Behind ‘Black’: Dierks Bentley Turns Spotlight On Team


[Click image to access “Behind Black: The Anatomy of the Album & Tour.”]

Dierks Bentley‘s name may appear alone on his chart-topping album Black but he is quick to point out that hundreds of people have worked on both the album and the Somewhere On A Beach Tour for more than a year and his success is as much a testament to their work as it is his.

He shares, “As proud as I am of this record Black and as proud as I am of this tour, Somewhere On A Beach, I am more proud of the people I get to work with and the process that went into making this record and this tour.”

The multi-platinum singer/songwriter has long been known for embracing the community that surrounds him. With Behind Black: The Anatomy of the Album & Tour, Bentley introduces the group who had a behind-the-scenes hand in bringing it all to life; his family, management team, producers, collaborators, musicians, songwriters, record label executives, touring crew and industry supporters.

Bentley discusses giving fans an insider’s view with Billboard.

“At some point during the middle of our album release and tour rehearsals, I made the comment that I really wish we had been capturing all the people involved in making all the pieces come together because I don’t think the fans truly understand who all is behind their favorite song on the record or what it took to build the airplane that crashes on to the stage during our live show,” said Bentley. “So this web project was a way for me to give a little credit to all the people who work so hard to help me make my dreams come true, and it’s also a way to document a really special time in my career. I’m so grateful to the village of people it took!”

Behind Black: The Anatomy of the Album & Tour explores a community’s firsthand contribution to Black including collaborators and friends such as Maren Morris along with tourmates Cam and Randy Houser. Grammy-nominated Elle King is also featured as she shares vocals on the album’s thought-provoking Top 20 single “Different For Girls.”


Artist Updates: Kelsea Ballerini, Eric Paslay, Cam, The Cadillac Three

Kelsea Ballerini Plans Week Of TV Appearances

Kelsea Ballerini - Mary Kay Global Day of Beauty Event

Kelsea Ballerini will make a number of TV appearances in the coming days. She is slated to present an award on the Teen Choice Awards on FOX on Sunday (July 31); she is also nominated for Choice Country Artist. Additional appearances include the Jimmy Kimmel Live! outdoor stage on Monday, the concert special CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock on ABC on Wednesday, and the grand finale of the ABC series Greatest Hits on Thursday.


Eric Paslay Gives VIP Treatment To Teachers At Opry

Eric Paslay (second from right) meets CMA Music Teachers of Excellence (l-r) Franklin Willis, Tracy Roberts, and Jason Walsh backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Photo: Chris Hollo

Eric Paslay (second from right) meets CMA Music Teachers of Excellence (l-r) Franklin Willis, Tracy Roberts, and Jason Walsh backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Photo: Chris Hollo

Eric Paslay welcomed three CMA Music Teachers of Excellence to the Grand Ole Opry stage during his performance Wednesday (July 27). In honor of his new single “Angels In This Town,” Paslay is making “Angel Visits” across the country where he highlights local residents making an impact in their community. That meant meeting with educators Tracy Roberts, Jason Walsh, and Franklin Willis backstage before his performance and giving them the VIP treatment as his guests.


Cam Visits The Recording Academy In California

Pictured (L-R): Cam, Neil Portnow

Pictured (L-R): Cam, Neil Portnow

Cam made a stop at The Recording Academy offices in Santa Monica, California, to perform her latest music and to meet President/CEO Neil Portnow. While visiting with Portnow in his office, Cam briefly borrowed a ukulele from his shelf for a photo op. A flea market find, the musical instrument is one of multiple colorful souvenirs and mementos that Portnow has collected over the years and adorn his work space.


The Cadillac Three Record At Abbey Road Studio

The Cadillac Three
The Cadillac Three have filmed a series of music videos at Abbey Road studios in North London. The band issue the first video, “Graffiti,” on Thursday (July 28). Upcoming videos will be “White Lighting” on Aug. 1, “The South” on Aug. 8 and “Peace Love & Dixie” on Aug. 12. The band will release a new album, Bury Me in My Boots, on Aug. 5 on Big Machine Records.


Kane Brown Will Headline Tour Presented By Monster Energy, Outbreak Presents

Kane Brown

Kane Brown

RCA Nashville artist Kane Brown will launch a headline tour presented by Monster Energy and Outbreak Presents in the fall. The 30-date tour will begin Nov. 3 in Kalamazoo, Michigan and conclude Jan. 21 in Houston. Not all dates have been announced.

For his Ain’t No Stopping Us Now Tour, Brown was handpicked by Outbreak Presents, which is known for presenting emerging artists across all genres in top venues at a reasonable price. Past headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, Iggy Azalea, Cole Swindell, and Fetty Wap.

“I’m so excited to announce that we are doing the Ain’t No Stopping Us Now Tour with Monster Energy and Outbreak,” Brown said. “This fall tour is going to be bigger and better than anything we’ve done so far and I can’t wait for all the fans out on the road to see the show.”

“Kane Brown is a man of his time and we look forward to continuing the trajectory of sold out shows on what will be his biggest headlining tour to date,” adds Steven Ljubicic, General Manager at Outbreak Presents.

Brown has already established himself as a social media force with “Used To Love You Sober” and his Chapter 1 EP. He will release a new country single, “Thunder in the Rain,” in August.

Exclusive: Maren Morris Explains How “My Church” Catapulted Her Career


Maren Morris at the 28th Annual MusicRow Awards. Photo: Moments by Moser

Most listeners discovered Maren Morris this year with her debut single, “My Church,” yet she had been attracting attention in the music industry for several years already.

Since 2013, Morris has been writing for Nashville publishing company Big Yellow Dog Music, which released a digital EP in late 2015. Columbia Nashville took notice, signed the singer and released her full-length debut, Hero, which debuted at No. 1 after its release on June 3.

Calling from the first night as a special guest on Keith Urban’s Ripcord World Tour, she discussed with MusicRow the launch of her career, as well as the story behind “My Church,” which led her to win of the magazine’s 2016 Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year.

Read more about the award in the 2016 MusicRow Awards print issue, available now.


MusicRow: Describe the path “My Church” took to finally being released.
Maren Morris: I wrote it a little over a year ago, I guess March of 2015. I was out on a writing trip in Los Angeles. [Producer/songwriter] busbee has a house in Nashville but is based out of Los Angeles. The day before I wrote with him, the title “My Church” popped in my head and I went in with him and he totally got the concept I was going for.

It was a quick write, probably because it’s such a clear emotional context that everyone can relate to in some way. I instantly knew that song was really special, and felt a strong need to keep it to myself. If I was going to take a whack at this artist thing—if I had one shot at it—I would want it to be with this song. It’s crazy to think that was a little over a year ago. It really catapulted this whole thing to be set in motion.

As a songwriter and artist, how do you decide which songs to hold or let go?
“My Church” was really the first song I wanted to keep for myself. Narrowing down songs for the record was tough because I have a catalog from the last three years of music that I really love—hundreds of songs and I’m sure there are some I have forgotten about completely.

It’s sort of a sacrifice to narrow it down. There are great songs I adore that I had to leave off the record. But with the 11 songs that are on the record, it was hard to imagine someone else singing them and I think it tells a cohesive story.

Did you always want to be an artist and songwriter?
I felt like I was pretty much done with the performance side when I moved to Nashville. I’m from Arlington, Texas, and I toured there for over a decade—I had a whole other life there, really as a kid from about 10 or 11 years old. I didn’t write songs then but that eventually led to getting my first guitar and wanting to write.

After I moved, I just wanted to be a songwriter in a writing room and be creative—not worried about selling anything. Somewhere along the way I missed that high you get when you walk off stage after a show. That is so hard to match. In a writing room you get a different kind of high when you hear something back that you’ve created out of nothing with your friends, but that gave me the gumption to finish out this record.

Talk about the launch of your career.
Everything was sort of a domino effect after my publisher Carla Wallace introduced me to my manager Janet Weir at Red Light Management. At the time I hadn’t even written “My Church.” Around that time Janet and I met and hit it off. She understood the vision I had for my music and what I wanted to say to the world.

Janet tracked down Copeland Isaacson at Spotify, where one thing led to another and I ended up doing an exclusive EP release with them before I had ever signed a deal. That Spotify exclusive really created a lot of leverage. It really set into motion me signing a record deal with Sony.

Big Yellow Dog’s Carla Wallace (R) surprises her writer Maren Morris (L) with a plaque commemorating a No. 1 country album debut, along with its lead single achieving gold. Photo: Moments By Moser Photography

Big Yellow Dog’s Carla Wallace (R) surprises her writer Maren Morris (L) with a plaque commemorating a No. 1 country album debut, along with its lead single achieving gold. Photo: Moments By Moser Photography

How much of your project did you have set before you signed with Columbia?
I didn’t have the track listing down, but I had the bulk of the songs written. There were last-minute additions, because I was still writing. Like “Rich,” I think that was one of the last songs I wrote, and it was too much fun to leave off the album and fit so perfectly with the vibe we created.

Why was Columbia Nashville the right place for you?
When I was rounding out the EP, Sony Nashville didn’t have a president. They were going through a transition. They came on board later in the game once Jim Catino played Randy Goodman a few of my songs.

At the time I wasn’t really thinking whether or not I should sign to a pop or country label, but with the Columbia imprint that I’m on, I felt like I got the best of both worlds—I’ve been lucky to have a partnership with New York and Nashville with my deal. I never felt like I had to choose between the two worlds.

Describe that New York component.
Person for person, the same amount of people that work on my team here in Nashville under Columbia, the same goes for the New York office. So if I’m ever overseas or in New York, I feel like they both have a tight grasp on my direction.

It’s nice because I feel like these genre walls are coming down, bit by bit. I’m seeing the New York labels start to have more conversation with their Nashville counterparts. There’s more symbiosis happening and you don’t have to choose between the two. Randy Goodman and Rob Stringer at Columbia Records in New York really get what I do.

Pictured (L-R): Sherod Robertson, Maren Morris, Carla Wallace, Craig Shelburne. Photo: Moments by Moser

Pictured (L-R): Sherod Robertson, Maren Morris, Carla Wallace, Craig Shelburne. Photo: Moments by Moser

ACM Honors Set For August 30 With Lady Antebellum Hosting

Lady Antebellum. Photo: Joseph Llanes

Lady Antebellum. Photo: Joseph Llanes

Lady Antebellum will host the 10th Annual ACM Honors on August 30 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The event recognizes special honorees and off-camera winners of the 51st Annual ACM Awards.

ACM Honors will be produced for television by dick clark productions and broadcast at a later date on the CBS Television Network. Performers and air date for the primetime special will be announced in the coming weeks.

Honorees include special awards recipients Glen Campbell, Crystal Gayle, Eddie Rabbitt (awarded posthumously), Tanya Tucker, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Jeff Walker (awarded posthumously), Jimmy Webb, Little Big Town and The Statler Brothers.

Studio Recording Awards recipients include Jim ‘Moose’ Brown, Dave Cobb, Shannon Forrest, Paul Franklin, Justin Niebank, Danny Rader, Michael Rhodes and Derek Wells. In addition, Ross Copperman will be honored as Songwriter of the Year.

Andrew Kintz Steps Down from SunTrust Bank

Andrew Kintz_570x380 (1)

Andrew Kintz

After 18 years with SunTrust Bank, Managing Director Andrew Kintz is stepping down from his post, MusicRow has confirmed.

With the bank since 1998, Kintz manages the SunTrust Sports & Entertainment teammates in SunTrust’s Music Division Headquarters in Nashville, which provides financial services to songwriters, performing artists and businesses in the music industry.

An active member of Nashville’s music industry and one of its biggest cheerleaders, Kintz shares, “I have this dream of turning work off and giving an entire summer to my family and going on a massive adventure.”

Kintz graduated from Washington and Lee University and is a MBA Graduate of The University of Georgia. Kintz serves on several boards including Leadership Music, Nashville Public Radio, W.O. Smith Music School and his membership include ACM, CMA, NSAI, AIMP, The Recording Academy and Hall of Fame Circle Society.


CMA Music Festival Announces Sunday Night Stadium Lineup

2016-CMAMusicFestival-Logo-Badge-4CLuke Bryan, Brett Eldredge, Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett, and Keith Urban have been announced as performers on Sunday, June 12 as part of the Nightly Concerts at Nissan Stadium during CMA Fest 2016.

They join previously announced Country Music stars Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Cole Swindell, Carrie Underwood, Hank Williams, Jr., and Chris Young who will perform during the Festival’s first three nights.

The 2016 CMA Music Festival runs Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12 in downtown Nashville.

For upcoming announcements and all other info stay connected with CMA on

Luke Bryan Photo Credit: Jim Wright

Luke Bryan
Photo Credit: Jim Wright

Keith Urban Photo Credit: Courtesy PFA Media

Keith Urban
Photo Credit: Courtesy PFA Media

Brett Eldredge Photo Credit: Katherine Tyler

Brett Eldredge
Photo Credit: Katherine Tyler

Little Big Town Photo Credit: Courtesy Sandbox Entertainment

Little Big Town
Photo Credit: Courtesy Sandbox Entertainment

Thomas Rhett Photo Credit: John Shearer

Thomas Rhett
Photo Credit: John Shearer


Chris Stapleton Partners With Ram Trucks, ACM Lifting Lives For Hometown Concert

14476-123A2940Chris Stapleton and Ram Trucks, in conjunction with ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music, today announced a partnership that will see Stapleton return to Johnson Central High School, his alma mater, located in his hometown of Paintsville, Kentucky.

During the visit, Ram Nation volunteers (a grassroots team of Ram truck owners) and students from the Johnson Central High School carpentry program will dedicate an outdoor performance space, The Golden Eagle Stage Powered By RAM Trucks, for the school’s use. It will be located on the grounds of Johnson Central High School, and was constructed by JCHS carpentry students in conjunction with Ram Nation volunteers.

In addition, Stapleton will perform a closed afternoon concert for students, educators and administrators at the Johnson Central High School Gymnasium. Later that evening, Stapleton will return to the same stage for his sold-out ‘Ram Trucks Hometown Concert’ for the Paintsville community.

“While the story of Chris Stapleton may not be widely known, it’s one of pride, dedication and perseverance, all values important to our Ram truck owners,” said Marissa Hunter, Director of Brand Advertising, FCA US. “It’s a great opportunity and honor for us to go back to Paintsville with Chris to document his return to the place that built his character and work-ethic. Ram will be creating videos from this experience to show millions of people the very special town and moments that made Chris the man he is today.”

Chris stapleton

ACM Award Winners Revealed In New Artist Categories

2015_acm_award_logo_tunein_cmyk_type_041415Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Stapleton and Old Dominion have been named Academy of Country Music (ACM) New Female Artist of the Year, New Male Artist of the Year and New Duo/Group of the Year, respectively.

The newcomer categories for the 51st annual awards were previously fan voted and have now been incorporated into the professional membership voting process.

These awards mark the first-ever ACM Award wins for Ballerini, Stapleton and Old Dominion. Additionally, Ballerini is also nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, Stapleton leads the ACM nominations with six additional nods, including Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year, and Old Dominion received a nomination for Vocal Group of the Year.

Co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, the ACM Awards will broadcast live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Sunday, April 3 at 8:00 p.m. live ET/delayed PT on CBS.

SOURCE To Celebrate 25 Years At 2016 SOURCE Awards In August

SourceAwards2016The 14th Annual SOURCE Awards will honor and induct a select group of women into the SOURCE Awards Hall of Fame on Aug. 30. Tickets will be available in the coming weeks.

The yet-to-be-announced 2016 honorees are women who have played a vital role in the success of Music Row and Nashville’s entertainment industry.

Again held at Nashville’s Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum at the Historic Municipal Auditorium (417 4th Avenue North).

Founded in 1991, SOURCE is a nonprofit organization supporting women executives and professionals who work in all facets of the Nashville music industry. In 2003, the annual SOURCE Awards were established to pay respect to and honor the women who helped develop and build upon the foundation of the music industry in Nashville. SOURCE also pays tribute to women who presently make major contributions with their work in the industry.

Sponsorships and program ads are available with Shauna Collins at 615-974-7023.