DISClaimer Single Reviews: Wade Bowen, George Strait, Muscadine Bloodline

Music City’s major labels yield to feisty, independent artists this week.

Despite the presence of strong singles by George Strait, Jon Langston, Maddie & Tae, Kassi Ashton and The Cadillac Three, the Lone Star State’s perennially popular Wade Bowen nails down the Disc of the Day award.

Also coming from indie left field is our DISCovery Award winner, the duo Muscadine Bloodline.

MUSCADINE BLOODLINE / “Dispatch to 16th Ave.”
Writers: Charlie Muncaster/Gary Stanton; Producer: Charlie Muncaster/Gary Stanton; Label: MB
— The duo sings of a country hopeful on Music Row who fails because he wouldn’t make conformist music. The harmonies are tight, and their band sounds sprightly. Recommended.

KASSI ASHTON / “Heavyweight”
Writers: Kassi Ashton/Luke Laird/Hillary Lindsey; Producer: Luke Laird/Kassi Ashton; Label: MCA Nashville/ Interscope
— Sultry and moody. She says she can take whatever heartbreak he wants to dish out. She won’t cry. She’ll fight. She’s tough. The whole thing is kinda cool, in a pop-country way.

THE CADILLAC THREE / “Devil’s Lettuce”
Writers: Jaren Johnston/Neil Mason; Producer: The Cadillac Three; Label: Big Machine
— In a word, strange. Is there such a thing as country psychedelia? This choppy, wacky, rhythm-soaked ditty waxes enthusiastic about homegrown weed. It’s more spoken than sung, and the drum track is more prominent than anything else. I have no idea what to do with this.

JON LANGSTON / “When You’re Lonely”
Writers: Jon Langston/Jody Stevens; Producer: Jody Stevens; Label: EMI
— This toe-tapping country rocker rolls along righteously as Langston unspools his bitter yarn. She calls him at 3 AM when she’s got nobody else to love her…. even though she already told him they have no future together. Radio ready.

JETT HOLDEN / “Taxidermy”
Writers: Jacques Landell Holden; Producer: none listed; Label: JH
— The arty lyric meanders somewhat on this wordy, passionate, heartbreak ballad. He sings with immense, intense fire. Vocally promising, but the songwriting needs to get tighter.

GEORGE STRAIT / “The Weight of the Badge”
Writers: George Strait/Bubba Strait/Dean Dillon; Producer: Chuck Ainlay/George Strait; Label: MCA
— Today is National First Responders Day. King George has the commemorative song, a lustrous ballad in a lovely production that mixes sighing fiddles and aching steel with heartfelt singing. Meditative and memorable.

WADE BOWEN / “When Love Comes Around”
Writers: Wade Bowen/Eric Paslay/Heather Morgan; Producer: Paul Moak; Label: Thirty Tigers
— This dirt-road Texas honky-tonker can always be counted on for country excellence. What he doesn’t usually do is upbeat, happy love tunes. Well, he does that here, and the result is splendidly uplifting, joyous and clap-hands catchy. Get up and twirl around the room.

MADDIE & TAE / “Madness”
Writers: Maddie Font/Taylor Kerr/Jessie Jo Dillon/Zach Kale; Producer: Jimmy Robbins/Derek Wells; Label: Mercury
— Airy and wafting, this audio dreamscape is about the enduring power of true love. Relaxing and gentle. Caressed by their sweet, close vocal harmonies.

JIMMY YEARY / “Angeline”
Writers: Jimmy Yeary/Billy Droze/Chris Myers; Producer: none listed; Label: RBR Entertainment
— Yeary is a big hit songwriter via such accomplishments as “I Drive Your Truck” (Lee Brice), “I Called Mama” (Tim McGraw), “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” (Martina McBride), “Till It’s Gone” (Kenny Chesney) and more. He’s also the lucky devil who’s married to the divine Sonya Isaacs. As if that’s not enough, he is a dandy bluegrass record maker. This frothy, lickety-split, dobro-laced, scampering-fiddle ditty is a hillbilly delight.

RAY STEVENS / “Hoochie Coochie Dancer”
Writers: C.W. Kalb, Jr.; Producer: Ray Stevens; Label: Curb
— The master of the novelty single is back with a charming outing about getting mugged after falling for a carny gal. Loved the backup ooohs and the talking-blues delivery. Cute and amusing.

ABBY ANDERSON / “Bad Posture”
Writers: Abby Anderson/Anna Vaus; Producer: Marshall Altman; Label: AA
— She’s singing with more guts than ever on this stately saga of a survivor: “Since you’ve been gone, I stand up straight.” In the ebb-and-flow production, the rippling piano notes are gradually augmented by an echoey, marching rhythm track. Definitely ear catching.

LILLI LEWIS / “My American Heart”
Writers: Lilli Lewis; Producer: none listed; Label: Louisiana Red Hot Records
— She sings marvelously, with a pleading soprano that can dip to a throaty, chesty tone. The wordy, well-meaning song wanders around in search of a hook.

Country Fest Announces 2022 Lineup With FGL, Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, More

Country Fest 2022 has announced that Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Lee Brice will headline next year’s festival, set for June 23-25 in Cadott, Wisconsin. The lineup will also include Chase Rice, Gabby Barrett, LoCash and more.

“We are so excited to bring people back to live music and in 2022 we are doing it in a big way!” says festival promoter Wade Asher. “With this star-studded lineup, activations and overall experience we give the fans, we always aim to please. There’s a reason why fans call Country Fest ‘Your Happy Place’ and we can’t wait to show them all that we have in store and to see those smiles once again.”

VIP, Reserved Lawn, and General Admission ticket packages are available at this venue along with Pit Passes. Tickets are on sale now at CountryFest.com.

Country Fest 2022 Lineup:
Wednesday, June 22: *Kickoff Party exclusive to 3-day ticket holders: Phil Vassar, Alexandra Kay, Jake Stringer and Tim Hurley
Thursday, June 23: Lee Brice, LoCash, Dylan Scott, Jameson Rodgers, Little Texas, Callista Clark, Nate Barnes, Lauren Weintraub
Friday, June 24: Florida Georgia Line, Chase Rice, Mitchell Tenpenny, Sara Evans, Parmalee, Priscilla Block, Drake Milligan, Ray Fulcher
Saturday, June 25: Jason Aldean, Gabby Barrett, Michael Ray, Rodney Atkins, Lainey Wilson, Tenille Arts, Frank Ray, Dillon Carmichael

Sony Music Publishing To Administer Gregg Allman Catalog

Gregg Allman. Photo: Bettmann

Sony Music Publishing has announced it has signed a global agreement with the estate of the legendary singer-songwriter Gregg Allman to administer its catalog of songs. The deal encompasses many of Allman’s compositions from his time as a member of the Allman Brothers Band, as well as songs written throughout his enduring solo career.

Widely regarded as one of the most iconic rock and roll songwriters, Allman blended elements from blues, jazz, rock and country into his sound. Some of his biggest hits include “Whipping Post,” “Melissa,” and “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers Band, and his critically acclaimed solo albums such as 1973’s Laid Back, 1987’s I’m No Angel, and the Grammy nominated 2011 album Low Country Blues, produced by T-Bone Burnett.

Sony Music Publishing President & Global Chief Marketing Officer, Brian Monaco says, “Gregg Allman is without a doubt one of the greatest rock and roll songwriters of all time. On behalf of all of us at Sony Music Publishing, we are honored to partner with his estate to support his incredible catalog, and we look forward to creating new opportunities for his songs.”

Allman’s five-decade career earned him numerous accolades including the Allman Brothers Band’s 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; his 2006 induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame; a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 at The 54th Annual Grammy Awards; several Grammy nominations; and multiple RIAA Platinum and Gold certifications. The iconic singer-songwriter died in 2017 due to complications from liver cancer.

Michael Lehman, Allman’s longtime manager and friend, adds, “I am very pleased to begin this partnership with Brian Monaco and the Sony Music Publishing team to build upon Gregg Allman’s legacy. I look forward to bringing his music to new generations of fans and inspiring audiences around the world.”

Ryman Hospitality Properties Announces Plans To Acquire Block 21 In Austin, Texas

Block 21 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Courtesy of Ryman Hospitality Properties

Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. announced its agreement with Stratus Properties Inc. to acquire Block 21, a mixed-use entertainment, lodging, office, and retail complex located in downtown Austin, Texas.

The Nashville lodging and hospitality real estate investment group owns many convention center resorts that operate under the Gaylord Hotels brand, including Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. The company’s entertainment segment includes several iconic and emerging country music brands, including the Grand Ole Opry; Ryman Auditorium, WSM 650 AM; Ole Red and Circle, a country lifestyle media network the company owns in a joint venture with Gray Television.

Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Ryman Hospitality Properties, says, “We are pleased to again have the opportunity to add this one-of-a-kind asset to our growing entertainment portfolio. Much like Nashville, Austin’s leisure and hospitality industry is recovering and is well-positioned for growth in the years ahead. This acquisition allows us to have a meaningful presence in two of the most dynamic music cities in this country and presents many opportunities to showcase the unique music cultures in each city to millions of fans through our Circle TV network.”

Completed in 2010 and located on an entire city block in Austin’s 2nd Street District, Block 21 is home to the iconic ACL Live at the Moody Theater (ACL Live)—a 2,750-seat, state-of-the-art entertainment venue that serves as the filming location for the famed Austin City Limits television series. The Block 21 complex also includes the 251-room W Austin hotel, the 3TEN at ACL Live club and approximately 53,000 square feet of other Class A commercial space.

Reed adds, “We are thrilled for the long-term opportunities to grow our customer base and create quality entertainment experiences for local music lovers and the millions of tourists who visit Austin each year. We love what Beau and the entire Stratus team created with Block 21 and share their vision for the enormous potential it has to become a world-renowned, music-centric hub in the heart of this great city.”

The total purchase price of the Austin property is $260 million and includes the assumption of approximately $138 million of existing mortgage debt. In addition, Ryman will receive approximately $11 million of existing cash reserves attributable to the assets. The acquisition is expected to close near the end of the fourth quarter of 2021.

William H. Armstrong III, chairman of the board and CEO of Stratus, shares, “We have gotten to know the Ryman Hospitality Properties team very well and continue to believe they are the ideal stewards for Block 21 and ACL Live in the future.”

Chris Stapleton, Gabby Barrett, Morgan Wallen, More Earn Multiple AMA Nominations

(top row, L-R): Carrie Underwood, Gabby Barrett. (bottom row, L-R): Morgan Wallen, Chris Stapleton

The nominees for the 2021 American Music Awards have been unveiled. Among them are a swath of country and Christian music artists, and plenty of familiar faces.

Chris Stapleton received three nominations for Favorite Male Country Artist, Favorite Country Album (Starting Over), and Favorite Country Song (“Starting Over”). Gabby Barrett also earned three nods for Female Country Artist, Favorite Country Album (Goldmine), and Favorite Country Song (“The Good Ones”). Luke Bryan and Luke Combs nabbed two nominations each, with both earning a nod for Favorite Male Country Artist, and Bryan nominated for Favorite Country Album (Born Here Live Here Die Here) and Combs for Favorite Country Song (“Forever After All”).

Notably, Morgan Wallen received two nods for the 2022 awards: Favorite Country Album for Dangerous: The Double Album and Favorite Male Country Artist. However, he will not be involved in the actual awards show and will have no direct participation.

In a statement on behalf of MRC Live & Alternative, who produced the American Music Awards, shares: “Morgan Wallen is a nominee this year based on charting. As his conduct does not align with our core values, we will not be including him on the show in any capacity (performing, presenting, accepting). We plan to evaluate his progress in doing meaningful work as an ally to the Black community and will consider his participation in future shows.”

The AMAs added a handful of new categories for this year’s awards, including Favorite Gospel Artist, which includes Kanye West, Kirk Franklin, Koryn Hawthorne, Maverick City Music, and Tasha Cobbs Leonard as this year’s nominees. Favorite Inspirational Artist is also making a return this year with nominations for Cain, Elevation Worship, Lauren Daigle, Zach Williams, and Carrie Underwood, who is also nominated for Favorite Female Country Singer.

Nominees are based on key fan interactions—as reflected on the Billboard charts—including streaming, album sales, song sales and radio airplay. This year’s nominees were selected from data tracked by Billboard and its data partner MRC Data from Sept. 25, 2020, through Sept. 23, 2021.

Voting for the 2021 America Music Awards is now open and, for the first time, fans can vote for all categories on TikTok by searching for AMAs in the app. Fans can vote once per category per day.

The show will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. CT on ABC.

Partial Nominees For The 2021 American Music Awards:
Favorite Male Country Artist:
Chris Stapleton
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Luke Combs
Morgan Wallen

Favorite Female Country Artist:
Carrie Underwood
Gabby Barrett
Kacey Musgraves
Maren Morris
Miranda Lambert

Favorite Country Duo or Group:
Dan + Shay
Florida Georgia Line
Lady A
Old Dominion
Zac Brown Band

Favorite Country Album:
Chris Stapleton – Starting Over
Gabby Barrett – Goldmine
Lee Brice – Hey World
Luke Bryan – Born Here Live Here Die Here
Morgan Wallen – Dangerous: The Double Album

Favorite Country Song:
Chris Stapleton – “Starting Over”
Chris Young & Kane Brown – “Famous Friends”
Gabby Barrett –  “The Good Ones”
Luke Combs –  “Forever After All”
Walker Hayes – “Fancy Like”

Favorite Inspirational Artist:
Carrie Underwood
Elevation Worship
Lauren Daigle
Zach Williams

Favorite Gospel Artist:
Kanye West
Kirk Franklin
Koryn Hawthorne
Maverick City Music
Tasha Cobbs Leonard

See the full list of American Music Award nominees here.

Song Suffragettes Hold 3rd Annual Summit With Special Guest Naomi Judd

Naomi Judd and Song Suffragettes Summit participants

The Song Suffragettes held its third annual Summit on Tuesday (Oct. 26), themed “Your Music, Your Business,” for female singer-songwriters at Nashville’s Wellspire Center.

Naomi Judd capped off the three-panel event and wowed the audience with stories about her career and advice on following your heart and gut while building a career as a female creative in music.

Naomi Judd talks with Hunter Kelly at the 3rd Annual Song Suffragettes Summit.

The session was moderated by Apple Music Country’s Hunter Kelly and following the panel, Judd remained during the cocktail hour to speak individually with many of the attendees.

The “Building the Perfect Team” panel featured artist manager Bob Doyle, attorney Linda Edell Howard, wealth advisor Eden Lopez and business manager Mike Vaden. Moderated by the Music Business Association’s Portia Sabin, the panel covered the various roles of core team members over the course of an artist’s career path.

A panel at the 3rd Annual Song Suffragettes Summit.

Panel two, titled “Start Earning Now,” covered the must-have services a singer-songwriter must possess once they start releasing music. Covering digital distribution, SoundExchange, the Mechanical Licensing Collective and performing rights organizations, the panel featured Kris Ahrend from the MLC, Lauren Kasper from The Orchard and Leslie Roberts from BMI. Alex Heiche from Sound Royalties moderated the panel, which uncovered all of the possible revenue streams that result from releasing music.

Song Suffragettes’ primary operation is their weekly, all-female singer-songwriter show at The Listening Room Café on Monday nights. However, the organization periodically produces Summits to help educate its collective of talent that are free to all Song Suffragettes.

Gabby Barrett Shares Plans For ‘Goldmine (Deluxe)’ Coming In November

Gabby Barrett. Photo: Robby Klein

Gabby Barrett surprised fans Tuesday night (Oct. 26) during her appearance on CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, with news of an expanded version of her debut album, Goldmine (Deluxe), available Nov. 19.

Barrett’s top-streaming Gold-certified breakout Goldmine featured her 5x Platinum smash “I Hope,” which was the most-streamed country song of 2020; four-week Hot AC No. 1 crossover “I Hope (feat. Charlie Puth)”–which reached over 1 billion radio spins; Platinum three-week No. 1 “The Good Ones”; and her latest hit, “Footprints on the Moon.” The hit-filled project has amassed over 1.5 billion global streams.

The Warner Music Nashville artist is the most-nominated female at The 55th Annual CMA Awards in November, with four nominations for Song of the Year and Single of the Year for “The Good Ones,” Female Artist of the Year, plus New Artist of the Year.

Barrett also snagged three nominations at the upcoming American Music Awards for Favorite Female Country Artist, Favorite Country Album (Goldmine), and Favorite Country Song (“The Good Ones”).

Jessica Rosenworcel Nominated As First Female Chair Of The FCC

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Courtesy of the FCC

On Tuesday (Oct. 26), President Joe Biden announced his nomination of Jessica Rosenworcel to lead the Federal Communications Commission. If approved by the Senate, she would become the first woman to serve in the role in the agency’s nearly 100-year history.

Rosenworcel has been a commissioner at the FCC since 2012 and is currently the acting chairwoman, of which she’s the second woman to do so. She served as senior communications counsel for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation under the leadership of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV and Senator Daniel Inouye before joining the FCC.

“It’s the honor of a lifetime to be designated to serve as FCC Chair,” Rosenworcel shared on Twitter. “I wouldn’t be here without those who came before and paved the way.”

In a statement announcing Rosenworcel’s formal nomination, the White House said that during her time at the FCC, she has “fought to protect an open internet, to ensuring broadband access for students caught in the Homework Gap through the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund, to making sure that households struggling to afford internet service stay connected through the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, she has been a champion for connectivity for all.”

Rosenworcel has worked to develop new ways to support wireless services from Wi-Fi to video and the Internet of Things. She has also fought to combat illegal robocalls and enhance consumer protections in the FCC’s telecommunications policies.

“I am deeply humbled to be designated as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission by President Biden. It is an honor to work with my colleagues on the Commission and the agency’s talented staff to ensure that no matter who you are or where you live, everyone has the connections they need to live, work, and learn in the digital age,” Rosenworcel added in the statement.

Rosenworcel also displayed her excitement to be nominated with two other newly announced nominees–Gigi Sohn, a nominee for commissioner of the FCC, and Alan Davidson, the nominee to be an assistant secretary for Communications and Information at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the Department of Commerce.

Spotify Q3 Results: Podcasts, Advertising See Best Quarter To Date

Spotify has announced its third quarter financial results, showing a 27% growth in revenue year-over-year (Y/Y), while Monthly Active Users increased 19% Y/Y to 381 million. Premium subscribers also grew 19% Y/Y to 172 million.

Spotify CEO and founder, Daniel Ek, says: “We had a very strong quarter. The business is doing really well and I’m pleased that we continue to deliver across the areas that are fundamental to our growth and long term strategy. Audio is our right to win. While we have been relentless in our pursuit of being the world’s largest audio platform, it’s still early days and we are just getting started.”

Podcast Monthly Active Users continued to show increases from Q2 with consumption trends remaining strong at 20% Y/Y. Consumption hours for podcasts reached an all-time high during the quarter.

Overall, Monthly Active Users, Gross Margin, and Operating Income all increased in revenue. Additionally, advertising business had its best quarter to date, growing 75% Y/Y.

View the full earnings report or see the infographic.

Industry Ink: Cody Johnson, Jordan Davis, Tyler Braden, Brandon Davis

Cody Johnson’s Debut Album, ‘Ain’t Nothin’ To It,’ Earns Gold Certification

Pictured (L-R): Trent Willmon (Producer, Ain’t Nothin’ to It), Missy Iredell (Sr. Dir. Artist Development, Warner Music Nashville), Cris Lacy (EVP A&R, Warner Music Nashville), Ben Kline (EVP/General Manager, Warner Music Nashville), Cody Johnson, John Esposito (Chairman & CEO, Warner Music Nashville), Shane Tarleton (EVP Artist Development, Warner Music Nashville), Howie Edelman (Durango Artist Management). Photo: Alan Poizner

Cody Johnson’s debut major-label release from COJO Music/Warner Music Nashville, Ain’t Nothin’ to It, has officially been certified Gold by RIAA.

Upon its release in 2019, the album reached Top 10 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart and made history as the third-highest pre-added album of all time in country music on Apple Music.

The Ain’t Nothin’ to It certification comes on the heels of the success of his COJO Music/Warner Music Nashville sophomore album, Human The Double Album, which debuted as the top new country album release last week. All 18 tracks topped half a million streams each in week one alone while the album itself has remained within the Top 10 of Billboard’s Top Country Album chart since release.

The lead single, “‘Til You Can’t,” is also climbing the country charts, earning more than 40,000 track equivalents this week alone.


Jordan Davis’ Goes Gold With Newest Single “Buy Dirt”

Pictured (L-R): Jacob Davis, Jordan Davis, Josh Jenkins, and Matt Jenkins. Photo: Caleb Cockrell

Multi-Platinum singer-songwriter Jordan Davis was presented with a plaque for his Gold-certified hit single “Buy Dirt,” featuring country superstar Luke Bryan.

Davis shared the moment with co-writers Josh Jenkins, Matt Jenkins, and his brother Jacob Davis. The track is currently the No. 4 streaming song in country music, amassing over 120 million streams to date. “Buy Dirt” has been in the Top 5 on the country songs chart for five consecutive weeks, No. 3 in track sales, and No. 14 on the country radio charts.

“Buy Dirt” received a nomination for Musical Event of the Year for the upcoming 55th Annual CMA Awards, marking the first CMA nomination in Davis’ career.


Tyler Braden Raises Funds For First Responders Through Inaugural Golf Tournament

Pictured (L-R): Pete Olson, WHY&HOW; Lieutenant Mike McCutcheon; Engineer Dave Bass; Tyler Braden; Firefighter Justin Rossano; Doyle Harris, Tap in Golf Events. Photo: Marisa Taylor

Rising country recording artist Tyler Braden wrapped his first charitable golf tournament which raised money for National Fallen Fighters Foundation (NFFF) and Hungry Heroes. His Engine Co. 18 Golf Tournament amassed a total of $10,000 for first responders, veterans, and families of fallen heroes.

The day of festivities was followed by a night of live music presented by Nashville’s Whiskey Jam, where Braden played alongside friend Joey Hyde and singer-writer Randy Montana.

The Alabama native spent seven years as a firefighter and first responder, all the while working his way to Nashville. He has released several tracks as a major label recording artist on Warner Music Nashville, and was nominated for MusicRow‘s 2021 Discovery Artist of the Year.


TikTok’s Brandon Davis Signs With Big Yellow Dog Music

Brandon Davis

TikTok artist Brandon Davis has signed with Nashville-based label, artist development and publishing company Big Yellow Dog Music. Following the news, Davis has also released his first song through Big Yellow Dog Music, “The Kitchen,” available everywhere now.

Written entirely by Davis, “The Kitchen” comes after a near-death experience from a head-on car collision in 2019 when Davis, a father of four, realized the brevity of life. Following the accident, his wife Destiny encouraged him to pursue his love for songwriting and music, sharing his recordings on TikTok. Since then, Davis has seen success on TikTok with 1.5 million followers and 10.8 million likes.

“When Jacee Badeaux (Creative Director) brought Brandon to our attention, we knew we had to sign him,” says Big Yellow Dog Music co-owner and CEO Carla Wallace. “First, we loved his songs and his performance, but we all fell for his charm and his passion once we met the Chattanooga boy and his family, which consists of four kids, wow!”

Davis has a run of shows through the rest of the year in his local city of Chattanooga. He’ll also join artists like Caylee Hammack and Dylan Scott at Trucks & Tunes – Colorado in 2022.