Preshias Harris’ June Music Column

by Preshias Harris

preshias-harrisVERSE OF THE MONTH:  Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. – Psalm 98:4

ARTIST NEWS: Members of Old Dominion recently reflected on what winning Breakthrough Group/Duo of the Year on the ACC Awards meant to them. “When we started this band, winning awards never crossed our minds,” said front man Matthew Ramsey who, like his bandmates, have celebrated successes as songwriters before having hit records as a band.

“We just wanted to make the best music we could. But winning this award really shows us that the years of work we have put into this are paying off in ways we never dreamed of.”  The win follows on the heels of earlier 2016 award wins at the Academy of Country Music Awards for Best New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year and the Association of Independent Music Publisher Awards (AIMPs) for Artist/Writer of the Year. More at olddominionband.com.

AWARD NEWS: The National Music Council will bring its annual American Eagle Awards presentation to Nashville, Tennessee, for a second year in a row on Saturday, June 25, 2016. The highly prestigious Eagle Awards are presented each year in national celebration of an individual’s or an organization’s long term contribution to America’s musical culture and heritage. This year, music legends Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill will be honored, along with the iconic Grand Ole Opry. Past American Eagle Award recipients include Kris Kristofferson, Quincy Jones, Clive Davis, Benny Goodman, The Oak Ridge Boys, Roberta Peters, Odetta, Sherman Halsey, Sesame Street and Hard Rock Café. This year’s event in Nashville will mark the 33rd year of formal presentations of the Awards.  Tickets, details, etc at musiccouncil.org

BOOKING NEWS: Veteran entertainment entrepreneur Matt Davenport announced the launch of a new boutique booking agency, Live Arts and Attractions Inc. The agency will focus on selling a variety of live performances and attractions to Performing Arts Centers, fairs, and festivals. Dan Mann, long time Nashville music industry veteran was named General Manager of the agency. Lou Spoltore, the agency VP, believes that with agency mergers and acquisitions the new norm in Nashville, there is increasing room for small agencies with the ability to focus on the unique needs of each artist, presenter and promoter. Details at www.livearts.biz.

BOOK RELEASES: (SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION NEWS) My new e-book “I Know Country!” has launched and I am so excited!  It features 366 daily country music Q&As plus lots of nuggets of knowledge about the songs, the artists and the songwriters. Is available for download on all devices. Check out www.iknowcountry.com.

BLUEGRASS NEWS: Mountain Home Music Company has announced a July 8, 2016 release date for ‘Burden Bearer’ from Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Doyle Lawson is well known for high standards in every aspect of his musical career. Burden Bearer is the latest example of the exquisite precision in vocals, harmony and musicianship of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. The album is reminiscent of a traditional “call to a camp meeting.” It is a special music event of Bluegrass Gospel and A Capella music celebrating the musical legacy of faith, hope, struggle and victory of the spirit. The group have nearly forty albums to their credit, are seven-time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year winners, with multiple Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA, and SPBGMA nominations and awards.

CD RELEASES: LOCASH fans are looking forward to June 17, 2016. It’s on that date that the fast-rising duo of Chris Lucas and Preston Brust will release their first full-length album for Reviver Records, titled The Fighters.  The album includes “I Know Somebody,” as well as fan favorites “Shipwrecked” and “Drunk, Drunk.” The duo has been featuring much of the new material in their live shows this past winter and early spring.  LOCASH has a full slate of dates on their calendar throughout the rest of 2016 – including a June 12 stop at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville.  Tour dates and more info about The Fighters at LOCASHMusic.com.

CHARITY NEWS: The Journey Home Project, co-founded by country music legend Charlie Daniels, carried out an awe inspiring tribute to the nation’s flag in remembrance of the real reason for Memorial Day. Volunteers filled a one acre site with American Flags to honor those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country by filling a lot with red, white and blue in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. The Journey Home Project, a not-for-profit organization that assists other not-for-profits in securing money, is proud to be a sponsor of the event.

The display remained in effect 24 hours a day throughout the Memorial Day weekend. It was sponsored by The Exchange Club of West Wilson County and The American Legion Tyler Cates Post 281 of Mt. Juliet who will use proceeds of this event to raise awareness and funds for many on-going charitable organizations.  Details at thejourneyhomeproject.com.

CMA FEST SPECIAL SHOWS: Digital RodeoTV is partnering with Renegade Radio Nashville to present “Live on Broadway” from the Valentine. More than 18 artists are scheduled to perform. The 4-day concert is a benefit for Musicians On Call. DigitalRodeoTV will air the concert to viewers for free in a live broadcast & live simulcast over the internet and on any streaming device. The shows will run Thursday June 9 through Sunday June 12. This inaugural concert event starts daily at 1:00pm Central. Stars at the shows include Aaron Tippin, Lorrie Morgan, Darryl Worley, Ty Herndon, John Berry, Andy Griggs, Confederate Railroad and many more. For a full lineup of each show and to get tickets (only 400 General Admission per show) go to www.digitalrodeo.tv/events.html.

COUNTRY CRUISE NEWS: Several top country stars will be taking part in the Country Cruising experience, set for January 14-19, 2017. Fans will be travelling aboard the Brilliance of the Seas®, a Radiance-class ship. The cruise will set sail on January 14, 2017 from Tampa, and will stop in Key West before making its voyage to Cozumel, Mexico. The ship will arrive back in Tampa on January 19. Among the initial artists announced to participate in the cruise include hit-makers Chris Young, LOCASH and ACM’s New Female Vocalist of the Year winner Kelsea Ballerini.  The five night cruise includes accommodations, all meals taken care of during the event, as well as autograph sessions, photo opportunities, daily musical performances, and songwriter workshops. Details at countrycruising.com.

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS: “The reigning queen of country music demonstrated why she wears the crown,” Amanda S. Amand of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote of Miranda Lambert’s Keeper of the Flame Tour that kicked off mid-May at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, Mo., with openers Kip Moore and Brothers Osborne. And a storm rolled in just an hour into Lambert’s set; mother nature’s way of offsetting the heat radiating from the seven-time Female Vocalist of the Year’s first tour stop of the season.  The Tour continues at multiple locations through the rest of 2016. Updated tour info and more at mirandalambert.com.

GARTH NEWS: For the first time in 18 years, The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood is going to San Antonio. The concerts will be Friday, July 22nd, 7:00 PM and Saturday, July 23rd, 7:00 PM at AT&T Center. Tickets will be on sale Friday, June 3rd at 10:00 AM CDT with an eight ticket limit per purchase. Tickets can only be purchased at ticketmaster.com/garthbrooks.  More info at garthbrooks.com.

INDIE NEWS: Pinecastle Records has signed bluegrass group Sister Sadie, and released the group’s first single, “Unholy Water,” from their upcoming self-titled album. Sister Sadie is an all-female bluegrass group comprised of some of the best-known women in bluegrass – Dale Ann Bradley, Tina Adair, Deanie Richardson, Gene Britt and Beth Lawrence. The group is a result of the women getting together for a fun evening at Nashville’s Station Inn that turned into a discussion about doing more shows and recording. Alison Krauss has said that Sister Sadie “is an inspiring musical collaboration bringing together some of the best women bluegrass music has ever claimed.”  The album will be released in June.

INDUSTRY NEWS: Singers, songwriters and indie musicians are checking out a series of podcasts available via iTunes. Titled The Climb, the series features Johnny Dwinell of Daredevil Production and hit songwriter Brent Baxter of Man Vs Row who discuss various topics on how to succeed in the music business. The acronym C.L.I.M.B. stands for ‘Create Leverage In the Music Business.’ The two guys talk about everything from what should be happening in the writers’ room to how to get to the next stage in your career. In a recent episode, Baxter talks about how the song ‘Crickets’ (which he co-wrote) came about and how it went on to get cut by Joe Nichols. Info at theclimbshow.com

LABEL NEWS: (Interscope Records) Interscope Records, part of the Universal Music Group has set up offices in Nashville, although it already had a presence in Music City with an artist development program, established about a year ago.  Interscope is a non-country label that is home to acts such as Lady Gaga, Lana Del Ray and Kendrick Lamar, and has offices in New York, Santa Monica, CA, and now Nashville.  The Nashville office will be headed up by A&R rock veteran Kevin Williams. More at interscope.com.

(Reviver Records) Reviver Records singer-songwriter Michael Tyler is garnering significant buzz, as a co-writer on Dierks Bentley’s latest hit single “Somewhere on a Beach,” which just topped the Billboard Hot Country Song chart. The perfect country summertime anthem is the lead single from his eighth studio album, Black {see more about Black, below). After remaining on Billboard Hot Country Song chart for 13 weeks, the single rose to the top of the Billboard chart ranking and reached No. 1 status the week of April 30.  “Somewhere on a Beach” is Tyler’s first No. 1 songwriting credit, and the Reviver Records signee is quickly climbing the ranks of sought-after songwriting talent in Country Music.  More about Tyler at peermusic.com/roster/548.

MEDIA NEWS: Dierks Bentley, king of the breakup song, is back in BLACK” (Noisey), and devoted the week leading up to the album’s May 27 release date with multiple national television performances and fan events.  The following weekend, Bentley picked back up on his 2016 SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH TOUR with special guests Randy Houser, Cam and Tucker Beathard.  Additionally, “Somewhere On A Beach,” the lead single from Black, hit Number One on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase radio charts, and achieved ‘Gold’ status by the RIAA. For more information on the new album, upcoming appearances and tour dates, visit dierks.com.

MUSIC NEWS: Since they first met in 2002, Jerrod Niemann and Lee Brice have become close friends.  They’ve written together, toured together and partied together, but they’ve never released music together – until now. Curb artists Niemann and Brice have released a new duet, “A Little More Love,” to iTunes.  Written by Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman, Natalie Hemby and Kristi Neumann, “A Little More Love” will also serve as the lead single on Niemann’s forthcoming album on Curb Records, produced by Niemann with Jimmie Lee Sloas. Tour dates and more at www.jerrodniemannofficial.com and info about Niemann’s Dehydration Nation fan club at www.dehydrationnation.net.

NAMM NEWS: Nashville is gearing up for the 2016 Summer NAMM show, set for June 23 – 25 at the Nashville Music City Center. The National Association of Music Merchants Inc (NAMM) will once again be showcasing a complete product landscape while celebrating the local community music store and honoring the industry’s Top 100 Dealers. Attendance at NAMM trade shows is restricted to owners, suppliers, employees, endorsed artists and guests of NAMM member companies. However, on the final day, June 25, NAMM invites musicians, songwriters, sound and recording professionals, music educators and students to experience Music Industry Day. There’ll be a chance to attend workshops, check out the new gear and enjoy artist performances.  Music Industry Day tickets are $20.00 at the door or $10.00 purchased in advance at http://www.NAMM.org/musicindustryday. NOTE: NAMM  JAMM is scheduled for June 24th. Place to TBA.

NUMBER ONE NEWS: Three songwriters jointly celebrated their first Number Ones during an afternoon party at ASCAP’s Nashville HQ on May 25, thanks to TWO chart toppers scored by Florida Georgia Line.  Matt Dragstrem and Cole Taylor were recognized for their co-write credits on the cut, “Sippin’ On Fire,” that topped the charts for FGL. Felix McTeigue also scored his first Number One with another FGL hit, “Anything Goes,” co-written with veteran writers Craig Wiseman and Christ Tompkins. The three writers received plaques from ASCAP and awards from the CMA and Country Radio Broadcasters (CRB). Dragstrem, Taylor and McTeigue also received ASCAP -signature guitars [Customized by Boulder Creek Guitars for ASCAP], in recognition of their first Number One hits. Congrats to all three. I know we’ll see you back in the ‘winners’ circle’ before too long!

OPRY NEWS: Steve Wariner, a four-time GRAMMY and CMA Award winner, celebrated his 20th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on May 14. Pete Fisher, Grand Ole Opry Vice President and General Manager, presented Wariner with a special plaque during the singer/songwriter’s performance. Country Music Hall of Fame member Bill Anderson, who inducted Wariner into the Grand Ole Opry 20 years ago, also was on hand to pay tribute to his longtime friend. Earlier in the evening, the Opry threw a backstage party for the ACM Award winner, complete with a special cake decorated with an illustration of Wariner’s red telecaster guitar. He is currently in the studio working on a new album to be released later this year.  His next concert performance will be at City Winery in Nashville on June 11 at 8:00 PM during CMA Music Festival. The show will be filmed for a future project. More at SteveWariner.com.

SINGLE NEWS: Singer/songwriter Brandy Clark, a four-time GRAMMY nominee is following up her 2013 smash debut album “12 Stories” with the release of “Big Day in a Small Town”, to be released June 10 on Warner Bros. Records. With “Girl Next Door” serving as the first single, “Big Day in a Small Town” is Clark’s first major-label album. Big Day was produced by Jay Joyce. Clark was featured in April/May “The Outlaws” issue of Garden & Gun. Big Day in a Small Town tells the stories of the football star, the father, the homecoming queen, and the hairdresser because those are the stories and people that Clark grew up knowing.  Tour dates and more at brandyclarkmusic.com.

TOUR NEWS: Kenny Chesney’s NFL stadium-filling treks have become a rite of summer. So when Entertainment Weekly was putting together their annual Summer Music Issue, there was only one tour to get inside: Chesney’s 2016 Spread The Love Tour, with Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt and Old Dominion. Meeting at an industrial complex rehearsal space in Nashville, Chesney, Lambert and Hunt took part in a photo shoot with noted photographer Danny Clinch, who’s also shot several of Chesney’s album covers. Then the trio retired to a tiny production room for an hour-long roundtable interview about what the summer will hold.  In the resulting story, EW writer Madison Vain made connections between Lambert’s prior touring with Chesney, Hunt’s first breakthrough coming from Chesney’s No. 1 version of “Come Over” and the way some thrills of road life never fade. Tour dates and info at kennychesney.com

USO NEWS: On Sunday, May 22, Jerrod Niemann returned to the states from his first-ever USO Tour with the National Guard. Other celebrities that joined him on the six-day, four-country tour through Europe and the Middle East include actors Robert Patrick and Matthew Lillard, former NBA player Sam Perkins and Top 10 in the world UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy. The tour visited five bases in Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Romania.

WWWEBSITES TO CHECKOUT:  www.globalsongwriters.com  / www.christmas4kids.org  / www.cmaworld.com  / www.cdxcd.com / www.namm.org

WHO’S LOOKING  *  WHO’S CUTTING:   John Berry (Christmas Album)  Dustin Lynch, Trace Adkins, Kayla Adams, Runaway June and George Strait.

Check out my new blog, Nashville Music Line, that has just gone live. I plan to feature news, information, helpful ideas and inspiration for singers and songwriters.  If you are an aspiring artist or songwriter just starting out on your career path, or if you are already on your way, I hope you’ll find it both useful and enjoyable.  It has only just gone ‘live’ so the content is quite small right now, but I intend to start adding to it on a regular basis. Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to address there. Please bookmark the URL and visit frequently. I’d love to read your comments. You can find it at www.nashvillemusicline.com

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