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Signings: Max Barnes; Lorrie Morgan; 615 Music

Pictured: Ray Stevens, Max T. Barnes, Perry Howard (BMI), Sabrina Shelfer (Creative Director, Ray Stevens Music). Photo: Ben Surratt

Pictured: Ray Stevens, Max T. Barnes, Perry Howard (BMI), Sabrina Shelfer (Creative Director, Ray Stevens Music). Photo: Ben Surratt

Max T. Barnes has signed a publishing deal with Ray Stevens Music. The chart topping songwriter has an impressive list of hits, including six No. 1 singles, nine Top 10’s and a Song of the Year Nomination for the career launching hit “Love Me” by Colin Raye. Barnes recently penned the current Ray Stevens single, “We the People,” which has received over 2 million YouTube views in just 30 days. Throughout his career, Barnes has written over 30 charting singles recorded by artists such as Randy Travis, John Anderson, Vern Gosdin, Diamond Rio, Montgomery Gentry, Jo Dee Messina, Billy Dean and George Jones, among others.

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The Bobby Roberts Company, Inc. has signed Lorrie Morgan for exclusive Booking Representation. Morgan’s hitmaking career has resulted in 14 top ten hits, seven gold or platinum albums and four Female Vocalist of the Year awards. Her string of hits include “Five Minutes,” “Something in Red,” “Watch Me” and “What Part of No.” The Bobby Roberts Company can be reached at 615-859-8899.

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615 Music, under the direction of Pres. and CEO Randy Wachtler, has signed the U.K.-based “In-spired” production music catalog and will be representing it exclusively in the US and Canada. The “In-spired” catalog is comprised of 16 virtual CDs, with new music being released quarterly. The catalog is available online, and via hard drive. 615 will be pitching the catalog for use in feature films and trailers, and television programs and promos.

Willie Nelson Joins Rounder Roster

willieWillie Nelson has signed with Rounder Records for the release of his next studio album, Country Music, coming April 13.

Produced by T Bone Burnett, Country Music features old-time banjo master Riley Baugus, double bassist Dennis Crouch, Buddy Miller on guitar, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, Burnett himself and others.

“Some folks have mistakenly called it bluegrass,” says Burnett. “It’s actually pre-bluegrass. It’s some of the songs Willie’s been singing his whole life.” The material ranges from 1920s to 1960s.

Recorded live in Nashville in four days, it includes “The Man With the Blues,” which Burnett says is the first song Willie ever wrote. Other tracks include covers of “Dark As a Dungeon” by Merle Travis and “You Done Me Wrong” by Ray Price.

Nelson, known for a relentless touring schedule of over 200 days a year, will return to the road again in 2010. The full tour itinerary is yet-to-be announced.

The legendary artist, songwriter, actor, and social activist has a career spanning six decades and more than 200 releases.

In August 2009 Blue Note released his Grammy nominated studio album American Classic. Prior to that he was signed to Lost Highway Records.

Country Music track listing:

1. Man With The Blues
2. Seaman’s Blues
3. Dark As A Dungeon
4. Gotta Walk Alone
5. Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down
6. My Baby’s Gone
7. Freight Train Boogie
8. Satisfied Mind
9. You Done Me Wrong
10. Pistol Packin’ Mama
11. Ocean Of Diamonds
12. Drinking Champagne
13. I Am A Pilgrim
14. House of Gold
15. Nobody’s Fault But Mine

Adkins Joins Show Dog Universal

toby-marktraceadkinsPlatinum star Trace Adkins is the first signing under the newly combined Show Dog-Universal Music. Principle Toby Keith and President Mark Wright held a press conference today (1/13) at BMI in Nashville to share the news and discuss the evolving label.

Adkins—celebrating his birthday today—joined them at the event, telling reporters that he had 15 good years at Capitol Records, but was excited about the new partnership. He and Keith have known each other for many years but became better acquainted and discovered how much they have in common on tour together last summer. Adkins recalled seeing Keith onstage every night, describing him as “a 12-year-old on Christmas morning.” Then joking, “It’s real…he ain’t that good an actor.”

Adkins has been working on new music; of it Keith told the crowd, “he finally saw what he wants and went for it… it’s got edge, it’s got smile.”

Keith and Wright, who have known each other at least 16 years, talked of other details of the merger, calling the newly combined label a “perfect match.”

Keith’s superstar power is expected to bring big opportunities for the newer acts signed to the label. They can join him on the road, and play his namesake Bar And Grills.

Known for operating his Show Dog outside of the major label system, Keith said navigating Nashville’s political waters is one of the many assets Wright brings to the deal. While Keith has distanced himself from the Nashville system, and the benefits that go with it, he said the rising artists at Show Dog-Universal deserve the chance to be part of it if they want, specifically the awards shows.

In negotiations, Keith said he basically laid everything he could ever want, including ownership of masters, on the table and Universal agreed.

Signings: Josh Gracin’s New Team; Molly Hunt

Josh Gracin

Josh Gracin

Josh Gracin is building a new team, and has recently signed with Buddy Lee Attractions for booking representation. BLA Pres. Kevin Neal will be the responsible agent and can be reached at 615-244-4336 and [email protected].com.

As a former Lyric Street artist, Gracin had hits such as “I Want To Live,” “Nothin’ To Lose,” “Stay With Me (Brass Bed),” and “We Weren’t Crazy.” The former Marine burst onto the national scene in 2003 as a finalist on American Idol.

Kevin Neal

Kevin Neal

It was previously announced that Gracin has signed with Full Scope Entertainment for management, working with Ken Madson (615-329-4762, [email protected]). His new label home is Average Joes Entertainment; also the home to country rapper Colt Ford. Contact Shannon Houchins at 615-329-4762 and [email protected] A new single is expected in the spring. Essential Broadcast Media’s Leigh Parr is handling publicity (615-327-3259 [email protected]).

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molly

Singer-songwriter Molly Hunt recently signed with Ann Wilson Music, Inc. The 13-year-old has been making the co-writing rounds on Music Row. Pictured at her BMI signing: Hunt, BMI’s David Preston and Ann Wilson.

Ole Signs Chris Wallin

(L-R): ole Chief Creative Officer Gilles Godard, Chris Wallin, and ole’s Shane Barrett

(L-R): ole Chief Creative Officer Gilles Godard, Chris Wallin, and ole’s Shane Barrett

Ole has acquired the catalogue of hit songwriter Chris Wallin and entered a worldwide co-publishing deal with him. Among the No. 1s he has written or co-written are Toby Keith’s “Love Me If You Can,” Kenny Chesney’s “Don’t Blink,” and Montgomery Gentry’s “Something To Be Proud Of.” He brings these and over 100 more songs including hits “I’m Tryin’” (Trace Adkins) and “Speed” (Montgomery Gentry) to ole.

The White Pine, Tennessee native says he was drawn to ole’s international reach—it has offices in Toronto, Nashville and Los Angeles—and development commitment to its writers when deciding to sign with them. He says, “It’s clear that ole is a company that doesn’t stay in the box.”

He moved to Nashville in the 1980s and soon landed his first songwriting deal, garnering cuts by artists such as Lorrie Morgan, Keith Anderson, Anthony Smith, Trace Adkins, Jeffrey Steele, Confederate Railroad, Neal McCoy, Brad Paisley and Diamond Rio. Wallin is also an active advocate for songwriter’s rights and often works with NSAI to protect intellectual property rights.

Bob Doyle, WMEE Sign The Band Perry

band perryArtist management team Bob Doyle & Associates has signed Republic Nashville act The Band Perry, and Doyle’s publishing company Major Bob Music has also entered an agreement with the rising group. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment is handling booking for the band.

The Band Perry, made up of siblings Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry, is busy on a radio tour supporting its debut single, “Hip To My Heart.”

“We are very proud to be a part of something as special as TBP and their music,” said Bob Doyle & Associates manager Josh Pegram. “Everything they do—from their writing and their style to how they deliver songs live—is so real and fresh.”

Major Bob Music, Inc. Mike Doyle, VP/GM of A&R, adds, ”We are so happy to have The Band Perry on board; their energy is contagious and we are thrilled to be a part of the team.”

Musical Chairs: John Paul, RJ Jordan, The Boxcars

John Paul

John Paul

Dial Global has hired John Paul as Sr. Dir. of Country Programming. The former KUPL Portland PD will be based in Denver, and fills the vacancy left by Jim Murphy’s exit last week. Paul will oversee the “Mainstream Country,” “Classic Country,” and “True Country” formats by working with their PDs. He will also serve as day-to-day PD for the “Hot Country” format.

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RJ Jordan

RJ Jordan

RJ Jordan has joined Golden Music Nashville as Northeast Director of Marketing & Promotion, handling radio efforts for artists including Williams Riley and Benton Blount. Based out of Rochester, NY Jordan previously held similar  label positions at Stroudavarious Records, Country Thunder, and 903 Music. His 25 years in the business has also included time at several radio stations. He can be reached at (615) 335-0718 [email protected]

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The Boxcars

The Boxcars, made up of bluegrass musicians Adam Steffey, Ron Stewart, John R. Bowman, Keith Garrett and Harold Nixon, have signed with Mike Drudge at Class Act Entertainment for booking. Drudge can be reached at 615-262-6886 or [email protected] The band members have played with Alison Krauss & Union Station, J.D. Crowe & The New South, The Dan Tyminski Band and many others.

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Contact update: Promo rep Debbie Gibson Palmer, Spinville Records and St. Regis International can be reached at the office at 818-705-6886 and by mail at 4530 Azalia Drive, Tarzana, CA 91356. The fax number is 818-705-5480.

Industry News: UMGN’s Big CRS Show, WMEE Signing

umgCountry Radio Broadcasters, Inc.® has announced a star-studded lineup for UMG’s luncheon at the Ryman Auditorium during CRS 2010, to be held Feb. 24-26, 2010. UMG artists performing include: Gary Allan, Easton Corbin, Billy Currington, Vince Gill, Mallary Hope, Julianne Hough, Jamey Johnson, David Nail, Randy Rogers Band, Sugarland, Josh Turner and Lee Ann Womack. The label group earned 12 Grammy nominations last week.

The Universal Music Group-sponsored luncheon will be held at the Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010, as part of the opening day agenda at Country Radio Seminar.  This is the first time the Ryman has been used as a venue for an official CRS-sanctioned event. Lunch will be served outside on the Ryman plaza, with performances following inside immediately after lunch.

Thursday’s luncheon is sponsored by Sony Music Nashville, and Friday’s luncheon is sponsored by Capitol Nashville. Talent for these luncheons will be announced soon. The $549 Advance Rate registration for CRS 2010 expires Dec. 18.

Blake Wise

Blake Wise

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Broken Bow Records artist Blake Wise has signed with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment for booking representation. Mark Roeder will be the responsible agent. Wise is managed by John Dorris and Shelia Shipley Biddy at Hallmark Direction Company.

Tidbits: Valory Signing, Green Leaving ASCAP

valoryValory’s newest artists and CMT Can You Duet finalists JB Rocket recently spent time getting to know the Valory promotion staff. New music from the band, made up of Jonathan Cox and Brandon Green, is due next year. Pictured (l-r): Chris Loss, Brooke Yancey, Miranda Williams, Jon Loba, George Briner, JoJamie Hahr, JB Rocket’s Jonathan Cox and Brandon Green.

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Chad Green, Nashville Membership Representative for ASCAP, left the organization last week after an 11-year tenure. He will assume the role of Creative Director, Word Music Publishing on Monday, Dec. 7.

UMGN Inks Josh Kelley

Musician jkJosh Kelley is working on a country project through his new deal with Universal Music Group Nashville. Kelley signed with the label in September and is currently in the studio recording an album slated for release in 2010.

Formerly a pop/rock artist, Kelley is a one-time Music City resident who has returned to Nashville. He was previously signed to Hollywood Records and has five studio albums to his credit.

On the family front, the Georgia native is married to actress Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy, 27 Dresses, Knocked Up) and is brother to Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley.

“I could not be more excited about adding Josh to our UMG family,” says UMG Nashville’s VP A&R Brian Wright. “The creativity in his lyrics and passion to be the best artist he can be is second to none. Josh is an artist who sings from his soul and it makes you listen to every word of every song. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to hear this record.”

“Universal is a perfect home for me and my music,” agrees Josh. “They have an awesome track record of allowing artists to be who they really are, and have already been so supportive of my new music. I’m stoked to be part of such a talented group of artists and staff.”