Happy New Year!
From ACM® Staff working entirely remotely to now working in the beautiful, brand-new Nashville HQ after the organization’s relocation from Southern California, to the 57th ACM Awards® heading back to Vegas after two years in Nashville, it’s clear that 2022 brought a lot of change to the Academy — albeit all positive and successful. It might sound contradictory, but the year also brought a lot of stability, including the announcement of the 58th ACM Awards return to Prime Video in May, the second year of ACM Party for a Cause® in Nashville, and so much more.
I’ll let Damon Whiteside, Academy CEO, and Chuck Aly, Academy Chair, speak more to these wins in the following pages.
For now, even though I always feel redundant in each of these letters, I want to (again) emphasize that the Academy wouldn’t be here to celebrate these victories without the dedication from the Country Music industry.
We are excited to have knowledgeable, passionate leaders to help contribute to another successful year. In this issue, we proudly welcome Chuck Aly as Chair of the Academy and Lorie Lytle as Chair of ACM Lifting Lives®, as well as our Boards of Directors. Read more about that talented group on P. 18.
But, without the music, our jobs would be nonexistent. It’s truly the artists, writers, and producers who keep us all going.
In this issue, we also hear from some of these artists themselves reflecting on their 2022 accomplishments and the excitement that lies ahead in the new year. Read Q&A’s with singer-songwriter Morgan Evans and rising star Tiera Kennedy on P. 36 and P. 38, respectively.
And reigning ACM Group of the Year Old Dominion graces the cover. Hear from bandmates Matthew Ramsey and Trevor Rosen as they delve into the band’s songwriting process and more on P. 26.
I think it’s safe to say that as long as the artists keep doing their thing, we’ll be here cheering them on.
Stay happy and healthy!Libby Gardner ACM Tempo Editor
A ssistA nt E ditor
Brittany Uhniat C ontributors
Sally Bishop, Tricia Despres, Craig Shelburne d E sign
Randi Karabin, Karabin Creative P rinting Graphic Visions Commercial Printing P hotos
ACM, Getty Images, Chady Awad, Kevin & King, Mason Allen, Digital Love
CE o Damon Whiteside
E x EC utiv E d ir EC tor /ACM L ifting L iv E s Lyndsay Cruz
vi CE P r E sid E nt/ fin A n CE & o PE r Ations
vi CE P r E sid E nt/ str At Egi C PA rtn E rshi P s Jen Heaton
vi CE P r E sid E nt/M A rk E ting A nd d igitAL str At Egy & E ng Ag EME nt Rory Levine
vi CE P r E sid E nt/A rtist & i ndustry r ELAtions , b oA rd A d M inistr Ation & g ov E rn A n CE
d ir EC tor /C r EAtiv E & C ont E nt
d ir EC tor / d E sign & b r A nd C r EAtiv E Lori Kraft
d ir EC tor / b r A nd M A rk E ting & PA rtn E rshi P s
d ir EC tor /C o MM uni CAtions , M E di A r ELAtions & r A dio Melissa Moldovan
d ir EC tor /Ev E nts
Lanni (Gagnon) Niggli
d ir EC tor /A rtist & i ndustry r ELAtions , b oA rd A d M inistr Ation & g ov E rn A n CE
M A n Ag E r /Ev E nts Jennifer Davis
M A n Ag E r / str At Egi C PA rtn E rshi P s
M A n Ag E r /C ont E nt & E ditori AL
M A n Ag E r / P ub L i C ity & M E di A r ELAtions
M A n Ag E r /A wA rds & M EM b E rshi P
M A n Ag E r /ACM L ifting L iv E s Taylor Wolf
C oordin Ator /C r EAtiv E & C ont E nt
E x EC utiv E A ssistA nt to th E CE o
M A n Ag E r /o ffi CE Michael Stern
A ssistA nt/Ev E nts
A ssistA nt/M A rk E ting
i nt E rns
Anam Faruqi – Lifting Lives
Celia Hunter – Artist & Industry Relations
Welcome to 2023! I hope you had ample opportunity to celebrate the holiday season with your family, loved ones, and friends, and that you are recharged and ready to take on a new year. While there are so many exciting things in store for the ACM, we must first reflect on the incredible year we had in 2022, including some of the milestones that took place at the end of last year. The Staff and Board are working hard for you and constantly representing the needs of the Membership.
One of the most landmark events in ACM history is the opening of the new headquarters in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood of Nashville, which ushers in the start of a new era for the Academy. In this issue, you’ll see photos from the ribboncutting of the beautiful new space that took place just before the holiday break. We also recently announced the LEVel Up 2023 cohort at a reception with the 2022 cohort, who will be continuing into their second year. This program is a stellar example of the Academy’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to ensure that groundbreaking, tangible growth and change is happening in our industry. ACM Lifting Lives has continued its mission to provide mental health resources with the release of the digital series “ACM Lifting Lives Presents The Check-In”—especially with the emotional final episode of the season featuring Larry Strickland, husband of the late Naomi Judd. Two of the final highlights of the year were welcoming our stellar new lineup of Board Members and our record-breaking ACM Membership renewals as we are now nearly 5,000 Members strong!
As we dive head first into 2023, the Academy has many exciting initiatives for our Members to participate in this year including the 58th ACM Awards, which is making the big move to its new home at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys. Tickets for the show are available now and details of other exciting events will be announced very soon. Through our recently announced partnership with “America’s Team” and Legends, their global sponsorship and hospitality arm, as well as our global streaming partner, Prime Video, ACM Awards week will be even bigger and more exciting than ever for the industry, artists, and fans all over the world. We hope you can join the party as we show the world This Is How We Country.
Cheers to a prosperous 2023 for all of you!
Dear fellow Academy Members,
Long before I was on the board, let alone an officer, I sensed and appreciated a unique spirit around the Academy of Country Music®. Backstage in Las Vegas years ago, a major artist told assembled media that he disagreed with a methodology change in the voting process, even though it resulted in him winning. As a trade reporter, I thought, “Now that’s a story.” Leaving the press room, I ventured into the ACM production office — without the necessary credentials, mind you — and found the Academy’s then-executive director. After I explained what happened, he replied, “You know, [the artist] is probably right. Let’s sit down and talk about it.”
That kind of candor and willingness to face tough questions has permeated my entire experience with the organization, from the press room to the barroom to the board room. The Academy is immensely proud of its West Coast roots, even as it has moved to Nashville — officially opening its office in Wedgewood-Houston last month. But it wasn’t a four-hour flight that gave the Academy its special place in the fabric of Country Music — it’s that inimitable spirit and can-do attitude. And that remains strong.
We saw it when ACM Lifting Lives raised millions and emptied its own coffers to offer immediate, stopgap financial assistance to members of the Country Music family whose incomes cratered in the pandemic. We saw it last month when the Academy welcomed its second cohort of LEVel Up rising leaders, who join an already hard-at-work group charged with creating opportunity in Country Music that transcends demographics and geography. And we saw it last March when the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards became the first show of its kind on a streaming platform — Amazon Prime Video.
If you thought that show was a spectacle, well, y’all ain’t seen nothing yet. After a recent site visit to Frisco, Texas, I can assure you that everything associated with Ford Center at The Star — world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys — is beyond spectacular. The mighty ACM Staff are deep into planning events in and around the sprawling and sparkling complex. And it all leads up to the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards on May 11. We’d love to see you there ... but if not, we hope you’ll join a worldwide audience watching on Prime Video. If anything crazy happens in the press room, I’ll let you know.
Sincerely,Chuck Aly Academy of Country Music Chair
The 58th ACM Awards is returning to Texas for the first time in eight years, and tickets are on sale now! Join us for Country Music’s Party of the Year® at Ford Center at The Star on May 11, 2023, for an unforgettable night of nonstop live music. Get your tickets at SeatGeek.com today. We can’t wait to see you in Texas!
ACM Awards Main Category Updates and Additions
58TH ACM AWARDS SUBMISSIONS TIMELINE
Submissions for the 58th ACM Awards will open Monday, January 9, 2023, at 9 a.m. PST. The Academy will be accepting entries through Friday, January 27, 2023, at 5 p.m. PST.
58TH ACM AWARDS VOTING TIMELINE
The submissions eligibility period for the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards is November 16, 2022, through December 31, 2022. Key voting dates for Academy professional Members for the 58th ACM Awards cycle are as follows:
58th ACM Awards Balloting Periods
January 9, 2023 (opens 9 a.m. PST) — January 27, 2023 (closes 5 p.m. PST)
FIRST ROUND (MAIN)
February 27, 2023 (opens 9 a.m. PST) — March 6, 2023 (closes 5 p.m. PST)
FIRST ROUND (RADIO)
February 27, 2023 (opens 9 a.m. PST) — March 13, 2023 (Closes 5 p.m. PDT)
SECOND ROUND (MAIN)
March 27, 2023 (opens 9 a.m. PDT) — April 3, 2023 (Closes 5 p.m. PDT)
FINAL ROUND (RADIO)
March 27, 2023 (opens 9 a.m. PDT) — April 10, 2023 (Closes 5 p.m. PDT)
April 17, 2023 (opens 9 a.m. PDT) — April 24, 2023 (closes 5 p.m. PDT)
To learn more about voting eligibility and categories, please visit acmcountry.com/voting-criteria.
The Academy of Country Music’s LEVel Up: Lift Every Voice program announced its 2023 cohort members on December 13. The program is a two-year professional development and enrichment curriculum designed to elevate and drive the next generation of rising leaders in our industry. The announcement came alongside a celebration of the inaugural 2022 cohort’s completion of the first year of the widely celebrated, Nashville-based program.
LEVelUp is designed to empower participants to play a pivotal role in expanding the horizons of Country Music into new audiences that transcend demographics and geography. The program’s first year is spent learning and collaborating to develop a proposed plan to expand Country Music’s reach into new and underrepresented audience segments. In the second year, participants implement said plan.
WINE DOWN WEEK RECAP
Ashley Cooke, alongside her Country Music friends, celebrated ACM’s inaugural Wine Down Week, sponsored by 1000 Stories Wine. The digital content series released in October, started with our host, Cooke, playing a hilarious game of Country Music and wine trivia with Lauren Alaina. Next, it was time for Lily Rose to join Cooke in tasting some delicious wine and food pairings. To wrap up the week, Tyler Rich got in on the fun as he and Ashley sipped on wine, performed their latest singles, and spoke about the stories behind the songs. In case you missed it, you can check out all of the Wine Down Week on the ACM’s YouTube channel or by scanning the QR code.
LEGENDS IN THE MAKING
This past December, The Academy of Country Music and Legends, a data-fueled global premium experiences company, announced their exclusive multi-year partnership focused on driving 360º sponsorship portfolio
growth for the Academy, including developing and launching high-impact opportunities tied to the organization’s tentpole annual live events, as well as new programs and initiatives celebrating and honoring Country Music.
FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT TO
Legends will also work with the Academy to develop unique, new brand opportunities incorporating the Academy’s new stateof-the-art world headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as branded content franchises, social media campaigns, and dynamic new activations to engage the evergrowing global Country Music fan base.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Paul Moore, Parliamentarian, ACM Board of Directors; Randy Bernard, Vice President, ACM Board of Directors; Ebie McFarland, ViceChair, ACM Board of Directors; Chuck Aly, Chairman, ACM Board of Directors; Parker McCollum, reigning ACM New Male Artist of the Year; Damon Whiteside, CEO, ACM; Lainey Wilson, reigning ACM New Female Artist of the Year and three-time ACM Award winner; Nashville Mayor John Cooper; Deana Ivey, President, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp; Ben Weprin, CEO and Founder, AJ Capital Partners
The ACM HQ Is Open for Business
The Academy of Country Music officially opened its new headquarters in Nashville on December 14 with a ribboncutting celebration, after nearly 60 years on the West Coast. The ceremony featured reigning ACM New Male and Female Artists of the Year Parker McCollum and Lainey Wilson, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, Deana Ivey of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, AJ Capital Partners CEO and Founder Ben Weprin, and ACM officials including Academy Board of Director Officers and Members.
CHARLEY CROCKETT “THE MAN FROM WACO”
Pr oduced by Bruce Robison , T he Ma n from Wa co took shape from a se rie s of fast-and-loose sessions at Robiso n’s studi o in Lockhar t, Texas. Recor d ed live to tape, The Man from Waco marks the first time Cr ockett’s lo n gtime band Th e Blue Drifters hav e joined him in the studio from star t to finish. Thanks to their re lentless touring over the years , Crockett and hi s bandmates have d eveloped a pot e nt and p a lpable chemist ry, infusing every track with equal parts razor-sharp p recision and unb ridled energy.
FEAT. THE HIT SINGLE “I’M JUST A CLOWN”
The New ACM HQ Brings its Western Roots to Nashville
CLOCKWISE: The lobby features an art installation visualizing Dick Clark’s send-off at the end of a historic ACM Awards telecast represented as a soundwave of drumsticks; the lobby reception area showcases guitars signed by numerous artists and ACM Award winners; the Palladium conference room features a full-wall mural of the Hollywood Palladium theater, home of the first annual ACM Awards in 1966, painted by Nashville artist Eric "MOBE" Bass; the Aces Club conference room celebrates the home of the Academy’s first Board meeting in 1965 and features a full-wall timeline of major Academy milestones mapped against guitar strings and frets; the “Let’s Lift Lives,” neon sign is set against a custom wallpaper featuring the lyrics to an original song written this summer at ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp; the Lisa Lee Content Studio is a world-class media capture space named after a beloved longtime ACM executive who passed away in 2021; the Red Barrel performance stage will showcase established and emerging artists from across the musical landscape; the Red Barrel event lounge and stage pays homage to the home of the unofficial first ACM Awards banquet in 1964
The Academy of Country Music Announces New Board of Directors for 2022-2023
The Academy of Country Music announced its newly elected Board of Directors for the 2022–2023 term. Previously announced officer roles for the Academy of Country Music for the 2022–2023 term include Chair Chuck Aly, Vice-Chair Ebie McFarland , Vice-President Randy Bernard , Treasurer Carmen Romano, Sergeant-at-Arms Gayle Holcomb, Parliamentarian Paul Moore, and Secretary Tommy Moore.
“We’re kicking off an exciting new chapter in the rich history of the Academy, with the relocation and opening of our new Nashville headquarters, and the ACM Awards returning to Prime Video for an exclusive global livestream in May, as well as moving to the Dallas Cowboys’ world headquarters in Frisco, Texas, for the first time. We’re so fortunate to have the dedicated group of individuals who have graciously agreed to serve on our Board of Directors,” said Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “2023 is shaping up to be another monumental year for the Academy and our industry, and we know the guidance of these well-respected leaders will ensure the ACM’s success in the next year and for years to come.”
This year, 10 of the 13 qualifying professional categories were elected by the Academy’s membership. In addition to those elected, director-at-large positions have been appointed by Chair Chuck Aly, Vice-Chair Ebie McFarland , and Vice-President Randy Bernard Directors are elected from each category based on the number of Members in that category. Each director serves a staggered two-year term.
Newly elected members of the Board of Directors include Scot Calonge, Jackie Campbell, Charlie Cook , Cyndi Forman , Margaret Hart , Deana Ivey, Chandra LaPlume, Chris Lisle, Cindy Mabe, Lee Thomas Miller, Curt Motley, Kristie Sloan , Adam Weiser, and Rachel Whitney
Newly appointed director-at-large members of the Board of Directors include George Couri, Benson Curb, Beville Dunkerley, Becky Gardenhire, Shannan Hatch , Jeremy Holley, Frank Liddell, Jon Loba , Shawn McSpadden , Austin Neal, Brian O’Connell, Rod Phillips, Kelly Rich , Tim Roberts, Scott Scovill, Sally Seitz , Laura Veltz , and Candice Watkins
Academy of Country Music Board of Directors
Chair, Chuck Aly, Country Aircheck
Vice-Chair, Ebie McFarland, Essential Broadcast Media
Vice-President, Randy Bernard, RWB Management
Treasurer*, Carmen Romano, FBMM
Sergeant-at-Arms, Gayle Holcomb, WME Parliamentarian, Paul Moore, PGM Connections
Secretary, Tommy Moore, Academy of Country Music
*Treasurer elected in 2019 for a three-year term
Scot Calonge, Richards & Southern Jackie Campbell, 615 Leverage + Strategy Deana Ivey, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp Beverly Keel, MTSU
Chris Lisle, CLLD, LLC/ The Touring Career Workshop
DIGITAL MARKETING/ DISTRIBUTION
Margaret Hart, YouTube
Rachel Whitney, Spotify
Enzo DeVincenzo, 377 Management
Kerri Edwards, kpentertainment
Chris Kappy, Make Wake Artists
Kristie Sloan, The GreenRoom PR
Cyndi Forman, UMPG
Mike Molinar, Big Machine Music
Charlie Cook, Cumulus Media
Cindy Mabe, Universal Music Group Nashville
Katie McCartney, Monument Records
Annie Ortmeier, Universal Music Group Nashville
Ken Robold, Sony Music Nashville
Lee Thomas Miller
Curt Motley, UTA
Adam Weiser, AEG Presents
Kevin Ream, Cheatham Street Warehouse
Troy Vollhoffer, Premier Global Production
Chandra LaPlume, Sandbox Productions
DIRECTORS AT LARGE
George Couri, Triple 8 Management
Benson Curb, Curb | Word Entertainment
Crystal Dishmon, Shopkeeper Management
Beville Dunkerley, Pandora
Becky Gardenhire, WME
Rusty Gaston, Sony Music Publishing Nashville
Shannan Hatch, SESAC PRO
Will Hitchcock, Morris Higham Management
Jeremy Holley, FlyteVu
LEFT TO RIGHT:
Chuck Aly; Ebie McFarland; Randy Bernard; Carmen Romano; Gayle Holcomb; Paul Moore; Tommy Moore.
Andrew Kautz, BMLG
Ben Kline, Warner Music Nashville
Jeff Krones, CAA
Cris Lacy, Warner Music Nashville
Beth Laird, Creative Nation
Frank Liddell, Carnival Music
Jon Loba, Broken Bow Music Group
Shawn McSpadden, Red Light Management
Daniel Miller, Fusion Music
Austin Neal, The Neal Agency
Brian O’Connell, Live Nation
Tree Paine, Premium PR Chris Parr, MAVERICK
Rod Phillips, iHeart Media Ryan Redington, Amazon Music Kelly Rich, Red Street Records Tim Roberts, Audacy Shannon Sanders, BMI Scott Scovill, Moo TV
Sally Seitz, Apple Music
Candice Watkins, Big Loud
Lori Badgett, City National Bank
Paul Barnabee, FBMM
Duane Clark, FBMM
Ken Tucker, Wheelhouse Records
Ben Vaughn, Warner Chappell Ed Warm, Joe’s Live
EX OFFICIO PAST CHAIRS
Rod Essig, CAA
Darin Murphy, CAA Butch Waugh, Studio2bee
FROM TOP LEFT:
Lorie Lytle; Daniel Miller; Shawn McSpadden; Taylor Wolf; Duane Clark
ACM Lifting Lives Announces New Board of Directors for 2022-2023
ACM Lifting Lives® announced the newly elected Board of Directors for the 2022-2023 term. Officer roles for the 2022-2023 term are Chair Lorie Lytle, Vice-Chair Daniel Miller, Vice-President Shawn McSpadden, Treasurer Duane Clark, and Secretary Taylor Wolf.
“The past year has been filled with incredible and meaningful successes for ACM Lifting Lives, including our tentpole events making eagerly-anticipated returns in-person and face-to-face, allowing our organization to raise awareness, and more importantly, help even more people,” said Lyndsay Cruz, ACM Lifting Lives Executive Director. “We can’t wait to make the next year our biggest and best yet with the help of our new board members, utilizing their expertise and passion to continue to make a positive impact through the power of music.”
The ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors is comprised of ACM Board Members, referred to as representative directors, as well as leaders in non-profit and
corporate affairs who aren’t ACM Board Members and are referred to as public directors.
This year, there were four representative director positions elected, four public director positions elected, and nine director-at-large positions appointed by the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors.
Newly elected representative directors include Beville Dunkerley, Rod Essig, Chandra LaPlume, and Ebie McFarland .
Newly elected public directors include Ross Copperman , Mickey Guyton , Greg Hill, and Storme Warren
Newly appointed representative director-at-large includes Jackie Campbell.
Newly appointed public directors-at-large include Mark Bloom , Chris Farren , Kathleen Flaherty, John Hickman , Michelle Kammerer, Ricky Kelley, Elaina Smith , and Sally Williams
“The Check-In” Season Finale: Strickland Shares His Story
Larry Strickland, famed gospel singer and widower of Naomi Judd, sat down for an interview with the ACM digital content series “ACM Lifting Lives Presents The Check-In.” The series brings to light the issue of mental health in the entertainment industry. People magazine released its exclusive interview with Strickland along with the episode of “The Check-In” online on December 14. Striking a chord with viewers, the interview has already garnered more than 36,000 views and has been picked up and shared by notable outlets such as Billboard, Page Six, The New York Post, Yahoo!, and more.
CAMEO GOES COUNTRY
On Giving Tuesday, November 29, ACM Lifting Lives teamed up with Cameo to launch the three-week “Cameo Goes Country” fundraising campaign. Through this partnership, fans booked and shared personalized Cameo messages, and all artists’ net earnings went toward ACM Lifting Lives. Participating artists included Tyler Braden, BRELAND, Lee Brice, The Cadillac Three, Ashley Cooke, Sara Evans, EVERETTE, LOCASH, Kameron Marlowe, Ian Munsick, MacKenzie Porter, RaeLynn, Frank Ray, Jameson Rodgers, Lily Rose, Dylan Scott, Alana Springsteen, Matt Stell, Drake White, and Lainey Wilson.
ERNEST FLOWER SHOPS
(THE ALBUM): Two Dozen Roses February 10
FILMORE Mean Something January 13 HARDY the mockingbird & THE CROW January 20
Elle King Come Get Your Wife January 27 Ian Munsick April Jordyn Shellhart May Nate Smith Nate Smith February 17
Brett Eldredge “Hideaway” (Studio Version) Impacting radio January 5
Andrew Jannakos “Getting There” January 27
Corey Kent “Man of the House” January 20
Dylan Marlowe “Record High” January 27
Ian Munsick “River Run” Impacting radio January 13
Old Dominion “Memory Lane” January 5
Tyler Braden EP March
Old Dominion Memory Lane January 5 Walker County No Smoke and Mirrors February
Restless Road “On My Way” January 20
Alana Springsteen “You Don’t Deserve A Country Song” January 13
Walker County “Mirror Mirror” Impacting radio January 13
Chris Young “Looking For You” & “All Dogs Go To Heaven” January 13
If you are an ACM Member and would like your artists’ upcoming releases and tours featured in the next issue of ACM Tempo , please email email@example.com.
Good Person Tour
February 24–May 24
Support for Mitchell Tenpenny’s This Is The Heavy Tour January 26–February 25
Drunk or Dreaming Headline Tour January 17–August 3
Support for Larry Fleet’s Live Tour February 23–April 1
Kenny Chesney I Go Back Tour March 25–July 22
Luke Combs Luke Combs World Tour March 25–October 19
Support for Brett Young’s 5-Tour-3-2-1 Tour March 30–May 20
Barstool Whiskey Wonderland Headline Tour
February 9–May 6
Alana Springsteen supporting
Support for Ingrid Andress’ Good Person Tour February 24, March 2, March 23, March 25
Support for Morgan Wallen’s One Night At A Time World Tour March 15–October 7
Morgan Evans Support for Brett Young’s 5-Tour-3-2-1 Tour March 30–May 20
Larry Fleet Larry Fleet Live Tour February 23–April 1
HARDY the mockingbird & THE CROW Headline Tour February 16–April 29
Support for Morgan Wallen’s One Night At A Time World Tour March 15–August 17
Support for Parker McCollum’s Spring Tour February 3–25
C2C March 10 CMC March 19
Elle King A-FREAKIN-MEN Headline Tour February 19–March 25
Miranda Lambert Velvet Rodeo Las Vegas Residency Additional Dates Added: July 7–December 16
Kameron Marlowe Support for Thomas Rhett’s Bring the Bar To You Tour February 9–25 C2C
March 10 and 12
Chase Matthew Love You Again Headline Tour January 27–April 22
Niko Moon Ain’t No Better Place Headline Tour January 19–April 28
Megan Moroney Pistol Made of Roses Headline Tour April 13–28
Old Dominion No Bad Vibes Headline Tour January 19–June 30
Drew Parker At The End Of The Dirt Road Tour January 19–July 28
Restless Road Support for Kane Brown’s Drunk or Dreaming Tour June 11–August 3
Support for HARDY’s the mockingbird & THE CROW Headline Tour February 16–April 29
Lily Rose Lily Rose Headline Tour February 9–18
About Time U.S. Headline Tour February 2–March 25
Back To The Honky Tonk Tour February 16–March 25
Support for Thomas Rhett’s Home Team Tour 23 May 4–September 29
Support for Adam Doleac’s Barstool Whiskey Wonderland Headline Tour February 9–May 6
This Is The Heavy Tour January 26–February 25
Side A + B Headline Tour January 18–29
No Signs of Slowing Down Headline Tour February 24–April 16
One Night At A Time World Tour March 15–October 17
Opening for Kelsea Ballerini’s HEARTFIRST UK Tour February 22–25
Raised Headline Tour February 23–April 1
Support for Shania Twain’s Queen of Me Tour May 16–31
Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey and Trevor Rosen talk about the enigma of songwriting, new music, and gearing up for their first headliner, the No Bad Vibes TourBY LIBBY GARDNER
Mystery Music in the
Old Dominion is “a vibe.”
From their inception, the band has been undoubtedly dominating the Country Music space with their undeniable talent, relentless energy, and commitment to fans. And with five consecutive ACM Awards for Group of the Year, the band feels validated. But, for them, it all goes back to the music — specifically the magic of how it all comes together.
“All of the tours and the albums and the awards are amazing,” said bandmate Trevor Rosen. “But to me, the most amazing part of it is still that mystery of starting with nothing and throwing around a couple of ideas and a couple of chords and a few hours later, you have something that didn’t exist before.”
“We just love the craft of songwriting, so that’s always kind of in us,” said bandmate Matthew Ramsey. “Plus, we get to do it with our friends, which makes it easy. But also, on
top of that, the fans are asking for it. So, as long as fans are asking for more, that’s an inspiring thing to want to serve them and give them something that they can make a part of their lives.”
This past fall marked the seven-year anniversary of Old Dominion’s debut album, Meat and Candy, and the one-year anniversary of their most recent album, Time, Tequila & Therapy. Looking back on the band’s musical growth, they’ve stayed true to their sound and kept it interesting. But what truly sets them apart is their ability to create authentic, melodic, and just plain likeable songs.
“I feel like every album is unique in and of itself, but it sounds like us,” said Rosen. “Even Time, Tequila & Therapy — it still sounds like Old Dominion, but I think we really tried to forge ahead and keep creating something that sounds fresh, sounds new, sounds creative, but still sounds like us, and that’s not easy to do for us.”
… I think we really tried to forge ahead and keep creating something that sounds fresh, sounds new, sounds creative, but still sounds like us …
It might not be easy, but the band continues to prove itself album after album, hit after hit.
“That first album, in some ways seems like yesterday, and, in some ways, it seems like it’s a lifetime ago,” said Rosen. “I was looking at a picture that I posted of my daughter. I think she was maybe not even two at the time, holding up the CD in the bathtub, and it just reminds me how exciting it was to even be putting something out … When I look at that album, it’s special not just because of the music — I love all the songs on it — but it reminds you of that time when it’s new, and you didn’t know if it was going to work.”
Well, it worked. Now with their fifth album close to completion, it’s clear that Old Dominion isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
“We have a whole album that’s just about done,” said Rosen. “We’re in the mixing stage or almost done with most of them [songs]. Honestly, I will say … I think this is going to be our best album. It’s just one of
those things where you go into it and you go, ‘What are we going to do? What are we going to write? What are we going to say? What are we going to sound like?’ which sounds a little bit daunting. Then, when you do write one, you kind of walk out of there like, ‘I don’t know how we did it again.’ And that’s sort of how I’m feeling with this new stuff that we have.”
And with new music, comes their first headlining tour, the No Bad Vibes Tour beginning this month. Having spent the last weeks of 2022 deep in rehearsals, the guys are determined to deliver a phenomenal show to fans.
“We’re in rehearsals really combing over the set list and seeing how we can make the most of the songs that people are familiar with, give them a new flavor, work in some of the new stuff and maybe some covers, and highlight the songs that we’ve written for other people,” said Ramsey. “It’s shaping up to be a really fun show.”
Noting the tour’s inspiration from the more than 10-year Music City recurringOld Dominion rehearses for their upcoming No Bad Vibes Tour
concert series, Whiskey Jam, featuring rising stars from Nashville and beyond, the guys are more than ready to hit the road and bring along with them this piece of their early career journey.
“Back in the day, Whiskey Jam was just kind of getting started too, and it was a great little outlet for a band like us to be able to hop up on the stage with a built-in crowd and perform a few of our songs and kind of get that immediate feedback,” said Ramsey. “And so, it was really a great tool for us to kind of cut our teeth on playing our music in front of people. So, as Whiskey Jam grew and we grew, it was always fun to pop back in and play that here and there. It’s really going to be fun
to sort of return the favor and bring that out on the road with us.”
“So many artists get their start at Whiskey Jam,” said Rosen, echoing his bandmate. “It’s such a Nashville staple, but a lot of the world doesn’t even know what it is. So, we’re going to shed a light on that … It’s exciting to have your own tour so you have your own fans to play to. It’s a really exciting time to just have what I believe is our best music sitting here ready to be performed at an amazing tour.”
While the mystery remains, betting on Old Dominion bringing their good vibes is for certain. And next for the guys according to Rosen will be, “world domination, possibly.” ●Old Dominion onstage during rehearsals
2022-2023 Grant Beneficiaries
ACM Lifting Lives A
CM Lifting Lives, the philanthropic partner of the Academy of Country Music, announced the 2022–2023 grant cycle beneficiaries: Abilities First, Inc.; the Dee Dee Jackson Foundation; Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee; Lawrence Hall; Melodic Caring Project; Musicians On Call; Operation Song; Resounding Joy, Inc.; and Songs for Sound, Inc. Launched in May 2022 tied to Mental Health Awareness Month, this funding cycle and allocation of grants continues ACM Lifting Lives’ long and dedicated history of supporting diverse and dynamically impactful organizations providing music therapy programs, shining a national spotlight on their critical work, and harnessing the healing and rejuvenating power of music. The 2022–2023 recipient organizations
announced work with children, veterans and active-duty military members and their families, school programs, those fighting illnesses, and more in California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Tennessee, and across the United States.
ACM Lifting Lives is able to provide this funding to organizations that share a similar mission and strive to improve lives through the power of music thanks to partnerships with artists and generous support from Gibson Gives and Country Thunder.
“We are honored to announce our newest grant recipients, comprised of organizations that will continue doing essential work and making an impact on so many people nationwide. We are grateful to the Country Music community for supporting ACM Lifting Lives and making it possible for us to contribute to these worthy groups and support their meaningful work,” said Lyndsay Cruz, ACM Lifting Lives Executive Director.
Programs funded through this grant cycle include:
ABILITIES FIRST, INC. provides support to people who face developmental challenges and their families to help them attain independence, self-determination, integration, and acceptance by others through education, exploration, and experience. Funding from ACM Lifting Lives will support the purchase of percussion, rhythm, and adaptive musical instruments for the organization’s K–12 music therapy program, which serves approximately 150 children with intellect ual and developmental disabilities across seven counties in Hudson Valley, New York.
DEE DEE JACKSON FOUNDATION connects those who have a commonality in grief and provides a safe space to share stories and advice, and build a community in which no one feels alone. ACM Lifting Lives’ contribution will help fund the addition of two music therapists to expand the youth program to two new sites in underserved communities in California.
GILDA’S CLUB MIDDLE TENNESSEE is dedicated to providing support, education, and hope to all people impacted by cancer, including family members and friends of those diagnosed. The grant from ACM Lifting Lives will support two Healing Through Music workshops for individuals with cancer, their loved ones, and caregivers.
LAWRENCE HALL is a community-based organization committed to helping Chicago’s youth, families, and communities heal from the adverse effects of childhood trauma in three ways: facilitating inner healing, promoting stability, and supporting community growth. ACM Lifting Lives will help fund a portion of two music therapists’ salaries and program expenses, including instrument purchases, instrument repair, and piano tuning.
MELODIC CARING PROJECT brings hope, connection, and the power of music to people battling illness. The grant from ACM Lifting Lives will help staff one-on-one virtual music therapy sessions that provide each patient with a customized therapy plan with specific musical interventions.
MUSICIANS ON CALL brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. Funds from ACM Lifting Lives will facilitate the implementation and delivery of virtual and in-person bedside performance programs at hospitals and healthcare facilities in Nashville, Denver, and Los Angeles.
OPERATION SONG empowers veterans, active-duty military, and their family members to tell their stories through the process of songwriting. ACM Lifting Lives’ grant will cover expenses for a 10-week program that focuses on using songwriting for PTSD symptom reduction and improvement of emotional well-being and life satisfaction for those with service-related injuries, illnesses, and issues.
RESOUNDING JOY, INC. enhances the human experience through the therapeutic use of music. The support from ACM Lifting Lives will help fund music therapist costs for the Semper Sound Military Music Program and other associated expenses such as program development, musical instruments, and tools.
SONGS FOR SOUND, INC. uses a passionate and compelling story about hearing loss and music to create awareness, increase access, and encourage action around hearing loss. ACM Lifting Lives’ grant will help cover free hearing health and screening events for musicians, as well as the costs of the Care Team, which provides support followups, counseling about hearing technology options, and partnerships with audiology clinics.
Additionally, ACM Lifting Lives has provided grants to organizations that are prioritizing mental and physical well-being, including Music Health Alliance and counseling services through Porter’s Call. These grants, as well as the organization’s ongoing digital content series “The Check-In,” in which artists candidly delve deep into their own mental health experiences and share how music has played a crucial role in their healing process, underscore the importance of supporting music therapy, mental health organizations, and individuals struggling with these mental and emotional challenges. ●
For information on grant guidelines and applications, or to support ACM Lifting Lives, visit ACMLiftingLives.org.
Australian singer-songwriter, Morgan Evans talks about vulnerability, TikTok virality, touring, and everything in between
Victoriously VulnerableBY LIBBY GARDNER
TEMPO: Your latest single “Over For You” is a really vulnerable song. Did you write it with the intention of releasing it? Did you have any hesitations before releasing it?
EVANS: It was the only song I wrote during that three-month period — August to November — and I wrote it because it was the only thing I could write at the time. I performed it for the first time at the CMC Rocks Festival in Australia without any intentions past it being something I felt like I needed to say.
TEMPO: And fans are really taking to it … how does that feel?
EVANS: The reaction to that performance was the reason for everything else since. The viral videos, the messages, the comments, they were so heartfelt and so meaningful … It became clear that this song I thought was so personal to me was actually communicating a very universal feeling.
TEMPO: Will you continue to be this vulnerable with your new music?
EVANS: These kind of messages of appreciation for the song continue to come in every day and I don’t take a single one for granted. It’s been an inspiring time in that way.
TEMPO: When writing music, what does your process look like?
EVANS: More and more, when I’m making music, I feel like I’m just trying to capture and communicate a feeling. Ideas for songs come at any and all times, so I keep a list of those ideas or titles on my phone. When I sit down to write, I usually start by playing something on the piano or the guitar and try to get singing before I have a chance to think too much.
TEMPO: Where do you see the direction of your music career going?
EVANS: If this year’s taught me anything, it’s that there’s no way to see what’s coming. I’m extremely grateful to be where I am now and to have made real connections with fans of music all over the world the last few years. I’m just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one chord in front of the other, and hopefully I can continue doing this for a long time.
TEMPO: You’re joining Brett Young’s tour with Ashley Cooke starting in March. What are you most looking forward to about that?
EVANS: Yeah, I’m so stoked about that tour and stoked to be playing a bunch more U.S. dates in 2023!
I look forward to getting to know Brett and Ashley better and hopefully getting to play some music together too. There’s a bunch of cities I can’t wait to get back to and some we’ll be playing for the first time ever.
TEMPO: What else do you have in store for 2023? What are you hoping to accomplish in the new year?
EVANS: In 2023, we’ll be playing the biggest shows of my career all over the world and putting out what I think is the best music of my career so far. I really want to enjoy every moment of it without looking too far forward. I’ve got a good feeling about 2023, but for now, I’m going back to my hometown in Australia for the holidays. ●
to the Country TIERA Takes R&B
Rising star Tiera Kennedy talks about her Country Music journey
TEMPO: How’d you get your start in Country Music?
KENNEDY: So, I am from Birmingham, Alabama, and that’s kind of where I got my start. I started writing songs when I was in high school and would perform around my hometown. I’d play in our talent show, I’d play at festivals, and I would even play at restaurants around my hometown at a Buffalo Wild Wings or Chick-fil-A. It was by writing songs that I feel like I figured out what my genre was. I was writing songs about what I was going through, and that was what Country Music was, and I just fell in love with all of it.
TEMPO: Would you describe yourself first as a songwriter or as a performer?
KENNEDY: I think both. I love being in a room with songwriters that I love, and it’s kind of like a therapy session for me because I get to write with some of my best friends, so that’s really fun. But I do love performing so much, and I’ve been able to do a lot of that this past year. It’s just the best feeling singing your songs to other people and hearing them sing back.
TEMPO: How would you describe your music style? What do you pull in from other genres?
Kennedy tributes Shania Twain with a performance of "From This Moment On" at the 15th ACM Honors on August 24, 2022
TEMPO: When did you move to Nashville?
KENNEDY: I moved when I was around 18 or 19. It was after I went to college for a year in Muscle Shoals. I originally wanted to go to Belmont University in Nashville, but it was super expensive. I got a full ride to North Alabama and actually studied music business there. I got to record at Fame Studios, which is an amazing studio in Muscle Shoals. I didn’t really know the history of that town until I moved there. I started co-writing for the first time and met some really cool songwriters in Country Music there and got to hone my craft without any noise around me.
KENNEDY: I describe my music as R&B Country. I started writing with my producer, Cameron Bedell, a couple of years ago. Actually, the first time we wrote together, we wrote a song called “Found It In You,” and I didn’t know that that was the sound that I was wanting until we wrote that song. I had grown up listening to a lot of R&B because my parents would play it around the house, and so when I got in the writers’ room, that’s just what naturally came out. I think really what we strive for whenever I’m writing my music is I just want it to feel good. I just want people to turn it on, and even if it’s on a song they couldn’t relate to, they can still get into it because it just feels good.
TEMPO: Where do you draw inspiration from when you write?
KENNEDY: This past year, I have gotten to do a lot of writing for my first record, and so a lot of that has been stuff that I’ve been going through for the past few years. It’s my debut album, so I really want it to be an introduction to me to everyone else. So, we’ve kind of gone back to when I first started performing to now, and it’s a lot of my own experiences. But sometimes I do love sitting around talking about what other people are going through, what my co-writers are going through. And what I’ve found is that a lot of us are going through the same thing.
TEMPO: How has the process been different when writing for an album? Is it what you expected?
KENNEDY: Well, you know, at the beginning of writing this record, I didn’t know I was writing for a record. Some of these songs, I was going in the writers’ room and was just wanting to write the best song. Through doing that, I realized what I was doing — I was writing an album. And toward the end, it was really fun because I got to be intentional about the stories and intentional about what I was writing about. At the beginning, it kind of started as this really lighthearted fun album because that’s what I love — I love to listen to those kinds
of songs when I get in the car, and I love to perform those songs. Throughout writing it, I’ve just gone through a lot, and I feel like it got more vulnerable as we got toward the end of it.
TEMPO: Since living in Nashville for some time now, do you feel like you have a lot of mentors? And how does it feel compared to when you first came into the scene? Were people accepting and supportive?
KENNEDY: I really don’t think I would be where I am today if it weren’t for the people that believed in me when I moved here. I’ve met some awesome publishers — Laurel Kittleson and JD Groover were two of my biggest champions when I moved here, and they introduced me to anybody and everybody that they could. I totally could not have done that by myself. I feel like the longer I’ve been in Nashville, the more champions, the more people in the business and other artists that have been a helping hand to me I’ve met. I can pick up the phone and call them and be like, “I have no idea what I’m doing. Please help me.” I’m truly thankful to have such a great support system around me. ●
It’s just the best feeling singing your songs to other people and hearing them sing back.
Jeff Cook, a founding member of the groundbreaking country band Alabama , died on November 7, 2022. He was 73. Born on August 27, 1949, in Fort Payne, Alabama, Cook spent his teen years playing guitar and keyboards in bands and hosting a local radio show. Alabama evolved out of a band named Wildcountry, which Cook formed with Fort Payne musicians Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry while they were still teenagers. By 1980, two of Alabama’s independent singles reached the Top 40 at Country radio, prompting an invitation to perform at the CRS New Faces Show and a contract with RCA Records.
Alabama immediately set itself apart in Country Music as a self-contained band, in contrast to popular vocal groups who used a backing band. With immediate momentum, Alabama claimed five ACM Entertainer of the Year trophies (1981–1985), six ACM Top Vocal Group awards (1980–1985), and three ACM Album of the Year honors. Alabama was named ACM Artist of the Decade for the 1980s. By 1999, the band had charted 50 Top 10 singles for RCA. In addition to vocal support and playing fiddle and guitar in Alabama, Cook co-wrote their enduring holiday classic, “Christmas in Dixie.”
Alabama’s numerous honors include the 2002 ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award and a 2005 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. After initially retiring from the road in 2003, the group returned to No. 1 at Country radio in 2011 as guests on Brad Paisley’s “Old Alabama.”
Peter Cooper 1970–2022
Peter Cooper, one of Nashville’s most admired music journalists and historians, died on December 6, 2022. He was 52. A South Carolina native, Cooper moved to Nashville in 2000 as a music reporter for The Tennessean . His knowledge, wit, and enthusiasm quickly endeared him to the Country Music community. He accepted a position at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2014, channeling his storytelling talent as a speechwriter, panel moderator, and frequent commentator for TV specials and documentaries. In addition to releasing albums of his own songwriting, Cooper co-produced the Grammy-nominated children’s album I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow. He published the autobiographical book Johnny’s Cash and Charley’s Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music in 2017.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis, pioneer of rock ’n’ roll, passed away on October 28, 2022, at the age of 87. Lewis began his recording career in 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis. He would also record with musical giants such as Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.
In the late 1960s, Lewis expanded his musical repertoire into the Country Music genre with songs including “Another Place, Another Time” and “To Make Love Sweeter for You” while still making some major noise on the pop charts with “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Chantilly Lace” in the early ’70s. Eventually, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member’s life story would be told in the motion picture “Great Balls of Fire.” Additionally, Lewis won an ACM Award for Piano Player of the Year in 1975. —TRICIA DESPRES
Anita Kerr, the vocal and instrumental arranger whose musical touch became a cornerstone of the Nashville Sound, died on October 10, 2022. She was 94. As a child in Memphis, she played pipe organ in church and sang on local radio shows. After moving to Nashville in 1948, her visibility grew with performances on the Grand Ole Opry’s Prince Albert Show, national exposure on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, and recording sessions with Owen Bradley for Decca Records. From 1961 to 1963, she worked with Chet Atkins on hundreds of RCA sessions before pursuing other genres. Her lush arrangements, together with the beautiful blend of the Anita Kerr Singers, brought sophisticated textures and a fresh sound to Country Music at the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll.
Anita Pointer, a pop star who twice crossed over to country music, died on December 31, 2022. She was 74. The fourth of six children, Pointer grew up singing in her father’s church with her sisters Bonnie, June, and Ruth. After gaining traction in pop and R&B, the Pointer Sisters won a country Grammy for 1974’s “Fairytale.” Recorded in Nashville and written by Anita and Bonnie Pointer, “Fairytale” reached No. 37 at Country radio and the Pointer Sisters became the first African-American group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. Conway Twitty’s cover of the Pointer Sisters’ “Slow Hand” peaked at No. 1 in 1982. In addition, Pointer and Earl Thomas Conley reached No. 2 at Country radio with 1986’s “Too Many Times.”
Charlie Monk, fondly known as the Mayor of Music Row, died on December 19, 2022. He was 84. Monk grew up in Geneva, Alabama, equally fascinated with celebrities and radio. After serving in the Army and working as a disc jockey throughout Alabama, he moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 1968 to program one of the earliest full-time country music stations. The following year, he co-founded Country Radio Seminar, where he hosted and produced its annual New Faces Show for 40 years. Following seven years at ASCAP, he led CBS Songs, launched a publishing company, and helped revive the fortunes of legacy publisher Acuff-Rose Music. Monk joined SiriusXM as an on-air personality in 2004 and was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2019.
Jerry Whitehurst, the ACM Award-winning musical director of TNN’s Nashville Now, died on October 30, 2022. He was 84. Born in Nashville, Whitehurst was working for a trucking firm when he landed a part-time job as a pianist in the Grand Ole Opry house band. That gig led to occasional session work and playing piano on TV shows such as Hee-Haw and Pop Goes the Country. When Nashville Now debuted on the fledgling cable network TNN in 1983, Whitehurst’s musical versatility became vital to the daily talk show’s enduring success. Known for his pleasant personality and familiar baseball cap, Whitehurst also composed the show’s theme song. The Nashville Now house band won five consecutive ACM Awards (1985–1989) in the Non-Touring Band of the Year category.
50th ACM Awards
AT&T Stadium | April 19, 2015