Music Notes: Kenny Chesney Checks His Reef Out, and 'On This Day' In Country
Tom Roland rounds up all the news too small to feature, and highlights some country history while he's at it.
-- When Kenny Chesney played Jacksonville, Fla., earlier this month, the tour date had a side benefit: He got to take a trip down the St. John River and check out his No Shoes Reefs. Thirteen tons of concrete were used to create the reefs, built in conjunction with Costa Del Mar sunglasses and the Coastal Conservation Association/Building Conservation Trust. The two additions are reportedly teeming with aquatic life, a small but important pushback against erosion of the nation’s waterways. “Beyond clean water, it is about supporting healthy marine life,” says Chesney, “and that includes being aware of the impact of erosion under the water.”
-- It’s a sure bet that Martina McBride will perform “Independence Day” when she headlines the annual Let Freedom Sing! concert at Nashville’s Riverfront Park on the Fourth of July. This year, there are two very unique ways to experience the fireworks without getting pinned in by the crowd. One is to watch it from The George, a rooftop bar and restaurant at the newly opened George Jones Museum. Tickets are $200. The other is to watch it online: AT&T U-verse and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation will live-stream the concert for free.
-- Jennifer Nettles is headed to QVC on July 5 to debut a new collection of jewelry, designed in tandem with American West Jewelry. Official language associated with the line indicates the pieces -- crafted with sterling silver, brass, leather and suede -- reflect her “eclectic and boho-chic style.” Four items, including a necklace and earrings, can be seen here.
-- Country is on the upswing at Pandora. Seven of the 10 biggest movers among the company’s top 1,000 titles last week were country, and most of them are new acts. Making advances were Mickey Guyton, Parmalee, Maddie & Tae, Cole Swindell, Sam Hunt, Chase Rice and Dierks Bentley. The company embedded its Country Music Association station in the CMA Music Festival app, and also recently introduced a Ford Country Built station.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
-- KMPS Seattle built its new morning-show team from within. Midday host Seth Hughes and morning producer Kat have taken the slot, RadioInfo.com reported, replacing Tommy and Joe Johnson, who left a month ago
-- Also from RadioInfo.com: WAMZ Louisville, Ky., extended the contract of morning co-host Chris Randolph
-- WKIS Miami added Bryan LaRoche as afternoon host, according to InsideRadio.com. He arrives from Alpha/Portland, Ore., where he handled shifts on two stations, including country KUPL …
-- Also from InsideRadio.com: iHeartRadio/Jacksonville (Fla.) promoted Monika Acree to sales manager from account executive for the seven-station cluster, including country WQIK.
’ROUND THE ROW
-- Tanya Welch takes over as Black River senior director of marketing, following a 20-year tenure in a similar role for Sony Music Nashville.
-- Singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson signed a publishing agreement with Downtown Music
-- The Whistles & The Bells joined the artist roster at New West, with a self-titled debut album on the way on Aug. 7. The project is headed by singer-songwriter Bryan Simpson (“Yeah,” “I’ll Just Hold On”)
-- SMG artist Kayla Calabrese signed with Kore PR
-- Pam Lewis’ PLA Media is celebrating its 30th year in business
-- The International Entertainment Buyers Association tabbed actor Jeffrey Tambor for the keynote speech at its 2015 conference Oct. 10-13 at the Omni Nashville Hotel
-- William Morris Endeavor vp Jay Williams has been named president of the Music Health Alliance board. Go here for the names of all 11 board members.
Dolly Parton, who has donated books to children through her Imagination Library, presented the 14th Chasing Rainbows Award to Andover, Kan., instructor Dyane Smokorowski in conjunction with the National Network of State Teachers of the Year.
Parton handed out the honor at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The award recognizes a teacher who has overcome personal obstacles to make a difference in students’ lives.
Meanwhile, Parton is doubling up on a benefit at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. After her July 31 concert for the W.O. Smith Music School sold out, she added a second Aug. 1 date. The tickets, priced at $100 and $55, go on sale July 2.
ON THIS DATE IN COUNTRY MUSIC
2014 -- “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”: Kenny Rogers annoys his poker partners by singing “The Gambler” as a new Geico insurance commercial debuts on TV.
2012 -- Arista releases Carrie Underwood’s single “Blown Away” to radio.
2009 -- Arista releases Brad Paisley’s album American Saturday Night.
1993 -- Kenny Chesney signs his first recording contract, with Capricorn Records.
1955 -- Ernest Tubb introduces Patsy Cline in her Grand Ole Opry debut, as she performs “A Church, a Courtroom and Then Goodbye.”
2005 -- “Fast Cars and Freedom” speeds Rascal Flatts to the top of the Billboard country singles chart.
2010 -- Darius Rucker sings the national anthem before the Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona Motor Speedway in Florida. Kevin Harvick wins the race in the rain.
1965 -- Roy Rogers’ 33-year-old horse, Trigger, dies in California. The silver-screen cowboy has the horse mounted and placed on display in his museum.
1995 -- Jo Dee Messina records “Heads Carolina, Tails California” at the Sound Stage Studios in Nashville.
1985 -- Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic in Austin features the first live assembly of The Highwaymen: Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. Also in the lineup are Neil Young, Hank Snow and June Carter Cash.
2013 -- Luke Bryan makes a surprise appearance during an Alabama show in Orange Beach, Ala. Bryan provides a vocal assist on “Love in the First Degree.”
Source: RolandNote.com, the Ultimate Country Music Database
This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.