Industry Ink: Laura Bell Bundy, Drew Baldridge, PCG Edutainment

LiveXLive To Premiere Laura Bell Bundy’s New Video

LiveXLive has announced that actress/singer/Broadway star Laura Bell Bundy is releasing the music video to her newest single “American Girl” featuring Shea Carter on the platform. The exclusive premiere will take place Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET along with interviews and behind the scenes footage on LiveXLive’s original franchises of LiveZone and Music Lives ON as well as on-demand.

“American Girl” is the third single off Bundy’s upcoming album, Women of Tomorrow, due out this spring. “American Girl” was penned by Bundy, Carter, and Jeremy Adelman.

Bundy says, “The video feels like a walk into the past, but it is just showing that as much as things have changed they really haven’t. The same expectations of what it means to be a woman persist. We go into debt trying to become that woman too… financially and emotionally… leaving us empty and wondering why we are not happy.”

 

Drew Baldridge Announces Second Leg Of Bonfires Tour

Drew Baldridge has announced the second leg of the Baldridge & Bonfires Tour is set for 36 dates with more to possibly be added. All of the dates are private, booked directly with fans and performed outdoors to small, socially-distanced crowds. During the shows, fans will get to hear Baldridge’s newest single, “That’s You,” which he wrote with Trannie Anderson and producer Jason Massey.

Last spring, Baldridge safely traveled coast-to-coast playing outdoor graduation ceremonies as students celebrated his viral hit “Senior Year.”

 

PCG Partners With Kennesaw State

Matej Harangozo and Bernard Porter

PCG Edutainment, led by Matej Harangozo of Digital Science Media, and Bernard Porter of PCG Artist Development, has established a partnership with Kennesaw State University’s College of Professional Education as part of the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program.

PCG provides college course curriculum and instruction in the fields of music, social media, digital marketing, and artist development. The course “Social Media and Digital Marketing for Music Artists” will include two modules, the first running from June 1 to Aug. 6 and the second from Aug. 9 to Oct. 8. Sessions will be taught by Harangozo and Porter and focus on the ever-changing music industry and social media platforms, including building a strong artist brand online and strategies for monetaztion.

Shakey Graves Marks 10th Anniversary Of Debut With Double LP Via Dualtone

Roll The Bones X, the special edition reissue celebrating the 10th anniversary of Shakey Graves’ breakout debut album Roll The Bones, is set for release on April 2 via Dualtone Records. Originally released in 2011 exclusively on Bandcamp, the forthcoming double LP will be available on all digital service providers for the first time.

The anniversary pressing includes 15 additional tracks on the Odds + Ends LP, which stands as a document of the artist’s early work.

In celebration of the upcoming reissue, the title track “Roll The Bones” is available now, which is accompanied by a video directed by front-man Alejandro Rose-Garcia.

Over the past decade the record has sold well over 100,000 units and garnered Shakey Graves a cult following.

His other releases include the 2014 Dualtone Records debut And the War Came,  2018’s Can’t Wake Up, and 2020’s Look Alive EP which coincides with his ongoing documentary/music video project “Hello Gorgeous.”

Originally a solo music project, Shakey Graves now features a rotating cast of band members with varying setups and iterations. Shakey Graves has sold over 400,000 records to date, while garnering over 325 million streams worldwide.

Roll The Bones X
Disc 1 (Roll The Bones)
1. Unlucky Skin
2. Built To Roam
3. Roll The Bones
4. I’m On Fire
5. Georgia Moon
6. Business Lunch
7. City In A Bottle (Live @ 2023)
8. Proper Fence
9. The Seal Hunter
10. To Cure What Ails

Disc 2 (Odds + Ends)
1. Years Ago (Interlude)
2. Chinatown
3. Oh The Reign
4. The Night (Interlude)
5. Dusty Lion
6. Word Of Mouth (Early Version) [featuring Isaac Gillespie]
7. The Haunted Guitar (Interlude)
8. Late July (Early Version)
9. The Daily All
10. Pansy Waltz (Demo)
11. Lonely Hill (Alt-Version)
12. The Teacher (Interlude)
13. Saving Face (Early Version Of Roll The Bones)
14. Bully’s Lament (featuring Isaac Gillespie & Morgan Heringer)
15. The Shepherd (Interlude)

Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum Promotes Mark DeLelys

Mark DeLelys

Mark DeLelys has been promoted to vice president, revenue at the Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum.

In his new role, DeLelys will have responsibility for all earned income streams and will be charged with developing and implementing strategic initiatives designed to grow revenue, expand e-commerce presence, and identify new lines of business for the institution. He reports to CEO Kyle Young in his new position.

DeLelys holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and came to the museum in 2012 from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. DeLelys most recently served as senior director of museum sales and retail, where he was responsible for all facets of admissions, tourism sales and merchandising for the museum, Hatch Show Print, and Studio B. In this role, he helped to increase the museum’s online ticket sales and e-commerce revenue.

“Since joining the museum nearly 10 years ago, Mark’s leadership and expertise have been critical to the museum’s growth,” said Young. “We created this role to complement the museum’s unique operating model, which is centered on a diverse, earned revenue base. With Mark, we have an established leader who not only has a strong background in arts and culture, but also the business acumen to consistently deliver innovative ideas that will help the museum grow and expand our platforms for sharing the country music story.”

Sammy Sadler Signs With BFD/Audium Nashville

Sammy Sadler

Sammy Sadler has signed with Bob Frank Distribution (BFD)/Audium Nashville and is gearing up to release his cover of “Church On The Cumberland Road” featuring Shenandoah’s Marty Raybon on March 5. Sadler has tapped other artist friends for an album of songs that were hits in 1989, the year he survived being shot on Music Row.

“I’m so excited to return to BFD/Audium Nashville with Bob Frank and Chuck Rhodes to release my new album for the world to hear,” said Sadler. “This is the music I grew up on and what I believe is some of the greatest music that was produced and made. To be able to record with some of the original artists of that era is an honor and very humbling. They are true legends.”

The singer was wounded during a shooting that left one other person dead. Since then he has continued to release music with albums including 2004’s Hard On A Heart on the Tri Label, 2009’s Heart Shaped Like Texas on Audium Records, followed by projects on Koch Records and E1.

In addition to BFD/Audium Nashville, Sadler has brought on 117 Publicity, and Platinum Circle Media for digital.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Nashville Postponed To Fall

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon, originally scheduled for April 24-25, has been postponed until later this fall due to concerns around the pandemic.

A statement from organizers states the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville “cannot take place as originally scheduled on April 24-25 in the interest of both our participants and host community’s health and well-being. While this is a disappointing way to start the year, officials from Rock ‘n’ Roll and the City of Nashville feel confident the event will be better positioned for a strong return in the fall of 2021.”

Based on Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville utilizing Nissan Stadium as a key venue for the event, the new fall 2021 race date is dependent on the Tennessee Titans home schedule and will be confirmed after the NFL schedule is available. The event team will continue to work to develop operational plans in a manner consistent with local community objectives and within the guidelines set by public health entities relating to COVID-19. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Safe Return to Running guidelines will be updated as policies are refined and registered participants will receive an email with more information.

Dolly Parton Declines Proposed Tennessee State Capitol Statue

Dolly Parton. Photo: Rob Hoffman

Dolly Parton has declined a bill proposed by the Tennessee legislature to erect a statue of the country music icon on the Capitol grounds.

The bill was filed by Rep. John Windle, D-Livingston on Jan. 13 and would have required the State Capitol Commission to erect the statue facing the Ryman Auditorium.

In a statement provided to MusicRow by Parton’s publicist, the Country Music Hall of Fame member thanked Tennessee legislature for the consideration but declined because she doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal right now “given all that is going on in the world.”

Read Parton’s full statement below:

I want to thank the Tennessee legislature for their consideration of a bill to erect a statue of me on the Capitol grounds. I am honored and humbled by their intention but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration.

Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time. I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud.

Ray Stevens Announces Four New Albums Highlighting Classic Songs

Ray Stevens will be a busy man this spring, with four new albums set for release over the course of the next few months.

The 82-year-old recently returned to Curb Records and will begin digitally dropping the new material this month with the release of Great Country Ballads on February 26. Additional releases throughout the spring include Melancholy Fescue (High Class Bluegrass) on March 26, Slow Dance on April 23, and Nouveau Retro (What’s Old Is New Again) on May 21. Stevens and Curb are also planning to release all four new albums in a special edition box set, Iconic Songs of the 20th Century (The Soundtrack of Our Lives), available for purchase on June 18.

On Great Country Ballads, Stevens pays tribute to timeless songs of the genre in his own unique way. On Melancholy Fescue (High Class Bluegrass), he takes the idea he explored with “Misty” to new heights as he gives a bluegrass treatment to songs with symphonic strings and a choir. Slow Dance offers Stevens’ take on classic love songs of yesteryear, and on Nouveau Retro (What’s Old Is New Again), he takes familiar favorites and reinvents them.

“I’ve been working in my recording studio for the last few years recording songs that I’ve heard all through my life,” says Stevens. “These new recordings are the ‘soundtrack of my life,’ so to speak. I had a great time making these records and I hope others will enjoy them too.”

Track Listings:
Great Country Ballads
1.   Please Help Me, I’m Falling (In Love With You)
2.   Crazy
3.   City Lights
4.   I Can’t Stop Loving You
5.   Bouquet of Roses
6.   Room Full of Roses
7.   Your Cheatin’ Heart
8.   Crying Time
9.   I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)
10. Making Believe
11. Sweet Dreams
12. ‘Til I Get It Right

Melancholy Fescue (High Class Bluegrass)
1.    Ruby/Ruby Baby (medley)
2.    Pretty Woman
3.    In The Still of The Night / In The Still of The Night (medley)
4.    At This Moment
5.    Twilight Time
6.    Unchained Melody
7.    Spring Is Here
8.    Sophisticated Lady
9.    People
10.  Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
11.  Goin’ Out of My Head
12.  MacArthur Park

Slow Dance
1.   Only You (And You Alone)
2.   Unforgettable
3.   Make Believe / It’s Only Make Believe (medley)
4.   The Great Pretender
5.   I’ll See You In My Dreams
6.   (Swaying To The Music) Slow Dancing
7.   Answer Me
8.   Stardust
9.   As Usual
10. Dream
11. This Is All I Ask
12. What A Wonderful World

Nouveau Retro (What’s Old Is New Again)
1.    April In Paris
2.    Blue Moon
3.    Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)
4.    Lay Me Down (Roll Me Out To Sea)
5.    Cry Me A River
6.    Mountain of Love
7.    Talk To Me
8.    Young Love
9.    Indian Love Call
10.  No, Not Much
11.  You Don’t Know Me
12.  Always Chasing Rainbows / Over The Rainbow (medley)

Luke Combs, Maren Morris Have a Timely Conversation About Racism in Country Music

Pictured (clockwise): Ann Powers, Luke Combs, Maren Morris

In an incredibly powerful conversation led by NPR Music’s Ann Powers, Luke Combs and Maren Morris acknowledged racism in the country music industry and spoke about their roles in helping to mend the genre’s complicated past and current issues. The CRS panel that featured the reigning CMA Male and Female Vocalists of the Year was sponsored by All Access.

Country Radio Broadcasters Exec. Dir., RJ Curtis, introduced the panel, saying that Combs and Morris raised their hands to participate in the discussion. “CRS believes this is a timely and important discussion,” he said.

The panel is very timely, following the events of Feb. 3, when a video surfaced of Morgan Wallen using the N-word outside his Nashville home opened up a national conversation about racism and racial inequity in the country music format.

Powers first acknowledged that the conversation, while important, is incomplete, as the participants were three white people.

Morris, who has historically been one of the most outspoken artists in the country genre, released a song in October, “Better Than We Found It,” that address racial inequity and racism.

“I really didn’t set out to be this activist, and obviously none of us are the authority on racism because we are white and existing as white people in a space that is historically rooted in a lot of racism,” Morris said. “It’s really hard for me as a white person to deconstruct all of that. The initial white fragility moment is, ‘I’m not racist, I haven’t done anything racist. I have friends that are Black,’ but I think that once I took that layer away, it’s liberating to not bow up anytime someone questions a motive or an action of yours. I’m still shedding that insecurity, that edge that white people—especially in country music—get when we don’t want to face the history of this genre that I would say we all love dearly.”

Combs, who has shied away from politically charged conversation, recently released a collaboration with Billy Strings that addresses division and conflict, called “The Great Divide.”

Combs commended Morris for speaking out, and admitted the risks associated with such. “Maren has obviously done a fantastic job of sharing her opinions and the things that she believes in, and I admire her a lot for that because that’s a big risk in the climate of our genre. It’s a hard thing to get on here and talk, to have these tough conversations because you’re nervous as an artist.”

Combs points out that the music industry has to acknowledge the problem of lack diversity and racism in country music. “Just saying there are things that need to change, taking a moment to be aware of that and knowing that there are problems that exist is the biggest first step that I have taken. The biggest first step that anybody out there in the industry that may be watching can take is just saying, ‘Hey, these things do happen. Let’s not sit here and say that they don’t, because they do.'”

At a very successful point in his career, Combs doesn’t want to miss his chance to take a stance on the issue. “I couldn’t just sit back and not do anything. I couldn’t not say that I want people to know that we as a genre care about this issue.”

Powers gave Combs the opportunity to talk about some images and videos of him where confederate flags were present.

“There is no excuse for those images. I’m not trying to say ‘This is why they were there and it’s okay that they were there,’ because it’s not okay,” Combs said. “As a younger man, that was an image that I associated to mean something else. As I’ve grown in my time as an artist and as the world has changed drastically in the last five to seven years, I’m now aware of how painful that image can be to someone else. I would never want to be associated with something that brings so much hurt to someone else. It’s not about history or this or that. This is something that hurts someone else.

“I want people to feel accepted, I want people to feel welcomed by country music and by our community. At the time that those images existed, I wasn’t aware what that was portraying to the world and to African American artists in Nashville who were saying, ‘Man, I really want to get a deal, but how can I be around with these images promoted?’ I do apologize for that, I apologize for being associated with that.”

Combs recognized that he is a highly visible member of the country music community, and that he wants to use his influence for good.

Morris and Combs both contributed to the conversation about the distinction between using hateful imagery like the confederate flag, and preserving southern heritage and legacy.

Morris said, “I think that’s what we’re drawn to when we fall in love with country music for the first time, is the nostalgia, the heartbreaking songwriting, the art of a lyric just cutting to your core. It’s about remembering.

“I’m from Texas. This is just sheer ignorance and privilege, but I did not know that the rebel flag meant what it meant until I was 15 or 16 years old,” Morris continued. “That ‘southern pride’ thing, and ‘the south will rise again,’ those were all just terms thrown around. There was no explanation behind it. I think a large majority of people who listen to country music don’t know that either, the deeper meaning of what that flag symbolizes. But maybe that’s just wishful thinking.”

Morris continued to say that she sees confederate flags in the parking lots of festivals that she’s played, and said that she doesn’t want to play those festivals anymore.

“If you were a Black person, would you ever feel safe going to a show with those flying in the parking lot? No. I feel like the most powerful thing as artists in our position right now, is to make those demands of large organizations, festivals, and promoters.”

Combs agrees with Morris that some country listeners may not fully realize the impact and full history behind confederate flag imagery. He equates it to, “Not having to grow up being afraid of that image, and not seeing that image as something that says ‘You’re not welcome here.’

“I never considered that up until 7 or 8 years ago,” Combs continued. “It’s not something that’s talked about a lot in the south. Maren is right, I’d like to think that most people are still unfamiliar with that. I’m not making excuses for anyone, because we can all grow and get better, which is what we’re trying to do here.”

Combs says that there are a multitude of other ways southerners can celebrate their hertiage.

“There are so many things beyond the rebel flag that we can do to be proud of being from the South. You can go plant a vegetable garden in your yard of heirloom plants that your family used to grow 200 years ago,” Combs said. “You can cook a meal that your grandparents made… You don’t need the flag to be proud to be from the South.”

Morris highlighted the often unsung Black pioneers of country music. “If we want to pride ourselves on being ‘three chords and the truth,’ then we need to be truthful with ourselves and know who started this genre, it wasn’t just white people. And going forward, making room [for Black creators]. It’s not to say or diminish my hard work or Luke’s hard work, but we have absolutely had more doors open to us from being white.”

She encourages people to learn the true history of the genre, and points out Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary for having helped her.

“Doing a deep-dive of history and knowing how this genre came to be is a really huge part of it,” Morris said. “I love country music so much. I have my version of it. Going forward, I want to pay respect to the people who actually built it for me.”

When the question was posed about how to help promote diversity and equity in the industry, Combs acknowledged the privilege that worked in tandem with his hard work and talent, and challenged the industry to make sure they’re giving aspiring artists and industry members of color a fair chance.

“I’m not diminishing anyone’s accomplishments. I worked my ass off to get where I am, and so did Maren. But, like she said, it’s impossible to not say we’ve had it easier than our Black counterparts, or I had it easier than Maren, my female counterpart. It’s undeniable. For me to sit here and tell you that– that’s not true, would be a lie.

“If you’re a publisher and a Black writer comes in, are you giving them the same look that you’re giving me if I come in? I’m not accusing anyone of anything, that’s not what I’m saying, I’m just saying take a minute of your day and think.”

Powers brought up another observation regarding the conversation surrounding Morgan Wallen. Powers pointed out that country artists often get accused of causing a rift in the ‘country music family’ when speaking out against hate.

Morris says we strengthen the country music family by holding each other accountable. “This isn’t about going after people or a fan base for sport,” she said. “What is going after someone, saying ‘The N-word is bad’? That’s the least we can do.

“I appreciate Morgan for saying ‘quit defending me’ to his fans, because it’s indefensible. He knows that, we know that,” she continued. “This whole ‘We’re a family, we’re protecting our own,’ is protecting white people. It’s not Black people.”

Morris summed, “If you love something, you should absolutely call out the parts that are complicit and wrong, so we can move forward in a healthy way.”

“We want to be stewards of our genre, because we’re proud of it,” Luke summed. “You do hear ‘country music is a family,’ and I do believe that more than anything, but I want it to be a family that everyone feels like they can be a part of.”

Black River Entertainment Signs Hitmaker Ray Fulcher

Pictured (L-R, back row): Terry Wakefield (Universal Music Publishing), Gordon Kerr (Black River), Abby Miller (Black River), Zebb Luster (River House), Doug Johnson (Black River), Neil Mason (Badlands Management), Lynn Oliver (River House Publishing), Ray Fulcher, Mike Wilson (Black River), Rick Froio (Black River), Austin Mullins (WME), Dawn Delvo (Black River), and Chris King (King Business and Financial Management). (L-R, front row): Tali Canterbury (50 Egg), Ron Stuve (Universal Music Publishing), Rebekah Gordon (Black River), Emily Hungate (Black River), Lauren Kilgore (Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP), Bill Macky (Black River), Tanya Schrage (Black River), Jordon Petty (270 Media Co), and Jonathan Singleton (Producer).

Black River Entertainment has signed hit songwriter and artist Ray Fulcher, who brings a loyal fanbase which has streamed his music more than 30 million times.

He shared news of the label signing with his fans first, saying, “Fans are the reason I write songs. They are the lifeblood of our industry, and without them, this wouldn’t be possible, so it’s only right for them to know first.”

Fulcher is a frequent collaborator of Luke Combs with writing credits on Combs’ No. 1 singles “When It Rains It Pours,” “Even Though I’m Leaving,” “Does To Me” ft. Eric Church, and “Lovin’ On You.”

Signed to Black River Entertainment in 2021, Fulcher is working with producer Jonathan Singleton and is set to support Combs this fall on the What You See Is What You Get Tour.

Black River joins Fulcher’s team including WME, Universal Music Publishing, River House Publishing, and Badlands Management.

“What a great day for all of us!” said Black River’s President and CEO Gordon Kerr. “What an impressive team we are now partnered alongside. Most importantly, what an artist! We are honored to step into this already impressive journey and can’t wait to see what is in store for Ray!”

Fulcher shared, “I always knew I didn’t want to sign anywhere unless they really believed in our music and vision as much as we did ourselves. They had to really get the songs and what we wanted to do with them and believe that I was the guy to carry them to the masses. With Black River, we have gotten all that and more…and the more I’ve gotten to know the people, the more I see what a great group of not just professionals they are, but humans. Just felt like a real easy decision.”

Growing up in Harlem, Georgia, Fulcher’s biggest influences were Alan Jackson, Keith Whitley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Church, and George Strait. He moved to Nashville to pursue songwriting after graduating from the University of Georgia in 2014. Soon after, he signed his first publishing deal with River House Publishing. Fulcher has released the EPs Here We Go Again and Somebody Like Me.

Black River Entertainment’s President and CEO Gordon Kerr and Ray Fulcher.

Nick Norman Debut Features Guests Jamey Johnson, Josh Abbott

Nick Norman is dropping his 11-track, self-titled debut album on Friday, March 5. Norman is the flagship artist signed to Lee Brice’s Pump House Records.

Produced by Brice, songwriter Rob Hatch, and producer/engineer/songwriter Elisha Hoffman, the project features special guests Jamey Johnson (“The Cock Crows”), Josh Abbott (“Rolling in the Grave”), Rebecca Lynn Howard (“Going Through the Motions”), and Brice adding background vocals and guitars throughout.

Norman grew up listening to a soundtrack of home state heroes from his native South Carolina, including Edwin McCain and Hootie & the Blowfish, and icons like Stevie Wonder and The Band. He soaked it all up, mixing the rootsy sounds of the FM dial with the power of the gospel singers he’d hear every Sunday morning at the local church.

A longtime friend and collaborator of Brice, he began recording songs as a teen, working inside a makeshift studio that he constructed with Brice in the pump house of a local church camp. He later moved to Key West and established himself as one of the area’s strongest draws. His newest album brought him back to Nashville to work with his friend.

“From start to finish this has been a labor of love,” said Brice. “I grew up with Nick and it makes sense we’d do this together. I’m proud to make his album the Pump House debut and support his musical introduction on a national level.”

Norman’s debut single is “The Cock Crows,” a French Quarter-esque rouser featuring Jamey Johnson.

Nick Norman Track List:
1. Gypsies, Thieves, Jokers And Me
2. Porch Man
3. Love Don’t Fool Me Again
4. Just For the Record
5. All In
6. The Cock Crows (feat. Jamey Johnson)
7. Adeline
8. Going Through the Motions (feat. Rebecca Lynn Howard)
9. Good Whiskey
10. Life is Good
11. Rolling in the Grave (feat. Josh Abbott)