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Once a year, the country music recording industry makes a pilgrimage to Nashville, TN. Why, you might ask? Well it’s not to gain wisdom, though some might be gained. And it’s not to gain wealth, although that might happen too. It’s to have fun, as much as the human body can stand, and to listen to music, new music, beloved music, terrible music, famous music- anything as long as it’s music, or rather, country music that is.

The occasion is the Country Radio Seminar, known as CRS to all the alcoholics, country music fanatics, and radio jocks around the world, and this year was- believe it or not, the occasion of it’s 40th anniversary! It’s difficult to imagine describe surviving even one of these crazy, fun 3-day music gatherings of the tribe affairs, much less 40 of them!

The Country label Universal Music Group, best known as Team UMG and helmed by Mike Dungan, is in-tune with this vibe of course, and each year it puts on a luncheon event at the Mother Church of Country Music, The Ryman. What’s so special about that, you might ask? After all, the most talented and famous performers play the Ryman all year long!

Here’s the deal! During a 2-hour long luncheon, the label presents as many artists as fit in the time-slot, and here’s the best part; they can only play one song each ! That's got to be tough! Lady Antebellum, one song! Eric Church, one song! Kacey Musgraves, one song! Luke Bryan, one song! Lucky me, and everyone else who could cram themselves into the space, got to hear a variety of brand new or world-famous songs. We are presenting 11 of them to you, along with a brief story told by each artist themselves about the song itself, and how and why it was written. Awesome, to say the least! 

Don’t even begin to  think that we would keep these pearls of wisdom to ourselves though. We are not selfish! Dish is here to share what many of the artists, as well as the announcer,  had to say......with you! Read on......



Easton Corbin: It’s good to see you guys, and thank you for comin’. I see a lot of familiar faces out there and I want to thank you guys for always supporting me out there. We’re going to do my new single, it’s a song called ‘Clockwork’.



Announcer: All four of this band’s albums have debuted number one on the Billboard Country Album charts. They have sold over 11 million albums worldwide! They now have 8 #1’s, with another closing in. They have amassed 11 ACM awards, 7 CMA awards, 5 ACAs, 4 CMTs, 3 American Music Awards, 2 Billboard Awards and 6 Grammys. And they were just nominated for ACM Vocal Group of the Year, Capitol Nashville superstars, Lady Antebellum. 



Announcer:: What a year for our next artist! Huge number one single with “Hey, Girl” and another on it’s way. He recently performed his hit singles “Hey, Girl” and “We Are Tonight” on The Bachelor. He will be headlining the “We Are Tonight Tour” this spring (begins March 6 in Tulsa, OK), along with Brett Eldridge and Chase Rice. One of the most consistent hitmakers in our industry, with 8 number ones overall and coming off Billboard’s Most Played Song of 2013, Mercury Recording Artist, Billy Currington.

Billy Currington: It’s good to see ya. I’m going to play you a song that was written by a lady who was working at a gym in Goodlettsville, TN. It was my last year before I entered into the music business, and her name is Marla Cannon. She would come up to the front desk, or wherever I was, and I thought, ‘let’s get together and write songs one day’. So she was one of the first people that I ever wrote with, and during that time she sent me this song. I remembered it the other day. It was always special to me and always reminds me of home. I’m gonna play it for you and I hope I remember it. It’s called ‘Stealing Home’.



Announcer: Our next artist is always one of the highlights of the show. He’s absolutely blown us away, year after year, and now after a dogfight of a ten-year career, he’s finally pushed through. He’s on the climb of what we believe will be superstardom. With vocals just like his haircut, high and tight, he remains one of the best singers in Nashville. Just three weeks ago, he notched his second #1 single with “Whatever She’s Got”, which is approaching Platinum. Releasing his third album, I’m A Fire, out March 4, ACA recording artist, David Nail.

David Nail: I want to, first of all, thank you so much for that last song that I had out. I learned real quick what a happy uptempo number will do for you! And I spent the better part of the last couple months doing interviews for this record coming out in the next couple of months. I’ve been saying time and time again, how good it feels to rid myself of the “balladeer”, the guy who only sings with a piano. And so I woke up this morning and thought, ‘what better way to prove that than to bring my piano player with me.We’re actually gonna do a song that doesn’t have any piano on it, so this could be an adventure.’  But again, thank you so much, this never gets any easier, especially after following Billy. There’s something wrong with that, he’s one of my favorite singers, but anyway, this is a tune off the new record. 



Kip Moore: I never have anything planned, as far as to say anything. When we were releasing Up All Night (Moore’s first album) ... I made a lot of good friends... I’m very grateful... I had a talk one day with my guitar player, we’re like brothers, just saying how special this is. It’s such an instant world and it’s so fleeting! If you ever have those days when you go into work and you might be questioning what you’re doing, and those kinds of things, I’m here to tell you, you guys have changed my life. If I didn’t have this... I’ve been through some very dark times within the last few years of my life, personally, and without this, my soul would be dead. It’s because of you guys, that I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough. 


Josh Turner


Announcer: Our next artist is working hard on his next album for MCA Nashville. Just about every year, he has one of the most played songs of the year. In total,  he has sold more than 5 million albums and on a personal note, he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever been around. Here he is, one of my favorite people in the world, MCA recording artist, Josh Turner. 

Josh Turner: I never get comfortable on the stage. The first time I set foot on the stage was back in December in 2001 for my Opry debut and it just, it feels like a fairytale... it still feels like a dream. Doesn’t matter what song I play or who I’m playing to! I don’t feel like playing all the hits that you all know and love. I’ve been in the studio here and I’ve got some new music, but we’re not going to play that either. I was telling Vince (Gill) backstage, ‘when in doubt, play George Jones.’ So, I’m going to do my version of a George song. We did a George tribute back in November (2013), which was such an honor to play at. Nancy called me up and said, ‘George wants you to play at his tribute,’ so of course I accepted, and then obviously, we all know what happened after that. He’s one of the greatest country singers that will ever be. We’re gonna play my version of “One Woman Man”. 



Announcer: Her first album, “Same Trailer Different Park”  (March 2013) will be the official launching point for our next artist. There has been a whirlwind of activity and awards that have propelled her into a category that no question, has her at the top of the list of every country listener out there. She has said it numerous times during acceptance speeches, but I will repeat it. Thank you, country radio, for embracing her and her music. She is currently touring with Lady Antebellum and Kip Moore and just announced a massive tour with Katy Perry. Please welcome reigning CMA New Artist of the Year, and now, a two-time Grammy award winner for Best Country Album and Best Country Song, Mercury recording artist, Kacey Musgraves.

Kacey Musgraves: Hi, radio! Well, I’ve always wanted to play this song at the Ryman,  so here we go. This is called, “It Is What It Is”.  


Gary Allan


Announcer: 2013 was an amazing year for our next artist whose big comeback was a story for us, something that unified our newly merged company and was a source of pride all around. His album debuted at #1 with 106,000 units sold, and was propelled there by a massive #1 song, the 8th most played song of 2013, “Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain.” Which, by the way, was also nominated for ACM Song of the Year. Gary also produced and co-wrote that. He has sold over 7 billion albums to date including 3 platinum and 4 gold albums. Ladies and gentlemen, MCA recording artist, Gary Allan. 

Gary Allan: Thank you guys, for nominating myself for so many years. This song right here, this  is really powerful. I believe in this song, I think, more than any other song I put out. Here, let me play it for you...



Announcer: That was Awesome.  What is that thing called? A harmonia? That’s a really weird instrument, but it sounds cool. In the last 2 years, I’ve had more conversations with new artists that just want to emulate our next artist, with his incredible writing ability, and obviously his ability to deliver on stage. His last album won both CMA and ACM Album of the Year and here we are today, celebrating the first week sales number of his new album “The Outsiders” of 287,688, which I believe doubled the first week sales of “Chief”.  So please make welcome, the chief himself, platinum superstar, Eric Church.

Eric Church: Sounds good!  How y’all doing? (laughs) This bastard’s got a hold button (referring to his instrument), It really does. I listen to all kinds of music, and I’ve always been a fan of songs that didn’t mess around with innuendo, and they didn’t get cute, they just said what they said. And there’s a song on this new album- and I love Al Green and Earl Scruggs and Marvin Gay- there’s a song on this new album that’s pretty straight forward... 


Vince Gil


Announcer: Alright, the quadruple threat singer, songwriter, guitar master, and producer.  He’s charted more than 40 singles, he has 27 top ten hits, he has 18 CMA Awards, he has 20 Grammys, and has sold over 26 million albums.  And check this out, this is a new one, he has been a guest performer on over 500 different albums.  NCA National Superstar, Country Music Hall of Famer, and as of just last night,  the recipient of CRV’s Artist Career Achievement Award! My buddy, Vince Gill... 

Gill: Thank you very much! First of all, thank you for last night,  that was very, very kind, the award you gave me on behalf of the broadcasters.  I spoke about my first record, and that was 40 years ago.  What was amazing, and I didn’t truly.... as a young kid you can’t fathom what kind of just hope you felt, when anyone gave you some feedback, you know, that maybe you could do this. and I’ve never forgotten the feeling from all those years ago.  Why I say that is because you don’t realize, maybe you do, but you don’t realize the impact that you have, the power to impact a young kid that loves to be creative.  In fact, if any of you at any station, in any city, would take a few minutes and play a young kid’s record, you have no idea how much it would change their life. It did mine! I also want to congratulate Bob Kingsley on his night Monday night. I wish I could have been there. I was invited by Bob, (he suddenly interjects ‘Wait, not by Bob, it was a surprise’) but on behalf of Bob. I work monday nights now because you don’t play my records anymore (haha).   

I’ve never lost the love of playing music for any reason, not to make a lot of money or a little bit of money, i just love to play music.  It’s the greatest feeling in the world, even today at 57 years old.  I recently made a record with this gentlemen right here (Paul Franklin).  Paul and I shared the same dream as young kids, and all we ever wanted to do was make music, and we’ve been able to do that.  We’ve made a record honoring the great George Jones and the great Merle Haggard. It’s a record called “Bakersfield” and we’re very proud of it.  We’ve felt it’s important to know who built the house that we’ve been able to occupy, It was greats like that.  I was hearing somebody singing a George Jones song today, so we thought we’d sing you this old George Jones song, which is 50 years old this year.  The 50th anniversary!

Royce (DeGrie) just informed me that I received my 25 year Universal NCA pin!  After being with the company for 25 years, (he boasts) I get to do 2 songs.  The only prerequisite is the 2nd song has to be a George Strait song.  I get to play two of Georges final shows this year, or three, one in Louisville, one in Chicago, and one in Dallas.  I’ll keep this one short. It’s called, “Can’t be myself with you”. 


Luke Bryan


Announcer: Before I introduce our final act, i need to thank some people who have worked extremely hard on today’s show.  I promise you this is a very difficult task. Sharon Rebirk, Ashley Loss, Joe......Here we go, Super Freaking Star!  I just saw our next artist at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago, and I wish I could explain to you how amazing it was. The entire show!  The crowd was on their feet in a frenzy, and i haven’t witnessed anything like that since I entered the music business. Every tour date sells out immediately.  His latest album debuted #1 with 527,000 units first week.....

Luke Bryan  I got nervous all of a sudden.Thanks guys, what an amazing year and run, and I thank all you guys for being so instrumental in all that. We give it to the people, and the next thing you know, a lot of singer’s dreams come true. The first time  I did this song was last year, Me and Stapleton got up here, and we did drink a beer. Thank you guys, for making it a 3 week #1, it’s crazy I know, but give yourself a hand.  It’s an amazing song that has really changed my life in a lot of ways, on stage and watching how my performing the song  affects people in a very emotional way.  It’s one of the first songs Ive been able to put out like that, and I’ve enjoyed watching the fans react to it.  So thanks again.


Once again, CRS did not disappoint, not even for a minute! Check out the charm, outrageous behaviour, fun, photos and great new music in our next issue of Dish!
 / Issue 156 - September 2018
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