Two of Country’s sweetest voices are off the market. Kacey Musgraves got her ring on Christmas day, from fellow artist Ruston Kelly. “I didn’t say yes…I said HELL YESSSS!!” Musgraves posted on Instagram Christmas Day.
Then Australian artist Morgan Evans asked Country Music Sweetheart Kelsea Ballerini to be his wife on Christmas Day. The two met when they co-hosted Australia’s Country Music Channel Awards this past March. Kelsea wrote on Instagram: “This morning, nine months and 13 days later, he got down on one knee in the kitchen while I was burning pancakes and asked me to marry him.”
“With an artist, everything is hunky-dory until he wakes up and can’t pay his rent. Everything is hunky-dory until he wakes up and realizes he got ripped off. I mean, you always get these artists who say, ‘I dunno man, I just play the music. I don’t know anything about the business.’ But if you ask a guy who owns a restaurant and he says, ‘Oh, I just cook the food, I don’t know anything about the business’ – that restaurant is gonna fail, y’know?”
— Joe Bonamassa, blues guitarist and songwriter, interviewed by Henry Yates in The Blues Magazine.
Everyone starting out on a career in music should pay attention to those words of wisdom from Joe Bonamasso, who began playing the guitar at the age of four and opened for blues icon B.B. King when he was twelve years old. It would have been easy for him to concentrate solely on his guitar playing and leave the business side of his career in the hands of others.
But, from an early age, he saw what happened to artists who knew little or nothing about the business side of their own careers. When other people are controlling your management, your bookings, your publishing, your copyrights and your royalties, there’s a good chance that they are more focused on their own interests rather than on yours.
Your music is your business
Of course, as your career expands, you won’t be able to personally handle absolutely everything entirely by yourself: you will need to utilize the expertise of others who are professionals in their field. But it is still essential that you have at least a working knowledge of the major aspects of the music business.
With that knowledge, you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of; you can review documents before you sign, ask questions that demonstrate your familiarity with the subject. In short, treat your music career as your business – because that’s what it is – and you greatly reduce the risk of getting ripped off.
Dolly Parton has always be someone who’ll step up and take decisive action whether it applies to her career or – in this case – to the needs of “her people” in the East Tennessee mountains.
In a little more than two weeks after the wildfires that spread across Dolly Parton’s home area of Sevier County, Tennessee, Parton and the Dollywood Foundation launched the distribution of assistance from the My People Fund. During the four day cash distribution, 884 families received their initial support payments.
“It’s a blessing during this holiday season that we are able to help as many families as we have so far,” Parton said. “We know there are more families out there who need our help and we encourage them to be in contact with us before our January distribution.”
The Dollywood Foundation My People Fund provides $1,000 each month to Sevier County families whose homes are uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the recent Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County will be eligible. A pre-application for those affected is available at dollywoodfoundation.org.
Millions of people watched Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund telethon on Tuesday, December 13 on Great American Country, AXS-TV, RFD-TV and The Heartland Network and during several rebroadcasts throughout the last week. As a result, donations continued to roll in and thanks to generous people from coast to coast and Parton’s friends, the total amount raised has climbed to $9.3 million.
“As, Dolly said, the response has been overwhelming,” David Dotson, Dollywood Foundation President said. “We will distribute all $9.3 million to the families affected. That will insure all of the money raised will go to where Dolly promised it would go.”
The next distribution is January 26 and 27, 2017 at the LeConte Events Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
A sell-out event, the Charlie Daniels 80th Birthday Volunteer Jam hit a capacity of 15,784 patrons in the building and was a star-studded show with a portion of the proceeds benefitting The Journey Home Project. The event featured guests 3 Doors Down, Luke Bryan, Kid Rock, Larry The Cable Guy, Chris Stapleton and Travis Tritt with the Charlie Daniels Band for another historic jam. The jam featured a variety of the artists singing standards like “Can’t You See” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Surprised by award
Charlie Daniels was surprised with the Rare Country Humanitarian of the Year Award by Randy Travis and Lt. General Keith Huber before playing his mega-hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” to a sold out crowd at his 80th Birthday Volunteer Jam at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday evening.
“Looking back over my 50 plus year career, this is among the top five shows I have ever done in my entire life, Volunteer Jam 2016,” said Charlie Daniels of the momentous occasion.
Since 1974, Daniels has commissioned his musical friends and peers to come together on a “volunteer” basis to hang out, “jam” together, and entertain crowds in an unconventional, laid-back fashion unknown to any other concert event — all while dedicating concert proceeds to worthy causes. This year’s event featured extra special “jam” sessions with some of Charlie’s most prolific friends who celebrated the Country Music Hall of Famer, his birthday, and his many accomplishments.
A portion of the proceeds from the night went to the The Journey Home Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit co-founded by Daniels and manager, David Corlew, to help Veterans of the United States Armed Forces. For more info on The Journey Home Project, please visit: thejourneyhomeproject.org.
Charlie Daniels’ 80th Birthday Volunteer Jam was produced by Mike Smardak of Outback Concerts in association with David Corlew & Associates and Webster & Associates.
In a video message Dolly Parton has announced a new effort by The Dollywood Company and The Dollywood Foundation to establish a fund to assist the victims of the Great Smoky Mountain wildfires in Tennessee. The new My People Fund will provide $1000 each month to Sevier County families who lost their homes.
“I’ve always believed charity begins at home and my home is some place special,” Parton explained. “That’s why I’ve asked my Dollywood Companies—including the Dollywood theme park, and DreamMore Resort; my dinner theater attractions including Dixie Stampede and Lumberjack Adventure; and my Dollywood Foundation—to help me establish the My People Fund.
A ‘hand up’
“We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet.”