Chart Action: Combs Debuts, Rucker Reaches No. 1

Luke Combs‘ “Forever After All” debuts at No. 49 this week on MusicRow‘s CountryBreakout Radio Chart. It received 17 new station adds and had the highest increase in spins with a + 241. The single was written by Combs, Robert Williford, and Drew Parker.

Lauren Alaina‘s new duet with Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him,” also debuted this week at No. 70.

Receiving the highest spin gain on the Mediabase chart, “Beers and Sunshine” by Darius Rucker reached No. 1 on both Mediabase and Billboard. 

“It’s certainly been a challenging year,” said Rucker. “Like a lot of people, when I got home from being on the road last March and we parked the tour bus for the foreseeable future, we had no idea what our future would actually look like. I don’t have the answers for how we fix the complex issues that we’re facing in our country or in country music, however while we work through this time I think it’s important that we balance the heaviness by finding the silver lining, where we can really enjoy the simple joys this song talks about like time spent together with friends and family.”

Brett Young Celebrates Multiple RIAA Certifications

Brett Young is adding some heavy metal to his collection with his latest Top 10-and-climbing single “Lady” now certified Gold in the U.S. and Canada.

Young’s hit “Catch” has also been certified Platinum, and the accolades add to Young’s growing collection of shiny chart-toppers—“Sleep Without You” (Platinum), “In Case You Didn’t Know” (5x Platinum), “Like I Loved You” (Platinum), “Mercy” (3x Platinum) and “Here Tonight” (Platinum).

Young is also previewing some new music today (Feb. 26) with the release of  “You Got Away With It” via BMLG. The buoyant new track about unexpected love was co-written with Justin Ebach, Ashley Gorley, Jon Nite and Jimmy Robbins.

While touring is paused, Young has remained busy with several all-genre livestreams in an effort to bring music and relief to fans across the world, including the Spirit Airlines & Mastercard Present Brett Young’s Live from the Runway, Live at The Ryman, Levi’s 5:01 Music Series, Visible’s Red Rocks Unpaused, Pepsi’s Unmute Your Voice Concert and Camping World’s Taking The Highways Across America series.

Old Dominion, Ashley McBryde, Lee Brice, Scotty McCreery To Play Benefit For Nashville’s 2nd Ave

Old Dominion, Ashley McBryde, Lee Brice, and Scotty McCreery will help support the efforts to rebuild and restore Nashville’s Second Ave. neighborhood. The 2nd Ave Strong benefit, a star-studded, two-hour musical event will broadcast on NewsChannel5 from the Wildhorse Saloon on March 26.

Hosted by the DISTRICT, Inc. and the Metro Historical Commission Foundation, the event will raise money for the Second Avenue Restoration and Preservation fund to support the efforts to restore the Second Avenue neighborhood impacted by last year’s Christmas Day bombing, and the preservation of many of the city’s most treasured architectural landmarks and historical contributions.

In addition to the musical performances, the benefit will also take a look back on the important role Second Avenue has played in the history of Nashville. It will also include appearances by Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Governor Bill Lee, plus a tribute to heroic first responder law enforcement officers. The goal is to raise a milestone $2 million dollars towards the $10 million overall goal in supporting immediate and long-term restoration and preservation of the vitally important 2nd Avenue district.

“Giving back to the community speaks to the very heart of what we do every day through hospitality to our guests. The fact that we can join with the music industry to help rebuild this incredible neighborhood of an eclectic blend of artists, business owners, and community leaders is humbling,” said show producer Brian Schafer, general manager of the Wildhorse Saloon.

CRS 2021 On-Demand Content Available With New #FOMO Rate

Country Radio Seminar is offering a discounted #FOMO rate which provides access to on-demand content from CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience.

For $99, new registrants can access all CRS 2021 sessions on-demand, plus additional exclusive-only content. The on-demand content includes panels and interviews, three workshops, six exclusive sessions, Country Radio Hall of Fame Inductions, CRS/Country Aircheck award winners, digital artist liners, session takeaways, and more, and registrations are available for purchase here. On-Demand content will only be offered for the next two months. Access into on-demand content is already available to anyone previously registered for this year’s event at

“CRS 2021: The Virtual Experience was a tremendous live event, and we appreciate everyone who joined us last week,” said CRB/CRS Executive Director RJ Curtis. “The great content from CRS lives on for 60 days at our On-Demand site, and now everyone who regrets missing out can gain the same access for just $99, with the CRS #FOMO rate. Every session, all the workshops, Hall of Fame inductions, CRS/Country Aircheck Awards, CRS Honors, featuring Mickey Guyton’s stirring national anthem—it’s all there. We hope our industry friends will take advantage of this opportunity to Learn. Connect. Advance.”

Country Radio Seminar will return in 2022 and is set for Feb. 23 – Feb. 25, 2022, at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Registration for next year’s event will open later this year.

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.”