Elvie Shane, Morgan Wade, Breland Announced As Opry NextStage Class Of 2022 Members

Pictured (L-R): Elvie Shane, Morgan Wade, and Breland

The Grand Ole Opry has announced its initial artists for its Opry NextStage Class of 2022: Elvie Shane (May), Morgan Wade (June) and Breland (July). More artists are set to be announced throughout the year.

The artist discovery program spotlights country’s rising talent and highlights one artist per month with featured original content, an Opry performance, and support across the Opry Entertainment platforms, including the Opry, the Ryman, WSM Radio, Ole Red and Circle Network.

“My Boy” singer Elvie Shane made his Grand Ole Opry debut just over a year ago and will return to the Opry stage May 7 to mark his inclusion in the NextStage Class of 2022.

“The Opry has been at the forefront of keeping country music alive and well since its inception,” says Shane. “I came from a place both literally and musically built on the same values and experiences. To be recognized by the country music congregation that is the Opry is a huge honor.”

The program has cemented a strong track record in just three short years, featuring budding artists such as Parker McCollum, Lainey Wilson, Riley Green and Tenille Townes, who all went on to earn ACM New Male and Female Artist of the Year trophies following their Opry NextStage debuts.

“Opry NextStage truly represents the depth of country music and the future of the genre, and you’ll see that reflected in the composition of this year’s class—starting with these first three extremely talented artists who all come with their own unique artistry, perspectives, and backgrounds,” says Jordan Pettit, Director of Artist Relations & Programming Strategy for Opry Entertainment Group. “We are so excited to invest in this next generation of Opry performers who will help to shape the future of country music and the Opry for many years to come.”

BMG Re-Ups Leadership, Jon Loba Adds Publishing Duties To Responsibilities

Thomas Scherer, Jon Loba

BMG has re-upped its two United States repertoire leads, including Nashville-based Jon Loba (President, BMG Nashville) and Los Angeles-based Thomas Scherer (President, Repertoire & Marketing, Los Angeles and New York), as the company’s US revenues rise nearly a third on pre-pandemic levels.

It was also announced that Loba will add publishing duties to his established Nashville label responsibilities, becoming one of the only major music executive in Nashville to hold dual leadership responsibilities of both areas of the business. Scherer will take the lead on US rights acquisition in addition to his responsibilities for BMG’s Los Angeles and New York-based repertoire operations.

Scherer and Loba’s repertoire operations account for around half of BMG’s global revenues. They will continue to work hand-in-hand with CFO US Joe Gillen.

“BMG is on a roll in the US and it’s thanks in no small part to the work of Thomas and Jon,” shares BMG CEO, Hartwig Masuch. “Jon has created a label powerhouse in Nashville with Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Jimmie Allen, Lainey Wilson, and Jelly Roll so it makes sense to extend his scope to our Nashville music publishing operation.”

Masuch adds, “Meanwhile Thomas is delivering significant double-digit growth at BMG’s core US publishing business with writers like George Harrison, Juice WRLD, D’Mile, Diane Warren, and Lewis Capaldi while also building our recordings interests with key signings like 5 Seconds of Summer, AJR, Maxwell, Slash, Bryan Adams, and the recent acquisitions of Mötley Crüe and John Legend catalogs. Thanks to their teams we remain the only credible global partner for artists and songwriters outside the three majors.”

Ernest Tubb Record Shop To Celebrate 75th Anniversary Tonight With Midnite Jamboree Show

Ernest Tubb Record Shop

Before closing its doors, the Ernest Tubb Record Shop will celebrate its 75th anniversary in a grand fashion tonight (May 3) as it hosts a special edition of its famed Midnite Jamboree beginning at 7 p.m. CT.

The event is free and open to the public. Limited 75th anniversary merchandise will be available.

Earlier this year, the Ernest Tubb Record Shop announced that it will be closing this spring. According to a statement from Honky Tonk Circus, ETRS, and David McCormick Company, both the building and the business will be sold.

The record shop has existed in its current location on lower Broadway since 1951, after country star Ernest Tubb originally opened the shop on Commerce Street in 1947. Since its inception, it has served as a music shop for Nashville natives and tourists, as well as a performance spot for numerous special performances.

The store was the site of The Midnight Jamboree, where country stars would perform immediately after their Grand Ole Opry show.

Walker Hayes Releases Inspirational New Book ‘Glad You’re Here’

Walker Hayes. Photo: Robert Chavers

Walker Hayes has released his first book, Glad You’re Here, written with his best friend Craig Allen Cooper. The book is available everywhere books are sold today and can be ordered here.

When Cooper and Hayes met, Hayes was an alcoholic atheist reeling from the backlash of a failed music career. The name “Craig” will likely sound familiar to fans, as the name of a Walker Hayes song in which he documents the day Craig entered his life, gifting his family a car during a time of need and leading Hayes down his path towards finding hope in faith.

A storyteller and Bible teacher for over twenty years, Cooper served as one of the founding pastors of Redeeming Grace Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and has spoken at numerous churches, men’s retreats, college campuses, and gatherings.

Hayes and Cooper are now as close as brothers, moving next door to each other during the pandemic, and even ripping out the fence between their homes as a testament to the power of the gospel to break down barriers and unite people together in Christ.

Hayes is enjoying a busy spring, announcing that he will be embarking on the “Glad You’re Here” arena tour this fall. The fifteen-city trek will kick off in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Sept. 29 with special guest Parmalee.

Brian & Brittney Kelley Reveal Details Of Upcoming NFT Collection

Brian & Brittney Kelley. Photo: Kaiser

Florida Georgia Line‘s Brian Kelley and wife Brittney have announced they will release their limited NFT collection, Chill Cowboy Country Club (CCCC). The mint date is slated for June with more details coming soon.

The Kelly’s Chill Cowboy NFT, made alongside WHY&HOW CEO and Founder Bruce Kalmick and WHY&HOW Ventures President Bryan Bulteis, will unlock access to all the exclusive offerings of the CCCC.

Example Of A Chill Cowboy NFT Holder’s Chill Cowboy. Photo Credit: Benedict Aiteobhor

Upon minting, NFT holders will receive their very own Chill Cowboy or Cowgirl. Designed by artist Benedict Aiteobhor, the characters represent country musicians both past and present, as well as the most iconic western characters to the modern-day cowboy. The diversity of physical attributes and style, such as clothing and accessories, makes some more rare in value than others. The limited collection of 5,000 NFTs will include 30 ultra-rare 1 of 1 NFTs that anyone has the chance to mint.

Members are welcomed to all club benefits such as concert tickets, specialty merchandise, and two-day Chill Cowboy Fest, plus an added charity component supporting music education and scholarships. Members will also be among Founding Partners—Danielle Bradbery, Tyler Braden, Breland, Halle Kearns, RaeLynn, Chase Rice, Jep and Jessica Robertson, Liz Rose, Drake White, and others to be announced soon—who will offer fans exclusive content, concert tickets, and more to be revealed.

For more information, click here.

Cody Jinks, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Zach Bryan To Headline Born & Raised Festival

Born & Raised Music Festival has announced the lineup and details for its second annual experience, running from Sept. 16-18.

Once again taking over the Pryor Creek Music Festival Grounds in Pryor, Oklahoma, this year’s Born & Raised will feature Cody Jinks headlining on Saturday night and southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd closing out the festivities on Sunday. The Friday Night Honky Tonk event will be headlined by rising Oklahoma country artist Zach Bryan.

Throughout the full weekend, Born & Raised 2022 will feature more than 35 acts across the lineup, including Brothers Osborne, Margo Price, Randy Rogers Band, Josh Abbott Band, Jason Boland and The Stragglers, Wade Bowen, Flatland Cavalry, American Aquarium, and more.

“The reaction from fans in year one of Born & Raised was overwhelmingly reassuring that the festival we put together was a success,” shares Festival Producer Mike DuCharme of AEG Presents. “We couldn’t wait to get going on 2022 and get this year’s lineup out to the public. We hope people sing along with some of their favorite bands plus discover some new ones to add to their daily playlists.”

Pre-sale passes for Born & Raised will be available beginning Friday, May 6 with the public on-sale commencing May 9.

Discover Sooner Announces Publisher Writer Experience With Lauren Funk, Gilles Godard

Lauren Funk & Gilles Godard

Discover Sooner has announced the Publisher Writer Experience, an interactive mentoring and songwriting program, will feature Lauren Funk, Sr. Creative Director, Endurance Music Group, and Gilles Godard, Sr. Vice President Publishing, Anthem Entertainment.

The three-month program designed for songwriters and artists gives participants the option to choose and work with either Funk or Godard during the duration of the experience. Songwriters work one-on-one for three months under the direction of a publisher who advises some of the most commercially successful writers in the world.

At Endurance, Funk oversees the creative aspects of writers Jimmie Allen, Matt Stell, Scooter Carusoe and Paul Sikes. In addition to guiding Anthem’s growth, Godard has won numerous awards for his own songwriting, including two BMI awards and four SOCAN awards. Over 400 of his songs have been recorded by Terri Clark, Patty Loveless, Anne Murray, Ednita Nazario, Dan Seals, Ricky Skaggs and others.

“As a publisher, I have always had an open-door policy because there are so many undiscovered artists and writers out there,” Godard explains. “You just never know where you will find that next three minutes of magic, that song that can change the world! If you have talent and you are trying to break into this music industry, I want to meet you!”

“Lauren and Gilles know the uncertainty songwriters face and the heavy lifting that needs to be done to pursue a career in music. They represent some of the best publishing companies in Nashville and can transform a songwriter’s career. We are proud to provide songwriters with opportunities like this,” adds Discover Sooner’s Nancy Deckant.

Applications are due by May 22. For more details click here.

BMI To Host Biggest No. 1 Party Ever In Honor Of Luke Combs

BMI will celebrate country music superstar Luke Combs, 11 hit songwriters, and more as it hosts its biggest No. 1 party ever. The special concert will take place on June 8 at the BMI Parking Lot in Nashville.

The event will commemorate Combs’ last eight No. 1 singles as the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year takes the stage with his co-writers for exclusive performances of his latest chart-topping hits. Hailey Whitters will open the show, followed by frequent collaborator Drew Parker.

Songwriters Randy Montana, James McNair and Dan Isbell will celebrate their first No. 1s alongside veteran writers Thomas Archer, Wyatt Durrette, Ray Fulcher, Shane Minor, Tyler Reeve, Jonathan Singleton, and Rob Williford.

Tickets for the evening are on sale now. Proceeds will benefit the BMI Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, grants, and commissions.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring Luke Combs and his devoted fanbase to our parking lot for such an epic celebration,” says Clay Bradley, BMI’s VP, Creative, Nashville. “Being able to celebrate eight consecutive No. 1s all at once is a massive achievement, and we are so thrilled to honor Luke and the incredible songwriters who contributed to this truly remarkable milestone. What an incredible way to welcome everyone back to Music Row!”

Combs first joined BMI in 2013 and has since won 11 BMI Country Awards, performed on the 2017 BMI ACL Festival stage, traveled to the Key West and Maui Songwriter Festivals, and performed at the 2018 BMI Country Awards in honor of Icon Steve Cropper.

‘Don’t Think Jesus’ Co-Writers Advance On MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart

After the monster debut of Morgan Wallen’s new single, “Don’t Think Jesus,” the song’s co-writers Chase McGill, Jessi Alexander and Mark Holman have made strong advances on MusicRow‘s Top Songwriter Chart.

McGill makes his way to No. 6 this week, with credit from “Don’t Think Jesus” as well as Cole Swindell and Lainey Wilson’s “Never Say Never” and Justin Moore’s “With A Woman You Love.” Alexander, who is also a co-writer on “Don’t Think Jesus” and “Never Say Never,” moves up to No. 10 this week. Holman makes it to No. 15 with the Wallen tune and “Flower Shops” by Ernest.

Eric Church remains at No. 1 on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart with his solely-written “Heart On Fire.” Because Church is the only writer on “Heart On Fire,” all of the points earned from the song’s airplay, digital download track sales, and streams go entirely to him on the Songwriter Chart.

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.

Nashville’s Music Industry Remembers Naomi Judd

Naomi Judd. Photo: Derrek Kupish

Numerous artists and music industry members have offered tributes and memories of the late music legend and matriarch of mother-daughter duo The Judds, Naomi Judd, who passed away on Saturday (April 30).

Comprised of mother Naomi and daughter Wynonna, The Judds are one of the most successful duos in country music history. Together they scored 20 Top 10 hits, including 14 No. 1s, between 1984 and 1991. Their most enduring country standards, such as “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me” and “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘bout the Good Old Days),” infused folk, bluegrass and blues into a unique country sound.

The Judds were celebrated alongside Ray Charles, Eddie Bayers, and Pete Drake on Sunday (May 1) as they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame for their iconic career full of country hits.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Naomi Judd, who enters the Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow as a member of mother-daughter duo The Judds,” shared Kyle Young, CEO, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, on Saturday. “Naomi overcame incredible adversity on her way to a significant place in music history. Her triumphant life story overshadows today’s tragic news. Her family has asked that we continue with The Judds’ official Hall of Fame induction on Sunday. We will do so, with heavy hearts and weighted minds. Naomi and daughter Wynonna’s music will endure.”

“We are heartbroken to learn about the passing of the legendary Naomi Judd and honored to have shared many unforgettable moments and performances together. Our hearts go out to her husband Larry, daughters Wynonna and Ashley, and legions of fans around the world during this difficult time.” – CMT Spokesperson

“Naomi and Wynonna Judd (known as The Judds) have been with our company for 40 years, for their entire career. This is an incredible loss to everyone at our company and the entire music industry, where Naomi made such an incredible impact. Her daughters Wynonna and Ashley will always be an amazing part of her legacy. We send our heartfelt condolences to her husband and our friend Larry Strickland. We will respect the family’s wishes for privacy during this difficult and painful time.” – Mike Curb, Chairman, Curb Records

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and fellow Kentuckian, Naomi Judd. Naomi was always so special to be with. She accomplished so much and she will be missed and loved forever. My prayers go out to Naomi and her family.” – Crystal Gayle

“We just heard the devastating news that Naomi Judd has gone home. The Judds are being inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame tomorrow. This is so very sad. We have been friends for decades and have worked hundreds of shows together. Our prayers for WY and Ashley and for all that loved her… which includes the four of us!” – The Oak Ridge Boys

“I have so many memories with Naomi Judd-from our early years on stage around the country, awards shows to recent neighborly encounters at church or around our town of Franklin. I am speechless and so sad! My prayers go out to Wynonna, Ashley, and the rest of her family. God bless you and comfort you all.” – Lee Greenwood

“It’s a sad day to hear about Naomi Judd, her creative and clever creation of The Judds image made a huge impact in country music. She will be missed greatly.” – Janie Fricke

“Naomi Judd was a dear friend and awesome talent. She was always so sweet and kind to me. I knew her well and did dozens of shows with The Judds. They have touched millions with their music. Sheila and my hearts are broken. Please pray for the Judd Family, fans, and friends. Rest in peace, sweet sister. I love you!” – T. Graham Brown

 

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“There is no way I can get my mind to adjust to this reality. Naomi brought such a breath of fresh air to our industry with her uptown looks and down-home humor. Her talent was only equaled by her dedication to following her dream and her unbelievable work ethic. She was respected, admired and will be remembered for those attributes. Even as we prepared a place for her in the Hall of Fame, we know that God has prepared a place for her as well.” – Jeannie Seely

“Such a warm and talented lady. Prayers for Wynonna, Ashley and her husband Larry, as well as all of their family, friends and fans as they grieve this tremendous loss.” – John Berry

“Say it isn’t so. Cannot believe my girlfriend and longtime buddy Naomi is gone. We’ve known each other for years and she always treated me with class, grace and pure kindness. I’m going to miss her so much.” – Tanya Tucker

“I am shocked and saddened along with the rest of our country music community over the passing of Naomi Judd. I’ll never forget meeting her for the first time when she was a contestant on a TV game show I was hosting. I asked her to identify herself for the audience and she said, “My name is Naomi Judd and I am a nurse from Franklin, Tennessee. My daughter and I sing together, and someday we hope to make it in country music.” I was looking so forward to recalling that moment with her on Sunday when she and Wynonna were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. She was one of a kind and will certainly be missed.” – Bill Anderson

 

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“Such a tragic loss. Truly one of country music‘s most iconic entertainers has left us all in tears. As I sit here wondering why to myself, I know there are no answers. You look back and you think could I have helped in some way? I know these feelings as they have crept up in my life a time or two. Naomi was always so nice to me and my family. She would go out of her way to have someone summon me to come to her dressing room and we’d be sitting and talking until she or I had to go onstage. She always gave me wonderful advice, so it breaks my heart that maybe I should’ve reached out to her one more time. Our hearts are broken, and this music industry, this business, can do strange and crazy things to people. My thoughts are with her two beautiful daughters, Larry and her grandchildren and all of the fans who were so excited to see her back on the road and back on the stage again. She’s on the best stage she could ever be on now. Rest in peace, Naomi.”– Lorrie Morgan