Inside Track on Music Row: Summer Edition

June/July 2021



Few have attained the achievements of multi-GRAMMY®, CMA and ACM Award-winning performer Steve Wariner. The singer/songwriter/instrumentalist recently celebrated his 25th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member with appearance on the Opry stage May 8 and May 11.  Wariner’s lifelong dream came true when he was inducted May 11, 1996 and performed “A Woman Loves,” as well as a duet with Bill Anderson of “Tips Of My Fingers” and then joined Chet Atkins on “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” “Seems like only yesterday I was with my family being inducted as the newest member of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry!” shared Wariner. “Still humbled and honored to be part of this great family for 25 years! Let’s celebrate!” Wariner’s path to the hallowed circle began when he started playing guitar professionally as Dottie West’s bass player when the Opry was being held at the Ryman Auditorium.  Tour dates, videos, music and more at


CMA and double ACM Award winner Carly Pearce has been surprised by Opry Member Dolly Parton with an invitation to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry family. The emerging songwriter/artist, who cut her teeth as a teenager at Dollywood, has long looked to the iconic superstar for inspiration. Although the invite happened off the Opry stage, the public announcement was held until Pearce’s Opry appearance June 22, so she could experience the moment at her favorite place to be, in front of a live Opry crowd. Pearce will be officially inducted on Tuesday, August 3. After the Dolly invitation video played for the packed Opry House the crowd stood in applause as Carly expressed, “Truly this is the most precious place and the most precious family I could ever be a part of. I’ve experienced so many wonderful things in my career so far, but this takes the cake!” Carly has performed at the Grand Ole Opry 85 times. She is the only country artist that Time Magazine predicts on their “Songs of the Summer for 2021” list. More about Carly at


Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Billy Strings joined forces with bluegrass legend Del McCoury for a new version of Bill Monroe favorite, “Midnight on the Stormy Deep.”

The collaboration adds to a landmark year for Strings, who was recently named Breakthrough Artist of the Pandemic at the 2021 Pollstar Awards after continuing to perform consistently throughout the past year, both in-person and virtually. Furthering his recent success, Strings’ new song, “Wargasm” featuring special guest RMR, debuted earlier this month.  Adding to an already triumphant career, Strings won Best Bluegrass Album at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards for his acclaimed 2019 record, Home, released on Rounder Records, produced by Glenn Brown. Strings and the album also topped Billboard’s 2020 year-end chart in both Bluegrass categories: Top Bluegrass Artists and Top Bluegrass Albums. Listen/stream “Midnight on the Stormy Deep” and find tour/ticket info at


Dynamic rising pop artist and ‘The Voice’ alum, Jon Mullins, released his highly anticipated scorching new single, “Hot Like Summer,” June 18. The fun, uptempo dance track, written by Mullins and produced by Ryan Prewitt, features soaring falsetto vocals, funky retro electric rhythm guitar and a synth-heavy driving beat. “Hot Like Summer” Is available at all major digital retailers at Mullins’ time on ‘The Voice’ offered him the opportunity to be exposed to fans of many genres of music and he enjoys a substantial crossover audience. “’Hot Like Summer’ is inspired by the story of when I met my wife Whitney,” states Mullins about the writing of the song. “The first verse talks about how she quickly became the center of my universe and all I could think about was her. The chorus explains how we had a love that was something that I had never experienced before. It was real and grew faster than we ever expected.” Mullins, a Pennsylvania native, moved to Nashville in 2014 to pursue music full time. More info at


Big Machine Music announced an exclusive songwriting agreement with Sara Davis. She moved to Nashville from Arizona five years ago at the age of 14 to develop her craft in the bourgeoning Pop community as a topline songwriter. Davis’ frequent collaborators include Atlantic Records artist GAYLE, Track 45’s KK and Ben Johnson and Marisa Maino. Most recently she collaborated with Altadena’s Riley Roth on “Stranger.” Listen to more selections Davis co-wrote at  

“The only thing more infectious than Sara’s enthusiasm and energy is her talent,” stated BMM General Manager Mike Molinar. “Her timing in joining Big Machine Music is perfect as our activity naturally extends our creative footprint into other markets.” Davis officially joins BMM’s acclaimed roster, which includes Brett Young, Brandy Clark, Laura Veltz, Jessie Jo Dillon, Eric Paslay, Ryan Hurd and more.



Newcomer Callista Clark continues her steady rise up the charts with her empowering debut single, “It’s ‘Cause I Am.” The 17-year-old songstress was recently named as an iHeartCountry On The Verge Artist as radio stations across the country have embraced the powerhouse vocalist’s debut effort and supported her as the fastest moving new artist debut of 2021.  The single “It’s ‘Cause I Am,’ available at,‘’ is from her debut collection Real To Me, out now via Big Machine Records. Gearing up to release her debut music, she co-wrote every track alongside many of Nashville’s leading songwriters including Jonathan Singleton, Laura Veltz, Nicolle Galyon, and Emily Shackleton, among others and the proof that Clark could hold her own among Nashville’s most prominent is evident. Amassing over 130 million views across all socials + YouTube, she’s grown her own grassroots fanbase, catching the attention of music industry moguls Scott Borchetta (Big Machine Label Group) and Scooter Braun (SB Projects). Updates at


Rising Country singer-songwriter Conner Smith officially debuts on radio with two new tracks via The Valory Music Co. Listen to “Learn From It” and “Tennessee” now at  Conner offers an autobiographical introduction in “Learn From It,” an upbeat tempo with old school lyric twists he wrote alongside Daniel Ross. The song chronicles all the stupid things and silly mistakes people make growing up then reflecting on how those moments shaped who you have become.

Conner continues sharing his life through song on “Tennessee,” a tune he and Ross collaborated on with Jessie Jo Dillon. The smooth melody sweeps over lyrics about discovering more than just the surface in a relationship. He will next hit the road on select dates of Thomas Rhett’s The Center Point Road Tour. No stranger to the stage, he has already performed alongside some of the genre’s top acts including Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, and Kip Moore. See tour dates at    


Watershed Music and Camping Festival has revealed the red-hot, diverse lineup for the festival’s second stage, known as “Next From Nashville”. Ashland Craft, Priscilla Block, Shy Carter, Callista Clark, Jackson Dean, Ross Ellis, Alex Hall, Laine Hardy, Willie Jones, Kylie Morgan, Reyna Roberts, Payton Smith, Brittney Spencer, Alana Springsteen, Temecula Road and Tiera will perform across the three-day camping festival. Returning to The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA on July 30 – Aug 1, the festival’s main stage lineup will include headliners Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw and Thomas Rhett as well as Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, Blanco Brown, Billy Currington, Russell Dickerson, Lindsay Ell, Morgan Evans, HARDY, Randy Houser, Ned LeDoux, Ashley McBryde, Jon Pardi and DeeJay Silver. Full ticketing and lineup details are available at   Info and updates on Twitter @watershedfest, Instagram @watershedfestival, and  Watershed Music and Camping Festival is part of Live Nation’s premiere family of country music festivals across the country, including Faster Horses in Brooklyn, MI, Tortuga Music Festival in Ft. Lauderdale. FL and Seven Peaks Music Festival in Denver, CO. 


Grammy®-nominated country music songwriter and producer Chris Lindsey (“Amazed,” Lonestar; “This One’s for the Girls,” Martina McBride; “I Wanna Be Your Everything,” Keith Urban), whose songs have helped sell 90 million records— including hits for Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood and Tim McGraw — released his first rock project, Down the Velvet Rabbit Hole, Thursday, June 3, via Black Box Records. All six songs on the EP are written, performed and produced by Lindsey, with additional drums and guitars by Nashville session greats Gregg Morrow and Sol Philcox-Littlefield, respectively.

When the world changed in 2020, Lindsey explains, “it presented me with a little extra time on my hands, and for whatever reason, I set out to recapture my youth—a pre-Nashville version of myself.” Down the Velvet Rabbit Hole is a sonic melting pot of ’70s British rock, ’80s power pop and ‘90s alt. Follow Lindsey on Instagram and Twitter.

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