Inside Track on Music Row – May 2019

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VERSE OF THE MONTH:  Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. – Psalm 98:4

Inside Track on Music Row–May 2019

AMIP NEWS: The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) held its fourth annual AIMP Nashville Awards on April 30 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The awards recognized some of the previous year’s most notable independent songs, songwriters and publishers, and honored some of the nominated songs with a night of performances.  Nominated songs were performed by Jimmie Allen, Travis Denning, Hardy and other artists.  The AIMP Independent Spirit Award went to Celia Froehlig, VP/Publishing at Black River Entertainment.  Artist-Writer of the Year Award went to Luke Combs, Hardy was named Rising Artist-Writer of the Year, and the Songwriter of the Year Award winner was Jessie Jo Dillon.  See a full list of nominees and winners at

ALBUM NEWS: Billy Ray Cyrus will release his new studio album, The SnakeDoctor Circus, via BMG later this year. The SnakeDoctor Circus, a concept record, features Cyrus’ longtime collaborator and songwriting mentor, Don Von Tress. It’s a full circle moment for Cyrus because Von Tress wrote the multi-platinum smash “Achy Breaky Heart” on Cyrus’ record-breaking debut album Some Gave All. The collaboration between the two songwriting titans more than 25 years ago continues with new music on the new album.  “The SnakeDoctor Circus album certainly has a lot to say and the music reflects all my influences. My goal has always been to make music that would touch people’s lives around the world. I’m excited about getting the music to the people,” Cyrus said. A limited edition vinyl version is also in the works.  Details at

ARTIST NEWS: The Voice #TeamBlake’s Gyth Rigdon is showing his talent and dedication on this season finals coming up. Gyth was in Nashville for almost 4 years, creating and developing his songwriting chops. He cut two albums with up and coming producer Grady James and then went back to home state Louisiana to get his stage show to the top of the game as an entertainer. He is the favorite to win and he was the most-streamed artist of the ‘Cross Battles’ round. We are so proud to have Gyth as part of our music family on Music Row!

BABY NEWS: Jake Owen (Big Loud) and girlfriend Erica Hartlein announced the birth of daughter Paris Hartley, their first child together. Paris was born April 29. … Congrats also to George Couri (Triple 8/Triple Tigers) and wife Kate on the birth of their second child, Grant Phillip Couri, on April 18. … Brett Young and his wife Taylor made their upcoming birth announcement. Taylor said, “Brett and I hugged, kissed and talked for hours about how long we had been wanting this and how excited we are to become parents.” They are due in the early fall.

BAND NEWS: Randy Rogers Band release the band’s eighth studio album, Hellbent, on April 26th, and the timing couldn’t be better. Produced by Grammy-winner Dave Cobb and recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, Hellbent shines new light on the camaraderie, chemistry, and Texas-sized country hooks that have made Randy Rogers Band a must-see live act for nearly two decades. The guys will celebrate their 20th anniversary in October 2020, while also pointing the band toward another decade of acclaimed, homegrown country music.  Packed with original material, Hellbent has already been lauded by publications like Rolling Stone, Garden & Gun, and Billboard. On “Hell Bent on a Heartache,” Rogers and company put their unique stamp on a song co-written by Guy Clark, Morgane Stapleton, and Chris Stapleton. Meanwhile, they nod to their roots with the nostalgic “Comal County Line,” a crowd favorite. The band will tour heavily again this year in support of the new 11-track album. Music and tour info at

BENEFIT NEWS: “We All Come Together” for John Berry and Music Health Alliance was held on April 23 at City Winery in Nashville, The love and support shown to John Berry and his family was abundant for the sold-out show not only by the fans, friends and family who filled the seats, but also everyone behind the scenes, as well as those who appeared on stage, including everyone who made donations and contributions to the event. Financial totals raised are expected to exceed $300K, although final tabulations are not yet available. Surprises and heartfelt special moments personal to John Berry and his wife Robin, as well as their family, were plentiful.  A first time ever on stage collaboration performance by Trace Adkins, T. Graham Brown, Jimmy Fortune and Marty Raybon of “Workin’ On A Building,” had the crowd on their feet in awe. The song was originally recorded in 2012 as part of a fundraising effort to benefit the Mindanao Blessings International Philippines Orphanage Project. Vince Gill, alone on the stage with just his guitar, delivered a touching performance of “Prove Me Wrong,” a song written by Gill and recorded by John Berry in 1995. For a full report on the event visit

BOOK NEWS:  Former top-40 Country artist and survivor of the infamous “Murder on Music Row,” Sammy Sadler, is officially returning to the entertainment fold in the same way that he left – with a bullet. On Tuesday, May 21, Indigo River Publishing will release “A HIT WITH A BULLET,” Sadler’s long-awaited, first-hand account of his nearly-fatal shooting in the March 9, 1989 assassination of Cash Box chart director, Kevin Hughes, and the career-throttling 13-year investigation that ensued.  The autobiographical mystery-thriller, which took over 10 years to complete, chronicles Sadler’s remarkable journey from wide-eyed Country music newcomer whose latest single had been marked with a bullet (indicating its fast climb up the chart), to being placed “under suspicion” for a murder that would capture international headlines, including “Entertainment Tonight,” “Nancy Grace, “Unsolved Mysteries,” in the decade that followed. The book will be available in paperback for $19.95 beginning May 21 via, Indigo River Publishing, and through Sammy Sadler’s website at

BLUEGRASS NEWS: Five-time Grammy®-winner Steven Curtis Chapman’s new album ‘Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows’ returned to No. 1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart following its chart-topping release week debut. Chapman also reached a new career milestone with Deeper Roots as the 13-track collection also landed at No. 1 on the iTunes Country Albums chart. Deeper Roots, featuring collaborations with Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts and Bluegrass Music and Country Music Hall of Famer Ricky Skaggs, follows Chapman’s 2013 Billboard No. 1 Bluegrass Album Deep Roots, released exclusively with Cracker Barrel. The homage to Chapman’s rural Kentucky roots includes a mixture of familiar hymns like “Life Is Like A Mountain Railroad” and “I’ll Fly Away,” fan-favorite hits including “Cinderella” and brand-new songs such as “‘Til The Blue” and “Where The Bluegrass Grows.” See

CD NEWS: Darryl Worley is celebrating his biggest hits with the release of Second Wind: Latest & Greatest (Bob Frank’s BFD via The Orchard).  The project hit stores on April 26. The compilation includes fresh new takes on many of Worley’s hit songs, including “Have You Forgotten,” “Awful Beautiful Life,” “Tennessee River Run,” and “I Miss My Friend.” The project also contains seven new tunes that put an unexpected spin on a familiar voice. He describes the recording project as a musical passion that continues to get better with time.  “Who would’ve ever dreamed that I’d still be doing this after all these years. I’m not totally certain, but I think the music could be better than ever,” says Worley. “This record is something unlike anything else we’ve ever done and I know you’re going to love it. I hope y’all have as much fun listening to this new stuff as we had making it.”  Tour dates and more at

CMA FOUNDATION NEWS: The CMA Foundation, a national music education nonprofit and the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, held its fourth annual Music Teachers of Excellence event on Tuesday, April 30, honoring 30 music educators from across the country for their exemplary work. The program was live-streamed from Marathon Music Works in Nashville. Hosted by three-time CMA Awards winner Dierks Bentley, the event honored 10 music educators from Metro Nashville Public Schools, 10 from districts across the state of Tennessee and 10 from across the United States. Honorees were selected for their dedication to bringing a high-quality music program to their students and the impact they’ve had on their school community through music. “Without effective, innovative, and talented music teachers – and the support of their principals, superintendents, parents and the greater community – successful music programs would not be possible,” said CMA Foundation Executive Director Tiffany Kerns. “This event is our way of showing our support as you overcome some pretty steep challenges to change lives in your classrooms every day. We see your strength. We hear you. We celebrate you.” Full list of honorees at

CMA KIXSTART NEWS: The Country Music Association’s application for the CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship is currently accepting submissions for its second class of recipients. The year-long program is designed to provide emerging artists with unique professional and educational opportunities to help build a solid business foundation in the Country Music industry. Artists can visit to view the application and eligibility requirements. Deadline for application submissions is Friday, May 31 at 11:59 PM/CT. The program for the second class of KixStart scholarship recipients will begin in October. Since being selected in the fall of 2018, the inaugural CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship recipients—Kassi Ashton, Travis Denning and Jameson Rodgers—have had the opportunity to perform around the world and gain knowledge of the music business by meeting with some of the industry’s top professionals.

DUO NEWS: With rebellious hearts and empowered attitudes, Lauren and Marlo Ashley have officially hit the charts again with their latest release to country radio. The Ashley Sisters’ sophomore single, “Sweet On You,” captures a sound reminiscent of traditional country with a modern twist that highlights the innocence of classroom crushes and the feelings of first love.  Written by Lauren and Marlo, it is available on iTunes, Spotify and all digital retailers now.  “It wasn’t until we started performing this song at our shows that we knew it was something special,” says Lauren. “It’s a very relatable topic of young love, friendship and being unsure of what to do,” adds Marlo. “It’s the female perspective of attempting to escape the ‘friend-zone,’ which is an angle you don’t normally hear.”  Building on the success, the girls have hit the road for a radio tour traveling to major US markets where they have been winning over numerous country fans. More at… Platinum-selling duo Maddie & Tae released their critically-lauded and fan stand-out new single “Die From A Broken Heart” to Country radio ahead of its May 6 official add date. Co-written by Maddie & Tae’s Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye along with Jonathan Singleton and Deric Ruttan, the song is off the duo’s latest project One Heart To Another, released April 26 (Mercury Nashville). Fans can preview the EP and watch a stirring acoustic performance of the song from

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS: Ryman Hospitality Properties (RHP) and Blake Shelton are giving fans a reason to have a little more fun in Tishomingo. The town will soon be home to The Doghouse at Ole Red Tishomingo, a music hall and events venue expansion to the Shelton-inspired bar and restaurant located in downtown Tishomingo, OK.  In true Ole Red fashion, The Doghouse will celebrate its grand opening May 23-26 with a weekend of unforgettable entertainment, including Luke Bryan (05/23), Blake Shelton (05/24) and The Voice Contestant Red Marlow (05/25). One lucky fan and a guest will have the opportunity see both Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton take the stage during the grand opening celebrations. Fans can visit and enter now through May 17, 2019 for a chance to win.

INDIE NEWS: Erica Stone’s transparency of her journey through life has been released on her current music project, Antidote. The album was released on all digital platforms on April 29 and featured on the New Music Nashville playlist. The twists and turns of life nearly swallowed her, but she rises to the surface with incredible new music, new lyrics to tug at your heart and melodies that offer you the courage to stand or a safe place to find solace. Antidote, features two current singles by Stone, “Lies” and “Glass House.” The upcoming video for “Glass House” will spotlight real stories from individuals who messaged her, willing to share their setbacks and insecurities in front of a camera. The collaborators on this project are those in her tight circle that worked with her nine years ago and stuck with her when others strayed. More at

INDUSTRY NEWS: Joe Kelly, president of CDX, has announced the relaunch of CDX Records, in addition to offering label services to new artists and heritage artists releasing new music along with their catalogs.  CDX Label Services will offer artists the opportunity to build the right team, within their budget, to maximize their promotional efforts.  Everything from physical product manufacturing to digital/physical distribution, product one sheets, to radio promotion teams and marketing will be services offered by the new division of the company. “I have a whole new vision of where we are going to take CDX within the music industry.  Everyone automatically puts us in the category of servicing music to radio which we will continue to do, but we are much more than that,” said Kelly.  “For years, CDX has helped point artists in the right direction of lawyers, producers, publicists, and promoters without ever showing favoritism to any company.  Now, we are just going to be offering that service up as a standalone business.”More about CDX at

INT’L NEWS: Music Biz 2019 will take place in Nashville, May 5 – 8. One of the many notable events this year: the induction of Sir George Martin into the Music Business Hall of Fame.  Sir George is best known as the producer of the Beatles’ hits at Abbey Road Studios. He was a six-time Grammy winner, and (as a producer)  had the most No. 1 hits  on the Billboard Hot 100 with a total of 23. He also produced recordings in the comedy, jazz, pop and rock genres.  Sir George will be inducted by his son, Giles Martin.  Darius Rucker also will be honored at Music Biz 2019. He will receive the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award recognizing his tireless work to support the youth community of Charleston, SC, and St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. They are expected to have several different countries represented at this year seminar. More info at

LABEL NEWS: (BMLG) Thomas Rhett continues to preview his most autobiographical album to date, CENTER POINT ROAD (The Valory Music Co.), ahead of its May 31 release with “Remember You Young” – a sweeping reflection of childhood friends, marriage and children, available now. Once again teaming up with chart-topping collaborators Jesse Frasure and Ashley Gorley (“Unforgettable, “Marry Me, “Life Changes”), fans can listen to the song and pre-order limited edition album packages at Those who pre-ordered the album digitally will instantly receive the new track in addition to the previously available Top 15-and-climbing “Look What God Gave Her,” “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” feat Little Big Town and “That Old Truck.” The upcoming album’s lead single “Look What God Gave Her” has already earned the highest chart debut of Thomas Rhett’s career. …

(Reviver Records) While Tenille Arts is singing her new release “Call You Names,” the rest of the world can call her a double SCMA winner. The Reviver Records artist walked away with trophies for “Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Songwriter of the Year” for the second consecutive year at the 30th Annual Saskatchewan Country Music Awards, held in Saskatoon and hosted by Tenille’s label mate Aaron Goodvin. Born and raised in the small prairie town of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Tenille Arts picked up the guitar and penned her first song at the age of 13 and has been performing across the US and Canada ever since. She made her first appearance on The Bachelor in January 2018 singing her original song “Moment of Weakness.” The performance resulted in a record deal with powerhouse indie label Reviver Records. Tour updates at

Image result for dennis quaid as Mr. Lonely

MEDIA NEWS: Actor and singer/songwriter, Dennis Quaid, joins Grammy®-nominated trio Midland for his most intriguing role to date – “Mr. Lonely.” Starring in the chart-topping Texans’ music video, it highlights their sense of humor and effortless vintage country style. “Mr. Lonely” marks the first release off the band’s second album (Big Machine Records). The video, now at YouTube, shows Quaid’s Mr. Lonely getting a little roughed up encountering some of the women from his past.  As a singer/songwriter, Quaid has hundreds of thousands of miles under his belt as a touring musician performing originals and country standards with his all-star band, Dennis Quaid & The Sharks.  They celebrated Record Store Day by releasing their first-ever album, Out of the Box, on vinyl via Omnivore Records. On May 25, Dennis Quaid & The Sharks will open for Midland at their show in Westside Pavilion in Tuolumme, Calif. More at and

Image result for Jimmy Fortune Album cover God and Country

MUSIC NEWS: Jimmy Fortune will release his new album God & Country available across all music platforms on May 24. God & Country, released via Gaither Music Group, reflects and celebrates the beauty of America, the courage of those who have made it free and the hymns that have warmed the hearts of its citizens for centuries. The recording will also be available in Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations. Fans can pre-order God & Country and receive the first instant grat track “God Bless America/America the Beautiful (Medley).”  Fortune, a 21-year member of The Statler Brothers and a Country Music Hall of Fame and Gospel Music Hall of Fame member, lends his unmistakable tenor voice to the stirring renditions of national classics and congregational favorites that create an expression of gratitude for our faith and freedoms. Details at

NUMBER ONE NEWS: Brett Young’s “Here Tonight” is officially a multi-week No. One hit, having remained atop the Billboard Country Chart for two consecutive weeks, while summiting Mediabase/Country Airplay, bringing Young’s No. One tally to five. Co-written alongside Ben Caver, Justin Ebach and Charles Kelley, “Here Tonight” is quickly approaching 100 million streams in the US.  “We wanted to write a song about living in the moment and trying to enjoy WHAT is happening, WHILE it’s happening,” said Young. “That’s very much what I’m trying to do right now. I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet that this is my fifth number one, it’s an incredible feeling and I’m beyond grateful.”  Young’s sophomore release, TICKET TO L.A. (BMLG Records), debuted atop the Billboard Country Albums chart and follows his PLATINUM self-titled debut, which dominated the Top 20 on the Country Albums chart for 37 weeks. Tour updates and more at

OPRY NEWS: Noah Galloway, the Purple Heart awarded, double amputee military veteran and motivational speaker that most recently competed on FOX’s American Grit and ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, will guest announce the Grand Ole Opry’s “Salute The Troops” show on Tuesday, May 21. The Opry’s “Salute The Troops” show will feature performances from Trace Adkins, Lee Greenwood, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Morgan, Mark Wills and more. “The Opry is an iconic show that I have listened to throughout the years and I’m honored to be part of their salute to the troops,” says Noah. “I was an infantry soldier and that put me in some tough, dangerous situations. That was a sacrifice I made for this country and I hope my story inspires others.” Fans can purchase tickets to the Opry’s “Salute The Troops” show by visiting

PUBLISHING NEWS: Big Machine Music has signed singer/songwriter Eric Paslay to an exclusive songwriting agreement. Paslay’s catalog includes “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” (Eli Young Band), “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” (Jake Owen), “Angel Eyes” (Love & Theft), “Rewind” (Rascal Flatts) and “Friday Night” (Paslay). Paslay currently has new music on the way and will and is scheduling Europe tour dates for later this year.

SINGLE NEWS: Capitol Records Nashville artist Caylee Hammack has earned the most-added debut song by a female artist at country radio in more than three years, with her single “Family Tree.” Thirty-nine radio stations have added the song, which was co-written and co-produced by Hammack. Hammack followed the debut music video for “Family Tree” with a behind-the-scenes look at how its autobiographical lyrics were brought to life. “Behind the Family Tree” shares an inside peek of personal tokens throughout each scene and reveals real-life family and friends who make special appearances. This year, Hammack will be on the road opening shows for Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Brothers Osborne, and will appear at festivals including Country LakeShake, iHeartCountry Festival and Faster Horses Festival.  Tour dates and more at

Image result for Heartland New Single I loved her first

SONGS NEWS: Heartland, the indie recording group that made an unprecedented splash in the country music scene more than a decade ago, has announced the re-release of the original tune that put the live entertainers on the country music map. Rekindling a one-of-a-kind chart-topper, and one of the world’s most-loved, and most-requested, wedding songs, the Alabama band celebrates the 2019 release of its new rendition of the hit song “I Loved Her First” (Permian Records). Produced by hit songwriter Walt Aldridge, the brand new Nashville recording features performances by core band members Jason Albert, Charles Crawford and Keith West, with a special guest appearance by Tracy Lawrence. Set for a May 6, 2019 radio impact date, the new contemporary recording is the title track, and a sneak peek, of the band’s forthcoming 12-song CD project titled I LOVED HER FIRST-The Heart of Heartland anticipated in late June 2019. More at

TOUR NEWS: Maren Morris has confirmed new dates on her GIRL: The World Tour and will support Miranda Lambert on her Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars tour this fall. Tickets for additional GIRL: The World Tour shows go on sale May 3.  Morris is currently on the first leg of her GIRL: The World Tour with upcoming sold out shows in Washington, D.C., New York, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Detroit before she heads to Europe. Visit for full tour details. GIRL, out now via Columbia Nashville, has shattered the record for the largest ever debut streaming week for a country album by a woman with 23.96 million streams in its first week. The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The album also features history-making title track “GIRL” which had the highest debut on Billboard’s Country Streaming Songs chart by a female artist and the highest weekly streams by a female country artist ever.

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VIDEO NEWS: Broken Bow Records’ Country star Dustin Lynch has released the official video for his new single, “Ridin’ Roads” that premiered exclusively on CMT outlets, May 02. The cinematic clip brings his heart pounding me-and-you anthem to life. Directed by Mason Dixon and filmed in Florida’s expansive Everglades wilderness, the video finds Lynch and a raven-haired love cruising through the night to a sun-kissed destination. But the journey itself is the real focus, with a deserted highway stretching out before them. “We decided to treat this video with textures and overlays – imposing images to add another dimension to the storyline while creating a new palette we’ll continue to paint from with new music coming soon,” shares Lynch.  Co-written by Lynch with Ashley Gorley and Zach Crowell, “Ridin’ Roads” debuted as the #1 selling Country single in the U.S. and was the #1 most-added song at Country radio the week of its release. The track highlights Lynch’s just released RIDIN’ ROADS EP, which also includes “Little Town Livin’” and “Red Dirt, Blue Eyes.”  Tour dates and music at


WHO’S LOOKING  *  WHO’S CUTTING:  Brooke Eden, Drew Baldridge, Dustin Lynch, Jake Owen, .

XTRA NEWS: Thomas Rhett brought his critically acclaimed LIFE CHANGES TOUR to Canada with a string of sold-out and packed arenas in Montreal, Ottawa and London. Long recognized for his infectious energy onstage, the Canadian launch follows 2018’s U.S. LIFE CHANGES TOUR that drew in thousands of fans.  The tour continues with more dates across Canada in early May. Up next, Thomas Rhett will return to the U.S next month heating up summertime with the VERY HOT SUMMER TOUR featuring special guests Dustin Lynch, Russell Dickerson and Rhett Akins. The VERY HOT SUMMER TOUR will make notable stops across the US, hitting 40 cities on its run and wrapping in his hometown of Nashville, TN. Tickets are on-sale now via

About Sherryl Craig 399 Articles
Sherryl is a Senior Writer and Assistant Editor with Nashville Music Guide and her blog, Lyrics N Legends has been featured since 2012. Her articles has graced the cover and have appeared as feature stories in the NMG print edition. She is also a member of WMMW, Women of Music Music of Women, a non-profit organization in support of women in the music industry. WMMW also appears here in Nashville Music Guide.

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