Sherry Martin Signs With Warner Chappell Music Nashville

Pictured L-R): Aaron Raitiere, Sherry Martin, and Jessi Vaughn Stevenson

Sherry Martin has signed a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music.

Martin is the mother of WCM songwriter Aaron Raitiere, who she often collaborates with, most notably penning “Love, Light, and Healing” for The Oak Ridge Boys. With “Love, Light, and Healing,” Martin gave Raitiere her journal of prayers to pull from, and they came up with the song while spending time together at Martin’s lake house during the initial COVID-19 lockdown.

She also lent her songwriting talents to “I Ain’t No Zebra I’m a Bumblebee,” by Anderson East, which is featured on the children’s album At Home With Kids.

Born in Providence, Kentucky, Martin inherited her love of music from her mother, who, after spending a career working for GE, dedicated herself to playing piano at their Baptist church.

Jim Ed Norman Comes Full Circle On The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California Tour’ [Interview]

Jim Ed Norman

When the Eagles take the stage on Thursday (April 28) and Friday (April 29) night in Nashville, they will be joined by not one, but two Music Row mavericks on stage.

Vince Gill has been touring with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members for a while. Most recently Gill has joined Eagles Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit, on the “Hotel California 2022 Tour,” where the band plays the Hotel California album in its entirety from start to finish, accompanied by an orchestra and choir. After a short intermission, the Eagles perform a set of their greatest hits.

But Gill isn’t the only Nashvillian traveling around with the Eagles. The band also picked up an old friend for this special tour, renowned Nashville music business titan, Jim Ed Norman. He leads the 60-piece orchestra and choir for the band each night.

Norman established himself as a top producer and A&R executive before leading Warner Bros. Nashville for two decades. His leadership played a key role in the careers of Faith Hill, Blake Shelton, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, Dwight Yoakam, and Take 6, among many others. What some may not know about Norman is that his history with the Eagles goes back to his college days, when he met Henley at North Texas State University.

Norman grew up musical and decided to pursue a career as a music teacher. He was interested in big band music, and North Texas was the place to be for that kind of music. He met a young Henley on campus there in a chance encounter that would alter his future.

“While at North Texas, I was walking along the sidewalk that was connected to the apartment complex that I lived at. It was a beautiful day and there was a fellow that had his door open playing music,” Norman recalls to MusicRow. “He was playing his Led Zeppelin record. I walked in and handed him a Dillard‘s record, which was a progressive bluegrass group, and said ‘Hey, you need to check this out.’ That fellow was Don Henley.

“Through that meeting of walking in, sticking out my hand, and introducing myself, I got to know Don and we shared music.”

After a summer back in his home-state in Florida, Norman received a call from Henley asking if he’d like to be in his band.

“I had really come to understand that I really wasn’t cut out to be a music teacher, so I dropped out of school and I went to join Don’s band that already existed, Shiloh.

“We went to Los Angeles, but then the band did as they sometimes do: we broke up,” Norman recalls. “I had been afforded the opportunity to write a small string quartet part on the Shiloh record, so Don knew that I was interested in being an orchestral arranger. When the Eagles formed and on the second record, they decided they wanted to use orchestra. Don and Glenn [Frey] reached out and asked if I wanted to write the string arrangements on the record. That was one of the quickest times I’ve said ‘Yes’ in my life.”

Jim Ed Norman

The first professional orchestral arrangement Norman composed in his life was for the Eagles 1973 hit album, Desperado.

“With the credit on that record, I had the imprimatur that it took to give me an opportunity to then go on to arrange. Not only did I arrange all of the Eagles’ projects through Hotel California, but it brought me [an opportunity to arrange] Linda Ronstandt‘s version of ‘Desperado,’ [as well as projects for] Bob Segar, America, Kim Carnes, and a lot of other things.”

As Norman advanced in his career and eventually became a titan on Music Row, he kept in touch with the Eagles. He worked on Frey’s solo record, No Fun Aloud, and regularly spoke with Henley.

“Because of the relationship in particular that I had with Don, he reached out when [they decided to do] the ‘Hotel California Tour.’ It was stimulated by the album coming up on 50 years and all of these anniversary moments. He said, ‘We’re going to have an orchestra and you can be involved as much or as little as you want, because you did all those original arrangements.’ On the front end, I demurred because I didn’t know if wanted to be on the road to conduct.

“My fiancé said, ‘Are you crazy? You need to do this.’ The more I thought about it, the more I realized I’m not going get a chance to stand in front of an orchestra and conduct parts that I wrote when I was a kid.”

Norman sums, “My life as an arranger started with Desperado. Right now on the road with the guys, the last performance that’s done with orchestra each night is ‘Desperado.’ I get to essentially be swept off my own feet every night. At certain times I become separated from my hands waving and I’m just listening and absorbing.”

Norman’s full-circle moment is on display in Music City tonight (April 28) and tomorrow (April 29) at Bridgestone Arena. Tickets are still available now.


Bobbi Boyce To Exit CMA After 30 Years Of Service

Bobbie Boyce

The Country Music Association has announced the departure of long-time employee and current Director of International Relations, Bobbi Boyce. After nearly 30 years of service to CMA, she will be stepping away from the organization at the end of this month.

“I have always been proud to work at CMA and have loved being a part of the country music community, which is such a special family,” says Boyce. “I will cherish the memories I am taking with me. It’s time to concentrate on other projects in particular as the Trustee for Davy Jones’ Trust, but I look forward to watching the continued growth of country music internationally.”

Beginning her career with CMA in 1992 as the organization’s European Assistant, Boyce eventually took the helm as CMA’s Director of International Relations. Throughout her time with the organization, she supported all CMA international initiatives, including the worldwide distribution of CMA’s television properties such as the CMA Awards, CMA Fest and CMA Country Christmas.

Working with CMA members, Board of Directors and staff, as well as the wider country music industry both internationally and domestically, Boyce has helped establish the organization’s international task forces as well as brought on key international broadcasters.

“For many years now, Bobbi has acted as a leading voice for CMA’s international efforts both to our international partners and to our local Nashville community,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA, Chief Executive Officer. “She has been instrumental in making sure that the bridge between Nashville and our partners across the globe was strong, secure and supportive of the genre overall. Thanks in no small part to her efforts, we have continued to see significant growth in country consumption internationally. I, and CMA as a whole, will miss working with Bobbi dearly, but am excited to see her able to focus more time on her other projects.”

“A publicist, networker, connector and facilitator, Bobbi’s presence has been a cornerstone to CMA’s international agenda for almost three decades,” adds Milly Olykan, CMA, Vice President, International Relations and Development. “From overseeing all our international awards and editing our CMA television properties for international audiences, to the countless relationships she has fostered, Bobbi has given so much of herself to keep the international flames burning for CMA. While we are sad to see her stepping away from her work with CMA, we are eternally grateful for her dedicated service to our organization and wish her all the best!”

To reach Boyce after April 30, contact [email protected].

Lorianne Crook To Be Honored At Women in Business Influencing Women Awards Gala

Lorianne Crook

Lorianne Crook will receive the 2022 Jeannie Seely Standing Ovation Award from the Donelson Hermitage Chamber of Commerce Women in Business during this year’s Women in Business Influencing Women Awards Gala. The event will be held at the Sonesta Nashville Airport on April 28.

The award was originally named for and presented in 2019 to Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely, who generously shares her time advocating for her community and various organizations.

Each year, the award recognizes a woman who has created influence and significance in the entertainment industry and has shown the advocacy of other women in her field by mentoring and supporting them in their professional success. Previous winners include Devon O’Day and Kellie Pickler.

Crook is recognized for being part of the elite list of the nation’s Most Influential Women in Radio. As a creator, producer, writer and host of an array of television and radio productions, she has received numerous career awards from the CMA, SESAC, Gospel Music Association and the New York & Television Festival.

She was inducted into the Country Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame and received the Living Legend Award at the Grand Ole Opry in 2017, and presently holds the title of Vice President of Jim Owens Entertainment along with serving as the Executive Producer and host of the nationally syndicated Crook & Chase productions distributed in partnership with Premiere/iHeart Media.

Sony Music Publishing Nashville Signs Madeline Edwards

Pictured (L-R): Samantha Borenstein, Synnovea Halsel, Madeline Edwards, Mya Hansen, Rusty Gaston. Photo: DireImage

Sony Music Publishing Nashville has signed breakthrough singer-songwriter Madeline Edwards to a worldwide publishing agreement.

Edwards incorporates jazz, soul, gospel and country influences into her unique sound. She was listed as a Hot Country Spotify Artist to Watch 2022, a member of CMT Next Women of Country’s class of 2022, and was named a Top 20 Breaker artist on NPR.

Currently working on her debut album, she made her national radio debut on Sirius XM and released “Port City” as the follow up to her hit song “The Road,” which has garnered over 6 million streams to date. She has performed on Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way tribute record with The Highwomen, NPR‘s Tiny Desk Concert, and made her national television debut at the 2021 CMA Awards where she sang alongside Mickey Guyton and Brittney Spencer.

Edwards also recently embarked on the “All American Road Show Tour” alongside Chris Stapleton. Featuring Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson, the April 23 stop in Lexington, Kentucky marked Edwards’ first stadium show.

“True artists like Madeline don’t come along every day. It was obvious from our first meeting that she has a gift of revealing her heart in each song,” Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO, Rusty Gaston, notes. “We can’t wait for the world to discover what we’ve already gotten to experience.”

Sony’s Senior Manager of Creative, Mya Hansen, and Creative Coordinator, Synnovea Halsel, add, “We knew from the moment we saw Madeline play that she is an extraordinary talent with limitless potential. We are thrilled to welcome her into the Sony Music Publishing family!”

“I knew SMP was the right family for me the moment we connected. I’m very excited for this new chapter and the music I’ll be creating with this team,” shares Edwards.

CMA EDU Leadership Program Announces Class Of 2022-2023 Participants

The CMA EDU Leadership Program, the Country Music Association’s industry development pipeline, has selected its membership class of 2022-2023.

Established in 2011, the program was created to develop and support the next generation of music industry. While participating, students will engage in professional development and industry exposure opportunities throughout their year long CMA EDU experience. The members of the class of 2022-2023 were announced in the video below.

“My biggest congratulations to our CMA EDU Class of 2022-2023!” says Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “CMA EDU has always been about bridging the gap between our industry and the next generation of leaders by providing students with access and opportunities to experience our industry first-hand. With an impressive class this year, I am excited to usher in such a well-rounded, ambitious group of young leaders.”

Through educational resources, Q&As with professionals, informational interviews and more, students will be exposed to programming topics such as resume building, interview skills, general business and industry best practices, and networking skills. Students will be matched with a mentor from the CMA EDU alumni base to help them navigate the program and advise on what to expect post-graduation.

CMA will also host the full CMA EDU class this summer for the annual CMA EDU Leadership Summit. The virtual multi-day conference will include two days of professional development training, engaging industry education and networking opportunities.

“As our industry pipeline, CMA EDU exists to empower, equip and champion students to step into their careers with confidence,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Vice President, Industry Relations & Philanthropy. “We focus on college transition and job preparedness because it’s a basic barrier to accessing job opportunities. Because we do not assume all students have an inherent understanding of professional pathways in the music industry, we are committed to providing CMA EDU members with real-world opportunities and support from mentors and experts in the industry. By fostering meaningful connections and cultivating leadership qualities that can be utilized in the music business and beyond, we have positioned CMA EDU so that all students across all backgrounds are able to thrive within the program. We are thrilled to welcome this new class of talented and driven students to our CMA EDU family and we can’t wait to get started!”

BlackHawk Mines The Vaults For New Album Of Unreleased Cuts

BlackHawk. Photo: Mark Tucker

Nineties hitmakers BlackHawk are returning with a new project of never-before-heard songs from the early days of their career. Blue Highway is set for release on June 24 via BFD/Audium Nashville, and the album’s first single, “Baby The Rain Must Fall,” is available now.

The album features twelve archival tunes from 1992 that were only recently mixed and mastered with bass, drums, electric guitar and mandolin. The compilation features the vocals of all three original members of BlackHawk–Henry Paul, Dave Robbins and the late Van Stephenson, who died of cancer in 2001. All twelve cuts were written by the trio.

“Looking back on BlackHawk’s beginnings, I’m always reminded of the innocence and personal character of our songwriting, and both the fragile beauty and strength of our voices,” says Paul. “For Van and Dave and I, it was magic watching this exciting chapter in our life’s musical journey unfold. This album once again brings the three of us together and sheds light on the dawn of our creation in those early days.”

“This collection of songs brings home the fact that it wasn’t by chance that Van and Henry and I got to have this dance with you,” adds Robbins.

Paul and Robbins are dedicating the upcoming release to the memory of their departed bandmate. In 2006, BlackHawk established the Van Stephenson Cancer Research Fund which, since its inception, has generated over $400,000 for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

“Without Van, BlackHawk would have never been, and his uniquely beautiful talent was at the heart of all we did,” explains Paul. “Dave and I continue to honor our last promise made to him by keeping BlackHawk together and doing what we can do help find a cure for cancer.”

Blue Highway Track List:
1. Don’t Put Yourself Down
2. Baby The Rain Must Fall
3. Southern Wind
4. I’m Gonna Find a Way
5. Where The Wild Roses Grow
6. Not By Chance
7. Heavy Hand
8. Heart With a View
9. Blue Highway
10. Breathe The Night
11. One Good Reason
12. Wide Open Spaces

Chris Tompkins Inks With Boom Music Group & Warner Chappell

Pictured (L-R): Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaughn and Jessi Stevenson; Ritholz Levy Fields’ Chip Petree; Chris Tompkins; Boom’s Shaina Botwin and Joe Fisher. Photo: Robi Block

Hit songwriter Chris Tompkins has signed a publishing deal with Boom Music Group and Warner Chappell.

Since arriving in Music City in 2002, Tompkins has notched 16 No. 1 country singles. His first hit was Carrie Underwood‘s “Before He Cheats,” which became a multi-week No. 1 on the major country charts, won numerous awards, and achieved massive pop crossover success. Tompkins followed that up with many more hit songs, including Jason Aldean‘s “Burnin’ It Down,” Luke Bryan‘s “Drunk On You,” Blake Shelton‘s “Sure Be Cool If You Did,” and Dierks Bentley‘s “Drunk On A Plane.” Florida Georgia Line has recorded 11 of Tompkins’ songs, including the hit singles “Dirt,” “Get Your Shine On,” “Round Here” and “Anything Goes.”

“Chris Tompkins is a one of a kind human and one of the most brilliant songwriters Nashville has seen in a long time,” shares Shaina Botwin, Boom’s Sr. Director, A&R. “He’s made an incredible impact on country music already, and I’m thrilled to work alongside him and our partners at Warner Chappell to continue his legacy in the next chapter of his career.”

Warner Chappell’s Sr. Director, A&R/Digital, Jessi Vaughn Stevenson, adds, “It’s a privilege to get to work with a songwriter as accomplished as Chris Tompkins and a blessing to do it with our fantastic partners at Boom, Joe [Fisher] and Shaina. I am excited for this new chapter in Chris’ career and look forward to his songs and successes to come.”

With Boom and Warner Chappell, Tompkins will continue his success in multiple genres. The award-winning songwriter has had songs cut by Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, and Hank Williams Jr., and has also worked with Nelly, Gloria Gaynor, Bette Midler, Nickelback and Jason Isbell.

“I’m so excited to be with Boom & Warner Chappell,” Tompkins says. “I’ve always been a fan of Joe Fisher and it’s great to be working with him and superstar Shaina Botwin. Having Jessi, Ben [Vaughn], and the Warner Chappell team on board too feels like the start of something really great. I’m excited to get to work!”

Operation Song Expands Board Of Directors

Operation Song, the non-profit pairing accomplished Nashville songwriters with the military community to help them tell their stories through song, has added several leaders to its Board to help grow the charity’s reach.

The Operation Song Board of Directors has expanded to include Mike Sistad, Storme Warren, Jeff Mefford, and Joe Forte. 

“For the past decade, we have empowered veterans, active-duty military and their families to tell their stories and to express themselves through the process of songwriting. We have produced more than 1,000 songs, and there are many more stories to be told. Our Board members have strong ties to Music City and the U.S. military and all share our vision of helping the brave men and women who serve our country to be heard and to heal,” shares Bob Regan, songwriter and founder of Operation Song.

In January, the Board also elected Bob Leonard as President of the Board. A U.S. Navy Desert Storm Veteran and a 20-year healthcare executive, clinician, and entrepreneur, Leonard’s skill set includes management, startups, strategy, marketing, and business development.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike, Storme, Jeff and Joe as Board members,” says Leonard. “They bring a wealth of relevant knowledge and expertise to advance the mission of Operation Song. Given their track records and enthusiasm, I’m excited for them to help guide Operation Song into the future.”

Sistad, who serves as Vice President of ASCAP, is a longtime ASCAP executive and songwriter advocate who has signed top talent, including Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini, Old Dominion, and Carly Pearce.

Warren is a TV and radio broadcaster best known as the host of the Storme Warren Morning Show on Sirius XM’s The Highway.

Mefford serves as CFO for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. Prior to that role, he was the CFO for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and assisted with launching the Nashville Downtown Partnership, Nashville Sports Council, Nashville Healthcare Council and the Music City Bowl.

Forte is a technology Director with VMware and has been consulting for the US Department of Defense and state/local governments for more than 25 years. During his career, he worked closely with the U.S. military including several assignments in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He has also been a musician and songwriter for 30 years.

Date Announced For 21st Annual Nashville Chapter Block Party

The Nashville Chapter of The Recording Academy has announced they will hold their annual Block Party on Tuesday, May 17 at 5 p.m. This will be the first time the Nashville chapter had held the beloved invitation-only event in two years due to the pandemic.

Hosted at Nashville’s 6th & Peabody, Recording Academy Nashville Chapter Voting and Professional Members will be entertained with performances from Zac Brown Band, The War And Treaty, Gayle, and Gramps Morgan. Special guests DJ Bowls and Daru Jones, as well as host Evvie McKinney, will also take part in the celebration.

The Nashville Chapter Block Party is a private, industry-only event, providing members an experience that helps preserve the sense of community that is unique to the Nashville music industry. Past performers have included Jimmie Allen, Kelsea Ballerini, Blackberry Smoke, Luke Bryan, Colbie Caillat, Gavin DeGraw, Diarrhea Planet, for King & Country, Jason Isbell, Keb’ Mo’, Lady A, Martina McBride, Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisley, Robert Randolph, Darius Rucker, T-Pain, Meghan Trainor, Keith Urban, Vintage Trouble, CeCe Winans, and Trisha Yearwood, to name a few.