Music Biz’s Academic Partnership Program Adds 12 Colleges In First Year

musicbiz2015Twelve colleges and universities, along with more than 1,000 students, have already signed up for the Music Business Association’s (Music Biz) Academic Partnership Program, which provides support and exclusive opportunities for schools, students, and faculty members who are fostering the future of the music industry through music business, technology, and entertainment law education. The program has been in effect for the past year. The colleges and universities that have joined the program are:

· Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee
· Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts
· Drexel University, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
· Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan
· Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
· Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), Murfreesboro, Tennessee
· Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey
· New Jersey City University (NJCU), Jersey City, New Jersey
· New York University (NYU), New York, New York
· University of Miami, Miami, Florida
· University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), San Antonio, Texas
· William Paterson University, Paterson, New Jersey

Music Biz is once again inviting students from Academic Partnership Program members to volunteer at Music Biz 2016. Last year, 15 students from Belmont and MTSU took the opportunity to do just that at Music Biz 2015. They learned valuable music industry lessons and skills, while connecting with top executives at all three major labels as well as top publishers, managers, artists, entrepreneurs, and startups.

“The students, faculty, and staff of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University are extremely grateful for the many benefits, scholarships, and real-world opportunities that are made available through the Academic Partnership Program,” said Doug Howard, Dean of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. “In addition, we applaud the Music Business Association for providing access to a variety of industry resources that support student and faculty research and compliment our academic mission of developing graduates with the critical thinking skills needed to lead and succeed in our unique and dynamic profession.”

To learn more about the Music Biz Academic Partnership Program, contact Evelyn Dichter at 856.596.2221 or [email protected] or click here.

ACM Lifting Lives 2015 Accepting Submissions For Grant Cycle

acm lifting lives

ACM Lifting Lives has announced a call for submissions for the 2015 Grant Cycle. Submissions will be taken for the 2015 Grant Cycle beginning Sept. 1, 2015 and ending on Sept. 30, 2015 at Funding decisions will be made and programs will be notified in November 2015.

ACM Lifting Lives, the Academy of Country Music’s philanthropic arm, is dedicated to improving lives through the power of music. Through grant cycles, it is able to provide funding to programs that promote education and healing with a musical connection.

Among the organizations that have received funding previously are Alive Hospice in Nashville, TN, Bridges Academy in Nashville, TN, CreatiVets in Washburn, IL, Free Arts for Abused Children in Los Angeles, CA, LiveBeyond in Nashville, TN, Music National Service Initiative in the Bay Area, CA, Musicians on Call in Nashville, TN, Notes for Notes in Nashville, TN, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, CA, Peace thru Music in Ventura, CA, Porter’s Call in Franklin, TN, Possibilities! in Cumberland Furnace, TN, Rochelle Center in Nashville, TN, Rock for Kids in Chicago, IL, Shepherd Center Music Therapy for Veterans in Atlanta, GA, Tapping Individual Potential (T.I.P.) in Nashville, TN, The Art of Elysium in Los Angeles, CA, The Quest Center for Arts & Community Development in Dickson, TN, Vanderbilt Music Therapy Program in Nashville, TN, W.O. Smith Nashville Community Music School in Nashville, TN and Youth for Tomorrow – New Life Center, Inc in Bristow, VA.

Lionel Richie To Be Honored As MusiCares Person Of The Year


Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie will be honored as the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, it was announced today by Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation and The Recording Academy, and Bill Silva, Chair of the MusiCares Foundation Board.

The 26th annual benefit gala dinner and concert will be held in Los Angeles two nights prior to the 58th annual Grammy Awards. Confirmed performers include Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, and Pharrell Williams.

“Each year our MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honors an extraordinary artist and humanitarian who lends their considerable time and talents to raising the funds necessary to continue to meet the ever-increasing need for our programs and services,” said Portnow. “And it is truly a privilege to be paying tribute to Lionel, whose musical gifts and philanthropy have touched millions of people around the world.”

“I’m really very proud of this,” said Richie. “As far as I’m concerned, this is the highest honor in our music business because it means you have a career. You’ve survived the journey, if you will. The people who have been there defy categories. When you say Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney — are you kidding me? When I got in this business I wanted to be like them. When you get recognition like this, it’s everything. It really is the top of the mountain when it comes down to what your industry gives as recognition for great work, and the opportunity to help raise funds to sustain MusiCares’ critical safety net of programs for members of the music community is momentous to me.”

Clare Dunn To Release Self-Titled EP Next Month

claredunn2015MCA’s Clare Dunn announced the release date for her self-titled EP will be Sept. 18. It will include her major label debut single, “Move On.” Dunn co-wrote and co-produced all five songs on her EP and also plays lead guitar on every track both in the studio and in her live show. She has drawn comparisons to Bonnie Raitt and Keith Urban while out on tour with rock icon Bob Seger this year.

Dunn has been tapped to join Miranda Lambert on the Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars Tour as well as Chris Young on the I’m Comin’ Over Tour this fall.

Clare Dunn EP Track Listing:

1. Ferrari (Clare Dunn, Jennifer Decilveo)
2. Move On** (Clare Dunn, Jesse Frasure)
3. Tuxedo* (Clare Dunn, Ben West, Brett James)
4. Old Hat * (Clare Dunn, Tom Douglas)
5. Cowboy Side Of You*** (Clare Dunn, Terry McBride, Brandon Hood)

Produced by Clare Dunn
*Produced by Clare Dunn and Ben West
**Produced by Clare Dunn and Jesse Frasure
***Produced by Clare Dunn and Terry McBride

Reba and Narvel Separate After 26 Years of Marriage

Narvel Blackstock and Reba McEntire. Photo: Facebook.

Narvel Blackstock and Reba McEntire. Photo: Facebook.

In a joint statement, Narvel Blackstock and Reba McEntire have announced that they have been separated for the past few months, after 26 years of marriage.

“Despite this being the end of their marriage, they continue to support each other,” the statement reads. “They have worked together for 35 years and will continue to do so.” Together they own Starstruck Management, which oversees the careers of McEntire, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and more.

They have asked that their privacy be respected during this time.

McEntire and Blackstock they have one child, race car driver Shelby Blackstock. Narvel has three children from a previous marriage. McEntire was also previously wed, divorced the late steer wrestler Charlie Battles in 1987 after 11 years of marriage.

The separated couple recently sold their Beverly Hills home spread.

Thomas Rhett To Unravel ‘Tangled Up’ Album In September

thomasrhett2015Thomas Rhett will release his new album, Tangled Up, on Sept. 25 through The Valory Music Co. It will feature songs that were influenced by Rhett’s childhood love of country, Pop, Rap, R&B, Rock, and Oldies.

“I didn’t grow up listening to just one style of music,” says Rhett. “So, I don’t know how to write just one style of music. Whether these songs have more of a pop influence or more of a hip-hop influence or a completely country influence, they all — in some crazy way — cohesively sound like a me song.”

The 13-track album is filled with party anthems, dance tunes, drinking songs, love ballads and everything in between, all tied together by a dynamic singer who’s unafraid to blur the lines between genres. The record was written across the country before and after shows, while Thomas Rhett’s body was still flushed with adrenaline. “At our shows, there aren’t any rules,” Thomas Rhett continues. “There’s no such thing as standing still and just singing a song. I love jumping into the crowd. I love to dance. The whole show is very uptempo, high energy, and completely unpredictable.”

The album’s debut single “Crash And Burn” is currently at No. 2 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Chart.

1. “Anthem” (Nicolle Galyon, Shane McAnally, Jimmy Robbins)
2. “Crash And Burn” (Jesse Frasure, Chris Stapleton)
3. “South Side” (Thomas Rhett, Jesse Frasure, Chris Stapleton)
4. “Die A Happy Man” (Thomas Rhett, Sean Douglas, Joe Spargur)
5. “Vacation” (Written by Thomas Rhett, Thomas Allen, Harold Brown, Morris
Dickerson, Sean Douglas, Gerry Goldstein, Leroy Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Osker, Andreas
Schuller, Howard Scott, Joe Spargur, Ricky Reed, John Ryan)
6. “Like It’s the Last Time”
 (Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip)
7. “T-Shirt” (Ashley Gorley, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
8. “Single Girl” 
(Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, Ben Hayslip)
9. “The Day You Stop Looking Back” (Jaren Johnston, Luke Laird)
10. “Tangled Up” (Chris DeStefano, Adam Hoffman, Matt Lipkins, Josh Osborne, Scott Schwartz)
11. “Playing With Fire” feat. Jordin Sparks* (Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley)
12. “I Feel Good” feat. Lunch Money Lewis** (Thomas Rhett, Sean Douglas, Teddy Geiger,
Jacob Hindlin, Gamal Lewis, Charlie Puth, Joe Spargur)
13. “Learned it From the Radio”* (Nicolle Galyon, Ashley Gorley, Jimmy Robbins)
Produced by Dann Huff and Jesse Frasure
*Produced by Chris DeStefano
**Produced by Joe London


Dolly Dazzles At Ryman Homecoming

Dolly Parton at the Ryman, July 31, 2015. Photo: Stacie Huckeba

Dolly Parton at the Ryman, July 31, 2015. Photo: Stacie Huckeba

They call her a living legend for a reason.

At a pair of weekend concerts at Ryman Auditorium, Dolly Parton enthralled sold-out crowds with her incomparable personality and showmanship. She didn’t need to fly over the stage, set off pyro, create magic effects or explode confetti. All she needed were her extraordinary songs, her enduringly expressive voice and her magnetic rapport with audiences.

Billed as “Pure and Simple,” her shows featured just three sidemen and minimal stage décor. On Saturday night, she drew a thunderous standing ovation as she came on stage singing a snippet of “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.” “I know these seats are hard, and your butts are gonna get tired,” she told the crowd. “But I’m gonna help you forget that.” And for nearly two hours, she did just that.

“I love coming to the Ryman Auditorium. On Jan. 4, 1969, I became a member of the Grand Ole Opry on this stage.” She told us that the show was a benefit for the Opry Trust Fund (Friday’s was for the W.O. Smith Community Music School).

“Usually, I save all my money for myself,” she quipped. “You would not believe how much it costs to look this cheap!”

Dolly Parton at the Ryman, July 31, 2015. Photo: Stacie Huckeba

Dolly Parton at the Ryman, July 31, 2015. Photo: Stacie Huckeba

She was garbed in a glittering, fringed dress that hugged her famous figure and shimmered in silver and pastel hues. Addressing her over-the-top looks, she delivered “Backwoods Barbie.”

Parton put the crowd in an upbeat mood with “Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That” and “Jolene.” Then she took attendees on a journey to her Appalachian roots via “Precious Memories,” “My Tennessee Mountain Home,” “Coat of Many Colors” (which drew a long ovation), “Smoky Mountain Memories,” “Applejack,” “The Seeker,” “The Grass Is Blue,” “Blue Smoke,” the humorous “PMS Blues” and “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind.”

She linked the songs with charming patter, asking for “Amen” responses when her lyrics’ emotions struck a chord. Along the way, she played guitar, banjo, dulcimer, autoharp, piano, pan flute, harmonica and tenor guitar.

This part of the concert concluded with the haunting, ancient modal tones of “Little Sparrow,” which was performed mainly a cappella and resulted in a standing ovation.

Parton strapped on an electric guitar and employed a drum machine to jolt the energy level with a mash-up of “Baby I’m Burning” with Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire.” She romped through “Two Doors Down” and got a roar of acclamation with “Here You Come Again.” “Islands in the Stream” led into a rousing, fist-thrusting audience sing-along on “9 to 5.”

“Thank you for allowing my little-girl dreams to come true,” she said. “You have no idea what an emotional feeling that is – to hear you sing my songs to me.”

She poured passion into the fervent finale, “I Will Always Love You.” As the dazzled crowd spilled out of the Ryman onto the streets, Hunter Kelly asked, “Did you feel blessed?” Well, we were in a building built as a gospel tabernacle and, yes, spending an evening with that greatest of stars was a little like rejoicing in church.

Dolly Parton at the Ryman, July 31, 2015. Photo: Stacie Huckeba

Dolly Parton at the Ryman, July 31, 2015. Photo: Stacie Huckeba

Some Women, Some Wine: A Damn Good Cause

(L-R): Emilie Glover (Red Light Management), Deborah Ferris (Regional Director, Music & Memory), Amelia Varni (UMPG Nashville), Cyndi Forman (UMPG Nashville), Matraca Berg, Tammy Helm (UMPG Nashville), Suzy Bogguss, Gretchen Peters, Christina Wiltshire (Patrick Joseph Music), Lori McKenna

(L-R): Emilie Glover (Red Light Management), Deborah Ferris (Regional Director, Music & Memory), Amelia Varni (UMPG Nashville), Cyndi Forman (UMPG Nashville), Matraca Berg, Tammy Helm (UMPG Nashville), Suzy Bogguss, Gretchen Peters, Christina Wiltshire (Patrick Joseph Music), Lori McKenna

Wine, Women & Song performed a benefit for the charity Music & Memory featuring rare Nashville performances by Gretchen Peters, Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg on Thurs., July 23. Music & Memory’s efforts enhance the often-overlooked quality of life for elders through music, primarily in nursing homes, hospices and home care programs.

Universal Music Publishing Group VP Cyndi Forman, who was instrumental in organizing the event, greeted the packed house at The Listening Room by boldly admitting “it pissed me off” when she realized there was not a single nursing home in Music City that qualified for the much needed efforts of Music & Memory. Her efforts, along with others, are changing that. The night raised $5,500 for the cause and The Blakeford at Green Hills is now the first certified non-profit nursing home in Nashville.

Lori McKenna

Lori McKenna

Lori McKenna, the night’s featured performer, took the stage first, entertaining the crowd during dinner with a string of songs including “Humble And Kind” and “Buy This Town,” as well as her chart-topper recorded by Little Big Town and MusicRow‘s 2015 Song of the Year, “Girl Crush.” The enthusiastic crowd quickly developed a girl crush of their own on the songwriter.

Peters, Bogguss and Berg took the stage following a brief video called Henry’s Story, which beautifully demonstrated the power of music and how it can move someone from an almost unresponsive state to one full of life and song.

The show started strong out of the gate with Berg’s rendition of her Kenny Chesney hit, “You And Tequila,” followed by Peters honoring Throwback Thursday with “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am,” recorded by Patty Loveless. With Berg on harmonica and Peters on mandolin, Bogguss took her turn with “Hammer And Nail.”

The performances took an emotional turn as Berg shared she had lost her grandmother a week before at age 100. Berg then performed “Back When We Were Beautiful,” a song she wrote about her grandmother. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell recorded the song on their 2013 album, Old Yellow Moon.

The tunesmiths continued taking turns. Peters’ demonstrated her flawless vocals on “Pretty Things” from her new album Blackbirds. Berg gave a captivating performance of 1997 CMA Song of the Year “Strawberry Wine.” And the forever-young Bogguss (who at 58 looks more like 38), shined on performances of “Letting Go,” “Aces,” and “Outbound Plane.”

The women ended with Tom Waits’ “Hold On,” a perfect way to close the night for this worthwhile cause.

Suzy Bogguss

Suzy Bogguss

Gretchen Peters

Gretchen Peters

Matraca Berg

Matraca Berg

(L-R): Amelia Varni (UMPG Nashville), Melissa Laster (Belcourt Terrace), Tasha Cartwright (Belcourt Terrace), Christina Wiltshire (Patrick Joseph Music), Cyndi Forman (UMPG Nashville), Emilie Glover (Red Light Management), Tammy Helm (UMPG Nashville)

(L-R): Amelia Varni (UMPG Nashville), Melissa Laster (Belcourt Terrace), Tasha Cartwright (Belcourt Terrace), Christina Wiltshire (Patrick Joseph Music), Cyndi Forman (UMPG Nashville), Emilie Glover (Red Light Management), Tammy Helm (UMPG Nashville)

Peach Pickers To Perform for Luke Bryan CMHoF Exhibit

Ben Hayslip, Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins

Ben Hayslip, Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins

The Peach Pickers (Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, and Ben Hayslip) will play a songwriters round at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (CMHoF) on Saturday August 1, at 2:00pm. The event is in support of the Luke Bryan: Dirt Road Diary exhibition, which is on display now.

The trio will discuss songwriting and perform songs they have written for Bryan including his latest single, “Kick The Dust Up,” as well as “Country Girl (Shake It for Me),” “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” “Play It Again,” “Rain Is a Good Thing,” and “That’s My Kind of Night.”

Following the program, Akins, Davidson and Hayslip will sign copies of a commemorative Hatch Show Print poster, available for purchase in the Museum Store.

Additional programming for the exhibit–included with museum admission, free to museum members and streamed live at–will include a conversation with Bryan’s producer, Jeff Stevens on August 8.

American Eagle Awards Land In Nashville For First Time


Kris Kristofferson is among the American Eagle Award honorees.

The National Music Council’s 32nd Annual American Eagle Awards are coming to Nashville July 11 during the NAMM Convention. This marks the first time the awards have been held in Music City.

This year’s celebration will honor Kris Kristofferson, Charley Pride, Jim Lauderdale, manager Jim Halsey, and producer/director Sherman Halsey for their long-term contribution to America’s musical culture and heritage. A special award will also be presented to the Nashville Mayor’s Office, Metro Nashville Public Schools, the CMA, and the Country Music Foundation recognizing the Music Makes Us arts education initiative. Rosanne CashThe Oak Ridge BoysJohn Oates and Jack Ingram will pay tribute musically to this year’s honorees during the awards ceremony.

Tickets to the noon awards presentation are free with a $10 NAMM day pass for July 11, and will be available on site at the Nashville Music City Center. The VIP luncheon that follows is also a ticketed event but is open to the public, and proceeds from that will benefit the Council’s Music Education and Creator’s Rights Advocacy Programs.

For 75 years the NMC has served as a forum for free discussion of music affairs and challenges and is comprised of nearly 50 national music organizations. For more information, schedules and luncheon registration information, go to

Past American Eagle Award recipients include Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Clive Davis, Van Cliburn, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Lena Horne, Roy Clark, Stephen Sondheim, Sesame Street, and VH1 Save the Music Foundation