Lauren Watkins Plans On ‘Introducing: The Heartbreak’ This November

Album Art: Courtesy of Big Loud Records/Songs & Daughters. Photo: Luke Rogers

Lauren Watkins will release Introducing: The Heartbreak, the second installment of her debut project, on Nov. 17, and unveil two of the new tracks on Oct. 20.

Produced by Joey Moi, Introducing: The Heartbreak is made up of six originals co-written by Watkins alongside hitmakers Jessie Jo Dillon, Ashley Monroe, The Warren Brothers, Nicolle Galyon, Rodney Clawson, David Garcia and more. It serves as a continuation of her April-released debut, Introducing: Lauren Watkins. Joined by fellow singer-songwriters Carter Faith and Jake Worthington on the collection, the Nashville songstress’ talent and collaborative capabilities as both a writer and an artist shine.

Introducing: The Heartbreak is basically the next step in introducing myself and my music to the world,” says Watkins. “First, I released Introducing: Lauren Watkins, which was just saying, ‘Here’s me, here’s where I came from, what I’m influenced by.’ This is the next step, going even deeper into who I am, what I’ve gone through, how I think about things. It’s truly introducing the heartbreak I’ve experienced, which will eventually roll out into something much bigger.

“For now,” she teases, “it’s these six songs that tell the top-to-bottom story of a love, and it’s the perfect introduction to what comes next. I hope you love it like I do.”

Additionally, Watkins will bring her residency, The Heartbreak Supper Club, to Nashville’s Springwater Supper Club & Lounge on Oct. 17, Oct. 31 and Nov. 14. She will also hit the road this fall and winter to support Austin Snell‘s “Muddy Water Rockstar Tour” and Conner Smith‘s “Creek Will Rise Tour” before an exciting year of touring in 2024, where she’ll debut at Stagecoach and support Morgan Wallen on several “One Night At A Time 2024 Tour” stadium dates.

Introducing: The Heartbreak Track Listing:
1. “Fine County Line” (Lauren Watkins, Rodney Clawson, Nicolle Galyon)
2. “Jealous of Jane” (Lauren Watkins, Caroline Watkins, Brad Warren, Brett Warren)
3. “Fly On The Wall (feat. Jake Worthington)” (Lauren Watkins, Andy Sheridan, Brad Warren, Brett Warren)
4. “Stuck In My Ways” (Lauren Watkins, Will Bundy, David Garcia, Emily Landis)
5. “Cowboys on Music Row (feat. Carter Faith)” (Lauren Watkins, Jessie Jo Dillon, Carter Faith, Lauren Hungate, Ashley Monroe, Caroline Watkins)
6. “The Table” (Lauren Watkins, Nicolle Galyon, Brad Warren, Brett Warren)

Industry Ink: Lindsay Brandt, The Swon Brothers, Bernard Porter

Lindsay Brandt Named VP/Marketing, Creative At Fantasy Records

Lindsay Brandt. Photo: Brent Mullins

Lindsay Brandt has been appointed VP of Marketing, Creative at Fantasy Records. In the newly created position, Brandt will serve as Fantasy’s in-house Creative Director and Head of Marketing with a focus on content development and digital strategy, reporting to Fantasy President, Margi Cheske.

Brandt was previously Sr. Director, Creative & Digital for Activist Artists Management in Los Angeles. A graduate of Hofstra University, the New York native began her career at Mick Management in 2007 handling digital strategy where she worked with John Mayer and Walk The Moon. In 2014, Brandt moved to C3 Presents, where she signed the alt-electro outfit Mutemath and launched the independent label and publishing operations. In 2018, she established her own creative agency and artist management company, Honest Defector, working alongside musicians and visual artists in brand development, marketing, and touring strategy.


The Swon Brothers Celebrate New Album Covers Vol 1 At The Late Great

Pictured (L-R): Shelby Kennedy (ONErpm) Vanessa Davis (Manager), Janice Jackson (Travellers Hollow Music), Erin Patterson (Dir. of Tour Marketing,Agent/DADP), Zach Swon, Colton Swon, Danielle DeMaso (FBMM Balance) and Cheri Cranford (Splash)

The Swon Brothers, comprised of Zach and Colton, hosted a release party for their latest album Covers Vol 1, rocking the house with some guilty pleasures from the project at The Late Great at the Virgin Hotel Nashville on Friday night (Sept. 29).

The duo treated guests to a special full band performance of some of their favorites from the new album, and surprised attendees when they were joined by Heath Wright of Ricochet for the live version of their focus track, the Ronnie Milsap classic “No Gettin’ Over Me.” Blake Shelton also makes a guest appearance on the new album courtesy of Warner Music Nashville on the Swons’ version of the Kenny Rogers classic, “Love Or Something Like It.”


Bernard Porter Named Global Media Archives Representative

Bernard Porter, PCG and Joey Kent, President and CEO Global Media Archives

Bernard Porter of PCG has been appointed as Representative for Global Media Archives. With an extensive collection that includes the renowned Louisiana Hayride recordings, Global Media Archives is poised to bring legendary music to a global audience.

Porter’s appointment comes on the heels of his instrumental role in securing worldwide distribution through a partnership with BFE/Audium/Sony Orchard for the highly anticipated ICON Series. The series will showcase individual releases featuring legends such as Elvis, Hank Williams, George Jones, Johnny Cash and Faron Young.

Porter says, “I’m thrilled to bridge my relationships with Global Media Archives and the BFE/Orchard team. Together, we are committed to preserving and promoting these iconic master recordings and bringing them to the ears of music enthusiasts worldwide. The ICON Series is just the beginning, and we look forward to many more remarkable releases in the future.”

All Clear Music, Fuji Music Group Acquire Will Jennings’ Catalog

Will Jennings

All Clear Music and Fuji Music Group has acquired 100% interest of the publishing rights and writer’s share of songwriter Will Jennings’ catalog.

Jennings has penned timelessly beloved songs for an eclectic range of artists such as Steve Winwood, Whitney Houston, Roy Orbison, B.B. King, Celine Dion and Tim McGraw, among others. His iconic hits include “Back in the High Life Again,” “While You See a Chance,” “Please Remember Me,” “Where Are You Christmas,” “Somewhere in the Night,” “Higher Love,” “Up Where We Belong,” “Tears In Heaven,” “Can’t We Go On Together,” “People Alone” and “Street Life.”

Jennings’ biggest hit remains the 1997’s Titanic theme “My Heart Will Go On.” The song, written by Jennings and composer James Horner and sung by Celine Dion, earned numerous Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes, and became the most-played radio hit in history according to the Songwriter Hall of Fame.

Jennings was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York and The Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame in Austin.

Born in Kilgore Texas, and relocated to Tyler, Texas as a child, Jennings primarily loved the iconic blues songs influenced by B.B. King. He recognized that he couldn’t make a living writing three-chord songs about the blues, so he studied poetry and earned degrees that landed him a job as an Associate Professor of English and French literature at the University of Wisconsin. Jennings’ love of music overwhelmed his desire to teach, and he eventually decided to move to Nashville to write songs. That move caught the attention of music publisher Lance Freed.

“We signed Will Jennings to a publishing agreement with Almo/Irving Music publishing around 1974,” shares Freed, President of All Clear Music. “His work as a lyricist initially landed him several opportunities to write contemporary pop songs, and he began a collaboration with Richard Kerr (‘Mandy’). He moved on and wrote songs with notables like Joe Sample, Steve Winwood, B.B. King, James Horner, Jimmy Buffet, Roy Orbison, and Rodney Crowell.”

“Will’s catalog is so diverse and rich, it’s a publisher’s dream,” adds Darrell Franklin, SR VP of Sheltered Music, All Clear Music’s Nashville Division. “He excelled in whatever direction his musical muse led him. Whether it was pop, rock, R&B, country, the blues or music for film, he wrote songs that we have all come to know by heart. He was never bound by any specific genre.”

Ichi Asatsuma, Chairman of Fuji Music Group, adds, “We are very honored to represent one of the world’s finest songwriters with Lance Freed’s All Clear Music, and we will give his music the very best promotion and all the respect it richly deserves.”

Anthem Entertainment Makes Leadership Changes, Promotes Nashville’s Noah Dewey

Pictured (L-R, back row): Jennifer Correia, Gilles Godard, Joanne Kelsey, Andrew Jamal, Andy Hawke, Noah Dewey, Stephanie Haas and Dave Collier; (L-R, front row): Adrian Battiston, Ryan Cain, Tom Leighton, Sal Fazzari, Jason Klein, Andy Curran and Courtney Crist

Anthem Entertainment has made several senior leadership changes across its music publishing and recorded music divisions, including in its Nashville office.

At the helm of Anthem Entertainment is Jason Klein, who is now the company’s permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Prior to becoming CEO, Klein held the role of Senior Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs and General Manager for Anthem’s Canadian operations. He was appointed to the interim CEO position in January.

Sal Fazzari has been appointed permanent Chief Financial Officer (CFO), also following his interim appointment to the role earlier this year. Fazzari was formerly Vice-President Finance and held previous senior roles in Acquisitions and Royalty Administration.

In Music City, Gilles Godard will continue to serve as President of Anthem’s Nashville-based music publishing operation. Noah Dewey has been promoted to a new role as VP, Creative. Courtney Crist will continue as Senior Director, Creative.

“I have had the privilege to be part of this company for the last 16 years and couldn’t be more excited about the new executive team and the entire Anthem organization,” says Godard. “Anthem is a world class music publisher with very talented people, and we have a real opportunity to grow it to the next level with Jason as our new CEO. I am proud to be part of this new leadership team!”

Other leadership shifts include Tom Leighton, who has been promoted to VP, Licensing, where he will continue to lead the company’s digital licensing activity and will now oversee sync and general licensing. Joanne Kelsey will also continue her role as VP, Royalties & Administration.

In the Anthem Records division, Andy Hawke has been promoted to General Manager and Andy Curran re-joins the team as Senior A&R Consultant. In Anthem’s legal division, Adrian Battiston has been promoted to VP, Legal & Business Affairs; Amanda Dworetsky has been promoted to Senior Director, Legal & Business Affairs and Jennifer Correia was also recently appointed as Senior Director, Legal & Canadian Operations.

Additionally, Andrew Jamal has been appointed Director, Business Development, leading Anthem’s acquisitions team, as Ryan Cain joins the company as Director of Marketing & Communications. Rounding out Anthem’s senior leadership team are Stephanie Haas, who returns to the company as VP, Human Resources; and Dave Collier, who joined the company in late 2022 as VP, Technology.

“I appreciate being given the opportunity to lead this great company into its next era with the support of an incredible team,” says Klein. “It’s a privilege to be custodian of such an extraordinary catalog of songs and recordings, to be in a position to support the careers and work of an outstanding roster of songwriters, and to lead the dedicated team of people that make this company exceptional. Anthem is poised to become one of the world’s most impactful independent music companies, driving value for our writers and investors while making a positive and lasting mark in our industry and communities. I’m very excited for the future!”

Anthem’s production music group continues to be led by JD Adams (5 Alarm Music), along with Brian Wahlund (Jingle Punks) and Gareth Owen (Cavendish Music). Anthem’s London-based subsidiary business, Compact Media Group, remains led by Mark Rowland.

On The Row: Avery Anna Taps Into Her Deepest Emotions For Inspiration

Avery Anna. Photo: Ford Fairchild.

Avery Anna taps into her realest emotions when writing, spinning lyric ideas from her journal entries that date back through her childhood.

The singer-songwriter grew up playing sports in Arizona. In order to process the emotions that come with growing up, she turned to journaling, and then to music.

“Whenever something would happen in my life, I would just write about it. I didn’t even know, really, what I was doing,” Anna tells MusicRow. “The first time I ever started journaling, I was eight. When I got baptized at my church, my aunt got me a journal with a bunch of pictures of me on it. She said to write down how I felt so I didn’t forget about it. Ever since then, I’ve always just written it down.

“I would cram in music in any of the free time I had, like late at night and then early in the mornings,” she shares. “I was just doing sports while growing up. Then, when COVID hit, I was able to have the space to really create.”

Anna spent the pandemic season honing her skills, and sharing her songs and more with a growing audience on social media. Her videos of singing covers in her mother’s bathroom garnered lots of industry attention, and caught the eye of Parmalee‘s Matt Thomas.

“All of the stars have really aligned. I’m just so grateful to be here. I don’t even know how this happened to me. It was just so random—they plucked me out of Arizona and now I’m here,” Anna remembers. One of her early tracks to take off online was “Narcissist,” a deeply personal musing that Anna says hit the hardest.

“The whole journaling thing inspires all of my songs,” says Anna. “I could live without releasing them, really. I just wrote [songs] to get it off my chest. In releasing them, I feel like it’s created a space for people to share their stories, which is the goal for songwriting for artists.”

The RIAA Gold-certified “Narcissist,” written with Andy Sheridan, Ben Williams and David Fanning, gained even more traction when Kelly Clarkson covered it on her famed Kelly-oke segment on The Kelly Clarkson Show.

In June 2022, Anna signed with Warner Music Nashville. She released her debut EP, Mood Swings, later that year.

“Self Love,” a ballad co-written with Fanning, Andrew Goldstein, Ava Suppelsa and Zarni de Vette, marked Anna’s first release of 2023. “It’s [about] just being the people pleaser and giving and giving and giving—and then knowing that you need to love yourself and give yourself the time of day,” Anna explains.

Her latest single, “Worst In Me,” released Aug. 4. Co-written with Suppelsa and Danielle Blakey, features Anna diving deep into her emotions in real time. “I feel like I wasn’t really ready to let this person go in my real life. I didn’t want to write about it because that would mean that I had to move on.”

For Anna, the shift to becoming a touring musician was an adjustment, but has also brought a lot of joy. Being on stage keeps her motivated to interact with fans who are eager to hear her and share in her story.

“I was scared that I would hate it because [artists] have to tour, but I love it so much. Music has been such a safe place for me for my whole life. On the other hand, it’s really cool to create a space for other people to be who they are and feel how they feel.”

Online, Anna has racked up over 1.5 million followers and 35 million likes across platforms. She is releasing as many singles as she can for her fans, and is preparing for the release of her album.

Hardy Cancels Upcoming Shows After Hospitalization For Anxiety

Hardy. Photo: Ryan Smith

Hardy announced the cancellation of upcoming shows via a statement released on Instagram yesterday (Oct. 3). The five-time ACM Award-winner canceled his stops in Simpsonville, South Carolina (Oct. 5) and Brandon, Mississippi (Oct. 7) as part of “The Mockingbird And The Crow Tour.” The Big Loud artist was also set to headline the Georgia Rodeo in Athens, Georgia on Oct. 6, which he has rescheduled.

Citing “serious anxiety” heightened in the wake of his tour bus crash from last fall, Hardy shared that he has suffered panic attacks that have landed him in the hospital.

“I need a moment to focus on me and to make myself better for my wife, family and you, the fans,” shares Hardy.


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Refunds for tickets both shows are available for fans. The Georgia Rodeo has been rescheduled for April 12, 2024, and purchased tickets will be valid for the new date.

Hardy aims to return to the road in good health by his show in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Oct. 12.

Matraca Berg To Be Honored At 2023 BMI Country Awards

Matraca Berg

Groundbreaking songwriter Matraca Berg will be honored with the BMI Icon Award during the 71st annual BMI Country Awards. The annual, invitation-only event will be held at BMI’s Nashville office on Nov. 7. BMI’s President and CEO, Mike O’ Neill will host the event with Nashville’s VP of Creative, Clay Bradley.

The Country Songwriter of the Year, Country Song of the Year and Country Publisher of the Year will also be honored during the awards, as will the top songwriters and music publishers behind this past year’s 50 most-performed songs in country music.

The BMI Icon Award is given to exceptional songwriters in recognition of their unique and indelible influence on music makers over many generations. In receiving this award, Berg joins an impressive list of country legends including Toby Keith, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Dean Dillon and Hank Williams, Jr., as well as multi-genre creatives Stevie Nicks, Little Richard, Carole King, Patti LaBelle, Brian Wilson, James Brown, Janet Jackson, Bo Diddley, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Peter Gabriel, Al Green, Van Morrison, Sting, Bryan Ferry, Carlos Santana, Los Lobos and more.

“Matraca Berg’s exceptional songwriting talent has woven the threads of emotion and storytelling into musical tapestries that transcend generations,” says Bradley. “We are honored to present her with this year’s BMI Icon Award in recognition of her ability to capture the essence of life’s joys, trials and tribulations with lyrical depth and emotional resonance.”

Berg’s career has spanned nearly four decades. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee scored her first No. 1 hit at age 18 with 1983’s “Faking Love.” She scored her first Grammy nomination at 22 and became the first woman to have five No. 1 hits in a single calendar year.

Berg’s collection of chart-topping songs includes Deana Carter’s iconic standard and 1997 CMA Song of the Year “Strawberry Wine” and its follow-up “We Danced Anyway,” as well as Martina McBride’s “Wild Angels,” Trisha Yearwood’s “Wrong Side of Memphis” and “XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl),” Patty Loveless’ classics “I’m That Kind of Girl” and “You Can Feel Bad,” and Gretchen Wilson’s Grammy-nominated “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today.” Her hits also include Suzy Bogguss’ “Hey Cinderella,” Reba McEntire’s “The Last One To Know,” the Chicks’ “If I Fall You’re Going Down With Me” and Kenny Chesney’s award-winning Grace Potter duet “You & Tequila.”

SoundExchange Taps Peter Karafotas To Lead Legislative & Advocacy Efforts

Peter Karafotas

Peter Karafotas has been appointed Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy at SoundExchange.

Previously, Karafotas served as Chief of Staff to Ranking Member David N. Cicilline, where he oversaw issues related to intellectual property and music. Karafotas’ career on the Hill includes Communications Director, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director roles. He has also served as the Vice President of Operations for the media and strategic communications consulting firm Adelstein | Liston. He received his BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Karafotas replaces Linda Bloss-Baum, who recently left SoundExchange after nearly a decade with the company to pursue her passion in academia at American University. He will be based in Washington, D.C. and report to SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe.

“Peter will be an incredible asset to SoundExchange with his extensive experience serving on the Hill and tackling some of the nation’s most pressing challenges,” says Huppe. “I am thrilled to have someone with Peter’s expertise at the helm of our Government Relations & Public Policy department at a time when SoundExchange is amplifying our legislative efforts to ensure creators are paid fairly.”

With over 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill, Karafotas will oversee SoundExchange’s global public policy and legislative issues that impact the company. He will lead the development of a proactive public policy strategy to help SoundExchange fulfill its mission of protecting creators and the value of music and will also provide policymakers with a stronger understanding of the international political landscape for the music industry.

“I’m excited to embark on this new journey with SoundExchange,” says Karafotas. “I truly believe this is a great opportunity to utilize my experience to energize SoundExchange’s already formidable advocacy efforts to ensure creators get paid fairly for their work.”

New Alan L. Mayor Photo Retrospective On Display At The Bobby Hotel

The works of the late, legendary country photojournalist Alan L. Mayor are being presented in a one-of-a-kind exhibit crafted by the Bobby Hotel team, the Americana Music Association, MTSU’s Center for Popular Music and the Alan L. Mayor Estate at the Bobby Nashville.

The exhibition’s opening shot, Dolly Parton at the 1989 CMA Awards. Photo: Alan L. Mayor

Mayor’s extensive archive includes images of iconic country artists reflected through the decades of the country music industry. The exhibit, “The Collection: Alan L. Mayor: A Nashville Retrospective 1974-1999,” went on display Sept. 6 and will remain open through Jan. 6, 2024. The public exhibit is located within the common areas of Bobby Nashville, including the lobby, the Union Tavern Bar and restaurant, as well as the second floor. There is no admission fee.

From the 1970s, Mayor established himself on Music Row as the go-to photojournalist of the Nashville music industry, capturing the personal lives and careers of many Nashville artists before his passing in 2015. Over 60 of his photos are on display, and the exclusive retrospective takes viewers back to a time during country’s evolution as young talents were emerging.

Mayor’s lens captured the wild energy of the outlaw movement, the rise of artists such as Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks, and countless other candid moments. Many of the images reflect iconic moments on stage, from Porter Wagoner’s bedazzled suits to a duet with Tammy Wynette and George Jones, while other photos capture more intimate moments behind the scenes such as Ricky Skaggs and wife Sharon White in the crowd at the Station Inn.

Mayor published a collection of photos, The Nashville Family Album, a Country Music Scrapbook during his career. His clients included The Tennessean, Nashville Banner, Billboard, MusicRow Magazine and many more.

Country Music Stars Surprise 2023 CMA Broadcast Award Winners

CMA Broadcast Personality of the Year (Large Market) winners “Wayne D” Danielson and Tay Hamilton of WSIX in Nashville

The Country Music Association (CMA) has revealed the recipients of the 2023 CMA Broadcast Awards. Nine-time CMA Award nominee this year, Lainey Wilson, and three-time CMA Award nominee this year, Jordan Davis, surprised radio stations and broadcast personalities today with one-on-one calls to reveal the news. 

See below for the full list of 2023 CMA Broadcast Awards winners.

CMA Broadcast Personality of the Year:

Weekly National
Country Countdown USA (Lon Helton) – Compass Media Networks

Daily National  
Angie Ward (Angie Ward) – iHeartMedia

Major Market 
Hawkeye in the Morning with Hawkeye and Michelle (“Hawkeye” Mark Louis Rybczyk and Michelle Rodriguez) – KSCS, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Large Market 
The Wayne D Show (“Wayne D” Danielson and Tay Hamilton) – WSIX, Nashville, Tennessee

Medium Market 
Mo & StyckMan (Melissa “Mo” Wagner and Greg “StyckMan” Owens) – WUSY, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Small Market
Steve, Ben and Nikki (Steve Stroud, Ben Walker and Nikki Thomas) – WXBQ, Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia

CMA Radio Station of the Year:

Major Market
KEEY – Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota

Large Market
WUBE – Cincinnati, Ohio

Medium Market 
KUZZ – Bakersfield, California

Small Market 
WXBQ – Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia

The categories are established by market size based on population as ranked by Nielsen. Entries for Broadcast Personality of the Year are judged on aircheck, ratings, community involvement and biographical and impact information. Candidates for Radio Station of the Year are judged on aircheck, ratings, community involvement and leadership and impact information.

This year, any full-time, on-air broadcast personalities and radio stations in the United States and Canada were eligible to submit entries, regardless of CMA membership status. The entries are judged by a panel of distinguished broadcast professionals, representing all market sizes and regions.

CMA Broadcast Awards winners are not eligible to enter the same award category in consecutive years; therefore, those who received trophies in 2022 were not eligible in 2023.

The 57th Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, will air live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. CT on ABC.