Songwriter of “That's Country Bro,” "Made in America," "Rearview Town," and "Some of It"
Born of triumph and tragedy, Bobby Pinson's songs embody the power and integrity to take them across the width of today's musical landscape. Political statements, personal mantras, real-life situations and the examination of the human condition, all find a place in Bobby's diverse material.
When Bobby Pinson sings and writes of who he is, where he's been, and at what cost, his voice rings with gritty truth. "I've been wrong enough to know what right is," he says of his life that's so vividly depicted in the music that he affectionately calls "Gutter and Grace."
The Panhandle Texas native has had 10 number one singles including “Some of It,” with Eric Church, “Burning Man,” from Dierks Bentley, “Rearview Town,” for Jason Aldean, “Want To," “All I Wanna Do,” “Already Gone” and “It Happens,” with Sugarland, and “She Never Cried In Front Of Me,” "Made In America" and “Beers Ago,” with Toby Keith. He has had more than200 of his songs recorded with more than 50 hit singles in the Billboard Top Forty earning him the BMI Songwriter of the Year award in 2009.
In 2005 Pinson released his debut album on RCA Records, which was regarded as one of the most critically acclaimed records of the year. An effort hailed by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly as Nashville’s cream of the crop, Pinson’s “Man Like Me” packed a punch that landed him a highly coveted slot in Blender Magazine’s year-end list as one of the top 50 albums in all genres as well as numerous year end Country Album Top Ten list.
Pinson continues to entertain audiences all across the country with his photographic delivery and one-f-a-kind sense of humor, which have quickly become a brand of their own. His lighthearted, good ‘ole boy stage presence, mixed with his unrivaled ability to command a crowd, has not only served the singer/songwriter/record producer extremely well as a music man, his talent as a "show host/MC has also found its way to the spotlight in recent years as well. He has carved out his own little niche as a commentator/comedian, serving as the Master of Ceremonies at countless celebrity galas, charity fundraisers, music festivals and corporate events throughout the U.S. and Canada. When asked about his slow and steady climb to the top of his game, Pinson simply says, “It’s not about what you look like, or how well you sing or play. It’s about how willing you are to be unvalidated ‘til the day you finally are. There are songs in the struggle. You just have to dare to look. You just have to figure out what else you can do other than music, and... DON’T DO THAT!”
Songwriter of “Hillbilly Rockstar,” "Loud," "That's Love Y'all," and "She's Country"
Raw God given talent and passion for her craft is clearly the driving force behind many of artist/songwriter Bridgette Tatum’s high-profile career milestones.
In 2009, this native of Florence, South Carolina, co-wrote the most played song on country radio stations across the U.S. A tremendous achievement for any songwriter, the song, “She’s Country,” recorded and released by Platinum-selling country superstar Jason Aldean, held the number one position on the chart for two consecutive weeks, reached two million plays, and out sold every genres ringtones, all of which are rare accomplishments, as well.
Tatum’s song, “Loud” was selected as the official theme song for ACC football’s 2010 season. This fast-paced anthem celebrates the excitement and energy of ACC Football, captured in a raucous music video that was seen in all ACC markets, resulting in exposure for Bridgette totaling more than 27 million households. (She’s a big ‘ol Clemson Tigers fan!)
Add to these accolades Tatum’s own album released on iTunes, her single releases including “I like my Cowboy’s Dirty,” “That’s Love Y’all,” (which was in the Top 40), “Hillbilly Rockstar,” and her current two Gretchen Wilson singles, “ Summertime Town” and “Stacy” from “Ready to get Rowdy”, her recent Randy Houser’s “Back” (Fired Up), Kristy Lee Cook (“Lookin’ for a Cowgirl”), The Farm, and George Clinton cuts, you have the makings of a woman building a sustainable music career for a lifetime of success. She also has produced several acts and is torching a way for female producers to include credits and works with The Lockets, AJ Sanders, Dave McElroy, Uncle Si & The Sicotics and more.
While Bridgette continues to create music, she balances it with her charitable work within The Charley Foundation (www.charleyfoundation.org), and donating her time and talents to various charities around the middle Tennessee area.
“If it's real and you are making it honest, that's what people need to hear from the music. I want to know if I die tomorrow that they heard it with purpose and passion.” With unfailing honesty and a penchant for risk-taking, Tatum is storming the scene on her own terms and winning fans at every turn.
Songwriter of “What Happens in a Small Town Stays in a Small Town," "Heartbreaker," "Good As Us", and "Homesick"
Brock Berryhill is a multi-platinum songwriter, producer, multi-Instrumentalist from Nashville, Tennessee. He has performed in more than 35 countries since the age of 19, and opened for acts such as Kane Brown, Parmalee, Kansas, Collective Soul and Candlebox. As a producer, he has produced songs for many artists including Jake Owen, Kane Brown, Chris Janson, Darryl Worley and Twenty One Pilots. His songwriting credits include the recent hit single and number one song "Good as You" by Kane Brown, and the current hit single on country radio "What Happens in a Small Town" by Brantley Gilbert and Lindsey Ell. He also has the new Kane Brown radio single "Homesick, as well as the new radio single for Jon Langston called "Now You Know." He was also a co-writer on the song "Found You" by Kane Brown, which is a RIAA certified gold single. Berryhill has had songs he's co-written recorded by Kenny Chesney, Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Parmalee, Tyler Farr, Chris Janson and Jon Langston.
Songwriter of “Boys of Fall,” "No Shoes, No Shirts, No Problem," "Hot Mama," and "Do You Want Fries With That"
Casey Beathard moved to Nashville in 1991 after graduating from Elon College in North Carolina and playing the northern Virginia bars long enough to know music was all he wanted to do. He chose music over "the family business" of football. His father is in Canton's Pro Football Hall Of Fame as a multiple Super Bowl champion, and former general manager of the Dolphins, Redskins and San Diego Chargers. His brothers are a coach and scout at the professional and college levels. He oldest son, CJ, also plays quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
"Mom's love for music, playing piano and singing, got ahold of me early in life," says Beathard. "I learned to best express myself by writing notes and stories to those I had something to say to." He later in life combined making music with his story telling and next thing you know Nashville called his heart like it does all country music artists. Beathard worked two jobs a day – at the Country Music Hall of Fame by Day and the Blue Bird Café at night. Talk about a learning experience, these jobs were very instrumental in the networking process. Beathard became a demo singer and then a recording artist on Capitol Records for a short time. Having kids and beginning to get recordings of songs he wrote made it easy to decide to just write songs. Beathard was BMI and NSAI Songwriter of the year in both 2004 and 2008.
He has written songs for Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Leanne Wommack, Tracy Lawrence, Tracy Byrd, Chris Stapelton, Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Currington, Justin Moore, his son Tucker Beathard and more. He has more than 20 top 10 records including eight number one records. He has been nominated for two Grammys and one ACM Song of The Year.
Songwriter of “Across The Miles,” "A Face in the Crowd," "Take Me As I Am," and "Keeper of the Stars"
Karen Staley was born in Weirton, West Virginia, and raised in nearby, rural Hookstown, Pennsylvania, in the Tri-State area of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. She is a 30-year veteran of the Nashville music industry and has been involved in virtually every facet of the business from songwriting and performing to touring, recording and producing. As a recording artist, Staley released two, critically acclaimed, major label albums – “Wildest Dreams” on MCA and “Fearless” on Warner Bros, as well as several indie country and gospel albums.
Staley’s timeless hit songs “Take Me As I Am” and “Hey Baby, Let’s Go to Vegas” by Faith Hill, “Keeper of the Stars” by T racy Byrd, “On A Night Like This” by Trick Pony and more, have been played on the radio more than 12 million times and counting. Those songs have collectively sold more than 20 million albums, singles, and downloads.
Many of Staley’s songs have been nominated for Dove, Grammy and International Bluegrass Awards. Staley won the prestigious Academy of Country Music Song of The Year award with Tracy Byrd's classic number one hit, “Keeper of the Stars.” An international wedding favorite year after year, “Keeper of the Stars” is also among Country Music Television’s 100 Greatest Country Love Songs of All Time.
As a guitar player and background singer, Staley toured with Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Terri Clark and Russ Taff. She is also a sought-after studio session singer and demo producer. She is one of the original mainstays at the Bluebird Café, the now iconic listening room popularized by the ABC TV show, Nashville. Karen is one of four female pioneers (amidst Grammy winning artists Pam Tillis, Ashley Cleveland and Tricia Walker) of the now very prominent, “In the Round” format for concerts, originating at the Bluebird Café. Staley’s songs have not only been recorded by modern stars like Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Trick Pony, Terri Clark and Tracy Byrd, but also by icons and legends including George Jones, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and Brenda Lee.
The reason Karen was drawn to music in the first place was to reach people in some meaningful way. She continues to, quite naturally, endeavor for that intimate connection no matter the setting she presents in. Karen says she feels humbled and blessed to share her talents with so many diverse groups of people from all over the world and looks forward to every new opportunity to share the gift of music and human connection.
“I jokingly call myself the Forest Gump of country music,” laughs Staley, “So often, it really IS just a matter of showing up, heart open, and being willing to say ‘yes’ to new things! One of my favorite mottos is, ‘you were born an original, don’t die a copy,’ and I love imparting examples of that wisdom from my very own life. The power of each person’s individuality, within the framework of humanity (a strong team of people!) cannot be underestimated when it comes to success. It must be embraced!”
Songwriter of “Ain't Going Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up,” "Cold Shoulder," "If Tomorrow Never Comes," and "Papa Loved Mama"
Kent Blazy is originally from Lexington, Kentucky, and was first inspired to play music when he heard Roger McGuinn playing guitar on the song “Mr. Tambourine Man.” For several years, he played and toured with various bands and, in the mid-1970s traveled as the band leader and guitarist for Ian Tyson.
After winning a national songwriting contest, Blazy moved to Nashville in 1980 and decided to focus on his writing career. Just two years later, he got his first top-five hit with Gary Morris’s recording of “Headed for a Heartache.” In 1987, he met Bob Doyle, who would soon become the manager for Garth Brooks. Doyle connected Blazy and Brooks, which began a songwriting collaboration that continues to this day. Blazy and Brooks first co-write was “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” which became the first number one hit for both of them. They went on to collaborate on many other songs, four of which also became number one hits. And now Blazy’s got a couple of cuts on Brooks recent release, including the lead single “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance.” Beyond the cuts he’s had with Brooks, Blazy also co-wrote the title track to the Reba album “All the Women I Am,” Chris Young took Blazy’s “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” to number one, and his songs have also been recorded by T. Graham Brown, Donna Fargo, Moe Bandy, Diamond Rio, Kenny Chesney, Terri Clark, Clay Walker, Randy Houser, Patty Loveless, Julie Roberts, Andy Griggs, Jon Pardi, Blaine Larsen and Abby Anderson.
SARAH BETH TERRY
Songwriter of “We Don't Make New Memories,” "Still Fallin'," "Kudzu," and "Lonely People"
One of Sarah Beth Terry’s earliest memories is of her four-year-old self, plopping down on the front steps of her rural eastern Kentucky home with an oversized book of poetry, a notepad, a pencil and an assignment from her mama. “Open the book, pick out a line, then write a poem about it.” Terry’s mother, a talented poet in her own right, would take a look at her daughter’s first effort and say, “You need to work on that second stanza. You have 10 minutes.” Little did the family matriarch know that she was grooming her intelligent young daughter, who already knew how to read and write as a preschooler, to be a gifted and prolific songwriter.
Fast forward not too many years, and Terry has advanced from expounding on lines from dead poets to crafting her own art. Her repertoire is thick with songs whose lyrics do more than rhyme. When Terry writes a song, she’s out to create a reaction, a rush of nostalgia or a sigh of understanding.
“I want to be the Joan Rivers of songwriting,” Terry says, referencing the now-deceased talk show personality known for her blunt candor. “I’m saying what people are thinking. My mission in Nashville is to tell the truth. When someone hears my song, they say ‘Holy sh**, that’s my life.”
Admittedly overzealous and relentless when it comes to her profession as a songwriter, singer and musician, Terry says her life motto is “If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right.” To that end, as a staff writer with Three Hounds Music, Terry wrote 645 songs in 2018, and has already written 65 in 2019. Her annual quota as a staff writer is 12. “If I’m going to catch lightning,” she says, “I need to put about 70 lightning rods on the roof.”
Terry has caught lightning a couple of times in recent months with two well-placed cuts. One song, “We Are All God’s Children” is on the new album by the Gaither Vocal Band and is quickly rising up the gospel charts. As of October 2019, the song has been nominated for a Dove Award (Gospel Music Award) for Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year).
The second, a song that Terry co-wrote with songwriter and artist Anthony Smith, titled “I Hate the Taste of Whiskey” is the latest single from country artist Craig Morgan. “I’ve been performing this one song live called ‘Whiskey,’” Morgan said in an interview prior to the song releasing to radio. “I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a country song, but it has such a unique melody and the melodic structure in the song is so fresh that it seems a little different than traditional country. And yet again, it’s super traditional country, so it’s cool.”
While proud of her successes, Terry isn’t sitting still and resting on her proverbial laurels. She travels the short distance frequently to Nashville from her home in Munfordville, Kentucky, where she and her husband, three hounds, two cats, and baby squirrel, live in a log cabin on the town square.
“I’m doing the old timey thing,” she says. “Shaking hands, writing with the people I think matter. I believe you have to be thinking ‘Is what I’m doing right this second going to help me tomorrow?’”
The strategy is working. During a recent exchange with Garth Brooks, the superstar may have given Terry the ultimate compliment. Your songs, Brooks said, “are the ones people get tattoos of.”
Songwriter of “I Don't Have To Be Me ('Til Monday)," "Sunshine," "Waitin' on Joe," and "Catfish Christmas"
Music and Culture Ambassador of Mississippi, Steve Azar is a modern-day Renaissance man, hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer and philanthropist. Azar likes to call his own breed of music “Delta Soul,” a mixture of country, rock and blues. His debut album, “Waitin’ On Joe” was released in 2001. The title track went to number one on CMT, and featured Academy award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. From the same album the hit single “I Don’t Have to Be Me, ‘til Monday” received three BMI Million-Air awards for more than three million in air plays and is one of the top five most played songs of the past decade on country radio. Turn on the radio today, and you’ll likely hear it.
In the fall of 2019, Azar will receive his own Country Music Trail Marker in his hometown of Greenville, Mississippi, along with other recipients Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Marty Gamblin and Jimmy Rodgers. Taylor Swift told People Magazine in 2010 that her favorite song of the year was Steve Azar’s “Sunshine.” “Slide On Over Here,” featuring the hit single “Sunshine,” was spotlighted in Oprah’s O Magazine in her Oprah’s Favorite Things edition in 2011. “Sunshine” was also featured in US Weekly Magazine in June 2012 as one of the most popular celebrity wedding songs.
Azar has written, and recorded songs for film, and has been the music supervisor for a number of movies. “Doin’ It Right” (Delta Mix) off of the latest release Delta Soul Volume One, was the feature track for Sony Pictures 2013 movie Here Comes The Boom starring Kevin James and Salma Hayek. As a songwriter, Reba McEntire among many others has cut his songs. In 2007, Azar was personally chosen by Bob Seger to perform 46 shows on what has been rated the number one tour in America by Pollstar Magazine.
In February of 2019, he co-founded and hosted his first Mockingbird Music Series. A bi-monthly musical dinner series featuring intimate performances with some of Nashville’s best and prolific award-winning songwriters, telling the stories behind their hits and performing them as originally written.
He was named to the 2019 class of Mississippi Top 50 in the Business, Media and Culture category.
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Mississippi Top 50 is an annual list of the people who are judged to be the most influential leaders in the state. This bipartisan selection of leaders comes from the ranks of elected and appointed officials.
Songwriter of “Hurricane,” "Good As Us," "Homesick," and "Six Strings Attached"
The varied social and economical tides of Sanford, North Carolina, is where Taylor Phillips emerged into the songwriter that he is today. With a connection to country music internally and a lifetime of labor, love, family, triumphs, and pitfalls, Phillips’s life rang out like many of the chorus’s that had been penned on 16th Avenue South for the last 65 years. Phillips landed in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2013 and quickly made his way into the music industry by being himself.
Phillips by way of southern country boy wit and grit quickly began to see that immersing himself into the Music Row country music scene was what he was absolutely born to do. Phillips was offered a position as a tour merchandising manager and that's where the story begins. From this point forward Phillips began to carve out and solidify his own network of artists, songwriters, publishers, and plainly stated, friends within the country music industry. This has led Phillips to where he is today on 16th Avenue South, in the heart of music row, where he owns a thriving songwriting studio. If you do not know Phillips then turn your radios up a little louder, because you will very soon. Phillips’ songwriting credits include two number one hits with “Hurricane” by Luke Combs and “Good As You” by Kane Brown, along with several other cuts by Kane Brown including “Found You” and “Homesick”.
Songwriters of “Beautiful Crazy,” "Chicken Fried," "Toes in the Sand," and "Colder Weather"
Yesterday’s Wine captivate and charm their audience in any venue. Music festivals and songwriter rounds across the country have been buzzing about the brilliant shows delivered by the duo. Wyatt Durrette and Levi Lowrey are acclaimed singer/songwriters in their own right, brought together by their craft and love for sharing music. Durrette and Lowrey collaborated in the past, lending their talents in co-writing on the Zac Brown Band song “Colder Weather” which spent two weeks at number one. Durrette and Lowrey also contributed in writing on the Grammy-award winning ZBB song “The Wind.” Individually, Durrette’s co-writing resulted in seven more Grammy Awards, and has recently included co-writing credits on Luke Combs hits “Beautiful Crazy” and “Even Though I’m Leaving;” and Lowrey has performed extensively with acts including Mumford and Sons, Kid Rock and Alabama. Now performing together as Yesterday’s Wine, the pair epitomize the magic in storytelling through song.
THOM SHEPHERD & COLEY McCABE
Songwriters of “Riding With Private Malone,” "Grow Young With You," "I am a Woman," and "Always Saturday Night"
Hit songwriters Thom Shepherd and Coley McCabe were both working for Nashville publishing companies in the same building when they met. Today they are a full-time traveling duo, singing songs that make people laugh and cry, everywhere from Key West to Seattle and
Thom is the Trop Rock Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year and the winner of 3 TropRockin’.com People’s Choice Awards. He is originally from St. Louis, MO and is the writer of two number one country hits, “Riding with Private Malone” and “Redneck Yacht Club,” three Texas Music number ones, has had over 100 songs recorded by other artists, two songs on Grammy nominated albums, and multiple top ten hits nationwide and in Texas. He is a former CMA of Texas Songwriter of the Year and appears in “The Parrot Heads Documentary” with Jimmy Buffett and the new independent film “Chasing The Sun.”
Coley’s song “Grow Young With You” was featured in the Natalie Portman / Ashley Judd film, “Where The Heart Is,” and she co-wrote the top 5 Platinum-selling SheDaisy hit “Lucky 4 U.” She hails from West Virginia and has had songs recorded by artists ranging from Kristi Lee Cook to Loretta Lynn. She also starred in the film “Alabama Love Story.”
Their duet project is called “I’m With U.” Coley wrote the title track, a song about a couple that “cruise this country from town to town” and know that “God and a song are gonna get us there.” She wrote the song a few years back, claiming “Little did I know I would be writing about my future life.”
Thom and Coley won the 2019 Trop Rock People's Choice Award for DUO/TRIO OF THE YEAR , and Thom won the award for SINGER/SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR.
Songwriter of “Troubador,” "The Slow Way Home," "And the Well Run Dry," and "If I Had Wings"
Few female Nashville singer-songwriters are more respected or more revered than the stunning talent that is Leslie Satcher. At the age of 26, the native Texan made the move to Nashville in pursuit of a singing career and was quickly recognized for her gift with lyric and melody. After being mentored at a smaller publisher by many of the music industry’s legendary songwriters, Satcher made the move to Sony Music Publishing where she would stay for nearly 15 years. During this time, she was also signed as an artist at Warner Brothers. While recording her critically acclaimed debut album, “Love Letters,” her songs were growing in demand.
Though Leslie is primarily known as a country singer and songwriter, her talents cross all genres. She has written or co-written songs that have been recorded by everyone from Willie Nelson to Ariana Grande; Vince Gill to Sheila E.; George Strait to Sheryl Crow; Martina McBride to Keb’Mo; Blake Shelton to Bonnie Raitt and many, many more. She has received multiple Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Million-Air awards recognizing a song’s one millionth airplay, and her incomparable vocals contribute to an astounding number of Grammy, Country Music Association (CMA) and Academy of Country Music (ACM) award-winning projects.
Satcher’s next two albums, “Creation” and “Gypsy Boots” were recorded independently and truly exhibit the diversity of her Texas roots and Delta soul. They are available on iTunes, CDBaby and every other major digital distributor.
Satcher’s most recent achievement was being signed to a publishing deal with London powerhouse Notting Hill Music (NHM) and a recording contract with NHM’s Los Angeles based innovator of digital distribution; Notting Hill Music Masters (NHMM) label. Her debut NHMM release, “2 Days in Muscle Shoals,” features her All-Star band “The Electric Honey Badgers” and includes vocals by Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Trisha Yearwood and more. This amazing project landed her on the First-Round Grammy ballot in multiple categories for the 2018 and 2019 awards seasons.
Aside from writing hit songs for some of music’s most iconic artists, Satcher is in high demand as a performer known for her angelic voice, funny stories, the unique playing style and sound of her guitar; but mostly, her uncanny ability to connect with audiences of any size or demographic. Her typical year will include more than 150 songwriting sessions and 65 live performances all over the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
Songwriter of “Chrome,” "Run,” “Kristofferson”
Anthony Smith Is a critically acclaimed Singer/Songwriter, Music Row Songwriter of The Year, and winner of multiple Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) awards.
He has written songs performed by superstars such as George Strait, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Trace Adkins, Faith Hill, Montgomery/Gentry, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney & Coley McCabe, Randy Houser, Craig Morgan, Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Rogers, Lonestar, Confederate Railroad, Blackberry Smoke, Shooter Jennings, Sammy Kershaw, Don Williams, Ronnie Milsap, Lorrie Morgan, David Allen Coe, Tommy Shane Steiner, Kevin Denny, Halfway To Hazard and many more.
Songwriter of “My Wish,” What Hurts the Most,” “Knee Deep,” The Cowboy in Me”
A five-time Grammy nominee, Jeffrey Steele has been recognized by Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) for over 65 million airplays for hits he penned for a multitude of artists including Keith Urban, Eric Church, Zac Brown Band, Jimmy Buffett, Montgomery Gentry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cher, .38 Special, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins, LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts and Van Zant, Joe Cocker, Little Feat ft. Bob Seger, Joe Bonamassa, Cascada and more.
Among his many accolades, Jeffrey Steele has been named to the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame as a Poet and Prophet, twice awarded BMI Songwriter of the Year and three times awarded the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Songwriter of the Year. The Country Music Association (CMA) has twice awarded him the coveted “Triple Play Award” for three number one songs in a year. His country and A/C mega-hits include a string of chart toppers including “Raise ‘Em Up,” “Knee Deep,” “Here,” “My Wish,” “The Cowboy In Me,” “These Days,” “My Town,” “Something to be Proud of,” “Everyday” and the groundbreaking “What Hurts The Most,” nominated for Best Country Song at the Grammy Awards.
Additionally, Steele has won more than 35 BMI Country and Pop awards, was nominated for a Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Award for Best Original Song “I Thought I Lost You” for the Disney/Pixar animated feature BOLT, which was performed by Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, and been named one of Billboard Magazine’s top five writers eight years in a row, as well as Music Row Magazine’s Songwriter of the Year Award. Steele’s latest album features performances with Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Jamey Johnson, John Rich and others.
Songwriter of “Cruise,” the largest selling single in country music history, and "A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega"
Jesse Rice is a multi-platinum selling and award-winning singer/songwriter and producer in Nashville, Tennessee. Originally from low-country South Carolina, Rice moved to Nashville in 2002, where he began working for EMI Music Publishing. From 2007 to 2014 Rice was a staff songwriter at Artist Revolution Publishing. In the winter of 2014 he then signed a worldwide publishing deal with Ole Music Publishing.
As a writer, Rice has won Academy of Country Music (ACM), Country Music Association (CMA), American Music Awards (AMA), Billboard, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and The Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) Awards, including Awards for SESAC Song of The Year and ACM and CMA Single of the Year for Florida Georgia Line's hit " Cruise."
"Cruise" was Rice’s first number one hit as a songwriter, and the song then went on to become the longest-running number one country music song of all time, spending an unprecedented 25 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts. To date, “Cruise” has sold 11 million downloads, making it the largest selling single in country music history, and the only country song ever to receive a Diamond certification by the Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA). In addition, “Cruise” was remixed and re-released on the pop charts by the rap artist Nelly, going on to spend a crossover record 42 weeks in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reaching a peak of number four in August 2013.
Other songs written by Rice include Ashley McBryde's debut single "A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega," which recently garnered the number one spot on Sirius XM The Highway's Top 30 Countdown and is the lead single from McBryde’s “Girl Going Nowhere” – nominated for Best Country Album at the 2019 Grammys, "The High Life" by Colt Ford, the Kristian Bush of Sugarland single "Light Me Up," "Whoa" by Chase Rice and "While He's Still Around" from the current Florida Georgia Line Billboard number one record “Dig Your Roots.”
As an artist, Rice also tours promoting the act that is his passion, the “Pirate Sessions.” The first two volumes of that record each debuted in the Top 20 on the iTunes Country Album Charts. Pirate Sessions III was released Jan. 27, 2017 and debuted in the Top 5 on the iTunes Country Album charts. His single "Hope Town" is currently in rotation on Sirius XM Radio Margaritaville. At the 2017 Trop Rock Music Awards, Rice was named the winner of the Horizon Award for Best New Artist.
Songwriter of “High Cost of Living,” "In My Daughter's Eyes,” “Key West Address”
James Slater is a two-time, Grammy nominated, piano-playing, bilingual singer-songwriter of Bolivian American descent signed to BMG Music Publishing in Nashville, Tennessee. Slater was born in Durham, North Carolina, and raised in the Panama Canal Zone in Central America.
Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Enrique Iglesias, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney, Kelly Pickler, Alabama, Reba McEntire, Gloriana, Martina McBride, Chris Brown, Chris Young and a host of others have recorded his songs. His Grammy nominations include Jamey Johnson's "The High Cost of Living," country song of the year, and Martina's “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” which is a modern-day standard.
James lived in Zurich Switzerland for six years touring, recording and writing with Belgian super group Vaya Con Dios and has traveled the world from Panama to Dublin and from Spain to Havana. Slater’s “Key West Address" is a love letter to the island, so much so that the mayor of Key West has awarded him the "Keys to the City" and proclaimed the song as the island's official theme. His latest release is “Mexicoma,” which is available on Spotify and ITunes features 15 new songs including the raucous “Mexicoma,” which Tim McGraw recorded.
Songwriter of “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” “Crazytown,” “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” and "Whole Lotta Fun"
Originally from Warm Springs, Georgia, Brett Jones came to Nashville 28 years ago, and signed a publishing deal songwriting for famous country singer Ronnie Millsap. His first hit in the U.S. country market was a 1993 top 20 hit, Confederate Railroad’s “When and Where.” Since then he has had more than 150 major label recordings, and 14 top 10 records, including seven number one records. His most recent hits include Billy Currington’s “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” Jason Aldean’s July 2010 chart topper “Crazytown,” and Justin Moore’s number one single, “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away.”
Jones also recently achieved rare status in country music by having number one records in each of the past three decades. In addition to his acclaimed songwriting, Jones is also a captivating stage performer. He has opened up for many performers including Tracy Byrd, Little Texas, Kenny Chesney, Andy Griggs, Confederate Railroad, Billy Currington, Michael McDonald, Kip Moore, Darryl Worley and many more.
Songwriter of “Love Me If You Can," "Don't Blink," "I'm Tryin'," and "People Loving People"
With his unique gift for finding the extraordinary in ordinary life, Chris Wallin has established himself as one of Nashville's most sought-after songwriters.
For years, Wallin has topped the charts with classics-in-the-making for the industry's biggest stars. Some of his huge hits include “Love Me If You Can” by Toby Keith, "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney, “I’m Tryin’” by Trace Adkins, “Something to Be Proud Of” and “Speed” by Montgomery Gentry, "People Loving People" by Garth Brooks and many more. Wallin is in an elite club of songwriters whom have actually knocked THEMSELVES out of the number one Billboard spot.
Raised in the small town in East Tennessee, Wallin was influenced by the likes of Jim Croce, James Taylor and Merle Haggard as well as his own musical family – especially his mother, a singer herself. She recorded and performed in Nashville for a time, and the experience made an indelible impression on the seven-year-old Wallin. He and his mother lived in an apartment on top of the infamous bar called “The Turf” on Broadway in downtown Nashville. His mother sang there at night
Wallin began writing songs at age 12 and, perhaps inevitably, moved to Music City several years later, making the dues-paying rounds of writers’ nights and songwriting contests. He caught a break when his songs caught the ear of a small publishing company – King Lizard Music, helping to launch him on a professional career.
Wallin has worked hard to achieve his place on the “A List” of Nashville songwriters, and doesn't take his status for granted.
“Back then I used to buy 50 or so McDonald's .29 cent hamburgers a week and freeze them solid,” he said. “I could eat all week on $15. They weren’t bad, except the last few get a little crusty from freezer burn.”
Artists who have cut Wallin’s songs include Lorrie Morgan, Garth Brooks, Montgomery Gentry, Sammy Kershaw, Tommy Shane Steiner, Trace Adkins, Michael Peterson, Anthony Smith, Jeffrey Steele, Confederate Railroad, Neal McCoy, Brian McComas, Brad Paisley, Joe Diffie, Diamond Rio, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and many, many more.
Songwriter of “I Got Away With You," "Whiskey On My Breath," and "In Case You didn't Know"
In a career that has spanned fifteen years, country music hit maker Tyler Reeve has gone through an array of life-altering moments in which the Alabama native was rocked by the intricacies of life and knew instinctively that it was time to change direction.
Or at the very least, it was time to write a song.
And he has done just that, having a hand in writing not only some of country music’s most thought-provoking songs, but truly authentic songs that have seen massive success on the charts. Yet now, Reeve finds himself at a moment in which he is ready to take his turn in the spotlight.
Growing up watching his uncle play guitar and singing at the family’s beach house, Reeve’s love of music began at an early age.
Reeve would soon begin playing cover gigs at bars while attending college in Florida, working four hours a night and five nights a week. “I started writing and performing some of my originals, but I still couldn’t get out of that cycle of playing cover gigs,” he says. “There was one night that I was playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at 2am and I realized that, while the people were all having a blast, they didn’t give a shit about who was singing. They cared about the song. I knew from that point on that I wanted to be the person to write the songs that people sing along to.”
And that’s exactly what he did.
Reeve would end up recording his first record in a lightening span of two weeks, while living in Atlanta, GA. He quickly gained a loyal following while touring with his band.
But then he got a call that would allow him to expand his reach nation-wide.
“The Country Throwdown people called asking if we would be interested in pulling a BBQ trailer across the country while kicking off the show every night,” Reeve recalls.
It was on that tour that fans began noticing the undeniable talents of the budding songwriter, and it became evident that Reeve belonged in Nashville. He signed his lease on Valentine’s Day in 2012. “I would be out on the road from Thursday through Sunday and then would write in Nashville during the remainder of the week,” said Reeve, whose country music journey was featured on ABC’s Emmy nominated series “Hitting the Right Note”.
Those co-writes would eventually turn into unforgettable songs such as “Whiskey on my Breath” (Love & Theft), “I Got Away with You” (Luke Combs) and “In Case You Didn’t Know” (Brett Young.)
And while the lover of lyrics plans to continue enjoying the fruits of his songwriting labors, Reeve is now setting his sights on the days and nights ahead where he will focus on playing his own music in his own way. “I like taking my fans on a ride, both through my songs and through my live shows,” he says. “I like to have them laughing at one song while still wiping their eyes from the last song.
But most of all, Reeve wants to be real. “I say whatever the hell I’m thinking, and I think my fans appreciate that,” laughs Reeve, who now lives in a home overlooking the skyline of the city that has made superstars out of so many talented writers. “People are craving authenticity and they want the truth…and that’s what they get from me.”