Gershon To Head Warner/Chappell Nashville

Tracy Gershon has joined Warner/Chappell Music in the newly created position of Senior Vice President and Head of A&R, Nashville. After more than twenty years in the music business, she most recently spent three years as Vice President, A&R at Warner Bros. Records Nashville, working with artists including Big & Rich, Faith Hill, and Blake Shelton.

In the new role, the California native will report to Scott Francis, President, Warner/Chappell Music and Chairman and CEO, Warner/Chappell Music U.S. She will play a major role in the company’s signing of songwriters and artists, catalog acquisition, and other new business ventures.

“I am truly excited about Tracy coming on board to lead and oversee our A&R efforts in Nashville,” says Francis. “She is a truly special, creative executive who is able to identify and successfully develop emerging songwriters and artist-songwriters early in their career and help them reach their full potential.”

Gershon has also worked for Sony Music Entertainment in Nashville as Senior Director, A&R, and handling Artist Development for Columbia Records/Epic. During that time she served as an on-air judge and supervising producer for the 2002-2004 seasons of Nashville Star. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of Leadership Music, NARAS, and The Actors Bridge Theater Group.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Warner/Chappell at such an exciting time with Scott running the company,” she says. “He and I share the same vision and love for songwriters and artists. Now more than ever emerging songwriters need strong partners in music publishers to help them not only identify opportunities to partner with recording artists but also help them to take advantage of the opportunities for their songs.”

Bug Appoints Murrah SVP Nashville

Bug Music Publishing has appointed renowned songwriter and independent publisher Roger Murrah to senior vice president, Nashville. Effective immediately, he will be overseeing the Bug Music office in Nashville and will report directly to CEO John Rudolph in Los Angeles. Under the terms of the agreement, Bug Music has also acquired a portion of Murrah Music and its associated catalogs, with Murrah staff writers Neal Coty, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Jon Henderson, Lisa McCallum, Robert Deitch and Matt Dame set to move to the Bug umbrella.

With over three decades in the music industry, Murrah’s key responsibilities will be directing the overall objectives of Bug Nashville, managing the Bug Music collection of copyrights, and developing staff writers with VP John Allen, and Creative Director Sara Johnson, as well as continuing his own songwriting. He was most recently Chairman of Murrah Music Corporation, the company he founded in 1990. He is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Chairman of its Foundation, and was honored as BMI’s Songwriter of the Decade for the ’90s.

“I’m delighted to find someone with Roger’s experience, credentials and contacts to enhance our Nashville office, my hometown,” said Rudolph. “This was an innovative deal that will allow us to pursue some really creative opportunities and redefine the way a publishing company operates. Roger has a rare combination of creative and business skills that complement each other very well.”

“I am very excited to be a part of John Rudolph’s vision for Bug Music here in Nashville. I look forward to working closely with John Allen, Kim Hylick, Sara Johnson, and the entire professional and creative staff, as well as the company’s partners and clients here in Nashville,” Murrah said. “Bug Music has a rich history of putting songs and songwriters first, which has always been my guiding philosophy in this business. Bug’s commitment to Nashville is clearly shown by this unprecedented, innovative opportunity John is giving me. I can’t think of another company I’d rather be with.”

Murrah will be based in the Bug Music Nashville office at 33 Music Square West, Suite 104B. He can be reached at 615-313-7676 or [email protected]

LifeNotes: Scotty Turner

A Nashville memorial service was held this morning, Feb. 18, for the multi-faceted music industry figure Scotty Turner. Nashville Association of Talent Directors president Rod Harris announced Turner’s death at the NATD’s monthly meeting last week.

Turner was a musician, record producer, label executive, music publisher and songwriter. Early in his career, he was the lead guitarist for Tommy Sands, Guy Mitchell and Eddie Fisher. He then became a producer at A&M Records in Los Angeles. His songs were recorded by the label’s Tijuana Brass and The Baja Marimba Band.

His first publishing job was as the general manager of Central Songs, also in Los Angeles. He then became the head of the country division of United Artists Records, which brought him from the West Coast to Nashville. As a record producer, he worked with Slim Whitman, Jimmy Bryant, Del Reeves and Jimmy Clanton. He is particularly associated with Jim Cartwright, whom he worked with for 23 years.

Turner was the writer of more than 400 songs recorded by Eddy Arnold, Nilsson, Dean Martin, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette, Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Dean, Wanda Jackson, Wynn Stewart, Red Simpson, The Del Vikings, Robert Gordon, Skeets McDonald and Gene Vincent among many others. As a songwriter, one of his most notable collaborators was the late Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II and the star of dozens of Hollywood films. Other co-writers included Buddy Holly, Herb Alpert, Nilsson, Doc Pomas, Red Lane, Alex Harvey, Cliffie Stone and Mac Davis.

Turner’s biggest hits include “Shutters and Boards” (Jerry Wallace, 1962 & Slim Whitman, 1970), “When the Wind Blows in Chicago” (Roy Clark, 1965), “Hicktown” (Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1965), “Little Pink Mack” (Kay Adams, 1966), “Your Forevers Don’t Last Very Long” (Jean Shepard, 1967) and “Trucker’s Prayer” (Dave Dudley, 1967). He was also the author of the book Song Publisher’s Perspective.

He was born Graham Morrison Turnbull in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He died while visiting his son in upstate New York on Feb. 9 at age 77. He is survived by his son, Trevor; daughter, Adrienne (Jeffery) Cullen; granddaughter, Eve; and former wife, Diane Iungano (Jackson).

The Nashville service took place at Woodlawn Roesch-Patton Funeral Home’s Dignity Hall at 11:30 AM. Memorials may be made to Marathon For A Better Life, PO Box 268, Warnerville, NY 12187 or to a Nashville Cancer Charity of your choice.

NSAI Spring Training

NSAI’s Spring Training, formally known as their Spring Symposium, will be held April 3-4 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville during Tin Pan South week. The event is the organization’s biggest and longest running event, and features two days of informative panels, intensive educational seminars, special guest performances, and the chance to play a song for a music publisher. The event will include a special opening interview & performance from Hall of Fame songwriter/artist Ray Stevens, the feature segment If You’ve Got a Dream, I’ve Got a Plan with hit songwriter Kelley Lovelace, and a Pro Songwriting Panel featuring 2008 Hall of Fame nominee Kye Fleming, Clay Mills and surprise guests. Jeffrey Steele will be the closing guest and will perform a few songs for attendees. Register by Feb. 27 to receive a $75 discount. http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com

(Clockwise from top left) Ray Stevens, Kelley Lovelace, Jeffrey Steele, Clay Mills, Kye Fleming

(Clockwise from top left) Ray Stevens, Kelley Lovelace, Jeffrey Steele, Clay Mills, Kye Fleming

Tates Move To Cherry Lane

Cherry Lane Music has signed songwriters Sam and Annie Tate to a long-term, worldwide co-publishing agreement. Michelle Berlin, Director of Creative & Marketing and head of the Cherry Lane Nashville office, made the announcement today (2/3) about the writers of No. 1 singles from Reba McEntire (“Somebody”), Emerson Drive (“Moments”), and Rodney Atkins (“If You’re Going Through Hell”). Among the other artists who have added to the Tates’ tally of more than a dozen gold, platinum and multi-platinum records are Randy Travis, Gary Allan, Joe Nichols, and Montgomery Gentry.

Sam and Annie Tate have received two prestigious NSAI Creativity Awards, as well as two ACM nominations for Song of the Year. They were named SESAC’s Songwriters of the Year in 2006.

The Tates’ music has been heard in television (ER, The Incredible Hulk), advertisements (The Gap, Coors, Pepsi-Cola, Gino’s Pizza, General Motors) and films (Miss Congeniality II, Space Truckers).

Publishers Snap Up Rights To Hall of Famers’ Songs

Primary Wave Music Publishing, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, has purchased the late Tennessee Ernie Ford’s catalog from his estate, Billboard reports. The transaction includes about 170 songs by the Country Music Hall of Fame inductee. Also a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Ford released nearly 50 albums during his career. Though Ford is best known for his biggest hit “16 Tons,” he did not write the song and therefore it is not included in the catalog.

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Gospel Music Hall of Famer BeBe Winans has signed an exclusive publishing deal with Evergreen Copyrights. According to Billboard, the deal is comprised of songs on his upcoming albums, including a reunion project with CeCe Winans. His latest single, “Right Now (We Need One Another),” features Vince Gill, Wynonna Judd and CeCe.

Belmont to Honor Donna Hilley

Donna Hilley

Donna Hilley

Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business will honor Donna Hilley with its Robert E. Mulloy Award of Excellence for accomplishments in the entertainment industry, as well as service to Belmont and the Nashville community. The award presentation will take place at the 2009 Best of the Best Showcase at Belmont’s Curb Event Center, April 25 at 7 PM. Hilley, the longtime head of Sony/ATV publishing, will be the first recipient of the award established last spring in memory of Bob Mulloy, founder of Belmont’s music business program.

Hilley, an Alabama native, came to Nashville with little knowledge of the music industry and became one of the city’s top female executives, eventually being named president and CEO of Sony/ATV Nashville. Much loved in the community, she served on boards at ASCAP, Belmont University, Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital, and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, just to name a few.

In rightful tribute, Belmont has also established the Donna Hilley Endowed Scholarship in Leadership for students. For information about the scholarship, e-mail Harry Chapman at [email protected], or donate online at www.belmont.edu/give.