Luke Combs Ranks No. 1 On ‘MusicRow’ CountryBreakout Radio Chart

Luke Combs earns his fourth MusicRow Challenge Coin of 2020 with “Better Together.” His previous single, “Lovin’ On You” stayed at No. 1 for two weeks in August, and “Does To Me” (feat. Eric Church) graced No. 1 in March. He also received songwriter credit for “I Hope You’re Happy Now” by Carly Pearce and Lee Brice, which rose to No. 1 in January and remained for a second week in February.

“Better Together” was written by Combs, Dan Isbell, and Randy Montana. Montana ranks No. 2 on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart while Combs and Isbell rank No. 9 and No. 30 respectively.

In October, Combs made history with his current album release, as the only country artist in Apple Music history to reach No. 1 on Apple Music’s US Albums chart twice. Over the past 12 months, Combs has earned the most streams on Apple Music of any country artist, and his total stream count over the past 12 months is 62% higher than the next biggest country artist.

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BREAKING: Radio Disney, Radio Disney Country To Close


Disney will cease operations for Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country, beginning in the first quarter of 2021, according to an announcement made Thursday (Dec. 3) by Disney Branded Television President and Chief Creative Officer Gary Marsh. The closures will impact 36 full-time and part-time employees.

The announcement follows the recent structural changes that find Disney Branded Television increasing its focus on producing kids and family content for Disney+ and Disney Channels. Radio Disney in Latin America is a separate operation and is not impacted by the announcement today.

Radio Disney launched in November 1996 as a terrestrial broadcast network; by 2005, Radio Disney was available in 97% of the U.S. via more than 50 terrestrial radio stations and SiriusXM, and had offshoots in the UK, Japan and Latin America. Radio Disney Country launched in 2015 as a digital-only platform, before expanding in 2017 with the launch of two Los Angeles terrestrial stations and increased digital streaming.

MusicRow Reveals 2021 Next Big Thing Artists List

MusicRow is proud to reveal its list of artists, who in 2021, are predicted to become the Next Big Thing (NBT). The annual NBT list features 11 artists, who are each profiled in MusicRow‘s latest 2021 Touring Issue print magazine, which hits shelves today (Dec. 1).

MusicRow Magazine’s Next Big Thing Class of 2021 has set itself apart from today’s artists with talent and hard work. Some of these NBT artists have just released their first singles, while others are celebrating chart-topping hits. All have broken through by bringing unique styles and by surrounding themselves with team members who champion them.

They are diverse in sound, style and level of success, but what they have in common is extraordinary talent and a passion for today’s ever-evolving country music format. These future stars are sure to lure a broad spectrum of listeners to the genre’s growing umbrella. And with touring at a standstill during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these up-and-comers are making the most of their social media savviness.

Single copies of MusicRow’s Touring Issue are available for purchase at for $45, and are included with yearly MusicRow memberships.

MusicRow Magazine’s 2021 Next Big Thing Artists:


Bad Realm/Atlantic Records / self-published / WME / Why & How Projects/SAL&CO / BMI

BRELAND roared into the burgeoning territory of country-trap with his co-written and self-released smash “My Truck.” The track blew up on social media, reaching Gold certification and a music video with more than 30 million views, and solidified his place as a pioneer of the sub-genre that melds rural lyrical references and hip-hop beats.

As a songwriter, BRELAND previously scored cuts by rappers ELHAE and YK Osiris, and recently Trey Songz. After “My Truck” took off, a record deal followed, and BRELAND’s self-titled EP affirmed his country status with guest appearances by Sam Hunt, Lauren Alaina, and Chase Rice.



Mercury Nashville/InDent Records / BMI

Buzzed-about singer-songwriter Priscilla Block signed with Universal Music Group Nashville this fall, bringing with her a significant fan base and fast-rising single “Just About Over You.” No wonder the labels were chomping at the bit—this Raleigh, North Carolina native is going to be a showstopper.

She’s a spitfire on sassy songs “Thick Thighs” and “PMS,” but has plenty of songwriting depth and vocal talent to back up these candid tracks.

One of five children, Block approaches life and music with an unapologetic, let-it-all-hang out attitude that resonates with listeners. Her fans rallied together to finance the studio recording of “Just About Over You” after hearing her play it online. Produced by Ross Copperman, the song shot to the top of the iTunes all-genre chart within 12 hours.



Warner Music Nashville / BMG / WME / T.R.U.T.H. Management / BMI

Shy Carter is a go-to songwriter and producer behind some of the biggest songs of the last decade—now he’s ready for his turn in the spotlight. He’s been criss-crossing the country on a quarantine-friendly bus tour, taking debut single “Good Love” to radio, spreading a message of gratitude destined to be his next hit.

The Memphis native merges gospel, R&B and soul influences with a love of storytelling, and the results have garnered critical acclaim and captivated millions of listeners.

His track record includes Charlie Puth’s “One Call Away,” Billy Currington’s “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To,” Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue,” Rob Thomas’ “Someday,” and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s “Speak To A Girl.” That’s in addition to his trio of Kane Brown hits (“Good As You,” “Worldwide Beautiful,” “Heaven”) and as a featured guest on Keith Urban’s “Never Comin’ Down.”



Mercury Nashville / RED Creative / WME / Red Light Management / BMI

Travis Denning scored his first No. 1 in 2020, with the enticing, driving rhythm of “After A Few,” and with 340 million streams under his belt buckle, this Georgia boy is just getting started.

Heading into 2021 he’s adding fuel to the fire with the clever new single “Where That Beer’s Been” (hint: he knows where it’s going). Denning also released fan-favorite track “Goodyears” after it grew to popularity during his live shows. “After A Few” and “Where That Beer’s Been” are from his recently-released debut EP Beer’s Better Cold.

Kicking off his career as a talented songwriter, Denning moved to Nashville and secured cuts by Jason Aldean, Justin Moore and others. Adding to his success this year is Michael Ray’s Top 20 single “Her World Or Mine,” which he co-wrote.



Curb Records / Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville / CAA / Victory Entertainment / BMI

When FILMORE moved to Nashville in 2011, he already had a load of performance experience, ranging from musicals to leading a band. As a solo artist he started independently releasing music, including the 2018 track “Slower” which racked up millions of streams and caught the attention of Curb Records.

His hooky debut album, State I’m In, is a hefty 18-song project chronicling a chapter of his life filled with ups and down, taken from experiences on the road and his hometown of Wildwood, Missouri.

FILMORE draws from a broad palate of influences, from his Colombian mother’s salsa music to his father’s 1980s favorites like John Mellencamp and Def Leppard. The result is a pop-friendly and radio-ready sound.



RCA Nashville / Warner Chappell / CAA / Make Wake / River House Artists / SESAC

Niko Moon is bringing laid back vibes to country radio—just like he’s been doing for more than a decade. The rising star, known as co-writer of five No. 1’s by Zac Brown Band, is riding high with his own Gold-certified single, “Good Time.” It is climbing the country charts and marks his first solo entry on the Billboard Hot 100 all-genre chart.

Originally from Texas, Moon relocated to Georgia as a child, absorbing the state’s country music influences as well as Atlanta’s hip-hop sound. Along the way he grew to embrace elements of the rural lifestyle and his musical family introduced him to artists such as John Prine and Patty Griffin.

He melds these influences into tracks “Paradise To Me,” and the newer “Dance With Me,” which he co-wrote with wife Anna Moon, and longtime co-producer Joshua Murty.



River House Artists/Columbia Nashville / Combustion / CAA / Red Light Management / ASCAP

Jameson Rodgers is one of today’s best new artists, offering rock sensibilities which fit snugly into a country radio playlist—that’s part of the appeal of his No. 1 debut single, “Some Girls.”

He can lean a little dark (“Midnight Daydream”), or veer smoothly into the mainstream sunshine with “Grew Up In The Country” and “Cold Beer Calling My Name” featuring Luke Combs. What all of Rodgers’ songs have in common are smart lyrics and his knack for selecting quality material.

It’s no surprise he’s a song man, he’s co-writer of Platinum-selling hits for Florida Georgia Line (“Talk You Out of It”) and Chris Lane (“I Don’t Know About You”) as well as the title track of Luke Bryan’s Born Here Live Here Die Here. Rodgers is the 2020 MusicRow Awards Robert K. Oermann Discovery Artist of the Year.



BBR Music Group/Wheelhouse Records / Rome Phrey Publishing / UTA / Maverick / BMI

Elvie Shane’s soulful Southern rock sound first caught the attention of the national audience during his 2016 appearance on American Idol, and grew exponentially two years later with the self-release of his song “My Boy.” The heartfelt song about his stepson became a viral sensation, and an anthem for non-traditional family dynamics.

Raised in Kentucky, Shane took small town sensibilities to heart, grew up on gospel music at the local Baptist church, and absorbed influences as varied as John Fogerty, Steve Earle, Roger Miller and The Temptations.

In 2019 Shane signed with BBR Music Group. The label began working “My Boy” at country radio in late September, with Shane performing about five full-band shows per day for six weeks as part of his virtual radio tour.



Big Machine Records / Eclipse Music Group / WME / The AMG / BMI

20-year-old guitar slinger Payton Smith is on the fast track to stardom. The Louisiana native’s debut single “Like I Knew You Would” is rising quickly at radio, powered by a sound sure to entice fans.

It’s one of the songs Smith co-wrote for his upbeat, self-titled EP produced by hitmaker James Stroud. On the tracks, Smith shows off a mix of solid songs, youthful charm and his killer skills as a multi-instrumentalist.

Smith’s onstage performance chops first caught the attention of BMLG Pres./CEO Scott Borchetta when the young artist was playing on a small stage at CMA Music Festival in 2018. After seeing Smith tear through his original songs, Borchetta signed him to the label.



Pigasus Records/Big Loud Records/Songs & Daughters / CAA / BRND MGMT/Make Wake Artists / ASCAP

The Dream has come to fruition. Hailey Whitters is on a hard-fought, well-deserved path toward lasting success. Long championed by the Nashville music industry, this singer-songwriter has come into her own as an artist, being recognized beyond Music City.

Her excellent album The Dream explores struggle, perseverance, happiness and hope, all delivered by her lovely, distinctive voice. Whitters doesn’t shy away from honest perspective—both her own and others’—offered by vivid characters like “Janice at the Hotel Bar.” Among many excellent songs on the album, one obvious standout is “Heartland,” about finding comfort in your hometown.

Whitters frequent collaborators include heavyweights like Lori McKenna with whom she co-wrote “Happy People,” which was previously recorded and released by Little Big Town and is now on The Dream. In 2020, Whitters was voted AIMP Nashville Rising Artist-Writer of the Year and was part of CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2020.



Broken Bow Records / Sony/ATV / WME / Red Light Management / ASCAP

Lainey Wilson’s debut EP, Redneck Hollywood, is an impressive piece of work from a debut artist, accented by her lilting twang and elevated songwriting. Adding to the appeal is production courtesy of studio wizard Jay Joyce.

Wilson wraps up a balance of spitfire and sensitivity into a radio-ready package. It’s a winning combination found on her current single “Things A Man Oughta Know.” The Louisiana native isn’t afraid to get rowdy on “Straight Up Sideways” and embraces her home state on the loosely autobiographical “LA.”

After landing her record deal with BBR Music Group/BMG, Wilson was selected as part of CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2019, and earned a spot opening for Morgan Wallen during his 2019 If I Know Me tour.

Rascal Flatts Tops ‘MusicRow’ CountryBreakout Radio Chart

“How They Remember You” by Rascal Flatts takes the No. 1 position on the CountryBreakout Radio Chart. This is the title track to the band’s latest EP released in July via Big Machine Records. The single was written by Marc Beeson, Josh Osborne, and Allen Shamblin.

Celebrating 20 years as a band this year, the group also released Twenty Years Of Rascal Flatts The Greatest Hits, a 20-song collection of the trio’s biggest and most sentimental smashes including 13 of the trio’s 17 No. 1 singles from “These Days” and “Fast Cars And Freedom,” to “Bless The Broken Road,” “My Wish” and many more.

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BREAKING: Taylor Swift, Brittany Howard, Ingrid Andress, Miranda Lambert Among Top Grammy Nominees

The nominees for The 63rd Grammy Awards were announced today (Nov. 24) by Chair and Interim Recording Academy President/CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and an eclectic group of past Grammy winners, nominees and other special guests, including artists Lauren Daigle, Mickey Guyton, Megan Thee StallionDua Lipa, Pepe Aguilar, Yemi Alade, Nicola Benedetti, and Imogen Heap, as well as CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King and The Talk host Sharon Osbourne.

This year’s nominees were selected from more than 23,000 submissions across 83 categories, reflecting work that defined the year in music (Sept. 1, 2019 — Aug. 31, 2020). The final round of Grammy voting is Dec. 7, 2020 — Jan. 4, 2021. The 63rd Grammy Awards will be broadcast on CBS on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. ET.

The Recording Academy also announced The Daily Show host and Grammy-nominated comedian Trevor Noah as host of The 63rd Grammy Awards. This will be the first time Noah will serve as host.

Here are the top nominees in selected categories:

Record Of The Year:
“Black Parade” — Beyoncé
“Colors” — Black Pumas
“Rockstar” — DaBaby Featuring Roddy Ricch
“Say So” — Doja Cat
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish
“Don’t Start Now” — Dua Lipa
“Circles” — Post Malone
“Savage” — Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé

Song Of The Year:
“Black Parade” — Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk & Rickie “Caso” Tice, songwriters (Beyoncé)
“The Box” — Samuel Gloade & Rodrick Moore, songwriters (Roddy Ricch)
“Cardigan” — Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
“Circles” — Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Kaan Gunesberk, Austin Post & Billy Walsh, songwriters (Post Malone)
“Don’t Start Now” — Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick, Dua Lipa & Emily Warren, songwriters (Dua Lipa)
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)
“I Can’t Breathe” — Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)
“If The World Was Ending” — Julia Michaels & JP Saxe, songwriters (JP Saxe Featuring Julia Michaels)

Album Of The Year:
Chilombo — Jhené Aiko
Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition) — Black Pumas
Everyday Life — Coldplay
Djesse Vol. 3 — Jacob Collier
Women In Music Pt. III — Haim
Future Nostalgia — Dua Lipa
Hollywood’s Bleeding — Post Malone
Folklore — Taylor Swift

Best New Artist:
Ingrid Andress
Phoebe Bridgers
Noah Cyrus
D Smoke
Doja Cat
Megan Thee Stallion

Best Country Album:
Lady Like — Ingrid Andress
Your Life Is A Record — Brandy Clark
Wildcard — Miranda Lambert
Nightfall — Little Big Town
Never Will — Ashley McBryde

Best Country Solo Performance:
“Stick That In Your Country Song” – Eric Church
“Who You Thought I Was” – Brandy Clark
“When My Amy Prays” – Vince Gill
“Black Like Me” – Mickey Guyton
“Bluebird” – Miranda Lambert

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“All Night” – Brothers Osborne
“10,000 Hours” – Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber
“Ocean” – Lady A
“Sugar Coat” – Little Big Town
“Some People Do” – Old Dominion

Best Country Song
“Bluebird” – Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby & Miranda Lambert, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)
“The Bones” – Maren Morris, Jimmy Robbins & Laura Veltz, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Crowded Table” – Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby & Lori McKenna, songwriters (The Highwomen)
“More Hearts Than Mine” – Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis & Derrick Southerland, songwriters (Ingrid Andress)
“Some People Do” – Jesse Frasure, Shane McAnally, Matthew Ramsey & Thomas Rhett, songwriters (Old Dominion)

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:
“Un Dia (One Day)” — J Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny & Tainy
“Intentions” — Justin Bieber Featuring Quavo
“Dynamite” — BTS
“Rain On Me” — Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande
“Exile” — Taylor Swift Featuring Bon Iver

Best Pop Vocal Album:
Changes — Justin Bieber
Chromatica — Lady Gaga
Future Nostalgia — Dua Lipa
Fine Line — Harry Styles
Folklore — Taylor Swift

Best Progressive R&B Album:
Chilombo — Jhené Aiko
Ungodly Hour — Chloe X Halle
Free Nationals — Free Nationals
F*** Yo Feelings — Robert Glasper
It Is What It Is — Thundercat

Best Americana Album:
Old Flowers — Courtney Marie Andrews
Terms Of Surrender — Hiss Golden Messenger
World On The Ground — Sarah Jarosz
El Dorado — Marcus King
Good Souls Better Angels — Lucinda Williams

Best Contemporary Blues Album:
Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? — Fantastic Negrito
Live At The Paramount — Ruthie Foster Big Band
The Juice — G. Love
Blackbirds — Bettye LaVette
Up And Rolling — North Mississippi Allstars

Best Global Music Album:
FU Chronicles — Antibalas
Twice As Tall — Burna Boy
Agora — Bebel Gilberto
Love Letters — Anoushka Shankar
Amadjar — Tinariwen

Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling):
Acid For The Children: A Memoir — Flea
Alex Trebek – The Answer Is… — Ken Jennings
Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, And The Richest, Most Destructive Industry On Earth — Rachel Maddow
Catch And Kill — Ronan Farrow
Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) — Meryl Streep (& Full Cast)

Best Music Film:
Beastie Boys Story — Beastie Boys
Black Is King — Beyoncé
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme — Freestyle Love Supreme
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice — Linda Ronstadt
That Little Ol’ Band From Texas — ZZ Top

For a full list of nominees, visit

FGL Hits No. 1 On MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Radio Chart

Florida Georgia Line notches their second No. 1 this year on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart with “Long Live,” following “Blessings” which went No. 1 in February. The single was written by Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Corey Crowder, David Garcia, and Josh Miller.

In February, FGL earned a Billionaire plaque for surpassing five billion lifetime spins on Pandora and was named among the Top 10 most spun country acts in Pandora’s 20-year history. They were also honored with the Randy Owen “Angels Among Us” award in October from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for supporting St. Jude families for many years.

Just this week, FGL has inked an exclusive, multi-year touring deal with Live Nation in North America.

Click here or above to read the latest issue of The MusicRow Weekly.

EXCLUSIVE: Sony/ATV Nashville Acquires River House Artists Catalogue, Signs Joint Venture

Pictured (L-R): Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO Jon Platt, River House Artists Founder Lynn Oliver-Cline, Sony/ATV Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston.

Sony/ATV Nashville has acquired the River House Artists’ catalogue of top-charting country songs, which includes Luke Combs’ No. 1 hits “Forever After All,” “Beautiful Crazy,” “When It Rains It Pours,” and “Lovin’ On You.” The company also signed a joint venture with River House Artists to provide creative services to its talent.

Indie record label and publishing company River House Artists launched in 2016 under the leadership of veteran industry executive Lynn Oliver-Cline, and is home to some of today’s top country hitmakers, including Combs’ long-time friend and collaborator Ray Fulcher, well known for co-writing beloved songs such as  “Does To Me,” “Even Though I’m Leaving” and “When It Rains It Pours” by Combs.

River House Artists also represents Drew Parker, rising artist-songwriter and Sirius XM’s latest Highway Find who has co-written hits including Combs’ “1,2 Many” and “Nothing Like You,” as well as No. 1 single “Homemade” by Jake Owen.

Sony/ATV Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston said, “Lynn’s intuition for identifying singer-songwriters who speak right to the heart of country music is second to none, and she knows how to turn their dreams into reality. We’re proud to partner with Lynn and the River House team as we build a long and successful future together.”

River House Artists Founder Lynn Oliver-Cline said, “When I moved to Nashville in 2013, I wanted to be Rusty Gaston! So being able to ink a deal with him and Sony/ATV, who are already my family, is a dream come true. I can’t think of our writers and artists being in better hands. Rusty’s passion for songs, songwriters and his team is inspiring on every level. I can’t thank Jon, Rusty and Cam [Caldwell] enough for making this happen!”

River House Artists’ roster also includes powerhouse songwriters such as Driver Williams, who has crafted popular hits such as “Smoke A Little Smoke” by Eric Church and “Call Me Country” by Jon Pardi; Nicolette Hayford, best known for co-writing certified gold singles “Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega” and “One Night Standards” by Ashley McBryde; and Jordan Rowe, known for his latest single “Good For Nothin.”

BREAKING: JoJamie Hahr Appointed Sr. VP, BBR Music Group

JoJamie Hahr. Photo: Cody Heckber

JoJamie Hahr has been promoted to Senior Vice President of BBR Music Group. Formerly, VP of Marketing for BBR Music Group, Hahr will help guide all non-finance and legal operations for the label. She will continue reporting to President of BMG Nashville, Jon Loba. In her new role Hahr will supervise and coordinate day-to-day operations of the label group and its roster of over 20 artists and imprints Broken Bow Records, Stoney Creek Records, and Wheelhouse Records.

“This appointment essentially formalizes the evolution of her role since BMG’s acquisition of the BBR Music Group,” said Loba. Adding, “As my responsibilities have increased, JoJamie has stepped in and stepped up at every turn, to help grow our Nashville division. She is truly a right-hand who thinks and moves like me, while at the same time challenging us all. We have enjoyed so many successes together and I would not want to do this job without her. I will never forget my first conversation with her while she was working at K92 in Orlando. She was one of the most passionate, creative and focused individuals I had ever met, and those qualities have only grown since.”

“It’s truly an honor to move into this role at BBR Music Group/BMG,” added Hahr. “Our extraordinary artists and staff continue to raise the bar, and I’m inspired by them on a daily basis. Thanks to Jon for not only believing in me, but for continuously cheering me on and lifting me up. He is an exemplary leader and I’m proud to be by his side.”

Hahr began her career in radio with WWKA in Orlando, FL. She then made a move to Nashville to work in promotion at WSIX. This led to her job as Promotion Coordinator at MCA Records where she was later promoted to Director of Secondary Promotion for the Universal Music Group imprints. Hahr began working for Loba when he hired her as Southeast Director of Radio Promotion for the BBR Music Group, helping break acts such as future superstar Jason Aldean. When Loba moved to Big Machine to help Scott Borchetta start The Valory Music Company (TVMC), Hahr soon followed and helped launch the careers of Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line, and Thomas Rhett. During her time there, she elevated to Valory’s National Director of Field Promotion. A few years after Loba’s return to BBR Music Group, Hahr returned as well to serve as BBR Management’s VP of Radio Promotion before transitioning to VP of Marketing for BBR Music Group.

Since taking the helm of the then newly created marketing department at BBR Music Group, Hahr has led the department in driving key relationships on behalf of the entire artist roster with partners including Radio Disney, Music Choice, Shazam, VEVO, iHeart Digital, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Madison Square Garden, Triller, and notably Tik Tok whose relationship helped spark Blanco Brown’s worldwide success and Elvie Shane’s latest single, “My Boy” to claim the No. 1 country spot on the platform. Hahr lead marketing efforts for Blanco Brown’s debut hit “The Git Up,” the global hit claimed the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart for 12 weeks and was the top-selling digital country song in the U.S. for 13 weeks resulting in Blanco being named Billboard’s 2019 Top New Country Artist.

Under her tenure, Jason Aldean has achieved ACM Entertainer of the Year three times, has been named the ACM Artist of the Decade, and has been named the No. 1 consumption artist by Billboard. Aldean also achieved Billboard’s No. 1 “Best-Selling Independent Album of 2018” with Rearview Town.

She has been key in helping to build the career of Dustin Lynch who notched his sixth and seventh Country Airplay No. 1 with “Good Girl” (his first No. 1 as songwriter) followed by “Ridin’ Roads” in January. Runaway June became the first female group to achieve a Top 5 single since The Chicks in 2003 and LOCASH returned to the top of the chart with their No. 1 hit “One Big Country Song,” earning them an additional CMT Award nomination. Lindsay Ell topped the country radio charts for the first time, received 2020 ACM and CCMA nominations and delivered a powerful concept album, heart theory, that earned universal praise and media attention and championed a voice for females as well as survivors of sexual violence. Hahr oversaw the campaign of Chase Rice’s launch as a Broken Bow artist resulting in his first career No. 1, massive streaming successes and expanded international presence.

Hahr can be reached at [email protected].

Country TV Titan Walter Miller Dies

Walter C. Miller on set during rehearsals for “The 36th Annual CMA Awards” at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House on Nov. 3, 2002. Photo Credit: Theresa Montgomery/CMA

Producer/director Walter C. Miller has died at age 94.

As the impresario behind the CMA Awards for more than 40 years, Miller arguably put more eyes on country music than anyone in history. He created televised anniversary celebrations for the Grand Ole Opry, directed more than a half dozen Johnny Cash network specials and brought stars from Perry Como to George Burns to Music City for all-star country TV events.

He worked on the annual CMA shows from 1970 to 2004. He directed the Grammy Awards 15 times between 1984 and 2009. He had an unbroken 10-year run as the director of the Tony Awards, 1987-97. Walter Miller also orchestrated TV coverage of the Emmys, the People’s Choice Awards, Comic Relief and other extremely challenging productions involving multiple stars, sets and crews.

He was the definitive director of the award show/live event television genre. Miller wrote the book when it came to multi-camera coverage of events, a logistical nightmare for most directors. He could simultaneously watch 20 cameras “in the booth,” quickly calling which shots to air, live. As a violinist, he was sensitive to musicians’ moments, allowing millions of viewers to feel as if they were at the shows in person.

Miller was nominated for 19 Emmy Awards and won five of them. He was also a three-time Directors Guild of America award winner. He was presented with the CMA President’s Award in 2007, its Irving Waugh Award in 2009 and a Grammy Trustees Award in 2010.

Born Walter Corwin Miller in New York, he served in World War II, then began his television career in the late 1940s. He was the lighting director for NBC’s Horn & Hardart Children’s Hour. Other early television credits included The Bell Telephone Hour, Startime and Sing Along with Mitch.

By the mid 1960s, he was directing specials. One of his early big ones was with Barbra Streisand in 1967. He went on to craft specials for Frank Sinatra, John Denver, Mac Davis, Stevie Wonder, Kathie Lee Gifford, Donny & Marie Osmond, Roy Acuff, Andy Williams, Bobby Rydell, Sammy Davis Jr., Irving Berlin, Sha Na Na, Tennessee Ernie Ford and magician Doug Henning, among many others.

He was particularly noted for comedy specials. He was at the helm of shows starring Rodney Dangerfield, Steve Martin, Minnie Pearl, Sam Kinison, Bill Cosby, Rich Little, Rosie O’Donnell, Alan King and Bob Hope.

He directed the televised musicals You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Dames at Sea, The Will Rogers Follies and George M! In 1995 he created the Soul Train 25th Anniversary TV celebration. In 1989, he directed the Presidential Inaugural Gala. He appeared in the 1991 Bette Midler movie For the Boys. He worked on projects with everyone from Al Green to Justin Timberlake.

Ken Ehrlich, who worked alongside Miller on numerous Grammy telecasts, eulogized his friend in a loving tribute in Variety. He recalled Miller’s special fondness for the country music family. Miller loved working in Nashville and always praised its television production community as being the equal of any in New York or L.A.

While in production, Miller was wildly funny and often profane. As Ehrlich remembered, “We might have been doing a G-rated show, but it was an X-rated headset, as we were all to discover one year when a highly censored couple of minutes of Walter’s headset wound up on Rick Dees radio show and almost brought the Recording Academy and the network to its knees. Apologies and mea culpas followed, but Walter was back in the [director’s] chair the next year.”

He was a master at dealing with both crews and artists, able to charm even the most difficult divas. He could tug at the heartstrings by presenting Alan Jackson’s first public performance of “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” Or he could howl with laughter backstage with K.T. Oslin. He could throw his spotlight on a favored up-and-comer like Mary Chapin Carpenter as effortlessly as on a superstar like Garth Brooks.

A master of the one-liner, an encyclopedia of jokes and a fabulous raconteur, Miller loved to regale listeners with his TV tales. He was particularly entertaining talking about the early days of live television dramas and variety shows.

He tickled the ribs of everyone from Dolly Parton to Jack Lemmon. An avid golfer, Walter Miller was particularly fond of Vince Gill, with whom he worked many times.

“Walter Miller was unique,” wrote Ehrlich. “Loved by almost everyone he worked with….the picture of a person not often found anymore in this or any other business. I often said—to his face—that beneath that gruff exterior was an even rougher interior. But that’s the kind of joke Wally loved.

“I loved him and miss him very much. We won’t see another one like him. Ever.”

Walter Miller died on Friday evening (Nov. 13) surrounded by family and friends. His son is television director Paul Miller, who is also a veteran of CMA telecasts, as well as Saturday Night Live, In Living Color, A Capitol Fourth, two Super Bowl halftime shows and more.

Brothers Osborne Reach Pinnacle Of CountryBreakout Radio Chart

“All Night” by Brothers Osborne peaks at No. 1 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart this week. The single has accumulated over 29,000 spins in 26 weeks on the chart.

The brothers, John and TJ Osborne, co-wrote “All Night” with Andrew DeRoberts. It appears on the duo’s third studio album, Skeletons, which was released on Oct. 9.

“If Pawn Shop was our introduction, and Port Saint Joe was like the first conversation we had with someone over a beer, then Skeletons is the moment where you start getting down to the real stuff and showing who you really are,” says John Osborne. “If you really want to get to know us, this is the record to do it.”

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