Concord and Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Form Joint Venture

Dan Auerbach. Photo: Laura Partain

Concord has entered into a long-term, exclusive joint venture with Easy Eye Sound, the label founded by The Black Keys’ frontman Dan Auerbach.

Under this worldwide partnership, Concord will release all new recordings made for Easy Eye Sound and will distribute all catalog albums that have reverted or will revert to the label during the course of the venture. There are plans to release 12 albums this year, all under the Easy Eye Sound label name and logo.

Founded in 2017, the Easy Eye Sound label has an eclectic roster and has released over 20 albums to critical acclaim, garnering seven Grammy nominations including four for Yola’s breakout album Walk Through Fire and one for Bentonia bluesman Jimmy “Duck” Holmes album Cypress Grove. Easy Eyes’ roster also includes country legend John Anderson and Bay Area rockers Shannon and the Clams.

An eight-time Grammy winner himself, Auerbach earned nominations in the last two years for work on projects by Marcus King and Yola.

“When I founded Easy Eye Sound [studio] a decade ago, it was meant as home base for my musical vision and as a way to discover and support artists I believe in,” commented Auerbach. “It’s exciting to see the record label and recording studio evolve and begin a worldwide partnership with the fine folks at Concord.”

“I’m thrilled to partner with Dan and his label Easy Eye Sound,” said Tom Whalley, Concord’s Chief Label Executive. “Dan’s passion runs through Easy Eye’s in-house songwriting, production and the overall cohesive vision of the label. He brings a stellar roster and a committed staff under the leadership of Tom Osborn. Easy Eye Sound will be a great addition to Concord Recorded Music’s group of labels, and the partnership will give Dan and his artists a global platform of opportunity. I look forward to great things.”

Zak Kuhn Signs With ‘American Songwriter’ Podcast Network

Zak Kuhn, host of The Zak Kuhn Show podcast and founder of The Nashville Briefing newsletter, has signed an exclusive deal with the American Songwriter Podcast Network to distribute and market his show and develop original content together.

Since launching the weekly podcast in early 2020, Kuhn has interviewed music industry leaders including Clarence Spalding, Chris Kappy, John Esposito, Leslie Fram and Beth Laird. MusicRow Owner/Publisher Sherod Robertson was featured on The Zak Kuhn Show in 2020.

In season 2, he will continue to highlight leaders in Nashville while expanding his reach to international guests as well. The season’s first episode included Andrew Stone, the Head of Chugg Music, and one of the top artist managers in Australia.

“I came to Nashville inspired by the music, but have stayed because of the incredible community of people who define and create culture throughout the world,” said Kuhn. “My goal has been to build a media company to highlight Nashville’s incredible artists and the teams behind them. Teaming up with American Songwriter will further help highlight and bring Nashville to the world.”

“Zak has the ear of the top decision-makers in Nashville and has built an impressive network of influential readers and listeners,” said American Songwriter’s Dan Wise. “We are excited to bring Zak’s talents and network to an even wider audience and partner with him to continue delivering the best of Nashville to a global audience”

The Coda Collection Offers Curated Content For Music Lovers

The Coda Collection, a new multimedia company, has announced an Amazon Prime Video channel offering programming for music fans, including world premiere films, a curated library of legendary performances and documentaries.

At the helm is successful entrepreneur and CEO Jim Spinello, director/producer John McDermott, Janie Hendrix of Experience Hendrix, Yoko Ono and the Estate of John Lennon, and veteran entertainment lawyer Jonas Herbsman. Sony Music Entertainment is an equity partner in the new company.

The Coda Collection will become available via Prime Video Channels in the U.S. on Feb. 18, 2021, and will roll out globally throughout the rest of the year.

Among the titles being offered at launch include the streaming premieres of Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix In Maui, The Rolling Stones On The Air, Johnny Cash At San Quentin, Miranda Lambert: Revolution Live By Candlelight, as well as newly filmed, exclusive performances by such artists as Jane’s Addiction and Stone Temple Pilots.

Fans will be able to see the streaming premieres of Bob Dylan’s Trouble No More, the forthcoming authorized Dave Grohl documentary, and performances by Dead & Company.

Additionally, Coda is planning a rich editorial destination on its desktop and mobile sites.

The Coda Collection has noteworthy content partners, including Rhino Entertainment, Concord Music, Mercury Studios, Reelin’ In The Years Productions, CREEM Magazine, and many others.

At launch, Amazon Prime members will be able to access over 150 titles streamed exclusively on The Coda Collection for $4.99 per month, with a free 7-day trial.

2020 Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam Moved To June 2021

The 2020 Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam has moved to June 4-6, 2021, organizers have announced. Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and Lynyrd Skynyrd remain the confirmed headliners for the festival at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, Florida.

“This move is vital, as we continue to work toward providing the best festival experience for our Jammers,” said Executive Producer Rendy Lovelady. “We feel the timing is much better for everyone involved, and we can’t wait to see everyone back at the beach.”

The festival lineup also includes Cody Jinks, Joe Nichols, Lindsay Ell, Jon Langston, CJ Solar and Frank Ray, who, with Skynard, are slated for Friday, June 4;  Cole Swindell, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tenille Townes, Shy Carter and Alex Hall for the June 5 lineup, with Paisley; and Brothers Osborne, Riley Green, Walker Hayes, Ryan Hurd, Shelly Fairchild and the Pepsi Southern Original winner performing on June 6, with Bryan. Due to a scheduling conflict, Rodney Atkins is replacing Jordan Davis on Saturday’s lineup.

“We have comprehensive plans in place to make this a fun and safe event for our artists, our fans and our staff,” said Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam COO Mark Sheldon. “We’re excited to welcome music fans back to the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches in June.”

A major safety precaution implemented for festival is the use of RFID wristbands for all on-site purchases. No vendors will be accepting cash at the festival and when wristbands are registered, patrons will be asked to add a credit/debit card to the band and select a security pin for all payments. Credit/debit cards will also be accepted on site. The Festival will also be offering contactless pickup for merchandise, ticket upgrades and various other purchases.

Industry Ink: Outback Presents, Nettwerk Records, Side Hustle Records

Outback Presents Hires Amy Helberg

Amy Helberg

Outback Presents, based in Nashville, Tennessee, has announced the hiring of Amy Helberg as Director of Atlanta Operations. Helberg began her career at Concert/Southern Promotions under Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon. Starting as house manager at the iconic Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Helberg’s most recent position was Vice President of Booking for Live Nation in Atlanta. Among the many highlights as a concert promoter, Helberg also booked the highly successful Music Midtown Festival for its first 10 years.

“We are so lucky to find someone with Amy’s booking experience and history in the industry,” said Outback Presents President Mike Smardak. “Especially someone who’s worked hand in hand with Peter Conlon, Alex Cooley, Wilson Howard, Charlie Brusco, and the likes of such great promoters. Really looking forward to working with her.”


Portair Signs Long Term Deal with Nettwerk Records


Portair, also known as Drew Southwell, has signed a long team deal to Nettwerk Music. He first caught the attention of Nettwerk when he joined current label-mate and fellow Australian Harrison Storm for a livestream lockdown concert in the summer of 2020. Nettwerk CEO Terry McBride tuned in from his office, where the music caught the attention of co-founder Ric Arboit.

“I heard a song playing in Terry’s office and wandered in as the vocals were mesmerizing. I just fell in love with his voice and was determined to sign him.” Portair is the latest addition to Nettwerk’s label roster, which also includes SYML, Fletcher Reed, LEISURE, Neil Frances, Mallrat, OSKA, Hollow Coves, and more.


James Levy Signs with Side Hustle Records

James Levy. Photo: Jimmy Giannopoulos

Nashville-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, James Levy has signed to Side Hustle Records / The Orchard, with a new album, Solider, due out on March 12, 2021. Solider follows Levy’s debut solo record, Somebody, which came out in 2019 and was produced by Paul Defiglia (The Avett Brothers).

Founded in 2019, Side Hustle Records is a digital label comprised of the music industry veterans at Big Hassle Media.

UK Americana Award Winners Announced

Courtney Marie Andrews received International Album of the Year.

The sixth annual UK Americana Awards were presented Thursday (Jan. 28) via livestream. The event wrapped up the three-day AmericanaFest UK 2021.

Hosted by Bob Harris OBE, the ceremony welcomed performers American Aquarium, Emily Barker, Charley Crockett, Ferris & Sylvester, Mary Gauthier, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.

There was also a tribute to the late John Prine featuring performances by Billy Bragg, Ida Mae and many more.

Below is a list of winners for the annually presented “Of the Year” awards, which were voted on by the AMA-UK membership.

UK Album of the Year
In This Town You’re Owned by Robert Vincent (Produced by Ethan Johns)

International Album of the Year
Old Flowers by Courtney Marie Andrews (Produced by Andrew Sarlo)

UK Song of the Year
“I Don’t Wanna Lie” by Yola (Written by Yola, Dan Auerbach, Bobby Wood)

International Song of the Year
“Hand Over My Heart” by The Secret Sisters (Written by Laura Rogers, Lydia Rogers)

UK Artist of the Year
Robert Vincent

International Artist of the Year
Courtney Marie Andrews

UK Instrumentalist of the Year 
Anna Corcoran

Yola accepts UK Song of the Year for “I Don’t Wanna Lie.”

The following honorees were recognized with their special awards:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Elvis Costello

International Lifetime Achievement Award
Mavis Staples

Trailblazer Award
Christine McVie

International Trailblazer Award
Steve Earle

Songwriter Legacy Award
John Prine

Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award
Robbie Cavanagh & Demi Marriner

Best Selling Americana Album (By a UK Artist)
Song for Our Daughter by Laura Marling

Grassroots Award
Music Venue Trust – Mark Davyd and Beverly Whitrick

Volunteer Jam Reschedules Daniels Tribute Show For August 18

Charlie Daniels. Photo: Erick Anderson / eafoto

This year’s Volunteer Jam has been pushed back a bit and rescheduled due to COVID-19 concerns, David Corlew and Associates announced today (Jan. 29). The 2021 Volunteer Jam: A Musical Salute to Charlie Daniels, previously scheduled for Feb. 22, will now take place Wednesday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. CT at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

“As much as we are disappointed that we have to move the Volunteer Jam, we appreciate the fans sticking with us,” explains Daniels’ longtime manager David Corlew. “We want to make sure everyone stays safe.”

Six additional artists will join the Jam lineup this August: Randy Travis, Chris YoungMichael W. Smith, Lorrie Morgan, Exile and rising Nashville star Anthony Castagna. Tickets are on sale now via and the Bridgestone Arena box office. Previously purchased tickets will be honored at the rescheduled date.

The salute to the late Charlie Daniels will also include performances by The Marshall Tucker BandALABAMA, Ricky SkaggsTrace Adkins, Larry, Steve & Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers, Cece Winans, Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy, Delbert McClinton, Keb’ Mo’, The Outlaws, 38 Special, Junior Brown, The Allman Betts Band, Cedric Burnside, Jenny Tolman, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Travis Denning, Mickey Gilley, Johnny Lee, Rhett Akins, Scooter Brown Band, The SteelDrivers, Pure Prairie League and comedian Dusty Slay. Daniels’ longtime band, The Charlie Daniels Band, will also perform to honor its legendary frontman.

Chart Action: HARDY Most Added At Country Radio

Big Loud Records’ HARDY earns the most added position at country radio this week receiving 56 total adds across the charts with single, “Give Heaven Some Hell.” Receiving 13 of those adds from MusicRow reporting stations, HARDY moved 22 positions on the CountryBreakout Radio Chart gaining 140 spins this week.

“Give Heaven Some Hell” was co-written by HARDY, Ashley Gorley, Ben Johnson, and Hunter Phelps, this is the second single from his debut album A ROCK. “It’s an honor to be No. 1 most-added this week,” shares HARDY. “It’s an accomplishment that I had yet to achieve, so I am very proud of the songwriters and the radio team for making this happen. I really hope that taking this song to radio will help reach a wider audience than it already has, so that the song may help people get through losing a loved one. Thank y’all!”

Label mate Morgan Wallen ranked at No. 1 on this week’s CountryBreakout Radio Chart. Click here to see more chart action in the latest issue of The MusicRow Weekly.

Off The Record: I’m Not Attached To The Outcome

Have you ever wanted something really bad in your career, but you didn’t get it? 

I’m not just talking about a strong desire, I’m talking about a maniacal, unrelenting, full-throttle quest for something—only to watch it slip through your fingers forever. In other words, a want for a specific outcome that is so strong that you have convinced yourself that your want has transformed into a real need

I’m pretty sure many of you responded quickly with a ‘yes’ on this somewhat rhetorical question. And I admit, I’ve had it happen many times throughout my career. So many times.

And here’s another question a lot of people will also answer with a ‘yes’. After you didn’t receive that desired outcome, perhaps months or even years down the road, do you now look back and it all makes sense on why that particular outcome didn’t happen? You can often see, in retrospect, that the outcome wasn’t what you really needed after all. In fact, you may even be thinking at this point that you’re actually glad you didn’t receive that result. Because if you had, you would not have received the abundance of what you have today.

It’s funny how things work out, or in some cases, don’t work out for the better. But a lot of times we don’t see that realization at the time and aren’t able to connect the dots until much later. 

After my finance position ended at Arista Records in 2000, my career took, shall we say, a rather non-linear path. Think of the Waze app on crack, circling around, going out of the way, traveling repeatedly down the same streets. It was a mess. Sometimes interesting, but still a mess. I’ll spare you all the details and the twists and turns. But to give you a sample, it included a move to Los Angeles, quitting the same job 3 times, a move back to Nashville, many interviews, many empty job promises, a failed attempt at working for a garbage dump (yes, a literal dump), and a clothing store which was kinda fun, but didn’t produce any money.

But why is it better to put my blood, sweat and tears into something and not be attached to the outcome? On the surface it seems to be counterproductive, but it actually helps you with the process. And it’s the process that you actually control, not the outcome, and that’s how you achieve success. It’s all about the process.

Those days back in 2000 would have gone so much smoother and they would have been so much easier to navigate if I had not been attached to my desired outcomes. Think about it. In every one of those predicaments, I had become completely attached to a very specific outcome, and I didn’t see any of them come to fruition. That’s a lot of rejection and stress. None of those outcomes were under my control. But when you are attached to them, you start thinking, “Damn, maybe it is me.” And you know what? It wasn’t. 

I had not lost any of my skills I had acquired. I was still smart. I still had a C.P.A. I still knew stuff. It was just a crazy, unexplainable period in my life, when I just couldn’t get the outcomes I wanted. At some point, after feeling beat up, my attitude and behavior also negatively contributed to me not reaching those goals. My self esteem had taken a hit. But I could have avoided a lot of agony and self doubt over those outcomes if I only had known to un-attach myself to them. It created baggage. Baggage I carried with me down every new path. It took me a long time to realize why that was such a rough time for me in my career. I was going about it all wrong.

It’s still a challenge for me to always separate my drive and ambition from my desired result. These days, I even keep a hand-written note taped to my laptop that reads “I’m not attached to the outcome,” so that every time I open my laptop, I am reminded to not be attached to the results. That philosophy doesn’t reduce any of my efforts. On the contrary, if I execute it properly, it should magnify and enhance my efforts. When you become attached to a specific outcome, you can actually be sabotaging yourself from receiving something even greater, or clinging to something that isn’t in your highest good.

“Is this in my highest good?” is a question I often ask myself.

That’s what I want the outcome to always be. Every time. Sometimes it means the outcome is bigger than my goals. Sometimes it means I need to fail at a particular thing, so I will move on away from it and in a completely different direction. Sometimes, it’s a timing issue– I’m just not ready. And sometimes it means the factors that are outside of my control that will determine the outcome do not align with my own desires, and I should be okay with that. My philosophy is to work my ass off. Enjoy it. Set goals. Try to achieve them. Repeat. All while being unattached.

While I set goals to help me form strategy and develop my playbook, I don’t let those goals constrict my ambition. I’ve learned that being attached to a specific outcome is not in my highest good. It’s too narrow and too confining. It doesn’t mean I don’t have very specific goals, and it doesn’t mean that I’m not hyper-focused on achieving them. But it’s the attachment to them that I want to avoid as it often gets in the way. It’s not easy to do, but I keep trying. I keep being mindful.

The process is what I try to be attached to, not the outcome. That’s what you have control over. That’s where you can engage your skills and execute plans to achieve your goals. Along the way, you make improvements and adjustments to better accomplish your objectives. And that’s where you find the joy– in the process. Putting attention on the process doesn’t mean I don’t have clarity on what I want. In fact, the more that I can imagine, the more that I can visualize, the more I can attract the end result. But placing that mindfulness on the process and not the outcome, reduces any resistance that can come from stress, doubt, worry, or fear of me not achieving it. Those things can be deal breakers. 

Most of us know the importance of enjoying the journey, not just the destination. The same doctrine also rings true in business.

So let’s enjoy the journey and keep reaching for the prize. Unattached.


Off The Record is a recurring column from MusicRow Owner and Publisher, Sherod Robertson. After 10 years heading the publication, he shares some of the nuggets of wisdom he’s acquired throughout the years that have helped him in his journey. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MusicRow Magazine nor its team members.

Prior Installments:
Off The Record: What Is Your Word For 2021?

Off The Record: Show Me The Receipts!

Off The Record: Is It Time To Cut The Net?

Heath Sanders Finds Some ‘Common Ground’ On New Valory Project

Heath Sanders is releasing his four-song collection, Common Ground, on the Valory Music Co. today (Jan. 29). The first single from the project, “Old School’s In” will officially arrive at country radio on March 8.

Sanders delves into subjects like the core of his upbringing (“Old School’s In”), the value of your word (“Can’t Undo I Do”), and the timely topic of finding ways to bring us all together on “Common Ground,” with its message of unity in spite of our differences. The set finishes on the romp “Love Needs Makin’.”

In early 2018 Sanders filmed a version of Chris Stapleton’s “Either Way” from his living room, posting the cover on Facebook and quickly transforming his life as an overnight viral sensation among the working-class communities in the Midwest and Rust Belt. After seeing the reaction, he sold one of his deer hunting rifles and used the money to buy a PA system to play in bars around the region. His buddies in the oil fields encouraged him to dream bigger, but it was his mother’s final push in a letter listing reasons why he should seriously consider a new career that prompted Heath to give the gas company his two-week notice. He was invited to Nashville shortly thereafter for an opportunity that would ultimately solidify his path — an appearance on The Bobby Bones Show.

“While I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I’m grateful that I can honestly sing about the experience. I don’t think there’s enough people who’ve swung a hammer, milked cows, hauled hay or cut logs for a living,” Sanders says of his life before music. “If people want to hear a working dude up there singing the realities of small town community or life lessons learned from conversations on a riverbank, I can give them that.”

Common Ground Track List:
1. “Old School’s In” – Heath Sanders, Casey Beathard, Houston Phillips
2. “Can’t Undo I Do” – Heath Sanders, Kyle Jacobs, Anthony McVaney                       
3. “Common Ground” – Heath Sanders, Jay Brunswick, Jeremy Bussey                        
4. “Love Needs Makin’” – Heath Sanders, Ben Hayslip, Chris Stevens