Randy Travis’ Documentary, ‘More Life,’ Set To Premiere On Circle Network In February

Randy Travis. Photo: Marisa Taylor

More Life, a documentary on Randy Travis featuring many of his last recorded performances, will air on the Circle Network on Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. CT.

A decade in the making, More Life started in 2011 as an intimate concert special honoring the 25th anniversary of Travis’ iconic album Storms of Life. As the film was being finalized in 2013, he unexpectedly suffered a massive stroke, leaving him unable to perform and severely limiting his speech.

“Though this documentary began as a 25th Anniversary special, it quickly pivoted into a chronicled celebration of life’s setups and setbacks, after my massive stroke in 2013. The planned few months of composing, turned into 10 years—Mary [Travis] and I thank the perseverance and patience of the wonderful team that waited and believed in it until completion… the ones that care and protect the legacy of my music,” offers Travis. 

“With the colorful life I’ve lived and four rollercoaster decades in the music and movie industry, there are infinite stories to tell in a finite timeframe,” the award-winning entertainer continues. “As I watch and listen to the cadence of kind words, special memories, and well-wishes from friends and colleagues, captured in the documentary, I am reminded of the blessed life God has given me. I appreciate those who gave More Love along the way, and the fans that continue to shed More Light along my path. There aren’t words that express the gratitude I have for the ones that came along when the day was dim, the future unknown…that gave me More Life.” 

“Randy Travis is the cornerstone of Warner Music Nashville, and we are both honored and humbled to share More Life with the world,” adds Shane Tarleton, EVP of Artist Development at Warner Music Nashville. “We’ve been in production for over a decade on this documentary, which shines a light on the passion that still drives one of the most important voices in modern country music history.”

Teresa George, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Circle Network, adds: “Randy Travis’ light has shined brightly over this town ever since he stepped into the music scene. We are honored to have a part in sharing this inspiring story of his courage, kindness and talent with the world.”

The documentary also features a special duet performance with Travis and Josh Turner, who appeared on Travis’ 25th anniversary album. More Life will air following the season two premiere of Upstream with Elizabeth Cook, where Elizabeth joins Travis and his wife at their home in Texas for a day of fishing.

Circle’s Day of Randy Travis will begin on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 3:30 p.m. CT and will end at 9 p.m. CT after the documentary airs. For a full lineup of the day’s programming, click here.

Pearce, McBryde Earn MusicRow No. 1

Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde claim the No. 1 spot this week on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart with “Never Wanted To Be That Girl.” The single comes in fifth for greatest spin increase with +159 spins. The duo co-wrote the single with Shane McAnally, who also produced it.

In September, “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” earned the most-added milestone. The last time a female duet earned this achievement was in 2007 with Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson’s “Because Of You.”

At the 55th Annual CMA Awards, Pearce took home the award for Female Vocalist of the Year. This duet appears on her album, 29: Written In Stone, which was released in September of last year.

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

Sophie Hopkins Tapped As Director Of Sync For Warner Chappell Nashville

Sophie Hopkins

Warner Chappell Music has announced the hiring of Sophie Hopkins as the new Director of Synchronization for its Nashville operations.

In her new role, Hopkins will oversee and develop new business in the Nashville market with a focus on clients across the television and film industry in addition to the full digital media landscape.

“Nashville is an incredibly important location for our team where we will continue to invest and expand our efforts. With the addition of Sophie and her expertise across high end clients, our position in the market only continues to elevate,” shares Rich Robinson, EVP, Global Sync and Media Original Music, WCM.

Ben Vaughn, President & CEO, WCM Nashville adds: “Sync is a vital part of our business—it opens up some incredible opportunities for our songwriters to be heard by entirely new audiences and we’re committed to growing and strengthening those efforts here in Nashville. Sophie’s extensive experience with creatives of all types makes her an excellent addition to the team and I know that she’ll put our songwriters first and always remain focused on their best interests.”

Hopkins joins Warner Chappell from Big Yellow Dog Music, where she spent the past four years in sync. Her previous career stops include time at Heavy Hitters Music in Los Angeles.

The Indianapolis native moved to Nashville at 18 to attend Belmont University, where she also had the opportunity to live and intern in both New York City and Los Angeles during undergrad.

“I’ve spent the better part of my life obsessed with the perfect pairing of song and scene and can’t imagine a better place than Warner Chappell to continue my career doing so,” Hopkins shares. “I am over the moon to be working not only with this incredible catalog of songs, but to join a team that is so passionate about putting the songwriters first!”

Fusion Music Ups Chris Ferren To Executive Level

Chris Ferren

Fusion Music has promoted Chris Ferren to Vice President, Artist & Business Development.

Formerly in the position of Manager, Ferren will continue running lead on management duties for country music icon Martina McBride and emerging pop artist Jeffrey James. In his new role, Ferren will also lead company operations and provide guidance for the artist management roster with emphasis on lifestyle business extensions and brand partnerships.

The Johnson City, Tennessee, native began his industry career as Fusion’s first intern in 2014. Ferren was named as part of MusicRow‘s N.B.T. Industry Directory Class of 2022 late last year.

With the announcement, he also becomes the company’s first promotion to an executive level.

“Chris’ passion for music and compassion for artists have molded him into a very savvy strategist and marketer,” says Managing Partner Daniel Miller. “Our team and artists have come to lean on him for guidance and inspiration. He has earned this new position all on his own and will be instrumental in leading us into our new endeavors ahead.”

“I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to step into this new position,” adds Ferren. “The team and culture that Daniel has built at Fusion Music is truly special and one of a kind. I’m excited to play a role in Fusion’s continued growth and actively work to serve both our clients and our exceptional team.”

Reach Ferren at [email protected].

Fusion Music, in association with Red Light Management, also represents Riley Green (co-managed with Red Light’s Zach Sutton), Cassadee Pope, Laine Hardy and Lily Rose (co-managed by Back Block Music’s Rakiyah Marshall).

Thomas Rhett Brings The Bar To Fans On Upcoming Summer Tour

5x Grammy nominee Thomas Rhett has announced his headlining “Bring The Bar To You Tour,” slated for this summer. Special guests for the dates are Parker McCollum and Conner Smith.

Presented by Dos Primos, the tour kicks off June 17 in Gilford, New Hampshire, and will visit over 30 cities, including Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle, Tulsa, and more through Oct. 15.

Tickets for the new tour, named from a to-be-released song from Rhett’s upcoming sixth studio album, Where We Startedgo on sale to the general public on Jan. 28. HomeTeam members can access tickets early via pre-sale on Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. local time, and Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets from Jan. 25-27.

“Man it feels good to share this tour news,” Rhett comments. “I’ll never take for granted being able to come see y’all and I’m so fired up to play some of these new ones that were made with these nights in mind. I have a feeling things are going to get loud–I’m counting down the days already!”

“Bring The Bar To You Tour” Dates:
6/17 – Gilford, NH – Bank of NH Pavilion
6/18 – Gilford, NH – Bank of NH Pavilion
6/23 – Bethel, NY – Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
6/24 – Hershey, PA – Hersheypark Stadium
6/25 – Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach
7/14 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Pavilion at Star Lake
7/15 – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheater
7/16 – Detroit, MI – Pine Knob Music Theatre
7/21 – Tuscaloosa, AL – Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
7/22 – Atlanta, GA – Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
7/23 – Charleston, SC – Credit One Stadium
8/11 – Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre
8/12 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
8/13 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
8/18 – Seattle, WA – White River Amphitheatre
8/19 – Bend, OR – Hayden Homes Amphitheater
8/25 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
8/26 – Wheatland, CA – Toyota Amphitheatre
9/22 – Columbia, MO – Mizzou Arena
9/23 – Springfield, MO – JQH Arena
9/24 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
9/29 – Grand Forks, ND – Alerus Center
9/30 – Bismarck, ND – Bismarck Event Center
10/1 – Sioux Falls, SD – Denny Sanford PREMIER Center
10/6 – Boise, ID – Ford Idaho Center Arena
10/7 – Bozeman, MT – Brick Breeden Fieldhouse
10/8 – Missoula, MT – Adams Center
10/13 – Moline, IL – TaxSlayer Center
10/14 – Evansville, IN – Ford Center
10/15 – Dayton, OH – Nutter Center

Ryman Auditorium Celebrates 130 Years With Artist Residencies, Ticket Giveaways, More

Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium will ring in its 130th anniversary with a year-long celebration of the venue’s country music history. Throughout 2022, the hallowed stage will be lit up with more concerts and residencies than ever before, in addition to community events, daytime tour enhancements, and more.

As part of the anniversary festivities, the Ryman will serve as home to a handful of artist residencies, including Dwight Yoakam (Jan. 19-21), Tedeschi Trucks Band (Feb. 22, 23, 25, 26) and Billy Strings (May 6-8), with more to be announced in the coming weeks. Trace Adkins, The Beach Boys, Black Pumas, Gladys Knight, Bonnie Raitt, Yola and more will also perform as part of the milestone year.

The “Mother Church of Country Music” will be giving away 130 concert tickets throughout the year, starting with Yoakam’s Jan. 21 show. Follow the Ryman’s social channels for more information on the monthly giveaways and how to enter. The 130th anniversary events and performances will also include a special Ryman Community Day in May, an increase in pre-show and daytime events, and new tour enhancements

Since the first concert on May 4, 1892, the Ryman has celebrated an array of acts from all genres of music, such as magician Harry Houdini, comic actor Charlie Chaplin, former president Theodore Roosevelt, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, B.B. King, Sheryl Crow, Garth Brooks, Lizzo and Harry Styles. The venue’s concert schedule hosts more than 200 shows a year, grossing over $10 million in 2021 with 185,821 tickets sold. It came in as the No. 1 theater for concert ticket sales worldwide in Pollstar’s End of Year Sales Report.

For more information on the venue’s lineup, ticket information, and festivities in store for its 130th anniversary, click here.

CRB Names 2022 Scholarship & Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award Recipients

Heather Froglear

The 2022 Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award recipient and individuals selected to receive the Rusty Walker and Lisa McKay Women in Radio Scholarships have been unveiled by the Country Radio Broadcaster, Inc (CRB).

Heather Froglear has been named the 2022 Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award recipient. She will be recognized during the New Faces of Country Music show, held during CRS 2022.

Froglear has spent 28 years on the air at KFRG and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and the Country Radio Seminar’s Agenda Committee. She is the creator of K-Frogger’s for Kids Radiothon, benefiting Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. In its 20th year, the radiothon has cumulatively raised over $7 million. Froglear is also involved in several organizations, including Lifestream, the Riverside Police Officer’s Association, the American Cancer Society Inland Empire Chapter, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and more.

Each year, the Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual in the country radio industry who has displayed a spirit of caring and generosity in service to their community. Named in honor of the CRB Board member, Rivers was known for his work at WQYK, Tampa/St. Petersburg and WUSN, Chicago, and was highly regarded for his public service.

“Heather is the kind of person this award was made for. She’s not about prestige or celebrity, but she has lots of both and personally commits to using them for good. The power of her empathy raises the lives of people who need her. And we all need people like her,” says CRB/CRS Board President Kurt Johnson. “CRS is proud to recognize Heather’s significant and very real service.”

Receiving the 2022 Rusty Walker Scholarship are Kyle Matthews (APD/MD, KFGE, Lincoln, NE), Spencer Campbell (Account Executive, WLVK Ft Knox, KY), and Morgan Taylor (On-Air Talent, KGRT, Las Cruces, NM), Set to receive the first-ever Lisa McKay Women in Radio Scholarship is Jacqueline Dunn Pailizzi (PM Drive and APD, WCJC, Marion, IN). Each recipient will receive complimentary registration, hotel, and airfare for CRS 2022 and will be recognized during CRS Honors, which kicks off the 3-day event.

“CRS has a decades-long mantra of ‘growth through sharing,’ and today’s award recipients fully live up to that spirit. Tom Rivers was an unselfish and empathetic broadcaster whose humanitarian acts were done with sincerity and humility. Heather Froglear is the perfect honoree for 2022 and lives up to Tom’s namesake and legacy, as her impressive list of initiatives proves,” adds CRS Executive Director, RJ Curtis. “Rusty Walker and Lisa McKay were two of our industry’s most passionate and involved mentors, encouraging younger broadcast professionals to learn, excel, and lead. CRS is proud to host these aspiring and deserving industry professionals in 2022, and we believe Rusty and Lisa would be proud.”

Walker was a Country Radio Hall of Fame inductee, an influential programmer and consultant, and mentor in the music industry. After his passing in 2012, the scholarship program was developed to continue his legacy of supporting bright, young minds in the business. Similarly, McKay successfully programmed WQDR/Raleigh for 16 years and was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2018. She was integral in helping the CRB launch the well-established annual Rusty Walker Scholarship program, formed to mentor up-and-coming programmers. The scholarship serves to advance younger females pursuing leadership roles in radio programming.

CRS will be held Wednesday, Feb. 23-25, and will feature educational panels, virtual networking, and workshops designed to provide instant, actionable takeaways.

Shenandoah Hits The Road To Celebrate 35th Anniversary

Shenandoah. Photo: Courtesy of Absolute Publicity

Shenandoah is celebrating 35 years as a band with a brand new “35th Anniversary Tour,” kicking off Feb. 11 in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

The 35-date tour, with more shows to announced soon, includes stops in Fort Worth, Albuquerque, Corpus Christi, Ft. Myers, and more, with a Nashville date on March 24.

Attendees can expect the band’s classic tunes, such as “The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Sunday in the South,” “Two Dozen Roses,” “Next to You, Next to Me,” and many more.

“To believe we’d still be in the music business, as ever changing as it is, would only come to me in one form: the country music fan base,” says frontman Marty Raybon. “It’s a wonderful thing to experience while looking out over an audience where the age span is so wide. It is most humbling.”

He continues, “We have been blessed for the last 35 years with songs that have that spoken power to move people. So we say thank you to the Lord for His strength, the fans for their loyalty, the songwriters for great songs and the producers that helped them come to life. It’s made this 35 years a road trip I would have hated to miss.”

For more information on dates, venues and tickets, click here.

Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy Extend Publishing Deals With BMG

Pictured (L-R): Chris Oglesby (BMG, VP Creative), Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, Katie Kerkhover (BMG, Senior Creative Director, A&R)

Kurt Allison and Tully Kennedy have extended their publishing deals with BMG. The songwriters have also been longtime band members to Jason Aldean, recording and touring with him over the past 20 years.

Most recently celebrating a three-week No. 1 with Aldean and Carrie Underwood’s “If I Didn’t Love You,” Allison and Kennedy also wrote Aldean’s newest single, “Trouble With A Heartbreak” alongside Brett Beavers and John Morgan.

Originally signed in 2011, their catalog includes Dustin Lynch’s “Seein’ Red” and Aldean’s “Blame It On You,” “Like You Were Mine,” “Talk About Georgia,” “This Bar Don’t Work Anymore,” “Over You Again,” and “That’s What Tequila Does.” In addition to their writing success, the duo produced BBR Music Group artist Alexander Ludwig’s just released self-titled debut EP.

“We couldn’t be more excited to continue our partnership with BMG,” says Kennedy. “We have a lot of history here and feel like we are just getting started. The people here are first class and the best in the business.”

“Working along side Kurt and Tully has been amazing,” adds Chris Oglesby, BMG VP Creative. “Their skills as both producers and writers are second to none. I know I speak for all of BMG when I say we are honored to have them continue to be a part of our BMG family.”

TJ Martell Foundation Former Exec. VP/GM Charged With Wire Fraud Of $4 Million

Melissa Ann Goodwin, the former Exec. VP/General Manager for the TJ Martell Foundation, has been charged with wire fraud for allegedly embezzling nearly $4 million from the charity, according to a report from Billboard.

The TJ Martell Foundation for Cancer Research was founded by music executive Tony Martell in 1975 after his son TJ died from leukemia. The organization has been heavily supported by the music industry, having held multiple charity events in Nashville, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. The organization has raised more than $280 million in support of medical research grants, and helped secure more than $1 billion in additional research funding.

Nashville-based Goodwin joined TJ Martell in 2005 as Special Events Manager, and rose to Exec. VP and GM in 2018. According to a federal charging document obtained by Billboard and filed by acting U.S. attorney Mark Wildasin in Tennessee federal court, from July 2018 to April 2020 Goodwin allegedly abused her power of overseeing all finance operations to make fraudulent charges and allegedly embezzled nearly $4 million from the foundation.

The alleged fraud was initially discovered in 2020, when TJ Martell’s then-CEO Laura Heatherly asked the organization’s accountants to copy her on all correspondence with Goodwin, after the long-term employee had become delinquent in filing financial statements and expense reports. Lynn-Anne Huck, who has been acting as TJ Martell’s interim CEO since late 2020, oversaw the review that unearthed the extent Goodwin’s activities.

Goodwin allegedly turned some items over to the founder/owner an auction company, listed in the filing as Individual One, to resell for profit for themselves, misappropriating more than $4.2 million of foundation funds. TJ Martell, which makes a portion of its money from auctioning items, had previously legitimately used Individual One’s business to provide items to auction. Individual One has since been named as Darran Brown, the founder/owner of auction companies Executive Sports Group (ESG) and Go Charity.

According to Billboard‘s report, Goodwin, Brown and the auction companies are all accused of fraud, conspiracy and conversion. Goodwin is also accused of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

TJ Martell has since brought a $5 million civil suit against the Nashville-based Kraft CPAs firm and the New Jersey-based Dorfman Abrams Music firm for breach of contract and professional negligence.

Goodwin faces up to 20 years in prison, a forfeiture of $3.7 million, and a fine of up to $250,000, if convicted.