National Folk Festival Starts Tonight

The 73rd Annual National Folk Festival starts this evening (9/2) at the Bicentennial Mall in downtown Nashville, offering a wide selection of music, dance, arts, food, and more.

Performers for the free event include Green Fields of America (Irish-American music/dance), Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano (Mexican mariachi), The Holmes Brothers (blues/gospel/r&b), Dale Ann Bradley (bluegrass), BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (cajun), Road Mountain Hilltoppers (Appalachian string band), and many more. Events begin at 7 pm tonight (9/2), and Noon on Saturday (9/3) and Sunday (9/4). A full schedule is available here.

The Festival has also partnered with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to present a unique program for the Tennessee Folklife Stage and Demonstration Area sponsored by SunTrust. Titled “Nashville’s Musical Roots and Branches,” the stage will explore the city’s musical heritage with interviews and performances from gospel, bluegrass, early country, songwriter, and r&b artists. Each year this area plans to celebrate a different facet of Tennessee heritage and culture.

Part of a three-year tenure with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA), the National Folk Festival will call Nashville home for 2011, 2012 and its 75th anniversary in 2013.

Weekly Chart Report (9/02/11)

Amber Hayes (FUNL Music) Learns a 'Magic Beer Trick' during a visit to WBYT/South Bend, Ind. (L-R): Pat (owner of local Irish pub Mulligan’s), Hayes

SPIN ZONE
Keith Urban might be a prophet. About three months ago he tunefully predicted that it was “gonna be a long hot summer” and well, it definitely has been. The song moves up to the CountryBreakout Chart’s No. 1 spot just as September arrives, and we’ve (thankfully) still got a little summer left in the tank.

Positions 3-9 hold fast, with Kenny Chesney’s “You And Tequila” on top of the heap at No. 3. Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” still looks strong at No. 5, tacking on a few more spins and closing in on Brad Paisley’s “Remind Me.”  Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” also has some legs, as it picks up a 180 spin gain and moves to No. 10.

Kudos to Capitol Records on an impressive debut for Luke Bryan’s “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” which lands at No. 70 in its first week being reported. Bryan’s labelmates Lady Antebellum also have a nocturnally-themed single called “We Owned The Night,” and it’s up to No. 30 in its third week on the chart.

Frozen Playlists: KITX, KXIA, KZTL, WDGG, WKWS, WQNZ, WTCM, WYVY

Upcoming Singles
September 6
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow

September 12
Kevin Fowler/That Girl/Average Joes
Chris Young/You/RCA
Ashley Gearing/Me, My Heart and I/Curb
Crystal Shawanda/Love Enough/Sun/Nine North
Andy Gibson/Wanna Make You Love Me/R&J

• • • • •

New On The Chart—Debuting This Week
Artist/song/label — chart pos.
Luke Bryan/I Don’t Want This Night To End/Capitol — 70
Chris Young/You/RCA Nashville — 74
Jason Sturgeon/The Cover/Toolpusher/Spinville — 78
Marlee Scott/Beautiful Maybe/CO5 — 80

Greatest Spin Increase
Artist/song/label — spin+
Lady Antebellum/We Owned The Night/Capitol — 456
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow — 381
Luke Bryan/I Don’t Want This Night To End/Capitol — 350
Eric Church/Drink In My Hand/EMI Nashville — 330
Miranda Lambert/Baggage Claim/Columbia — 288

Most Added
Artist/song/label — New Adds
Luke Bryan/I Don’t Want This Night To End/Capitol — 32
Jason Aldean/Tattoos On This Town/Broken Bow — 23
Lady Antebellum/We Owned The Night/Capitol — 22
Chris Young/You/RCA Nashville — 14
Eric Church/Drink In My Hand/EMI Nashville — 14
Steel Magnolia/Bulletproof/Big Machine — 13
Reba/Somebody’s Chelsea/Starstruck/Valory — 10
Tyrone Vaughan/Downtime/Kick It Up — 10

On Deck—Soon To Be Charting
Artist/song/label — spins
Bomshel/Halleluy’all/Curb — 218
Cash Creek/Unlikely Angel/Ohana — 209
Justin Haigh/All My Best Friends Are Behind Bars — 205
Coleman Brothers/Beer—Thirty/PVI — 200
The O’Donnells/She Leaves The Light On/Song Valley Music — 195
Jesse Keith Whitley/Kentucky Thunder/Octabrook Records — 190
Tyrone Vaughan/Downtime/Kick It Up — 184

Warner Bros. Records artist Jason Jones recently stopped by CMT to give the staff a “Ferris Wheel” spin. The singer/songwriter treated staff to performances of songs from his forthcoming Brett Beavers-produced debut album, including his current single “Ferris Wheel.” (L-R): Jensen Arrowsmith (Warner Music Nashville Associate Director, Publicity), Stacey Cato (CMT Music Strategy), Jason Jones, Stephen Linn (CMT Music Strategy), Kelli Cashiola (Warner Music Nashville VP Brand Management), Justin Luffman (Director On-Line Marketing), Jennifer Danielson (CMT Music Strategy) and Cris Lacy (Warner Music Nashville VP A&R). Photo Credit: Courtesy of CMT

Frankie Ballard with US Army Black Knights—who parachuted in next to the stadium right before Frankie took the stage at the Appalachian Fair in Johnson City, TN

Casey James (BNA Records) was recently at KXKT/Omaha to share his debut single, "Lets Don't Call It A Night." (L-R): KXKT PD Erik Johnson, James and MD Hoss Michaels.

Charlie Cook On Air

“Fans Like Free Media”

August is the month of state and county fairs. Headlining: bad food. Iowa has a new dish this year of Fried Butter. Really? Plain butter isn’t enough to drive up health care costs in the state?

State fairs are populated by not only by questionable gastronomic challenges but by scores of thrilling rides. Rickety roller coasters, ferocious Ferris wheels and titillating tilt-a-whirls. This August the real thrilling ride came, not from state fairs but the stock market.

But this is not a financial column. If it were, you might want to quickly turn away.

It is a column about Country radio and records and the listener/consumer. We know what the state and county fairs have in common with radio, records and the listener. Country performers make their careers in Pelham, AL; Pueblo, CO; and Sussex County, NJ. Country radio is broadcasting remotes and giving away tickets to listeners, who flock to the rides, snacks, petting farms and performances. It is often the best money spent, fun for one low price.

How does this tie into Wall Street? The fans are also flocking to free media.

Associated Press did an analysis of cable and satellite companies, after quarterly earnings reports, and found that consumers are abandoning their clickers in increasing numbers. The loss is not yet earth-shattering but it is the first down-tick in the industry. And this was for a reported quarter BEFORE the stock market scared the heck out of every wage earner in America.

It is also important to note that the consumer is not abandoning TV—just paying for it. They are finding their programming online. When the DVR has become one of the most important electronic toys in a household, what does a consumer’s willingness to forgo cable and watch programming online, on his own schedule, tell us about media consumption?

We know that older Americans have already gone away from purchasing recorded music as in the past. The last few weeks’ No. 1 debut country CD sales failed to top 150,000. We have adjusted our expectations so that this is a successful launch.

This is at the same time that Country Radio stations are setting new ratings highs. Listening to (free) radio is up almost everywhere. Atlanta has a combined cume of over 1.5 million. Detroit is just short of a million cume with only one station. Boston set a ratings record. Los Angeles has stabilized at over one million. Dallas, Chicago, Houston and the list goes on and on. Country radio is way up—free Country radio.

Nashville record companies would like to find another path to the listener, one without the gate keepers of program directors and consultants. But both industries can thrive with an even more powerful partnership.

The consumer is choosing free more often and radio and records can help drive this with creative cooperation. I am not asking for either partner to give up anything for free but what about Country radio and record companies thinking how to drive both listenership and purchasing.

In order to keep it free, maybe we need to find a sponsor that also benefits from the association. What is going to be important, however, is for radio and records to find something that we’re willing to share with each other. It is going to take more than giving an act exposure for a concert.

I like the conference room concerts that artists do for stations because we get to meet the act and bond a little, but stations should use these new acts for lunchtime or after work shows at a sponsor and invite listeners. It’s free for the listener and the station. Plus, it takes a committed record company expense and maybe turns it into an opportunity to build a base in the market.

I wrote awhile back about the lack of connection that radio is making with artists because of programmer reluctance to chance the PPM ratings system with additional talk. I said then and this was a recipe for decreased ratings down the pike. Committing your station to a new act, maybe not on air interviews but with a real chance to interact with the listener/consumer is better than a day at the State Fair.

Pistol Annies Shoot Straight To The Top

Pistol Annies

The digital-only debut from feisty female trio Pistol Annies shot straight to the top of this week’s country album chart, debuting with 42K units sold.

Comprised of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, the Sony Nashville group’s first project Hell on Heels marched to the No. 1 slot on the all-genre digital chart.

“Holler Annie,” aka Presley, explains, “Pistol Annies has been an organic, artistically driven project from the beginning and we are so proud that our couch dream has become critically and commercially successful.”

“Lonestar Annie,” better known as Lambert, says, “We are so thrilled and even more inspired than ever. Thank you so much to our country fans. Pistol Annies are here to stay!”

“Hippie Annie,” Monroe adds, “I am completely overwhelmed and humbled…I couldn’t be more encouraged that country music is being embraced so completely.”

Also debuting this week is Sunny Sweeney’s Concrete, which lands solidly at No. 7 on the country albums list with 14K units.

Pistol Annies may have the hottest album on the country album charts, but another trio and Sweeney’s BMLG labelmate, The Band Perry, is still sitting at the top of the digital country singles chart with “If I Die Young.” It sold over 73K downloads this week, and at that pace will likely pass the 3 million mark in the next few weeks.

Bigger picture: Country album sales are up 6.4% over last year, and overall album sales are up 2.4%.

In other related news, Lambert was featured on Dateline NBC this week in a sit-down interview with Hoda Kotb. See clips here. And Lambert and Pistol Annies were both reassigned to new label home RCA today, as previously reported in MusicRow’s breaking news.

DISClaimer Single Reviews (8/31/11)

Talk about eclectic.

This stack of platters contains everything from Johnny Rivers doing acoustic pop on a soul oldie to Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s new group swinging through a jazzbo Bob Wills standard. There’s a disc of reggae performances of country songs, as well as a stunning country-rock set by Richie Owens & The Farm Bureau.

It will come as no surprise to anybody that Lady Antebellum has the Disc of the Day. “We Owned the Night” will own your ears.

It might come as more of a shock to find that hit country writer Dave Berg has a dazzling, unclassifiable and brilliantly produced pop platter up his sleeve. Give that man a DisCovery Award.

PAUL NUNN/Bein’ Strong
Writer: Albert Maylen; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed, BMI; PN (www.paulnunnband.com)
—This cleanly produced country ballad is an audio pleasure. He sings in a pure heartache tenor, and the band knows exactly when to fill in notes and when to shut up. Which is the mark of true country artistry.

LADY ANTEBELLUM/We Owned The Night
Writer: Dave Haywood/Charles Kelley/Dallas Davidson; Producer: Paul Worley & Lady Antebellum; Publisher: Warner Tamerlane/DWHaywood/Radiobulletspublishing/EMI Blackwood/String Stretcher, BMI; Capitol Nashville (MP3)
—The tingling mandolin notes give way to Charles’s robo cool voice and then to a firestorm of thudding percussion, vocal harmony, rocking guitar and a shout-to-the-heavens melody. Those little yelps of joy don’t hurt, either. In a word, Awesome.

JEFF DAYTON/Never Been Better
Writer: Dayton; Producer: Jeff Dayton; Publisher: Jeff Dayton, BMI; Little House (track) (www.jeffdaytonmusic.com)
—Getting older doesn’t have to be a downer. His old man “might’ve been stronger, faster, younger,” but he’s “never been better.” What a cool attitude, and the rocking track backs it up all the way.

BILLY RAY CYRUS/Nineteen
Writer: Gary Nicholson/Jeffrey Steele/Tom Hambridge; Producer: Buddy Cannon; Publisher: Sony-ATV Cross Keys/Gary Nicholson/Jeffrey Steele/Bug/Songs of Windswept Pacific/Tom Hambridge, ASCAP/BMI; Buena Vista (track)
—The number 19 is on the high school football star’s jersey. It’s also the age when he dies at war as a hero. Stirring stuff. Billy Ray’s entire I’m American CD is loaded with well written tunes in this vein. Worth your while.

DAVE BERG/Believed In
Writer: Dave Berg; Producer: Dave Berg & John Hurley; Publisher: Cal IV/Stupid Boy, ASCAP; DB (track) (www.daveberg.com)
—Top Music Row tunesmith Berg has a new, 14-song showcase titled Not Quite So Alone. It doesn’t contain any of the many hits he has written for others. Instead, it is full of solo-written (gasp!) gems like this pop-ish, rhythmic set opener. The production dazzles and his dry, earnest, folkie vocals are quite engaging. Seek this one out—it is a really refreshing audio change of pace.

LUKE BRYAN/I Don’t Want This Night To End
Writer: Luke Bryan/Dallas Davidson/Rhett Akins/Ben Hayslip; Producer: Jeff Stevens; Publisher: Sony-ATV Tree/Peanut Mill/EMI Blackwood/String Stretcher/Rhettneck/WB/Melissa’s Money/Get a Load of This, BMI/ASCAP; Capitol Nashville (track)
—The monotonic verses don’t do much for me, but the soaring choruses sure do take off.

RICHIE OWENS & THE FARM BUREAU/Rye Whiskey
Writer: none listed; Producer: Bil VornDick & Richie Owens; Publisher: Indian Gap, ASCAP; Red Dirt (track) (www.richieowensandthefarmbureau.com)
—Veteran Nashvillians will recall Richie as a valued fixture of our music community of long standing. He’s Dolly Parton’s cousin and has played in her band. He’s also worked with a wide variety of others, including Leon Russell, The Georgia Satellites, Vince Gill, Steve Forbert, Jason & The Scorchers, The Kentucky Headhunters and The Bangles. His new band, The Farm Bureau, tears this folk standard to shreds and reconstructs it as a churning, frothing Americana rocker. By the way, the rest of Richie and his band’s CD is absolutely and equally superb.

ROMAIN VIRGO & LARRY GATLIN/California
Writer: Larry Gatlin; Producer: Cristy Barber, John Rich, Dean Fraser, Charlie Pennachio, Chris Chin & Raymond Barber; Publisher: MCA/Sony-ATV Tree/Parker Lou, no performance rights listed; Elektra (track)
—Reggae’s Gone Country is a new, various-artists collection that revisits country classics (”King of the Road,” “Wolverton Mountain,” “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” “The Gambler,” “Flowers on the Wall,” etc.) as reggae tracks. The only one of the songs’ originators to show up for the revamp is Gatlin, and dang if he doesn’t pull it off. Way to go. For another ear-opener, check out Tarrus Riley’s rhythm-happy take on “The Chair.”

JOHNNY RIVERS/I’ve Got To Use My Imagination
Writer: Barry Goldberg/Gerry Goffin; Producer: Johnny Rivers; Publisher: Screen Gems EMI, BMI; Soul City
—Johnny Rivers’s recent visit to Music City included a well-received guest spot on the Grand Ole Opry. His take on this Gladys Knight & The Pips classic strips it down to a swampy, acoustic-based lament. He remains a pre-eminent blue-eyed soul man.

THE WRONGLERS/Time Changes Everything
Writer: Tommy Duncan; Producer: Eric Drew Feldman & Jimmie Dale Gilmore; Publisher: Red River Songs, no performance rights listed; Neanderthal (track) (www.thewronglers.com)
—The four words that follow “The Wronglers” on the jacket are “featuring Jimmie Dale Gilmore.” And that’s about all you need to know. The album title tells you the rest, Heirloom Music. The songs are string-band chestnuts performed by this sterling ensemble with the ethereal voice of Gilmore in the lead. Originators include Bill Monroe, The Carter Family, The Delmore Brothers, Charlie Poole, Flatt & Scruggs, Johnny Bond, Doc Watson and, as is the case here, Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys. Old-time music lovers or those charmed by the O Brother sounds, step right up.

Breaking News: Sony Exits Hit Nashville

Sony Music Nashville laid off 12 staffers this week as part of a restructuring, MusicRow has confirmed.

Among those exiting are Jimmy Rector, Mike Wilson, Stephanie Cox and Debbie Linn.

Columbia’s radio promotion team was hardest hit.

Exiting are:

• Columbia Nashville VP National Promotion Jimmy Rector ([email protected], 615-293-6669)

• Columbia Director of National Promotion Mike Wilson, had been at the label group for about 20 non-concurrent years,([email protected], 615-557-8884)

• Regionals Diane Monk (Arista), Jennifer Thorpe (Columbia), Cliff Blake, Steve Pleshe (RCA), and David “Bubba” Berry (BNA).

• Columbia Promotion Coordinator Ben Sterling, (615-556-5602, [email protected]).

• Sr. Director of Strategic Marketing Debbie Linn, who had been at the label 21 years, (615-293-6962, [email protected])

• Monument Publishing’s Stephanie Cox and Ben Strain ([email protected], 615-319-8007)

• A&R Coordinator Tim Riffle, ([email protected], 951-315-3751)

• Director Field Sales, Marketing & Catalog Development Mike Rivers ([email protected], 615-500-8346).

Rector has a message for the industry, “Hire Ben Sterling, then we’ll worry about me.” Sterling was a seven-year employee of the label.

Doug Morris is settling in as the company’s CEO, and has started restructuring. The reorganization hit Nashville following many lay-offs at Sony’s New York operations. A new regime was announced recently for the pop/rock division of Sony’s RCA, resulting in the exit of about 20 staffers, including several VPs. The New York Post reports that the wider plan is to fold Jive into RCA. Morris also broke off Epic from Columbia and brought in L.A. Reid as chairman of Epic, where about 50 team members have exited.

Morris took office on July 1, 2011, making the move from his former post leading Universal Music Group as chairman. The 72-year-old brings with him five decades of experience. He has a track record of successful mergers, namely the PolyGram and Universal merger under his watch, and was expected to smooth over any rough edges remaining at Sony following the 2004 merger with BMG.

This story will be updated as it develops.

email [email protected] or call 615-349-2171 with news tips, or to share updated contact information

Bobby Karl Works the SOURCE Awards

(L-R): Chuck Chellman accepting for his late wife Georgia Twitty Chellman, Millie Kirkham, Evelyn Shriver, Roberta Edging and Janice Erickson Wendell.

Chapter 371
Photos: Alan Mayor

Every year, the SOURCE organization honors the women of Nashville’s music business.

This year’s awards banquet, held at the Noah Liff Opera Center (8/25) put the spotlight on Janice Wendell, Evelyn Shriver, the late Georgia Twitty Chellman, Barbara Orbison and Roberta Edging.

Kay Smith, who founded SOURCE with Judy Harris and Shelia Shipley-Biddy in 1991, welcomed the sold-out crowd of 250 and explained the SOURCE mission of being a networking, education, financial support and job-bank organization.

Kay announced that the SOURCE plaques will have a home in the new Musicians Hall of Fame, thanks to the generosity of Joe & Linda Chambers. When the Municipal Auditorium celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2012, it will do so with a new name, The Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum at Municipal Auditorium. The hallways surrounding the auditorium will hold historical exhibits about the venue. The Museum and SOURCE exhibits will be located in the 68,000-square foot exhibit hall that is on the ground floor.

(L-R): MusicRow's Robert K. Oermann, 2010 Source Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Frances Preston, David Preston and Source founder Kay Smith.

Jeannie Seely hosted the awards. Current SOURCE president Laurie Hughes gave out the plaques as each honoree took the stage.

“I’m amazed at not only our award winners, but all the women in this room,” said Seely. SOURCE membership is now approaching 200.

Roberta Edging was saluted first. The Nashville native ran Eddy Arnold’s business office for four decades. Jeannie described her as “a true family friend, even beyond the Country Music Hall of Famer’s death in 2008.” To the end, she typed Eddy’s  correspondence on a manual typewriter and took dictation the old-fashioned way. And, as Jeannie noted, Roberta always referred to her boss as “Mr. Arnold.”

“Roberta kept him functional,” noted Charlie Monk. “It was a little hard to keep his office tidy. It looked like the set of Sanford & Son.”

“That office still looks exactly the same, by the way,” said Arnold’s grandson Shannon Pollard. “We’ve kept it that way….I have literally known her my entire life. I consider her to be a grandmother to me, in many ways.”

“I appreciate all the kind words,” Roberta responded. “I appreciate the almost 43 years I spent with a gentleman, Eddy Arnold.”

(L-R): Evelyn Shriver, K. T. Oslin, 2008 Source honoree Hazel Smith, Carlie McCoy and 2009 Source honoree Pat McCoy.

Honoree Millie Kirkham is also a Nashville native. She began her career as secretary to the late Jack Stapp at WSM. When he formed Tree Publishing, she went with him to Music Row. She next became one of the most in-demand session vocalists in the industry. Jeannie recalled Millie’s unforgettable soprano on such hits as Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” and George Jones’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

Millie’s acceptance speech was a delight. Because of the demands of the recording studio, “I wasn’t home to cook dinner for my family,” she recalled. “Thank goodness, a company called Swanson’s came along. My daughter is living proof that you can survive on frozen TV dinners.

“This is the first award I have ever won. We had an earthquake and a hurricane on the East Coast, and Millie Kirkham finally got an award.” Hoots of laughter and applause greeted her as she left the stage.

Barbara Orbison was honored for managing Roy Orbison’s career, for establishing her successful Nashville music-publishing company in 1996 and for launching Pretty Woman perfume in 2009. She was unable to attend, but we all got samples of Pretty Woman when we left the banquet.

After a New York career as a publicist for Diana Ross, Cher, Henry “The Fonz” Winkler, the stars of TV’s Dallas and dozens more, Evelyn Shriver moved to Nashville in 1985. She has worked for Randy Travis, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson and many others. Named the SRO Publicist of the Year four times, Evelyn rose to become the first female president of a record label in Nashville (Asylum Records, 1998-2000). She now heads the George Jones imprint Bandit Records.

“I don’t feel like I have any claim to be here,” said Evelyn modestly. “I appreciate all the support I’ve gotten from the women in this business.”

Top executive Janice Wendell was saluted for her leadership of the powerhouse Ericson Advertising firm. Retired since 1992, she is the wife of Country Music Hall of Fame WSM/Gaylord executive E.W. “Bud” Wendell. Jeannie Seely noted that, “Mr. Wendell was my boss for many years [at the Opry]. He was always wonderful to work with. I assumed it was because he received such wonderful training at home.”

(L-R): Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Director Kyle Young, Bud Wendell, Janice Erickson Wendell, Frances Preston and Sony/ATV President/CEO Troy Tomlinson.

Janice accepted, saying, “I hope all of you find something you love to do. Because it won’t feel like working if you do….Enjoy life. It’s short. Do something nice for somebody every day.”

The late Georgia Twitty Chellman (1935-1992) was recognized for her work in television (Gospel Jubilee), radio (Music City Hotline), hospitality (Veeson Travel) and food (Tennessee T-Cakes). She was also an award-winning photographer, helped to found Country Radio Seminar and raised six children.

Georgia had an outrageous sense of humor. Her widower, Chuck Chellman, accepted by saying, “Georgia was special. Good or bad, it was never boring….Whenever you go to a music function, she’s still with us today.”

The banquet hall was packed with powerful music-biz female personalities. Karen Conrad, Karen Oertley, Karen Sturgeon, K.T. Oslin, Katie Gillon, Kerry Hanson, Kira Florita, Susan Stewart, Susan Nadler, Suzanne Kessler, Becky Harris, Judy Harris, Judy Newby, Lori Badgett, Laurie Hughes, Caroline Davis, Cathy Gurley, Ree Guyer-Buchanan, Debbie Carroll, Nancy Shapiro, Tracy Gershon, Lyndie Wenner, Diane Pearson, Brandi Simms, Barbara Turner, Betsy Morley, Sarah Brosmer, Shatzi Hageman, Mary Miller, Margie Hunt, Gillie Crowder and Pat Rolfe schmoozed mightily.

Past winners attending included Frances Preston, Jo Walker-Meador, Pat McCoy, Liz Thiels, Celia Froehlig, Sandy Neese, Hope Powell, Ruth White, Carol Phillips and Hazel Smith.

And lest you think this was a ladies-only event, some of the notable gents in attendance included Paul Burch, Charlie McCoy, Bill Denny, Chuck Neese, Bob Saporiti, Fletcher Foster, Frank Mull, David Preston, Andrew Kitz, Gene Ward, John Lomax III, Jay Orr, Alan Mayor, Chris Dodson, Roger Shriver, Michael Campbell, Sherrill Blackmon, Gordon Stoker, Bud Wendell, Ron Cox, Don Cusic, Kyle Young and Troy Tomlinson.

Pianist Ronnie Brown serenaded each honoree with appropriately chosen selections (“Make the World Go Away” for Roberta, “Georgia on My Mind” for Georgia, etc.).

This was the ninth annual SOURCE banquet. This event is always noted for its excellent cuisine, and this year was no exception. We began with tossed green salad with pine nuts, blue-cheese crumbles and strawberries. The main course was melt-in-your-mouth roast beef with mushroom gravy, asparagus spears and the most scrumptious flakey scalloped potatoes I’ve ever tasted. Lighter-than-air raspberry and vanilla mousse with kiwi slices, blackberries and whipped cream finished us off.

Gibson Statement: “No Charges Filed”

Yesterday federal agents raided the guitar manufacturer with little explanation to the media about the cause, today Gibson tells its side of the story.

Excerpt from Gibson Guitar Corp.’s official press release:

The Justice department bullies Gibson without filing charges

The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.

On August 24, 2011, around 8:45 a.m. CDT, agents for the federal government executed four search warrants on Gibson’s facilities in Nashville and Memphis and seized several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. Gibson had to cease its manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day, while armed agents executed the search warrants. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.

• Raid shut down Gibson factories and cost company money

• Nearly two years later, no charges have been filed

• Wood seized was Forest Stewardship Council Controlled

The wood the Government seized on August 24 is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier and is FSC Controlled, meaning that the wood complies with the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an industry-recognized and independent, not-for-profit organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC certified supplies.

CMA Awards Bidding War Draws To A Close?

As reported last week, the major television networks have been in a bidding war for broadcast rights to the CMA Awards. ABC has been the show’s home in recent years, and despite efforts by NBC and CBS, two outlets are reporting that “Country Music’s Biggest Night” will likely stay put on ABC.

The Hollywood Reporter has posted a story about a pending agreement between ABC and CMA.

The story is also on the website of Broadcasting & Cable, which reports, “One source says the price tag could reach more than $30 million per year in a multi-year deal that would also include the summertime CMA Music Festival and a Christmas special.”

Stay tuned for official word from the CMA…

Breaking News: Details on CMA Noms Announcement

The Band Perry and Jake Owen will reveal some of the nominations live on ABC's "Good Morning America."

“Country Music’s Biggest Morning” will be Tues., Sept. 6, when the final nominees for “The 45th Annual CMA Awards” are announced from two cities.

The Band Perry and Jake Owen will announce the final nominees in five CMA Awards categories live from the Good Morning America studios in the heart of New York City’s Times Square on the ABC Television Network. The announcement will air in the 8:30 AM/ET half-hour segment of the morning news program. During the broadcast, Owen will also perform his current Top Five single “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”

Later that morning, Jerrod Niemann and Thompson Square will announce the finalists in seven CMA Awards categories from Nashville at a press conference at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

Also in Nashville, the JaneDear girls will announce the finalists for the 2011 CMA Broadcast Award Personality and Radio Station of the Year in four categories (small, medium, large, and major markets), as well as the finalists for the CMA National Broadcast Personality.

CMT Insider Special Edition: 2011 CMA Awards Nominations, featuring in-depth coverage of all the nominations, artist interviews, and more, will premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 7 (11:30 AM/ET). The 30-minute special will re-air on Saturday, Sept. 10 (1:30 PM/ET) and again on Sunday, Sept. 11 (11:00 AM/ET) on CMT.

CMA’s official radio partner, Premiere Radio Network, will carry the Awards and Broadcast Award nominations live to Country Radio.

The awards will be presented Nov. 9 on “Country Music’s Biggest Night.”