Women in Music 2016

Nashville Notes: New 'Nashville' Soundtrack Gets Release Date; Sister Hazel Going Country

ABC/Bob D'Amico
Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes on ABC's Nashville. 

Here is your weekly roundup of goings on -- artist signings, staffing moves, good news and more -- in the wide world of country music.

NEWS & NOTES

Country tours make up three of the four finalists for top package in the Billboard Touring Awards, which will be presented Nov. 19at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. They include Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes Tour, Luke Bryan’s Kick the Dust Up Tour and Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival Tour. Chesney’s 2016 Spread the Love dates — featuring Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt and Old -Dominion — already include 11 stadium shows with more expected to be revealed.

The debut albums by Cam and Brothers Osborne are officially on the books, with Cam’s Untamed due Dec. 11 and the Osbornes’ Pawn Shop arriving Jan. 15. Other album developments include the Dec. 4 release of the latest Nashville installment, The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 4, Volume 1; the Jan. 15 release of a new Hank Williams Jr. project, It’s About Time; and plans for a country album from veteran rock band Sister Hazel, Lighter in the Dark, in February 2016. Additionally, Keith Urban has named his forthcoming album Ripcord, though no release date has been announced.

 

’ROUND THE ROW

The new Big Loud label will open a Toronto office on Nov. 23 with Brianne Deslippe in place as GM/national director of promotion Canada. She most recently was country format supervisor at Universal Music Canada.

Jennifer Shaffer adds Wheelhouse national director of promotion to her role as Midwest/Southwest regional ... -CountryMusicIsLove.com-rebranded itself on Nov. 1 as SoundsLikeNashville.com after becoming part of -SpinMedia, which includes such properties as Spin, Vibe and Stereogum. Lauren Jo Black continues as editor with Get Nashed Media producer Jeremy Weber providing video content and Lauren Laffer serving as staff writer. 

Kaleidoscope Media made three personnel moves. Dana Meeks joined as PR and communications manager after four years at New York-based BeccaPR. Michelle Kraker took over as director of digital marketing following three years with her own social media firm, Soho. And former Kaleidoscope intern Amanda Whelan was named publicity coordinator.

Hart Street Entertainment added Julie Reliford as vp PR and marketing. She previously ran her own Nashville-based marketing company.

Warner/Chappell and Liz Rose Music signed a co-publishing agreement with singer-songwriter Seth Ennis.

Byron Hill (“Nothing on but the Radio,” “Fool Hearted Memory”) signed a publishing deal with Dan Hodges Music.

Carnival Music added singer-songwriter-producer Dustin Christensen to its roster.

Singer-songwriter Tara Thompson inked a recording deal with Valory. 

Pinecastle signed bluegrass group Sister Sadie, an all-female band fronted by five-time International Bluegrass Music Awards female vocalist of the year Dale Ann Bradley. 

John Anderson joined the roster at Webster Public Relations.

The International Bluegrass Music Awards has openings for a professional development and communications director and for a member services manager and bookkeeper.

 

RADIO MOVERS & SHAKERS

John Marks joined Spotify as global head of country music programming in charge of developing playlists and overseeing country label and artist relations for the streaming service. He stepped down as SiriusXM director of country programming on Sept. 22.

CBS Radio promoted Jeff Sottolano to vp programming from director. Among the chain’s country outlets are KMLE Phoenix,WDSY Pittsburgh and WYCD Detroit. 

WKTI Milwaukee welcomes Jake Kelly and Tanner Jay to do mornings beginning Nov. 23, The Milwaukee Business Journal reported. The team arrives from the afternoon shift at top 40 WIXX Green Bay, Wis.

Craig Allen takes over as PD/afternoon-drive talent for WZZK Birmingham, Ala., according to RadioInfo.com. He had filled the same role at WHWY Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Fla.

Loren Petisce is joining Cape Cod Broadcasting/Barnstable, Mass., where she’ll cover afternoons on country WKPE and adult contemporary WQRCRadioInfo.com reported. She most recently was on-air at top 40 WFHN New Bedford-Fall River, Mass. 

Jenny D. Hopkins and Greg Peters are the new morning team at KWOF Denver, according to InsideRadio.com. The duo worked on Westwood One syndicated formats as recently as July. 

Motivational speaker Noah Galloway, a former U.S. Army soldier and Dancing With the Stars contestant, will be a featured speaker on the second day of the Country Radio Seminar (Feb. 8-10) in Nashville.

 

GOOD WORKS

Marketers devote a lot of time to activating the fan base, but Luke Bryan is taking the concept a step further, mobilizing his supporters to put their money behind a couple of worthy causes.

Bryan is this year’s performer during halftime at the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game, where he’ll kick off the Salvation Army’s 125th red kettle campaign. It’s a call to arms to donate to those Santas ringing bells -outside retail shops during the holiday season, helping an agency that aids people who are struggling financially. Bryan’s not the first country artist to play the Cowboys’ red kettle event. Previous contributors include Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Keith Urban and Clint Black.

Bryan also has reached out to the fans in his database with an email blast asking them to donate money to aid South Carolina as it recovers from severe floods. Bryan is quite familiar with the Palmetto State’s waterlogged terrain. He postponed an Oct. 3 Farm Tour date not once, but twice, due to torrential rain and flooding. The date finally took place Nov. 1.

This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.