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Nashville Notes: Maddie & Tae's Tribute to Orlando Victims; Hot Chelle Rae Singer Goes Country

Maddie and Tae
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Maddie and Tae

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

Two BBR Music Group artists have plunged into sports-related promotional visits. Red Bow artist Chase Bryant takes part July 8 in the now-annual Country Music Night at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field, playing an Opry Circle Throwdown when the White Sox host the Atlanta Braves. Maddie & Tae gave a similar performance in conjunction with the Grand Ole Opry at the ballpark in 2015, preceded by Easton Corbin in 2014 and Kristen Kelly in 2013. Meanwhile, Wheelhouse trio Runaway June will open for Tim McGraw on Aug. 5 in the first-ever event at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. They're part of a Concert for Legends during a weekend that features the induction of this year's eight-person Hall of Fame class, including Brett Favre and Ken Stabler.

WWKA Orlando, Fla., speedily assembled a Country Strong fundraiser in the wake of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub. Working in conjunction with WFTV-TV and WRDQ-TV, the station lined up Cole Swindell, Billy Currington, Tyler Farr, Maddie & Tae (watch a performance below), Jerrod Niemann, Canaan Smith, Parmalee and Florida natives Easton Corbin and Michael Ray on short notice for the June 21 show at CFE Arena. All proceeds from tickets and parking for the sold-out show will go to the OneOrlando Fund.

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Kenny Chesney will be a musical guest when NBC airs its annual Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular from New York. Hosted by Tamron Hall and Willie Geist, the two-hour telecast also welcomes Meghan Trainor and 5 Seconds of Summer. Chesney has appeared on the special at least three previous times: in 2003, 2008 and 2012. Little Big Town will appear the same night on CBS' Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, joining Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas.

 

'ROUND THE ROW

LeAnn Bennett joined Compass Records Group in a new position that embraces licensing, royalty administration and film and TV placement. She continues to operate her project-marketing firm Bennett Entertainment Group. … SESAC senior director of licensing operations Justin Levenson has left the performing rights organization after 15 years … Chad Gentry joined artist-development firm PCG Nashville as admissions representative. Gentry was previously SAE Institute Nashville career services advisor. PCG co-founders Bernard Porter and Molly Porter have set July 22-23 for the company's third annual boot camp for aspiring singer-songwriters … The Recording Academy and CBS extended their agreement to telecast the Grammy Awards through 2026. The 2017 ceremony will air Feb. 12, with streaming-only releases eligible for the first time … Bear Family partnered with MVD Entertainment for U.S. distribution of its heritage compilation projects … The Joey Canyon Show, already available on RFD-TV, is now available through Comcast in Colorado and Utah … Pandora added nine new stations focused exclusively on new music, including a new country station … Big Machine signed Hot Chelle Rae vocalist Ryan Follese to a recording deal and released his debut country single, "Float Your Boat" … Black River signed Nikita Karmen to its Passport label … New duo Smithfield, consisting of Jennifer Fiedler and Trey Smith, signed a publishing agreement with Deluge Music … Meghan Linsey, formerly one-half of Steel Magnolia, signed a management contract with Pennington Entertainment … Bass player Mike Chapman died at his home in Franklin, Tenn., on June 13, The Tennessean reported. He contributed to most of the hit singles by Garth Brooks and -BlackHawk. His credits also included Kathy Mattea's "Burnin' Old Memories," Sammy Kershaw's "Third Rate Romance" and Joe Diffie's "Ships That Don't Come In" … Songwriter-producer-musician Chips Moman died June 13 in LaGrange, Ga. Noted for his work with Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond in Memphis during the 1960s, he also had a major impact on country. Moman authored B.J. Thomas' "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" and George Strait's "So Much Like My Dad," and produced a ream of hits for Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, including "Always On My Mind," "Luckenbach, Texas," "Pancho and Lefty" (pairing Nelson and Merle Haggard) and "Highwayman" (matching Jennings and Nelson with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson).

 

RADIO MOVERS & SHAKERS

Becca Walls joined Big Machine Label Group as content manager/host for Big Machine Radio, available via iHeartRadio and TuneIn, in addition to a label-owned website. She previously handled middays for WKDF Nashville. … Radio veteran Dan Mason joined iHeartMedia as senior advisor for broadcast relations. The move comes more than a year after he retired as CBS Radio president/CEO … Adams Radio/Las Cruces, N.M., hired Jeff Lyons as promotions and event marketing manager for the four-station cluster, including country KGRT. Lyons previously held a similar post with Cumulus/Huntsville, Ala., a cluster that includes country WWFF … Alpha Media/Portland, Ore., promoted Kelsey McDaniel to director of marketing for the group, including country KUPL. She previously held the same post for top 40 KBFF … KYGO Denver music director Brian Hatfield has severed ties with the station, according to RadioInfo.com … Curtis Media promoted Trip Savery to COO from executive vp, Inside-Radio.com reported. The chain's country stations -- all in North Carolina -- include WQDR Raleigh-Durham, WPCM Burlington-Graham, WZKT Walnut Creek and WMMY Jefferson.

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