McMurry Records Signs Savannah Jack

McMurry Records, the label started in late 2009 by Howard Fields, Everett Zinn, and Doris McMurry, has signed Savannah Jack as its flagship artist. The trio, comprised of Don Gatlin, Mike Ulvila, and Jay Darby, celebrated the release of its debut single recently with a launch party at 12th & Porter. “I Know,” written by Gatlin, Billy Montana, and Rob Crosby, is at radio now and scheduled to impact May 3.

The band has been recording its debut album at Blackbird Studio with musicians including Steve Ferrone, David Santos, John Jorgensen, Paul Franklin, and Steve Nathan. The project is slated for release later this year.

“We are incredibly excited and proud to sign Savannah Jack to McMurry Records,” says Zinn. “They are exceptional artists individually as well as collectively. Their music is distinctive and should compete at the highest levels in the marketplace.”

Gator Michaels is VP, National Promotion at McMurry Records. Consultant Larry Shell is heading up A&R efforts. Claire Cook is overseeing publicity and marketing.

Cauley Music Partners With Cool Vibe

Trailer Choir's Big Vinny

Cauley Music Group, the company founded by Lane Caudell and Bob Crumley, has entered a joint publishing partnership with Cool Vibe Publishing. The deal covering current and future songwriters has Cauley purchasing a stake in Cool Vibe, and providing administrative services.

As part of the agreement covering current and future songwriters, Cauley adds tunesmiths Vencent Hickerson aka Trailer Choir’s “Big Vinny,” Isaac Rich, and Phoenix Mendoza to its staff. Rich has been writing since childhood and is a co-writer on Tyler Dickerson’s inaugural release, “Tell Your Sister I’m Single,” on Lyric Street Records. Phoenix Mendoza began his professional career with Warner Chappel in 2006 and has experience as a songwriter and performer.

The Crauley roster is made up of Blake Mevis, Danny Wells, Jennifer Hicks, Jamie Tate, Caudell and Crumley. Mevis, writer of“Fool Hearted Memory” and “Brokenheartsville,” oversees day to day operations for Cauley.

UMPG Re-Signs Two Hit Songwriters

UMPG has recently re-signed Rivers Rutherford and Luke Laird to exclusive world-wide publishing agreements.

Rutherford, who originally signed with UMPG in 1996 has had 8 No. 1 hit songs, and has enjoyed numerous awards and nominations from ASCAP, Billboard, ACM and CMA. Rutherford received the ASCAP Song of the Year in 2002 for "Ain't Nothin' 'Bout You" recorded by Brooks & Dunn and was honored with ASCAP's Songwriter of the Year award in 2006. Rutherford's songs have been recorded by Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Gretchen Wilson, Reba McEntire, Gary Allan, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Deana Carter, Justin Moore, Darius Rucker, Trick Pony, and Montgomery Gentry. Pictured (L-R): UMPG Nashville’s President Pat Higdon and UMPG Nashville’s Senior Vice President-Creative Kent Earls; Seated: Rivers Rutherford; Photo by: Kay Williams

Luke Laird has had numerous No. 1 hits including “Last Name” and “So Small” both off Carrie Underwood’s "Carnival Ride" CD which has scanned over 3 million units to date. Laird also co-wrote four songs on Underwood’s third and most recent release "Play On," including her current single, “Temporary Home.” “Hillbilly Bone,” recorded by Blake Shelton and featuring Trace Adkins, is another current Laird penned single climbing the country charts. Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Lee Ann Womack, Jessica Simpson, Holly Williams, Clay Walker, Jessica Harp, Julianne Hough, Little Big Town, Katharine McPhee, Joe Nichols and Laura Bell Bundy are just a few of the artists who have recently chosen to record Luke’s work. Pictured (l-r): UMPG Nashville’s Senior Vice President – Creative Kent Earls, UMPG Nashville’s President Pat Higdon. Seated: Luke Laird; Photo by: Kay Williams

Gordie Sampson Inks With Bug Music

Front (L-R): Bug Music CEO John Rudolph, and Gordie Sampson; Back (L-R): Sheri Jones, Jones & Co. Artist Management; Betsy Anthony, Bug Music Sr. Mngr, Creative/Writer Services

Bug Music Publishing has signed a new co-publishing deal with songwriter Gordie Sampson, the award winning co-writer of “Jesus, Take The Wheel” and other charttopping hits.

Sampson has had cuts by Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Bon Jovi, and Martina McBride. Among his numerous national and international awards are the 2007 Grammy for Best Country Song, Juno Award for Songwriter of the Year, and ASCAP Song of the Year Award for “Jesus, Take The Wheel.” He is also a 2010 Grammy nominee for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for “Swan Feathers” (Leslie Mendelson), and was recently honored by ASCAP for Underwood’s “Just a Dream.”

Bug Music CEO John Rudolph announced the new agreement which includes Sampson’s future works. Previously, Bug had handled Sampson through his co-publishing agreement with Windswept.

Bug’s catalog has over 250,000 copyrights including the classics “What a Wonderful World,” “Fever” and “Happy Together,” as well as songs from Johnny Cash, Pete Townshend, Woody Guthrie, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ashley Gorley (Carrie Underwood, Trace Atkins), Kara DioGuardi (Pink, Jonas Brothers, Celine Dion), Ryan Adams, and Kings of Leon.

Big Machine Signs Comedienne Melissa Peterman

Pictured L to R: Big Machine Records President & CEO Scott Borchetta, Melissa Peterman and manager Darris Hatch. photo credit: John Russell

Big Machine Records has signed actress Melissa Peterman and is planning a spring release for her debut comedy album. Peterman played ditzy home wrecker “Barbra Jean” on Reba and was the host of CMT’s 2009 The Singing Bee.

“I have always wanted to be a recording artist mostly because I really want a tour bus. I hear those things are a party on wheels,” says Peterman. “The truth is I love what I do and to get a chance to share my stand-up with fans who haven’t had the opportunity to see me live is very cool. And the great part of having your own comedy CD is I am already done Christmas shopping. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the BMR team and am so excited about releasing my first comedy CD on a label with such a great track record.”

“I’m a huge fan of Melissa’s and I’m thrilled that she’s going to join us,” says Scott Borchetta, President & CEO of Big Machine Records. “She’s been cracking up America for years. Now it’s time to record it!”


has also appeared on numerous other television shows, the hit Coen brothers film Fargo, and most recently starred in the independent comedy Dirty Politics. In addition, the Minnesota native has performed in a number of stage productions, including the commercially and critically acclaimed, Tony ‘N Tina’s Wedding.

Peterman is currently performing at arenas across America on tour with George Strait, Reba and Lee Ann Womack. The comedy star previously opened for Reba and Kelly Clarkson on their Two Worlds, Two Voices Tour. She is managed by Darris Hatch and represented by the APA agency.

In more Big Machine news, the soundtrack for box office smash Valentine’s Day scanned over 28,000 units in its first week. The eclectic soundtrack, which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Soundtracks chart and No. 20 on the Billboard Top 200, features new music from Big Machine/Valory artists Taylor Swift, Jewel, and Steel Magnolia. Over 40% of first-week soundtrack sales were designated as digital purchases, likely enhanced by an aggressive viral marketing campaign for the film and soundtrack. The film brought in over $63 million in its  opening weekend box office, becoming the week’s No. 1 movie.  The all-star cast includes Swift in her first feature film role.

Wariner Inks Management Deal With Clearview

L-R: Schweidel and Warnier

Fresh off his Grammy win for Best Country Instrumental, Steve Wariner has entered into an exclusive management agreement with Steve Schweidel’s Clearview Artist Management.

With clients including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Beth Nielsen Chapman, Clearview focuses on the integration of new media into the careers of established artists. Throughout his career Schweidel has worked with a diverse range of artists in both recording and management capacities. Early on, he got started as a Hit Factory engineer, working with Paul Simon, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Tony Bennett, Billy Joel and numerous Broadway musicals. He has also held tour management positions with Big & Rich and Jewel.

Wariner is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer with over 30 Top 10 hits and 14 No. 1s to his credit as an artist. In 1998 he won the Country Music Association’s Single and Song of the Year awards for his charttopper, “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” which was also the Academy of Country Music’s Song of the Year in 1999. As a songwriter Wariner has earned 16 BMI Country Awards and 15 BMI Million-Air Awards. Four Grammys line Wariner’s shelves, with his most recent win being for “Producer’s Medley” from Steve Wariner, c.g.p., My Tribute to Chet Atkins, which he released on his own SelecTone Records.

Schweidel can be reached at [email protected], 615-852-5265, and P.O. Box 120191, Nashville, TN 37212.

ole Signs Hitmaker Rick Giles

Rick Giles

Prolific Nashville hit songwriter Rick Giles has signed to fast-growing independent music publisher ole. The deal  includes the acquisition of over 250 of Giles’ songs, as well as his administration and future works. Among the songs acquired under the agreement are “Easy As You Go,” which appears on George Strait’s most recent album Twang, and “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’” from Tim McGraw’s 2004 quintuple platinum album Live Like You Were Dying.

Giles has a long list of cuts by some of modern country’s biggest stars including Rascal Flatts (“Praying for Daylight”), Reba McEntire (“Is There Life Out There”) and Terri Clark (“I Want To Do It All”). Among his other numerous cuts are songs recorded by Tanya Tucker, Eddie Rabbitt, Charley Pride and The Oak Ridge Boys.

Giles’ connection to ole comes after several years of self-representation. “While most of the companies in Nashville are holding steady or going backwards, ole is moving forward and that’s what I wanted to be a part of. This is the perfect fit for me,” says Giles.

“Rick is one of those classic writers who always come up with unique lyrics and melodies that peak the interests of both new and established artists. It’s no wonder his hits have garnered more than 10 Million-Air Awards from BMI. We are proud to have him on board,” says ole Chief Creative Officer, Gilles Godard.

Dailey And Vincent; Mother Maybelle Tribute; IBMA News

Dailey & Vincent celebrated the release of their new Statler Brothers tribute album at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville. The new CD, featuring bluegrass versions of 12 of the Statlers' best-loved songs, is available exclusively at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores and (L-R): Rounder Records co-founder Ken Irwin; Dailey & Vincent's manager, Don Light; Harold Reid, Jimmy Fortune, Jamie Dailey, Darrin Vincent, Don Reid, Phil Balsley; Peter Keiser, Cracker Barrel's Vice President of Marketing; and Julie Craig, Cracker Barrel Marketing Manager. Photo credit: Randi Radcliff


Lipscomb University presents the inaugural “Music From The Mountain” show, an evening honoring Mother Maybelle Carter. It will be hosted by Larry Gatlin on Feb. 11 at the Collins Alumni Auditorium, featuring the Del McCoury Band, The Whites, Tom T. & Dixie Hall, the Gatlins, Heather Berry, and The Carter Family III with Dale Jett, Laura Cash and John Carter Cash. Proceeds benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission. Tickets available at Lipscomb box office (966-7075) and Ticketmaster.


The Grascals were named Overall Bluegrass Group of the Year during the 36th annual SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards Show & Convention, held at the Sheraton Music City in Nashville Feb. 4-7. The band is currently preparing for the upcoming Hank Williams Jr. Rowdy Friends tour, featuring Eric Church, Jamey Johnson and Hank Williams, Jr.


IBMA’s Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2010 has been announced. Among the Nashvillians in the group are Kissy Black, Lotos Nile; Linda Bonner, Grassland Elementary; Thad Keim, Compass Records Group; Patty Mitchell, Artist; Jess Norburg, IBMA; Andrew Stokes, McLachlan Management International; and Donna Ulisse, Donna Ulisse & the Poor Mountain Boys/Hadley Music Group. Click here to see the entire list.

Recommendations Sought for Board Nominations: IBMA is currently seeking written recommendations for members interested in serving on the organization’s board of directors. The four seats to be filled by election by fellow members during 2010 include representatives for:
-Artists, Composers & Publishers
-International (non-US members)
-Merchandisers & Luthiers
Click here for details.

The IBMA will host the World of Bluegrass Convention in Nashville, September 27 – October 3, 2010.
Deadline to submit for the IBMA Songwriter Showcase is May 1, 2010.


Roe Entertainment has signed 3-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley for exclusive booking representation. Roe can be reached at 877-688-5885 or [email protected]

Stoney Creek Adds Thompson Square

Pictured below from L-R: SCR’s CEO/President Benny Brown, Thompson Square’s Shawna Thompson, Keifer Thompson and Magic Mustang’s Juli Newton Griffith

Pictured (L-R): SCR’s CEO/President Benny Brown, Thompson Square’s Shawna Thompson, Keifer Thompson and Magic Mustang’s Juli Newton Griffith

Stoney Creek Records CEO/President Benny Brown has signed Thompson Square to a record deal as well as publishing deal with Magic Mustang Music.

The duo is made up of Shawna Thompson and Keifer Thompson. The singer-songwriters are busy finishing their debut album, with the lead single “Let’s Fight,” set for a spring 2010 release.

Thompson Square is managed by Shawn Pennington of Matchless Music Group.

Sony Signs Jordyn Shellhart

JS.IAR.3x3Sony Music Nashville has signed Jordyn Shellhart, a 15-year old singer/songwriter from Franklin, Tenn. The label group is distributing her first album, In A Room, which has already been released.

Shellhart got her start by performing for Frank Rogers and Chris Dubois. It was the day after her 14th birthday and Sea Gayle Music offered her a publishing deal on the spot.

Her entire debut was recorded in a room at her manager Rick Barker’s house, using only instruments and sound equipment available at Best Buy. In conjunction, Shellhart is set for a series of summer performances as part of Best Buy’s @15 initiative, which helps give teenagers a voice.

Sony says Shellhart is a straight “A” student at Centennial High School, and that the sophomore is adamant about graduating before pursuing a full-fledged country music career.