Mel Tillis: Amazing 60 year career

Funeral set for much-loved singer/songwriter

Mel Tillis. Photo: Wikipedia

Mel Tillis, a true country star with one of the longest careers as both a recording artist and a songwriter, passed away on Sunday, November 19. He was 85. Funeral arrangements have now been announced.

Visitation will be held on Monday, November 27 from 11 AM to 2 PM at Sykes Funeral Home (424 Franklin St.) in Clarksville, Tennessee. A public funeral service will begin promptly at 3 PM at Mount Hermon Baptist Church (2204 Jarrell Ridge Rd.) with a private burial to follow.

A preceding service will take place at the Ocklawaha Bridge Baptist Church in Silver Springs, Florida this Saturday, November 25 at 3:00 PM.Out of respect for the family, attendees are asked to refrain from photographing, filming, or live streaming either service.

Public memorial service planned for January

Additionally, the Tillis family is planning a January public memorial service open to fans and the music industry. The event will be held in Nashville with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

Following a lengthy struggle to regain his health, country music legend Mel Tillis passed away at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. Tillis battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure. Tillis was 85.

When Mel met my dad

Mel Tillis. Photo: meltillis.com

I have fond personal memories of Mel, whom I met several times over the years. One day, I took my father backstage at one of Mel’s shows and I told Mel that this was the best dad in the world as he had saved my life by donating a kidney to me. “Well,” said Mel, “I just have to meet the best dad in the world!”  He graciously visited with my dad for several minutes and dad has always remembered that meeting.

Born Lonnie Melvin Tillis in Tampa, Florida on August 8, 1932, Mel enjoyed a 60+ year career.

The Grand Ole Opry member recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, six #1 hits (“I Ain’t Never,” “Coca-Cola Cowboy,” “Southern Rains,” “Good Woman Blues,” “Heart Healer,” and “I Believe In You”), was named CMA (Country Music Association) Entertainer of the Year in 1976, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame the same year.

Mel Tillis wrote 1,000+ songs

Mel was elected a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. He wrote over 1,000 songs, 600 of which have been recorded by major artists including Kenny Rogers (“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town”), George Strait (“Thoughts Of A Fool”), and Ricky Skaggs (“Honey, Open That Door”). Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) named Tillis Songwriter of the Decade for two decades. In February of 2012 President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts. He is survived by his six children, including singer/songwriter Pam Tillis and songwriter Mel ‘Sonny’ Tillis, Jr.

“Mel Tillis was a guy who had it all: He could write, he could sing and he could entertain an audience, there’s a big difference between a concert and a show. Mel Tillis always put on a show….You always felt good about being around him.”

  • Eddie Stubbs, Grand Ole Opry announcer and WSM DJ

“Mel Tillis spent a lifetime giving us joy and laughter and music, which is why his death brings such sadness.”

  • Kyle Young, CEO Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

 

Songwriters: ‘hard work’ is the key

Hall of Famer Gary Burr’s advice to rising songwriters

 “You have to go to work every day. You just have to go to work.  I went to the office every morning, I went to the office every afternoon.  If I had something good, it wasn’t going to be good enough ‘til I went over it with a fine-tooth comb several times.  You just work hard.  The ones [songwriters] who are making it today are just working really, really hard.”

Gary Burr. Photo: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame

Those words came from Gary Burr, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame during an interview on the Public Television show, The Songwriters, produced the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in conjunction with Middle Tennessee State University. MTSU professor Robert Gordon Jr. directs the episodes, which are filmed by students from the school’s College of Media and Entertainment. Ken Paulson, Dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, hosts the new show and interviewed Burr during a recently televised episode.

Songs for Garth, Ringo, Skynyrd and more

Gary Burr backstage with Ringo Starr. Photo: Mark Mirando

Burr has been honored with Songwriter of the Year Awards from Billboard Magazine and ASCAP in addition to the Hall of Fame recognition. In a 40+ year career, he has written or co-written literally hundreds of songs that have been cut by major artists including Garth Brooks, Collin Raye, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Tim McGraw, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ringo Starr and more. Many of those cuts are also Number One hits. Take a look at the Discography at his website.

In his interview with Paulson, he emphasized that there’s no ‘trick’ to songwriting. As with any other creative enterprise, it takes a commitment to working at it every day, just like a ‘regular’ job because it is your job.  You can’t wait for inspiration, said Burr. You simply sit down, either alone or with your co-writer and start work.  That’s where hits are born.

‘The Songwriters’ currently airs in Nashville on WNPT Channel 8 on Saturday evenings. Check local TV schedules for air dates and times in other areas.

November ‘Inside Track on Music Row’ posted now

Tracy Lawrence & Friends Mission Possible, Garth Brooks, LANCO and more

My column, ‘Inside Track on Music Row,’ is America’s longest-running monthly country music column, published monthly at Nashville Music Guide  That’s where you can find the November column. It is also posted at my other website, I Know Country.  Meanwhile, here’s a taste of a few items from the column…

Get ready for Tracy Lawrence’s turkey fry concert

After raising more than $135,000.00 with the music event last year, Tracy Lawrence is back with his 3rd Annual Tracy Lawrence & Friends Mission: Possible Turkey Fry Concert on November 21st at the Wildhorse Saloon, with doors opening at 6pm, following his 12th Annual Turkey Fry, all benefiting Nashville Rescue Mission.  Scheduled to appear: Luke Combs, Clay Cormier, Ben Gallaher, Halfway to Hazard, William Michael Morgan, Jamie O’Neal and host/headliner, Tracy Lawrence.  Ticket & show info at turkeyfry.org. Lawrence is gearing up for the release of his new album GOOD OLE DAYS on November 10th featuring collaborations with Jason Aldean, Brad Arnold, Big & Rich, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Easton Corbin, Craig Morgan, Dustin Lynch, Tim McGraw, Justin Moore, Kellie Pickler and Chris Young. Music and tour info at tracylawrence.com.

 Garth Brooks launches book & CDs anthology

‘The Anthology from Garth Brooks Part 1: The First Five Years’ is now available for pre-order.  Garth has launched a new website for the book: anthology.garthbrooks.com. The Anthology can also be pre-ordered at amazon.com.  Promising to be a massive 5-part anthology, Part 1 is a detailed look at the first 5 years of his career. It is told by Garth himself and those involved with the creating, recording, and promotion of the first five albums. Not only that but Garth has packaged 5 CDs inside the first book he has ever written. The 5 CDs contain music that has never been heard, songs written long before the debut album, outtakes, first takes, demos, over 150 never before seen photos, sessions charts, tracking sheets, all in a 240 page hardcover complete package written by Garth Brooks. It will be on sale November 14. Follow Garth at facebook.com/GarthBrooks and on Twitter and Instagram.

Solo-writer hit for LANCO’s Brandon Lancaster

LANCO

Songwriter/lead singer Brandon Lancaster of Sony Music Nashville’s breakout band LANCO is earning his stripes in Music City songwriter circles as the sole lyricist behind the band’s hit, “Greatest Love Story.” It has been 10 years since a country artist/writer has penned a chart topping hit alone. A look back in time to the early 2000’s reveals that the last artists able to make that claim are Taylor Swift (“Our Song”), Zac Brown (“Free”) and Jennifer Nettles’ (“Stay”).  That success has propelled Lancaster to the No. One spot on the Top 60 Country Songwriters Chart this week, based on streams, sales and airplay. “I wrote a song alone in my bedroom one night about the girl I wanted to marry, and then she actually said yes,” said Lancaster. “Now our story is resonating with people all over the country… it all feels too good to be true.”  More information on LANCO and upcoming Fall tour dates, visit LANCOMusic.com.

Plus … news about Jason Aldean’s ‘Won’t Back Down’ Las Vegas fundraiser, Billy Burnette’s book and CD, Mark Chesnutt’s Trailblazer Award, Kip Moore, David Lee Murphy, the Bluebird Café documentary and more.

Read the complete column at www.nashvillemusicguide.com or find the latest column and an archive of many previous columns at www.iknowcountry.com and check out my music Q&A book, “I Know Country!”

‘Songwriting picked me,’ says Walt Aldridge

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 2017 inductee talks to Country Aircheck

Walt Aldridge shared his thoughts about how he evolved from a recording engineer to a major hit writer in this interview from the Sept 25 issue of Country Aircheck, where you can find the original story. More about Aircheck at the foot of this article. Walt is a great songwriter and has always been generous with his time, sharing his experience and knowledge of the music industry and the process of songwriting.

 * * *

Walt Aldridge

Alabama native Aldridge engineered more than 200 records during his time at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals and later, in Nashville. His cuts include Ronnie Milsap’s “There’s No Gettin’ Over Me,” Earl Thomas Conley’s “Holding Her And Loving You” and Tim McGraw’s “Some Things Never Change.”

I always had a fascination with making records. Writing songs allowed me to produce, play, sing on and engineer my demos. When I got started, the studio was a hallowed ground that you had to be invited to, or have a lot of money so you could rent one. So, by becoming a songwriter, it gave me the opportunity to do what I’d always been intrigued by – making music.

Rick Hall (right) signs Duane Allman as session guitarist at Fame, 1968. Photo: Getty Images

I remember walking into Fame and seeing the records hanging on the wall, thinking, “This looks like the set list for the band you were in, in sixth grade,” with “Mustang Sally,” “Land Of A Thousand Dances” – all these great soul records. Knowing you’re sitting where Duane Allman sat to play a guitar part on a Wilson Pickett record challenges you to dig deep and do your very best.

Rick Hall was my first my boss and mentor. Rick has always preached the preeminence of the song. Some of my favorite recordings are not technically or vocally the best, but they always connect and hit a nerve. Very often, you’ll have a fantastic singer with a great band and engineer, but if the song doesn’t hit that nerve with people, it doesn’t matter.

Songwriting picked me as opposed to me picking it. Tommy Brasfield was a writer in Nashville who was more experienced. He heard some of my songs and said, “You have a lot of ability, but I think I could help you frame your music more towards the radio.” If I ever did anything right, it was being open to that, rather than saying, “I like my music the way it is and I don’t need your help.”

No Getting Over Me

So Tommy and I started writing and eventually we wrote “No Gettin’ Over Me,” which was my first hit. That was back in the golden age of crossover, so it was a No. 1 Country record, a Top 5 Pop and No. 1 Adult Contemporary. After that hit I said, “Okay, it looks like I’m a songwriter – and a country songwriter, for that matter.”

My writing equipment is a guitar, a laptop and some kind of caffeine. I like to start in the morning when I’m fresh. But I’ve written all different ways.

“Power through writer’s block”

When I have writer’s block, I power through. So much of what we do is crafting, is a learned instinct. The old saying that sometimes inspiration comes after perspiration is very true. And you don’t know when the muse is going to visit.

Marty Stuart playing Hank’s guitar

One time I was writing with Marty Stuart and we were stuck. He said, “Why don’t we just swap guitars and see if that jogs anything loose?” I said, “Boy, this is a really cool old Martin guitar. What’s the story?” He said, “Well it was Hank’s guitar.” I said, “Hank Jr.?” He said, “No, that was Hank Sr.’s guitar.” I was holding the Holy Grail of guitars. “Your Cheatin’ Heart” could have been written on this guitar. So, I don’t know whether it’s imagined or whether there’s real energy coming from the wood and the wire. But different guitars inspire different moods and words.

I wish I’d written “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Every line in it is absolutely perfect. Couldn’t have been better.

A song’s demo is a critical part of it. You’re not only writing the lyric and melody, you’re often writing the guitar intro lick that’s going to be a hook. You’re writing the production, somewhat. On “Holding Her And Loving You,” we just didn’t get it on the demo. But somehow, Earl Thomas Conley and his producer Nelson Larkin were able to hear through the demo and imagine it. When they played us the record, it sounded like a hit. When you heard Earl sing it, you believed it.

“Write to express yourself”

You don’t write songs for the money or the gold records. You write because you want to express yourself in some way that you’re unable to express yourself otherwise. Getting this induction means my colleagues who have written some of my favorite songs – people whose opinions I value the most – are willing to say, “Hey man, you did good.” It’s quite a club to be voted into. I’m deeply honored.

~~~

Again, my thanks to Lon Helton and all at Country Aircheck for allowing me to reprint this article. I recommend that you visit this link to the Sept 25 edition of Country Aircheck to read the original article and see why Country Aircheck is a ‘must read’ for anyone involved in Country radio and the music industry. – Preshias.

Midland’s debut single tops Airplay chart

“Drinkin’ Problem” first Number One for Midland

It was a five-man Number One party Wednesday afternoon: the three members of Midland and their two co-writers, jointly hosted by ASCAP and BMI.

Members of Midland at the Number One party, flanked by Shane McAnally (far left) and Josh Osborne (right). Photo credit: Preshias Harris.

They gathered with friends and music industry execs at The Sutler in Nashville to celebrate the band’s debut single which is also their first career Number One single. Titled “Drinkin’ Problem,” the track was originally issued on an EP and is now the lead-off single from their new album, ON THE ROCKS, released September 22.

“Drinkin’ Problem” was written by the three members of Midland, Mark Wystrach (lead vocals), Jess Carson (lead guitar & harmony vocals) and Cameron Duddy (bass & harmony vocals).  They share writing credits on the Number One with superstar writers Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. (Osborne has fourteen Number Ones as a writer; McAnally has twenty-five Number Ones as a writer and eight as a producer!)

“Drinkin’ Problem” was produced by Osborne, McAnally and Dan Huff.

A ‘first’ for Big Machine, too

Notably, the song also scores another ‘First.’ It is the first debut single from a new act to top the Airplay charts for Big Machine Records and their roster of artists.

Commenting on how the song came about, Jess Carson said, “Three friends going in, all together. That was a lightning-rod moment.”

During the celebration, Huff said to Mark, Jeff and Cameron, “The fact that you have a very clear understanding of who you are makes me so proud to be part of this team.”

Co-producer Osborne said, “[We believed] somebody is gonna make this record with them and if we don’t, we are going to regret it.” He added, “The label allowed all involved to chase their passion.”

“This is soul music,” said McAnally. “I’m serious — it’s has a soul!”  He added, “Because it was embraced in a commercial sense, it’s wonderful. They didn’t have to compromise.making music. People are hungry for it.”

In addition to “Drinkin’ Problem,” ON THE ROCKS includes twelve more tracks, all written or co-written by members of Midland. The trio all hail from the town of Dripping Springs, Texas.

Midland’s follow-up single, “Make A Little,” is already impacting Country radio. On the CDXTRACtion chart for October 11, 2017, the new single was the “Most Added” song of the week, meaning it was added to the playlist of the most reporting radio stations.  You can find the video for “Make A Little” at YouTube here.

Midland are currently touring as part of the ‘CMT On Tour Presents Jon Pardi’s Lucky Tonight Tour’ (Surely this year’s most awkwardly-titled tour) and in early 2018 are scheduled to be part of The Breakers Tour with Little Big Town and Kacey Musgraves. See Midland’s full tour schedule here.

Logan Mize inspires singers, songwriters: Never give up

New video series: “Somebody to Thank”

If you’re a singer or songwriter and thinking that you should forget your dream and go get a ‘real’ job, take heart from Logan Mize’s story.

Click to watch Logan Mize’s new “Somebody to Thank” video

His new album, COME BACK ROAD, notched up a Top 20 debut on Billboard and iTunes’ All Genre charts, but his personal road has not been an easy one, filled with roadblocks that would have stymied lesser beings.

Logan, a native of Clearwater, Kansas, came to Nashville with the goal of becoming a success in the music business.  But that success seemed to slip from his grasp at every step of the journey. He was turned down again and again by every music publisher and record label on Music Row.

Logan Mize. Photo: Montgomery Lee

To make ends meet, he took on day jobs, including driving a party bus and even a dump truck, while writing songs and playing club dates wherever he could snag them. Then in 2010, several years after arriving in Nashville, he signed a publishing and record deal with Big Yellow Dog Music, and a booking deal with a major agency.

Many artists would look at those contracts and figure they’d achieved their goal, but Logan knew that this was only the beginning. He spent the next seven years playing seemingly every venue in every town across the United States, building his fan base at every stop along the way.

Use the power of social media

Logan understands the power of social media. In 2016, he undertook a solo acoustic tour, promoted entirely via social media, traveling more than 20,000 miles in less than two months in a 1989 station wagon that he named ‘Glenn.’

He ran his own sound and lights at each show, performing 3-hour sets, before packing everything back in the car and moving on to the next venue.  He knew that every stop along the way added to his fan base, and each fan was a potential buyer of his music and would probably spread the news to their own social media contacts.

Thankful to those who have helped

As well as knowing the importance of sheer hard work in developing his music career, Logan is also deeply thankful to those who have helped him along the way. He has now partnered with Budweiser to create a new monthly video series based around his song, “Somebody to Thank.”

“It is so important that we always remember and give thanks to those who helped us get to where we are,” he said. “Even the smallest gesture of gratitude can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

A new video will be released monthly via Logan’s YouTube channel and Facebook spotlighting the relationships built around the struggles, gratitude and opportunities that have helped shape Mize into who he is as a person, artist, husband and father. He hopes it will also remind everyone to always say thank you to those who were a part of one’s journey.

Persevere despite the setbacks

There are two lessons that can be learned from Logan’s story. Firstly, if you believe in your music, persevere. Keep going, despite the setbacks and treat each roadblock as a ‘learning experience’ while you steadfastly follow your dream.  It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

Secondly, take charge of your own destiny.  Don’t put your career entirely in the hands of others. Certainly, seek guidance and develop business alliances with those who can help you, but understand that only you can make the decisions and take the steps to achieve your goals.

COME BACK ROAD includes the hit single “Ain’t Always Pretty” which has been featured on major playlists across digital streaming platforms garnering over 25 million streams on Spotify alone.

More information at loganmize.com and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

‘Bump, Bump, Bump’ hits country radio

Song shows lost love can lead to freedom

Re Mattei is a particularly unique talent that stands out even in a city that is filled with unique talents. If any proof of that is needed, give a listen to Re’s new single, “Bump, Bump, Bump,” hitting country radio on September 18, 2017.  Meanwhile, the track will be available via all major digital retail and streaming outlets (Amazon/iTunes/ Pandora/Rhapsody/Spotify) on Sept 15.

The single is a taste of what’s to come with her album, BELIEVIN’ IS SEEIN,’ due out in the early spring of 2018.  It will be released on TrendyGirl Records, for whom Re is their flagship artist.

I’ve known Re for several years now, as a friend and – full disclosure – as a client, while we worked together to move her career forward.  I’ve seen her songwriting and her stagecraft develop to the point where she’s a star in the making.

Re wrote the “back-in-the-swing” tune with Danielle Todd and co-produced the track alongside Bartley Pursley (who has also produced notable, award-winning artists such as Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and Liz Carlisle, and has engineered projects for Blake Shelton and Montgomery Gentry).

Re Mattei

The song’s storyline transforms the darkness of love-loss and heartache to an illuminated freedom. Re’s musical influences include the traditional country of artists such as Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Johnny Rodriguez, but also gravitate toward 80s pop rock trendsetters, eerie steel and electric guitar riffs. She brings those influences together in this song (as I said, she’s unique) setting the tone for this ‘failed love’ story, while the chorus brings to life a revived spirit portrayed by a powerful bass drum.

“Of all things, a Budweiser truck on the roadway reminded me that music has been my medicine,” said Re. “I recalled heading downtown with a group of girlfriends after a hurtful breakup and getting lost in the beats of my favorite tunes—what I call the ‘bump.’ Music can make people feel alive even in the darkest of moments; ‘Bump…’ paints both a gray emotional intensity contrasted by an enlightenment and glimpse of hope. …and that’s the magic of music.”

Inspiration can come from the strangest places: for Re it was the rhythmic rumble of a beer truck!

Berklee College of Music grad

Re (derived from her birth name Marie) is a Berklee College of Music graduate; she earned her bachelor’s degree in guitar performance. The New Jersey native began her pursuit in the live music entertainment sector just weeks before graduation.  Responding to a personal, hand-written invitation, Re auditioned for the all-female, Top 40, seven-piece band—the Uptown Girls. She landed the guitar-player/vocal gig on the spot and toured with the group in a three-year stint performing at nightclubs and military bases in Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Hawaii.

Left to Right: Shane Allen, Re Mattei and Simba Jordan. Photo credit: Preshias Harris

Re moved to Music City in the early 90s with the goal of concentrating on her songwriting and recording skills to ultimately launch her independent solo career. She has performed at the Bluebird Café, Opryland Hotel and the Tennessee State Fair (WSM-AM stage) and, most-recently, Re made an impromptu appearance at NAMM 2017 (Nashville).  Teaming with producer Bart Pursley, she recorded and released her debut single, “Country Love,” in 2014.

‘Bump, Bump, Bump’ music video

In conjunction with the September 2017 country radio release, Mattei will introduce the corresponding “Bump Bump Bump” music video (created by Think House Productions/filmed in Columbia, TN and at The Country in downtown Nashville). You can find the video here on YouTube, among other places. Re will embark on her four-week radio tour beginning October 16, 2017.  Grassroots Promotion will spearhead the radio promotion campaign; Visual Image Marketing (Steve Baker) will oversee the video promotion.

In my opinion, success is on its way for Re Mattei. Yes, she has the talent, but equally important, she has the determination to find and hold that success.  I truly believe that music is part of her soul. Listen to “Bump, Bump, Bump,” watch the song’s music video and see if you agree.

Follow Re Mattie on Facebook here.

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The power of copyright: 5 Q&As with Preshias Harris

Q&A interview with Copyright Alliance

This week we would like you to meet one of our Individual Creator Members, Preshias Harris. (From the Copyright Alliance blog, August 17, 2017.)

1. What was the inspiration behind becoming a music career development consultant?
Preshias: “I’ve always loved music. There was always music in our house when I was growing up in Kentucky. I knew I had to be in Nashville because that’s where the music is. As s soon as I could, I moved to Nashville and got a job as an intern at BNA Records and then Atlantic Records. It was a wonderful opportunity, working with recording artists such as John Anderson, Lorrie Morgan, Tracy Lawrence and Confederate Railroad. Everyone was willing to share what they knew with me, the new kid. That made a big impression on me. So many young people turn up here, knowing nothing about the music business. They are easy prey for the ‘music sharks’ who are waiting to take advantage of them. As my knowledge of the music industry grew, I made myself a pledge to help aspiring artists and songwriters follow their dream while giving them the knowledge to spot – and avoid – those smiling sharks!”

To read the full Q&A article, and to find out more about the great work that Copyright Alliance does on behalf of songwriters, recording artists and every genre of creativity, visit the Creative Alliance website.

The Copyright Alliance is the unified voice of the copyright community, representing the interests of thousands of individuals and organizations across the spectrum of copyright disciplines.

Rascal Flatts celebrate 17th Number One

“Yours If You Want It” latest chart topper

(L to R) Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney at the Number One party. Photo: Preshias Harris

Rascal Flatts chalked up their seventeenth Number One. Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney were on hand to celebrate at a party hosted by BMI in Nashville, Thursday, August 17.

“Yours If You Want It” made it to the top of Billboard and Country Aircheck/Mediabase Country Airplay charts. Adding to the trio’s kudos, the song marked their second back-to-back chart-topper, following their summer anthem, “I Like The Sound of That.”

‘Bittersweet’ celebration

“Yours If You Want It” was written by Jonathan Singleton and Andrew Dorff.  It was a bittersweet celebration as Dorff sadly passed away at the age of 40 last December.  The song was released to radio the following month and members of Rascal Flatts felt a sense of determination to give Dorff a posthumous Number One.  Dorf had previously co-written hits for Kenny Chesney (“Save It For A Rainy Day”) and Blake Shelton (“Neon Light”) and others.

In an earlier statement, Joe DeMarcus told Rolling Stone, “We’ve been working really hard and we’re very proud of this track and what’s more, the late Andrew Dorff is a writer on it, and we are so honored to be a small part of making sure his legacy lives on. We have a special angel watching over it, for sure.”

At the Number One party, Joe Don Rooney described the song as “Incredible, first and foremost.” He added, “There’s a very powerful story behind the song. Everything that Rascal Flatts is about is in that song.”

Gary Le Vox agreed, adding, “The lyrics and the story are amazing.”

Rascal Flatts also announced that their new single, “Back To Us,” will impact Country radio Monday, August 21. The song, co-written by Cary Barlowe, David Hodges and Josh Thompson, is the title track from the trio’s tenth studio album, BACK TO US.

Las Vegas residency in October

Rascal Flatts are gearing up to headline a limited Las Vegas residency. Titled ‘Night To Shine,’ the show, presented by SiriusXM, will take over the Venetian Theatre at The Venetian, October 6 – 21.  Check ticket availability for the Venetian shows here.

At the Number One party, a smiling Gary LeVox said, “We’re really looking forward to the Venetian residency.” The trio has been touring almost non-stop, racking up more than ten million tickets sold. The Las Vegas residency will give them a well-earned opportunity to stay in one place, if only for a few weeks.

As the best-selling country vocal group of the past decade, Rascal Flatts has sold over 23.4 million albums, over 33.7 million digital downloads worldwide, as well as earning over 40 trophies from the ACA, ACM, AMA, CMA, People’s Choice and more.

Read more at Rascal Flatts’ website.

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.