GM • Monument Records
McCartney, who runs Monument Records with co-presidents Jason Owen and Shane McAnally, oversaw Walker Hayes’ rise to stardom with his cross-format smash, “Fancy Like,” an ode to a sweetheart who’s happy with “Applebee’s on a date night/Got that Bourbon Street steak with an Oreo shake.” The song topped the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts and reached No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. The track also won top country song at the Billboard Music Awards in May. “It not only changed everything for him as an artist,” says McCartney, “but it changed everything for us at Monument, too.”
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Walker hitting the top of every country chart — blasting through every TV screen and prompting millions of TikToks — was a surreal experience for our whole team. And now with his song “AA” on the same trajectory, we couldn’t be more excited for what’s next for him and for Monument.
How did you celebrate Hayes’ No. 1 for “Fancy Like?” Oreo shakes for everyone?
Yes, actually. Walker came to the office for a toast with the entire staff and it was a super emotional moment for everyone. We had a chance to really reflect on the work that has gone on over the last several years, and we were able to really recognize every staff member for their huge impact on the process. And then, we did, in fact, all go to Applebee’s for a celebratory dinner.
Caitlyn Smith also is a rising star on the roster. What are the plans for her?
She’s just a hit away. The foundation she has built as a songwriter, powerhouse vocalist, producer and touring artist is
unlike any other new artist in our format. We released the first portion of her self-produced new album, High, earlier this year and shipped her single “Downtown Baby” to country radio, which kicked off her headlining tour. She performs the theme song for the new Fox TV show Monarch premiering in September. She is also a guest star on the show. We are focused on breaking her wide open this year.
What steps is Monument taking to make country more diverse and inclusive?
I’m proud to say that we have a 50/50 male-tofemale artist ratio on the Monument roster. Yet
there is still major room for improvement when it comes to amplifying more diverse voices in our format. All deserve to be heard. The audience is there and the talent is there. Jason Owen and Shane McAnally have been and are hugely outspoken advocates for the LGBTQ community. I’ve personally learned a lot serving on the [diversity, equity and inclusion] task forces for both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music and am bringing those tools to our team, our artists and the company as a whole. We all still have a long way to go. It is a huge priority as we move forward.
President • Bob Doyle & Associates
After Garth Brooks’ stadium tour was forced to shut down twice — first in 2020 at the start of the pandemic and again amid more COVID-19 uncertainty during the summer of 2021 — Brooks’ longtime manager Doyle got the trek back up and running in March 2022. Averaging, according to Doyle, 90,000-plus tickets sold per market so far, Doyle helped Brooks face down the unprecedented challenges to remain one of the world’s best-selling, highest-grossing artists of all time.
Owner Neon Coast
“The highest achievement for our company over the past year was getting our artists back on the road and in front of fans despite the lingering challenges of COVID-19,” says Earls. “Kane Brown’s NBA arena tour was a massive success, and to have sold out shows from coast to coast during a time of market uncertainty was a tremendous achievement and a testament to Kane’s superstardom.” Up-and-coming acts also returned to the road. “Launching Restless Road’s headlining tour and getting Nightly back in front of its rabid fan base through touring,” says Earls, “have been such satisfying achievements that have allowed us to take both acts to the next level.”
Owner • The HQ
A Las Vegas residency that grossed $12.4 million and the Grammy Award-winning gospel album
Savior are among Carrie Underwood’s recent accomplishments. “We were proud to be a part of the grand opening of the Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas in December with Carrie Underwood’s ongoing Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency, as she was the first artist to perform there,” Edelblute says of the eighttime Grammy winner whose new album, Denim & Rhinestones, arrived June 10. Underwood has played three sold-out runs (December through May), and will return to Vegas in 2023 after her just-announced 43-city Denim & Rhinestones arena tour concludes.
President • KP Entertainment
Before his fifth season as a judge on ABC’s American Idol, Edwards’ client Luke Bryan staged his 2021 Proud
To Be Right Here Tour (earning recognition as a finalist for top country tour at the Billboard Music Awards) and then launched his Las Vegas headlining dates for Resorts World in February. Among other members of the KP Entertainment roster: Cole Swindell scored his seventh Country Airplay No. 1 with “Never Say Never” with Lainey Wilson, and Dylan Scott celebrated his first trophy at the 2021 CMT Awards, winning breakthrough video of the year for “Nobody.” The latest addition to Edwards’ management roster, American Idol season 19 winner Chayce Beckham, released his debut EP, Doin’ It Right, in April.
• Morris Higham Management
Co-owner • Morris Higham Management Morris Higham Management client Kenny Chesney wrapped 2021 by taking home the CMA Award for musical event of the year for his collaboration with Kelsea Ballerini on “half of my hometown.” Come 2022, the country icon delivered another head-turning musical event: his long-awaited return to stadiums. The demand was so high leading into Chesney’s Here and Now 2022 tour that two months before it kicked off in April, he tacked on 20 more amphitheater shows. Higham, whose other clients include Old Dominion, Michael Ray and Brantley Gilbert, says, “We’re constantly in awe of [Chesney’s] work ethic, performance acuity and production capabilities both on- and offstage.”
Founder • Make Wake Artists
For Kappy, the biggest highlight of the past year was “coming out of the pandemic firing on all cylinders.” Management client Luke Combs, who was named CMA entertainer of the year in November, maintained a record-setting streak of 14 straight No. 1 Country Airplay singles with “Doin’ This.” On May 21, Combs played to 50,000 in Denver at his first stadium headlining date. Among Make Wake’s other clients, Drew Parker co-wrote two of Combs’ No. 1 titles, while Hailey Whitters earned a song of the year Grammy nod for “Beautiful Noise” and Niko Moon and Flatland Cavalry continued their career ascents.
CEO • ShopKeeper Management See page 54.
President/CEO CTK Management “We have been blessed with many achievements from the past 18 months,” says Nozell, including the fact that CTK Management didn’t have to furlough employees during
Bob Doyle helped longtime management client Garth Brooks navigate the pandemic-driven shutdown of his stadium tours in 2020 and 2021, as well as the relaunch of the shows in March 2022.
the pandemic. The Dolly Parton juggernaut continues: Her collaboration with suspense novelist James Patterson, Run, Rose, Run, spent five weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list, and Reese Witherspoon is producing the upcoming film based on the book, which will also star Parton. Parton also hosted the 2022 ACM Awards, starred in two Super Bowl commercials and was named to the 2022 class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Nozell signed Dennis Quaid to his management roster, and he has shepherded Kenny G into a Super Bowl commercial, an HBO documentary and collaborations with The Weeknd and Kanye West.
Lynn Oliver-Cline Founder/CEO • River House Artists Zebb Luster
VP/GM • River House Artists
River House Artists, an independent label, publishing and management company, counts Luke Combs (reigning CMA Awards entertainer of the year) and Jameson Rodgers among the artists on its label (through Sony Music Nashville), with more acts to come thanks to a new venture with Warner Nashville and Elektra Records. “They are a very passionate and collaborative team,” Oliver-Cline says of the new label home. The publishing division also logged successes with songwriter-artists Ray Fulcher, Drew Parker and Billy Strings.
President/CEO • Sandbox Entertainment; co-president • Monument Records Owen’s management clients include Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini and Dan + Shay. In April, Sandbox launched Sandbox Live, a new division in partnership with Live Nation. Days after announcing the new company’s first venture, The Judds: The Final Tour, matriarch Naomi Judd died. Sandbox Live co-produced Judd’s live memorial service with CMT, and the fall tour will now honor her memory, as superstars such as Brandi Carlile and Trisha Yearwood will replace Judd as they join daughter Wynonna Judd on tour.
Says Owen: “Watching the industry, friends, family and fans come together to show so much love and support for Wynonna and the Judd family has been really inspiring.”
Founder/president, Q Prime South Under Peets’ leadership, Q Prime South found major success in the past year with Ashley McBryde (who topped the Country Airplay chart with her Carly Pearce duet, “Never Wanted To Be That Girl”) and Brothers Osborne (winner of the best country duo/group performance Grammy for their powerful “Younger Me”). Peets’ main triumph was in the live sector, where Eric Church’s Gather Again Tour became the highest-grossing outing of his career. Church also announced plans to open Chief’s, a six-story Nashville bar, restaurant and music venue, in 2023.
Clarence Spalding Chris Parr
Partners • Maverick
Head of marketing and digital strategy
Maverick clients have notched a slate of successes in the last year. Jason Aldean sold most of his catalog to
Spirit Music Group in a nine-figure deal and released a two-part album, Macon, Georgia, with both halves debuting within the top three of the Top Country Albums chart. Brooks & Dunn rode a “Neon Moon” TikTok explosion that led to 2.5 billion digital views. Reba McEntire issued a box set, executive-produced two Lifetime movies and returned in a recurring role on CBS’ Young Sheldon; she also joined the cast of ABC drama Big Sky. Darius Rucker created his own festival in Charleston, S.C., and a Design Network series, Rucker’s Reno. In the midst of the triumphant year, Cates became a Nashville Music Equity board member, working to improve diversity in the genre.
Artist manager House of 42/
Red Light Management
Weir’s client Maren Morris took her latest studio album, Humble Quest
— which peaked at No. 2 on the Top Country Albums chart — on quite an ambitious quest this year, from the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, Calif., to her NPR Tiny Desk (Home) concert held at Nashville’s SoHo House to a 45-date U.S. tour through the end of 2022. Of her team, Weir says, “I’m proud that we’ve intentionally maintained a healthy balance of constant learning/adapting while not overreacting to the complexities of the ever-changing environment of releasing music and touring.”
CTK Management president/
CEO Danny Nozell worked with client Dolly Parton, who hosted the ACM Awards in March and was named to the 2022 class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“I’m proud that we’ve intentionally maintained a healthy balance of constant learning/adapting while not overreacting to the complexities of the everchanging environment of releasing music and touring.”