April edition of ‘Inside Track on Music Row’

Latest column posted; here’s a ‘teaser’

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 April 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.

The 2017 CMHoF Brunch will feature The McCrary Sisters

COUNTRY MUSIC HoF NEWS: Easter brunch and music. What could be better! The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will hold its second annual Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 16, with two seatings at 9:00 am and 12 noon. You can enjoy family-style seating and a performance by great R&B Gospel group the McCrary Sisters, plus a special visit from the Easter Bunny. Advance ticket purchase required. Ticket prices are $65.00 for adults, $25.00 for ages 6-12, and the price includes both Museum admission and the brunch. Details and ticket info here.

Charlie Daniels’ new memoir

LEGEND NEWS: Few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. In his official memoir, “Never Look at the Empty Seats” (W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson), fans will learn about his rise from a post-Depression era childhood to becoming a Grammy award winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee by focusing on the positives in life. Spanning a career of nearly 60 years, Charlie will share inside stories, reflections, rare personal photographs plus make available lessons learned and sage advice to those seeking a career in the music business. The book releases October 24 in hardcover, eBook and audiobook and is available for pre-order now. For available retailers and more info, go to CharlieDaniels.com.

The Kentucky Headhunters ‘On Safari’

VIDEO NEWS: My friends the The Kentucky Headhunters’ music video for “God Loves A Rolling Stone” can now be seen on TasteOfCountry.com. It is the first single from the Headhunters’ new album, ON SAFARI. “The video for ‘God Loves A Rolling Stone’ is a film for all of humanity. It depicts the struggles that many Americans have endured to keep our country’s spirit great and, in the end, shining. I wrote the song for those who are less fortunate, and the part that God plays in all our lives. In his eyes, we’re all the same. Enough said,” stated Richard Young of The Kentucky Headhunters. See kentuckyheadhunters.net.

Read the entire column (and previous columns) here.


ACM Awards set for April 2nd

The 52nd Annual ACM Awards will air live on CBS on Sunday, April 2nd at 8 p.m. ET, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley will once again serve as hosts.

Scheduled performances include FGL and the Backstreet Boys who will perform their new single, “God, Your Mama and Me.” Also performing: Faith Hill, Sam Hunt, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton, Cole Swindell, Jon Pardi, Kelsea Ballerini, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban (who has SEVEN nominations in five categories!) and Contemporary Christian artist Lauren Daigle.

Luke Bryan & Dierks Bentley. Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images


Here is a list of all the 2017 ACM nominees, so you can keep score during the show.

2017 Academy of Country Music Awards Nominees


Entertainer of the Year

Jason Aldean

Luke Bryan

Florida Georgia Line

Carrie Underwood

Keith Urban

Continue reading “ACM Awards set for April 2nd”

Tin Pan South 2017 Update!

Star-studded lineup of 400+ hit songwriters announced for Tin Pan South March 28 – April 01

I’m excited to report that organizers of The 25th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival Presented by Regions Bank pulled out all stops for the Silver Anniversary, and the 100 shows and more than 400 writers have been announced and are now available at TinPanSouth.com. Set for March 28-April 1, 2017, writers representing virtually every genre will perform at 10 of Nashville’s top music venues.

The Tin Pan South 2017 poster designed by Micah Mathewson, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

CMA Vocal Duo of the Year winners Brothers Osborne will entertain at 3rd & Lindsley, and “Nashville” television show stars Charles Esten, Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen will appear at the Hard Rock Cafe and The Listening Room Cafe, respectively. Grammy Award-winner Keb’ Mo’ will bring his unique Blues style to The Country, and Rock legend Jim Peterik returns to perform at Whiskey Rhythm.

Country hitmakers Jake Owen, Craig Campbell, Maddie & Tae, Danielle Bradbery, Mo Pitney, Kristian Bush, Love and Theft, Mickey Guyton, Luke Combs and others will hit various stages, and legends like Larry Gatlin, Lee Roy Parnell and Mac Davis will tell fascinating stories behind their biggest hits. Continue reading “Tin Pan South 2017 Update!”

‘SRO’ at YNOT Wednesday

Great audience reaction to songwriter show

THANK YOU Everyone who came out and packed the house to a standing room ONLY house at Whiskey Rhythm for our Lord & Thorn Music Publishing YNOT (Why not) Wednesday debut Showcase …

YNOT Wednesdays at Whiskey Rhythm Saloon

Gyth Rigdon, Elvie Shane, Russell Sutton, Grady James, Justin T. Dukes, Josh Sanders, Daniel Johnson, Daryl Price, Alex Maxwell, Bobby McLamb, Adley Stump, Catie Engelby, Marie Mattei, Chelsie Love, Kenny Olson (and Ashley) Courtney Bumbacher, Jackson Gardner, Frank Myers, Dave Gibson, Dave Pahanish, Tanya Sue, Lindsey Erin, Kimber Annie Engstrom, Lee Gibson and Kayla Nicole… I hope I didn’t leave anyone out!

‘Larger-than-life’ songwriter’s story told in new book

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer, Merle Kilgore, subject of “These Are My People” 

There’s a special place in my heart for Merle Kilgore. Back in 2002, one of my knee replacement surgeries did not go as well as planned and it was almost impossible for me to get in and out of my home. Friends in Nashville’s bighearted music community put together a Benefit to raise money for the installation of a wheelchair ramp. Merle generously donated two front row seats at a Hank Williams, Jr. concert plus a limo ride to the show. It was a very popular auction item! Merle and his family were good friends to me since I moved to Nashville in 1991.

Mark Rickert’s new book about his grandfather, Merle Kilgore

Merle co-wrote “Ring Of Fire,” carried Hank Williams Sr.’s guitar, managed Hank Jr. for more than two decades, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Now, his grandson, Mark Rickert, gives readers an insider’s look at Merle’s larger-than-life world in a new book, “These Are My People” (WriteLife Publishing) available for purchase now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and local bookstores across the country.

“We had a very close relationship,” Rickert recalls. “I listened to his stories for hours on end, summer after summer. He was a character and his friends were superstars. His was a story I always believed should be told.”

“Merle Kilgore was my best friend.” – Hank Williams, Jr.

Continue reading “‘Larger-than-life’ songwriter’s story told in new book”

Cole Swindell, Blake Shelton celebrate Number Ones

6th Number One for Cole Swindell

Cole Swindell cebrates with co-writers and execs from ASCAP, BMI, label and song publishers. Photo credit: Preshias

Warner Bros Nashville threw a Number One party for one of their ‘Golden Boys.’ Cole Swindell is basking in the glow of his 6th Number One single, “Middle Of A Memory,” written by Swindell, Ashley Gorley and Zach Crowell. Cole thanked the standing room only crowd for all they have done to get him to this stage in his career and making his dreams come true.

…and Blake Shelton’s 23rd

Blake celebrates another Number One. Photo credit: Lindsey Sipes

Another Warner Bros Nashville “Golden Boy,” Blake Shelton, celebrates another Number One “With A Guy With A Girl.” The song was written by Bryan Simpson and Ashley Gorley. This makes Blake’s 23rd Number One, if I counted right. Trivia Note: Blake had 17 consecutive number one records, which went down in the music history books.

Thomas Rhett celebrates 6th and 7th chart topper

SEVEN consecutive Number Ones for Rhett

Valory Records superhot artist, songwriter (and about to be a new dad times two) Thomas Rhett celebrated his 6th and 7th Number One parties for “T-Shirt” and “Star Of The Show.” This brings his total to 7 consecutive number one songs.

Pictured (l-r) Luke Laird, Ashley Gorley, Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Shane McAnally and Ben Hayslip. Photo credit: Steve Lowry

This is the first time country music history a father and a son celebrated for writing a Number One song together. All the writers were present to be recognized and awarded. They were Rhett Akins (Thomas Rhett’s dad), Ashley Gorley, Ben Hayslip, Luke Laird and Shane McAnally. NOTE: In February Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man” was awarded a triple platinum certification which equals 3,000,000 singles sold!! This is also Thomas’ dad Rhett Akins’ 26th Number One song as a songwriter. (And oh yeah: just to add to the fun, Thomas Rhett’s “Vacation” has been certified Gold by the RIAA.)

LOCASH have plenty to celebrate

A Number One, new tour and an addition to the family for Preston

Reviver Records super duo LOCASH (Chris Lucas and Preston Brust) is keepin’ them coming with a party for their new Number One, ‘I Know Somebody’ from their album THE FIGHTERS. And, unlike most Number One parties, they opened the celebration to the public! It was SO CRAZY & FUN! It was total mayhem at Valentine Saloon on Nashville’s Broadway. David Preston represented BMI and Michael Martin represented ASCAP for hosting duties.

LOCASH Photo credit: Jake Harsh

The songwriters themselves who were helping them celebrate included Rhett Akins (His 26th Number One… but I counted 27), Ross Copperman (I Know Somebody was his 15th Number One song) and Jeremy Stover for whom this was his 4th Number One song. Stover has written for and produced Justin Moore, Emerson Drive, Lonestar and Jack Ingram.

The party didn’t stop there: the dynamic duo are celebrating their upcoming summer tour. When things calm down in September, Preston and his wife Caitlyn will adding another set of footsteps in their house. Busy, busy, busy we are! Chris and Preston are both excited about their upcoming appearance on NBC’s Today Show on March 16th. Good exposure to get them ready for the ACM Awards on April 2nd that will broadcast LIVE from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vega$ at 7pm CST.

ACM nomination for LOCASH

Adding to the kudos were their nominated for the ACM “Vocal Duo or Group of the Year’ ACM Awards®. This is their first industry nominated award for the boys. Preston Burst said, “We have dreamt of this day for so many minutes and so many miles.”

I think this is going to be a fabo year for the boys who are making the noise!

Keith Urban celebrates career milestone

…and a new Number One song: ‘Blue Ain’t Your Color’

Keith Urban celebrated his latest Number One, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” with the songwriters of the hit at The Basement East in Nashville. At the press conference before the celebration, we (the media) had a chance to interview everyone involved. With Keith in the middle, the questions started.

Pictured (l-r): Producer Dann Huff, songwriter Steven Lee Olsen, Keith Urban, songwriters Hillary Lindsey and Clint Lagerberg.Photo Credit: Ed Rode, ASCAP

“The Idea (for Blue Ain’t Your Color) came to me when I was waking up and the TV was on and the word “Blue” was on the screen,” said Toronto native Steven Lee Olsen. “I brought it to Clint [Lagerburg] first then we knew Hillary needed to be a part of this.”

Hillary Lindsey said her thoughts on the creation of the song were, “It was all for the song. Making the song the best it could be.”

Then it was Keith’s turn. “It was just a feeling, the melody, where the words went. It was an immediately love,” said Keith of his first time hearing “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”

Keith was asked, “What are you most proud of?” Keith responded very quickly and with a big smile, “Marrying Nic,” he said, referring to his wife Nicole Kidman. He went on to brag about how they have an understanding and love in their marriage, that has brought them through the bad times and the good. Continue reading “Keith Urban celebrates career milestone”

Wade Hayes presents second annual Country Hits Back

Concert Benefitting Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center with special guests Tracy Lawrence & Randy Owen

Country Hits Back Against Cancer

Acclaimed country hit maker and colon cancer survivor Wade Hayes is set to host the 2nd Annual Country Hits Back concert supporting the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at the historic Franklin Theatre at 7:00pm on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Joining him will be Randy Owen, Country Music Hall of Fame member and lead singer of the super group Alabama, and multi-platinum award winning singer/songwriter Tracy Lawrence. Tickets range from $79.00-100.00 and are available at FranklinTheatre.com.

“Go live your life”

Continue reading “Wade Hayes presents second annual Country Hits Back”