Nashville Hitmaker Hillary Lindsey Gives Writers a Place to Hang Their Hat With Concord Co-Venture

Hang Your Hat, the new Nashville-based venture between Grammy and CMA Award-winning songwriter Hillary Lindsey and Concord Music Publishing, has begun staffing up with both executives and writers.

The first songwriter signed to Hang Your Hat is Chris La Corte, who most recently worked with Sam Hunt on Hunt’s album, Southside. He also co-wrote Russell Dickerson’s No. 1 singles, “Blue Tacoma” and “Yours.” The company is expected to announce more signings by year’s end.

Serving as Hang Your Hat’s GM and exec VP will be Jake Gear, who previously worked at BMG, where he was senior creative director.

The deal is part of a multi-faceted pact that saw Concord acquire an interest in Lindsey’s back catalog, as well as start the publishing co-venture. Lindsey, who is also an Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated writer, has co-penned such hits as Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” and Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” as well as songs for Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Taylor Swift, among others.

Lindsey says she chose the name because “it brought a feeling of inclusivity, of family, of no matter what kind of hat you wear as an artist or songwriter you can hang it here,” she tells Billboard. “You can be who you are and be loved for who you are.”

While Lindsey is best known for her country songs, Hang Your Hat will sign songwriters representing all genres. “Whether it’s commercial country, singer songwriter, indie, pop, it’s just what moves us, what inspires us,” she says. “To us it’s about the song, it’s about the writer, regardless of the genre it’s about. What do we believe in and how can we help them find their lane, their path? How can we support them the best way we know possible.”

The company isn’t committing to the number of songwriters it will sign. “We’re being careful not to put pressure on ourselves to sign X number of writers just to build a catalog or to chase deals just because they have pipeline activity,” Gear says. “We want to be passionate about each addition to the roster.”

Gear feels being independent puts Hang Your Hat at an advantage. “Prior to my time at BMG, I spent five years as the creative director of indie publisher, Sea Gayle Music. I learned that the competitive edge an independent publisher has is the ability to super-serve their writers. I’ve always viewed my role as a creative as working for the writers and putting them first. At BMG, I saw the challenges that inherently exist at major publishers due simply to the scale of the roster and a market-share mentality, but I also saw the benefits of having a larger team and reach. At Hang Your Hat, our goal is to provide the hands-on service and feel of a boutique indie with the support and reach of a a global company through our partners at Concord Music Publishing. “

Among the services Concord will provide are synch, label and publishing infrastructure outside the country market.

“[They have] so many resources to offer here in Nashville and globally. They are so excited to be a part of the career of every new writer/artist signing,” Lindsey says. “[Concord Music Publishing svp A&R] Brad Kennard and his team here in Nashville are already on top of new songs being turned in and are out there helping make things happen.”

“Getting to partner with Hillary and Jake as the first signing to their new publishing venture with Concord is better than I could have ever planned or imagined,” said La Corte in a statement. “I’ve gotten to know Brad and the Concord team in Nashville over the last couple months, and I’m excited to plug in with the creative teams around the world. I know they have my back with their global influence and reach.”

New Book Captures Nearly 200 Music Venues Shuttered By The Pandemic: See Exclusive Photos

Bring Music Home (BMH), a first of its kind documentation of the current state of U.S. music venues in the aftermath of COVID-19, has announced the official launch of the BMH book. Created remotely over seven months during the COVID-19 pandemic, the book captures the stories of nearly 200 music venues in over 30 U.S. cities and the unsung heroes behind them.

As venues coast to coast have been forced to shutter and hundreds of thousands of music industry employees have been laid off, a team of over 60 independent photographers, producers, designers, and collaborators have joined together to donate their time to capture this collective experience and showcase the local venues that are integral to the creative culture of their communities.

BMH started documenting the live music venues when they began to shutter in March due to the spread of COVID-19. The plan was to take photos and interview important figures at each location from owners to bartenders. As co-founders Amber Mundinger, Tamara Deike and Kevin W. Condon reached out to photographers and friends to help with the project, it swiftly grew.

“It quickly exploded in a good way,” Mundinger tells Billboard. “It’s literally 60 plus collaborators of friends and colleagues or people that we admired across the country that all just came together to say, ‘We care about these really cool places and let’s do something about it.'”

The 400-page book captures images of famous and little known venues that have brought joy and art to their communities for years and are currently battling against extinction. According to a study conducted by the National Independent Venue Association, 90% of its nearly 1,300 members are expected to close their doors permanently without significant financial support from the government.

“It’s deeply impacted me to walk into these empty venues (particularly here in Austin) during the pandemic, and also, to hear the first-person stories of the passion that drives and motivates the people who work in these spaces,” says Dieke. “I’ve created new friendships and connection despite the difficulties of this past year, and am so grateful, to now have a deeper connection to my own music community here in Austin. We hope our readers feel the same about their own city’s venues.”

Mundinger says the project, which will expand into podcasts and a documentary in 2021, was not started with the intention of memorializing the venues. It was launched from a position of hope and a way to see behind the curtain of live music.

“There’s this place that we shot in Clarkdale, Mississippi. It’s called Ground Zero [Blues Club] and it’s called Ground Zero because it’s where blues started,” says Mundinger, who adds that the little known club is partially owned by actor Morgan Freeman. “My hope is that we document all these places, we put them forth to showcase their stories, but then people can go and experience them in the near future and have a new appreciation and understanding for all of these places.”

Artists including Alice Cooper, Dehd, Native Sun, The Black Angels, Shakey Graves, Jesse Malin, Hollis Brown and more sat for interviews about their favorite venues. The book will feature venues including Stubb’s, Baby’s All Right, Tipitinas, The Empty Bottle, The Fillmore, 9:30 Club and many more. It also features images and stories of around 10 venues that have been forced to close during the pandemic including the recently shuttered Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia.

“What I’ve learned, after listening to hours of conversations with so many incredible humans is this: music is a force of energy, and come hell or high water, it will sustain,” says Dieke. “The music industry ecosystem is fractured (sidenote: it was before the pandemic), that’s for certain, but music is culture. And without culture, our communities are empty, void of connection. And if we’ve learned anything these past few months as a society, the connection is what unties us at our music human level. Music is a vehicle for that.”

A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit the NIVA, as well as support over 60 creatives who helped make this project a reality, many of whom were directly impacted by the pandemic. Murals to celebrate the book launch will begin appearing in cities in early 2021. Tito’s Handmade Vodka and YETI also teamed up with BMH to produce and market this first of its kind publication.

The hardback book can be pre-ordered here for $75 today, with projected shipping in January.

Tomorrow X Together Returns to No. 1 on Emerging Artists Chart

Tomorrow X Together returns to No. 1 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart (dated Nov. 21), becoming the top emerging act in the U.S. for the first time since the South Korean pop quintet debuted at the summit in March 2019.

The group revisits the summit as its new EP Minisode1: Blue Hour arrives at No. 1 on World Albums and No. 25 on the all-genre Billboard 200 with 19,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Nov. 12, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Of that sum, 17,000 are from album sales, as the set also launches at No. 1 on the all-genre Album Sales ranking.

Tomorrow X Together adds its second leader on World Albums, following EP The Dream Chapter: Star in March 2019 (when the act first topped Emerging Artists), and highest-charting entry on the Billboard 200.

Among other Emerging Artists chart moves, rapper Pooh Shiesty makes his Billboard chart debut, opening at No. 30 thanks to gains for his tracks “Back in Blood” (featuring Lil Durk), which logged 5 million U.S. streams in its first full tracking week, and “7.62 God,” which drew 1.7 million in its latest frame.

Check out this week’s full Emerging Artists chart here.

Meek Mill Drops Surprise ‘Quarantine Pack’ EP, Flexes Hard In ‘Pain Away’ Video

Meek Mill broke a two-year release drought on Friday (Nov. 20) when he dropped the surprise Quarantine Pack EP. The four-track mini album features bouncy “Middle of It,” the slow-rolling Lil Durk collab “Pain Away,” the motor-mouthed 42 Dugg-featuring “GTA” and the contemplative “Think It’s a Game” with Vory.

The release is the long-awaited follow-up to Meek’s 2018 No. 1 album Championships. Though the rapper has released a string of singles and collaborations over the past year with Ella Mai (“24/7″), Roddy Ricch (“Letter to Nipsey”) and Justin Timberlake (“Believe”), fans were waiting for a new full-length. In the meantime, this quick hit will have do.

The MC, who has been hard at work on prison and criminal justice reform with Jay-Z through their REFORM Alliance, also released a video for “Pain Way” in which he balances a stack in one hand and a weapon in the other as he flexes about how all the money coming in helps ease his pain.

“You had a brick and I ain’t even have a quarter key/ You never seen my hand out, I knew it was more to me/ It’s more than us to see our sons and all our daughters eat/ ‘Cause I got cops tryna lock me, cops out tryna slaughter me/ But I stayed prayed up, loadin’ all these K’s up,” Meek raps on the track. “I just hope this money take the pain away/ And I’ve been tryna save my money for a rainy day,” he adds on the chorus, noting that a new Rolls truck and diamonds might help.

Listen to Quarantine Pack and watch “Pain Away” below.