Joe Galante Establishes Endowment For Leadership Music

Revered music executive and philanthropist Joe Galante has established an endowment for Leadership Music with a $500,000 initial gift. The Joe Galante Leadership Music Preservation Fund has the potential to grow to $1 million, due to his generous offer to match dollar-for-dollar additional contributions totaling up to $250,000. Joining him in fundraising efforts are campaign co-chairs Christian/pop music star and humanitarian Amy Grant, and Universal Music Nashville CEO Mike Dungan, both alumni of Leadership Music.

This endowment is the first of its kind in the non-profit’s 32-year history and will ensure financial stability for the organization for years to come.

Galante, a founder of the organization, says the idea came about at a pre-Covid Leadership Music retreat. “The board was asked how we could ensure, going forward, that future leaders would always be guaranteed best practices for education, connection and leadership. In that moment the answer emerged–build an endowment. More recently with the pandemic leveling our business, I realized the urgency of the endowment and the need to act now, not only for the future of the organization but the future of our music business and its yet-to-emerge leaders.”

Galante knows the importance of mentorship, citing Frances Preston, Irving Waugh, and Jerry Bradley, as leaders who impacted his career. “The time they spent teaching and connecting me to others allowed me to grow and learn. That was a gift of enormous value.

“When the Founding Council of Leadership Music came together, led by Jim Ed Norman, it continued that process–silos were connected, and the organization helped Nashville…and the music industry…develop a deep bench,” Galante continues. “Over the years, I have seen members of my staff, colleagues and friends, and people I didn’t even know, become leaders in our field as a direct result of their Leadership Music experience, reinforcing my belief in this organization and its goals.”

Grant emphasized that in addition to her love of Leadership Music, she wanted to be involved because she has always been impressed with Galante’s generosity. She says, “Vince and I treasure our friendship with Joe, and my Leadership Music journey was unparalleled, so I instantly wanted to be involved in honoring both the man and the organization. Joe has such a huge heart and has given so generously to cancer research, animal welfare, music education and entrepreneurship, among many others. I am so pleased to join forces with Mike and Joe on this special endeavor.”

Dungan adds, “As any of the more than 1200 graduates will attest, Leadership Music is a one-of-a-kind industry accelerator. An eye-opening, life-changing, career-bending experience constructed to build lifelong friendships and working relationships. Leave it to the one-of-a-kind Joe Galante to see to it that this organization has the financial stability to keep going long into the future. Now it is up to all of us to accept Joe’s challenge and match these funds. I’m honored to have been chosen to co-chair this effort.”

Fundraising Campaign Co-chairs Mike Dungan and Amy Grant

Joe Galante took over as head of RCA Nashville in 1981. In 1990, he was named president of RCA Records in New York, and then returned to Nashville four years later as chairman of the RCA Label Group/Nashville, which eventually became Sony Music Nashville. Under his leadership the company thrived, adding imprints and bolstering the careers of Alabama, Kenny Chesney, The Judds, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley, to name a few. In April 2010, Galante announced his decision to step down from his post as chairman of Sony Music Nashville.

Leadership Music was founded in 1989 by 12 music industry executives who had graduated from Leadership Nashville. They included, in addition to Galante, Rick Blackburn, Tony Brown, Tom Collins, William Denny, Dale Franklin, Bruce Hinton, Bill Ivey, Joe Moscheo, Jim Ed Norman, Tandy Rice, and Roger Sovine.

Nashville Label Group Adds 5ive To True Breed Records Imprint

(L-R): 5ive, True Breed Records artist and managing partner; Joseph Rojas, Nashville Label Group founder; Ray Ortiz, True Breed Records

5ive (Craig James) has been named managing partner of True Breed Records, an imprint of Nashville Label Group, the multi-genre record company launched three years ago by Seventh Day Slumber founder/frontman Joseph Rojas. 5ive, along with business partner Ray Ortiz, will now oversee all daily operations of the label.

Nashville Label Group was established in 2018 by Rojas, Seventh Day Slumber founder and frontman and creator of the City RockFest and Summer RockFest Tours. The label’s True Breed and RockFest Records imprints are distributed by New Day Christian Distributors, with digital distribution by Capitol Christian Music Group.

5ive is also the first artist signed to True Breed, and released his label debut, Family Business, in 2019. Produced by 5ive and SPEC, the 14-song set chronicles 5ive’s past struggles with drug addiction and his redemption. His sophomore album will bow later this year.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Lord for this amazing opportunity,” 5ive says. “As an artist on True Breed, I couldn’t have imagined that one day I’d become a managing partner. With Joseph’s blessing and support, Ray and I are excited for this new journey. Our desire is for Jesus to be glorified in word and action as we help win the lost to Christ through the power of music.”

Chris Young Crosses Four Billion Streams Mark

Chris Young marked a major career milestone recently, surpassing the four billion streams mark for his catalog worldwide, which includes eleven No. 1 singles.

Young received word of the impressive total tally earlier this week while filming the soon-to-be-released “Famous Friends ” music video with Kane Brown and director Peter Zavadil.

Written by Young with Cary Barlowe and Corey Crowder during a tour stop in Tampa in 2018, the autobiographical tune mentions the counties where Young and Brown grew up in Tennessee, as well as Nashville’s Davidson County.

A tribute to the names, faces, and legendary stories that make up each hometown, “Famous Friends” brings the two friends back together after collaborating on Brown’s 2017 song “Setting The Night On Fire.” The song reunites the former tour mates from Young’s 2018 Losing Sleep headlining outing and is a full-circle moment for Brown since his first live concert as a young country fan was a Brad Paisley and Chris Young tour stop.

Over the course of his career Young has released seven albums in 15 years including Losing Sleep, his third project in less than two years. The title track is certified Platinum while “Hangin’ On” is his ninth No. 1 as a songwriter. Losing Sleep (2017) and I’m Comin’ Over (2015) debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart, and he was recently ranked in the Top 20 of Billboard’s top country artists of the decade.

Sony Music Publishing Signs Kane Brown; Launches Joint Venture With Brown And Kent Earls

Pictured (L-R, top row): Kent Earls, Partner, Verse 2 Music; Rusty Gaston, Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO; (L-R, bottom row): Kane Brown, Jon Platt, Sony Music Publishing Chairman & CEO. Photo: Meagan Little Photography

Sony Music Publishing Nashville has signed multi-Platinum singer-songwriter Kane Brown to a worldwide deal. Additionally the company has partnered with Brown and longtime publishing executive Kent Earls to launch Verse 2 Music, with Earls leading operations of the joint venture.

Brown said, “I’m excited to further my relationship with Sony with Rusty Gaston and Jon Platt, and to work alongside Kent Earls again at Verse 2 Music.”

In 2016, Earls signed Brown to Universal Music Publishing Group Nashville.

Thursday’s (Feb. 25) announcement follows Brown’s recent launch of 1021 Entertainment, a label joint venture with Sony Music Nashville.

Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston said, “Kane Brown is redefining boundaries with his dynamic artistry, all-around business acumen, and passion as a craftsman songwriter–his anthemic songs will live forever. We couldn’t be happier to welcome him to Sony Music Publishing, and we are equally as excited to partner with Kane and Kent Earls on the launch of Verse 2 Music. We look forward to championing the history they will undoubtedly make together.”

Earls, Partner, Verse 2 Music said, “I am beyond excited to start my next chapter with Kane, Jon, Rusty and the entire Sony Music Publishing family. Verse 2 Music will focus on exceptional songwriters and artists that aspire to make musical history. I am fortunate to have started working with Kane from the beginning of his career and now again with him in this time when he is a superstar in the country format and beyond.”

Brown’s record-breaking debut album produced six-times Platinum No. 1 hits “Heaven” and “What Ifs.” With his debut effort, Brown become the first artist in Billboard history to top all five country charts simultaneously. His follow-up album Experiment topped the Billboard 200 chart and produced three consecutive No. 1 singles: “Homesick,” “Good As You” and “Lose It.” Brown’s latest effort, Mixtape Vol. 1 features hit singles “Cool Again,” “Be Like That” ft. Swae Lee and Khalid, “Worldwide Beautiful,” and his collaboration with John Legend “Last Time I Say Sorry.” Additionally, Brown co-wrote “One Thing Right,” his Top 40 radio hit with Marshmello.

Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey Debut Love Junkies Radio Show

The Love Junkies, hit songwriters Lori McKenna, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey, are debuting a new program called Love Junkies Radio on Apple Music Country today (Feb. 25).

The debut episode has the trio sharing stories about collaborating with Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, and more, along with the stories behind their hits they penned together as a songwriting supergroup, such as Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” In the kickoff episode they also discuss their favorite songs from each other’s catalogues.

Fans can listen live for free to Love Junkies Radio today (Feb. 25) at 5 p.m. CT on Apple Music Country:

Artist Action: Tenille Townes, Sony Nashville, Westwood One, Willie Jones

Tenille Townes To Perform As Part Of HALO’s Main Event Fundraiser

Tenille Townes will perform as part of the organization HALO’s virtual fundraiser, “The Main Event,” this Friday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. CT, continuing her mission to help homeless and at-risk children across the world. The event will feature a live and silent auction, a special documentary premiere and an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Friday’s performance is the latest charitable effort for Townes, who raised $89,000 last summer during her virtual “Big Hearts For Big Kids” fundraiser which benefitted Sunrise House, a youth shelter in her hometown Grande Prairie, Alberta, and Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee’s Troop 6000, which supports girls without permanent housing in the Nashville area. In the eleven years since Townes started the annual fundraiser, “Big Hearts For Big Kids” has raised over $2 million.


Westwood One, Sony Music Nashville Join Forces For Special Olympics

Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Sony Music Nashville have announced a multi-faceted program to build support for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games scheduled for June 5-12, 2022, in Orlando. Kane Brown helped launch the collaboration this month, and Luke Combs, Old Dominion, Chris Young, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, Jameson Rodgers, Matt Stell, and more are among the participating Sony Music Nashville artists who will join the campaign to support the athletes and spread the word about the Special Olympics through Westwood One’s broadcast channels, as well as interviews and more on Westwood One’s programs.



Willie Jones To Make Opry Debut

Willie Jones is set to make his Grand Ole Opry debut on Friday, March 5. He joins a lineup that includes Waylon Payne, Rhonda Vincent, Don Schiltz and others on the hallowed stage.

Willie Jones and Waylon Payne are planning to perform a duet of “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” the classic country tune originally recorded by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.

Jones was featured on NPR earlier this week during a conversation with Apple Music’s “Color Me Country” host and artist Rissi Palmer, who says Jones’ music is “one of [her] favorite things that has come out of Nashville in a really long time.”

Ronnie Milsap Returns With ‘A Better Word For Love’

Country Music Hall of Fame legend Ronnie Milsap is back with new music this spring. His 10-song album, A Better Word for Love, will be released April 30 on Black River Records, and is the follow-up to his all-star project Duets.

Teaming with longtime co-producer Rob Galbraith, Milsap recorded much-loved songs that didn’t fit his prior albums, including those by renowned songwriters Mike Reid, Gary Nicholson, Al Anderson, Jim Weatherly, Brent Maher, Allen Shamblin, and David Ball.

“I have been blessed to work with some of the very best songwriters in the world,” says Milsap. “Over the years, they’ve kept bringing me unbelievable songs, and in some cases, they’ve let me hang onto them because I loved them so much. When Rob and I started this project a few years ago, we decided some of those songs were so special… We wanted to build this album around them, so they wouldn’t be treasures only [my wife] Joyce and I could hear.

“We got to go back to Ronnie’s Place, the studio I built all those years ago, just dig in and cut them—and some songs that have the same kind of heart, the soul and that joy that I’ve always loved. You know, even a sad song when you do it sad enough’ll make you feel better.”

Milsap enlisted some of Nashville’s finest players for the project: guitarists Brent Mason, Steve Gibson, Mark Casstevens, and Chris Leuzinger; bass player Michael Rhodes; drummer Lonnie Wilson; double steel players Mike Johnson and Paul Franklin; and Milsap’s longtime musical director Jamie Brantley.

Along the way, Milsap received a special package from Carl Perkins’ widow, containing the last song the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer ever wrote. She knew Milsap would do it justice. To that end, Milsap tapped Vince Gill to join him on the song that isn’t about a woman, but instead the famous “Big Bertha” driver. Says Milsap, “Singing a song about a golf club without Vince Gill just didn’t feel right.”

A Better Word for Love Track Listing:
“Big Bertha” featuring Vince Gill -Randy Moore, Carl Perkins, DJ Perkins
“Wild Honey” – Jim Weatherly, Nigel Wright
“A Better Word for Love” – Al Anderson, Gary Nicholson
“Almost Mine” – David Ball, Randy Goodrum
“Fool” – Thomas Cain
“This Side of Heaven” – Brent Maher, Allen Shamblin, Mike Reid
“Civil War (Live),” recorded at Atlanta’s Chastain Park in 1993 – Cindy Richardson, Carol Chase
“Fireworks” – Steve Dean, Don Gatlin, Mike Ulvila
“Now” – Thomas Cain, Tim Nichols
“Too Bad for My Own Good” – Joe H. Hunter, Jim Whitehead, Jim Weatherly

The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project Donates $25,000 To Aid Veterans [Exclusive]

The organization made a $10,000 donation to A Soldier’s Child. Pictured (L-R): Trace Adkins, Carolyn Corlew (TCDJHP), W.D. Wheeler, Angela Wheeler (TCDJHP), Joel Pruitt (TCDJHP), David Corlew (TCDJHP), and Daryl Mackin (A Soldier’s Child).

The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project (TCDJHP), a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting military veterans, is continuing the mission of its late founder with several recent donations.

Since the passing of Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Daniels last year, TCDJHP co-founder/Daniels’ longtime manager David Corlew has donated $25,000 to various organizations that directly aid veterans and their families.

Recent contributions include $10,000 to A Soldier’s Child, which benefits children of veterans, and $5,000 to God’s Word for Warriors, a non-profit committed to serving spiritually wounded and emotionally distressed vets.

“Our mission is to continue our vision and commitment to the supporting of our veterans as they reintegrate from service to civilian life,” says Corlew. “The loss of Charlie, combined with the impact of Covid, has made it even more difficult to do. But the need is there, and as you can see, we are unwavering in efforts to serve.”

TCDJHP donates $5,000 to God’s Word for Warriors. Pictured (L-R): God’s Word For Warrior’s Jim Humphrey and Dr. Tom Seals, and TCDJHP’s Angela Wheeler and David Corlew.

Additionally, last month, TCDJHP joined forces with Chris Young to establish the Daniels/Young Veterans Scholarship at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. TCDJHP donated $10,000 to fund the yearly scholarship that will be awarded to former servicemen and women pursuing a degree from MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment.

“Charlie was not only an influence on my music but was a mentor too,” says Young, who attended MTSU prior to signing with RCA Nashville. “I’m extremely honored to help continue his legacy through this new scholarship.”

MTSU also houses the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, an on-campus facility that provides transition services for veterans and their families as they return to civilian life.

TCDJHP’s daily operations rely solely on public donations. To donate, visit

David Corlew, far right, co-founder of The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project and Daniels’ longtime manager, presents a $10,000 donation for the Daniels/Young Veterans Scholarship. Pictured (L-R): Keith Huber, MTSU senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives; Angela Wheeler (TCDJHP); Chris Young; and Corlew. Photo: Courtesy MTSU by Andy Heidt.

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row Breaks Ground In Denver

Pictured (L-R): Michael Fancher, Iconic Investments, Matt Runyon, Summit Capital Venture Group; Mayor Michael B. Hancock; Dierks Bentley; Kenneth Monfort, Monfort Companies; Tami Door, Downtown Denver Partnership; Ryan Hibbert, Riot Hospitality Group. Photo: Monfort Companies

Dierks Bentley recently traveled to Denver, Colorado for the official groundbreaking of his fourth Whiskey Row restaurant and bar. This marks the gastropub’s first location outside of his home state of Arizona and current home state of Tennessee.

Located in the historic LoDo district, the establishment is expected to open in late 2021 following a major renovation of existing buildings. This includes a 6,000-square-foot addition, structural and design improvements to maintain the historical components of the buildings, a two-story infill structure and extended patio that will be constructed on an existing surface parking lot. A second-story rooftop addition will be constructed from the historic facade at 1946 Market St., along with a redesigned streetscape to improve the Market Street pedestrian experience.

“It’s really meaningful to me to open up a Whiskey Row in Denver, a city I’ve come to love from the many concerts and visits to the Rocky Mountains over the years,” said Bentley. “We’re very selective in the places we choose, and I’m honored to build something that will contribute to what’s happening down here in the Ballpark neighborhood for years to come. Selfishly, this gives me a great excuse to come back to Colorado to visit, and of course, play some live music here when it’s safe.”

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is part of a joint venture between Monfort Companies, Iconic Investments and Riot Hospitality Group. Additional team members include Riot Hospitality Group, Alpine Bank, Circle West Architects and Jaco General Contractor, Inc.

Dierks Bentley with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock; Photo: Monfort Companies

SmithField Puts On ‘Sunday Best’ Ahead Of Upcoming EP

SmithField has released new single, “Sunday Best,” from their upcoming third EP, due out later this year.

Penned by the indie duo’s Jennifer Fielder and Trey Smith with Trannie Anderson and Ian Christian, and produced by Derek Wells and Adam Wood, the tune is a nod to the societal expectations that SmithField experienced while growing up in rural Texas.

The best-of-friends pair have amassed more than 40 million career streams since turning heads with their breakthrough single “Hey Whiskey.” They’ve made 30-plus Grand Ole Opry appearances, performed at high-profile festivals, and shared the bill with some of country’s biggest stars including Brothers Osborne, Scotty McCreery and Old Dominion, plus headlined their own nationwide tour.