Country Music in a Time of Corona…
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3/16/20
By: @KurtBardella from Arlington, VA

CHEERS

Happy Birthweek (was yesterday) to UMG Nashville’s head honcho Mike Dungan. Happy Birthday to Old Dominion’s man on the road Tommy Garris and to Warner Music Nashville’s Ray Mariner!

TOP SHELF

The Coronavirus has upended all of our lives. Label offices on Music Row are closed for the seeable future. Shows/Tours have been postponed. The ACM Awards announced yesterday that they will postpone their April 5th show until September. Alabama and Louisiana have postponed their scheduled primary elections. Last night, the Governor of Ohio ordered all bars/restaurants to close. In Nashville however, a stand-off is taking shape with tremendous health repercussions. The Mayor of Nashville, John Cooper, called for the bars on Lower Broadway to close. However, Steve Smith, who owns Broadway staples Tootsie’s, Honky Tonk Central, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Steakhouse and The Diner, said yesterday that he will not comply unless ordered to by Gov. Bill Lee. Hopefully, by the time the next edition of this publication comes out, this standoff will be resolved, but I can tell you that it is absolutely irresponsible and idiotic for anyone to defy the welfare of public health like this.

SOUND-CHECK

  • The Dixie Chicks will appear on today’s edition of ELLEN
  • Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton, Ricky Skaggs, Lee Brice, Jay Leno, Trisha Yearwood and more honor Garth Brooks as he receives the prestigious Gerswhin Prize for Popular Song on a PBS special airing on March 29th at 9/8c
  • Garth Brooks receives the “ICON Award” at the Billboard Music Awards on April 29th on NBC

ON THE JUKEBOX

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ON THE HOUSE

This situation is unprecedented but like all crises, there are opportunities to think outside-the-box, be creative, and use the tools of the 21st Century to engage country music fans/audiences. For the first time since 9/11, our country is halted in place. It is literally a captive audience. The question artists and their teams should ask themselves is how can they expand the boundaries of entertaining to give their fans a few minutes or an hour of relief during these times. Maybe it’s just picking up the guitar and playing a few songs on Instagram Live or Facebook Live. Maybe it’s doing some Twitter Q &A’s. Maybe it’s picking up the phone and calling some fans or having a virtual telephone town-hall like the presidential campaigns have been having. In some ways, this is a marketing/PR challenge unlike any other, but I think there are some really cool things that could come out of it that fans all over would welcome!

FRONT OF THE HOUSE

The Grand Ole Opry stands by the motto of the Circle can’t be broken. In an effort to maintain health and safety amid current COVID-19 concerns, the Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest-running radio show, will pause performances that include a live audience through April 4th. Fans around the world can still tune in to the Saturday night broadcasts at opry.com and wsmonline.com, Opry and WSM mobile apps, SiriusXM Satellite, and its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM. 

BAR TALK

CRUSHIN IT

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NEAT

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WITH A TWIST

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ALL ACCESS

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum announced that the museum, Hatch Show Print, Historic RCA Studio B and the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will close temporarily to the public through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

SHOT

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LAST CALL

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