Reba Headlines “Dawn Sears & Friends” Benefit Show For Lung Cancer Research


Nash Icon artist Reba McEntire will headline a benefit concert at Depot Square in Gallatin, TN on Sunday, November 30th at 6:30 p.m., to fund lung cancer research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Organized by singer and lung-cancer patient Dawn Sears, the show will also feature performances by The Time Jumpers (of which Sears is a member) and Riders In The Sky.

Gold-winning Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton, a cancer survivor himself, will emcee the event.

Vanderbilt physicians Leora Horn and Pierre Massion will speak briefly on goals and advances in cancer research.

“I am on a mission to help fund lung cancer research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center,” states Sears. “A benefit concert is the best way I know how to do that. It is my mission to bring more hope to those of us with lung cancer. I was diagnosed with lung cancer over a year ago and I now have a greater understanding of the daily battle and challenges that people with cancer of any kind face.”

Reba McEntire has excelled (and been awarded for) every art form she sets her hand to: live performances, recording, movies, the Broadway stage and series television.

The Time Jumpers is a four-time Grammy-nominated band, made up of professional touring and studio musicians. Its specialty is classic country and Western swing. The band’s regular Monday night performances at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville remain one of the hottest tickets in town and routinely attract some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Riders In The Sky, with their mixture of classic cowboy music and comedy skits, have won two Grammys for best musical album for children, had their own public radio show and provided music for the hit movie Toy Story 2. They have recorded more than 30 albums.

Dawn Sears, a former recording artist for Warner Brothers Records and Decca Records and a longtime harmony singer in Vince Gill’s band, was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2013 and continues in treatment.

Ticket information and donor opportunities are available via

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Ridiculously Talented – Chris Stapleton

I’ve been meaning to post this one for a while, but my blogging has suffered as of late. However, I couldn’t go on any longer without featuring singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton. Because he’s Ridiculously Talented.

As a songwriter Stapleton has penned big hits for George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw and many other top artists. More often than not he makes them sound better and come alive when he’s the one actually singing them.

As a vocalist, Chris was the lead singer for the ultra-talented bluegrass band The Steeldrivers for a few years and then went on to front a rock band. Now he’s where he belongs, as a country music solo artist, and recently released his first single “What Are You Listening To.”

It really doesn’t matter what genre he writes, performs, and sings – it’s phenomenal. If country radio knows what’s good for them and their listeners, they’ll take ownership of Stapleton and allow the masses to hear his music. There’s a huge void that he can help fill to bring back more passion and authenticity to the format.

Here’s a taste of music, but don’t let this be the only Chris Stapleton music you listen to. Go deeper. Trust me.

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Before Social Media And Branding Were In Style

Over the last five years, I’ve enjoyed being more involved with social media marketing and branding. The more directly engaged I get with each proficiency, the more I realize I’ve been doing both of those responsibilities, and most of what goes with them, a lot longer than that; before there was such a thing as social media and branding.

Allow me to explain this recent revelation.

Finding my career in radio and the music industry were the only things I wanted to do coming out of high school and into college. My first on air gig was at the college rock station in Claremore, OK and eventually I joined the big country station in Tulsa, KWEN (K95FM). I was a DJ and a promotions assistant. When I eventually moved to Nashville, it was my goal to work for a major label behind the scenes and help artists achieve their dreams. That happened at MCA Nashville and several record labels to follow, where I was fortunate to do promotion and marketing for some of the biggest artists in country music.

Ironically, as much as I purposed working behind the scenes, I’ve actually been on the front lines at each and every job I’ve ever had. At the radio stations I may have been unseen in the studio, but I was also a direct representative of the station. Developing relationships one by one, taking listener phone calls, and meeting them at concerts, events, and remotes. The original social media and brand management!

At the record labels, it was mostly behind the scenes promoting the artists, but in essence I was on the forefront of each label as well. In the thick of it as a representative and face of the label. Developing and maintaining relationships with radio, fans, and listeners alike and networking with all of them to enhance the brand of our artists and of the label. I was a promotion guy, but I was also a brand manager, image builder, and social marketing guy. It came with the territory and was part of the job I really loved.

The same has held true for my non-radio/label work with All Access, Compassion International, and World Vision.

I think this applies to many people who have done the work of social marketing, branding, and imaging, but didn’t have a title or the responsibility in their job description. It was just part of the gig.

The modern social media and branding I do today isn’t much different than what I’ve done my entire career. Obviously there is more technology, strategy, and analytics in the mix, but the basic principle remains. Engage people one by one, develop relationships, give them quality content, and invite them to come along for the ride. It’s a recipe for success in the radio and music industries, and it always will be if we don’t forget what the point is – connecting to fans, listeners, and clients.


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Favorite Music Of 2013

Recently Updated

Best Musical Groups of 2013:

Imagine Dragons, Mumford & Sons, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Paramore, Little Big Town, The Lumineers, Daft Punk, Dawes, The Mavericks, Fall Out Boy, Zac Brown Band, Skillet

Best Female Musical Artists of 2013:

Holly Williams, Brandy Clark, Plumb, Lorde, Kacey Musgraves, Pink, Ariana Grande, Ashley Monroe, Ella Mae Bowen

Best Male Musical Artists of 2013:

Bruno Mars, Will Hoge, Marc Scibilia, Justin Timberlake, Wade Bowen, Gregory Porter, Jason Isbell

Best Albums of 2013:

  • Holly Williams “The Highway”
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band “Made Up Mind”
  • Daft Punk “Random Access Memories”
  • Imagine Dragons “Night Visions (Deluxe)”
  • Will Hoge “Never Give In”
  • Brandy Clark “12 Stories”
  • Vince Gill & Paul Franklin “Bakersfield”
  • Lorde “Pure Heroin”
  • Justin Timberlake “20/20 Experience”
  • Dawes “Stories Don’t End”
  • Plumb “Need You Now”
  • Marc Scibilia “The Shape I’m In” (EP)
  • Alan Jackson “The Bluegrass Album”
  • Ashley Monroe “Like A Rose”
  • The Mavericks “In Time”
  • Thousand Foot Krutch “Megamorphosiz”

Best Singles of 2013:

  • “Drinkin” – Holly Williams
  • “Strong”- Will Hoge
  • “Kings & Queens” – Audio Adrenaline
  • “Merry Go Round” – Kacey Musgraves
  • “Locked Out Of Heaven” – Bruno Mars
  • “Need You Now” – Plumb
  • Dawes “Most People”
  • “What Have I Done” – Leann Rimes
  • “Demons” – Imagine Dragons
  • “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk
  • “Brave” – Sara Bareilles
  • “Counting Stars” – One Republic
  • “Light Em Up” – Fall Out Boy
  • “Roar” – Katy Perry
  • “Alone Together” – Fall Out Boy
  • “Mirrors” – Justin Timberlake
  • “Royal” – Lorde
  • “Team” – Lorde
  • “Safe & Sound” – Capital Cities
  • “Hold My Hand” – Brandy Clark
  • “Pray To Jesus” – Brandy Clark
  • “The Highway” – Holly Williams
  • “Waiting On June” – Holly Williams
  • “Just Give Me A Reason” – Pink w/ Nate Ruess
  • “Sick Of It” – Skillet
  • “Berzerk” – Eminem



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Ridiculously Talented: Holly Williams

She’s been making waves for the last 10 years since the release of her debut EP in 2003. From there, Holly Williams has been developing a loyal following in the U.S. and Europe from her honest music, heavy touring schedule and critical acclaim for her 2004 and 2009 album releases.

If you’re not familiar with her story, Holly is the granddaughter of Hank Williams, Sr., the daughter of Hank Williams, Jr., and half-sister of country singer Hank Williams III. It’s an important family history and pedigree to be sure, but Holly has been blazing her own significant musical trail. Her most recent album release, “The Highway”, has proven once again that she stands on her own as a Ridiculously Talented singer and songwriter.

With rootsy authentic lyrics and music deeply planted, something that is sadly lacking in today’s contemporary country music, “The Highway” is one of the best albums of the year. There are too many outstanding songs to highlight, but following are a couple of them to enjoy. If you haven’t yet, please do yourself a favor and check out the rest.

“Waiting On June” From Songfacts: The song is about Holly’s grandparents, but not her famous one, Hank Williams Sr. Rather, this song is about her grandparents on her mother’s side, telling the story from the perspective of her grandfather. Holly’s grandmother, June Bacon White, died in 2009, and the song’s lyrics are an accurate portrayal of her life. “Even the order of the children work out in the lyric,” says Holly. “The cook, everything. So that’s the song that is really hard for me to get through when I sing it live. Usually people come up to me crying. It wrecks the family emotionally. But it’s such a sweet memory to me of my childhood and what my grandparents left. So that’s definitely my most proud songwriting moment, I think probably ever.”
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Blues Power

Blues Power, originally uploaded by Mike Severson.

New Orleans blues man doing his thing.

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World Vision Continues to Expand Presence, Sends Country Music Songwriters to Dominican Republic


(Nashville, Tenn. – July 9, 2013) Global humanitarian organization World Vision continues to follow its mission of giving back to children, families and their communities worldwide. This past month, World Vision sent a group of artists and songwriters to the Dominican Republic to give back and meet with families in need.

Participating artists and songwriters included Ella Mae Bowen, Russell Dickerson, Elenowen (The Voice), Melissa Fuller, Natalie Hemby (“White Liar,” “Only Prettier,” “Pontoon”, “Tornado”), Molly Hunt, Luke Laird (“Downtown,” “Beat This Summer,” “Pontoon”, “One Of Those Nights”) and Matt Wertz. Other artists who have previously worked with World Vision include Sarah McLachlan, LoCash Cowboys, Scotty McCreery (American Idol), Carter’s Chord, Gwen Sebastian (The Voice), Kris Allen (American Idol) and Patty Griffin.

The songwriters also had the chance to meet with the families in which their efforts would be helping. While in the Dominican Republic, the group traveled to a school in Santo Domingo where both the songwriters and the children performed music for each other. Each songwriter got to experience firsthand the work of World Vision and their impact on foreign communities.

“This special group of songwriters are not only incredibly talented artists, but people of strong character who want to do something beyond themselves,” said World Vision’s Mike Severson. “We were honored to have them journey with World Vision and look forward to collaborating with each of them in some way.”

The World Vision experience not only helps communities in need, but it also leaves songwriters with a sense of fulfillment from their journey.

“By taking this journey, World Vision has opened my eyes not only to the adversity, but also to the advocates,” said Country music songwriter Natalie Hemby. “World Vision is reaching through the cracks of humanity and planting hope throughout the World… One child, one family, one community, one country at a time.”

World Vision launched the annual event for Country music artists and songwriters to network with each other while helping a community in need. Plans are already underway for next year to return to the Dominican Republic.

 About World Vision: World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization that helps children, their families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information, visit

Photo L to R: World Vision’s Michael Bianchi, CAA’s Megan Sykes, Molly Hunt, Luke Laird, Natalie Hemby, Nicole Johnson (Elenowen), Josh Johnson (Elenowen), Russell Dickerson, World Vision’s Claudia Martinez, Matt Wertz, Melissa Fuller, Ella Mae Bowen, and World Vision’s Mike Severson


Jeff Walker – AristoMedia – (615) 269-7071 – jwalker @

Mike Severson – World Vision – (615) 496-6023 – mike @

Charles Dorris – World Vision – (615) 236-1684 – charlesdorris @

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