Steve Holy Releases New Album

Curb Records artist Steve Holy releases his third studio album, Love Don’t Run, today, Sept. 13. Working again with producer and hit songwriter Lee Miller, Holy’s lead single is the title track written by Joe Leathers, Rachael Thibodeau and Ben Glover.

“I’m so proud of this album and grateful it’s finally out,” states Holy. “After the birth of my two daughters this is the third most exciting day of my life!”

Along with a steady climb up the country charts, “Love Don’t Run” has just reached the No. 3 spot on GAC’s Top 20 Countdown. Holy is touring nationally in support of the project.

Track listing:
1. If It Gets You Where You Wanna Go (Rodney Atkins, Rodney Clawson, Jim Collins)
2. Love Don’t Run (Joe Leathers, Rachael Thibodeau, Ben Glover)
3. Hauled Off And Kissed Me (Steve Holy, Jim Collins, Lee Thomas Miller)
4. Until The Rain Stops (Matt Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Matt Jenkins)
5. Heart Of A Hero (Kelly Roland, Nicole Witt, Pat Bunch)
6. Every Day Should End Like This (Steve Holy, Ross Copperman, Lee Thomas Miller)
7. Wonders (Steve Holy, Steve Rutledge, Joel Brentlinger)
8. Let The Sun Shine In (Steve Holy, Tony Martin, Lee Thomas Miller)
9. Like I’m Famous (Steven Dale Jones, Jeremy Spillman, Chris Cavanaugh)
10. Help Me Make It Through The Night (Kris Kristofferson)
11. Bonus Track: Good Morning Beautiful (Todd Cerney, Zack Lyle)

Star Line-Up for ACM Honors

Joe Nichols will host the ACM Honors.

Presenters and performers for the 5th Annual ACM Honors have been revealed. A slew of country’s finest will join host and performer Joe Nichols Mon., Sept. 19 at the Ryman Auditorium.

Presenters include Ronnie Dunn, Laura Bell Bundy, John Michael Montgomery and Ralph Emery. Set to perform are Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Jamey Johnson, Montomery Gentry, Rodney Atkins, Dean Dillon, Randy Houser, Jack Ingram, The Isaacs, Jerrod Niemann, Thompson Square, The Whites and Lee Ann Womack. Buddy Cannon serves as the event’s musical director.

The ACM Honors is an evening of musical tribute performances and special presentations celebrating the non-televised winners from the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, held earlier this year.

Those being honored at the event include Special Award recipients Garth Brooks, John Dorris, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, Tom T. Hall, Reba, Taylor Swift and the film Country Strong. Hank Cochran will also be honored posthumously. The evening also recognizes winners of the MBI (musician, bandleader, instrumentalist) and Industry categories. See the complete list of winners.

For the second year in a row, a limited number of tickets will be available for purchase by the general public via Ticketmaster.

George Jones To Celebrate 80th Birthday At The Opry

By Caitlin Rantala

George Jones celebrates his 80th birthday Monday, Sept. 12, and The Grand Ole Opry will host a special celebration for him during the Tuesday night Opry Sept. 13.

Artists set to perform include Alan Jackson, Montgomery Gentry, Joe Diffie, Pam Tillis, Oak Ridge Boys, Jamey Johnson, Blackberry Smoke and Eric Lee Beddingfield. Tickets to the event can be purchased at

Radio listeners can also win tickets to Jones’ Grand Ole Opry birthday celebration by tuning into Nashville’s 650 AM WSM on Sept. 12. The broadcast can be heard worldwide from and will feature a Jones classic every hour from midnight to 7 p.m.

Along with the concert, The Opry invites fans to submit their recipes for the Opry’s Birthday Bash Dessert Contest through the Opry’s Facebook page. The three recipes with the most votes will be prepared by a professional chef and judged by Jones on Sept. 13. The winner will receive a grand prize trip to the Opry’s Birthday Bash in October. The new Opry Backstage Grill may also choose to feature the dessert on their menu.

Charlie Cook On Air

Country Music and Sept. 11

This is not a weekend to write stuff about how to get a record played or how to move listeners from one quarter hour to the next. Obviously, if you have been reading my comments these last few weeks, I am not a professional writer. So there will be more compelling words written about 9/11/01 than I could ever muster.

In fact, I was asleep when the first plane hit. I lived in California and was oblivious to what was going on in Manhattan that morning. I have no connection beyond being a dumbfounded spectator from 3000 miles away.

I remember trying to contact our Westwood One colleagues in New York that morning. Like things were back to normal after the towers fell. Okay, it’s over; they’ll be back in the office after lunch. Duh. Like things were going to be back to normal in a few hours. Things are not back to normal 10 years later.

No, what I want to talk about today is how Country Music Radio and Country artists have responded in the last 10 years. When we think about 9/11 and Country Music the leading artists are Alan Jackson, Darryl Worley and Toby Keith.

Country artists have been supporting the troops and performing overseas since Gene Autry toured the Pacific in the 1940s. Toby has perhaps been the most active since 9/11—he walks the walk.

Toby’s 17 day Iraq tour in 2006 was one of his nine USO tours since the war began. That is almost one a year. That is total commitment to the troops. Think about this for a second. We are talking about taking time out of a hugely successful and busy schedule for one of the format’s biggest stars. It is nine times that Toby has gone into harm’s way to perform his music. He has done over 160 shows and is committed to continuing the tours.

In the old days, a Country artist’s performances introduced the music to soldiers that were not familiar with the genre. If you came out of Detroit or Chicago, Minneapolis or Milwaukee in the ‘60s to find your way to Southeast Asia, conceivably your first exposure to Country Music could have been Johnny Cash, Jerry Reed or Loretta Lynn playing for the troops.

If you have spent any time in the sandbox in the last 10 years, as an American Soldier, you likely already know about Toby and Trace Adkins and Craig Morgan. You know about them not only because of their commitment to travel the 6,700 miles from Nashville to Iraq but because Country Radio has kept these artists and their music in front of fans for all these years.

Country Music Radio has the reputation of being patriotic. Not only are many in the management of the business truly patriotic but we see the flags, tattoos and looks in the listener’s eyes telling us that this important to them. We hear the stories about how they saw Toby in Kirkuk.

So this weekend when we say thank you to the first responders that ran INTO the devastation and not away from it, like most of us would, let’s also say thank you to the hundreds of Country Music acts that have given up their time and energy to take the music across the world. Thank you to Country Radio who will most definitely step up this weekend and remind the listener about all of these acts and what they have done for the morale of the thousands of allied forces who have put their lives on hold so that we can enjoy Country Music shows in Boston, New York, DC and Pennsylvania.

Thank you Toby, Reba and Rockie Lynne and the many others who keep the spirit of Gene Autry, Hank Williams, and Conway Twitty alive and keep the spirits of the troops high.

Now, let’s pray they all come home safe.

Lady A Prepares High Energy Album Launch

The countdown for the launch of Lady Antebellum’s new album Own The Night set for Tuesday, Sept. 13, is almost over. And the six time Grammy winners are planning a robust week of events to celebrate their third studio album.

Lady A’s debut week explosion begins today (9/8) in Green Bay, WI with pre-game performance on NFL’s Kickoff 2011 which re-airs Sept. 10 on NBC. The trio’s schedule from there includes TV appearances on GAC’s Backstory: Lady Antebellum (Sept. 11), a special 9/11 performance of the National Anthem on NBC before the Jets and Cowboys open their season at MetLife Stadium (Sept. 11), TODAY (Sept. 13),The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Sept. 16), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Sept. 16), CBS Sunday Morning (Sept. 25) and Saturday Night Live (Oct. 1).

“We’ve literally been working towards these next few weeks all year,” says Charles Kelley. “The anticipation of being able to finally share these songs with our fans is killing us. Hopefully, those who have been with Lady A for a long time will see this as the next chapter for us as songwriters and performers; and the people who aren’t as familiar with us will check it out and maybe find something on the album they dig. We’re really just excited to get it out, and then kick off the new tour.”

Another highlight will be three special performances for select lucky fans in Chicago (Sept. 10), New York City (Sept. 13) and Los Angeles (Sept. 15).

The trio’s headline tour is set to roll beginning Nov. 11 in Knoxville, TN and is named after the group’s second single from the new project, “We Owned The Night.” The first single, “Just A Kiss,” has already topped radio charts for multiple weeks.

The group’s current album Need You Now launched the week ended 1/31/2010 and scanned 481,000 debut week units according to Nielsen SoundScan. Now, after 84 weeks, Need you Now has sold 3.65 million units.


Live TV Events Are A Hot Commodity

Country music’s growing popularity isn’t the only thing fueling an all-out bidding war for television broadcast rights to the CMA Awards. Live events, particularly awards shows and sporting events, offer ever-growing importance to networks and advertisers because they attract millions of viewers watching in real time.

In the face of audience fragmentation, expanding entertainment options, and DVR infiltration, the opportunity to reach viewers watching live television is highly sought after. One-third of US households have DVRs, which means that they can fast-forward through commercials during a previously recorded program, much to the dismay of advertisers.

There are several reasons that live events remain attractive. For starters, fans want to know what is going on as it happens, this is crucial in sports, and also applies to devoted music lovers. Secondly, it’s exciting to know that millions of other fans all over the country are watching along too. This shared love among fans ties to another key point, which is the social media conversation going on simultaneously during a live program, creating awareness and driving tune-ins. Online or in person, people want to chat about what they think is exciting, and they can’t participate in the morning-after gossip if they didn’t see the show the night before. What’s the point of watching the season finale of American Idol on DVR? You already know Scotty McCreery won.

The best example of the importance of live viewing is skyrocketing Super Bowl ratings which make for outrageous ad prices. In 2011, the game was the most-watched telecast in U.S. history, attracting 111 million viewers (Nielsen). Getting a 30-second ad in front of that many consumers cost $3 million bucks.

Currently, the NFL is renegotiating the broadcast rights to its games, which averaged about 18 million viewers each last season. According to today’s Los Angeles Times, “The networks combined pay about $3.1 billion a year for the rights to the 16-game season, up 35% from their last deal. Although the NFL’s contracts with CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN still have two years to run, the league would like to have new deals wrapped up by the end of this season, in February. The three broadcast networks could end up joining ESPN in paying 10-digit dollar figures per season in their next contracts.”


DISClaimer Single Reviews (9/7/11)

This edition of DisClaimer has exactly the right mixture of superstars, mid-levels and unknowns.

In the first column, we have Vince Gill, Jason Aldean and Zac Brown Band, the last-named of whom wins our Disc of the Day award.

Strong second-tier acts with winners in this stack of platters include Kevin Fowler, Lantana, Coldwater Jane and Ashley Gearing. All are worth your spins.

The three unknowns vying for this week’s DisCovery Award are Roy Solis, Jessica Caylyn and Tim Foust. I’m going with rumble-tonsiled Tim, whoever he is.

ROY SOLIS/Tailgate Party
Writer: Roy Solis/Johnny Garcia/Troy Powers; Producer: Johnny Garcia; Publisher: Avenue 1/Busy at Play/Mia’s Pub, BMI/ASCAP; RSM (
—Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: It’s about parking the four-wheel drive pick-up out in the country with beer and friends and girls. The electric guitar work rocks righteously. Maybe that’s because producer Garcia is a top-notch guitarist, noted for his longtime work with Trisha Yearwood.

Writer: Zac Brown/Wyatt Durrette/Nic Cowan; Producer: Keith Stegall & Zac Brown; Publisher: Weimerhound/Lil’ Dub/Angelika/Souhern Ground, BMI; Atlantic (track)
—Their trademark group harmonies are right up front-and-center. And they get to the hook almost instantly, in a matter of seconds. It has a delightfully funky little back beat that bops infectiously up to a strikingly languid bridge, then returns brighter than ever. The whole thing, including the closing guitar solo, is dazzling.

LANTANA/A Few Little Things
Writer: Aimee Mayo/Tommy Lee James; Producer: Beau Bedford; Publisher: Universal Careers/Silverkiss/Still Working for the Man/Ballad Boy/BMG Chrysalis, BMI; Millijewel  (
—This female Texas trio harmonizes brightly on this chugging toe tapper with a lyric of love lessons. Pleasant, if not exactly life changing.

VINCE GILL/Threaten Me With Heaven
Writer: Vince Gill/Amy Grant/Will Owlsley/Dillon O’Brian; Producer: Vince Gill, John Hobbs & Justin Niebank; Publisher: Vinny Mae/Grant Girls/The Loving Company/Willie-O/Dillon O’Brian, BMI; MCA Nashville (CDX)
—Deeply soulful. Gooebump inducing. I reviewed this last spring, but now is its time. To recap: This gorgeous meditation would be heart melting even acoustic and unadorned. As it happens, the production swells with inspiring choral backing, celestial guitar work and echoey ambiance. If it doesn’t produce a lump in your throat, you are made of stone.

TIM FOUST/You’re So Yesterday
Writer: Tim Foust/Joe Bilotta/Biran Pothier; Producer: Brian Pothier; Publisher: Soaring Swans, BMI/ASCAP; Flying Pig (CDX) (
—He has one of those Josh Turner low-dipping vocal registers. The track thumps in all the right places, and as you might guess from the title, the lyric is a clever one. Recommended.

Writer: none listed; Producer: Kevin Kadish & Wayne Kirkpatrick; Publisher: none listed; Mercury (track)
—I was quite fond of this act’s debut single, “Bring on the Love.” The follow-up sophomore effort has a little less crunch but a lot more breeze. Their vocals are enchanting, and the production sails along over the audio waves with marvelous clarity and energy. I remain a fan.

Writer: Brian Davis/Ashley Gearing/Kyle Jacobs; Producer: The Fringe; Publisher: Mike Curb/Melrose Nashville/Curb Songs/Jacobsong, BMI/ASCAP; Curb
—So long, buster: She’s hitting the road, and rocking righteously while she’s at it.

JASON ALDEAN/Tattoos On This Town
Writer: Neil Thrasher/Wendell Mobley/Michael Dulaney; Producer: Michael Knox; Publisher: Warner Tamerlane/Boatwright Baby/Desert Treasure/Feet in the Creek/BMG Gold, BMI/ASCAP; Borken Bow (track)
—The follow-up to the mega crossover hit “Dirt Road Anthem” is a power ballad with a mighty audio undertow. His drawled vocal is mixed hot, the better to deliver the nostalgic message, yet the guitars are screaming and the rhythm is pounding right behind him. Strong stuff. Completely undeniable.

Writer: Kevin Fowler/Trent Willmon/Clint Ingersol; Producer: David Lee Murphy; Publisher: Kevin Fowler/Mayes County/Happy Cattle, BMI/ASCAP; Average Joes (track) (
—I dig this guy’s voice with its slight touch of grit. The song is super solid. But the real star here is a frothing, lathered-up, ferocious, whiplash-rocker production. This thing will pin your ears back, for sure.

JESSICA CAYLYN/Just Can’t Help Myself
Writer: Emily Shackelton/Jessica Caylyn/Boh Cooper/Steffon Hamulak; Producer: Steffon Hamulak; Publisher: Liz Rose/Kobalt/Oceanwaveheart/Little Boh/Mousam River/Sea the Desert, BMI/ASCAP; JC (track) (
—She tackles the melody and stays atop the crashing track like a pro. It’s not an especially memorable voice, but this is still a promising debut.

Discovering BossRoss Web Read

Imagine BossRoss Web Read as being your own personal information curator quietly selecting articles of interest  from varied sources around the internet. Topics include all facets of the music world plus technology, social networking, business, touring and more. It’s all linked so you can glance down the headlines and travel fast to investigate. A good short cut is to click first on the View All link at the bottom —you’ll see why.

As this article is written, Amazon’s new website design test is at the top of the list, followed by the news that Groupon, after turning down Google’s $6.5 billion offer a few months ago (completely crazy) are finding the IPO market more complex than they imagined. In fact Groupon’s IPO has now been postponed due to “market volatility.”

Also on the list are fascinating reads from Wired magazine and Vulture about the recent Starz-Netflix divorce and what the future may hold for Netflix’s streaming business. If you’ve been following the WebRead then you already know about the recent content renewal negotiations breaking down.

“It’s not about age, it’s about how you present yourself,” says an article from titled, Age Proofing Your Job Application. Good advice if you are on the hunt for a new chair, and worth a quick read…

How Do I Find BossRoss Web Read?
You’ve probably already found it, but if not, a sample is pasted below. You can also find it about half way down the right side “widget” column on…

If there are additional topics you’d like to see included or general comments, please leave ‘em below… Thanks

Artist News: Darius, Jake, Willie and More

Is fall almost here already? Darius Rucker is quite prepared for the change, because he just unveiled his first headlining U.S. tour as a solo artist. Fresh from the European leg of Brad Paisley’s H2O II: Wetter and Wilder Tour, Rucker’s fall trek will start October 6 in Glens Falls, NY with guests Rodney Atkins and Frankie Ballard. Currently the latest date announced is November 12 in Charleston, SC (with Thompson Square and Justin Moore supporting), but more dates are expected soon. “I haven’t headlined a tour since Hootie, so to say I’m excited is an understatement,” says Rucker. “It has been such an incredible experience to tour with Paisley and Rascal Flatts, and I’ve learned a lot being on the road with them. With this tour, I’m just excited to perform again for our fans, and I’m thrilled to have Rodney, Frankie, Justin, and Thompson Square joining us.”

• • • • •

Kudos to the gang at Sony Music Nashville and RCA Records for a successful launch this week of Jake Owen’s third studio album Barefoot Blue Jean Night. As of yesterday (9/1), it held the No. 1 position on iTunes’ country albums chart, and digital downloads of the title track total over 850,000. Owen even sent out a tweet yesterday to solicit some fan feedback: “Ok…First 10 peeps to respond that bought my record, I’ll follow you. You can send me your phone #. I wanna call you and see what songs u dig.” Last night, GAC aired a special called “Jake On The Lake” that gave an in depth look at Owen’s new album, as well as intimate performances, and some wake-boarding action from the man himself. Next Tuesday (9/6), Owen and The Band Perry will announce final nominees in five CMA Awards categories live on Good Morning America.

• • • • •

Weekend Notes: College football starts this weekend, and country stars will feature in at least two network promotional campaigns. Tracy Lawrence’s song “Saturday In The South” has been picked for FOX Sports and SportSouth college football campaigns through the season, and Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” will be featured in telecasts of 2011 ACC college football games on the ACC Network. The 2011 MDA Telethon takes place Sunday, September 4 and runs 6 pm – Midnight in every time zone on over 150 television stations. Numerous country artists and Nashville notables are set to participate, including Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Tommy Emmanuel. Additional guests include Celine Dion, Boyz II Men, Reggie Bush, Whoopi Goldberg and many more. The event can also be streamed online at Proceeds benefit research for muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related diseases.

• • • • •

Willie Nelson has covered Coldplay’s song “The Scientist” as part of a campaign for burrito chain king Chipotle. While the matchup might seem strange, both Nelson and Chipotle are avowed proponents of sustainable agriculture and a portion of the song’s purchases on iTunes will benefit the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. There is an accompanying animated video (see below) titled “Back To The Start,” where a farmer  changes his business from an industrial farm to a sustainable, organic one.

Aldean Duels Rapper T.I. For Ringtone Title

Most country fans would not be expected to know that rapper T.I.’s real name is Clifford Harris, but judging by purchases of 248,000 ringtones and close to 1.98 million downloads of “Dirt Road Anthem,” they certainly know Jason Aldean.

So why the comparison? Aldean is in range to beat the all genre ringtone chart record for most consecutive weeks at No. 1 currently held by T.I.

The rapper, currently set to be released from prison on Sept. 29, where he is being held for violating parole, holds the title with 18 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the SoundScan Mastertones Songs chart with his song, “Whatever You like.” Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” is currently in the top spot with 15 weeks at No. 1,  a tie with Eminem (“Love The Way You Lie”) and already a record for country music ringtones.

What’s causing Aldean’s ringtone phenomenon and is it mostly country consumers or has it spread wider?

Chris Parr

“I call the ringtone a badge of honor,” says manager Chris Parr. It’s the ultimate statement that says who I am, who I identify with and says volumes about younger demos when they are carrying it around. The research says ringtones skew younger. From my programming days, I always used to say, ‘look at the tea leaves. Try to read them and figure out the direction to go.’ Ringtones are just another leaf off that tree, another element. It shows people care and they are passionate about the song and the artist. In terms of crossover influencing these sales, we had more crossover play this year with the Kelly Clarkson duet than with ‘Dirt Road,’ but common sense based on how many weeks it has been No. 1 says it has spread beyond the core country audience.”

Parr, who manages Aldean with Clarence Spalding of Spalding Ent. left CMT mid-year 2007 to work with Aldean.

“It was lucky timing,” remembers Parr modestly. “I was always very passionate about him. Jason is one of those creative people that doesn’t live in the grey, he has a real sense of what works for him and what doesn’t and is very black and white about his art. It makes it more productive when you are working with an artist like that. We have very clear communication. It’s been very exciting, and nice to be able to stretch the boundaries a little bit.”

Ringtone sales peaked a few years ago, but remain a significant revenue stream. Currently on the Top 200 Mastertone chart are numerous country songs and artists. For example looking at the chart for the week ending 8/28/2011 we find Jason, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton all in the top ten. Ranked RTD (release to date) the five highest selling country songs are Lady A “Need You Now” (968k); Zac Brown Band “Chicken Fried” (845k); Jason Aldean “Big Green Tractor” (766k), “She’s Country” (505k); and Carrie Underwood “Jesus Take The Wheel” (488k). (Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” has scanned about 250,000 RTD.)

Aldean has already set the consecutive weeks at No. 1 record for a country act and he is currently tied in second place with Eminem. However, hot behind him is Lil Wayne who has been in the No. 2 spot for the past three weeks. Can Aldean stay No. 1 this coming week (week ended 9/4/11)? If so he’ll own the No. 2 spot for all genres, with 16 consecutive weeks at No. 1, and be only two weeks away from a tie for No. 1.