Luke Laird is a two-time Grammy Award winner and one of country and pop’s most sought-after songwriters. The numbers are staggering: 23 Billboard No. 1 hits, two Billboard No. 1 singles as a producer, 49 radio singles––27 of which have hit the Top 5––and more than 125 album cuts fill his catalog. In three separate years, every single released that Laird wrote peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. He earned ACM Songwriter of the Year honors in 2015, and was named BMI Songwriter of the Year in 2012. He co-produced Kacey Musgraves' 2013 debut album, Same Trailer, Different Park, which garnered Grammy honors for Best Country Album and an ACM Album of the Year win. In 2015, he returned to the studio with Musgraves to co-produce her triumphant sophomore release, Pageant Material. Most recently, Laird earned his second Grammy for Best Country Song with Musgraves' "Space Cowboy" in 2019. Today, Laird writes for and co-owns Nashville-based publishing and management company Creative Nation with his wife, Beth.
Barry Dean takes nothing for granted. Even after earning a Grammy nomination for Tim McGraw's "Diamond Rings and Old Barstools" and topping charts with three No. 1 singles, he remains awestruck each time he hears a song he wrote on the radio. Dean still can’t help but think of how he seemed destined to work a 9-to-5 in Kansas––a fate that now seems preposterous, given his track record: two No. 1 singles for Little Big Town, "Pontoon" and "Day Drinkin'"; "Think a Little Less," which topped the charts for Michael Ray; Ingrid Michaelson's Top 40 smash "Girls Chase Boys"; and an ever-growing list of country and pop successes prove Dean is doing exactly what he was made to do.
Lori McKenna had already become one of the industry’s most sought-after songwriters, and then, the last three years happened. Tim McGraw’s No. 1 “Humble and Kind,” which McKenna wrote alone, earned her the Grammy for Best Country Song. It marked the second consecutive year McKenna took home the honor: Little Big Town’s 11-week No. 1 “Girl Crush,” which McKenna co-wrote, claimed the trophy in 2016. McKenna also earned the ACM Songwriter of the Year crown in 2017, while “Humble and Kind” clinched a 2017 ACM Song of the Year nomination. In 2016, “Girl Crush” scored AIMP Song of the Year honors, along with nominations for Grammy Song of the Year and ACM Song of the Year, while “Humble and Kind” earned a CMA Song of the Year win. Her 2016 CMA Song of the Year honors marked another second consecutive win for McKenna, who also took home the trophy in 2015 for “Girl Crush.” While Nashville has become an important artistic and business hub for McKenna, Stoughton, Massachusetts has remained home. Faith Hill fell in love with McKenna’s writing first, and since then, country’s biggest stars have followed suit. Hunter Hayes, Reba, Alison Krauss, David Nail, Keith Urban, and others have also recorded her songs. As an artist, McKenna has now recorded 10 albums. NPR declared her latest––The Bird and the Rifle, produced by Grammy winner Dave Cobb––“one of 2016’s best releases.” The record also earned three Grammy nominations.
Chances are you’ve listened to one of Tyler Johnson’s songs and didn’t realize it. The multi-talented artist, songwriter and producer has worked on releases for some of music’s top artists like: Harry Styles, Sam Smith, Cam, John Legend, Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus, OneRepublic, Ed Sheeran and more. Johnson helped develop and launch country music artist Cam, co-writing 8 tracks and producing (with Jeff Bhasker) her 2015 debut album, Untamed. The album includes Cam’s chart-topping single, “Burning House.” The No. 1 song, co-penned and produced by Johnson, garnered him his first ACM Awards nominations for “Song of the Year” and “Single of the Year” and a CMA nod for “Song of the Year.” Johnson also recently worked with Harry Styles on his highly anticipated self-titled debut – writing 9 of the 10 tracks with both production and co-production credits on the record. He also teamed up with world-renowned artist Sam Smith to write and produce the tracks “One Last Song” and “Palace” off The Thrill Of It All. In 2018, Johnson kicked-off the year in a big way: with his first release as a solo artist with his debut song, “Give Up On Me.”
Casey Brown is young, but his old-soul perspective has already yielded big successes. Along with friends and frequent collaborators Parker Welling and Russell Dickerson, Brown co-wrote Dickerson’s no. 1 “Yours,” a moving portrait of the personal growth that comes with finding a true partner. “Yours” became the title track of Dickerson’s debut album, for which Brown co-wrote seven additional tracks. Then, Brown flexed different muscles, and produced the entire record. His wins aren’t limited to his career-launching work with Dickerson: Megan+Liz, Building 429, Sidewalk Prophets, Francesca Battistelli, Finding Favour, Tauren Wells, and many more artists spanning multiple genres have recorded Brown’s thoughtfully crafted songs.
Over the last 10 years, Steve Moakler has made a name and home for himself in Nashville, releasing three of his own critically acclaimed records and penning songs for others including Dierks Bentley’s “Riser” and tracks for Ashley Monroe and Kellie Pickler. Proven and better than he’s ever been, he’s finally ready to return to his roots. Moakler’s anticipated new album Steel Town is a country record, but the stories it tells and the characters it elevates are very much rooted in Pittsburgh—the Steel City—and surrounding areas, where he was raised. For Moakler, the homecoming is paired with the liberation that only comes when an artist’s songwriting and performing fully reconcile who he is with where he’s been.
Having worked with Grammy Award producer Luke Laird for a collection of songs to be released soon, Kassi has created a set that is brutally honest, convicting, breath stopping, heart-wrenching soulful grit which will surely shake the ground on which country music stands on. These songs present the magnetic, genre-bending motorcycle joyride that is Kassi Ashton. It’s apparent that whoever Kassi is, and whatever she does, she completely owns it with confidence and isn’t waiting around for anyone else to make it happen for her. Recently signed with UMG Nashville/Interscope Records in 2017, she may not be a household name yet, but it won’t be long until the voice and stories of this edgy, sassy, and soulful Midwestern newcomer will be echoing through everyone’s speakers.
Alec Bailey began writing and playing local venues in North Carolina when he was in middle school. He grew up listening and learning traditional country songs. At the end of high school, he continued music and decided to move out to LA to continue his career. While he was in California, he discovered a passion for R&B soul music. Two years later, he moved to Nashville blending his roots and his passions and currently released his debut project, available on all digital platforms now.
Bear Rinehart is the GRAMMY-nominated frontman of the South Carolina rock band NEEDTOBREATHE. As a founding member of the Atlantic Records act, Rinehart has been a part of multiple chart topping releases including H A R D L O V E which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Albums, Top Current Albums, Top Rock Albums and Top Alternative Albums charts and #2 on the Billboard 200, as well as performing and writing credits on the RIAA-Certified Gold single “Brother (feat. Gavin DeGraw).” Outside of NEEDTOBREATHE, Bear Rinehart has multiple cuts across a variety of genres and resides in Franklin, Tenn. with his family.
Travis Wood is an award-winning songwriter and musician, best known for penning consecutive hit singles for the James Barker Band, including "Good Together," "There's A Drink For That," and "Keep It Simple," the latter of which hit #1 at Canadian Country Radio this year. After quickly writing a slew of radio hits in Canada, totaling three #1s, 16 top 10s and 10 Certified Gold singles, Wood made the move to Nashville to expand his presence.
Jonathan Hutcherson is 20 years old and recently moved from Wilmore, KY to Nashville. He grew up singing in church and school talent shows, and eventually began singing at local fairs and hometown venues. In 2016, Hutcherson auditioned for Season 10 of NBC's hit show, The Voice. He made it onto the show and was selected by Pharrell Williams to join his team -- an experience that led him chase his dreams and pursue music full time.