New, Veteran Country Acts Land Deals
The recent Country Radio Seminar, held in Nashville Feb. 15-17, brought with it a flurry of record deals for country artists both new and established.The recent Country Radio Seminar, held in Nashville Feb. 15-17, brought with it a flurry of record deals for country artists both new and established.
Category 5 Records, which recently signed Travis Tritt, announced at its CRS show that it was also signing Sammy Kershaw to its roster. Kershaw recorded for Mercury from 1992-1999, where he notched three platinum and three gold albums. After leaving Mercury, Kershaw recorded one album for RCA and another for Audium/Koch Records. He has scored 11 top 10 country singles, including the No. 1 hit "She Don't Know She's Beautiful."
Artist/label owner Neal McCoy has signed former DreamWorks artist Darryl Worley to his 903 Music label, where he becomes the second artist on the year-old indie label's roster. Worley is working on his first album, with a single due in early spring. He recorded four albums for DreamWorks, the most successful of which, 2003's "Have You Forgotten?," was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for U.S. shipments of 500,000 copies. He has four top 10 country singles to his credit, including three No. 1s.
Midas Records has inked a joint venture deal with Steve Azar and his own label, Dang Records. Azar previously released one album on Mercury in 2002, which spawned the No. 2 Billboard Hot Country Songs title "I Don't Have To Be Me ('Til Monday)." His first Dang/Midas album, "Indianola," is set for release this summer. Azar joins Emerson Drive and newcomer Lindsey Grant on the newly launched label.
Toby Keith has signed Rebecca Lynn Howard and newcomer Sarah Johns to the label he owns, Show Dog Nashville. Howard previously recorded two albums for MCA Nashville including 2002's "Forgive," which peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.
In addition, Big Machine Records president Scott Borchetta is in the process of signing Jimmy Wayne and Dusty Drake to his label, while Pat Green has inked with BNA and Mark Wills has joined the roster of Equity Music Group.
The first single from Green's BNA debut goes to radio this summer. The three-time Grammy nominee has charted 10 songs on Billboard Radio Monitor's Country Airplay chart, including "Wave on Wave," which reached No. 3 in 2003. Wills, a former Mercury artist, is in the studio working on his first project for Equity, due in early summer. The first single from the CD is due in April.