Industry Ink: Carrie Underwood, SoundExchange, Blackwood Brothers

Carrie Underwood Partners With BODYARMOR LYTE Sports Drink

Carrie Underwood. Photo: BODYARMOR

Carrie Underwood has formed a new equity partnership with BODYARMOR LYTE Sports Drink. As part of the new partnership, she will star in a national TV campaign, a first for the brand, and will also appear in advertising for BODYARMOR SportWater, a premium water with a performance pH9+. In the BODYARMOR LYTE campaign, Underwood is positioned alongside basketball superstar and veteran brand partner, James Harden.

“Partnering with BODYARMOR LYTE was a natural evolution for me, from a personal and professional standpoint,” said Underwood. “I’m a firm believer that what you put into your body matters, so the fact BODYARMOR LYTE is made with no artificial flavors, sweeteners and no colors from artificial sources, is important to me. BODYARMOR LYTE has everything that my body needs to recharge and keep me hydrated throughout my day and everything I do. While music will always be my first love and priority, I’m so fortunate to have been able to build my passion for health and fitness into a business model and personal brand I can stand behind and be proud of. This partnership is an important next step for me and the community I am building, which goes far beyond endorsing a brand.”


Paul Gills Joins SoundExchange As VP/Publisher Services

Paul Gills

Paul Gills has been named Vice President of Publisher Services at SoundExchange. In this position, Gills will plan, lead, and implement the publishing operations shared services model across all SoundExchange companies and teams. Gills will report to SoundExchange Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Anjula Singh. Before joining SoundExchange, Gills was Vice President of North American Administration for Universal Music Publishing Group, where he led the operational redesign, development, and implementation of core business systems, process re-engineering, and organizational change. Prior to UMPG, Gills spent more than 20 years at EMI Music Publishing, where he spearheaded the redesign of the company’s core publishing operations and played a pivotal role in the formation of the Central European Licensing and Administration Service.

“There is no one more qualified to help us develop our publishing practice,” said Michael Huppe, President and Chief Executive Officer, SoundExchange. “Paul’s proven track record and subject-matter expertise are exactly what SoundExchange needs to expand its presence in the publishing space and develop solutions that benefit an even broader community of music creators.”


Blackwood Brothers’ Jonathan Mattingly Exits The Group

Pictured (L-R): Kasey Kemp, Jonathan Mattingly, Billy Blackwood

The Blackwood Brothers are electing to scale back from touring full-time, continuing to play select concerts in 2021 and beyond. In anticipation of the upcoming changes, lead singer Jonathan Mattingly has announced that he will be joining forces with the up and coming trio, Avenue. Mattingly was first introduced to Gospel music fans with his family, the Mattingly Family, before uniting with the Blackwood Brothers in 2017. For nearly nine decades, generations of Blackwood Brothers have shared the Gospel around the globe, having recorded over 200 albums and toured in 47 countries, earned GRAMMY and Dove Awards, and appeared on countless stages and events.

Kasey Kemp shares his excitement for welcoming Jonathan into the Avenue family, “Jon and his wife Sarah have been dear friends of our family for many years, so I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to sing together. We are excited about the future and what God has for us going forward!”

“Champagne Night” Becomes Lady A’s 11th Career No. 1

Lady A‘s “Champagne Night” has topped the Mediabase/Country Aircheck chart for the third consecutive week, and holds the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart for the second week, becoming their 11th career chart-topping hit. The song hit No. 1 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Chart in September.

Nashville writer Madeline Merlo co-wrote the original version of the song—titled “I’ll Drink To That”—with Patricia Conroy, David “Dwave” Thomson, and Tina Parol. Merlo then brought it onto the season two premiere of NBC’s primetime series Songland, where Lady A was the guest artist. Merlo’s mentor on the show, Shane McAnally, and the trio reworked the song into “Champagne Night,” which became the winning song. “Champagne Night” is the first song from Songland to become a radio single.

“Since we started the journey with ‘Champagne Night’ every step of the process has been so special to us,” Hillary Scott said. “We couldn’t be more thankful for all the support from our fans and friends at country radio and to Songland for believing in the song as much as we did. I can’t believe we get to start 2021 off with a multi-week No. 1…it almost feels unreal!”

The single is included on Lady A’s Ocean Deluxe Edition, released in November.

Johnny Lee Announces Album, Releases New Single “Everything’s Gonna’ Be Alright”

Country legend Johnny Lee, known for his dynamic stage presence and No. 1 smash crossover hit “Lookin’ for Love,” has released the new single and title track “Everything’s Gonna’ Be Alright” from his upcoming album, which will be released by BFD/Audium Nashville distributed exclusively through The Orchard on Feb. 12.

Everything’s Gonna’ Be Alright consists of 14 songs, some written or co-written by Lee, that he has saved throughout the years for the perfect album that truly reflects his life and legacy. Lee also wanted to include “Statue Of A Fool,” which was the first country song he ever learned.

“The last few years have had some major ups and downs in not only my life but in the whole world,” says Lee. “Music brings us together and gives us peace of mind like nothing else. Throughout my entire career, I have worked hard to record the best music possible and while creating this album, that was the entire goal. This is a hard world we are living in, but I want everyone to know that Everything’s Gonna’ Be Alright. I believe it so much so, it is the title track and first single on my new album. This is my legacy and I can’t wait to share it with you.”

Lee’s hit “Lookin’ For Love,” was included on the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, and became his first Gold record. The song spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart, and No. 2 on the Pop chart. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the hit movie starring John Travolta and Deborah Winger. As part of the celebration, Lee reunited with Mickey Gilley for the Urban Cowboy Reunion Tour. At the 54th Annual CMA Awards in Nashville last November, both were recognized for their contributions to country music, and “Lookin’ For Love” was featured and performed by Old Dominion. The Urban Cowboy Reunion Tour will continue throughout 2021.

CCM News: for King & Country, Chris Renzema, Cross Point Music, Petey Martin

for KING & COUNTRY Release Country Version Of Smash Hit “Together”

for KING & COUNTRY have released “TOGETHER (The Country Collaboration),” a brand-new rendition of their multi-week No. 1 hit featuring country singer/songwriters Hannah Ellis and Jackson Michelson. The new version places the globally recognized track against a lush backdrop of violins, steel guitars, and banjos. Since debuting the song earlier this year during the duo’s TOGETHER: A Night of Hope streaming event, “TOGETHER” has gone on to become a genre-defying global smash, spending multiple weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard and Mediabase Christian radio charts, and reaching No. 23 on the Hot AC chart and No. 13 on the AC chart.

“In a time where this virus is not isolated to one people group or country or social class—it has become the great equalizer,” shares for King & Country’s Joel and Luke Smallbone. “It is helping us all reconsider this beautiful concept that we all bleed the same blood. And if we are able to unite, and support—be a neighbor to someone, serve someone, reach out to someone—how might those acts of kindness change the scope of our futures, together?”


Chris Renzema Releases Let The Ground Rest B-Sides

Chris Renzema is releasing his new EP Let The Ground Rest – B-Sides today (Jan. 8) at digital and streaming outlets. The EP features five live studio tracks, including three versions of songs from Renzema’s acclaimed sophomore LP and Centricity Music debut, Let The Ground Rest, along with two new songs : “Tear My House Down” and the single “Mercy.” The new Let The Ground Rest versions on B-Sides include the title track, “God Is Love,” and the Air1 Radio Network-featured “Springtime.” The songs were also captured on video for The Smoakstack Sessions video documentary, which was premiere-streamed this week on YouTube.

“2020 has been really hard,” states Renzema. “I think it has been a journey for me as a writer and a person, discovering what it even means to be content, what it means to let your plans change. A lot of what I wrote for the last project has taken on new meaning in the pandemic, and singing about waiting on a season to change or sitting it out through a hard time means a lot more to me now that it did then.”


Cross Point Music Vows To ‘Never Stop Singing’ With Centricity Debut

Nashville’s Cross Point Music releases its Centricity Music debut EP Never Stop Singing today (Jan. 8) at digital and streaming outlets internationally. Written and recorded by this collective of nearly 400 volunteer musicians, vocalists and songwriters, anchored by worship leaders Mike Grayson and Cheryl Stark, the EP includes four original songs emanating from the worship at Cross Point Church, which serves about 10,000 people across six campuses in and around Music City.

The project’s lead single and title track “Never Stop Singing” features Stefan Cashwell from Atlanta’s Maverick City Music, who penned the song with fellow songwriter Mary Beth Sudduth and Cross Point Franklin pastor Kevin Robison. Written before the pandemic and before Cross Point’s doors were closed following a tornado that ripped through Middle Tennessee in March 2020—damaging a large portion of Cross Point’s main building in downtown Nashville—“Never Stop Singing” has become an anthem of hope despite the adversity.


Petey Martin Debuts New Single ‘Come Back Home’ With Lauren Daigle

Petey Martin is releasing his Palm Tree Records debut single “Come Back Home,” featuring Lauren Daigle. The anthemic single combines Martin’s piano house production with Daigle’s powerhouse vocals.

Martin wrote and produced Celine Dion’s “Ashes” from the Deadpool 2 soundtrack, which helped catapult him into producing, where he decided to pursue a career in dance music with the help of Kygo and his Palm Tree Records team. In 2019 he wrote/produced “Think About You” by Kygo, “Bigger Than” by Seeb, and made his debut as an artist in his own right, collaborating with Matoma on their song “Keep It Simple” (feat. Wilder Woods). Last year, he wrote and produced five song’s on Kygo’s Golden Hour album, as well as releases with Loud Luxury, Frank Walker, and a remix for Seeb.


IBMA Winner Justin Moses’ New Album ‘Fall Like Rain’ Slated For January 22

Justin Moses is releasing his new album Fall Like Rain on January 22nd.

Moses’ songwriting skills and musicianship are highlighted on the new self-produced, full-length project on Mountain Fever Records. Featuring a slew of stringed instruments, from flat-top six-string and Weissenborn guitar, to mandolin and banjo, Fall Like Rain not only sheds light on Moses’ many talents, but on the skill and perseverance it takes to piece them all together to create the polished finished product.

Acclaimed musicians Del McCoury, Shawn Lane, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Jerry Douglas, Cody Kilby, Barry Bales, Michael Cleveland, Jason Carter, and more can all be heard between the album-opening Eric Clapton cover, “Fall Like Rain,” and its tenth and final track, “Locust Hill.”

Moses has toured with Blue Moon Rising, The Dan Tyminski Band, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Blue Highway, and The Gibson Brothers, and in his two-year stint with Tyminski, he realized an early dream of playing the Grand Ole Opry for the first time and recorded the 2009 IBMA Album of the Year and Grammy-nominated album, Wheels. In 2018 and 2020, he received the IBMA’s Resophonic Guitar Player of the Year award. Moses has appeared on stage or in studio with artists including Alison Krauss, Del McCoury, Garth Brooks, Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Joe Diffie, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, Bruce Hornsby, Peter Frampton, Rosanne Cash, Dwight Yoakam, and Barry Gibb.

75 Or Over? Nashville Now Offering COVID-19 Vaccinations

Nashville residents ages 75 and over are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Residents are required to make an appointment to receive the vaccine. Appointments are available on Saturdays and Sundays beginning this Saturday, Jan. 9.

Qualifying residents can call 615-862-7777 or click here to make appointment.

MusicRow’s LB Cantrell Promoted To Director Of Content

MusicRow‘s Director of Content LB Cantrell.

MusicRow magazine’s LB Cantrell has been promoted to Director of Content.

In this newly created position, Cantrell will oversee all MusicRow and MusicRow-related content, including managing the editorial team.

MusicRow Publisher Sherod Robertson says, “LB has quickly become an integral part of the MusicRow team. Her ability to manage administrative and project-based processes, while also understanding the editorial needs that serve our industry members, is a valued asset for the continued growth and success of our publication. This promotion is well-deserved.”

She will continue to manage the MusicRow social media accounts, head up specific, large-scale projects for the company, and assist in day-to-day operations. Cantrell also manages all MusicRow memberships, and facilitates the company’s annual events, including the MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and Rising Women on the Row.

Cantrell joined MusicRow full-time in January of 2019, after interning and working part time for the company. She is from Blairsville, Georgia and graduated from the Recording Industry Management program at Middle Tennessee State University.

She can be reached at [email protected].


Aaron Watson Reflects On Strength Of The ‘American Soul’ On Latest Project

Aaron Watson‘s latest album, American Soul, is out today (Jan. 8) and available now on all platforms.

The 10 track full-length album, produced by Watson with Phil O’Donnell, includes the current single, “Silverado Saturday Night,” along with the first single off the album, “Whisper My Name,” which pays tribute to the start of Watson’s career and has racked up over 2.5 million total streams to date. The project also includes tracks like “Long Live Cowboys,” “Dog Tags,” and “Touchdown Town,” songs that pay tribute to the lifestyle and strength of the American soul.

Watson’s last album, Red Bandana, opened at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Country Sales chart and was penned solely by Watson to commemorate his 20-year anniversary as an artist.

American Soul Track Listing:
1. Silverado Saturday Night (Aaron Watson, Monty Criswell, Phil O’Donnell)
2. Boots (Aaron Watson, Anthony Enriquez)
3. Whisper My Name (Aaron Watson, Phil O’Donnell)
4. Best Friend (Aaron Watson)
5. Long Live Cowboys (Aaron Watson)
6. Stay (Aaron Watson, Monty Criswell)
7. American Soul (Aaron Watson, Phil, O’Donnell)
8. Out Of My Misery (Aaron Watson, Phil O’Donnell)
9. Touchdown Town (Aaron Watson)
10. Dog Tags (Aaron Watson, Monty Criswell)

Sony Music Nashville Promotes Olivia Laster to Director, Marketing

Olivia Laster. Photo: Matthew Berinato

Sony Music Nashville Senior Vice President of Marketing, Jennifer Way, announced today (Jan. 8) the appointment of Olivia Laster to Director, Marketing, Sony Music Nashville. Reporting directly to Way, Laster begins her new role immediately.

As Director of Marketing, Laster will oversee the strategy, development, and execution of targeted marketing campaigns and consumption growth for her portion of the Sony Music Nashville roster of artists.

“Olivia’s marketing skills have been an incredible asset to our team for years. She’s always gone above and beyond to bridge the gap between our marketing and promotion teams—consistently finding innovative ways to use her marketing mind to create unique opportunities for our artists and their music. This is a natural transition for Olivia and I can’t wait to watch her evolve in her new role,” says Way.

“I’m so thankful to Jen Way for this incredible opportunity and to Steve Hodges for allowing me to grow and giving me the tools to learn an immense amount within my previous role at Sony Music Nashville. Marketing has always been a great passion of mine. It is a true honor to be able to work alongside the talented and dedicated artists and teams inside and outside the company. I am humbled to be a part of a team that constantly challenges one to be their best, strives to be forward-thinking and encourages one another along the way. Sony Music Nashville is a leading force in the music industry and I am thrilled to be able to play a role in capitalizing on the momentum thus far and cultivating innovative ways to deliver music to the market,” says Laster.

Prior to accepting this position, Laster held the title Associate Director, Promotion and Artist Development at Sony Music Nashville. Within this role, she strategically integrated national and local radio initiatives into marketing, brand partnerships, digital, and media campaigns for the entire SMN roster. Experiences varied from launching the first tour-diary podcast series with iHeartMedia for Old Dominion’s self-titled album release to ideating and implementing artist virtual events across various national radio chain’s digital and terrestrial multi-genre platforms to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic industry shift.

In 2015, Laster graduated from Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. From 2015-2018, she worked with SMN’s Media, Marketing and Arista Nashville Promotion teams.

Laster can be reached at [email protected].

Artist Action: McBride & The Ride, Collin Raye, Lilly Winwood

The Entire Collection Of McBride & The Ride’s Catalog Now Available on Spotify

’90s country artists McBride & The Ride’s catalog is now available for the first time in its entirety on Spotify. Albums include Amarillo Sky, Hurry Sundown and Sacred Ground featuring the bands hits, “Sacred Ground,” “Love on the Loose,” “Heart on the Run,” “Going Out of My Mind” and more. McBride & The Ride got their start with the help of Tony Brown, who signed the group to MCA in 1989. Now, 18 years later, the original McBride & The Ride are back together and making plans to hit the road in 2021. Tour dates will be announced soon.

The band’s Terry McBride released his first-ever full-length solo effort last fall, Rebels & Angels. The project was produced by acclaimed producer and songwriter, Luke Laird, and released by Creative Nation / TMc Records.


Collin Raye Returns to The Grand Ole Opry Stage Friday

Collin Raye will return to the Grand Ole Opry to celebrate the release of his brand-new album, SCARS (BFD / Audium Nashville) on Friday, Jan. 8 (7:00 p.m. / CT). SCARS is the first album Raye has released in more than a decade that boasts all-new material.

“I’m very excited to be on the Opry again and to perform my new song, ‘Scars,’ on the Opry stage,” says Raye. “It’s a song written by my brother, Scotty, and though he wrote it well over a decade ago, I feel it has a timely significance for people now who have suffered through the last year and been scarred by it, struggling to find a way forward. I hope the song blesses people, and I can’t wait to sing it on the Opry.”


Lilly Winwood Set To Release Debut Album Time Well Spent Jan. 29

East Nashville-based Americana artist, Lilly Winwood, is set to release her debut album Time Well Spent on Jan. 29. The daughter of classic rock legend Steve Winwood, Lilly’s songwriting allows listeners a glimpse into her personal experiences as she goes through finding love, making mistakes, waiting for karma to catch up and discovering her true self. Time Well Spent was produced by Alex Munoz and Allen Thompson and can be pre-saved here. Winwood released her current single off the album, “Few More Records,” in late 2020. In late December, the music video entered into rotation on CMT’s CMT Edge.

“I’m excited to share with you what I’ve been working on for nearly a decade. These songs are very dear to my heart and hopefully I’ve created something that listeners can relate to and get their toes tapping along the way,” says Winwood.