Nashville Notes: Capitol's I.R.S. Nashville Label Shuttered; Zac Brown Band on the Move

The Zac Brown Band
ABC/Fred Lee

The Zac Brown Band perform live on "Good Morning America" on the ABC Television Network on April 27, 2015. 

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


I.R.S. Nashville has shut down its Nashville operations, which president John Grady launched in 2013. Departing the company are Grady, vp promotion Tom Moran, regionals Gwen Foster and Will Robinson, and promotion coordinator Amber Anderson. Acts Striking Matches, Muddy Magnolias and Marc Scibilia are expected to be reassigned within Capitol Music Group. The Nashville roster had also included Ashley Clark and the team handled promotion efforts for Don Henley's recent solo project, Cass County.

Also set to be shuttered in February is the promotion team at Southern Ground. Zac Brown Band will move to Big Machine Label Group's Dot Records imprint, which will pick up promotion duties for current single "Beautiful Drug." Southern Ground had already been in a partnership with BMLG and John Varvatos Records, which began last year. Exiting Southern Ground will be VPs Mara Sidweber and Chuck Swaney, regionals Neda Tobin and Paul Williams, and director of syndication Clay Henderson. Those labels join Blaster Records, which also eliminated its promotion team earlier this month.

JoJamie Hahr has been promoted to vp marketing at BBR Music Group. She succeeds Mary Forest Findley, who departs the company to represent radio personality Bobby Bones at Red Light Management. For the past two years, Hahr has served as the vp promotion for BBR's management arm.

Rick Froio joins Black River Records in the newly created role of executive vp. His background includes stints as senior vp, sales for both Warner Music Group and Atlantic Records in New York ... Dot Records adds AJ Calvin as director of Southeast promotion. He is a veteran rock radio promoter. 

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Nash Country Weekly promoted Jim Casey from deputy editor to managing editor, replacing Jon Freeman, who is now working with Rolling Stone Country. Joining the magazine in the deputy post is Chris Parton. He had been a staff writer at until earlier this year.

Grammy nominee Jason Isbell has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Downtown Music Publishing.

Artist International Management, which has represented such acts as Jerry Lee Lewis and Percy Sledge, is opening an office in Nashville in January. AIM Nashville will represent country and Southern rock acts.

Starstruck Entertainment director of finance Penny E. Chubb will retire Dec. 17 after nearly 22 years with the company.


Country Radio Broadcasters has named Keith Urban as the recipient of the 2016 CRS Artist Humanitarian Award, to be presented during the opening ceremonies of Country Radio Seminar on Feb. 8, 2016. Last year's winner, Lady Antebellum, will be on hand to present the award, which recognizes "exceptional humanitarian efforts."

Beasley's country KCYE (102.7 The Coyote) Las Vegas has temporarily flipped to an all-holiday music format and rebranded as "102.7 Santa FM."

Jules Riley will exit her job as operation manager for Scripps' Tulsa, Okla., cluster at the end of January to return to St. Louis and concentrate on her voiceover business full time. Her job in Tulsa included PD duties at country KVOO and oversight of four other stations, including classic country KXBL


Jason Aldean has entered the mobile game space with a new app called Jason Aldean Slot Machines, featuring slots based on Aldean's hits. The casino game is available across all platforms including Apple, Android, Amazon and Google.

Carrie Underwood has added two European dates to her Storyteller Tour, tacking on shows in Stockholm and Oslo in March 2016 as part of the multicountry C2C Festival, where she is already scheduled to play dates in London, Dublin and Glasgow.

Craig Morgan has produced a video for his single "When I'm Gone" that includes cameos from some of his famous friends, including Charlie DanielsDustin LynchRascal FlattsGary LeVoxKix BrooksThompson Square, comedian Bill Engvall and MMA wrestler Randy Couture.


Recording artist and America's Morning Show co-host Chuck Wicks has been selected as one of Susan G. Komen's "Pink Tie Guys" class of 2016. Wicks joins nine other honorees including athletes, doctors, celebrities and leaders from corporate and philanthropic sectors in the greater Nashville area, each chosen for their efforts to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Wicks was chosen after he raised more than $5,000 for Susan G. Komen through a Pullup Challenge on his nationally syndicated radio show. He managed 28 pullups in 30 seconds and raised the money with the help of his listeners around the country.

The 2016 "Pink Tie Guys" will be recognized at the party in Nashville on Feb. 25, the day before Chuck releases his sophomore album, Turning Point.

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