Buzzers are buzzing over the rumored return of Luke Lewis to the major-label world. Chatter surrounds a supposed JV with Max Lousada and Espo that could bring the veteran exec back into the center of the action in Nashville.

He served as chief exec at UMG Nashville from 1998 until 2012, when Mike Dungan succeeded him in the top post. Prior to his exit, Lewis inked this year’s Album of the Year winner, Kacey Musgraves, not to mention (in tandem with A&R exec Brian Wright) Chris Stapleton. Dungan, of course, has had a terrific run breaking both acts.

Lewis saw big success first as Mercury Nashville chief, where he’s credited with developing the career of Shania Twain, among others, and later on UMG’s Lost Highway label, which he launched in 2000, with such releases as the multiplatinum O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2002.

We understand that the veteran exec has decided that fishing, golfing poorly and building vacation homes just won’t cut it anymore. Joel Katz—who else—is said to be back in the saddle again, doing the deal on Mr. Lewis’ behalf.