Kent Blazy, growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, became musically inspired when he heard Roger McGuinn playing his Rickenbacker guitar on "Mr. Tamborine Man".This created a new choice and Kent traded in his baseball glove for a guitar. He began his musical journey playing with a series of bands all over the eastern half of the country.
By the mid-70’s, Kent was band leader, playing guitar and touring with Canadian legend, Ian Tyson. Sound advice and the timely first place win in a national songwriting contest persuaded him to move to Nashville in 1980. Kent’s commitment was now to focus his efforts at the craft of songwriting. It was a very fine decision.
In 1982, sooner than expected, Gary Morris took "Headed for a Heartache" to number 5 on the charts. In the years that followed other artists, such as The Forrester Sisters, T. Graham Brown, Donna Fargo and Moe Bandy recorded Kent’s tunes.
In an effort to develop more knowledge of the recording side of music and for the benefits of a “day job”, Kent opened a home recording studio. The studio offered an option for Kent’s demos as well as a demo service to other writers. This studio introduced Kent to some of the new demo singers and songwriters of Nashville; names like Randy Travis, Billy Dean, Trisha Yearwood, Joe Diffie, and Martina McBride, now well-known country artists.
In 1987, Kent was introduced to a new demo singer by Bob Doyle, then with ASCAP, soon to be the manager for this emerging talent, Garth Brooks. Garth became Kent’s most requested demo singer and Bob Doyle also advised, “Garth writes a little bit too.”
The first song Garth and Kent penned together was "If Tomorrow Never Comes" which became the first number one song for both. The friendship and writing partnership continued as Garth included eight more of their songs on his albums. Four more captured the number one slot: "Somewhere Other Than the Night", "Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)", "It’s Midnight Cinderella", and "She’s Gonna Make It"
Garth’s newest CD, "The Lost Sessions", includes another Kent and Garth song, "For a Minute There", written for their fathers. Kent and fellow songwriter Pat Alger co-produced a CD titled "In the Beginning: A Songwriter’s Tribute to Garth Brooks".
This project is a collective of 6 other songwriters who composed songs on Garth’s first two albums. The focus was to present the songs in the original acoustic and authentic sound form as Garth first heard them. The CD was originally planned as a gift to Garth during his 100 million party in 2000. An independent recording label saw the potential and released the CD in 2001, resulting in 50,000+ copies sold to date.
An added benefit of this CD included a tour in Ireland for Kent and 3 other Garth writers. In Ireland, Kent discovered that "If Tomorrow Never Comes" was released in Europe, Japan, Australia and The United Kingdom by an Irish artist, Ronan Keating. His recording became a successful number one song in many countries.
Kent’s songwriting continues with established writing partnerships, as well as developing partnerships with new writers and artists. Many of his crafted works continue to be recorded by artists such as Diamond Rio, Kenny Chesney, Terri Clark, Clay Walker, Patty Loveless, Julie Roberts, Andy Griggs and Blaine Larsen, a new recording artist on RCA. Kent's latest #1 hit is Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song), recorded by Chris Young.
Few female Nashville singer-songwriters are more respected or more revered than the stunning talent that is Leslie Satcher. At the age of 26, the native Texan made the move to Nashville in pursuit of a singing career and was quickly recognized for her gift with lyric and melody. After being mentored at a smaller publisher by many of the music industry’s legendary songwriters, she made the move to Sony Music Publishing where she would stay for nearly 15 years. During this time, she was also signed as an artist at Warner Brothers. While recording her critically acclaimed debut album, “Love Letters”, her songs were growing in demand.
Though Leslie is primarily known as a country singer and songwriter, her talents cross all genres. She has written or co-written songs that have been recorded by everyone from Willie Nelson to Ariana Grande; Vince Gill to Sheila E.; George Strait to Sheryl Crow; Martina McBride to Keb’Mo; Blake Shelton to Bonnie Raitt and many, many more. Leslie co-wrote Josh Kelley’s current single “Loves You Like Me”. She has received multiple BMI “Million-Air” awards recognizing a song’s one millionth airplay and her incomparable vocals contribute to an astounding number of Grammy, CMA & ACM award winning projects.
Leslie’s next two albums, “Creation” and “Gypsy Boots” were recorded independently and truly exhibit the diversity of her Texas roots and Delta soul. They are available on iTunes, CDBaby and every other major digital distributor.
Aside from writing hit songs for some of music’s most iconic artists; Leslie is in high demand as a performer known for her angelic voice, funny stories, the unique playing style and sound of her guitar; but mostly, her uncanny ability to connect with audiences of any size or demographic. Her typical year will include more than 150 songwriting sessions and 65 live performances all over the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
Leslie has recently completed her fourth album; “Leslie Satcher & The Electric Honey Badgers – 2 Days In Muscle Shoals” for NHMM/Kobalt. This incredible collection of songs features an All-Star band and guest appearances from Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood and Heidi Newfield.
With a name like Rivers Rutherford, it's no surprise this soulful storyteller was destined to become one of Nashville, Tennessee's (and music's) most talented and accomplished singer-songwriters. Having grown up in the shadow of Elvis' Graceland homestead of Memphis, Rutherford came out of the gates swinging, landing his first cut with American legends Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson (aka The Highwaymen). What followed were 8 #1 hits, multiple Grammys, CMA and ACM nominations, and over 20 ASCAP Awards, including both of the coveted awards for Country Song Of The Year and Songwriter Of The Year, all of which have firmly established Rutherford's position within the upper echelon of Nashville's most lauded songwriters.
You'll see Rivers' name on #1 songs by Tim McGraw, Montgomery Gentry, Gretchen Wilson, Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton (for the stunning and Grammy-nominated duet "When I Get Where I'm Going"), Kenny Chesney, Rodney Atkins, Trace Adkins, and Brooks & Dunn - penning the duo's most successful single to-date ("Ain't Nothing 'Bout You") which spent 6-weeks at #1 and won both 2002 Billboard and 2002 ASCAP Song Of The Year awards. Rivers has also enjoyed success with Country giants the likes of Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith, Faith Hill, and Gary Allan.
Known for his gritty, southern style, Rutherford is unapologetic about his love for God, devotion to his family, and making great music. His decades long career, the countless hits to his credit and his ability to write music that is timeless is a testament to a man that has come to be respected as an artist in his own right.
A staple on Universal Music Publishing's roster since 1996, Rivers continues to write with and for the biggest names in Country music. He's also returned to his early troubadour roots and maintains a rigorous touring schedule (over 50 dates a year), bringing his rip-roaring brand of no-holds-barred entertainment to audiences all over the world who come to hear his familiar hits straight from the source. With a persona that is at once direct, raw, and impassioned, and possessing the shrewd skills of a storyteller capable of cutting right to the heart of the matter, Rivers is known to cross the line - a trait that endears him to fans of both his live performance and of his songwriting.
Payton Smith first unlocked the gateway of Nashville’s, “Music Row”, in 2014 while on a family vacation. A makeshift performance in the hotel lobby during that vacation led to some high profile introductions, one to renowned producer, Buddy Cannon(Kenny Chesney/Willie Nelson). Cannon’s amazement with Payton’s guitar skills, vocal ability, and songwriting talent led to his offer to help. Now, four years in, Payton has had attention from music executives, publishers, and creative minds that have acknowledged the vision of this up and coming country music star.
In June of this year Payton had the opportunity to perform at the famed annual CMA music festival in Nashville. That performance produced a recording contract offer from one of Billboard music’s top 100 power players, Big Machine Label Group president & CEO, Scott Borchetta. Big Machine is responsible for breaking top acts Taylor Swift and Thomas Rhett, and holds to the belief that Payton Smith is the next wave.
With lots of work still to be done, team Payton is taking shape and the buzz is building. At the heart of it all is a love for music and people, and a desire to inspire, uplift, and connect with individuals from all walks of life. Keep your eyes and ears open to what’s next for this hometown southern boy from Louisiana.
“Payton Smith is one of the most exciting young singers, musicians, and songwriters I have ever encountered. He hit the Nashville streets running at the age of 14 and now, at 18, is developing into the music artist I believe will soon be the leader of the pack." - Producer Buddy Cannon