Visionary Media Group Signs Clayton Anderson [Exclusive]

Pictured (L-R): Tracy Percival, Anastasia Brown, Clayton Anderson, J.R. Hensley. Photo: Evan De Stefano

Country music artist, Clayton Anderson, has signed with the multi-dimensional entertainment and music company Visionary Media Group. VMG is set to expand upon his unique touring concept, provide assistance with the release of his children’s book, and help finish the screenplay he’s writing.

Anderson has racked up over 240K monthly listeners on Spotify and over 10 million streams on the platform alone. Earlier last year, he teamed up with Bud Light for the Bud Light Dive Bar Tour: Home Edition alongside Jake Owen, Dierks Bentley, OneRepublic, and more, which allowed him to keep sharing music, virtually, with his fans during the pandemic.

“I’m beyond grateful and excited for the opportunity to be joining Anastasia Brown, Tracy Percival and the entire VMG family! I was so close to giving up my dream when COVID hit, but this partnership is such a blessing,” Anderson said. “Our ideals and passion for music are parallel and I honestly can’t convey how very thankful I am. I’m so fired up!”

Raised in southern Indiana, Anderson has built a loyal following with his blend of Midwestern rock and independent country. While enrolled at Indiana University, he wrote his first song in the school’s library and began playing fraternity parties around town, earning an audience long before graduation. He’s gone on to open for many artists, including Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Jimmy Buffett, and Carly Pearce. He has also performed alongside Zac Brown Band at the Indy 500, with 40,000 people in attendance.

“When Renee Bell introduced me to Clayton, I flipped over his powerful voice. Then with time, I learned about his work ethic and how entrepreneurial he is—that’s when we knew he was the right fit to join the Visionary Family,” said Brown, VMG Chief Content Strategist.

Anderson is currently gearing up to release a slew of new singles throughout 2021 culminating in a new album release slated for 2022.

Phil Vassar’s ‘Songs From The Cellar’ Returns For Season Three This Spring

Phil Vassar’s performance series Songs from the Cellar is returning for a third season Thursday, March 4 at 9 p.m. ET on Circle.

Filmed in Vassar’s home wine cellar, season three features a lineup of guests including Tracy Lawrence, Matt Ramsey of Old Dominion, Jo Dee Messina, and Lonestar. This season also introduces two new segments including ‘Rising Women of Country’ with guests Stephanie Quayle, Parker McKay, Arielle and Kasey Tyndall, and ‘Phil’s Pick’ featuring fellow Virginia native, Lexie Hayden.

Matt Ramsey, Phil Vassar

The Circle Network is also re-airing episodes from the first two seasons on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET ahead of the season 3 premiere. Audio from all previous episodes will be available on Phil Vassar’s Songs from the Cellar Podcast. Episodes will be released on a weekly basis and available to stream and download on many digital podcast platforms. The podcast will launch on Friday, Jan. 15 with guest Charles Esten.

“We’re grateful to be able to work with legendary artist Phil Vassar for a third season of his show, Songs from the Cellar. He has a natural gift for making his guests feel at home, which creates organic moments and makes for great episodes. The roster of talent that joins him is also so wide ranging, from Mike Tyson to Dennis Quaid in previous seasons, and now Jo Dee Messina and Lonestar,” said Drew Reifenberger, Circle General Manager. “You really never know what you’re going to get when a new guest steps into his cellar!”

Vassar completed an underground wine cellar in 2015 at his historic Nashville estate. The cellar quickly became one of his favorite rooms to write songs, sing and hang with friends, which led to the show’s initial concept. Songs from the Cellar is produced by NashPhil Cellars and The Nice Kids.

CMT To Premiere ‘Skyville Live’ Specials With Kris Kristofferson And More

Kris Kristofferson. Photo: Mary Ellen Mark

CMT announced today (Jan. 13) its partnership with Skyville Live, the Emmy Award-winning music series from Academy and Emmy-Award winning studio Believe Entertainment Group, to bring ten of its music specials to life in 2021.

Celebrating the music of legendary artists throughout the year, CMT will host the broadcast premiere of the one-hour specials, with exact timing for each to be announced at a later date. All specials were filmed pre-COVID in front of an intimate studio audience at the Skyville Live Music venue in Nashville.

The first special, Skyville Live: Kris Kristofferson & Friends, is set to premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 10/9 CST, celebrating the music of the legendary singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson. Kristofferson will be joined by Brandy Clark, Jason Isbell, Lady A and Raul Malo for the one-hour tribute showcasing his most memorable songs from his storied career, including “Me And Bobby McGee” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” among others.

Next month, Midnight Train To Georgia: Gladys Knight & Guests will premiere Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 10/9 CST. Music royalty Gladys Knight is joined by superstars Martina McBride and Estelle to perform beloved classics, including “Midnight Train To Georgia” and “Neither One Of Us.”

The full slate of Skyville Live specials airing later this year will feature world-class entertainers and musicians including Cyndi Lauper, Graham Nash, the late Gregg Allman, Emmylou Harris, a salute to Jerry Lee Lewis, Martina McBride and more.

Skyville Live began as a very small club in Nashville as a way for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talents. It became very popular, but there was little room for growth. Wally Wilson, who co-owned Skyville Music, along with music industry insiders, created a live-streamed concert series, bringing together famous artists from the world of classic rock and country, with new artists in a funky warehouse in Nashville in front of a live audience for intimate performances.

Roadie Teams With Crew Nation To Aid Crew Members Impacted By Pandemic

Crew Nation, a charitable organization powered by Music Forward Foundation to support live music crew members, has partnered with delivery platform Roadie. The Atlanta-based crowdsourced platform will make a $1 donation to Crew Nation for every Large, X-Large and Huge Gig delivered through its platform in January.

Founded in 2014, Roadie works with consumers, small businesses and corporations across virtually every industry to provide a faster, cheaper, more scalable solution for scheduled, same-day and urgent delivery. Roadie’s crowdsourced delivery service has a driver community of more than 200,000 active drivers, reaches 89% of U.S. households and is the country’s first nationwide crowdsourced delivery platform that works with consumers, small businesses and big global brands alike to facilitate same-day, local deliveries nationwide. Unlike other platforms that enable food and small package delivery, drivers on Roadie’s platform haul everything from kayaks to couches, paint to puppy food. To set up a delivery and help the cause, visit and create an account.

“Music unites and inspires us. Whether you’re into Jimmy Buffett or Janelle Monae, The Weeknd or Willie Nelson, you can thank live music crews for bringing your favorite artists to life onstage,” said Roadie Founder and CEO Marc Gorlin. “We were so inspired by roadie culture that we named our company after it; it’s why deliveries on our platform are called ‘Gigs’ and it’s why we’re proud to step in and work with our customers to help give a little back.”

“The live industry was the first to close due to the pandemic, and will likely be one of the last to reopen, so the need for these out-of-work crew members is greater than ever,” said Nurit Smith, Executive Director, Music Forward Foundation. “Thank you to Roadie for pledging your support for Crew Nation, this commitment will go a long way to provide relief for many roadies through this temporary pause.”

Third Man Records Announces New Jack White Vault Package Project

Jack White‘s blistering show at Detroit’s Masonic Temple in 2014 is now available as a vault project with the upcoming release of Vault Package #47, Jack White: Live At The Masonic Temple. The recording of his July 30, 2014 show in Detroit is presented over four colored LPs, housed in a custom slipcase cover and also includes a bonus: an exclusive 7″ featuring White’s 2020 Saturday Night Live performance.

The three-hour plus, 38-song set spanned the breadth of his career and kicked off with three fan favorites from the White Stripes back catalog. Inspired, off-the-cuff covers of Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut,” Zeppelin’s “Lemon Song”, Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man” and Junior Wells’ “Hoodoo Man” are included during the set, and White’s Dead Weather bandmates Alison Mosshart and Dean Fertita unexpectedly join onstage for a heavy version of “I Cut Like a Buffalo.”

The package is housed in an immaculate slipcase cover with custom printed photo inner sleeves, featuring photos shot that evening by official tour photographer David Swanson. Fans can sign up by midnight Jan. 31 to receive the special Vault package.

Jack White: Live At The Masonic Temple Track List:
1. Fell in Love with a Girl
2. Astro
3. The Big Three Killed My Baby
4. High Ball Stepper
5. Lazaretto
6. Missing Pieces
7. Just One Drink
8. Hotel Yorba
9. You Know That I Know
10. Love Interruption
11. Weep Themselves to Sleep
12. I Cut Like a Buffalo
13. Cannon
14. Hoodoo Man (Junior Wells cover)
15. Icky Thump
16. Screwdriver
17. Ramblin’ Man (Hank Williams cover)
18. Apple Blossom
19. Three Women
20. The Same Boy You’ve Always Known
21. We’re Going To Be Friends
22. Sugar Never Tasted So Good
23. Entitlement
24. Alone in My Home
25. Steady, As She Goes
26. Ball and Biscuit
27. The Lemon Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
28. The Hardest Button to Button
29. Sixteen Saltines
30. Devils Haircut (Beck cover)
31. Hypocritical Kiss
32. That Black Bat Licorice
33. Would You Fight For My Love?
34. Blue Blood Blues
35. You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)
36. My Doorbell
37. I Fought Piranhas
38. Seven Nation Army

Saturday Night Live 7-inch single:
1. Don’t Hurt Yourself / Ball and Biscuit
2. Jesus is Coming Soon (Blind Willie Johnson) / Lazaretto

BREAKING: Warner Music Nashville Promotes Five, Names Danny Bess CFO

Warner Music Nashville announced the promotion of five employees across the Finance, Radio & Streaming and Publicity departments today (Jan. 13).

After more than two years with the company, VP Finance Danny Bess has been promoted to CFO. He will continue reporting to EVP / GM Ben Kline. Brad Walker has also been promoted from Director to Sr. Director, Finance.

Bess transitioned over to Warner Music Nashville after nearly 25 years at Universal Music Group, concluding his tenure as VP Finance of its Nashville division. A Vanderbilt University graduate with an M.B.A. from Tulane, Bess began his career at Sony BMG in 1989. Walker, an alumnus of Western Kentucky University, started in financial services before entering the music industry at Sony/ATV. He has now been at WMN for 14 years.

“Danny is one of the most respected label finance people in this industry,” Kline said. “His experience in and knowledge of our evolving business is critical to our success, and I’m thrilled that he will assume this new role. Both Danny and I are incredibly proud to recognize the dedication we’ve seen in Brad Walker. Brad’s understanding of and adaptation to the changing marketplace is part of what makes him such a valuable member of the finance team.”

Jenni Tay has been upped from Manager to Director, Streaming under VP Streaming Tim Foisset. Tay began her streaming career between San Francisco and Los Angeles before settling in Nashville in 2018. She has worked on launch projects in the indie space for companies like Ingrooves and The Orchard as well as major labels such as Universal Music Group.

“Jenni is a vital, accomplished part of our streaming team,” Foisset said. “She is a true partner to those she works with in this industry: enthusiastic and innovative, supportive and nurturing, capable and decisive. Her relationships yield measurable, impressive results for our artists and we are a stronger label for it. We’re eager to see her role and influence grow.”

Mary Catherine Rebrovick and Victoria Chaitoff rise in the Publicity department, led by SVP Wes Vause, to Sr. Director and Director respectively. Rebrovick joined the WMN team as an assistant upon graduating from Middle Tennessee State University in 2012, as did Chaitoff in 2015 after earning her degree in English from the College of William and Mary.

“Mary Catherine and Victoria both started their work careers with WMN, and since day one they’ve worked tirelessly to help our artists make their dreams come true. They have become respected leaders in the publicity field and beyond, and I could not be prouder to work alongside them!” Vause said.

Zac Brown Band’s John Driskill Hopkins Steps Out With New Solo Album

Photo: Jolie Loren Photography

Zac Brown Band member John Driskell Hopkins is releasing a new solo album, Lonesome High, February 19.

Lonesome High features previously released singles, “Lonesome High” ft. Coy Bowles, “Missing You All, All The Time”, and “I Hate To See Good Whiskey Go To Waste,” alongside nine other cuts that reflect Hopkins’ deep love for the craft of songwriting. The project reflects Hopkins’ affinity for the grit of acoustic recording and the songs draw heavily from personal experience. In his time with Zac Brown, he has been an active writing collaborator, with credits including their Billboard No. 1 single “Toes” and the Billboard Mainstream Rock No. 1 “Heavy Is The Head” (ft. Chris Cornell).

He collaborated with some of his closest friends and favorite writers on the new album, including Indigo Girls’ Emily Saliers on the opening track, “Good Morning, Believers!”, D. Vincent Williams on “Missing You All, All The Time”, and Mitch Rossell, Levi Lowrey, and Zac Brown on the album’s title track.

Hopkins has released a series of holiday albums over the past few years as well, beginning with his 2016 collaboration with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, In The Spirit: A Celebration Of Christmas, 2017’s You Better Watch Out! and 2019’s Our Finest Gifts.

Lonesome High Track Listing:
Good Morning, Believers Ft. Emily Saliers
8 Tracks In Daddy’s Cadillac
I Know Worries
I Hate To See Good Whiskey Go To Waste
Lonesome High Ft. Coy Bowles
I Decided To Live
Missing You All, All The Time
Close Enough
Rebel Road
All Grown Up
Throw Me From The Mountain

RIAA Announces Class Of 2020 First-Time Gold & Platinum Award Recipients

The RIAA has announced its Gold & Platinum Class Of 2020, recognizing artists and their team members who have achieved Gold or Platinum status for the very first time. For the inaugural class, 53 artists from several different genres earned their first Gold or Platinum certification.

Warner Music Nashville’s Gabby Barrett earned a multi-Platinum certification for her smash breakout hit, “I Hope,” and Gold for “The Good Ones.”

Gabby Barrett. Robby Klein

“Wow. 2020 has brought me more firsts than I could have ever imagined, and to be included in the RIAA’s class of ‘First Timers’ is an honor. Seeing ‘The Good Ones’ and ‘I Hope’ grow over the past year has been so exciting and rewarding. To be recognized with these certifications is the cherry on top of a truly surprising year. Thank you to the good Lord above, my husband, my family, my team, my fans and to the RIAA for helping to make this dream come true,” said Barrett.

Barrett’s label-mate Ingrid Andress earned her first Platinum certification for “More Hearts Than Mine.” Andress said, “I look up to so many musicians who have multi-Platinum achievements, and I know how hard and rare it is to have that recognition, so I’m honestly just happy to be here. I feel like a new kid getting invited to a popular cool kid’s party.”

Ashley McBryde, another Warner Music Nashville artist, earned Gold for her “One Night Standards.”

Ashley McBryde

“Hanging my first RIAA Gold single on the wall was one of the best moments in my career thus far. It is a physical representation of how hard we worked on this record and how proud we all are of it… and its evidence that the fans have embraced it, and that means everything to me. Your first Gold only happens once!” said McBryde.

Bad Realm/Atlantic Records’ BRELAND also received Gold for “My Truck,” as did RCA Nashville’s Niko Moon for “GOOD TIME,” MCA Nashville’s Parker McCollum for “Pretty Heart,” and Mercury Nashville’s Travis Denning for “After A Few.”

“It feels amazing. My producer has always joked when we write that we need to write “wall hangers” (songs that will get us a plaque). It’s pretty awesome and a big dream come true to finally have one. That certification means so much, and it’s nice to be somewhere in the books as a gold artist,” Denning said.

Pictured (L-R, top row): Damon Moberly, Mercury Nashville VP Promotion; Royce Risser, UMG Nashville EVP Promotion; Mike Dungan, UMG Nashville Chairman/CEO; Brian Wright, UMG Nashville EVP A&R; Rob Femia, UMG Nashville SVP Business & Legal Affairs; (L-R, bottom row): Angie Coonrod, Red Light Management; Travis Denning; Tom Becci, Red Light Management; Jeremy Stover, RED Creative Group. Photo: Bo Ibbotson

“We are thrilled to induct 53 artists into RIAA’s Gold & Platinum Class of 2020. Earning your first Gold or Platinum Award is a sign of true success and limitless possibilities. Congratulations to this year’s artists, their labels and teams!” said RIAA Chairman & CEO, Mitch Glazier.

John Loar Leads Charge To Bring Sports Entertainment District to Music City [Interview]

John Loar

Businessman John Loar moved to Nashville to be closer to his daughter. Now he finds himself leading the charge to bring a Major League Baseball team and sports entertainment district to Music City.

His background is in real estate operations and acquisitions. In the late ’90s, Loar led the effort for the Seattle Seahawks acquisition and near-relocation to Los Angeles. He also supported former pitcher and Diamondbacks GM, Dave Stewart, on the acquisition of the Miami Marlins.

It’s clear that Loar sees Nashville’s potential future as part of Major League Baseball as a full circle investment in Music City’s entertainment capacity. He’s interested in creating a sports, family entertainment district—like that of Atlanta, Georgia’s The Battery Atlanta, and Ballpark Village in St. Louis, Missouri—not just a baseball field.

Loar founded Music City Baseball, LLC, an organization primarily of Tennessee business, sports, music, and community leaders that is committed to bringing a MLB franchise to the City of Nashville, without government funding. With a focus on securing MLB approval of an expansion franchise in Nashville, the leadership team is also open to the possibility of relocation and rebranding of an existing franchise.

Understanding the fabric of Music City and it’s business climate, Music City Baseball has already engaged with the music industry, securing Music Advisory Board Members to involve them in the plan for bringing MLB to Nashville and the concept of a new entertainment district. Entertainment icons Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Darius Rucker and Justin Timberlake have joined the Board thus far.

Darius Rucker. Photo: Courtesy FINN Partners

“The importance of the music industry to Music City Baseball’s objectives, extends to why Nashville is an important market,” Loar tells MusicRow. “It’s the opportunity to just connect the two of those going forward. Nashville is Music City, it’s the hottest market in the country. This ballpark is truly not a ballpark, it would be an entertainment venue for world-class entertainment, where you can imagine residencies like in Las Vegas. It would be air conditioned and covered, so they could use it year round. So it’s not about baseball, it’s more about that opportunity to create a world-class [entertainment complex], for convention use, for corporate use, etc.

“Baseball is the reason why I’m the catalyst behind it, but what we’re building here is a world-class entertainment venue. Baseball plays for 22% of the time, 81 games, but what it creates is an opportunity to have a venue within a venue. By design with our partners ASM Global, coordinating our music industry advisors, [the Nashville music industry can have] an important role in being part of this process. They can be included in the design of how the facility operates, how it’s designed and how it functions,” Loar says.

Rendering of potential ballpark / entertainment complex. Photo: Courtesy Music City Baseball

In an effort to build a Major League franchise on equity and celebrate diversity, Music City Baseball wants to name the team Nashville Stars, in honor of several Negro League baseball teams that played games in Nashville in the 1940s. They established a partnership with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which includes a net sharing of revenues from the sale of merchandise bearing the name “Nashville Stars,” and cooperation between marketing and social media efforts.

“It gives Major League Baseball the opportunity to take its place in history and be proactive instead of reactive in the conversations that continue to go on diversity and inclusion,” Loar says.

Music City Baseball was positioned to submit a proposal to Major League Baseball to establish a team in Nashville, but that step has been delayed a year due to business effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. Until then, Loar is focused on site selection for the proposed entertainment district.

“We hope it’s in Davidson County, but it will possibly be in Williamson County or Rutherford County. We’ve got eight sites that we’re considering,” Loar says. “We hope it’s part of the East bank, potentially the Tennessee State University site. A downtown ballpark gives us the opportunity to build, with our partner ASM Global, a world-class entertainment venue. The walkability, bringing the Cumberland River alive, and just being part of a downtown park is the objective.”

In 2021, it’s important for Music City Baseball to show their partner (ASM Global) that the Nashville market can be a revenue contributor, the reasons why, and to find a site for the ballpark.

“We think we can privately finance a ballpark here, as it’s really not a ballpark. It’s an entertainment venue. The baseball team becomes a tenant,” Loar says. “It’s driven by the music industry in residencies, and in conventions. It supports the growth of Nashville, the airport growth, the expansion internationally, and the hotel industry and the restaurant industries that continue to grow, even with COVID. People come to Nashville just because it’s Music City, so when the Red Sox, the Phillies, the Giants, or whoever see the Stars on the schedule, they’re going to come here for a three-game series, and be a part of the town and the market area.”

Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser Launch Country Cadillac Tour

Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser

Country singer-songwriters Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser will share the stage on their co-headlining Country Cadillac Tour, which will begin on Feb. 5 at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, Texas. The two longtime friends will perform acoustically and swap stories, jokes and songs.

In their early days in Nashville, Johnson and Houser were part of a close-knit group that also included Lee Brice, Jerrod Niemann, Dallas Davison and Rob Hatch that supported each other personally and professionally as they wrote songs, signed record deals and garnered radio hits and industry awards. Between the two of them, they have racked up numerous Grammy, CMA and ACM nominations and wins.

The two have performed on stage together throughout the years, most recently singing “Lead Me Home” and “Evangeline” at Farm Aid. They both delivered solo sets before joining forces at the show’s end in 2009 when they performed together at New York’s Bowery Bar.

Johnson and Houser had discussed touring together for years, but their overwhelming solo touring demands hadn’t allowed an opportunity to plan a significant co-headlining tour. This acoustic tour, which will feature proper social distancing and other COVID-19-recommended measures, has been years in the making.

Country Cadillac Tour Dates

Feb. 5: Billy Bob’s, Fort Worth, TX

Feb. 19: Saenger Theatre, Mobile, AL

Feb. 20: Saenger Theatre, Mobile, AL

Feb. 25: Dr. Phillips Center Fontyard Festival, Orlando, FL

Feb. 26: Coca-Cola Roxy, Atlanta, GA

Feb. 27: Coca-Cola Roxy, Atlanta, GA

Mar. 12: House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC

Mar. 13: House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC

Mar. 18: Whitewater Amphitheatre, New Braunfels, TX

Mar. 19: Whitewater Amphitheatre, New Braunfels, TX

Apr. 15: Von Braun Center, Huntsville, AL

Apr. 16: Avondale Brewery, Birmingham, AL

Apr. 17: Avondale Brewery, Birmingham, AL