Porchlight Music Promotes Three, Anthony Smith Named VP, Creative/A&R

Pictured (L-R): Anthony Smith, Sarah Morey, and Freeman Wizer

Porchlight Music, a Nashville-based music publishing and artist development company, has recently made three staffing changes.

Multi-award-winning songwriter and producer Anthony Smith has been elevated to Vice President, Creative/A&R after joining the company in 2019. Smith has achieved success across multiple genres with cuts by Reba, Donna Summer, Kenny Rogers, Vince Gill, Chris Young, Lauren Alaina, Lonestar, Clay Walker, Rodney Atkins, and Jo Dee Messina. His songs have also appeared in a National Toyota campaign as well as Almost An Angel, Earth Force, and Graveyard Shift.

Additionally, recent Belmont graduate Sarah Morey has been promoted to Catalog Manager/Creative Coordinator, and Freeman Wizer has joined the team as Senior Creative Director.

Prior to Porchlight Music, Wizer spent time at Universal Music Publishing Group, Sea Gayle Music, and Spirit Music Group where he worked with and guided the careers of many songwriters.

“Freeman brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his position that our staff and writers can benefit from tremendously. He will be a great asset to the PLM family. Sarah’s work ethic and enthusiasm is contagious. I’m very excited about the future of PLM with them both on board,” Smith comments.

Porchlight’s roster includes Clint Daniels (“Some Of It” by Eric Church, “Brokenheartsville” by Joe Nichols), Anthony L. Smith (“Tomorrow” by Chris Young, “What About Now” by Lonestar), and Tim James (“My List” by Toby Keith, “Give It All We Got Tonight” by George Strait) as well as Taylor Davis, Terry Lee Palmer, William Michael Morgan, Ryan Garrett, and Dan Hutson.

DISClaimer Single Reviews: Cody Johnson, Carly Pearce & Ashley McBryde, Tylar Bryant

Pictured (top row): Tylar Bryant, Cody Johnson; (bottom row): Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde

Summer may be winding down, but the country stars are still cranking out plenty of sunshine.

In this week’s edition of DisClaimer, we have terrific tunes by Old Dominion, Sam Hunt, Mitchell Tenpenny & Chris Young, Walker Hayes, Kacey Musgraves and more. We have a tie in the race for the Disc of the Day award. I can’t decide between the sizzling Cody Johnson single and the scintillating duet by Carly Pearce & Ashley McBryde. Honor them both with your spins.

One of the most noteworthy trends in country music during the past three years is the unprecedented explosion of Black artists in the genre. Country hopefuls Willie Jones, Chapel Hart, Breland, Karen McCormick, Ashlie Amber, Blanco Brown, Brittney Spencer, Tony Evans Jr., Camo Brian, Priscilla Renae, Shy Carter, Tiera, Kyshona, Charlie Crockett, Norman North, Wendy Moten, Reyna Roberts and Charles Gallaspy have joined an influx from the previous decade—Mickey Guyton, Jimmie Allen, Miko Marks, Simba Jordan, Vickie Vann, Kane Brown, Rissi Palmer, Kamara Thomas, Joy Styles, Tony Jackson, Rhonda Townes, Darius Rucker, Kaia Kater, Aaron Vance, Daniel Houze, Amber Gerard, John Amos and Erika Dunlap.

In this column, we add three more names to the list, Brei Carter, Danielia Cotton and our DISCovery Award winner, Tylar Bryant.

SAM HUNT / “23”
Writers: Sam Hunt/Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne/Chris LaCorte; Producer: Chris LaCorte; Label: MCA Nashville
— Wistful nostalgia for a youthful love. His warm, burnished delivery is enthralling, and the well-crafted lyric is a gem. Check out the acoustic version, too.

DANIELIA COTTON / “(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again”
Writers: Dallas Frazier/Doodle Owens; Producer: none listed; Label: DC
— This New Jersey native has dabbled in r&b and rock during the past 15 years. This country-soul tribute to Charley Pride finds her in excellent voice. She could use better production support on her revival of his 1969 classic.

Writers: Walker Hayes/Cameron Bartolini/Shane Stevens/Josh Jenkins/Kesha; Producer: Walker Hayes, Shane McAnally & Joe Thibodeau; Label: Monument/RCA
— Nashville native popster Kesha adds her saucy verve to this Platinum-selling song of the summer. Melodically, it has nothing to do with country music. Lyrically, however, it’s a hillbilly delight. And the whole thing is still one nutty ear worm. If Ruby Tuesday, Ocharley’s, T.G.I. Friday, Chili’s, Logan’s or Zaxby’s pay to advertise on the radio station, don’t they object to giving free airtime to an Applebees commercial?

ADAM DOLEAC / “Somewhere Cool With You”
Writers: Adam Doleac/Josh Jenkins/Matt Jenkins/Jared Keim; Producer: Jared Keim; Label: Arista Nashville
— Adam was in the news this week when his sound-equipment trailer was stolen, then recovered. His new track yearns for a romantic getaway. Lulling and gentle, if not exactly memorable.

Writers: Kacey Musgraves/Ian Fitchuk/Ilsey Juber/Brandon Joyner Burton; Producer: Ian Fitchuk, Kacey Musgraves & Daniel Tashian; Label: MCA Nashville/Interscope
— This sweet/sad heartbreak ballad has a spare, echoey production swirling around her tender soprano. Listenable, meandering and atmospheric. As light and lovey-dovey as Golden Hour was, the new LP Star-Crossed represents the darker side of love.

SAM WILLIAMS & DOLLY PARTON / “Happy All the Time”
Writers: Mary Gauthier/Sam Williams; Producer: Bobby Holland/Sean McConnell; Label: Mercury Nashville
— “Glasshouse Children,” the title tune of this guy’s debut album is a very slow dreamy ballad with strings. He picks up the pace a little on the collection’s collaborations with Keith Urban (”Kids”) or, in this case, Dolly. It’s still a ballad, but their voices brush against each other in a way that creates emotional intimacy and intensity. Sam is Hank Jr.’s boy—and the half brother of music makers Hank III, Hillary and Holly—but he is definitely his own man. Highly recommended.

BREI CARTER / “Gave Him a Girl”
Writers: Brei Carter/Mason Douglas/Jason Wyatt; Producer: none listed; Label: BC
— This Louisiana native is a PhD, the author of three books and a veteran Army officer. She’s also a feisty, sprightly country singer-songwriter. In this ditty, she flattens a bully with a right hook and announces that she can catch a bass, change a tire, skin a coon, drink, handle a gun and drive a tractor. Cute and catchy.

Writers: Chris DeStefano/Chris Young/Mitchell Tenpenny; Producer: Chris Young/Chris DeStefano; Label: RCA Nashville
— Nobody sings a country song with as much power as Mr. Young, but Tenpenny gives it his all on this chesty, passionate, anthemic collaboration. These are two mighty worthy men.

CARLY PEARCE & ASHLEY McBRYDE / “Never Wanted to Be That Girl”
Writers: Carly Pearce/Ashley McBryde/Shane McAnally; Producer: Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne; Label: Big Machine/Warner
— In a word, sensational. The dobro-laced production, both women’s harmony voices, the story song, the swapped verses, the interwoven solo vocals …. everything works here. Ashley starts off, portraying the mistress. Carly picks up the tale, enacting the betrayed wife. They soar on the choruses together in dual heartache. For the love of country music, play this.

CODY JOHNSON / “Til You Can’t”
Writers: Ben Stennis/Matt Rogers; Producer: Trent Willmon; Label: Warner/COJO
— Cody has been delighting our ears by releasing track after track from his upcoming double album, Human (”Sad Songs and Waltzes,” “God Bless the Boy,” “Let’s Build a Fire,” etc). Now at last that collection has a single, and it is a dandy. It begins as a contemplative look at life and love, then evolves into a roaring barn burner about seizing today, living with gusto and chasing your dreams no matter how big. This is the sound of a superstar.

OLD DOMINION / “All I Know About Girls”
Writers: Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne/Trevor Joseph Rosen/Matthew Thomas Ramsey/Brad Francis Tursi/Whit Sellers/Geoffrey Sprung; Producer: Old Dominion/Shane McAnally; Label: Arista Nashville
— Softly jaunty and airy. The simplicity and open production of this are pleasantly ear-cleansing. As you might expect, the punch line is “I don’t know nothin’ at all.”

TYLAR BRYANT / “Stay Wild”
Writers: Bobby McLamb/Blaine Younger; Producer: Bryan Cole; Label: Riser
— No matter how work and life wear you down, remember to stay free and full of fire. Hang on for the processed-vocal chorus toward the finale. Engaging, energetic and promising.

Industry Ink: Blake Shelton, CMHOF, Musicians On Call

Blake Shelton & Team Commemorate His 20-Year Career

Pictured (L to R): Kristen Williams (SVP Radio & Streaming, WMN); John Esposito (Chairman & CEO, WMN); Scott Hendricks (EVP A&R, WMN); Blake Shelton; Ben Kline (EVP / GM, WMN); Narvel Blackstock (Starstruck Entertainment); Cris Lacy (EVP A&R, WMN)

After celebrating his 27th and 28th back-to-back No. 1 singles–”Nobody But You” and “Happy Anywhere”–with wife and duet partner Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton commemorated his 20-year career on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Members of Shelton’s team surprised the multi-Platinum artist backstage at his sold-out Bridgestone Arena stop in Nashville with a special plaque. In his two-decades long career, Shelton has sold over 52 million singles and 13 million albums.

Shelton will continue on his “Friends and Heroes 2021” tour with upcoming shows in South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Michigan before wrapping in Milwaukee on Oct. 2.



Country Music Hall Of Fame & Museum Adds Kevin Fleming, Ups Sheldon Davis

Kevin Fleming & Sheldon Davis

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has made two changes to their staff with the addition of Kevin Fleming as Director of Library and Archival Collections, and the promotion of Sheldon Davis to Associate Director of Facilities.

In his new role, Fleming will lead preservation, organization and acquisition efforts for the museum’s manuscript, print, recorded sound, moving image, photograph, born-digital, library and reference collections. He will also work with library and archives staff to expand and increase access to the institution’s unparalleled country music online research collections.

Fleming comes to the museum after 13 years at Georgia State University where he served as the popular music and culture archivist and media preservation coordinator, while also holding the rank of librarian associate professor.

Davis will oversee operating systems for the museum which houses gallery and collection storage spaces, retail and restaurant establishments, and event and office facilities. His management oversight includes maintenance and facility improvements for the institution and its systems, including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and more.

During his five-year tenure with the museum, Davis has served as Senior Maintenance Manager, supervising the staff of technicians.



Musicians On Call Honored At 2021 Zoomtopia Innovation Awards

Zoom has recently named Musicians On Call (MOC) the second place overall winner and Deepened Connections & Experiences category winner in the 2021 Zoomtopia Innovation Awards.

The nonprofit organization brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. Throughout the pandemic, MOC has developed innovative techniques to use Zoom to continue delivering live music to hospitals when they needed it the most.

“Receiving such high recognition from Zoom for our use of the platform in our virtual programs is an incredible honor for Musicians On Call. The fact that our organization’s innovations were showcased among the best of the best globally speaks volumes about the dedication and ingenuity of our team, volunteers, hospital partners and supporters. We would not have been able to make such unforgettable connections happen for deserving patients and caregivers over the past year without them,” shares Musicians On Call President & CEO Pete Griffin.

By integrating Zoom into its Virtual Bedside Performance Program, MOC reached more than 150,000 people in a single year with the healing power of music, the most in one year in the organization’s 20+ year history.

Through this initiative, MOC has connected Volunteer Guides and Volunteer Musicians for a 30-minute live performance from the safety of their own homes and arranged one-on-one visits between patients and Volunteer Musicians.

Blake Shelton Unveils Plans For Ole Red Location In Nashville International Airport

Blake Shelton and Ryman Hospitality Properties unveiled plans for a new Ole Red location in the Nashville International Airport (BNA). The new location is expected to open in early 2022.

The 5,500-square-foot Ole Red BNA will join a variety of new dining and shopping options at BNA, which is undergoing a $1.4 billion expansion plan designed to accommodate over 23 million passengers by 2023.

The planned $4.5 million project is scheduled for the C Terminal and will be the largest single operation with 190 seats, concert-quality acoustics and the largest stage in the airport. Ryman Hospitality Properties also plans to offer daily live music alongside Ole Red menu favorites and location-specific specialties, including breakfast items.

“We have long believed in the bold vision set forth by the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority for their expansion, which is designed to accommodate Nashville’s surging tourism demand,” says Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Ryman Hospitality Properties. “We believe having an Ole Red location in this redesigned space is an extraordinary billboard opportunity for the Ole Red brand and all of what downtown Nashville has to offer. We look forward to working alongside Fraport USA to bring Ole Red to the airport.”

Shelton adds, “Folks from around the world come to Nashville lookin’ to have a good time and hear some of the best live music around, and now you can make it double with the Nashville airport venue! I’m excited to give visitors the best fun, food and music like only Ole Red can provide while they wait for their flight.”

Ole Red BNA will join four existing locations in Orlando, Florida; Tishomingo, Oklahoma; Nashville, Tennessee; and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Honorees Announced For 2021 ‘CMT Artists of the Year’

Pictured (clockwise): Chris Stapleton, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Kelsea Ballerini

CMT revealed the honorees for its 2021 CMT Artists Of The Year special, taking place on Oct. 13. The premier country artists to be celebrated are Chris Stapleton, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs.

This year’s CMT Artists of the Year event will honor the top five country artists who, in the last 12 months, led across all CMT platforms, scored chart-topping albums and singles, and created ways to connect with fans and meet the personal and professional challenges posed by the pandemic.

Margaret Comeaux, Vice President, Production, CMT says: “’We are honored to recognize these five incredible artists who have entertained and inspired millions through their music this past year. We look forward to returning to the Schermerhorn with a live show as we celebrate the accomplishments of Chris, Kane, Kelsea, Gabby and Luke.”

The 90-minute CMT Artists Of The Year special will broadcast live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. CT. Musical pairings, special guests, additional honorees, performers and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

BMI Returns To Austin City Limits Music Festival With Sets From Hardy, Tenille Arts, More

The BMI stage is returning to Zilker Park at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 1-3 and 8-10 with a diverse lineup of rising pop, rock, country, Latin, Americana, hip-hop and R&B recording artists.

Grunge-rock band Bexley will kick off the first weekend, followed by performances from Austin-based Latin Grammy nominee Gina Chavez, surf rock band Sun Room, Dominican-Italian X Factor contestant Yendry, and more. 2021 CMA New Artist of the Year nominee Hardy will wrap up the weekend.

Weekend two at the BMI Stage will see performances from Austin-locals, including Columbian funk band Superfónicos, DIY rapper The Teeta, and Americana singer-songwriter David Ramirez. Rising pop singer-songwriter Leyla Blue, Jack White-championed pop-rock band Mattiel, Spanish-Cuban pop artist Samantha Sanchez, and more will round out the weekend.

“BMI is grateful for our continued partnership with C3 to provide a new generation of songwriters the opportunity to play at one of the most unique music events in the world,” says Clay Bradley, VP Creative, Nashville. “We’re always proud to develop up-and-coming talent and this year we’re happy to be back on festival grounds and showcase twenty-two incredible BMI acts.”

For nearly two decades, the BMI stage has had a hand in launching some of music’s biggest stars on the staple ACL stage, including memorable performances from Miranda Lambert, Alessia Cara, Luke Combs, City and Colour, Gary Clark, Jr., Shakey Graves, Jon Pardi, Catfish and the Bottlemen, lovelytheband, and Maren Morris.

Weekend One Lineup:
Friday, Oct. 1
Bexley, carolesdaughter, Zella Day

Saturday, Oct. 2
Sun Room, Public Library Commute, Katie Pruitt, Gina Chavez

Sunday, Oct. 3
Jany Green, Yendry, Tenille Arts, Hardy

Weekend Two Lineup:
Friday, Oct. 8
Leah Blevins, The Teeta, OMB Peezy

Saturday, Oct. 9
gigi, Leyla Blue, Samantha Sanchez, Raiche

Sunday, Oct. 10
Zach Person, Mattiel, Superfónicos, David Ramirez

Music Row Ambassadors Brothers Osborne Help Out Habitat For Humanity

TJ and John Osborne with Music Row Build future homeowner Alycia Carpenter. Photo: Courtesy Habitat for Humanity

TJ and John of Brothers Osborne, Ambassadors for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville’s 2021 Music Row Build, visited the Habitat for Humanity build site this week to meet the Music Row Build’s future homeowner Alycia Carpenter.

The brothers are helping Alycia raise funds for her future Habitat townhome in North Nashville.

Habitat of Greater Nashville broke ground on their first townhome community, Sherwood Commons, in spring of 2021 and it is slated to be completed next Spring. Located off Ewing Drive in North Nashville, the community will be home for 26 hardworking Nashvillians who are stabilizing their lives through Habitat’s homeownership program. Future homeowners take 100 hours of homeowner education and work 100 hours on the build site with their sponsors and volunteers to earn a 0% APR mortgage.

Applications for the townhomes will be open Sept. 20-30. Interested applicants can go to the website at habitatnashville.org/homeownership for application information.

Brothers Osborne are set to perform tonight (Sept. 16) in Nashville at the Ascend Amphitheater. Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster.

“Scott Hamilton & Friends” Benefit Returns With Tribute To Busbee

The 5th Annual “Scott Hamilton & Friends” all-star night of music and skating is set for Nov. 21 at Bridgestone Arena. This year’s benefit will also be a tribute to Busbee, the beloved Nashville songwriter and producer who passed away in 2019 just months following his Glioblastoma diagnosis.

Lady A will lead an all-star tribute to busbee with additional performances by CeCe Winans, For King & Country, and Grace Potter with Sixwire as the house band. Additional musical guests will be announced in the coming weeks.

Celebrated world, national, and Olympic figure skaters will also be featured in the night’s festivities, including 2x Olympic champion Katia Gordeeva, Olympic Gold medalist Ilia Kulik, Olympic Bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond, Olympic Bronze medalist Jeffrey Buttle, Olympic Bronze medalist Meagan Duhamel with Olympic Silver team medalist Dylan Moscovitch, Olympic Bronze team medalists Jeremy Abbott and Gracie Gold, 3x World medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, 2x Us National Champion Alissa Czisny, U.S. National Champion Ryan Bradley, and social media sensation Elladj Baldé who will make his event debut.

Tickets are available now. Event proceeds will fund Glioblastoma research through the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, dedicated to changing the future of cancer.

SOLID Raises $32,000 Through Music Row Madness Fundraiser

Pictured (back row, L-R): Brian O’Neil, Chris Fairbank, Luke Pierce, Sean Fallon, Avery King, Jenn DiChiara; (front row, L-R): Rachel Guttmann, Darcie Van Etten, Paul Ermlich, Ritz McCain, Mollie Jones, Jenna Smith, Tatiana Angulo. Photo: Erika Rock

The Society of Leaders In Development (SOLID) held its annual Music Row Madness fundraiser last night (Sept. 15).

Overall, the event raised $32,000 for the 2021 SOLID Shares partners: MusiCares, Notes for Notes, The Onsite Foundation (Ryan’s Grove), The Equity Alliance, and The National Museum of African American Music. This is the organization’s first in-person fundraiser in nearly two years. WORKS Entertainment, captained by SOLID Treasurer Luke Pierce, came in as the evening’s top fundraiser.

“I am overjoyed to see SOLID safely and conscientiously hosting full-scale events in-person again. Our Nashville community never fails to show up and support our nonprofit partners through Music Row Madness,” shares SOLID President Avery King. “Last night, even after such a long break, was no exception. Most of all, I am so humbled to serve an organization with such passionate people because, without them, none of this could ever be possible.”

“I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone who helped make this night possible,” says SOLID Community Outreach Chair Ritz McCain. “My co-chair Paul and I feel incredibly honored to have been able to raise donations for and awareness of this year’s SOLID Shares partners. It means the world to us to be able to give back to the Nashville community during such a trying season. Thanks also to our board, committee members and the larger Nashville community who showed up in many ways, safely, to make it happen.”

SOLID is a Nashville-based music industry organization for developing music business professionals dedicated to improving the future success of the music industry. Over the last three years, the organization has been able to donate over $400,000 to local charities and nonprofits and donated more than 300 hours of their time to the Nashville community.

Wasserman Music Promotes Five To Agent, Adds Two Tour Marketing Directors

Pictured (top row, L-R): Amanda Ilgunas, Paige Maloney; (middle row, L-R): Lauren Marker, Edenized Perez, Mallory Smith; (bottom row, L-R): Stephanie Gherini, Mika Posecion

Wasserman Music has promoted five new agents, including Paige Maloney, Amanda Ilgunas, Lauren Marker, Edenized Perez, and Mallory Smith. Wasserman also welcomes two new tour marketing directors to its team, Stephanie Gherini and Mika Posecion.

Maloney began her career as an administrator at Live Nation in Philadelphia before joining Paradigm in 2015 as assistant to agent Joe Atamian. Her client roster includes Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Black Pumas, Brett Dennen, Noah Kahan, Elizabeth Cook, Katie Pruitt and more. She is based in Wasserman’s Nashville office.

Gherini joins Wasserman Music as Director, Tour Marketing, following five years in tour marketing at Live Nation’s Los Angeles headquarters where she oversaw marketing on national tours. In her 11 years in the music industry, she has also worked in management, publishing, and at record labels. Gherini is also based in Wasserman’s Nashville office.

Marker and Posecion are based in Wasserman’s Los Angeles office; Perez and Smith at the New York office; and Ilgunas in the San Francisco office.

“We take great pride in developing strong careers for our colleagues, as well as for our clients,” says Wasserman Music EVP & Managing Executive Lee Anderson. “Amanda, Paige, Lauren, Edenized and Mallory have grown into outstanding professionals, and we’re honored to welcome them to our agent team. The addition of Stephanie and Mika to our exceptional tour marketing team represents a big step forward in Wasserman’s ability to empower and guide our clients’ touring careers.”