Wade Hayes new album “Old Country Song’

…hits outlets June 9, 2017

Wade Hayes is one tough and determined guy. And he knows a lot about facing adversity, overcoming it and moving on. In December 2011, he was diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer. Successful surgery and chemotherapy removed the cancer. A year later, Wade was devastated to learn the cancer had returned. He received additional treatments, and today he has no evidence of disease. The brush with death gave him a new outlook on life and motivated him to write and record a moving collection of songs called ‘Go Live Your Life.’

Wade Hayes new album

As someone who has had my own share of dealing with cancer, I can empathize with Wade and his attitude of not letting a major roadblock keep him from moving on with his life and the career he loves.

He has had a long career with no sign of letting up. I well remember seeing Wade playing guitar for country artist Johnny Lee in the early 90s. I also wrote a story about Wade in Texas Country Music magazine in the 1990s.

Traditional music roots

And now Wade is back with a new album, OLD COUNTRY SONG (conabar records), due out June 9, 2017. He’s never tried to hide his traditional music roots and the new project has him going full-on old school.

“I grew up listening to Haggard, Waylon and Willie – classic country artists – and they’ve all had a huge influence on my writing and my music,” said Hayes. “I wanted to make a record that honored them, and I’m really proud of what we came up with.”

Wade wrote or co-wrote four of the 11 tracks. He partnered with Clint Ingersoll and Mark Collie on two of the cuts. Roger Springer wrote the title cut, Jon Randall and Jessi Alexander contributed “What You Need From Me,” and Chris Stapleton penned “We Needed The Rain.” Springer also wrote “All I Know” with Tim Menzies for the album, and Wade’s first producer, Don Cook, wrote the Conway Twitty hit “Julia” with John Jarvis. The Merle Haggard/Dean Holloway tune, “Going Where the Lonely Go,” rounds out the album.

Wade Hayes at CMA Music Fest

Wade Hayes

If you’re planning on being at this year’s CMA Music Festival, you’ll have several chances to catch up with Wade.  He’ll be at Storme Warren’s Nashville Navy Party at Famous Saloon, 110 2nd Avenue South, on Tuesday, June 6. His Wade Hayes Friends’ Fest is set for Wednesday, June 7, 1:30-4:30pm at the Hermitage House Smorgasbord. He will perform on the Durango Music Spot Stage inside XFINITY Fan Fair X in the Music City Center on Thursday, June 8 at 2:35pm. That evening, he will perform at Alley Taps Gin Mill in Printers Alley. Wade will be on the road through the summer performing from Texas to Michigan and from Arizona to Florida, and details on all performances can be found at www.wadehayes.com.

The past two years, Wade has organized the star-studded Country Hits Back Concert to benefit the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center to help find a cure for colorectal cancer. This year’s extravaganza included performances by supergroup Alabama lead singer Randy Owen and Tracy Lawrence.

If you are a songwriter or an artist and your career seems to hit one roadblock after another, keep Wade Hayes in mind.  He could have viewed that terrifying diagnosis as a sign that he needed to quit music and give up on his ambitions. Life will always throw you curve balls. Face the problems head on, fix what you can, ignore what you can’t and keep on going!

Follow Wade at www.WadeHayes.com and on Facebook at /officialwadehayes and twitter at /wadehayes1

‘Inside Track on Music Row’ now posted

Monthly column in NMG has run for more than 25 years

For more than a quarter of a century [!] I’ve written “Inside Track on Music Row,” a monthly column that runs in Nashville Music Guide and on websites around the world. The special CMA MusicFest print edition of NMG will be available in a few days. Visit NMG’s website here. You can also catch the full column at my other websitewww.iknowcountry.comand maybe buy a copy of my country music trivia Q&A book, “I Know Country.”  Here’s a teaser of some of the items in the June 2017 column.

Morgan Evans [left] with WMN’s John Esposito
INDUSTRY NEWS:  WMN CEO John Esposito was happily smiling for a photo opp recently. They have signed Singer/songwriter Morgan Evans to Warner Music Nashville. Evans has a power team around him. Morgan is managed by Fitzgerald Hartley in Nashville and Rob Potts Entertainment Edge in Australia. He’s currently in the studio working on new music with songwriter/producer Chris DeStefano. Find Morgan Evans’ Facebook page here.

Maren Morris receives ‘Breakthrough’ Award from Jim Donio

MUSIC BIZ 2017 AWARD NEWS: Maren Morris and Lukas Graham were the two recipients of the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at Music Biz 2017, presented by the Music Biz Association (formerly known as NARM), during their 4-day seminar in Nashville, May 15-18. Reba McEntire received the Chairman’s Award; the Artist of the Year Award went to Adele; Paula Abdul won the Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award; Terry Cutler of Music Millennium received the Independent Spirit Award; and the Presidential Award went to Mike Dungan of UMG Nashville. Awards were presented by Music Biz chief Jim Donio.

NSAI’s Bart Herbison

MUSIC BIZ 2017 NEWS: Bart Herbison Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association said it best: “Music Biz 2017 is one the top Music Conferences around the globe.” Around 1,500 music pros attended the event that annually brings together the influential decision makers from the world of music. More at musicbiz.org

Miranda to host march for shelter pets, June 8

Miranda Lambert

MUTT NATION NEWS: Over the top animal lover and activist Miranda Lambert will host the inaugural MuttNation March June 8, where Lambert and her rescue dogs will walk from Nissan Stadium, over the Nashville Pedestrian Bridge, and end in downtown Nashville. “So many shelter pets need a home, so we are going to march to raise awareness,” says Lambert. “Country music has the best fans in the world and together we can help so many animals find amazing homes.” Fans and their mutts are encouraged to join the walk. Details and registration info here. Additional related events include the MuttNation Foundation Adoption Drive inside CMA Fan Fair X and the MuttNation Shelter Day Sweepstakes, which gives one winner and a guest the chance to win a day with Lambert making over an animal shelter in need.

Read the entire June 2017 column at http://www.nashvillemusicguide.com and  www.iknowcountry.com

Jeff Stice is ‘Gonna Keep On’

New album from Edmonson County’s own ‘Mr Piano Man’

The kid from the old neighborhood makes good. Jeff Stice and I have something in common. We both went to Edmonson, KY, High School!  But that’s where the similarity ends. Jeff is a Gospel Music Hall of Fame Inductee and multi-award winning pianist, and he is releasing his first project on Daywind Instrumental. The new project, aptly titled I’M GONNA KEEP ON, is a tribute to legendary songwriter and Gospel music icon Andrae Crouch.

Jeff Stice album ‘I’m Gonna Keep On”

Jeff is particularly delighted that his first Daywind release should feature the songs of Crouch, for whom he has great admiration.  “It’s so apparent in the lyrics that he wrote, that Andrae Crouch had lived each word,” said Jeff. “He had the voice of experience!”

I’m Gonna Keep On releases nationwide through Daywind Instrumental/New Day Christian Distributors on Friday, June 2, 2017. It will also be on Jeff’s website and at http://www.lifeway.com  the first week of June.

Multiple awards for Jeff Stice

Appropriately, Jeff Stice is known as “Mr Piano Man” and has achieved considerable success in the world of Gospel Music. During his twelve-year span with Triumphant Quartet Jeff was honored to receive a number of awards and recognitions. He was voted ‘Musician of the Year, in 2007 by the Southern Gospel Music Guild. He received the ‘Favorite Musician of the Year’ Award in 2009 and 2012 at The Southern Gospel Fanfare. In 2007, he was voted into the Edmonson County Music Hall of Fame in Brownsville, KY. In 2010 and 2011 he received Grammy and Dove Award nominations. In 2014 Jeff received an Absolutely Gospel Music Award (Ovation) for producing his last Triumphant project, and recently won a 2015 AGM Ovation for Musician of the Year.

Flashback’s new album ‘Foxhounds and Fiddles’

Bluegrass superpickers combine new with traditional

Bluegrass fans are enjoying a rare treat: a new album from bluegrass supergroup Flashback.  Titled FOXHOUNDS AND FIDDLES, the album is now available following an album release party in April.


The band’s name, Flashback, is an apt one. The group features well-known bluegrass musicians and entertainers Phil Leadbetter, Don Rigsby, Richard Bennett and Curt Chapman, all from the original “Flashback” band that was formed as a 20-year reunion band for J.D. Crowe, which brought all original members together (including Crowe, who came out of retirement) for a 2015 tour in which they were known as The Flashback Band. Their band name comes from the title of the album they released with Crowe in 1995. After Crowe returned to his retirement, he was replaced by baritone Stuart Wyrick on banjo.

Since their early days playing Crowe, each of the original band members have gone on to become individually recognized stars in bluegrass circles as solo artists and members of other groups.

New single out now

The first single from the album is the title track, Foxhounds and Fiddles, written by Bennett and Rigsby. According to Leadbetter, the song is about the way things used to be for folks who grew up in the country.

The album is on Pinecastle Records and is available for purchase from their website as well as from iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.  Read more about Flashback here.

LOCASH receive BMI’s Million-Air Award

“You Gonna Fly” for Keith Urban passes one million spins mark

Kudos to my friends LOCASH (Preston Brust and Chris Lucas) who received the prestigious BMI Million-Air Award from David Preston, BMI’s Senior Director, Writer-Publisher Relations. The Award recognizes the achievement of one million-plus spins on the radio.  They received the award in a laid-back ceremony on the BMI rooftop patio, Tuesday May 23.  Although they are successful recording artists in their own right, in this case Preston and Chris received the award as songwriters (along with ASCAP writer Jaren Johnston) for writing the song “You Gonna Fly” recorded by Keith Urban.

BMI’s David Preston presents Award to LOCASH. Photo: Preshias Harris

The BMI “Million-Air” Award is given to songwriters, composers, and publishers whose songs accumulate to over one million U.S. broadcast performances.  The designation has been bestowed upon many of BMI’s iconic songwriters, including Sir Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton, Isaac Hayes and Roy Orbison. One million continuous performances of a song of the average length of 3 minutes represents 5.7 years of continuous airplay.  Continue reading “LOCASH receive BMI’s Million-Air Award”

Amanda Williams’ groundbreaking show at unique venue

‘A Story of Love’ unique monthly concert series

Amanda Colleen Williams, a Grammy-nominated song co-writer and a dear friend of mine, has overcome extraordinary hurdles after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2015. Now cancer free, she is emerging with a new Nashville music venue, named 7695, and a groundbreaking concert series.

Amanda Colleen Williams

‘A Story of Love’ is a one woman show performed monthly at the 7695 venue.  Shows are typically the last Saturday of the month, and the next showcase is scheduled for May 27th at 7695 River Road Pike in Nashville. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the concert begins promptly at 7PM. Parking is free with attendants on site. Tickets, $20.00 each, can be purchased in advance here.  Continue reading “Amanda Williams’ groundbreaking show at unique venue”

Kentucky Headhunters set U.K. Tour in Fall 2017

‘Southern rock royalty’ crossing the pond

The Kentucky Headhunters. Photo credit: Joe McNally

My good friends and FFA buds, the Kentucky Headhunters are gearing up to take their rowdy, high-energy live show across the pond, as they return to the U.K. for a string of performances this fall. If any of my British friends are reading this, take it from me: don’t miss the opportunity to see these guys who put on a great rockin’ show. Supporting the American band will be U.K. rockers Bad Touch, who will join the Headhunters on all 8 shows this October.

“We first met Bad Touch when they were chosen as our support act after my son John Fred Young’s band, Black Stone Cherry, convinced us to do our first-ever U.K. tour in 2016. In a mere week of touring, the Headhunter’s and Bad Touch became like a band of brothers,” said Richard Young of The Kentucky Headhunters. “There is a certain charm and charisma between the two bands that transcends to the fans of both bands, on stage and off. We’re proud to announce their return for this year’s October U.K. dates. Simply put, it wouldn’t be the same without them.”

On Safari

Kentucky Headhunters: ‘On Safari’

The Kentucky Headhunters have been crisscrossing North America fresh off the 2016 release of On Safari, the band’s 12th studio album. A Plowboy Records/Practice House Records joint venture, the album combines southern rock, blues, Americana and country sounds sure to captivate audiences overseas. Click here to purchase On Safari.

Hear the Headhunters on the Heartland Network

The week of May 29, tune into The Heartland Network as members of the band look back on some of their most stand-out career memories. The half-hour interview show airs all week on various affiliates, check local listings here.

The Headhunters have a packed tour schedule in the USA before heading to England. Check out the current tour schedule at their official website www.kentuckyheadhunters.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Inside Track on Music Row, May 2017

Entire May column now posted

My column, Inside Track on Music Row, is the longest-running country music column in America. It appears in Nashville Music Guide and on websites around the world.

Here’s a brief teaser of the May 2017 edition. You can read the full column here. And while you’re there, you can read about my book “I Know Country!” with 366 day-by-day country music Q&As.

Lady Antebellum Heart Break

ALBUM NEWS: Lady Antebellum has revealed the cover art and track listing behind their sixth studio album HEART BREAK (Capitol Records Nashville), out June 9th. Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott had a new mission — setting aside time to put themselves in new surroundings, and concentrate on writing and exploring musical endeavors with no distractions. They rented a house in Florida, living and working under the same roof, and when the creative process proved successful, the trio set up a second retreat in southern California. Pre-orders are available now at ladyantebellum.com. The trio had a hand in writing eleven songs on HEART BREAK. “This record is really our story,” said Kelley. “They have a universal feel to them, but there’s a lot of our personal stories here.”

Chris Stapleton, From A Room Volume 1

AMERICANA MUSIC NEWS: Chris Stapleton’s sophomore album FROM A ROOM: VOLUME 1 is set for national release May 5, but the album’s first single is already at country radio. Titled “Broken Halos,” it is a co-write by Stapleton and former SteelDrivers bandmate Mike Henderson. Stapleton told Rolling Stone that, although he has written more songs with Henderson than with anyone else, none of their co-writes appeared on Stapleton’s Grammy-winning album, Traveller. “Broken Halos” has a redemptive message even if some angels have fallen.  A second set, appropriately titled FROM A ROOM: VOLUME 2, is scheduled for release later this year. Stapleton is currently on his All-American Road Show Tour. Album pre-orders and tour dates at chrisstapleton.com

Darius Rucker. Photo credit: Ryman

BENEFIT NEWS: Darius Rucker’s eighth annual “Darius and Friends” benefit concert, sponsored by State Water Heaters, will take place Monday, June 5 and will be held for the first time at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The event, which leads into CMA Music Festival week, has received an overwhelming response in past years, with sellouts year-after-year and more than $800,000 raised for St. Jude’ Children’s Research Hospital. The lineup for this year’s event will be announced in the coming weeks. “This concert is a real highlight for me every year,” Rucker said. “And I couldn’t do it without the support of my friends who turn out to perform, tell stories and make this a memorable night for the fans, who are here from around the world.”  Tickets for “Darius and Friends” are now available via Ticketmaster.

Read the full column at my blog page at www.iknowcountry.com

Dolly Parton surprises families with $5,000 checks

Dollywood Foundation pledges at least $3 million from My People Fund to the Mountain Tough Recovery Team

There’s no question about it: Dolly Parton’s heart is in the right place. She – and her Foundation – have always been among the first to respond when ‘her’ people are in need. When the devastating wildfires tore through the part of East Tennessee that Dolly calls home, she wasted no time in making much-needed funds available to the families who lost so much.

A ‘nice surprise’ from Dolly

Dolly with a recipient family

The Dollywood Foundation administered the final distribution from the My People Fund on Thursday, May 4, with recipients noticing an extra surprise when they received the check.

Thanks to fundraising efforts, Dollywood Foundation officials were able to provide a $5,000 check to each family as they work to recover from the Smoky Mountain wildfires which occurred last November. Beginning last December, the My People Fund provided $1,000 each month to Sevier County families whose primary residences were completely destroyed due to the fires. Continue reading “Dolly Parton surprises families with $5,000 checks”

Music Biz 2017 hits Nashville in May

Hope to see you there!

If you have any connection to the music industry – or if you want to increase your knowledge of how it works – you have a great opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks.  I already have my ticket to Music Biz 2017 and I’m excited at the prospect of keeping current with whats happening.  Even after 27+ years in various aspects of the Nashville music scene, I know there’s still plenty to learn.  If you feel that way too, please read on.


Since moving the annual Music Biz convention to Nashville two years ago, attendance has grown by 50% … to 1,500. It’s the only music business event in North America that brings together the influential decision-makers from the commerce, content and creative communities under one roof for four productive days of meetings, education and networking.

You can find a complete schedule of events for Music Biz 2017 here. Just take a quick glance and you can see that this could be a great investment of your time and money if you have any involvement in music. Continue reading “Music Biz 2017 hits Nashville in May”