On The Cover: In Charge 2010

the Jane Dear girls (Danelle Leverett, Susie Brown)

Label: Reprise Records/Warner Music Nashville
Current Single/Video: “Wildflower”
Current Producer: John Rich
Hometown: Danelle: Amarillo, TX; Susie: Alpine, UT
Management: Turner & Nichols Management
Booking: William Morris Endeavor
Birthdate: Danelle: 8/15/83; Susie: 3/14/84

Interesting Facts: Danelle: I majored in Psychology with an emphasis in Math at Abilene Christian University, and when I moved to Nashville I tutored high school Algebra I students working for a learning lab. I played sports my whole life, until I broke my wrist in a pole-vaulting accident when I was 17. I had to take some time off because of my injury, so it lead me to learn how to play the guitar and start songwriting. I don’t have a TV and I hate to shop!
Susie: I was born at home in my mother’s bedroom and I am the youngest of seven children. I started playing the fiddle when I was four and also picked up the mandolin, guitar, bass, and accordion before I turned 14. I grew up playing with my family in the The Charley Brown Family Band, named in my mother’s honor because her nickname was Charley (check out www.youtube.com/thejanedeargirls for the video). I was voted Homecoming Queen in High School. After moving to Nashville I was fortunate enough to land a slot as a backup singer and instrumentalist for several artists including Trisha Yearwood.

Outside Interests: Danelle: I love to dance, especially swing dancing! I also love to go running and walking with my Boston Terrier Dixie. Traveling is a passion of mine, especially in South America. I lived in Montevideo, Uruguay for three months and fell in love with their friendly and vibrant culture. My new favorite hobby is making up silly rap songs with the band on the bus. Sunday is my favorite day of the week because I love going to church and listening to Pastor Jim speak.
Susie: Country and Salsa Dancing, shopping, seeing a movie at the movie theater, 4-wheeling, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, horseback riding, Rummikube, hanging out with friends and family.

Musical Influences: Danelle: My brother Carson, The Beatles (My Dad only let me listen to The Beatles for the first ten years of my life!), Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Nirvana, Brad Paisley, Erin McCarley, Willie Nelson, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Judds
Susie: Shania Twain, Pat Benatar, The Judds, Rascal Flatts, Alison Krauss, Keith Urban, Michael Jackson, Mark O’Connor, U2, Journey, Barbara Mandrell, Rihanna, Patsy Cline, Mariah Carey.

Favorite Record(s): Danelle: Thriller by Michael Jackson, Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette, Songs About Jane by Maroon 5, Golden Road by Keith Urban, and Love Save The Empty by Erin McCarley
Susie: I love a lot of different records but some of my favorite songs are Shania Twain “The Woman In Me” and “Man, I Feel Like A Woman;” Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take The Girl;” Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most;” The Temptations’ “My Girl;” No Doubt’s “Just a Girl;” Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy;” Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “You Rock My World;” Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You;” Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love;” John Denver’s “Annie’s Song;” Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman;” Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot;” Martina McBride’s “In My Daughter’s Eyes;” Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up The Sun;” The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishing In The Dark;” U2’s “With Or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Sweetest Thing;” Mariah Carey’s “My All;” Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You;” Alison Krauss’ “When You Say Nothing At All;” and there’s a whole lot more…

Chelsea Field

“Things I Should Have Said”


“She definitely has the vocal firepower to pull off this searing, sizzling rocker. Go, baby. You are coming in loud and clear.”
—Robert K. Oermann, MusicRow

“Things I Should Have Said” is the debut single from Moxy Records artist Chelsea Field. At 19 the singer left her home in Marion, Ohio for Nashville to pursue a career in music. It was here she started putting the pieces in place for the release of her upcoming debut album, produced by award-winning songwriter/producer Trey Bruce (Trace Adkins, Chris Ledoux, Sir Cliff Richard). As a songwriter herself, Chelsea continued to craft new material while fielding submissions from some of Nashville’s finest writers in her search for just the right collection of songs.

“For better or worse, the songs you choose to put on your album determine how people perceive you and your style as an artist,” she explains. “It was important for me to find the songs that fit me, because while one song might be great for another singer, it won’t come across to the fans as mine if it sounds like somebody else.”

As a performer, Field has opened shows for stars like Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Billy Currington, Phil Vassar, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich and many others. The opportunity to work with some of country’s biggest and brightest has taught her much about performing live and being a star.

“I’ve got all the confidence in the world right now,” she says of her new material and live show. “Really, I’ve been a performer all my life, and being out in front of all those fans are some of my favorite moments of this whole process… I’ve been waiting all my life for this.”


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Braden Gray

“I’m Not Hungover”

ATP Records

“I’m Not Hungover” is the rowdy new single from Mississippi native Braden Gray, taken from his self-titled debut album on ATP Records. It is the followup to his single “It Won’t Be Over You,” which garnered some attention earlier in 2010 with MusicRow’s CountryBreakout™ reporting panel.

Gray didn’t originally choose music as a career path, but music was in his blood. His mother, a vocal instructor, taught her students at home. She would often ask her son to participate but when it came time for him to sing he would find a reason to sneak away.

Gray discovered his hidden musical talent after listening to his cousin’s gospel group and learning all their songs. Doors began to open–Gray started winning talent competitions and performing at festivals with artists like Jake Owen, Emerson Drive, Eric Church and Marty Stuart. After entering Belmont University’s music performance program, ATP Records Pres. Mark Alan Thompson took notice of him and the two began working together.

With a new single impacting country radio, the time to experience Braden Gray is now!


[wpaudio url=”https://musicrow.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/bgry-inh.mp3″ text=”Braden Gray – I’m Not Hungover” dl=”0″ autoplay=”1″]

Anthony Smith

“Love Is Love Is Love”

Krankit Records/Nine North

On Sunshine, Anthony Smith’s forthcoming first album for his own Krankit Records, the singer-songwriter comes on fun, funky and strong. Co-produced by Smith and veteran hit maker James Stroud with Bobby Terry lending additional production assistance, Sunshine features his latest release to country radio “Love Is Love Is Love.” The single is already climbing MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart at No. 75.

“I’m just being me,” says Smith about his unique style of country. “I have never tried to sound like anyone else. I have always wanted to be me, musically. I’m doing the kind of music I love in the only way I know how.”

In addition to being a seasoned performer, Smith is also a veteran songwriter whose songs have been recorded by a who’s who of Nashville superstars, including George Strait (“Run”), Montgomery Gentry (“Whattaya Think About That?”), Tim McGraw (“Kill Myself,” “Kristofferson”), Trace Adkins (“Chrome,” “I’m Tryin'”) and many more. That skill with the pen went into Sunshine as well, which features all original Smith compositions save for one.

“I like getting a reaction,” he says. “My music isn’t the kind you sit and passively listen to. It’s going to make you move, and it’s going to make you react and feel something. I want an emotional response – whether it’s good or bad or romantic.”


[wpaudio url=”https://musicrow.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/asmth-lilil.mp3″ text=”Anthony Smith – Love Is Love Is Love” dl=”0″ autoplay=”1″]

Steve Wariner

“Spokes in a Wheel”

SelecTone Records

“Spokes In A Wheel” is a brand new song from Grammy-winning, hit songwriter and guitar virtuoso Steve Wariner. With a lilting melody and memorable chorus, the lyrics tell us to take care of the earth and each other because “we’re all connected, we’re all affected by every single thing that we do.” Wariner will debut the song during his April 10 appearance on A Prairie Home Companion.

“I wrote this song with my good friend Kent Blazy, and it’s been in my ‘favorite’ stack for a while,” says Wariner. “It was the first song I recorded after completing the Chet project. I just love what it says about how we’re all responsible for this planet and what we’re leaving to our children. It’s also a really positive message about how each of us can make this world better in our own way.”

Wariner just won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Producer’s Medley” from Steve Wariner c.g.p., My Tribute to Chet Atkins. It was announced in March that he will be inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2011, along with Keith Whitley, Patty Loveless, John Michael Montgomery, the Goins Brothers, Larnelle Harris, and Molly O’Day. Wariner has charted over 30 Top 10 singles, including 14 No. 1s, since beginning his recording career in 1977.  He has won a total of four Grammy Awards. In 1998 he won the CMA Single and Song of the Year awards for his No. 1 hit, “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” which was also the ACM Song of the Year in 1999.  Wariner joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1996. As a songwriter he has earned 16 BMI Country Awards and 15 BMI Million-Air Awards (for songs receiving over one million on-air plays). He was inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame in 2008 and the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in 2009.

Radio programmers, to request your copy of “Spokes in a Wheel,” please email
Steve: [email protected]


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Jason Sturgeon

“Simple Life”

Toolpusher/Spinville/Nine North

When Jason Sturgeon sings his debut single “Simple Life,” he’s not just painting a picture of small town America. He’s describing who he is. Born and raised in Petersburg, IN, (pop. 3500) Sturgeon grew up in a family of coal miners, oilmen and farmers who literally made their living off the land, and still do to this day. His upcoming album is titled That’s Me.

Sturgeon grew up deeply involved with his family’s farming business and participating in equestrian competitions, but his love of music had him singing from the time he was a child of six. After high school, Sturgeon attended college and landed a job as a medical device engineer, but couldn’t shake the call of being a musician. He formed a band called Red Eye Max and began playing shows, eventually earning a regional following. The band was even tapped to be a part of Kenny Chesney’s “Next Big Star” competition and, though they didn’t win, the experience gave Sturgeon the confidence to continue pursuing his dream. His journey so far culminates in That’s Me, which finds him paired with John Mellencamp band member (and fellow Hoosier state resident) Dane Clark.

“I named the album That’s Me and I think you can really hear who I am in the songs,” says Sturgeon. “I’m just a fan of music, and I dig a lot of it. And all I can really say is that’s me, that’s my background, and what comes out of me and what I’m into, and it better come across in my music or I’ve done my job wrong! I just really want people to hear this and feel it and have a better understanding of who I am just from what I’ve written. And I think they will.”


Gwen Sebastian

“V.I.P. (Barefoot Girl)”

Open Road Records/Lofton Creek

Gwen Sebastian describes her sound as “contemporary country music with spunk,” best evidenced by her latest single, “V.I.P. (Barefoot Girl).” Co-written by Sebastian with Brian Eckert and Dean Miller, the song’s lyrics paint a picture of her country roots. A North Dakota native who grew up in a town with a population of less than 800, Sebastian is a self-professed “barefoot girl.” Sebastian has recently been on the road visiting radio stations in support of this single.

Named as an “Artist to Watch” in 2010 by Country Weekly magazine, Gwen’s debut album on Open Road/Lofton Creek is slated for release on May 25th. The six song EP will feature “V.I.P. (Barefoot Girl)” as well as her debut single “Hard Rain.”



Trailer Choir

“Rollin’ Through The Sunshine”

Show Dog – Universal Music

Are you sick of this long, cold winter? Are you eagerly awaiting summer’s arrival and the time when you can open the car window to let your hair blow around? So are we. And Trailer Choir is here to help us all into the warmer seasons with “Rollin’ Through The Sunshine,” a little slice of joy that’s impacting radio right now.

“This song is pure Trailer Choir,” says TC member Crystal. “Sometimes you need an escape and that’s what Trailer Choir is all about.” And helping to aid this escape are the natural benefits of hand surfing, Tom Petty, and a rum and coke.

The Show Dog – Universal trio–named About.com’s Best New Country Duo/Group in 2009–originally started as a loose association of musicians and singers, usually including Butter and Big Vinny, traveling the Southeast playing private parties and frat houses. As their fan base began to grow and Crystal was added to the group, the gang realized they might be on to something big. That feeling was validated when Toby Keith introduced himself to them after a show and brought them on tour. All their hard work culminated in the release of their Off The Hillbilly Hook EP, which contains the hit “Rockin’ The Beer Gut” as well as “Rollin’ Through The Sunshine” and “Off The Hillbilly Hook.”

Trailer Choir on Facebook

Award Shows Focus On Fans

Bob Romeo

Connecting with fans has always been an important part of the music business, because the fans—and ultimately their pocketbooks —are what make or break a career. The rise of digital technology and social media has brought about changes in the ways artists reach out to fans, and affected the industry in a multitude of ways. The latest effect: shifts in awards shows.

Taking home a trophy from one of these glittering gloryfests is becoming less important and getting face time with fans—or a coveted performance slot—is the real objective. On the day after an awards show, industry insiders are more concerned with television ratings than who won the night’s top honor. The following week, sales execs sit on pins and needles waiting for SoundScan to show a post-awards bump. To keep up, awards show organizers are working harder than ever to engage fans, which in turn drives viewers and sales.

Adding Nominees…Changing Voting Methods
Sunday night’s (3/7) Academy Awards offered 10 nominees, doubling the number from last year, for the show’s Best Picture category. The Academy knew the show needed an update after its 2009 television ratings were the lowest in history. The purpose of adding more nominees for Best Picture was to make room for the box office blockbusters that are often snubbed by voters, and hopefully draw a larger audience, including younger viewers, which are preferred by marketers.

The Academy of Country Music has taken a similar approach to draw interest in its top prize, Entertainer of the Year, for the April 18 ACM Awards. There will be eight nominees, up from five the year before. ACM Executive Director Bob Romeo explains, “By allowing three more people to run it’s more inclusive for the format, and it gives us three more people to help promote the viewing of the show. I think if you want to remain viable today, you have to be engaging the fans and give them some buy-in to what you are doing.” This will be the third year that Entertainer will be selected by fans, another way the Academy is driving engagement. ACM professional members narrow down the Entertainer nominees to the final eight and fans vote for the overall winner.

“The first year we opened voting for Entertainer we were averaging 200 votes per minute. When you see these numbers, I don’t know how anybody can say that engaging the consumer is not what we have to do.”

In fact, the ACM also solicits fan votes for its three New Artist categories: Top New Solo Vocalist, Top New Vocal Duo and Top New Vocal Group. These winners go on to compete for the overall Top New Artist award, also fan-voted.

The race for the New Artist categories compels artists to hit the online campaign trail. Nominees Luke Bryan and Joey + Rory made videos and placed them on YouTube and other sites encouraging fans to vote for them for ACM Top New Solo Vocalist and Top New Duo, respectively, at www.VoteACM.com.

Romeo says, “In two days of voting for the New Artists this year, we have already outpaced the total votes we had for New Artist last year.”

Social Networking
Music historian Robert K. Oermann has seen awards shows grow and change. He says the rise of social networking has prompted organizers to offer fans an “active rather than passive experience.”

The ACM wants its show to be anything but passive; the organization has several consumer initiatives that haven’t been officially announced. Fans will take part in selecting the song Brooks & Dunn perform on the show, a new set design will allow fans onstage, there will be a live pre-show online, and a text voting component is in the works. Romeo says the ACM has been building its web presence for years. “On our web site four years ago, we had 10,000 people that we were engaging, we call them our ‘A-listers.’ Now we are up to 200,000. And last year when our web site went down during the awards show, the estimation was that we had over 1.6 million hits.”

In an AdAge article about the Oscars, social media blogger Joseph Jaffe simplified the goals of awards media initiatives like this: “One, to drive live tune-in; two, to enhance the experience; and three, continue the conversation afterward.” Oscars organizers took the hint from Jaffe and fans around the world, and streamed its nominations live online for the first time at Oscars.org and on Facebook, scoring more than 170,000 unique viewers. The Academy also debuted an Oscars iPhone app, and increased online offerings such as video, exclusive content from nominees, widgets and predictions.

Grammy Award organizers wanted fans to have a hand in its Jan. 31 show. According to Evan Greene, Chief Marketing Officer of The Recording Academy, “With the natural evolution of social media, fans have become a cultural force driving the power of music.” Consumers decided which Bon Jovi hit the band would perform on the show. The “We’re All Fans” ad campaign celebrated the connection between fans and artists, offering a first-of-its-kind interactive experience where portraits of Grammy-nominated artists were composed entirely from real-time, fan-generated YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook postings.

The CMA Awards gave a significant boost to its social networking offerings for the show in November 2009. There was a Twitter Viewing Party, with celeb and VIP tweets, as well as a “My Picks” widget that let fans share their choices for the top winners. ABC.com, the web site of the network which airs the CMAs, had daily behind the scenes Webisodes leading up to the show.

All the effort paid off. The CMA Awards and Oscars both saw their highest ratings since 2005, and the Grammys had the biggest numbers since 2004. In the two years since the ACM started fan voting, its viewership for the awards show has almost doubled.

“Every day those fans vote. They vote when they buy a concert ticket, they vote when they tune in to watch a country music awards show, they vote when they buy a CD or a download,” says Romeo. “They are voting with their hardearned money. I don’t know why that should be any different than sharing a vote in our process.”

Ken Domash


Thunder Mountain Records

Singer/songwriter Ken Domash hails from St. Louis, Missouri, and his debut single to country radio is “Countrified.” Ken’s arrival in Nashville came courtesy of a few friends–or rather, fans–who helped pool money to send the singer to town to record. “Countrified” is the title track from Ken’s debut album, and it’s a revved up ode to finding the country guy or gal within oneself.

Ken writes all of his own music, drawing from a lifetime of experiences and using his vivid imagination to fill the gaps. He records in Nashville and has played with some of the best in the country while honing his sound. Nashville promoters are calling his sound “cutting-edge country.” Call it whatever you like, Ken just hopes you have fun with it.