Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Induction ceremony set for October 23

Four of Nashville’s finest will receive one of the music industry’s most coveted honors: induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The class of 2017 consists of Jim McBride, Walt Aldridge, Tim Nichols and the late Vern Gosdin.

Pictured (l-r) are: Pat Alger, Buddy Cannon (representing the late Vern Gosdin), Jim McBride, Tim Nichols, Walt Aldridge and Mark Ford, executive director of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame)

The announcement was made at a news conference on August 9 by Pat Alger, chair of the organization’s board of directors. The induction ceremony will take place on October 23 at the Music City Center.

As in previous years, there are several categories for the new inductees. Aldridge and Nichols will be inducted in the Songwriters category, McBride is the inductee in the Veterans category, and Gosdin will be honored in the Songwriter/Artist category.

Walt Aldridge

Walt Aldridge

Walt Adridge has written hit songs for artists such as Ronnie Milsap (“There’s No Getting Over Me”), Earl Thomas Conley (“Holding Her and Loving You”) and Conway Twitty (“She’s Got a Single Thing In Mind”). Florence, AL, native Aldridge was also an integral part of the Muscle Shoals music scene, working at the aptly named Fame Studios.

Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols

Tim Nichols wrote “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore” for Jo Dee Messina, “I’m Over You” for Keith Whitley and “Cowboys and Angels for Dustin Lynch. One of his biggest hits was his 2004 song for Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying,” co-written with Craig Wiseman. That song won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song at the 47th Grammy Awards and was the ACM ‘Song of the Year.’

Jim McBride

Jim McBride

Jim McBride, the honoree in the Veteran category, has had a long career as a songwriter, having written his first song when he was twelve. Success eluded him until he moved from Huntsville, AL, to Nashville and began to get cuts including “A Bridge That Just Won’t Burn” for Conway Twitty. The song won McBride’s first BMI Award along with co-writer Roger Murrah. Other McBride hits include “Chattahoochie” for Alan Jackson and songs cut by John Anderson, Waylon Jennings and many more.

Vern Gosdin

Vern Gosdin

Vern Gosdin racked up nineteen Top-Ten Country chart hits between 1977 and 1990, including three Number Ones: “I Can Tell By the Way You Dance,” “Set ‘Em Up Joe” (a tribute to Ernest Tubb), and “I’m Still Crazy.” He faced several setbacks including signing with record labels that either shut down or went bankrupt. He almost left the music business entirely in the 1970s, operating a glass company in Cartersville, GA, before being coaxed back and creating a string of hits including 1983’s “Tennessee Courage,” a song Gosdin co-wrote with Louis Brown and Max D. Barnes.  Known to his many fans as ‘The Voice,’ Vern Gosdin passed away following a stroke in April 2009.

The Hall of Fame

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and preserving the songwriting legacy that is uniquely associated with the Nashville music community. Its purpose is to educate, celebrate and archive the achievements and contributions made by members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame to the world.  The class of 2017 will join be joining the 203 members previously inducted in the NSHoF.

Read more about the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and see photos and info about all the inductees here.

Triple Number One party for Aldean and songwriters

Celebrating three Number Ones from latest album

It was a songwriters’ night with a difference: each of the featured writers on stage was a co-writer of a Number One hit for Jason Aldean from his album, THEY DON’T KNOW. The event also marked some ‘firsts’ for some of the writers.

First row (L to R): Deric Ruttan, Brian Kelly, Tyler Hubbard, Jason Aldean, Josh Thompson, Michael Knox / Second Row (L to R): Wendell Mobley, Jimmy Robbins, Tony Martin, Brad Martin, Jordan Schmidt, Jerry Flowers, Brett Warren
Photo Credit: Steve Lowry

Two-time and reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean took over Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon August 2nd to celebrate each single off his seventh studio album THEY DON’T KNOW reaching No. One. Marking 19 career chart-toppers, Aldean gathered alongside friends and family to perform “Lights Come On,” “A Little More Summertime” and “Any Ol’ Barstool” with each of the tracks’ songwriters. For the event, fans were invited to Lower Broadway’s famed venue, which is the same place Aldean played the showcase that landed him his record deal with Broken Bow Records.

Lights Come On

Serving as the lead single and No. One hit from THEY DON’T KNOW, Jason Aldean performed the smash hit “Lights Come On,” sharing vocals with songwriters Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley (BMI) and Tyler Hubbard (BMI), as well as Jimmy Robbins (ASCAP), Jordan Schmidt (ASCAP), Brad Warren (BMI) and Brett Warren (BMI). The hit serves as Schmidt’s first No. One as a songwriter as well as the first for Kelley and Hubbard’s Tree Vibez Music publishing company.

A Little More Summertime

Following suit, Aldean was joined on stage by songwriters Jerry Flowers (ASCAP), Tony Martin (BMI) and Wendell Mobley (BMI) to perform a stripped-down version of THEY DON’T KNOW’s second No. One single, “A Little More Summertime.”

Any Ol’ Barstool

To close out the round, Aldean invited Deric Ruttan (ASCAP) and Josh Thompson (BMI) to the stage who serve as the songwriters behind his “Any Ol’ Barstool.” It is the third consecutive chart topper off his seventh studio album. Aldean’s 19th career No. One serves as Thompson’s first No. One as a songwriter.

Aldean’s most recent album, THEY DON’T KNOW, follows each album release earning PLATINUM certification or better, tallying more than 15 million total album sales and 19 No. One hits. The longevity of his career reached new heights as he debuted at the No. One position on Billboard’s all-genre Top 200 Album chart for the third consecutive time. In addition to his THEY DON’T KNOW TOUR, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is showcasing a special exhibit titled  ‘Jason Aldean: Asphalt Cowboy,’ commemorating his wide-open sound that has been one of the defining influences on today’s Country Music. For more information and for a full list of upcoming tour dates, visit www.jasonaldean.com.

Information provided by the Green Room, Nashville.

August’s Inside Track on Music Row now posted

The August edition of America’s longest-running monthly country music column “Inside Track on Music Row” is now ready to read online at Nashville Music Guide and on my own “I Know Country” site as well as on websites in Europe.  Hard to believe I’ve been writing that column for around a quarter of a century! Whew!

Here are just a few ‘teasers’ from the full column…

CHARITY NEWS

My dear friend Lisa Wysocki reminded me about Colby’s Army, an organization that supports children and adults with disabilities, special needs, and life challenges through education, the teaching of life skills, and job training. Participants also gain physical strength by learning to ride a horse and through organic gardening, and our homeless friends are supported through the gifts of nutritious food from the garden, and first aid and street supplies. There are two new opportunities for you to support their programs:

1. Gift and organic products sold through EllisJaxonFarms.com on a “name your own price” model now benefit Colby’s Army! Please take time to check out this wonderful site. Anything paid over wholesale cost comes to Colby’s Army. Please also take time to thank this very generous company for their support!

2. Memory/honor sponsorships in the organic garden, on their trails, and along the beautiful creek. Your sponsorship in memory of a loved one includes a bench with your loved one’s name on it. Signage to read similar to: “Donated by _______ in memory (or honor) of ______” These sponsorships are only $400 and include the cost of a bench. You also receive a beautiful photo of your bench and signage. To participate, just click on the yellow donate button at colby’sarmy.org.  Colby’s Army is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and financial gifts are tax deductible according to applicable laws.

INDIE ARTIST NEWS

EmiSunshine, the extraordinary talent who burst into stardom four short years ago as a nine-year-old via viral video, is set to release her new album, RAGGED DREAMS (her fourth studio recording), on August 25, 2017. The little girl with a big voice, who recently celebrated her 13th birthday, has made her mark shattering preconceived notions of youthful imagery that embraces gleeful innocence and optimism.

The 15 tracks on the album (written/co-written by Sunshine) touch on Autism, close-to-home tragedies (the Gatlinburg fires and TN floods) and tell tall tales that portray colorful stories illuminating murder, deceit, vengeful spirits and incarceration. Produced by Sunshine and backed by her family-band, The Rain (father, Randall Hamilton-bass; brother, John Hamilton-mandolin; uncle, Bobby Hill-drums), the album spotlights cameo performances by notables Randy Kohrs (resonator guitar), Tim Crouch (Mandolin/Fiddle/Guitar), Justin Moses (Fiddle/Guitar/Dobro/Banjo), Hitoshi Yamaguchi (cello), Ben Probus (fiddle) and others. Her social stats are: 14 million digital views, 500,000 Facebook followers, hitting close to 25,000 Instagram followers, 13 Grand Ole Opry performances, and appearances on THE TODAY SHOW, Stagecoach, and WOODSONGS. Details at emisunshine.com.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

The Kentucky Headhunters ‘On Safari’

Known as “southern rock royalty,” 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. 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. The Kentucky Headhunters have been crisscrossing North America fresh off the 2016 release of On Safari, the band’s 12th studio album. U.S. and U.K. tour updates at kentuckyheadhunters.com

Hit songwriters kick off ’30 Days of Hope’ at 3rd & Lindsley

Hope Nation Radio concert to support families of children with cancer

Songwriters can always be relied upon to step up and offer their time and talent when the call for help goes out.  I can attest to that from personal experience!  And now, some of Nashville’s finest singer/songwriters are joining with Hope Nation Radio to kick off their 8th annual ’30 Days of Hope’ campaign.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Hope Nation Radio will host a fundraiser at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville on Wednesday September 6, 2017. Doors open at 6:00 pm and the show starts at 7:00 pm. The show will benefit the Live4Tay Foundation. Proceeds raised this night will go directly to the foundation to support families of children with cancer.

And just look who is on the bill! You’ve gotta see this one!

All-Star singer/songwriter lineup

The all-star lineup will feature acoustic performances from Brady Seals (formerly of Little Texas, “God Blessed Texas”), Buddy Jewell (Nashville Star winner), Gordon Kennedy (multi-Grammy winner), John Berry (with 20+ hit singles), Keith Anderson (hit songwriter for Big & Rich, Garth Brooks and George Jones), Paul Jefferson (with hits for Aaron Tippin, Keith Urban, etc), and Sonny Lemaire (formerly of Exile “Kiss You All Over” + 9 Number Ones).

Tickets are $15 online at www.3rdandlindsley.com or $20 at the door. Kids 12 and under get in FREE.

About Live4Tay Foundation: The foundation financially supports families who have children with cancer by raising money and awareness through benevolent fundraising events. They have helped 110 families in Tennessee and raised around $200k for local families. They also assist other organizations in financing research for preventing and curing cancer, especially in children. Find out more about the live4Tay Foundation here.

About Hope Nation Radio: Formed in 2013 by Nile “Big Daddy” Peaytt and Thomas Hammonds, this station plays a variety of country music, pop, rock, contemporary, Christian and gospel from signed and independent artists. This is a station anyone can listen to, including the children in the hospital; whether it be for a lengthy stay or to help pass the time while getting treatments. Visit their website here and follow them on all social media @HopeNationRadio.

Kenny Rogers: You’ve got to know when to fold ‘em

Dolly Parton joins Kenny Rogers for Farewell concert

It seems impossible to imagine the world of music without Kenny Rogers scheduled to appear on a stage somewhere around the globe.  But as he sings in ‘The Gambler,’ you’ve got to “know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away…”  And soon, he’ll be doing just that.

Kenny Rogers (along with Blackbird Presents) has announced “All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration,” an all-star concert event taping at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 7PM CT. This once-in-a-lifetime concert event will honor Kenny Rogers’ historic 60-year career and will feature the final performance together by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, one of popular music’s most beloved duets of all time.

A moving experience

“As I’m bringing this chapter of my career to a close, this will be an unforgettable way to celebrate with my talented friends, who I’m so grateful to have crossed paths with,” says Kenny Rogers. “It means so much that they would feel compelled to do this for me. Of course, the night would not be the same without Dolly Parton being part of it.

“We’ve enjoyed a special friendship for decades, and I’ll forever look back fondly on the many collaborations, performances, and laughs we’ve shared as some of the most extraordinary moments of my career. I know it will be a moving experience for us standing on that stage together for one last time.”

In addition to Kenny and Dolly, the show will feature performances by Little Big Town, Alison Krauss, The Flaming Lips, Idina Menzel, Jamey Johnson, Elle King and many other special guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

Dolly will be there with Kenny

“Kenny is like a family member to me. We have been friends for over 30 years and made musical magic together,” says Dolly Parton. “Since 1983, when we released ‘Islands In The Stream,’ everyone has had an expectation to see Kenny everywhere I go and me with him wherever he goes.”

Tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster locations and the Bridgestone Arena box office. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation and the Kenny Rogers Children’s Center.

For complete show details, vote the official concert website here. More about Kenny Rogers at his official website here.

‘American Grandstand’ tops charts

Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary’s new album shows traditional country alive and well

Rhonda Vincent and Daryle Singletary show that Traditional Country Music hasn’t gone anywhere as their new project ‘American Grandstand’ landed its first week on Billboard’s Top Current Country Albums chart at No. 10.

Back on July 8, I posted here on NashvilleMusicLine.com that Rhonda and Daryle’s collaboration had just been released, and it’s a pleasure to know that it has already made an impact on the charts. It also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, and No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album Chart for the week of July 29, 2017.

Not since George & Tammy and Conway & Loretta has there been a vocal duet performance like Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary. Their chart success marks yet another indication that buyers love the authentic, unaltered voices of two great singers in this generation of country music. The album is available here and wherever music is sold.

Rhonda on tour in USA and Europe

Rhonda in Prague

By the way, fans can catch “The Most Award-Winning Band in Bluegrass Music History” Rhonda Vincent & The Rage on the road throughout the remainder of the year, as the IBMA “Entertainer of the Year” and 8-time “Female Vocalist of the Year” winner makes stops at festivals and venues throughout North America, plus a return visit to Europe’s Bluegrass Capital – Prague, Czech Republic www.rhondainprague.cz in September, along with a stop at Switzerland’s Most Prestigious Country Music Festival in beautiful Gstaad. More details on Rhonda’s website and social media.

Singer-songwriter Parker Willingham hosts listening party

Unveils new music at Nashville acoustic show

Parker Willingham hosted a New Music Review listening party at The Westin L27 Rooftop, July 5th. Willingham spotlighted tracks from his new recording project YOU GET ME EVERY TIME (Apple Row Music Group).

From Left To Right: Robin Majors/Robin Majors Management, Kat Atwood/Music City Media, Parker Willingham, Shelly Mullins/ProMO Image, Neal Spielberg/Spielberg Entertainment
Photo Credit: Karen Will Rogers Photography

Willingham gave an acoustic performance before friends, family, fans, peers and music industry execs. Featuring solo and co-writes titled “Raining Down,” “Flipside,” “All Over You” and the title track, YOU GET ME EVERY TIME is a canvas of Parker’s wit, grit, heart and soul, and offers an authentic insight to passionate, poignant, pivotal and painful pages of his life.

The ballads (such as “One Kiss At A Time” and “Hard To Say”) depict the innocence and confusion of falling in love, and love at the right time, while “Chase Her Dreams” and “Me Loving You” set love free. The beachy, true-to-his roots party anthem, “Cold Creek,” celebrates a spiritual freedom and “We Got It All Right” turns the page to a forever love potential.

Satisfying the traditional country music fan and country music enthusiasts with a more flavorful palate, YOU GET ME EVERY TIME has also garnered early applause from radio and the media with every noteworthy ingredient.

“Parker Willingham is absolutely incredible; this guy must be heard. He’s ‘Nashville’s best-kept secret’ and he’s going to be explosive!” — Seth Coburn, Morning Drive Host / KLAW101 (OK)

“I’m spinning Parker Willingham on CMR Nashville now and mark his new album with high ratings. He is a star in the making with a great voice.”  Lee Williams/CMR Nashville

YOU GET ME EVERY TIME is now available via all digital platforms (Spotify/Amazon/iTunes).

Michael Ray celebrates Number One again

Michael Ray, songwriters, honored at Number One party

Once again, Atlantic/WEA’s Michael Ray celebrated another Number One, for ‘Think A Little Less.’ Here is Michael pictured with the writers. Pictured (l-r) are Thomas Rhett, Ray, Jimmy Robbins and Barry Dean. Not pictured was the fourth writer – ASCAP’s Jon Nite. This makes the second number one single from Michael’s debut self-titled album. His summer touring dates are full and he has a new single, ‘Get To You,’ that was released a few days ago. It’s going to be a grrrreat summer for this Eustis Florida native, who now calls Nashville home.

You can find Michael’s tour schedule and catch the official video for ‘Get To You’ here.

Lee and Sara Brice welcome daughter Trulee Nanette

Meanwhile, new single, ‘Boy,’ climbing charts

Congrats and best wishes to Lee Brice and his wife Sara who have just welcomed their third child, daughter Trulee Nanette Brice, on Friday, June 2, at 9 AM/Ct.  For those who like to get the full ‘Baby 411,’ the healthy baby girl measured 20 inches and weighed 7 lbs., 13 oz., at birth. She was born in Nashville and joins her big brothers Ryker Mobley, 3 ½, and Takoda 8 ½.

People magazine announced the birth saying: “Lee Brice has had his ‘Boy’ fix with two sons — now he’s got his girl!” Lee – whose new single “Boy” is a tribute to his sons – and Sara found out their soon-to-be family of five would include a baby girl via a sweet reveal at the end of January. In the video shared to Lee’s Instagram account, Ryker and Takoda bit into cupcakes that featured pink centers. You can see that video here.

Lee & Sara Brice with baby Trulee. Photo: People magazine

“I’m so grateful to God for the health and blessing of Trulee in our lives,” Brice, 37, told People, sharing an exclusive photo of himself with his wife and new daughter.  “And I’m so amazed by Sara. She was truly courageous through this special time, and beyond beautiful from the inside out.”

Check out the official music video for “Boy” here, and follow Lee at his website and on social media.

‘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