From left: Broken Bow Music Group GM Rick Shedd, new artist Lindsay Ell, BBR Music Group president/CEO Benny Brown (Photo: Deborah Evans Price)
| "There's a lot to be excited about"
Benny Brown, Broken Bow pres./CEO
While zombies, witches and an occasional Elvis prowled the streets of Nashville celebrating Halloween, most of Music Row's power players were gathered at the Hard Rock Café for Broken Bow Music Group's Third Annual Pre-CMA Party. BBR had plenty to celebrate this year with Jason Aldean's new album "Night Train" selling more than 400,000 the first week, the chart-topping breakout success of newcomer Dustin Lynch and earlier in the day, they announced the launch of Red Bow Records, a partnership between BBR Music Group and RED Distribution.
"There's a lot of things to be excited about," president/CEO BBR Music Group Benny Brown tells Billboard.
"When I joined the Music Group four years ago, it was just Broken Bow," says BBR Music Group's senior VP of promotion Carson James, "then we added Stoney Creek and now seeing this come to fruition with three different imprints is amazing."
From left: Rick Shedd, BBR Music Group senior VP of promotion Carson James and BBR executive VP Jon Loba (Photo: Deborah Price Evans)
Joe Nichols and Rachel Farley are the first two acts signed to Red Bow. "This new label is great opportunity for me to give everybody a new look at me and a fresh sound," Nichols tells Billboard. "We've got great start on the new record, and I'm proud to be part of the Broken Bow family."
Nichols attributes BBR's successful streak to "their ability to find hits and really going through the A&R process the right way. They find what an artist is great at. I'm very impressed with what they've done and excited about the potential of what we can do together."
Founded by Brown in 1997, Broken Bow found success with Craig Morgan in 2003 and went on to become one of Nashville's strongest labels, launching Aldean's multi-platinum career. Stoney Creek's husband/wife duo Thompson Square's "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" was the top selling single of 2011 and they won the Academy of Country Music's Top Vocal Duo last April. Lynch's Aug. 21 debut entered the Top Country Albums chart at No. 1 propelled by the hit single "Cowboys and Angels."
In an era when many labels are contracting, what prompted the BBR team to launch another label? "Benny says, 'I've never lived by fear. I've always lived by optimism.' It's his unending optimism that gives us all hope," BBR Music Group's executive VP Jon Loba says. "With the two labels and the success we're having with Thompson Square, Jason Aldean, Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch, we're getting more and more opportunities from some spectacular artists that we were having to say 'no' to. As Benny looked at deepening the relationship with Red Distribution, he came up with the idea: 'Why don't we take a third shot out there?' We've proven we can do it twice and these artists deserve a chance, so let's do it."
New Red Bow Artist Rachel Farley (second from left) and the Red Bow promo team. From left, Red Bow national director of promotion Shelley Hargis, Farley, Red Bow West Coast manager of promotion Kendra Whitehead and Red Bow VP of promotion Renee Leymon (Photo: Deborah Evans Price)
The night's performances kicked off with 17-year-old singer/songwriter Rachel Farley. "Their excitement really captured me," Farley says of BBR. "Everyone has a great energy and is really behind me. It's great to have that support system and that belief in what I do."
Farley has been hard at work on her debut album with producer Michael Knox. And though her first single isn't due till first quarter 2013, Farley has already earned fans by opening for Aldean. "It's been amazing! Jason has always been a big influence of mine," says Farley, who joined the tour in July and has o pened 36 shows. "Jason is a phenomenal entertainer and a great person. He's taken really good care of us and we've really enjoyed our experience."
Dustin Lynch and Brian Jenning KZSN Wichita, Kansas (Photo: Deborah Evans Price)
The evening also included performances by Parmalee, Randy Houser, James Wesley, Thompson Square and Dustin Lynch. "This guy is really special and the single that's getting ready to come out is going to take him up another notch," Brian Jennings, PD at Clear Channel's KZSN Wichita, Kan. said of Lynch's "She Cranks my Tractor." "Up until now, people have only heard a more traditional side of him with his debut, but the new single shows a different side."
Standing on the Hard Rock's outdoor patio overlooking the Cumberland River, Lynch reflected on how far he's come since he performed at BBR's pre-CMA party last year. "A year ago today we hopped on a bus and headed to Minnesota for our first radio tour stop. What a difference a year makes," he says. "I have so many friends here tonight who have supported me and my music. It's a really fun night."
Lynch credits country radio for helping him break out. "It just shows the power of country radio," he says. "If they get behind something and believe in it, they change lives."
Stoney Creek VP of promotion Chris Loss (dressed as "under the bus"), Clear Channel's Don Gosselin, Inside Edition correspondent Megan Alexander and Dashboard Media's Natalie Kilgore. (Photo: Deborah Evans Price)
Among those enjoying the music and fun at BBR's Halloween Bash were Dreamcatcher Management's Jim Mazza, Capitol Records artist Eric Paslay, Fitzgerald Hartley Management's Nick Hartley and Clear Channel Operations Manager Don Gosselin.
There were also revelers dressed for Halloween, among them: S toney Creek Records VP of promotion Chris Loss, whose costume featured a cardboard school bus over his heard and a shirt with tire marks. "I'm under the bus,' Loss said with a grin. "It's just something that happens a lot in Music City, so why not do it?"