Gospel Music Association… “We Are Nashville Again”

It’s been a few years since the Gospel Music Association made the radical decision to move the Dove Awards to Atlanta. The most popular post in the history of this blog was titled Gospel Music Association…”We Are Not Nashville.” It was a post that questioned the move during a time when Nashville was recovering from the big flood of 2010. Thankfully, the GMA found new leadership who appear to be steering the ship back in a positive direction and away from the looming iceberg it was headed for.

My two year boycott of the Dove Awards was forced to end by the nomination of our artist, OBB, in the Pop Contemporary Album category along with the show moving back to Nashville. That gave me a reason to test drive the Dove Awards once again.

Jackie Patillo, current leader of the GMA, and her team did a wonderful job with the show this year. Production was at a high level despite the low budget they have to work with and the location of Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena felt like a perfect fit. Most genre’s were represented fairly with performances throughout the evening and the host combinations of Bone Hampton & Chonda Pierce and Kirk Franklin & Amy Grant played out well. Performances by NeedToBreathe, Tobymac, Jason Crabb & Jay DeMarcus, Trip Lee, Andy Mineo and KB were all high points but I would have to say Tamela Mann stole the show with her emotional performance of  “Take Me To The King!” It was also nice to see Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons”  walk away with so many awards. That song has ministered to and impacted millions around the world in so many more ways than just being a radio hit.

I am happy to see the Dove Awards back in Nashville where they belong. Hats off to the GMA & their Board for making that happen! I look forward to seeing how the new GMA story unfolds.


K-LOVE Announces First Ever Christian Music Fan Awards

K-LOVE, the leading Christian radio network with 14 million weekly listeners, announces the first ever Fan-Voted Awards Show In Christian music history. The K-LOVE Fan Awards will be held June 1 at the Ryman Auditorium and the show will be hosted by stars of A&E TV’s “Duck Dynasty;” The K-Love Fan Awards and Ultimate Fan Experience Weekend will kick off on May 31 and end with the Awards Show on Saturday June 2.

The voting process will be opened to the fans in May. Winners will be announced at the awards show on Saturday, June 1st at 7:30pm at the historic Ryman Auditorium. This inaugural event will bring together the biggest names in Christian music, sports, books and movies for its biggest night in Music City.

K-LOVE’s CCO David Pierce shares, “We appreciate our relationship with both listeners and Nashville’s music community. The K-LOVE Fan Awards is an opportunity for us to appreciate and encourage those who are making music and media that impacts our world for Christ.”

Top Industry artists TobyMac, Amy Grant, Jeremy Camp, Brandon Heath, Francesca Battistelli, Jamie Grace and Plumb were involved with the special announcement sharing details for this fan-based event. Other special appearances included Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and K-LOVE President and CEO Mike Novak and CCO David Pierce.

The K-LOVE Fan Awards mission is to create a fan experience that celebrates and promotes artists, athletes, authors and entertainers who, with excellence, engage and impact popular culture for Jesus Christ. With hosting duties going to stars from A&E TV’s popular show “Duck Dynasty,” Phil & Kay Robertson and Jase & Missy Robertson, they shared their excitement about hosting this inaugural event. “We are thrilled to be a part of this fan-centered event for the Christian music industry,” the Robertson’s exclaimed in a joint statement. “With our own show, we know how important and vital the fans are to our success, and we understand why K-LOVE wants to host this event to give back to their listeners. As fans of Christian music, we are excited to host the awards and bring our own Duck Dynasty flare to the evening for a fun-filled, family friendly event.”

Categories for the Awards

  • Female Vocalist of the Year
  • Male Vocalist of the Year
  • Duo/Group of the Year
  • Breakthrough Artists of the Year
  • Sports Impact
  • Movie Impact
  • Book of the Year
  • “Unsung Hero” A K-LOVE listener recipient award
  • Artists of the Year
  • Song of the Year



(L-R Emcee Ken Coleman, Francesca Battistelli, Brandon Heath, K-LOVE CEO/President Mike Novak, TobyMac, K-LOVE CCO David Pierce, Amy Grant, Jeremy Camp, Jamie Grace, John Sanders, Plumb; photo courtesy of Kurt Heinecke)

October Pick Of The Month

Imagine mixing up Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars & NeedToBreathe into one cool duo…thats what I thought! The Music Gardener’s October Pick of The Month introduces StompTown Revival. The duo consists of Gabe Martinez (frontman for Circleslide) and artist/producer Brandon Bee. Their new blend of music they like to call “spiritual stomp” is apparently something music listeners are hungry for. Incredible doors are opening for StompTown Revival as the world discovers their infectious blend of music. Currently sitting at #3 on the iTunes Album Chart, StompTown Revival is off to a great launch with their debut release on Save The City Records. Please visit the Pick of The Month page to hear more about this incredible new duo.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the President of Artist Garden Entertainment, an artist management and marketing company that manages this artist. Regardless of that fact, I only recommend music that I personally believe is exceptional and would be enjoyed by my readers. I am not compensated directly for reviewing this record or for the “Pick of The Month” with the exception of normal management income received from the artist . I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Christian Musician Summit Comes To Nashville!

Great news for musicians, artists and worship leaders as the Christian Musician Summit is coming to Nashville October 5 & 6! The CMS Summit that has been so successful in Seattle, Sacramento, Phoenix and Buffalo now makes its first ever appearance in Music City USA. The Nashville Summit promises to be extra special as it will incorporate some of the greatest musicians from both Christian & Country music. Seminars on songwriting, instrument techniques, worship leading and special concerts from some of the greats are what one can expect. Just some of the artists/musicians/songwriters who will be appearing include Phil Keaggy, NewWorldSon, One Sonic Society, Brenton Brown, Steve Taylor, Zoro, Casey Beathard, Allen Shamblin, Ed Hill, Tim Rushlow, Ashley Cleveland, Ian Eskelin, Rick Cua and our very own StompTown Revival!  Its also a great opportunity to rub elbows with some of the top execs in the Record Label & Publishing industry. Visit this link to find out more and register  http://www.christianmusiciansummit.com




The Making of StompTown Revival

As most of my blog readers know, I am extremely passionate about being an artist manager and about marketing music. Recently, I’ve been playing both roles with StompTown Revival. Since their music is a bit different from most Christian music, we are trying some interesting marketing vehicles outside of the traditional lane. StompTown’s Americana slant, inspired us to film an 8 minute documentary type video to help tell the story. Check out “The Making of StompTown Revival.”


Nashville Scene Names The Music Gardener #2 Best Music Blog

Nashville Scene

The Nashville Scene “Best Of” issue hit the newsstands this week and The Music Gardener blog is listed as the #2 music blog just behind the Nashville Scene’s blog! I am so grateful for all of my subscribers and to those of you who read the blog from updates posted on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

When I attended Randy Elrod & Spence Smith’s Lifework 2.0 blogging seminar three years ago, I never dreamed anyone would care to read words I write. I am extremely thankful for Randy & Spence’s knowledge & encouragement. While I don’t yet consider myself an accomplished writer, I do enjoy sharing thoughts on music marketing, artist management and new music with others. As much as I like to share my thoughts, I also really enjoy reading the thoughts and comments from you. I often wonder if anyone really cares about many of the issues we face in the music business so it is so encouraging to read the feedback from you.

Thanks for your support!

The Music Gardener


A Great Song Is The Core Of Success

Songwriter's Journal

We’ve all heard it said “It starts with a song” or “It’s all about the song” While those may sound cliche, they ring truer than ever. Sure an occasional pop star rises to the top of the charts using shock or controversy as opposed to great music but most successful music in all genres is centered around a great song.

We get loads of submissions each week from people looking for an artist manager but probably one submission a year that includes a great song. I encourage anyone pursuing a career as an artist to make the song your primary focus. Study the greats of your genre and pick their songs apart. Learn what makes great songs tic. Find writers who are writing great songs to co-write with. Join a songwriter’s organization to meet others. Nashville is loaded with incredible songwriters of all genres. Move there to learn the craft from the greats. If you aren’t a writer then find a great writer to write for you.

Your friends and family will always tell you how great your songs are. Find youself a Simon Cowell. Someone with success in the music business who will really critique your songs. Then listen, learn and grow.




The Power Of A Song

It’s amazing to me how powerful music truly is. A song holds the power to drastically affect our human emotions. Our emotions determine how we navigate through life on a daily basis. Songs have the ability to make us feel happy, sad, excited, depressed, fearful, lonely, nostalgic or proud. Some songwriters abuse that power and use it to spread hate and depression while others use it to spread love and happiness.

I had the opportunity to attend a writers night last night in Nashville featuring Brandon Heath, Chris August, Jason Ingram and Kari Jobe. Those wonderful writers gathered together for a benefit show to raise money for victims of the recent tornadoes that devastated Alabama. They played some of their hits along with new songs that none of the audience had heard. The stripped down acoustic performances created an incredible emotional experience. The power of the songs they sang tugged at our hearts, fillled us with hope and spread an abundance of love. I have never dug into my wallet so quickly and ready to to give every last single bit of money I had for their cause!

Thank you to all songwriters who use their gift to change the world for the better. You are great stewards of an incredibly powerful thing…The Song.

Is there a song that impacted your life in a huge way?


Gospel Music Association Moves Dove Awards To Atlanta

Some of you may remember my post from August regarding the Gospel Music Association moving the Dove Awards from Nashville to Atlanta. In case you missed it, I am re-posting below. The Dove Awards take place this evening in Atlanta and as stated in my earlier blog post,  I will not be attending in support of the many Nashvillans who are still struggling to find permanent residences & jobs as a result of the Nashville Flood. While I wish all of the artists who are nominated my best, my heart is in Nashville tonight. I would like to thank MusiCares, Graceworks Ministries, FEMA, CMA Fanfest and the many other churches & ministries around the country for their outpouring support to the victims of the Nashville Flood!

images“We Are Nashville” is the slogan that Nashville residents adopted after the major flood that destroyed much of the city and surrounding areas this past Spring. The national media was scolded for not covering the floods and eventually Anderson Cooper showed up and apologized for the media not giving Nashville the attention it deserved. Meanwhile, as the “help your neighbor” spirit was building within the Nashville community, the Gospel Music Association was apparently fast at work making plans to move the GMA Dove Awards Show to Atlanta. While the Nashville Visitors and Convention Bureau is scrambling to keep tourist coming to town, the Gospel Music Association decides to move the Dove Awards show to Atlanta? Now, that’s the perfect way to show love to the city that has supported your infrastructure for 41 years and is now in desperate need of tourism dollars. Yes, I can see the GMA is trying to be cool like the Country Music Association who took their awards show to New York a few years back but is this year really the year to be cool? The GMA should take notes from the CMA who kept CMA Fanfest in Nashville this year and they donated proceeds to Flood Relief. What the Gospel Music Association is really saying through this move to Atlanta is “We Are Not Nashville”

Seeing the GMA make this decision, makes me feel really embarrassed that I am a GMA member. I think back on all of the benefit shows that Christian artists rushed to put together to help the flood victims and now the industry totally misses the simplest way to help. I don’t plan on being in Atlanta for the Dove Awards Show this year even though Atlanta is my hometown and it would be a very easy trip to make. Instead, I will be donating the money I would pay for my 2011 GMA membership to the MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund.

I don’t normally like to write negative posts but the news of the GMA moving the awards show to Atlanta really struck an emotional chord in my soul. I witness many businesses and friends struggling to rebuild from the flood disaster. There are still thousands of Nashvillians who are jobless due to the flood. This decision to move the awards show will have a negative impact on jobs and local businesses in Nashville and surrounding cities.


Nashville Scene “Best of Nashville” Awards!

Best of Nashville

Best of Nashville

I am honored and thankful for all of my readers who voted for The Music Gardener in the Nashville Scene’s “Best of Nashville” Awards this year. The Music Gardener was listed as the #3 Best Music Blog by readers of the Nashville Scene for 2010! Below is my Top 10 list on why #3 is such a special number to me.

Top 10 Reasons #3 is such a special number

1) #3 keeps me humble

2) #3 is a tie breaker

3) #3 is better than #4!

4) #3 in Music City is much better than #1 in a non-music city

5)  #3 is still in the Top 5, Top 10 and Top 20!

6) The coolest vehicle ever, The Big Wheel, has 3 wheels

7) As a Tennessee Titans fan, I have learned to appreciate field goals

8) Triple scoop ice cream cones rock!

9) 3 car garages are the bomb!

10) The Waltz is the one dance I do well! (1,2,3… 1,2,3)