Nathan Lee Jackson

“Desperate Man”

StarCity/Nine North

nljackson-playlist“Desperate Man” is the latest single from StarCity/Nine North artist Nathan Lee Jackson. The song comes from Jackson’s debut album Complicated Hearts, recorded with the help of Jeff Glixman, producer of famed ‘70s rock legends Kansas.

Hailing from Winchester, Kentucky, Jackson came of age during country music’s new wave of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. He sang hymns on the front porch with his Grandma, and was grounded in classic country by singing with central Kentucky’s jamboree bands.

Shortly after high school graduation Jackson moved to Nashville, where his hard work and writing found the ears of Glixman. Jackson was invited to make an album at Glixman and partner Jim Gentile’s StarCity Recording Company in Bethlehem, PA.

“The recording process of my album was the kind that every artist dreams about,” Jackson says. “Jeff told me up front that neither producers nor artists often get to make the album that they want to make, but we had an opportunity at StarCity to do just that.” Jackson plays piano on the recording and had a hand in writing each of the album’s 13 songs.

“We didn’t really worry about what ‘kind’ of album we wanted to make,” Jackson says. “We just wanted to make magic—the kind of album we’d still love listening to in thirty years.”

Michelle Branch

“Sooner Or Later”

Warner Bros. Nashville

mbranch-playlistGrammy-winner Michelle Branch is back with “Sooner Or Later,” her first solo effort after enjoying country success with the acclaimed Stand Still, Look Pretty by The Wreckers. As part of that duo, Branch was nominated for both a CMA Award and a Grammy. The popularity of The Wreckers helped establish her as a fixture of country radio, thanks to such winning country tracks as the No. 1 smash “Leave The Pieces” and the Top 10 “My, Oh My.”

“Sooner or Later,” produced by John Leventhal and John Shanks for Warner Bros. Nashville, is the first single from her upcoming CD Everything Comes And Goes. The single recently sold over 27,000 copies during its first week on iTunes, and is impacting radio now.

Her new project was recorded in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles with a great supporting cast of musicians, including Dwight Yoakam (who is featured on “Long Goodbye”). Everything Comes And Goes offers the sound of a gifted singer-songwriter who left some pieces of her heart behind, but found some new pieces along the way too. “I never consider what an album’s about while I’m recording it,” says Branch. “But in the end, I guess that Everything Comes And Goes is really a record about passion–about wanting it, about losing it and then finding it all over again.”

In 2001, Branch released The Spirit Room, which went multi-platinum and produced three hits including “Everywhere,” “All You Wanted,” and “Goodbye to You.” Branch’s reputation for grown-up talent was further solidified in 2002 when she teamed with Santana to record “The Game of Love,” which became an international smash and won a Grammy for “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.” In 2003, Branch released the platinum Hotel Paper, which debuted at No. 2 and spawned the Grammy-nominated hit “Are You Happy Now?” After winding down from a headlining world tour supporting Hotel Paper, her 2003 solo CD, Branch took some time off to get married and give birth to her first child.

Chris Hanners

“It’s My Lie (Let Me Live It)”

Little House Records

channers-playlistSigned to Nashville-based Little House Records, Chris Hanners‘ fun, catchy new single “It’s My Lie (Let Me Live It)” is connecting with fans nationwide. GAC’s Headline Country New Music Page exploded with positive comments week after week as fans voted for Chris’s traditional country sound and the song’s clever lyrics.

Penned by noted tunesmith Mark Schlemmer and produced by Randy Jack Wiggins, the whole song is a lie; from his supermodel girlfriend to buying his third Mercedes Benz. But Chris’s strong performance might make you believe it’s true.

The Georgia native made his debut performance singing solo at his Baptist Church in La Grange, Georgia when he was seven. In addition to his musical family, Chris was inspired by such country greats as Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Randy Travis and Johnny Cash. Hanners began his musical career as a teenager with trio The Sky Is The Limit.

Fans and friends are invited to share their tallest tale by entering the “Biggest Lie” contest posted here through September 1st.

“It’s My Lie (Let Me Live It)” is available for download on iTunes. Little House Records is distributed by Memphis-based Select-O-Hits.

David Bradley

“Soak It Up”

Gecko Music Productions

dbradley-playlistFrom the oil rigs in Siberia to the clubs and songwriters circles of Nashville, Englishman David Bradley brings his soulful country rock ‘n’ roll to the US via his new home in Music City. After settling in with the community of singers and songwriters in Nashville, David offers his first single, “Soak It Up” just in time for summer. This infectious, mid-tempo rocker written by Bradley with Brady Seals and produced by Seals leads off his forthcoming album, a culmination of traveling the world and growing up on good American country music. Over 40 country stations, including Nashville’s XM 11, have played it out of the box. Stations can download a broadcast quality file from Play MPE, and the CD single has now shipped to radio.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he made a life for himself as an oil engineer uncovering places beyond the reaches of common imagination. Stationed for months in the forests of Siberia and on an oil rig in the middle of the Caspian Sea gave him a deep empathy for others who also found themselves far from the comforts and familiarities of home. David found himself writing about the hopes and fears that a man must confront on his journey through life.

Now that he’s a resident of Nashville, David is collaborating with some of the most notable songwriters and producers in town and his songs have garnered him a highly coveted publishing deal with Wrensong Music Publishing. David’s live shows also brought him to the attention of the AristoMedia Global Showcase who invited him to participate in their international artist showcase of tomorrow’s stars, kicking off CMA Music Fest 2009, a performance which was featured on tv program Inside Music Row.

Judy Libow/Libow Unlimited Inc.
(212) 988-5987
[email protected]

Shane Wyatt

“She Could Do Better”

Sandyland Music

swyatt-playlist“She Could Do Better” is the latest single by singer/songwriter Shane Wyatt, from his debut album The Last Cowboy. “We have been performing ‘She Could Do Better’ live for a couple of years now, and the response has been amazing,” says Wyatt. “It seems like everyone knows someone who is in a relationship that they just shouldn’t be in, but no one has the guts to tell them. I knew a girl like that, and that was the basis of this song. And the guys all relate to seeing a girl with a guy who doesn’t treat them right.” The song has a happy ending in Wyatt’s case, because the woman in the song is now his wife.

Born in a small town in south central Oklahoma and raised by a family of cowboys and truckers, Wyatt was drawn to country music from an early age. He began playing fiddle at age 10 and by his mid teens he was playing in local bands. Often, his bandmates would have to sneak the underage fiddle player in the back door. Wyatt started playing guitar at 14 and immediately started putting his songs to music.

Every song on The Last Cowboy was written by Wyatt, and the album mix consists of modern declarations of love, soulful ballads, cowboy honesty, and high energy, boot kickin’ anthems all coming from the heart. “All I can do is put myself out there – the real me, with no filters or additives,” says Wyatt. “I think people know an honest song when they hear it.”

Jeff Griffith

“Dip Me In Beer”

Arrowhead Records

jgriffith-playlistTexas traditionalist Jeff Griffith jumps the bar straight into a “redneck mosh pit” with his latest single, swaggering barroom sing-along “Dip Me In Beer.”

Written by Griffith and Hobson Smith, “Dip Me In Beer” is Griffith’s songwriting debut. “When we heard this guy actually sayin’ that phrase in a Houston bar,” Griffith  remarks, “we knew we had a great hook.” The two wrote the hilarious number in just a few hours, and Griffith immediately added the song to his shows.

“Dip Me In Beer” follows Jeff’s previous hits “Drinkin’ Thing,” “If It Ain’t One Thing It’s Another,” “I’m Your Radio,” “Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk” and “Fishin’ Forever,” all of which charted on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart. Each of those singles can be found on 2007’s If It Ain’t One Thing It’s Another. “Dip Me In Beer” will appear on Griffith’s forthcoming CD.

His previous successes have launched Griffith on to stages ranging from world-famous honky tonks (Fort Worth’s Stagecoach Ballroom and Pearl’s Dancehall, 11th Street Cowboy Bar of Bandera, Texas) to the prestigious CMA Music Festival (2008) in Nashville, Tennessee and the world-renowned Country Rendez-Vous Festival in Craponne-sur-Azon, France (2009).

On the Music Row Cover: Williams Riley

mr-june09-250Label: Golden Music

Current Album: Williams Riley

Current Single & Video: “I’m Still Me”

Current Producers: Noel Golden, Derek George

Hometowns: Larose, LA; Nashville, TN

Interesting Fact: The band is named after the guitar player’s great-grandfather.

Outside Interests: Hunting, fishing, horses, cattle and thumb wrestling

Awards: American Country Countdown Superstars 2009, Voted Best New Country Artist on AOL for 2009

Musical Influences: Restless Heart, Bryan White, Edwin McCain, Hall & Oates

Favorite Records: Hotel California (The Eagles), Don’t Look Back (Boston), Flirtin’ With Disaster (Molly Hatchet), Defying Gravity (Keith Urban)

Band Members: Steve Williams—lead singer, acoustic guitar; Charlie Hutto—background vocals, acoustic and electric guitar; Derek George—background vocals, electric guitar; Travis Thibodaux—background vocals, keyboards; Joe Rogers—pedal steel guitar, fiddle, harmonica; Dave Guidry—bass guitar; and Nick Buda—drums.

Williams Riley lead singer Steve Williams was working in the oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico when he passed along some of his songwriting work to popular singer-songwriter Edwin McCain at McCain’s concert in New Orleans. He won McCain’s support and eventually other top names in the music industry rallied behind Williams to help his music find a larger audience. Among those offering support is rock’s most famous guitarist, Slash, who joins country artist Bryan White and McCain on Williams Riley’s debut album.

That’s only part of the lineup of all-stars on the recording. Co-producer Noel Golden is an award-winning studio veteran who has worked with platinum selling artists Matchbox Twenty, Metallica, Edwin McCain, Sister Hazel, Sammy Hagar, Willie Nelson and Lee Ann Womack. Derek George, best-known as Bryan White’s primary collaborator, also co-produced. Besides Slash, other acclaimed instrumentalists on the album include A-team players Dan Dugmore, Kenny Greenberg and John Hobbs.

“I can’t believe how passionate everyone has been about what we’re doing,” says Williams. “Not long ago, I was just a guy writing songs in Louisiana. Now a bunch of my heroes are playing with me and my band on my songs because they love what I’m doing, that tells me that we must be doing something right.” Williams realizes that an album featuring McCain, Slash and White might sound diverse—and he says that’s exactly what it is. “I wanted to make a country album, but one that pushed against the boundaries and appealed to fans outside of country music too,” he says. “One reason I asked Derek George to co-produce was that I wanted the album to stay within the parameters of contemporary country music. The reason I insisted that Noel (Golden) co-produce was that I knew he’d push the boundaries and capture the energy that I wanted for this record.”


Halfway To Hazard

“I Know Where Heaven Is”

Stylesonic/Picnic Hill/Bigger Picture

h2h-playlist-71309“I Know Where Heaven Is” is the new single for Kentucky-raised duo Halfway To Hazard (Chad Warrix and David Tolliver), and was penned by top-shelf Nashville writers Dave Berg and Sam and Annie Tate. The duo’s distinctive name refers to Hazard, the county seat of Perry Co., KY, near the tiny towns where Warrix and Tolliver grew up and which served as their adolescent social hub.

In fact, the words “Halfway to Hazard” were the first ever penned by the duo. The phrase not only inspired their name, but also serves as a symbol of the musical journey their lives have taken; the journey from tiny rural towns hidden in the mountains to huge arenas filled with thousands of screaming fans. “That’s what I love about music, it bridges the gaps between people in so many ways and can even make distances seem closer,” says Warrix.

Halfway to Hazard released its self-titled debut album, produced by Tim McGraw and Byron Gallimore, in 2007 on Mercury Records. They joined McGraw and Faith Hill’s Soul II Soul Tour as the opening act the same year, which was the year’s highest grossing tour.

2008 was also a success for H2H as they again opened for their self-proclaimed biggest “fan” Tim McGraw along with Jason Aldean. Other highlights of 2008 included: a nomination in the Academy of Country Music’s coveted Best Duo of the Year category, several NFL national anthem pre-game appearances, and the singing the national anthem at Rupp Arena for their beloved UK Wildcats.

The first Annual Halfway to Hazard Charity Trail Ride and Concert in Sept. 2008 was another high point for H2H, allowing them to give back to the region that means so much to them. The event raised over $100,000 for the Buckhorn Children’s Center and Family Services and helped secure the East KY Leadership award for the pair. The duo are gearing up for this year’s event in late summer.

Keni Thomas




“…this seriously rocks.”
—Robert K. Oermann, MusicRow

MySpace Song Plays: 210,000
MySpace Views: 175,000
MySpace Friends: 6500

“Gunslinger,” the infectious title track from Keni Thomas’s new album, is featured on this year’s CMA Music Fest Sampler and available for over 100,000 free downloads through September 2009. The new single, written by Thomas, is the follow up to the hit video and single, “Shreveport 2 LA,” which dominated GAC’s Top 20 Video chart for 16 weeks. The video for “Gunslinger” was filmed in Dallas at the rodeo and will be released in the coming weeks. Thomas continues to tour both nationwide and abroad with his band, Cornbread.

This past winter, Thomas embarked on his fourth USO Hope & Freedom Holiday tour to the Middle East with Craig Morgan and Mark Wills. In early June, Thomas sang the National Anthem at the new Yankee Stadium in New York in connection with Military Appreciation Day.

A portion of the proceeds from “Gunslinger” will benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Hero Fund, established by Keni to provide college education for children of soldiers killed in training or combat. To date, more than 700 children have had their college education paid for as a direct result of funds raised through the Hero Fund.

Whether standing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry or entertaining the troops in Iraq, Thomas is using his gifts to deliver a message through his words and his music. Thomas’s new album, Gunslinger, is a collection of insightful songs that live and breathe the stories of life. Gunslinger is the follow-up to Thomas’s critically acclaimed debut, Flags of Our Fathers.

Impacting July!

Hoyt Hughes

“Ain’t My Day To Save The World”

Whirlwind Records/Lofton Creek

hhuges-playlist-62209“Ain’t My Day To Save The World” is Hoyt Hughes’ debut single for Lofton Creek Records, a song that recasts the working man as a superhero who needs a little time off. The Lakeland, Florida native is currently working on his upcoming album.

Hughes was raised in a musical family with his dad being a singer and his older brother playing drums. “I can remember Dad gathering up the band and performing on the front porch. The whole neighborhood would end up in the yard before the night was over with.” With music abilities that continued to grow, Hoyt spent his childhood dreaming of a life in the country spotlight.

When Hughes met his wife, his passion for music accelerated. She pushed him to get on a stage one evening where his brother was playing. “I realized I had been bitten by the music bug and I haven’t looked away from the industry ever since.” He has taken the stage alongside artists including Charlie Daniels, Jett Williams and the Bellamy Brothers. Grammy winner and “Rose Garden” icon Lynn Anderson even personally invited him to sing at her birthday celebration.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” says Hughes. “To bring a smile to someone’s face or hear stories of how my music has changed a fan’s life is overwhelming. Sometimes, you can just see and feel the crowd and band connect at a live show. It makes me recognize that I am part of something that is much bigger than me and the band members. It’s those experiences that drive me to take the stage.”