The Oak Ridge Boys To Headline Show After Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

The Oak Ridge Boys. Photo: by Chris Hollo

Country Music Hall of Fame inductees The Oak Ridge Boys are set to headline the Grand Ole Prix show following the NTT IndyCar Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday, Aug. 8. Alan Jackson was originally set to headline the show but had to dropout due to tour-related travel logistics.

“We are honored and, to be quite honest, very excited about performing in Nashville after the Grand Prix,” says The Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall. “Thank you Grand Ole Opry for inviting us to take part in this historical event. Let’s go racing, Nashville!”

The Nashville-based Opry has rarely in its history taken its iconic show outside its home venue and is proud to include The Oak Ridge Boys in such a special night. Danielle Bradbery, Callista Clark, Riley Green, and Justin Moore are also scheduled to perform. The Opry show at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix will close out the three-day festival, where fans and attendees will get a chance to experience the true heart of Nashville, as the Opry has been home to country music for 95 years.

Sunday night’s show will start at 7:00 p.m. and will take place on the Main Stage, adjacent to the Fan Zone and sponsor display area near the pedestrian bridge. All concerts are included with individual tickets and three-day passes. Limited single-day grandstand tickets, general admission tickets, and festival add-ons can still be bought on the Grand Prix’s website.

The Oak Ridge Boys’ new album Front Porch Singin’ is available now from Lightning Rod/Thirty Tigers. This is the group’s fourth collaboration with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb. The Oak Ridge Boys also recently released the music video for their single “Love, Light, and Healing” from their new album which premiered on CMT and was directed by Brandon Wood of IndieBling.

Chart Action: Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood Duet Excels At Country Radio

After teasing his new single with a secret duet partner, Jason Aldean released “If I Didn’t Love You” featuring Carrie Underwood last Friday (July 23). Ahead of its impact date on Aug. 2, the single gathered early support from country radio. On the Billboard Country Airplay chart, Aldean and Underwood earned 86 station adds, +1,604 spins, and debuted at No. 20. On Mediabase, the duo landed at No. 31 with 88 new stations and +1,642 spins. On the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart, they debuted at No. 52 collecting +353 spins from 25 stations.

This is the lead single to Aldean’s forthcoming 10th studio album. Aldean shares, “We were pretty close to finishing up this album, but this song came in and we knew we had to record it. I went ahead and put my vocals down while we asked Carrie in the meantime. Luckily she loved the song and it was kind of like a rocket from there. She did her thing like only Carrie can…and I don’t know how, but she made it sound even better than what we expected. It’s a really special song to start this album.”

“If I Didn’t Love You” was written by Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, John Morgan and Lydia Vaughan and produced by Michael Knox.

For more chart data, view the latest edition of The MusicRow Weekly.

Michael Ray Celebrates The Hard Knocks Of Life On ‘Higher Education’

Michael Ray. Photo: Sean Hagwell

Michael Ray is ready to share some of the lessons he’s learned on Higher Education, his first new project since 2019’s Amos, set for release Aug. 27 via Warner Music Nashville.

The latest song to be released from the project is “Just The Way I Am,” a Michael Hardy, Ben West, and Josh Miller-penned track. Other writers contributing to the album include Josh Thompson, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley, Frank Rogers, Corey Crowder and more.

“I’ll never forget that time in my life when I was fresh out of high school, working a trade I expected to do all my life — splicing cable — and Amos, my grandfather, recognized how much I loved writing and singing country music,” says the Eustis, Florida native. “He said, ‘you can either look back and say ‘Damn, I wish I would have,’ or ‘Damn, I’m glad I did,’ and the latter is a whole lot easier to live with.’ With that, my band and I made the move to Music City. The next five years I leaned on the insanely talented writers, musicians and touring artists I knew, and the five+ after that I have leaned on this town. I am proud to know them the way I do, to have learned from them, and for them to know me.

Higher Education is about going through life and the hard knocks that make you who you are … coming out of it stronger, having let it change you without hardening you. This album reminds me that even though we all go through hard times, we grow and we’re better for it.”

Higher Education also features Ray’s current single “Whiskey And Rain,” which is Top 25-and-climbing at country radio as it tops 40 million on-demand streams. Earlier this summer Ray previewed the new project with perhaps his most personal song to date, “Picture,” which he co-wrote the day of his Uncle Terry’s memorial following his untimely passing.

Higher Education Track List:
1. Whiskey And Rain (Josh Thompson, Jesse Frasure)
2. Just The Way I Am (Michael Hardy, Ben West, Josh Miller)
3. Holy Water (Ashley Gorley, Hunter Phelps, Ben Johnson, Michael Hardy)
4. Picture (Michael Ray, David Garcia, Michael Hardy)
5. Higher Education feat. Kid Rock, Lee Brice, Billy Gibbons and Tim Montana (Tim Montana, Derek George, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell, Frank Rogers)
6. Live Without You (Michael Hardy, Jessi Alexander, Corey Crowder)
7. Didn’t Know I Was Country (Michael Ray, Taylor Phillips, Ashley Gorley)

Billy Strings Looks For ‘Renewal’ This Fall With Upcoming Project

Billy Strings. Photo: Jesse Faatz

Billy Strings is set to release his new album, Renewal, Sept. 24 via Rounder Records. Ahead of the release, Strings is debuting a new track, “Fire Line,” available everywhere now.

Produced by Jonathan WilsonRenewal incorporates a wide range of influences with elements of bluegrass, classic rock, metal, psychedelic music, and more. With the record’s sixteen tracks, Strings shares a personal and honest perspective through his songwriting.

The record features Strings’ band—Billy Failing (banjo, piano, background vocals), Royal Masat (bass, background vocals) and Jarrod Walker (mandolin, guitar, background vocals,) as well as special guest musicians Spencer Cullum (pedal steel), John Mailander (violin) and Grant Millikem (synth).

“A lot of people call us a bluegrass band and I don’t even know if that’s what we are anymore,” says Strings. “You’ve got to let the song do its thing. So that’s what I try to do—write songs and let them come out however they do. I listen to it now and it’s emotional. I’ve always doubted myself, and I still do, but this album makes me think, ‘Hey, you’re doing all right, kid. You just need to keep going.’”

Strings will make his debut on PBS’ Austin City Limits as part of the program’s upcoming 47th season and will continue his extensive headline tour through the end of this year.

Billy Strings

Renewal Track List:
1. Know It All
2. Secrets
3. Love and Regret
4. Heartbeat of America
5. In The Morning Light
6. This Old World
7. Show Me The Door
8. Hellbender
9. Red Daisy
10. The Fire On My Tongue
11. Nothing’s Working
12. Hide and Seek
13. Ice Bridges
14. Fire Line
15. Running The Route
16. Leaders

Old Dominion Tops MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart In 10 Weeks

Old Dominion’s “I Was On A Boat That Day” rises to No. 1, earning 1,733 spins this week and 11,639 cumulative spins in just 10 weeks on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart. Band members Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Brad Tursi, Whit Sellers, and Geoff Sprung co-wrote the single alongside Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne.

Old Dominion was recently featured on the cover of MusicRow’s 2021 Artist Roster print issue. Lead singer, Ramesy spoke about their new single saying, “When you listen to ‘I Was On a Boat That Day’ you are hearing us in the full joy of making music together. From the moment I counted the band off we were smiling from beginning to end. The tequila was flowing, the laughter was loud, and we knew in that moment we were creating something that would bring people as much joy as it was bringing us.” Pick up the latest edition of MusicRow Magazine here. 

Click here to view the latest edition of The MusicRow Weekly containing the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart.

Keith Urban Joins ACM’s Party For A Cause 2021 Lineup

Keith Urban

Keith Urban is the latest artist to join the ACM’s Party for a Cause lineup set for Aug. 24 at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville.

Urban announced the news on his Instagram this morning and will be joining previously announced performers Lee Brice, Brett Eldredge, Mickey Guyton, Sam Hunt, Old Dominion with special guests, Tenille Townes, Trisha Yearwood and more to be announced. The night will be hosted by SiriusXM’s The Highway host, Storme Warren.


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The event will precede the 14th Annual Academy of Country Music Honors celebration, which takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Proceeds from ACM Party for a Cause will directly benefit ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music which works to lift lives through the power of music.

Lauren Alaina Is ‘Sitting Pretty On Top Of The World’ With Upcoming Album

Lauren Alaina

Multi-Platinum singer-songwriter Lauren Alaina will release her third full-length album, Sitting Pretty On Top of the World, on Friday, Sept. 3 through Mercury Records Nashville. The new project comes on the heels of her two critically-acclaimed 2020 EPs, Getting Good and Getting Over Him. Ahead of the album’s release, the lead single, “It Was Me,” is available everywhere now.

Alongside award-winning songwriters Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Emily Weisband, David Garcia, Ben Johnson, and more, Alaina co-wrote 14 of the 15 songs on Sitting Pretty On Top of the World, which was produced by Paul DiGiovanni and Garcia (on “Getting Good”).

The project includes the two Getting Over Him EP duets–“What Do You Think Of?” with Lukas Graham and her current radio single, “Getting Over Him” featuring Jon Pardi. The Georgia native also reached out to her friend and mentor Trisha Yearwood to remix her recently Gold-certified single, “Getting Good,” to include as a duet on the new album.

Of the album Alaina says, “It’s about a dreamer becoming an achiever. It’s being broken and ending up healed. It’s all of me. The early chapters. The new beginnings. The hope for the future and total appreciation for the past. Taking the Road Less Traveled and ending up Sitting Pretty On Top Of The World.”

Sitting Pretty On Top of the World Track Listing:
1. It Was Me – Lauren Alaina, Hillary Lindsey
2. If The World Was A Small Town – Lauren Alaina, David Garcia, Josh Miller
3. Getting Good (featuring Trisha Yearwood) – Emily Weisband
4. Same Story, Different Saturday Night – Lauren Alaina, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose
5. On Top Of The World – Lauren Alaina, Jordan Reynolds, Sasha Sloan
6. Run – Lauren Alaina, Ben Johnson, Kennedi Lykken
7. What Do You Think of? (duet w Lukas Graham) – Lauren Alaina, Jens Carlsson, Asia Whiteacre
8. I’m Not Sad Anymore – Lauren Alaina, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose
9. Getting Over Him (duet w Jon Pardi) – Lauren Alaina, Paul DiGiovanni, Emily Weisband
10. Good Ole Boy – Lauren Alaina, David Garcia, Josh Miller
11. When The Party’s Over – Lauren Alaina, David Garcia, Corey Crowder
12. You Ain’t A Cowboy – Lauren Alaina, Casey Brown, Parker Welling
13. Goodbye Street – Lauren Alaina, Jacob Durrett, Ernest K. Smith
14. Written In The Bar – Lauren Alaina, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose
15. Change My Mind – Lauren Alaina, Cameron Bedell, Seth Ennis

William Lowery Exits Endeavor Content, Launches Brigade Media Capital

William Lowery

Talent agency veteran William Lowery is launching Brigade Media Capital (BMC), a media advisory practice focused on a portfolio of entertainment ventures.

BMC’s services include capital management strategy, content financing and sales, as well as creative marketing services for brand optimization. BMC will have offices in Austin, Nashville, and Atlanta with new hire announcements expected in the coming weeks.

Within its first 30 days, BMC supplied financing for two films currently in post-production–Seriously Red starring Rose Byrne and produced by Dolly Parton, and Murder at Emigrant Gulch starring Thomas Jane and Richard Dreyfuss. The firm has additional projects in development with Seven Bucks Productions, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the PBR (Professional Bull Riders). Brigade also owns or advises a portfolio of entertainment assets including FilmHedge Media Lending, A to Z Sports Network, Fivestone Studios, Real Music TV and others.

Prior to forming BMC, Lowery was a senior associate at Endeavor Content, advising its asset base across production, music, and sports departments with an emphasis on the middle American region. Based in Nashville, he worked closely with the WME country music roster, Endeavor-owned PBR and oversaw the agency’s faith-based division.

“I am extremely grateful to the leadership team at Endeavor, having the pleasure of working with some incredible thought leaders,” shares Lowery. “And I am proud of what we accomplished, especially during this difficult last year.” He continues, “BMC intends to operate as a disruptive, optimization practice moving alongside an ever-changing media landscape, and now is the perfect time to launch the company with some amazing partners.”

CRS To Host Part II Of ‘Post-Covid Re-Entry’ Webinar Series

CRS will be hosting Part II of the two-part CRS360 webinar series, Post-Covid Re-entry, examining new best practices for how employees readjust and what potential challenges may be faced when re-entering the workplace. Post-Covid Re-entry Part II: How To Shake Off Workplace Cobwebs and Leave Anxiety In The Dust will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 4 at 1 p.m. CT. To register, click here.

After more than 18 months of remote work, many employers have started to open offices, while many workers may have mixed feelings. This webinar will take a closer look at why workers feel the reluctance to return in-office and ways to make the transition easier. The webinar will feature New York Times best-selling author and clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Susan Albers, and CRS Executive Director RJ Curtis as moderator.

Dr. Albers is the author of seven mindful eating books, including EatQ, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, and Eating Mindfully. She has been a guest on the Dr. Oz TV Show, TODAY show, and NPR, and her books and tips have been featured in Shape, Prevention Magazine, Self, Health, Shape, New York Times, and Fitness Magazine.

“Our friends in the music and radio biz are coming back to workplace dynamics that are likely much different than pre-pandemic quarantine,” Curtis shares. “This return means change, upheaval, and with that, anxiety. Dr. Susan Albers is a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and a New York Times best-selling author, who will share insights and tools to help our industry colleagues prepare, transition, and succeed in their ‘new normal.’”

Last month’s event, Re-entering the Post-COVID Workplace Part I: Emotional IQ for Employers/Managers, provided valuable insight to leaders and helping them use emotional intelligence, compassion, and communication to support employees in navigating the transition to a new environment of work post-COVID. To watch a playback of the webinar, click here.

Ricky Skaggs Reveals New Kentucky Thunder Band Members

(L-R:) Ricky Skaggs, Mike Rogers, Dennis Parker, Billy Contreras, Russ Carson, Jeff Picker, Jake Workman
Photo Credit: Russ Carson

Ricky Skaggs has added new Kentucky Thunder band members Mike Rogers on tenor vocals and rhythm guitar and Billy Contreras on fiddle. The news comes as Paul Brewster retires from the band, and Mike Barnett recovers from a brain aneurysm sustained in 2020.

Rogers is a vocalist and a multi-instrumentalist who plays drums, acoustic guitar, banjo, and steel guitar. Throughout his career he has performed as a band member for Kevin Denney, Craig Morgan, and Doyle Lawson and is also a songwriter and producer, having penned songs for Morgan, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Lonesome River Band and Jimmy Fortune, and produced Fortune’s album, Lessons.

Contreras is a fiddler as well as an educator, session player, arranger, and producer. He has performed and/or recorded with a host of talent including Lionel Hampton, George Jones, Doc Severinsen, Hank Thompson, Hank Jones, Crystal Gayle, Grady Tate, Charlie Louvin, Al Grey, Ray Price, and more along with teaching at Belmont University.