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Steel Magnolia Wins “Can You Duet,” Signs With Big Machine

Photo credit: CMT.com

Steel Magnolia Photo credit: CMT.com

Steel Magnolia are winners of the second season of the CMT music competition series Can You Duet. The on and off-stage couple, Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones, leave the show with a recording contract from Big Machine Records after being selected by judges Naomi Judd, Big Kenny, and Big Machine Records’ President Scott Borchetta.

The duo is hitting the ground running with the debut single, “Keep On Loving You,” which they performed on the season finale. It is now available for purchase at iTunes, and was digitally delivered to Country radio for immediate airplay. This week will be a whirlwind for Steel Magnolia as the duo has a full day of media at CMT on Monday, will shoot their first-ever music video on Tuesday and then on Wednesday will hit the road on a radio tour. The media blitz will also include multiple TV appearances, newspaper and online interviews as well as fan meet and greets.

A native of Ponchatoula, La., 23-year-old Meghan Linsey formed Steel Magnolia with her boyfriend of three years, Joshua Scott Jones. Before entering the competition she was a karaoke host at a Nashville karaoke bar, where the two met. Meghan’s musical influences include Bekka Bramlett, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt. Jones, 28, is from Charleston, Ill. and lists Waylon Jennings and The Beatles as musical influences.

Photo attached features: John Hamlin - Senior Vice President, Production and Development, CMT; Joshua Scott Jones of Steel Magnolia; Scott Borchetta - CAN YOU DUET judge and Big Machine Records’ President; Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolia; Naomi Judd - CAN YOU DUET judge; Big Kenny - CAN YOU DUET judge; and Lance Smith, CAN YOU DUET host   Photo credit: John Russell

(L-R): John Hamlin - Senior Vice President, Production and Development, CMT; Joshua Scott Jones of Steel Magnolia; Scott Borchetta - "Can You Duet" judge and Big Machine Records’ President; Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolia; Naomi Judd "Can You Duet" judge; Big Kenny "Can You Duet" judge; and Lance Smith, "Can You Duet" host. Photo credit: John Russell

BRMG & Cherry Heart Ink Joint Venture For Ty Williams

Pictured l to r seated: Jimmy Nichols, president, BRMG, Ty Williams, Gratton Stephens, president/ceo Cherry Heart Music  Standing: Rick Baumgartner, vp/gm BRMG, Tonya Ginnetti, vp/director of artist relations, BRMG, Shelby Kennedy, svp/coo, Cherry Heart Music & co-producer and James Hudson, co-producer.

Pictured (L-R) seated: Jimmy Nichols, president, BRMG; Ty Williams; Gratton Stephens, president/CEO Cherry Heart Music. Standing: Rick Baumgartner, VP/GM BRMG; Tonya Ginnetti, VP/Dir. of artist relations, BRMG; Shelby Kennedy, SVP/COO, Cherry Heart Music & co-producer; and James Hudson, co-producer.

Black River Music Group and Cherry Heart Music have partnered in a joint venture to release the debut album from Ty Williams. Under terms of the agreement, Cherry Heart Music will oversee development and recording of the project, while Black River Music group will handle the marketing and promotion.

James Hudson and Cherry Heart’s Shelby Kennedy co-produced the album. Bringing a country-rock sound, the debut single and video, “Barn on the Rooftop,” will be released in August. The video includes cameos by The Daily Buzz’s Kia Malone and Mitch English.

UMPG Signs Hunter Hayes

 Photo (l-r): (seated) Hayes. (Back row) Manager Ansel Davis, UMPG Creative Director Cyndi Forman and UMPG Nashville President Pat Higdon. Photo: Kay Williams

(Seated) Hunter Hayes; (Back row L-R) Manager Ansel Davis, UMPG Creative Director Cyndi Forman, and UMPG Nashville President Pat Higdon. Photo: Kay Williams

UMPG announces the signing of 17- year-old singer/songwriter Hunter Hayes to its roster of hit makers. With accomplishments claimed only by a seasoned entertainer, Hunter currently plays over 10 instruments and is continually adding to his musical repertoire. As a young child he appeared on several network television shows and played for many dignitaries including then President Clinton.

Combustion Music Signs Will Bowen

combustion

Standing L-R: Chris Farren, Ashley Hertzog, BMI's Beth Mason, Chris Van Belkom, Stephanie Greene; Seated: Will Bowen

Combustion Music has signed Will Bowen to an exclusive songwriting agreement. As an artist, Bowen was signed to Universal Records out of New York, and toured the country opening for acts like Dave Matthews Band and Maroon 5. As a writer, his music can be found on multi-platinum albums, as well as in numerous TV and movie placements.

Urban Signs With Universal Publishing

urbanDavid Renzer, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Pat Higdon, President, UMPG Nashville, today announced the signing of a worldwide publishing agreement with Keith Urban. UMPG will publish Urban’s catalogue throughout the world, including his recently-released fifth studio album, Defying Gravity, which topped both the Billboard Top 200 and Country Album charts upon its release this past March.

“We are honored that Keith chose UMPG as his global home for music publishing,” said Renzer. “Keith is a huge star whose songwriting prowess and artistic success are only going to continue and we’re looking forward to working closely with Keith and his entire team in building on that success.”

“Keith is a phenomenal artist and songwriter and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with him,” added Higdon. “We intend to work tirelessly to find new opportunities for his music. We are truly honored that Keith and his team have placed their trust in the UMPG and we will not let them down.”

The first single from Defying Gravity, “Sweet Thing,” recently hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart. It marked Urban’s third consecutive No. 1 and his 11th overall. His first charttopper came in 2000 with “But For The Grace Of God.” He also has ten Top 5s. He has released five original studio recordings, the last three of which have charted at #1. Urban has received two GRAMMY awards, five CMA Awards and four ACMs.

Stroudavarious Debuts Imprint, Beefs Up Promo Staff

blackberry-smoke

Blackberry Smoke is comprised of brothers, Richard (bass/vocals) and Brit Turner (drums), with Paul Jackson and Charlie Starr on guitar and vocals.

Stroudavarious Records has launched a new imprint called BamaJam Records, with Atlanta band Blackberry Smoke as the flagship artist. The first release will be the sophomore album from the southern rockers called Little Piece of Dixie. The project was produced by Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts) and engineer Justin Niebank.

“This is best live band in the South,” says James Stroud, CEO of Stroudavarious Records. “Their show is beyond belief; just awesome.” The band has shared the stage with ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shooter Jennings, Cross Canadian Ragweed and others.

As the label expands, so does the staff at Stroudavarious, which also includes the  Country Crossing imprint. President Bill Catino and VP of Promotion Bill Macky recently added Eric Beggs (Dir./Southeast-Midwest), Jon Conlon (Dir./West Coast) and R.J. Jordan (Dir./Northeast). The label group is home to Darryl Worley, Anthony Smith, LoCash Cowboys, Richie McDonald, Shea Fisher and others.

UMPG Signs Lori McKenna

L-R: (Seated): McKenna. (Standing): UMPG Nashville President Pat Higdon, UMPG Creative Director Whitney Williams. Photo: Kay Williams

L-R: (Seated): McKenna. (Standing): UMPG Nashville President Pat Higdon, UMPG Creative Director Whitney Williams. Photo: Kay Williams

UMPG recently welcomed renowned songwriter Lori McKenna to its roster of hit makers.  Well known in the New England club scene, the Stoughton, MA native gained national prominence with her couch jumping appearance on Oprah, where she performed “Fireflies” with Faith Hill. After landing three songs on Hill’s album, the music community clamored to record her songs.

Tim McGraw, Mandy Moore, Sara Evans and Heidi Newfield are just a few pop/country artists to sing McKenna’s heartfelt songs. In addition to critically-acclaimed, self-produced albums such as Kitchen Tapes, she recorded the album Unglamorous for Warner Bros. When not writing in Nashville, McKenna is hard at work behind the doors of her Hoodie Studios, creating her next piece of musical poetry.

APA Welcomes Darren Kozelsky

dkAgency for the Performing Arts (APA) has signed country singer Darren Kozelsky for representation, with Clint Wiley and Scott Galloway acting as the responsible agents.

Kozelsky joins artists Tanya Tucker, Collin Raye, David Lee Murphy, Kingbilly, Little Texas, Lee Roy Parnell, Cross Canadian Ragweed and more at APA.

He is a Texas native who first carved a successful career on the competitive Lone Star music circuit. The title of Kozelsky’s current album, Arrivals & Departures, seems apropos for an artist who performs 200 shows a year from Dallas, Texas to Crappone, France and all points in between. The album’s current single is the hardcore country anthem “Seven Vern Gosdins Ago.”