Musicians On Call Names New Board Members

(Top row, L-R): Charles Esten, Lori Feldman, Michelle Klinger, Jessica Lee; (Bottom row, L-R): Lee Perlman, Alissa Pollack, Dr. Todd Rubin and Cathy Sullivan

Musicians On Call (MOC), the nonprofit organization which brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities, welcomes Charles Esten, Lori Feldman, Michelle Frohlich-Klinger, Jessica Lee, Lee Perlman, Dr. Todd Rubin and Cathy Sullivan to its National Board of Directors.

Additionally, iHeartMedia Executive Vice President, Global Music Marketing and Strategy Alissa Pollack has been elected Vice Chair of the National Board.

“Due to the stress, anxiety and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Musicians On Call’s programs were needed more than ever last year to support patients, families and caregivers in healthcare facilities. Thanks to our incredible volunteers, supporters, staff and Board, we brought the healing power of music to more people virtually in 2020 than in any other year in our history,” said Musicians On Call President & CEO Pete Griffin. “We are excited to build on this momentum and continue sharing the joys of live music with record numbers in 2021 and beyond. Each of the leaders we are welcoming to our National Board of Directors bring extraordinary talents and expertise that will help us grow MOC in new and strategic ways in the coming years.”

Esten is best known for his role as Deacon Claybourne on CMT’s Nashville, and his current role of Ward Cameron in the Netflix series Outer Banks. Esten is an active Musicians On Call volunteer and regularly performs for patients and caregivers in hospitals, hospice centers, and VA facilities. He also serves as the National Honorary Spokesman for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night campaign.

Feldman spent more than 25 years in the record industry, most recently as EVP of Strategic Marketing at Warner Records. In late 2019 she joined Paradigm Talent Agency as chief marketing officer. Feldman has been recognized numerous times in Billboard’s Top 100 Women in Music and Branding Power Players lists. She has introduced many artists to MOC’s mission and served on the organization’s President’s and Advisory Councils.

Frohlich-Klinger has led numerous social impact causes since 2008, including teaming up with artist Carlos Augusto Pereira to create elaborate murals in the hallways of Miami Children’s Hospital and launching the Miami Branch of Musicians On Call, where she served as Program Director from 2009 to 2012.

Jessica Lee is co-chair of the Privacy, Security & Data Innovations practice at Loeb & Loeb.

Lee Perlman is Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative and Financial Officer of the Greater New York Hospital Association.

Todd A. Rubin, MD is a Nashville-based orthopedic surgeon who specializes in disorders of the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.

Cathy Sullivan is a CPA at Baker, Sullivan Hoover PLC. She is Trustee for the John and June Cash Trusts. She is a longtime Volunteer Guide for Musicians On Call, helping the organization launch its Bedside Performance Program in Nashville in 2007. She has also served on MOC’s Advisory Council for more than a decade.

Thirty Tigers Announces Promotions And Hirings


Thirty Tigers has announced a number of recent promotions and hirings.

Robert Knotts, formerly Vice President of Digital Strategy, has been promoted to Vice President of Distribution. In this newly expanded role, Knotts oversees the core distribution services team which includes physical and digital sales as well as marketing and advertising departments. He joined the company in 2014.

Matt Bury, formerly Director of Project Management, has been promoted to Vice President of Project Management. In addition to overseeing the Project Management efforts, Bury will work closely with Knotts to ensure coordinated efforts across departments. Bury celebrates a decade with Thirty Tigers this year.

September Landers joins Thirty Tigers as Office Manager following a tenure at Red Light Management.

Michael Smith is hired as Project Manager after more than seven years at Bloodshot Records.

Other promotions and changes include: Darby Leiber moves from Project Manager to Digital Sales Manager. Zach Walton moves from Independent Retail Coordinator to Project Manager. Alex Ramsay moves from Production Coordinator to Independent Retail Sales & Marketing Coordinator. Micki Windham rises to Production Manager from Production Coordinator. Caroline Fearnow, formerly Promotions Coordinator, joins the sales and marketing team as Digital Marketing and Advertising Coordinator.

Fadimata Maiga, a 2019 UGA graduate, joins Thirty Tigers as Digital Production Coordinator. Josh Birdsong, a 2019 Belmont graduate, joins as Radio Promotions Coordinator.

Thirty Tigers President and Co-Founder David Macias says, “I’m proud of the team we are building at Thirty Tigers and the continued level of service we provide our artists on a daily basis. With the growth of our current employees and the key additions we’ve made in the last year, I’m confident that Thirty Tigers will continue to thrive.”

Thirty Tigers is a global music marketing, management, distribution, and publishing company celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Thirty Tigers distribution has served as a label infrastructure for a vast client base including Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Alanis Morissette, Sturgill Simpson, Steve Winwood and many others. Based in Nashville, it has offices in Atlanta, North Carolina, New York, L.A. and London.

RIAA Report: Streaming Revenue Grew To $10 Billion In 2020

The RIAA’s 2020 Year-End Music Industry Revenue Report shows the fifth consecutive year of growth for the industry.

According to the report, United States recorded music revenues grew 9.2 percent in 2020 to $12.2 billion at estimated retail value.

Streaming revenues grew 13 percent to $10.1 billion, making up 83 percent of total revenue. For the first time, the streaming category includes music license revenues from Facebook and streaming fitness services like Peloton.

Paid subscription services continued to be the primary driver of revenue increases. Revenues from paid subscriptions grew 15 percent to $7.7 billion, making up almost two-thirds of total recorded music revenue. The industry added 15 million new subscriptions in 2020, the most ever in a single year, reaching a total of more than 75 million.

For the first time since 1986, revenues from vinyl records were larger than from CDs. Total revenues from physical products were virtually flat at $1.1 billion.

Read more on the 2020 numbers from RIAA Chairman & CEO Mitch Glazier, here.

Click here for the full report.

Chevel Shepherd Announces Debut EP ‘Everybody’s Got A Story’

Rising country singer Chevel Shepherd announced her debut EP, Everybody’s Got A Story, will release March 26.

The 18-year-old country singer grew up in Farmington, New Mexico. She spent time feeding animals on the family farm, barrel racing in the rodeo and singing almost before she could walk. She auditioned for season 15 of NBC’s The Voice and joined Kelly Clarkson’s team before eventually winning the whole competition.

“I grew up loving artists like Loretta Lynn, Reba, Tanya Tucker and The Chicks. I love the stories a great country song can tell,” shares Shepherd. “It’s real – and you can tell it’s real. My time on The Voice really helped me get a sense of what fans are craving, and I hope with this EP I’ve delivered on the promise to bring them that classic country sound but uniquely me. Each song on my EP is different and represents who I am as a person and as a country artist.”

Chevel Shepherd. Photo: Shutterfreek

Last year, Shepherd released the song “Just Like the Circus” accompanied with a music video. At last year’s Country Radio Seminar, she released songs “Mama Got the Chair” and the title track to her EP, “Everybody’s Got A Story,” written by Kacey Musgraves, Shane McAnally and Brandy Clark. The project was produced by Todd Tidwell.

Everybody’s Got A Story EP Track List:
Everybody’s Got A Story (Kacey Musgraves, Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark)
Southern Boy (Cassidy Lynn Alexander, Kellys Collins)
Mama Got the Chair (Nora Collins, Nick Donley, Dave Fenley)
Good Boy (Kellys Collins, Bill Luther)
Just Like the Circus (Kacey Musgraves, Shane McAnally, Ashley Arrison)
The Letter (Julie Wood, Kellys Collins)
Snakes (Kellys Collins, Simon Reid , Baylor Wilson)

Bob Kingsley’s Radio Archive Donated To The Country Music Hall Of Fame

Bob Kingsley. Photo: Courtesy of the Bob Kingsley Estate

Nan Kingsley, wife and business partner of the late country radio icon Bob Kingsley, has donated their personal archival collection that spans over six decades to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s First Library and Archive. This donation includes over 700 full shows of Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, as well as 3,200 interviews conducted with songwriters, artists and other country music industry members.

A member of both the Radio Hall of Fame and the Country Radio Hall of Fame, Kingsley began his lifelong career in radio in 1959 as an announcer in the Armed Forces Radio Service while serving in the United States Air Force. He would go on to produce and later host the nationally syndicated American Country Countdown in 1974, which was named Billboard’s Network/Syndicated Country Program of the Year for 16 years in a row. Both Bob and Nan launched his nationally recognized show Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 in 2006, which he hosted and executive produced until his passing in October 2019.

The museum will preserve his lifelong archive, which includes interviews with nearly 50 Country Music Hall of Fame members, for museum and third-party use in the future.

“As a fan himself of country music and the people who created it, Bob never took for granted the platform that allowed him to share the magic of this genre with listeners around the world,” says Nan Kingsley, president, KCCS Productions. “Bob’s mission was to help preserve this music’s legacy and advocate for its future. I am proud to bring this collection to its rightful home.”

“We are grateful that Nan has entrusted the museum with the care of the substantial audio archive she and Bob developed and preserved,” says Kyle Young, CEO Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “The Kingsley Collection adds an essential chapter in country music history to the museum’s archival holdings, showcasing the contributions of one of country radio’s most esteemed figures and its longest-serving syndicated host.”

The radio legend won numerous awards in his esteemed career, including the inaugural Opry Trust Fund’s Living Legend Award in 2014, which was later named for him. In 2017, he received the ACM Mae Boren Axton Service Award for his 50 years of ACM board service.

Weekly Register: Morgan Wallen Continues Reign Over Album Chart

Morgan Wallen is spending his seventh consecutive week at No. 1 on the overall albums chart. Dangerous: The Double Album posts 87K and crosses the 1 million mark YTD, making the album’s 2021 activity three times greater than the next runner up.

Wallen and Luke Combs dominate the country charts, scoring two songs and two albums each in the Top 5.

On the streaming songs chart, Wallen secures the top two spots with “Wasted on You” (8.6 million) and “Sand In My Boots’’ (7.7 million). That is followed by Combs’ “Better Together” at No. 3 (7.3 million) and “Forever After All” at No. 5 (5.8 million). Niko Moon enters the top five with “Good Time” at No. 4 (6.6 million).

On the country albums chart, Wallen stays at No. 1, and Combs comes in at No. 2 and 3 with What You See Is What You Get (28K) and This One’s For You (16K).

Wallen’s older project If I Know Me is at No. 4 with 16K and Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over sits at No. 5 with 14K.

Debuts this week include Carly Pearce’s 29 landing at No. 18 with 6.9K, and Lainey Wilson’s Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ at No. 73 with 3.1K.

John Schneider Announces New Album ‘Truck On’

John Schneider. Photo: Allen Clark Photography

John Schneider is paying tribute to the faithful truckers who have kept the country going during the pandemic with his new single “Truck On.” The song is the title track from his upcoming new album, which was inspired by the Southern rock songs Schneider grew up on, and is slated for release on April 2.

The video for “Truck On” premiered last week and features scenes from Schneider’s most recent film, Stand On It, an action-comedy movie made in tribute to the 1977 classic, Smokey and The Bandit. The film was produced through Schneider’s company and was written and directed by him to include the signature tongue-in-cheek charm from both Smokey and The Bandit and Dukes of Hazzard. The video also includes a car chase reminiscent of Schneider’s countless races through the infamous Hazzard County during his Bo Duke days.

A portion of sales from “Truck On” will benefit St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, a nonprofit that helps over-the-road/regional semi-truck drivers and their families who are out of work due to a recent illness or injury. Assistance includes household living expenses such as rent/mortgage, utilities, vehicle payments, and insurance. The SCF also provides health and wellness programs such as free vaccines and smoking cessation.

Truck On Track List:
1. Truck On (Keith Burns)
2. Roy (Anthony Smith & Jeffrey Steele)
3. Born At A Truck Stop (Jacob Lyda & Brian Maher & Bill Shore)
4. Cowboys Don’t Get Old (Johnny Gates & Keith Burns)
5. Drinking Buddy (Keith Burns & Addison Chandlier & Keith Warner)
6. Bottom Of The 5th (Keith Burns)
7. Comin’ To (Andrew Pope)
8. Haulin’ Hell and Bayou Bound (Andrew Pope)
9. Free Born Man (Keith Allison & Mark Lindsay)
10. Stand On It (John Schneider & Cody McCarver)
11. Behind Closed Doors (Kenny O’Dell)

Doug Stone And Crosley Partner For ‘A Jukebox With A Country Song’ Tour

Doug Stone

Doug Stone has partnered with Crosley, the leading jukebox, turntable, and desk radio company, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his 1991 chart-topping single, “A Jukebox with a Country Song.” As part of the Jukebox with a Country Song tour, Stone will promote the various Crosley products with radio and venue promotions before taking the stage each night to deliver the top 10 hits that made him a mainstay during the ’90s.

“I have owned a Crosley record player for several years now and to partner with them is just incredible,” says Stone. “I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since ‘A Jukebox With A Country Song,’ was a number one single for me. How time flies and we do not even realize it. I am really looking forward to getting back on the road and bringing my music to the fans, whether doing an acoustic show or a full band performance.”

“A Jukebox With A Country Song” was released in November of 1991 as the second single from his album, I Thought It Was You.

A Jukebox With A Country Song Tour Dates:
Fri 3/26 – Tomball, TX – Main Street Crossing
Sun 4/11 – Duluth, GA – Atlanta Events Center
Sat 4/17 – Corinth, MS – Crossroads Arena
Sat 5/1 – Navasota, TX – Grimes County Fair
Sat 6/12 – Columbia, TN – Homestead Hall
Sat 6/19 – Abilene, TX – Doc’s
Fri 6/25 – Waco, TX – The Hippodrome
Sat 6/26 – Arlington, TX – Arlington Music Hall
Wed 6/30 – Indianapolis, IN – Marion County Fair
Tues 7/6 – Sauk Rapids, MN – Rollie’s
Thurs 7/8 – Livingston, MT – Music Ranch Montana
Sat 7/10 – Kearney, NE – Joe’s Honky Tonk
Fri 7/16 – Tomball, TX – Main Street Crossing
Sat 9/18 – Oxford, ME – Oxford County Fairgrounds
Fri 10/22 – Roanoke Rapids, NC – Roanoke Rapids Theatre
Sat 10/23 – Liberty, NC – The Liberty Theatre
Sat 11/6 – Kearney, NE – Joe’s Honky Tonk
Fri 11/12 – Tomball, TX – Main Street Crossing

EMPIRE Nashville’s Eric Hurt And Heather Vassar Talk Early Success [Interview]

Eric Hurt, Heather Vassar

EMPIRE was formed in 2010 by Ghazi Shami. The San Francisco-based company has been instrumental in launching the careers of multi-Platinum, Grammy Award-winning artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B, DRAM, and Anderson.Paak.

In 2018, EMPIRE tapped former Black River Publishing executive Eric Hurt to start the Nashville office, which serves as an independent label, distributor, and publisher. Hurt had helped to secure a publishing deal at Black River for Willie Jones, who was signed to EMPIRE proper.

“Willie’s manager connected me with Ghazi, we actually met at SXSW,” Hurt, now VP of A&R, tells MusicRow. “We hit it off and then Ghazi just started talking his goals and desires of opening up a Nashville branch and getting more into country music and into Nashville.”

Ghazi was intrigued by the way country fans consume music.

“It started off with Kane Brown. EMPIRE released his first EP and it blew up, the numbers were great. So they were like, ‘What’s going on over here?’ Kane went on to do what he did and they signed Willie Jones to develop that out more,” Hurt says. “A lot of what this town is built on is radio, which serves a big purpose in our market and I don’t want to downplay that at all, but with that comes a lot of waiting. EMPIRE is really about content and super serving the fans first, getting things out on a digital level, rolling it out quickly, moving quickly and building up the value on that digital level first, and then going to radio when the time is right.”

Heather Vassar joined EMPIRE Nashville as VP of Marketing early in 2020. Vassar came to EMPIRE from Universal Music Group Nashville, where she most recently led Strategy and Research. She oversees day-to-day artist strategies and development, marketing and digital initiatives, as well as partner relationships with sales and streaming services for EMPIRE’s Nashville roster.

Now, country/hip-hop artist Jones, country up-and-comer Tenille Arts, singer-songwriter Waylon Payne, and newly-signed songwriter Nick Wayne make up the EMPIRE Nashville roster.

EMPIRE Nashville structures their deals a bit differently.

“To understand how our deals are structured, especially for the Nashville office, we very rarely put those tent poles down of like, ‘You’re just a distribution artist,’ or anything like that. It’s not defined that way. We’re super serving the town and investing in the town,” says Vassar. “We bring [the artist] into the family, then the goal is to essentially grow the family and grow all of the tent poles with them.”

Arts has a top-15 hit, “Somebody Like That,” was named part of the CMT Next Women of Country Class of 2021, and just performed as part of the prestigious CRS New Faces of Country Music Show. Last week, she was announced as a nominee for the ACM’s New Female Artist of the Year.

“Obviously radio is a huge player for her and have been big advocates for her. But it’s such an old school mentality, thinking you have to wait on one [single],” Vassar says. “We just dropped her most recent track, which will be her Canadian single. That will go for adds in a couple of weeks over there. [Our strategy is] being able to establish the U.S. single, but then also feeding the fans content and making sure the DSPs have content and music that doesn’t hinder the radio single, but instead adds value to it.”

Singer-songwriter Payne released his Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, to critical acclaim in late 2020. It hit the iTunes No. 2 spot on the country albums chart and No. 3 on the all genre albums chart upon release.

Payne is the son of country artist Sammi Smith and guitarist Jody Payne, who played for Willie Nelson.

“We rolled out his project pretty differently than we rolled out any other ones. We did it in four acts to help tell his story. He has such a compelling story with the narrative of his past and his life. I mean, Waylon Jennings as his godfather? There are so many layers there,” Vassar says.

“We’re all about trying new things, pushing the boundaries,” Vassar says. “It’s all the way from digital strategy, marketing, roll-out strategy, and then playlist placements, making sure that [Waylon] is in the conversation and that his story is being told in the way that they want it to be told.”

Genre-bending Jones caters to country and hip-hop fans with the release of his debut album, Right Now. Alongside his new record, Jones partnered with the newly opened National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) to launch the #IHaveAnAmericanDream initiative to coincide with the release of his single “American Dream.” Donations to the initiative ran through Black History Month, and went to the museum.

He was named to Spotify’s Hot Country Artists To Watch list, and currently hosts his own Apple Music show, The Cross Roads Radio, which serves as a sounding board for fellow production fanatics interested in how country and rap music intertwine.

Vassar says that the marketing strategy behind Jones crosses genres. “Willie is so authentic to both [country and hip-hop] that to only focus on one genre would just be a disservice to who he is at his core. To be able to captivate both audiences is definitely always at the forefront.

“It would not be authentic to Willie if we tried to say, ‘This is only who you are and this is it.’ In telling the story of who he is and maintaining that narrative, it opens up more doors in that realm. If it make sense, [we will pitch him] for a hip-hop playlist or a workout playlist,” Vassar says.

EMPIRE Nashville joins a handful of Nashville companies whose parent company’s success is rooted in hip-hop and R&B music, including Reservoir and Roc Nation’s Rhythm House. Hurt says that burgeoning lane is a testament to Nashville’s talent.

“I love seeing these kind of companies making an investment in Nashville,” Hurt says. “I think that it shows a lot of respect for the level of talent of the artists and songwriters that Nashville has to deliver. All genres are recognizing that there’s a lot to pull from here in this town that can spill over into other genres.”


Nashville Music Producer Fred Mollin Releases Cheerful Children’s Album

Fred Mollin and his grandchild.

Walt Disney Records’ successful lullaby album artist and producer Fred Mollin is releasing It’s Great To Be A Kid, a new album of original songs about the simple pleasures of being young, such as riding in a car, the beauty of nature, playing with friends, and dancing to an upbeat song.

“In May of 2020 at home in Nashville during the most isolated and sequestered time of the pandemic, I was inspired to write a canon of songs that would be a gift to my two grandchildren,” says Mollin. “I was wishing and hoping that this unprecedented and very strange time would soon be gone and that young kids would again have the ability to get back to the simple joys of their lives. It’s Great To Be A Kid came to me as a project title because I live in hope that no matter where this music is heard, a child can be uplifted and feel someone understands their new journey and cares about them.”

The project, set for release on March 12, 2021, features Mollin singing on four tracks, and also enlists the talents of Troy Johnson, Tania Hancheroff, and Caryn Richman.

Mollin has produced and written children’s music since 1998 and has sold more than 3 million CDs. He has worked on projects including Disney’s best-selling Lullaby Albums, as well as Finding Nemo, Lilo & Stitch, Cars, Ratatouille, Pixar, High School Musical Live, and Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus’ hit duet “Ready, Set, Don’t Go.”

A dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, Mollin has lived in Nashville since 2001. He first came to prominence as a record producer in the late ’70s. His work includes the Grammy Award-nominated “Sometimes When We Touch” by Dan Hill, as well as projects by Jimmy Webb, Kris Kristofferson, America, Lamont Dozier, JD Souther, and Rita Wilson.