“Inside Track on Music Row” ready to read

Here’s a teaser of the January 2018 edition

The January 2018 version of my monthly column, ‘Inside Track on Music Row,’ is now posted at Nashville Music Guide, complete with some great graphics and photos.

Here are a few few teasers, but click the link above to read the full column of news about songwriters, artists and the country music industry.

Artist News

Brett Young has landed on multiple Billboard Year End charts, as 2017 came to a close, including Top New Artists, the only Country artist to do so. He also landed at No. Two on the Year End Hot Country Songs, Country Digital Songs and Country Streaming Songs charts. ASCAP recognized his “quintessential breakout year,” honoring Young for one of the Most Played Songs of the Year with “Sleep Without You.” Young was named a TicketMaster New Favorite Artist of 2017 and was Shazam’s only Country act included on their Emerging Artists of 2017 list. He also drew prestigious CMA, ACM, Teen Choice Award, CMT Music Awards and AIMP Award nominations. 2018 is already shaping up to be another big year for Young, who is working on new music. He will perform at the College Football Playoff concert in Atlanta January 8 before joining ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett on his LIFE CHANGES Tour.  More info at brettyoungmusic.com.

Concert News

As the curtain closed on a sold-out show at New York City’s Town Hall in December, multi-PLATINUM singer/songwriter Kip Moore took a bow to 2017, for what can only be described as a benchmark career year. Moore is wrapping up an overwhelming year on multiple “Best Of 2017” lists by Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, UpRoxx, Bobby Bones Show, Taste Of Country, Sounds Like Nashville, The Boot, PopMatters and Whiskey Riff for his revered third studio album SLOWHEART, while reflecting on his 4th career No. One for his single “More Girls Like You,” sold-out headlining shows, national TV appearances and more. 2018 tour dates etc at kipmoore.net.

Label News

Luke & Caroline Bryan. Photo: Getty/Frederick Breedon IV

(Capitol Records) On Christmas, via Instagram, Capitol’s ‘Golden Boy’ Luke Bryan surprised his wife Caroline with two baby kangaroos! Yeah, you read that right, two baby kangaroos. The baby roos are the latest additions to Brett’s Barn, a farm of rescue animals honoring their late niece. Country superstar Bryan took to Instagram to share a video of himself surprising his wife Caroline with the most unexpected Christmas gift ever. In the video clip, Bryan approaches Caroline, who is blindfolded, with the two kangaroos in bags. The family named the babies Todd and Margo after two characters from the iconic Christmas film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Todd and Margo will join the family of animals living on the Bryan Family property at Brett’s Barn. The barn is Caroline’s passion project and is dedicated to her late niece who passed away at just 7 months old in early 2017. Brett’s Barn is also home to a pig, goats, and miniature horses. Caroline plans to keep adding to Brett’s Farm and I am sure we will be hearing more about it in the Spring.

And there’s a whole lot more!  Check out the entire column online at Nashville Music Guide.


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”

Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam 2016

Star-studded show benefits ‘Journey Home’ Project

Charlie Daniels surrounded by his special guests
Charlie Daniels surrounded by his special guests

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.

Charlie Daniels, Kid Rock and Travis Tritt
Charlie Daniels, Kid Rock and Travis Tritt

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.

Luke Bryan: A guy who never gives up

Perseverance pays off with 7 more Number Ones

Luke Bryan celebrates seven Number Ones. Picture Credit: Preshias Harris
Luke Bryan celebrates seven Number Ones. Picture Credit: Preshias Harris

Luke Bryan is one of Country music’s nicest guys and he has achieved his much-deserved success largely as a result of his remarkable perseverance in the face of roadblocks and personal tragedies that would dishearten and derail most people from their chosen career path.

When I wrote “The ‘P’ Pod: Seven characteristics shared by the most successful people in the music industry,” I singled out Luke as someone who has personified those seven characteristics: Patience, Presence, Passion, Perseverance, Proactivity, Positive and Prayer.

He should be a role model to anyone who has the goal of becoming a singer-songwriter. I’ll include an excerpt below, after a quick recap of Luke’s recent celebration as his amazing career continues on its well-deserved upward path.

On October 24, he stepped onto the stage of the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame for a “Beyond The Stadium Lights” party to celebrate SEVEN Number One hits. He shared the stage with the writers of the hit songs, being sure to emphasize that this event was ‘all about the writers’ who created these amazing songs. In performing the seven songs, Bryan and the songs’ writers took turns singing the verses and choruses, obviously having a heck of a good time together at this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Luke with 'Home Alone Tonight' writers Tommy Cecil, Jaida Dreyer, Jody Stevens and Cole Taylor. Photo credit: Mike Harris
Luke with ‘Home Alone Tonight’ writers Tommy Cecil, Jaida Dreyer, Jody Stevens and Cole Taylor. Photo credit: Mike Harris

The seven Number Ones, with writer credits) are: ‘Home Alone Tonight’ (Tommy Cecil, Jaida Dreyer, Jody Stevens, Cole Taylor); ‘Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day’ (Luke Bryan, Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, Ben Hayslip); ‘I See You’ (Luke Bryan, Ashley Gorley, Luke Laird); ‘Kick the Dust Up’ (Dallas Davidson, Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley); ‘Play It Again’ (Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley); ‘Roller Coaster’ (Michael Carter, Cole Swindell); ‘Strip It Down’ (Luke Bryan, Ross Copperman, Jon Nite).

Luke and the writers shared stories – often hilarious stories – telling how each of the songs came about. At one point, Luke was thanking his mom and dad and said that his dad couldn’t be here. “He couldn’t find anyone to take care of the dogs!” he said. “He’s not coming to the CMAs, either,” he added, rolling his eyes. “Can’t find anyone to look after the dang dogs!”

To cap the evening, Universal Music Group’s Mike Dungan announced that Luke’s album ‘Kill The Lights’ had just been certified Platinum. You can find Luke’s tour news and more at lukebryan.com.

Luke Bryan and the ‘P’ Pod of Seven Characteristics of Success

Excerpt from “The ‘P’ Pod: Seven characteristics shared by the most successful people in the music industry.” If you’d like a free copy of the entire article, send a request to me via the Contact page.


Photo credit: Preshias Harris
Photo credit: Preshias Harris

A singer-songwriter who embodies the “Seven Ps” is Luke Bryan. He was born in the rural Georgia town of Leesburg and knew from an early age that music was to be his life. When he was 19, he was finalizing a move to Nashville but, just as he was about to leave, his older brother Chris was tragically killed in a car accident. His plans were put on hold as he struggled to deal with the sudden loss.

Luke’s father, Tommy Bryan, knew that Luke had to move on with his life despite the wrenching grief, and encouraged him to load his guitar into his truck and drive to Music City. Once there, Luke was determined to be a success in his chosen career, writing and co-writing at every opportunity. His determination soon led to a publishing deal and he co-wrote songs recorded by Travis Tritt and Billy Currington, among others.

Luke’s perseverance paid off when he was signed to a recording contract by Capitol, and “All My Friends Say,” the lead-off single from his debut album, peaked at number 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

He was on his way and was invited to appear at the Grand Ole Opry. His older sister, Kelly, rounded up more than 100 people from their hometown to travel to Nashville and cheer him on. But once again, life threw him a tragic curve: just a few days after that exhilarating event, Kelly suddenly passed away from an undetermined cause.

Such tragedies might derail a lesser person, but Luke found strength from his faith and knew that his siblings wouldn’t want him to give up. Before long, he was back on track with a string of hit albums and Number One singles, and his achievements brought him recognition with dozens of nominations and awards from the CMA, the ACM, CMT, the Billboard Music Awards and more.

Photo credit: Mike Harris
Photo credit: Mike Harris

Luke Bryan has always kept his eyes on the prize. He has always been proactive in his career, making things happen rather than waiting for them to happen and he has patiently persevered even when life seemed to be stacked against him. He has developed and maintained a positive attitude, determined to find a way around each roadblock in his path. By living “The Seven Ps,” he was fully prepared to reach out and seize the opportunity when it appeared before him, strengthened by an unshakable faith.

Again, a reminder: if you’d like a free copy of the entire article, send a request to me via the Contact page.


Stars come out for CMA Music Festival

Don’t miss chance to see Nashville’s rising stars, too

2016-CMAMusicFestival-Logo-Badge-4C-1It’s June in Nashville and that means it’s time for the CMA Music Festival. And as usual, it looks like the weather will be HOT and maybe a little stormy, but if it’s anything like last year, fans will be happy to brave the heat for a chance to get in front of their favorite acts.

One of the great things about the CMA Music Festival is that, in addition to the headliners, music fans get to see the rising stars and the breaking acts; often up close and personal.

Yes, Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans) will be the place to see headliners such as Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Clint Black, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and Kelsea Ballerini to name a few. But there is SO much more talent to be seen and heard around town. Many of the clubs and bars in downtown Nashville will be hosting shows all week, offering an unbeatable opportunity to see and listen to some amazingly gifted bands, singers and songwriters.

Plus… there are the ‘free’ stages! The seven ‘no ticket required’ stages allow visitors to enjoy music from legends to up-and-comers. The free concert stages include Chevrolet Riverfront Stage (gates open at 9:00 am for Festival four-day ticket holders, and 9:45 am for the general public), Chevrolet Cruze Park Stage located at the Park between Hilton Suites and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the AT&T Skyview Stage and the Budweiser Acoustic Stage (both at the Ascend Amphitheater), and the Gildan Broadway Stage at the Hard Rock Café, located at Broadway and First Avenue.

Where to start? Best bet: go to the CMA Music Festival website to see who’s playing when and where. And be sure to check out those bars and clubs where some of my favorite singer-songwriters will be playing!

Luke Bryan’s snafu provides learning moment for emerging artists

Luke Bryan is tagged
Luke Bryan is tagged

As ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ go, it wasn’t the world’s worst, but it was a bit embarrassing for Luke Bryan who was performing live on the Today show. He was singing “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” a song that was a Number One hit for him in 2011 and went on to be certified double platinum by RIAA. The rain was coming down as Bryan performed the song and, on impulse, he decided to peel off his damp jacket.

That would have been fine – except fluttering from his T-shirt were the white tags, still hanging from the collar. It took a minute or two before Bryan realized what the fans were pointing at, and he laughed as he stopped to pull off the tags and toss them into the crowd. For many, it was reminiscent of Minnie Pearl (Sarah Cannon) who would appear on the Grand Ole Opry stage wearing a fancy straw hat with the price tag hanging from the brim.

Luke Bryan is not easily flummoxed and, as an established star, can easily handle minor snafus such as a forgotten tag on a T-shirt. But if you are an emerging artist, there’s a learning moment here. Walking out on stage with an overlooked price tag or sticky size label attached to your clothing might be enough to throw you off kilter, just when you wanted to sound and look your best. There you are, starting your first song, and you notice audience members smirking and staring at… what? OMG! The price tag is still on my shirt!!

Unless you are at Luke Bryan’s star level, dealing with that kind of a moment is not something you’ll want to do. So let Bryan’s boo-boo be a reminder for you as you prepare for every performance: Are all the labels and tags removed from your clothes? Are zippers zipped up and buttons buttoned up? Is there toilet paper stuck to the heel of your boot? Something green stuck in your teeth?

Take a moment before every show to ensure your appearance is just the way it should be (better still, have someone else give you a quick visual once-over) and you won’t have a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ that throws you off balance at a crucial moment.