Music Voyager Comes To Tennessee

Alison Brown, Garry West, and Rob Ickes performing at the Franklin Theatre.

The rich musical heritage and traditions of Tennessee will take center stage in four upcoming episodes of PBS series Music Voyager, hosted by musicologist Jacob Edgar. The world premiere of Nashville’s episode was shown last night (Feb. 15) at a special event at Franklin Theatre, which was emceed by Edgar with musical entertainment by Vince Gill, Keb’ Mo’ and more.

Music Voyager is a music and travel series that spans the globe for intimate access to popular music, and is shown in 170 million homes worldwide. Music Voyager: Tennessee will take viewers largely along the state’s “Music Highway” Interstate 40 from Bristol to Memphis. The series was put together in part by the support of the Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development, and is only the second state (after Louisiana) to be featured. Episodes for East Tennessee and Memphis will be premiered at a later date.

“Tennessee and Music Voyager is a match made in music heaven,” said Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “There’s no doubt that Music Voyager: Tennessee will help showcase the already enormous significance of the music of Tennessee on the world stage.”

The Middle Tennessee episode features appearances by artist/performers Gill, Elizabeth Cook, Gabe Dixon, Those Darlins, banjo player/Compass Records co-founder Alison Brown, Keb’ Mo’, and The Grascals’ Jamie Johnson. Familiar Nashville area landmarks also pop up, including the Grand Ole Opry, Robert’s Western World, Tootsie’s, Gruhn Guitars, the Franklin Theatre, and the Bluebird Café, whose COO Erika Wollam Nichols is interviewed. A special second Middle Tennessee episode, simply called “The Round,” was also previewed and features Cook, Buddy Miller, Darrell Scott, and Guy Clark (who was in attendance at the event).

Alison Brown and dobro maestro Rob Ickes also performed at the event, backed by Brown’s bass-playing husband Garry West. The trio romped through a medley of Stephen Foster songs as well as “Dear Old Dixie” popularized by Earl Scruggs.

After the episode premiere, Gill and Keb’ Mo’ took the stage. The always-affable Gill joked they were, “The best you could get for free on short notice.” Gill delivered his “The Old Lucky Diamond Hotel,” followed by Keb’ on “Hand It Over.” Gill also revealed that he’s producing Pistol Annie member Ashley Monroe’s new album. For the finale, they invited Guy Clark onstage and the trio performed “Old Friends.”

There’s no official air date yet for Music Voyager: Tennessee, but it will also be shown as in-flight television programming for 13 airlines and in-room at several resort hotels.

Guy Clark (L) performs with Vince Gill (center) and Keb' Mo' (R) at the Franklin Theatre. Photo: TN Dept. of Tourist Development

Bonnaroo 2012 Lineup Revealed

Middle Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has revealed performers for its 2012 edition, scheduled for June 7-10 in Manchester.

Headlining bands include Radiohead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Phish. Also slated to perform are Best New Artist Grammy winner Bon Iver, the reunited Beach Boys (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks), Americana darlings The Avett Brothers, The Shins, Foster The People, electronic wiz Skrillex, hip-hop star Ludacris, comedian/actor Aziz Ansari, Feist, The Roots and many more. Full lineup here.

Artists making the cut from Tennessee or on Nashville labels include a reunited Ben Folds Five, The Civil Wars, Needtobreathe, Sarah Jarosz and Moon Taxi. Others will be named as the Road To Bonnaroo contest unfolds.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, Feb. 18 at 11 AM/CT at

Grammy Awards: New Performers and Presenters Announced

The Civil Wars

More performers and presenters have been added to the 54th Annual Grammy Awards telecast Sunday, Feb. 12, and Nashville artists are well-represented among those appearing. Additionally, pre-telecast ceremony performers have been named.

The latest musical addition to the live Grammy show is a reunited Beach Boys, who will share the stage with Foster The People and Maroon 5 for a special collaboration. Also recently added to the performance lineup are The Civil Wars, Diana Krall, Maceo Parker, and Joe Walsh. They join previously announced performers Adele (in her first live appearance since vocal cord surgery last fall); Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson; Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood; Chris Brown; Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton; Coldplay and Rihanna; deadmau5; Foo Fighters; David Guetta; Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt; Lil Wayne; Bruno Mars; Paul McCartney; Nicki Minaj; Katy Perry; Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band; and Taylor Swift.

Joining the list of award presenters are Reba, Diana Ross, Common, and Taraji P. Henson. Previously announced presenters include Marc Anthony, Dierks Bentley, Jack Black, Drake, Fergie, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ryan Seacrest, Ringo Starr, and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson.

Additionally, performers have been announced for the pre telecast ceremony that will stream live on starting at 3 PM/CT Feb. 12. The event will be co-hosted by saxophonist Dave Koz and Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter President/rapper MC Lyte. Performers include Steve Earle, Rebirth Brass Band, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and a “Ladies of Gospel” segment featuring Kim Burrell, Le’Andria Johnson, Kelly Price and Trin-I-Tee 5:7.

The live broadcast of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by LL Cool J, airs at 7 PM/CT. Check back with for an update on Grammy winners.

MusicRowPics: Casey James Artist Visit

Sony Music Nashville artist, Casey James, stopped by MusicRow’s headquarters to perform songs from his self-titled 19 Recordings/BNA Records debut available March 20. Among the songs performed were his single “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night,” currently at No. 42 on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart.

Casey had a hand in writing nine of the album’s 11 tracks and contributed lead guitar throughout. He also co-produced the album with Chris Lindsey, who co-wrote the album’s final track “Miss Your Fire” with Casey and Aimee Mayo.


Johnny Cash Museum Coming to Downtown Nashville

A museum dedicated to the legacy of Johnny Cash is planned for downtown Nashville. Official details will unfold at a press conference scheduled for Feb. 14 with Mayor Karl Dean, PLA Media, the Cash Family and founders Bill and Shannon Miller. This announcement comes in the same month the Man in Black would have turned 80.

The AP reports the museum will feature a number of items from The House of Cash, a Cash museum that was located in nearby Henderson, Tenn., until 1999.

“[Miller] has been an incredible supporter of my dad and one of the largest collectors of memorabilia,” said Rosanne Cash to the AP. “If anybody has the whole structure to put up a museum, he does. So I have a lot of trust in him and I think it’s great at this point. I think he’ll do something with dignity and class that’s historically important, not some kitschy thing. I’m very interested in seeing what he does.”

Addidtionally, a groundbreaking ceremony is being made on Feb. 26, for a seperate project in Dyess, Ark., to preserve Cash’s childhood home. Several musical releases and 3 documentaries are in the works to commemorate the anniversary.

Cash succumbed to complications from diabetes in 2003 at the age of 71.

The Producer’s Chair: Carl Jackson

Carl Jackson

By James Rea

Don’t miss Carl Jackson’s return to The Producer’s Chair on Thurs., Feb. 23, 6 p.m., at Douglas Corner. Details at

Carl Jackson’s extraordinary career began in the mid 1960’s, when his father took him backstage to meet and play for Jim & Jesse McReynolds, at a show near his hometown of Louisville, Mississippi. That meeting resulted in Carl landing his first professional gig with the bluegrass greats, at 14 years of age. That same year, Carl found himself playing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. In 1972, after a brief stint with The Sullivan Family and The Country Store (a group Carl formed with his dear friend, the late Keith Whitley), Glen Campbell hired Carl and for the next twelve years introduced him around the globe as “the greatest banjo player in the world.”

“Glen came to town to play the Ohio state fair, and being huge fans of his, Keith and I went out to see the show,” recalls Jackson. “Afterwards we ran into Glen’s banjo player, Larry McNeely, who persuaded me to come by the next day for a jam session. After picking for a while, Larry suddenly told me he had been looking for someone to take his place with Glen, because he was tired of traveling and that I was the guy. Larry took me to meet and play for Glen and he hired me on the spot.”

During his years with Glen, Carl concentrated heavily on his vocal and songwriting abilities as well as his musicianship. When it was time to leave Glen’s show and strike out on his own, there were more great things in store for Carl.

Jackson and Emmylou Harris

He went on to record two albums for Capitol Records (Carl Jackson: Banjo Player and Old Friends), three for Sugar Hill (Banjo Man: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs, Song Of The South, and Banjo Hits), and his 1984 signing with Columbia Records produced the top 40 country songs, “She’s Gone, Gone, GoneandDixie Train.”

As a vocalist, you can hear him on recordings with Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Pam Tillis, Martina McBride, Marty Stuart, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams Jr., Rodney Crowell, George Jones, Travis Tritt, Merle Haggard, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, and tons more.

Hundreds of Jackson’s songs have been recorded, with sales in excess of 40 million, by such artists as Vince Gill (“No Future In The Past”), Glen Campbell (“Letter to Home”), Wild Rose (“Breaking New Ground”), Pam Tillis (“Put Yourself In My Place”), Trisha Yearwood (“Lonesome Dove”)Garth Brooks (“Against The Grain”), Diamond Rio (“Close To The Edge”), Patty Loveless (“You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are”), Steve Wariner (“The Same Mistake Again”), and Brad Paisley (“Huck Finn Blues”). He also penned theme songs for the California Angels and the Ole Miss Rebels.

Jackson has won numerous awards including Grammys, five IBMA Awards, three SPBGMA Awards, three ASCAP Awards, a Dove Award, and an International TV Programming Award. He’s a member of the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame and SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats. He will be honored Feb. 16 with a Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in Music.

Jackson’s rich body of production credits currently includes bluegrass and country award winners Joey + Rory, Bradley Walker, and Alecia Nugent. One of his finest production successes is the star-packed tribute album Livin,’ Lovin,’ Losin’—Songs Of The Louvin Brothers, which won the 2003 Grammy for Country Album of the Year. He worked on Merle Haggard’s The Bluegrass Sessions and joins Alison Krauss on the album’s “Hungry Eyes.” He also sings on Paisley’s recent hit “This Is Country Music.”

Jackson also produced the 2011 project Mark Twain: Words & Music featuring Emmylou Harris, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rhonda Vincent, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, and many more.

Producer’s Chair: Who is your most cherished mentor?
Carl Jackson: That would easily be my Dad. There is also Bud Rose, from east Tennessee, who gave me two or three banjo lessons. If you’re talking about a star, I’d have to say Glen Campbell, as well as Emmylou. Glen was an incredible mentor and taught me so much about singing and performing, along with a few things not to do. My songwriting mentor would have to be Jim Rushing.

Jackson with Dolly Parton

Do you currently have a publisher?
No, I’m self-published. I don’t even have a plugger right now. That side of the business is so time consuming, you know, always dealing with whatever the latest excuses are for not cutting a song.
What is your involvement with the IBMA and what challenges does the organization face?
I’m on the IBMA Board of Directors, a member of the Executive Committee and I also serve as the IBMA Fan Fest producer. We have the same issues as other organizations. We’re bleeding money. We need more members. We need to make it bigger by making more people aware of what a great genre bluegrass music is.

What do you look for when deciding which artists to produce?
First of all the artist has to meet my qualifications. I look for good singers with the ability to recognize a good song. I also want to see their willingness to stand up for what they believe in. I ask them up front, “If there’s a song that somebody pushes at you—and even if you believe that it is a hit—but you hate the song, do you have the courage to say no? Because I have the courage to stand with you.”
How do you guide artists through the song selection process?
Bottom line, if they don’t want to record it, I’m not going to try to make them. Those artists who have great talent and stand firm in their convictions usually wind up being the Alison Krausses of the world, and gain respect across all genres. There are plenty of people who are going to like what you like, if it’s good. Too often in this town it seems we’re trying to get everybody to be a fan of the same thing.
Let’s discuss the current popularity of bluegrass.
I actually think it’s always been quite popular, but maybe hasn’t received the recognition and credit it deserves. When you listen to a country record and realize it’s Stuart Duncan or Aubrey Haynie on fiddle; the Dobro player is Rob Ickes, Randy Kohrs, or Jerry Douglas; or it’s covered with beautiful bluegrass harmonies, you realize just how much influence bluegrass musicians have even in today’s country. The best musicians in the world are bluegrass musicians. They can play anything. Just ask any producer in country who they want on acoustic guitar, it will be Bryan Sutton, he’s the best.

When you produce a multi-artist project, do you produce every track?
Yes, absolutely. For example, on the Louvin Brothers project, I refused to let anyone else do it and Universal South label execs Tony Brown and Tim Dubois stood behind me on that decision—actually applauded me for it. I’ve always been so grateful to them for their confidence in me. On the Mark Twain project I went in with full creative control.

Jackson and Glen Campbell

What is the biggest surprise of your career?
So many things in my career have been surprises, like getting with Glen Campbell for the first time. There are three or four pages in my high school yearbook where classmates wrote, “See you on Glen Campbell some day.” When it happened, it was like it was supposed to happen. Like winning the Grammys, it was a big surprise but it also felt as if it was meant to be. I can only explain it by saying God has been very good to me. I dreamed about working for Glen Campbell and all of a sudden, there it was.

Is there anything about the Nashville music industry that disappoints you?
I am very happy for people who do well, but I’m disappointed to see Country music almost wiped off the screen for pop music. Country has become another kind of music. You can call it country, and we can even call a lot of it good, but at some point, it’s just not country. Ray Price, Haggard, Glen Campbell, and countless other great country artists wouldn’t stand a chance these days. That is a crime. If we can agree that Merle is country, can’t we safely say that Rascal Flatts is not country? That’s not saying they aren’t good, but should we call it country? Maybe I’m just completely confused and Beethoven was actually composing bluegrass breakdowns? I think I hear a difference though. Sometimes if you don’t look down the road at what you’re doing and instead you look short-term, you wind up in a mess.
Have you ever been asked to run a label?
Merv Griffin wanted to start a label here in town before he passed away and I was the guy he was talking to. Merv was willing to give me total creative control. Funny story…my friend Frank Liddell, was having lunch in LA and wound up meeting Merv. When Frank was introduced as a producer and publisher from Nashville, Merv said “Frank, I’m so glad to meet you, do you know my good friend Carl Jackson?” Frank laughed, he was expecting, “Do you know Tim McGraw or Garth Brooks?”

Taylor Swift Video To Debut Globally

Taylor Swift performing with the Civil Wars at the Ryman. Photo Credit: Ed Rode

Taylor Swift and Viacom have partnered to introduce the new music video for “Safe and Sound,” featuring the Civil Wars, across multiple global platforms on Mon., Feb., 13. The debut is expected to reach more than 600 million households in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, Australia, Asia and Africa.

The “Safe and Sound” clip will premiere at 7:54 PM/ET during the MTV News special MTV First: Taylor Swift, and air simultaneously across all MTV channels including Swift will introduce the video on-air before sitting for an exclusive 30-minute interview with MTV News’ Sway Calloway. Afterward, the video will premiere on VH1 and CMT.

Fans can submit questions for the interview by Twittering to @MTVNews with hashtags: #AskTaylor and #MTVFirst.

The single is featured on the companion soundtrack for The Hunger Games film, due in theaters March 23. The soundtrack will be released for purchase in advance of the film. “Safe and Sound” was produced by T Bone Burnett and has been available for purchase since Dec. 23, 2011.

T.J. Martell Foundation Announces Honorees

The T.J. Martell Foundation has just announced the honorees for its fourth annual Honors Gala. The invitation-only event is scheduled for 5:30 pm Monday, March 26 at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville.

Individuals being honored at the 2012 gala:
Songwriter Kris Kristofferson — Frances William Preston Lifetime Music Industry Award
Executive Joe Galante — Tony Martell Lifetime Entertainment Achievement Award
Colin Reed, Gaylord Entertainment Chairman/CEO — Lifetime Humanitarian Award
Tom Cigarran, Healthways Co-Founder and Nashville Predators Chairman/Co-Owner — Spirit of Nashville Award
C. Wright Pinson, M.B.A., MD, deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of Vanderbilt Health System — Lifetime Medical Achievement Award

The Honors Gala brings together leaders from the business, medical, sports, and entertainment communities to raise funds and awareness for cancer research at top US hospitals, including the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

“This event is truly special. It is one of the only times such a diverse group of professionals, entertainers and civic leaders come together for an evening that benefits such a vital cause. Through this signature event, the T.J. Martell Foundation has raised approximately $1.3 million for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research,” said Laura Heatherly, CEO of the T.J. Martell Foundation.

Co-chairs for the gala include David Corlew, Blue Hat Records/Charlie Daniels Band; Kitty Moon Emery, KittyMoon Enterprises; and Steve Hauser, WME. Table sponsorships start at $10,000, and individual tickets are $1,000. More info here.

MusicRowPics: “Act Of Valor” Movie Premiere

Relativity Music Group and Capitol Records Nashville hosted a private advance screening of Act of Valor last night at the Regal Green Hills cinema to celebrate the soundtrack featuring a few of Nashville’s biggest stars.

The soundtrack includes offerings from Keith Urban, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins, Lori McKenna, Jake Owen, Montgomery Gentry, Josh Kelley, Hunter Hayes and Wynonna and will be released Feb. 21.

The Bandito Brothers’ film, produced and directed Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh, stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs and will be released to theaters Feb. 24.



Photo Spread: Road Trip To See Miranda, Chris, and Jerrod

Sony Music Nashville hosted a road trip Thursday night to Huntsville, AL to catch Miranda Lambert’s On Fire tour with guests Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann.

Offerings included a buffet dinner at The Eaves in Huntsville (a highly recommended stop for anyone traveling to Huntsville), a meet & greet before the show (Miranda-rita’s were flowing), and energy-packed sets by Niemann, Young, and Lambert.

Jerrod Niemann came out strong. There’s no denying that when the first lick of “What Do You Want” drowned the room, the crowd was fully engaged. “Lover, Lover” beckoned the audience into a full chorus sing-along. We also had an interesting discussion of our first names backstage, but I digress.

Chris Young followed with a full assortment of his hits and new material from his latest album, Neon. And it was a real treat for me to pay homage to Young while slow dancing in the audience with his mom, Becky.

Lambert offered a fantastic mix of songs from Four The Record, as well as her past chart toppers. She admitted it had been a tough week—due to the death of a childhood friend, father-in-law, and a beloved pet dog—which only strengthened the connection between her and the crowd. For the last number, she brought the boys back onstage, giving the fans an extra treat. Going to a Lambert concert is like hanging out with a friend and when you leave, you realize why you like her so dang much.