Indianapolis, Ind.
WMIL – Milwaukee-Racine, Wis.
WQDR – Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
WSIX – Nashville, Tenn.
WUBE – Cincinnati, Ohio

Medium Market
KATM – Modesto, Calif.
KXKT – Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa
KUZZ – Bakersfield, Calif.
WQMX – Akron, Ohio
WXCY – Wilmington, Del.

Small Market
KCLR – Columbia, Mo.
KTTS – Springfield, Mo.
WBYT – South Bend, Ind.
WXBQ – Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.
WXFL – Florence-Muscle Shoals, Ala.
WYCT – Pensacola, Fla.

Kelli Turner Exits SESAC, Scott Jungmichel Appointed President/COO, Sam Kling Promoted, Shannan Hatch Returns [Exclusive]

Pictured (clockwise from top left): Shannan Hatch (VP, Creative Services, SESAC Performing Rights), Scott Jungmichel (President and COO, SESAC Performing Rights), Kelli Turner (outgoing President and COO of SESAC), Sam Kling (Chief Creative Officer, SESAC Performing Rights)

John Josephson, Chairman and CEO of SESAC, announced today (Sept. 8) the departure of Kelli Turner, President and COO of SESAC, as well as several recent promotions within SESAC Performing Rights. Turner is leaving SESAC to pursue a new opportunity outside of the music industry.

“Kelli and I joined SESAC at the same time, and I want to say how grateful I am to her for all that she has done to help shape and build SESAC over the past seven years. Her departure will of course be a loss for SESAC, but it’s a tribute to her leadership and hard work that we feel confident about the future. She has helped us build a strong, seasoned management team, and together we will continue on the successful path that SESAC has followed for many years,” says Josephson, “We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Scott Jungmichel, previously EVP, Royalty Distribution and Research Services and CIO, has been appointed President and COO of SESAC Performing Rights. During his 28 years with the company, Jungmichel has been responsible for all Royalty Distribution and Research Services, as well as SESAC’s technology infrastructure and IT operations. Scott will continue to be based in Nashville.

Sam Kling, who previously served as SVP, Creative Operations, has been appointed Chief Creative Officer of SESAC Performing Rights. Since joining SESAC in 2014, Kling has created an effective client services operation across the New York, Nashville, London and Los Angeles offices, as well as elevated the company’s affiliate roster by collaborating with some of the industry’s most significant songwriters, music publishers and managers. Kling will continue to be based in Los Angeles.

Additionally, Shannan Hatch has returned to SESAC Performing Rights as VP, Creative Services, where she will lead the Nashville-based creative services team in supporting the company’s affiliated songwriters and publishers. Hatch previously worked in this role until September 2019.

Ashley Gorley Spends Eighth Consecutive Week Atop MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart

Ashley Gorley. Photo: Josh Ulmer

Ashley Gorley is spending his eighth consecutive week at No. 1 on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart. Gorley is a co-writer on the following charting songs: “Beers On Me” (Dierks Bentley, Hardy & Breland), “Country Again” (Thomas Rhett), “Give Heaven Some Hell” (Hardy), “Sand In My Boots” (Morgan Wallen), “You Should Probably Leave” (Chris Stapleton), and “Good Things” and “Steal My Love” (Dan + Shay).

Hunter Phelps and Jonathan Singleton remain at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

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.

Charlie Worsham: ‘Life’s Been Really Great Here Lately’ [Interview]

Photo: Jason Myers

Beloved musician Charlie Worsham is in a sweet season of life. In April, he and his wife Kristen welcomed their first child, son Gabriel Thomas; and in July, Worsham released his anticipated new EP, Sugarcane. The project follows Worsham’s 2017 album, Beginning of Things, which received critical acclaim across the board.

“Life’s been really great here lately. In the midst of this pandemic, I’ve been so excited to be able to continue to work. The session work that’s happened in the last year has been a godsend, and getting to be around Kristen during the pregnancy was amazing,” Worsham beams.

The sweetness shines through on Worsham’s Warner Music Nashville release, Sugarcane. Produced by Jay Joyce, the six-song release finds the singer-songwriter marveling on endearing romance (“Sugarcane,” “Half Drunk”), frustrating disappointment (“Fist Through This Town”), hope (“Believe In Love”), and what really matters in life (“For The Love,” “Hang On To That”).

Worsham wrote the title track on the flight home from his honeymoon. “I’m the one person who brought a guitar to his honeymoon,” Worsham quips.

“Kristen had gone out to get some coffee or something and I was messing with little riff. I put in my phone, as we do, and I didn’t think anything of it. On the last full day there, we signed up for this tour of a farm on a mountain side. We rode horses, pet the chickens, and tried cheese that they make and all this stuff. At the end of the tour you got to take a strip of sugarcane and use this hand crank to get the juice out of it.

“These things all got planted in my brain and on the flight home, I started writing the song. I think it’s representative of the full set of tunes because of everything that has happened for me since the last time the world heard from me. The last time the world heard from me I was sandwiched between Sam Hunt and Kip Moore on tour and I was not in a good place, I was very angry. That’s where ‘Fist Through This Town’ comes into the story. But eventually I stopped writing songs for everybody else and I started writing songs for this one person. I was trying to get Kristen to laugh or to get her to think I was sweet. That’s where these songs started happening.”

Worsham’s muse is the subject of a few songs on the project, another being “Half Drunk.”

“I first told Kristen that I loved her outside the Station Inn after my Beginning of Things album release. It was April, 2017. The week before the record came out, my day-to-day manager quit management, my publisher had dropped me and I owed him 10 copyrights, and I could feel in my gut already that this record wasn’t going to be my Gambler like it was for Don Schlitz. But I was in love with this girl and I worked up the courage to tell her. That’s where the song comes from.

“The title is actually from a line of dialogue and an episode of Twin Peaks, which we binged early in the pandemic. The line was ‘half drunk, half joking and half crazy.’ I wrote it with Jay Knowles.”

“Believe In Love,” co-written by Worsham and Jimmy Bell, tells the musician’s guiding life principles. “I believe our better days are up ahead and not behind / I believe we’ll have our struggles but they’ll get sweeter with time,” Worsham sings.

“It’s my story of the roadmap that I was raised and sent away from home with for how to live and love. And then of course the future that I’m building now with my wife.”

Worsham’s romantic, hopeful and wise EP Sugarcane is available everywhere now.