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"Our goal is for him to be playing stadiums in the next few years. And we feel we can do it.”
——RLG Executive VP Butch Waugh on Brad Paisley
RLG/NASHVILLE HEADS INTO HUGE FOURTH QUARTER
Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Paisley, McBride & Others Plan High-Profile Releases

It’s been an incredible year for RLG/Nashville—and the fourth quarter is shaping up to be just as incredible, according to Butch Waugh, Executive VP of RLG (which includes Arista Nashville as well as the BNA and RCA labels).

The label released Brad Paisley’s new Time Well Wasted album last month, which debuted at #2, selling 190k copies debut week. Critical acclaim as well as CMT, GAC and mega-country radio support that week guaranteed nothing less, following a year that already included a phenomenal single (“Alcohol”), tour and awards for a hit single with Alison Krauss.

“We’ll have a two-year run with this album, based on all the exposure,” says Waugh. “I’ve got to be honest with you—our goal is for him to be playing stadiums in the next few years. And we feel we can do it.”

Also just released on 8/30 is a new album from superstars Brooks & Dunn, who have a smash single, “Play Something Country” at radio and appeared on Good Morning, America launch week. CMT is also broadcasting a B&D special, Homecoming, which shows a rarely-seen side of the duo. They’re currently on tour with Big & Rich—and fans who miss the tour can catch them via a taped Tulsa concert that Regal Cinemas will run in 60 markets. A second single, “I Believe,” is due next week. Waugh believes it could be “the biggest song they’ve ever had.”

On 9/13, RLG released a new Lone Star album, prepped via the success of the “Feel Like Coming Home” single, which is also getting major support on radio station websites. The band has appearances scheduled on Good Morning, America, The View, Tony Danza and Access Hollywood.

October 4 brings a new one from Sara Evans, who currently has a country Top 10 single. She completed a recent tour with Paisley, then with Alan Jackson, and she’s now back on the road with Paisley. “She’s been on the road for 18 months and will be out for another 18,” says Waugh. “You can just feel that she’s going to the next level.” Evans is scheduled to be part of a Good Morning, America “Women of Rock” special coinciding with the release.

A week later, Martina McBride returns with an album of 18 country classics, featuring many musicians who played on the original versions. Radio is already heavily rotating a wonderful cover of “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden,” with other covers ranging from Buddy Holly to Loretta Lynn. In addition to a Today Show appearance and her own PBS Soundstage TV special, she’ll also have a CMT special and GAC will air a special featuring the vocalist performing the songs at the Grand Ole Opry.

The cherry on top is perhaps a new album from superstar Kenny Chesney on 11/18, following the phenomenal success of Be As You Are (which sold 310k debut week) earlier this year. A large part of its success was due to an internet marketing plan by RLG’s New Media head Heather McBee, as well as a CMT special and radio support. His fans are rabid—Waugh compares it to the evolution he saw with the Dave Matthews Band—and they put the last album in the Top 10 without a radio single because the album before that was still being worked.

For this follow-up, he’s got a Good Morning, America appearance release week and then an ABC-TV special on 11/23 (with another GMA performance that same morning). He’s also got appearances scheduled on both the AMAs and CMAs, with more TV being finalized.

Finally, the label is breaking new artist Keith Anderson, who’s selling 10k a week, has enjoyed success with two singles at radio and has just gone on tour with Rascal Flatts, following appearances on The Today Show and in People’s list of America’s five hottest bachelors.

Waugh’s position at RLG is unique, overseeing promotion artist development, media and sales, working closely with RLG Chairman Joe Galante, who supervises the A&R department headed by Renee Bell (and includes Jim Catino, Carole Ann Mobley and Leslie Roberts). Waugh credits his entire team, most of whom he’s worked with consistently during his eight-year RLG tenure, including Artist Development and Marketing team Jon Elliot, Debbie Linn and Cindy Mabe; heads of promotion Mike Wilson (RCA), Tom Baldrica (BNA) and Bobby Kraig and Teddi Bonadies (Arista); head of Media Allen Brown; head of Creative Wade Hunt, and head of Sales Jim Saliby.

“You set a structure based on successful companies, using it as a model,” says Waugh, “But if you don’t have the people who are passionate and knowledgeable about the music, it all doesn’t matter. And we have great music behind it all.”

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