With the creation of broadly appealing and artistically satisfying roots songs in mind, the award-winning Asheville Music Publishing has recruited four elite songwriters to its already impressive roster of gospel writers with the goal of expanding its catalogs into roots music genres.
Jon Weisberger, who’s signed an exclusive publishing agreement, and Thomm Jutz, Mark Simos and Becky Warren, who’ve signed co-publishing agreements, are joining Amanda Anne Platt to focus on penning quality Bluegrass, Americana and Folksongs as these genres continue to evolve and expand. Weisberger will lead this new team of writers to meet the growing demand for roots music songs.
Each of these writers has proven their abilities with countless hit tracks between them.
Though he didn’t begin writing bluegrass songs until he was in his 40s, Weisberger — first recipient of the IBMA’s Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year award — has become one of the genre’s most recorded songwriters of present times, with over 200 cuts to his credit. As long-time bassist with Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, he has penned nine entries in Bluegrass Today’s Year End Top 30 chart since 2012 — including five #1 songs written in collaboration with Jones, and others coming via collaborations with co-writers including Jutz and Simos. His songs have appeared on Grammy-winning albums by the Travelin’ McCourys, the Infamous Stringdustersand the Del McCoury Band, and on projects by Balsam Range, Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, the O’Connor Band, Sierra Hull, Jim Lauderdale, Special Consensus and many more, as well as on three solo albums spanning the past decade. A former award-winning music journalist, he retired at the end of 2018 from a 12-year stint as producer and co-host of Hand-Picked with Del McCoury on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction to devote more of his time and energy to writing songs and developing Asheville Music Publishing’s roots music catalog.
“I jumped at the chance to work with Asheville Music Publishing when it came along. The company already has an incredible and historic catalog of Southern Gospel songs, and I’m excited to take on the challenge of building a comparable catalog of songs that will fit the bluegrass, Americana, folk and other roots music genres,” says Weisberger. “There is a growing demand for distinctive, well-crafted and engaging songs among artists in these fields, and I look forward to meeting it with the great roster of songwriters we have here.”
Thomm Jutz is a songwriter, producer and guitar player whose songs have been recorded by Balsam Range, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, Terry Baucom, Nanci Griffith, Kim Richey and many more. To date he has had six #1 bluegrass songs and was nominated for IBMA Songwriter Of The Year in 2017 and 2018. His song “Going Back To Bristol” was nominated for Song Of The Year 2017. He’s the producer and principal songwriter of The 1861 Project, a three-record collection of original songs about the American Civil War. He also co-wrote and produced I Sang The Song, a musical biography of Mac Wiseman featuring John Prine, Alison Krauss, Shawn Camp and many other renowned Bluegrass artists. Jutz has previously released two Bluegrass solo records Volunteer Trail and Crazy If You Let It.
Jutz says, “I’m delighted to be signing with Asheville Music. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my reach as a songwriter. With my old friend and frequent collaborator Jon Weisberger at the helm, this will be an exciting adventure of like-minded people who love all varieties of Bluegrass music.”
Over the past three decades, Mark Simos has built a reputation as a respected songwriter and tunesmith, with around 200 recordings of his songs and instrumentals by prominent bluegrass and progressive acoustic artists including Alison Krauss and Union Station, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Laurie Lewis, Doyle Lawson, the Infamous Stringdusters, and Special Consensus. Simos’ signature style blends a deep grounding in traditional forms and styles with contemporary lyrics and themes. Teaching at Berklee College of Music in Boston since 2006, Simos has pioneered fresh approaches to teaching songwriting and tune composition, described in his two books published by Berklee Press. He has also been privileged to work with a new generation of roots writers and artists, including Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, George Clements (Lonely Hearts), Alison deGroot (Molsky’s Mountain Drifters), and Maya de Vitry, among many others.
“As a full-time prof at Berklee, I still write, co-write, think and breathe songs all the time. But I simply can’t devote the attention needed to connect with all the extraordinary artists, young and old, of the bluegrass, progressive roots, and Americana music communities. Many’s the night I’ve calmed myself, saying: ‘Don’t feel bad, Mark — you can’t also be Jon Weisberger!’” says Simos. “Well, joining Asheville Music is a dream come true for me. I’ve knownJon for years as a favorite co-writer, producer, and trusted friend. I’m proud to be associated with the awesome team of writers he’s assembled and look forward to collaborating with them and others going forward. Bluegrass and roots music and musicians have blessed my life in so many ways — I welcome this chance to give more back. I’ve got a deep vault of unrecorded songs and tunes still to be shared — and lots of new ones to write.”
Since she arrived in Nashville in 2013, Becky Warren has caught the attention of listeners across genres with her empathic, musically catchy songs. First it was the awards — within her first couple years, she picked up honors in the MerleFest, Kerrville Folk Festival, and NSAI songwriting contests. Then she caught the ears of music journalists with her own recordings of her songs, including features from NPR’s All Things Considered, Acoustic Guitar magazine, and Rolling Stone, who picked one of Warren’s songs as a top 20 country/Americana song of 2018. She has also found success co-writing for other artists, including a song with nearly 3 million streams on Spotify and another that was a Facebook viral hit, shared thousands of times. As an artist, Warren opens frequently for The Indigo Girls, who have called her a “great American songwriter.”
“I’m thrilled to have found a songwriting home where my songs will be championed by people who really value and understand the craft and to have new outlets for my writing,” says Warren.
These four writers are joining Amanda Anne Platt, a storyteller by nature who’s already established herself as a noted songwriter. There is an empathetic and charming wit ingrained in Platt’s songwriting. She has a knack for accessing a deep well of emotion and applying it to her storytelling, whether she is writing from her own experiences or immersing herself into the melody of emotions in another person’s life. Performing as Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, the band blend’s their old-school country attitude with shared influences of rock and folk, garnering local, regional, national and overseas acclaim. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, their album Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters placed #2 (sandwiched between Jason Isbelland Gregg Allman) in their regional radio station WNCW’s year end listeners poll for 2017. Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters received a shout out from Fodor’s Travel Magazine in a write-up about the band’s hometown, and a few years ago they were featured on XPN World Cafe’s Sense of Place series. In 2017, their music also placed into the Americana Music Association Year End Top 100 list of Americana Airplay for the second year in a row.
About Asheville Music Publishing
Founded in October of 2002, Asheville Music Publishing’s team of songwriters has become a steady presence on the Gospel music charts, garnering BMI Awards, a Dove Award and several #1 songs on the Singing News Charts. With a continued focus on quality songwriting, Asheville Music Publishing wants to extend this success to roots genres with the addition of noted roots music writers to its already impressive roster of gospel writers.