Inside Track on Music Row: Summer Edition

June/July 2021


Songwriter Dewayne Blackwell passed away May 23 after a lifetime of penning memorable songs and numerous hits for both country and pop artists. His first major hit was “Mr. Blue” that became a No. 1 pop hit for the Fleetwoods in 1959. He also penned David Frizzell’s only chart-topping country hit, “I’m Gonna Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home,” but is best-remembered by country fans for co-writing (with Earl Bud Lee) “Friends in Low Places” that became a multi-platinum No. 1 hit for Garth Brooks. Garth had originally recorded a version of the song as a demo for Blackwell and Lee.  He was working in a shoe store and singing demos after work as he looked for his big break. Garth has said he believed the song demo was intended for George Strait, but when he signed a deal with Capitol Records, he asked Blackwell and Lee to put the song on hold for him. Garth’s recording of “Friends in Low Places” was named Single of the Year by the CMA and the ACM, was nominated for a Grammy and was awarded ASCAP’s Country Song of the Year in 1991.  Blackwell wrote hits for Conway Twitty, Marty Robbins, Rex Allen Jr., Porter Wagoner, Reba McEntire and many more. He became a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017. Our condolences to his family and many friends.



Dallas Remington, has released her sassy fan favorite single, “Princess.” The upbeat, fun tune was released digitally and is at Country radio now. The song is featured on 650 AM WSM on the Artist Spotlight. Penned by Bridgette Tatum, Nancy Deckant and Dallas Remington with production, engineering and mixing by Eric Torres at The Couch Room Studio in Nashville, “Princess” is available on all digital streaming and download at The inspiration behind “Princess” came from the Royal wedding in 2018 when Bridgette Tatum commented “You ain’t a princess until you marry a prince,” and from there “Princess” was born. Everyone knows a girl who thinks she is a princess, even though she is not. This song is about a girl just like that, a girl who wants to be something she is not instead of embracing the life she already has. “If there is anything I’d want my fans to take away from it is to love who you are, where you come from, and know that no matter what, someone loves you for YOU,” stated Dallas. More at


Breakout artist Bailey James is not slowing down with the release of her latest powerful single “Finally Free.” Within this past year, she has released a song in almost every genre and is on to her sixth song of 2021. Not only is this song available on all digital streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music, but it is also gaining traction and making an impact at mainstream country radio, with a growing number of program directors adding it to their station’s regular rotation including Billboard reporting stations. “The whole story of how the song came about is very funny. I was on my way to the co-write fresh out of a breakup, miserable and not wanting to go, but my father had forced me to go,” says Bailey. “As soon as I got there Nolan had the first few lines “I was so terrified, too scared to say goodbye,” and the song wrote itself. We left that day with an amazing song and the perspective that some endings free you.” More at  and on social media platforms.


Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and performer Anderson East’s new song, “Drugs,” is available now.

Of the track, East shares, “I feel like that song, that was the hardest one to get right, because it’s definitely not a glorification of drugs. If anything, it’s a hardened look at yourself inward. Me and my buddy and co-writer Aaron Raitiere were in LA, and we’re cruising around, and you’re just like, what is going on here? Where are all these people going? It’s like everybody’s on drugs in this place…You just start calling a spade a spade about what drugs mean: Well, I’ve had coffee this morning. Some people go to the gym. Some people are going to church. Some people are on Twitter. I wouldn’t call it a protest song, but it’s just like a, ‘Is anybody else seeing what I’m seeing right now?’ It’s our inability to just interface with reality.” “Drugs” is the second song from East’s album, Maybe We Never Die, set for release August 20 and now available for pre-order at  



Mega hit songwriter and performer Kent Blazy has announced the release of his new album, Me & My Guitar, produced by Josh Martin, recorded and mixed at Allentown Studios located in Nashville, TN, and mastered by Mayfield Mastering. Kent Blazy and Josh Martin recorded all guitar and vocals on the project with the collaboration of Human Touch Guitars by Jayboy Adams. The new music is available to order on Kent Blazy’s website  Streaming and download is available on all digital music platforms at  

“This is the second record I have written and recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown,” said Blazy. “These songs are an aerial view of what I was watching in the past year and what the possibilities will be in the future. My aim was to create hope, joy and gratitude and of course, fun.” Blazy said it was fun to go into the studio with the amazing Josh Martin and do an acoustic record. Me & My Guitartells the story of where six strings has led him and where he is still aiming to go.


Inspired by the roots rock of Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow, and Counting Crows, “Heroes” is the brand-new song and video by multiple GRAMMY-winning artist Natalie Hemby who cautions that fantasy doesn’t often match reality.  On the track, she sings “When I think heroes, I think capes / Chasing villains stopping trains / Half incredible Half insane / Uh huh.”  Her music video is Directed by Sophia Lauer (Clairo, Cage The Elephant, Soccer Mommy, Ingrid Andress). Natalie Hemby is one of the most successful and sought-after songwriters in music. Her numerous credits include hits recorded by artists like Kacey Musgraves, Yola, Maren Morris, Chris Isaak, Sheryl Crow, Lady Gaga, Rag’n’Bone Man, and countless others.  She has penned EIGHT #1 singles to date. In 2019, Hemby joined Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires to form The Highwomen; their self-titled debut album was widely hailed as one of the year’s best.  In March of 2021, Natalie won the Country Song of the Year GRAMMY® for co-writing The Highwomen’s “Crowded Table.” Keep up with Natalie at


Ray Fulcher experienced one of those “Bucket List Beers” kind of nights on June 25. Fulcher, with 30+ million artist streams and 3 billion streams as a songwriter, stepped ON TO THE STAGE and into the circle of the Grand Ole Opry stage for his debut performance. The day marked another first for Fulcher with the release of three new songs — “Bucket List Beers,” “Way Out,” and “Girl in It,” his first single going to Country radio as an artist on Black River. Stepping into the legendary circle to perform for the first time, Fulcher took in a warm reception from a rowdy full house and jumped right into his debut single on Black River, “Girl in It.”  “Lord have mercy,” said Fulcher upon finishing his first song. “I’m in the Grand Ole Opry circle. I can’t believe it, y’all.”  All three songs are digitally available at, and “Girl in It” is now playing on top playlists, including Apple’s New In Country, Amazon’s Breakthrough Country, Pandora’s New Country and New Country Now, and Spotify’s New Music Nashville. More about ray at



Blake Shelton has announced the next version of his Friends and Heroes Tour 2021.  The 17-stop tour will feature guests that include both Shelton’s friends and his heroes, including Martina McBride, Tracy Byrd, Trace Adkins and Lindsay Ell.  The first Friends and Heroes Tour began in 2019 and continued in 2020 although many of last year’s dates were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The postponed dates will be part of the 2021 tour. I told you we would be back, and I’m thrilled to say we are kicking off the Friends and Heroes 2021 Tour in Omaha,” Shelton says in a press release. “I’m giving everybody in every city plenty of notice: You might as well tell your boss you’re gonna be late to work the next day and pay that babysitter overtime, because we are going to play some country music for y’all until they turn on the lights. And that might not stop us!” Ticket info and more at More tour news at my blog


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group Lynyrd Skynyrd was well into the Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour, when the worldwide shutdown forced the band – and all musicians – off the road. Over 15 months since their last date together, the Southern Rock icons aren’t quite ready to say “farewell.” Their Big Wheels Keep On Turnin’ Tour kicked off June 13, 2021 and runs coast to coast and border to border through November 19.  “We were two shows into the end of the three-year plan for the farewell tour, when the virus hit and everything was just gone,” said lead singer Johnny Van Zant. “Once something is taken away from you – music and touring in our case – you truly realize how important it is and such a part of your life. Music is a great healer, and that’s what we all turn to when things are good or bad. A Skynyrd show is a family affair, and we want these dates to help heal our fans as much as ourselves.” Tour dates and tickets via

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