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TAYLOR’S LOVER: READING BETWEEN THE LAYERS
It goes deep in places. (8/23a)
THE GRAMMY CHEW:
ALBUM CONTENDERS
These machers have one-track minds. (8/23a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
IT’S TAYLOR’S TIME
Looking at her big week from a different angle. (8/23a)
LOVE FOR LOVER FROM SCOTT AND SCOOTER
An olive branch? (8/23a)
UNDER HIPGNOSIS: MERCK CATALOGS HIS PLAN (PART 1)
From the horse's mouse (8/23a)
TAYLOR SWIFT!
Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift? Taylor Swift; Taylor. Swift. Taylor Swift!
TAYLOR SWIFT.
Taylor Swift...  
TAYLOR SWIFT?
Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift.   
TAYLOR. SWIFT.
Taylor!
Music City
IN PRAISE OF A 21ST CENTURY
HONKY TONK AMERICAN BAND
8/23/19

By Simon Glickman

Why does Midland refresh the parts other bands don’t reach these days? I can’t say for certain, but it probably has something to do with the Texas-based trio’s proprietary and highly intoxicating musical formula, equal parts high-proof honky-tonk, high-octane guitar rock and just-plain-high gossamer pop.

It’s got swagger and it’s got swoon. It shuffles and scoots and boogies. It flashes attitude with a self-deprecating wink. It boasts elegant twinned guitar solos and ear-candy harmonies. In other words, it’s a party in the pleasure center of my brain—and if anything, the boys' new Big Machine set, Let It Roll, ups the dosage.

Mark, Jess and Cameron have got this shit dialed, and on their dazzlingly assured sophomore full-length, they’re at once more fun and more reflective. For sheer breeze-in-your-hair delight, the opening title track hits the soft-rock sweet spot. “Mr. Lonely” is a honky-tonk jam for the ages. “Put the Hurt on Me” is pure sex and smoke, and “Cheatin’ Songs” is exquisitely melancholy. “Every Song’s a Drinkin’ Song” is a deliciously trad singalong. On the blazing “21st Century Honky Tonk American Band,” the threesome kicks out the jams with southern-rock brio—it’s the loudest autobiography in recent memory. And both Cam and Jess get stellar lead turns, on the evocative “Lost in the Night” and the lovely closer “Roll Away,” respectively.

This is a band that’s evolving in all the right ways, bottling the lightning of their killer live shows and simultaneously achieving a disarming intimacy.

I’ve had Let It Roll on repeat all day, and I’m ready for another round.

A MONUMENTAL MOMENT
8/23/19

Nashville’s Monument Records has upped Sarah D’Hilly to Director, Digital Marketing & Sales, and hired Nathan Pyle as Manager, Marketing. Both will report directly to Katie McCartney, SVP, Marketing & Label Operations.

D’Hilly joined Monument in 2017, the same year it was re-launched as a Sony JV under co-presidents Jason Owen and Shane McAnally. D’Hilly served as the Associate Director, Digital Strategy. In her new role, she continues to oversee digital marketing and strategy, sales, and streaming for all Monument artists. She will also be responsible for additional special projects, including podcasts, and looks forward to avoiding our calls.

Pyle comes to Monument from the Recording Academy, where he previously worked on the Membership and Industry Relations team for the South Region. Prior, Pyle ran his own entertainment event management company with clients like CMT and American Idol. Pyle will now be serving as project manager for Monument’s artist roster and will be responsible for all marketing and brand initiatives. The Monument roster includes artists like Caitlyn Smith, Walker Hayes, Brandon Ratcliff and The Shady Ladies of Music City, among others.

“Sarah has been such an asset to us since joining the team. She’s a creative force and we’re proud to be announcing her promotion” says Co-President Owen. McCartney adds about Pyle, “We’re thrilled that Nathan is joining the team here at Monument. His unique vision will be an incredible addition to the company, and we can’t wait to see what he accomplishes.”

A BOATLOAD OF RUM
8/16/19

In preparation for National Rum Day (8/16), Kenny Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay Premium Rum brought a taste of the islands to the South at Nashville’s Flamingo Cocktail Club on Wednesday (8/14). Guests were invited to try specialty cocktails like Island Girl and Key Lime Colada, while tasting flavors like White Rum, Banana Rum Cream and the new Spiced Rum. Photos that were tagged on social media with #RumOn also entered guests for a chance to win a trip to the Virgin Islands.

Created and launched by the Blue Chair/Warner Music Nashville artist in 2013, the premium-blended rum line is inspired by Chesney’s love for the island life and the Caribbean beaches. HITS' President Todd Hensley will be celebrating National Rum Day by filling his pool to the brim with Blue Chair Bay Rum and taking a spin on his boat.

RILEY GREEN'S "WISH" IS GRANTED
8/15/19

When Brad Paisley brought out opening act Riley Green to share the stage on the latter's new song "I Wish Grandpas Never Died," it was a big moment for the Big Machine artist/Warner Chappell songwriter, whose debut full-length, Different 'Round Here, drops on 9/20.

But you get the feeling that the song isn't going to need much help; it's one of those heartfelt singalong jams that, after one listen, feels like you've known it forever. The troubadour performed it at a show mere days after it dropped and the whole freakin' crowd was singing it at the tops of their lungs. 

Riley's seen a huge spike in followers on Spotify (with an attendant boost in monthly listeners), InstagramFacebook and YouTube. Check out the studio version below.

BLAKE 'S COUNTRY
8/14/19

This summer Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” rushed up the singles, sales and consumption charts so fast that Warner Music Nashville executives and his management team surprised him with a bonanza of plaques in celebration of the milestones. The two-week #1 is the fastest country single to reach one million track-equivalent sales this year, marking his 16th Platinum song, and is one of the most-streamed country songs released in 2019. Seen here after a local priest administered a bourbon-infused communion are WMN SVP Artist Development Shane Tarleton, WMN EVP A&R/Creative Advisor Scott Hendricks, Blake, WMN Chairman/CEO John Esposito and Starstruck Entertainment's Narvel Blackstock

Photo by Jason Kempin / Getty Images

CMA TAKES NASHVILLE TO GERMANY
8/13/19


In an effort to further Country music's international expansion, the Country Music Association is hosting an inaugural performance at Hamburg, Germany's Reeperbarhn Festival in September. 

CMA will be involved in multiple aspects of the festival including hosting a panel and networking reception, along with a showcase concert. Titled Neon Nashville, the showcase will give an international audience a look into the current Nashville sound and features rising acts Ingrid Andress, Blanco Brown, Ilse DeLange and Rachel Wammack

In addition to the festival, the Reeperbahn Festival Conference will feature a panel titled, "It Sounds Like Country," which will explore the growing popularity of Country music in the European market and the diversity of the genre. The panel includes industry professionals professionals Milly Olykan (CMA Vice President of International Relations & Development, USA), Sarah Casey (UTA Agent, U.K.), Fred Casimir (BMG EVP, Global Repertoire & Marketing, Germany) and Oliver Hoppe (Wizard Promotions Managing Director, Germany). 

Through involvement in events like Reeperbahn, CMA and its multiple international task forces continue to find new opportunities to spread Country music to audiences and markets worldwide. For more information visit ReeperbahnFestival.com

CLAY HUNNICUTT JOINS BIG MACHINE
8/12/19

BMLG President/CEO Scott Borchetta announced today that Clay Hunnicutt will join the Big Machine Records imprint as General Manager. 

Hunnicutt will oversee the imprint’s roster of artists including Reba McEntireRascal FlattsSugarlandMidlandCarly PearceThe Cadillac ThreeNoah SchnackyPayton SmithLauren Jenkins and Dan Smalley. He succeeds Jim Weatherson, who will remain with the company during the transition and then act as consultant and synergy agent.

“I have worked with Clay Hunnicutt throughout my career on the radio side and record side. He is a consummate professional with a tireless work ethic and boundless creativity. He is the perfect complement to our executive team and I’m sure he will turn great results”, says Borchetta. “I also want to thank Jim Weatherson who has been attached to the BMLG in one way or another since our inception. He helped to launch the ground-breaking Nash Icon label and then led Big Machine through a very successful leadership transition. Jim came to me a year ago to discuss his exit strategy and the timing of this announcement dovetails perfectly for what Jim wants to do. His DNA is imprinted at the label group.”  

Hunnicutt most recently served as President and Partner of Nashville-based independent label Big Loud Records where he led a team that developed and promoted such chart-topping acts as Jake Owen and Morgan Wallen

This summer, BMLG was acquired by Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings.

AIMP NASHVILLE HOSTS A&R PANEL
8/1/19


AIMP
's Nashville Chapter held a lunch panel Wednesday at ASCAP's music city HQ. Titled "Exploring the A&R Process with 3 of Nashville's Top A&R Execs," the creative panel featured top biz players Arturo Buenahora (Little Louder Music), Allison Jones (Big Machine Label Group) and Sara Knabe (BBR Music Group). The trio spoke about strategies and challenges in the current artist development landscape and A&R process, along with the importance of dodging phone calls from HITS

Pictured above at the panel: (L-R) Mark Brown (Round Hill Music), Tim Hunze (Anthem Entertainment), John Ozier (Reservoir; AIMP Nashville President), Allison Jones (BMLG), Arturo Buenahora (LLM), Sara Knabe (BBR), Brad Peterson (Regions Bank), and Dale Bobo (Big Deal Music).