2020 Lineup

Aaron Barker was born in San Antonio, Texas, and began his musical career in a "variety band". His first attempt at creating his own song, "Baby Blue," was recorded by George Strait on the ‘If You Ain't Lovin', You Ain't Livin' album and went number one in Billboard. Aaron then began to refine his original material in small clubs and cafes where he would play on weekends. This led to him writing, "Love Without End, Amen", which was also recorded by George Strait and hit number one in Billboard for five consecutive weeks. Barker also wrote Strait’s # 1 song "Easy Come, Easy Go"and Lonestar‘s "What About Now”. His songs have also been recorded by, Clay Walker, Aaron Tippin and Willie Nelson.

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Brandon Kinney’s journey as a songwriter has garnered him cuts with artists like Jason Aldean (“Drowns The Whiskey,” “Set It Off”), Cole Swindell (“Love You Too Late,” "Reason To Drink," "No Can Left Behind," “Should’ve Ran After You”), Jon Pardi ("Ain't Always The Cowboy"), Luke Bryan (“Beer In The Headlights”), Justin Moore (“I’d Want It To Be Yours,” “Off The Beaten Path”), Chase Rice (“Dirt Road Communication”), Chris Janson (“Right In The Middle”), Willie Nelson (“Ain’t Goin’ Down On Brokeback Mountain”), Craig Campbell (“Outta My Head”) and Randy Houser, whose single "Boots On" was named BMI's 2nd Most Played Song of 2009.

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Bill LaBounty's musical direction was clear by the age of 19, when he was signed with his rock band to RCA Records. The Pacific Northwest native then took his act solo, recording an album for Twentieth Century Fox Records, followed by 3 albums for Warner Bros. Records, which spawned the pop hits Never Gonna Look Back (with James Taylor), Livin' It Up and This Night Won't Last Forever. Bill's most recent album The Right Direction, enjoyed success in Europe and Japan. Over the years his resume includes cuts by an array of Pop and Country artists including Patti LaBelle, Jimmy Buffett, The Judds, Steve Wariner, The Temptations, Brooks & Dunn, Steve Goodman and Phoebe Snow, Peter Cetera and Tim McGraw, among others.

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Grammy, CMA and ACM nominee Bobby Tomberlin began his career in the music business at the early age of eleven as a disc jockey in his hometown of Luverne, Alabama. During this time, he interviewed legends such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Keith Whitley. Mel Tillis gave Bobby his first publishing contract, and he is currently a staff songwriter for CURB Music Publishing in Nashville, TN. Bobby co-wrote the number one Country and Top 5 AC single, "One More Day", recorded by Diamond Rio and co-authored the inspirational book by the same title. He co-wrote the Top 10 hit single, "A Good Day To Run" with Darryl Worley and the hit, "Country" with Mo Pitney and Bill Anderson. Bobby has also had songs recorded by Barbra Streisand, Blake Shelton, Willie Nelson, Faith Hill, Kenny Rogers, Josh Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joe Nichols, Pam Tillis, Thompson Square, Rodney Atkins, Joe Diffie, Sylvia, David Nail, Chris Young, Terri Clark, Little Jimmy Dickens, Chely Wright, the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, Ty Herndon, Linda Davis, Dylan Scott, T.G. Sheppard, Jett Williams, actor Chris Pine, Eddy Arnold, Russ Taff and many others. Bobby's songs have been used in numerous films.

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Blake Esse—United States Navy Veteran, singer-songwriter, Nashville Star finalist, winner of Clint Black’s “Competing for a Cause” songwriter contest and BMI artist. Blake, noted as "a standout artist" has shared the stage with many of today’s best country music artists like Clint Black, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, Jamey Johnson, Michael Ray and others. Blake released his first original single in 2018 “Feels good don’t it” recorded and produced by legend Clint Black. Blake will release his EP album Summer 2020.

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Craig Wayne Boyd, Adam Wakefield and Casey James are craftsmen of music. They have each had their own success as solo artists and are now embarking on a new quest driven by passion and brotherhood. Their voices alone are proven strong enough to make top three of internationally renowned reality shows. Together, their harmonies are best described as country molasses. Add in Casey’s guitar licks which earned him 3rd place on season 9 of American Idol, Adam’s wailing B-3 runs and Craig’s ear for unique vocal parts and you get three soft-hearted rebels blending over bottles, boots and strings.

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Carlo Colasacco is a Nashville based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist who has had releases in multiple genres including Rock, Alternative, Pop, Dance, and Country. He has had a #1 Rock song with the band “Shinedown”, multiple #1 Dance songs, and a #1 pop song in Europe. Many of his songs have been featured in TV & Film such as “Lucifer” on FOX, and the Theme song for PBR on CBS, and the FIFA World Cup. He has multiple releases coming out this year including a single with new Warner Bros. artist Shy Carter.

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The Grammy nominated songwriter, Clint Daniels, was born and raised in the Florida panhandle. He gained an interest in music as a child, singing with his sister in church. Inspired by bluegrass, Daniels taught himself to play guitar by the time he turned 12. After graduating high school he moved to Nashville, TN in pursuit of a career in the country music industry. In 1998, he signed a record deal with Arista. Since that time he's continued working with various labels and publishing companies. Daniels has co-written songs for other country artists, including the following Billboard No. 1 Hits: "Some Of It" by Eric Church in 2019 & was nominated for his first GRAMMY (Best Country Song - https://www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/clint-daniels); "Brokenheartsville" by Joe Nichols and "Roll with Me" by Montgomery Gentry Daniels has also penned award winning songs such as: "God Must Be Busy" by Brooks and Dunn, and "Ready For The End Of The World" by George Strait.

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David "Dave" Pahanish is an American singer-songwriter. He co-wrote the No. 1 Billboard country music singles "Do You Believe Me Now” by Jimmy Wayne, "American Ride" by Toby Keith, and "Without You" by Keith Urban. Pahanish has also had songs recorded by Tim McGraw. A native of southwestern Pennsylvania, Pahanish regularly performed folk rock on the stages of Pittsburgh for over 15 years. His songs appeared in television series and he collaborated with Nashville-based songwriter Michael Garvin. Pahanish relocated from California, Pennsylvania to Nashville in late 2006. Within weeks, he was offered three music publishing deals, and signed with 3 River Publishing, owned by songwriters Hillary Lindsey, Dallas Davidson, and Cole Wright. Pahanish wrote the majority of songs on Moon Township country singer Sarah Marince's debut CD, Somebody Like You. He also co-wrote and co-produced the Top 40 Billboard Hot Country Songs charting single, "I Will", by Jimmy Wayne. Pahanish co-wrote the single, "Without You", with Joe West, recorded by Keith Urban on his 2010 album, Get Closer. Urban chose the song because of how closely the lyrics and message fit in with his own life, stating: "it's the most autobiographical song I never wrote." Pahanish wrote the song after meeting his wife’s family for the first time, without realizing any similarities to Urban’s life. The song became Urban's 12th No. 1 single and Pahanish and West's third No. 1 song. Two of Pahanish's songs were recorded by Tim McGraw for his 2012 album, Emotional Traffic.

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Originally from the great state of New Jersey, Dylan has been writing songs and performing in Nashville for 18 years. He has had three #1 songs: Tim McGraw’s “Watch The Wind Blow By,” Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and most recently Jason Aldean’s “Take A Little Ride.” Other artists who have recorded Dylan’s songs include Trace Adkins, Will Hoge and Gabe Dixon. He is an avid supporter and volunteer for Musicians On Call, an organization that provides live music for patients in area hospitals, and he co-hosts an annual benefit for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) with good friend and frequent collaborator EMI Records Nashville recording artist Eric Paslay. His proudest accomplishment is his beautiful daughter Isabella, who serves as his greatest inspiration.

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Rolling Stone has named her to their “Artists To Watch” list, CMT named her one of their “Next Women of Country,” and American Idol mentor, and iHeart Radio DJ, Bobby Bones, recently invited her on to his nationally-syndicated Country music morning radio show. Hannah competed during Season 8 of The Voice on NBC. She sang the National Anthem at a University of Kentucky basketball game, a bucket-list item now crossed off the list. Ellis has written songs recorded by artists spanning multiple genres, including: Russell Dickerson, Carly Pearce, Emily Weisband, Cassadee Pope, Sidewalk Prophets, and Filmore. She has toured with Gavin DeGraw, Dwight Yoakam, Devin Dawson, and many others, and has toured as part of the CMT “Next Women of Country” Tour.

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Hilary’s grandfather, Hank Williams, Sr., laid the very foundation for country songwriting, and her father, Hank Williams, Jr., defined country superstardom throughout the '80s. Hilary carries on that family legacy with her debut album, "My Lucky Scars." Inspired by a devastating car accident in 2006 that nearly claimed her life, “My Lucky Scars” takes you through Hilary’s journey to overcome that near-death experience. The balance of the album addresses navigating the complicated game of love on tracks "The Day After the Circus," "Shipwreck" and "Better Than Here." Even when singing about the toll heartbreak has taken, her voice continues to shine bright, which you’ll hear on "Let Somebody Save Me," co-written with John Paul White (Civil Wars) and Kris Bergsnes, as well as her spot-on cover of Joni Mitchell's "River." The list of songwriters contributing to "My Lucky Scars" reads like a who's who among modern tunesmiths -- Natalie Hemby, Ross Copperman, Heather Morgan, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Bobby Tomberlin as well as rock legend John Eddie. This album also shares a direct connection to the female rockers who shaped her in her youth. The jagged edge of Sheryl Crow's guitar sound and the no-holds-barred lyrics of P.J. Harvey were the initial inspirations as Hilary set out to record this project along with her co-producers John Would (Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams) and Lincoln Parish (Cage the Elephant).

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Ian Munsick's musical capability and potential aren't all that different from the ranch in Sheridan, WY where he grew up. As the youngest of three brothers in an exceptionally musical family, Ian's upbringing was a mix of working cattle and working crowds with the family band, "The Munsick Boys". Throughout his childhood, he kept adding more instruments to his repertoire. Listening to Ian's music today, you'll hear his appreciation for innovation and his insatiable passion to express himself as an artist. Ian's not afraid to try out a new sound, idea (or outfit) and it's made him stand out in the best way possible.

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James Slater wrote the Grammy-nominated songs “High Cost of Living,” (Jamey Johnson) and “In My Daughter’s Eyes” (Martina McBride). His writing credits also include “Can’t Shake You” (Gloriana); “Lookin’ for That Girl” (Tim McGraw); “There’s More to Me Than You” (Jessica Andrews); “Unstoppable” (Rascal Flatts); and songs recorded by Kenny Chesney, Enrique Iglesias, Julio Iglesias, Lady Antebellum, Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson, Kellie Pickler, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Young.

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From the moment he enters a room, it becomes clear that Jay Allen is here to tell his story. The tattoo-clad singer/songwriter has his heart inked on his sleeve – so to speak – and sings with conviction onstage that stems from the music he heard growing up in rural Iowa. Jay’s mother, a major source of inspiration, introduced Jay to country music greats like Brookes & Dunn, George Strait and John Michael Montgomery at an early age. Jay has achieved major milestones in the course of the past few years: he’s signed a publishing and development deal with Sony ATV publishing, enlisted management team, Edge Artist Management and released a five-song EP, which produced his first hit single “Sounds Good To Me” – dubbed a “Highway Find” on SiriusXM’s The Highway. The song is currently climbing the charts on satellite radio and quickly becoming the track you want on repeat with lyrics like: “If you wanna go lose yourself in these eyes / chase down a bit of that sweet high / if that sounds good to you then that sounds good to me.” Jay co-wrote the tune alongside ACM-nominated songwriter Phil Barton and Lindsay Rimes, who also produced the track. Inspired by his fellow lyricists, Jay leapt full-time into the writing process, discovering his sound and testing new songs at writer’s rounds around Nashville. He is currently in the studio working on new music and will continue to bring his songs to life out on the road.

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Jim McCormick is a three-time Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum lyricist who has twice seen his work reach the #1 position on the Billboard country charts. His songs have been recorded by Jason Aldean , Kelly Clarkson, Luke Bryan, Harry Connick Jr, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Cody Johnson, Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis, Ronnie Milsap, Jamey Johnson, Randy Travis, and many others. McCormick is staff songwriter at BMG Music Publishing and a faculty member in the film and music industry studies program of Loyola University where he teaches the craft and business of songwriting. He’s also a member of the faculty of Belmont University in Nashville. He lives in New Orleans with his wife and three sons.

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Kostas originally made his mark Montana as a singer and songwriter throughout the 1980s. Eventually, he was discovered by record producer Tony Brown, who was searching for new material for country singer Patty Loveless. Kostas's first cut as a songwriter, "Timber, I'm Falling in Love", was recorded by Loveless; released as a single in 1989, it went to Number One on the Billboard country charts, becoming Loveless's first Number One hit. She would also release three more of his songs as singles: "The Lonely Side of Love" (1989), "On Down the Line" (1990), and "Blame It On Your Heart" (1994). "Blame It on Your Heart" also earned BMI's Robert J. Burton award for being the most performed single of 1994. Dwight Yoakam also recorded several songs written by Kostas, including "Nothing's Changed Here", "Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose", and "Send a Message to My Heart" (a duet with Loveless), all of which were released as singles from Yoakam's 1990 album If There Was a Way. Yoakam's 1993 album, This Time, included another song co-written by Kostas: the single "Ain't That Lonely Yet", which earned Yoakam a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance - Male in 1994. During the early 1990s, Kostas also wrote singles for McBride & the Ride, Travis Tritt, Holly Dunn, Martina McBride, and The Mavericks. Kostas currently resides in Belgrade, Montana with his dog Bella. He will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October.

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Country artist/songwriter ‪Kristen Kelly cut her teeth on the music scene in her home state of Texas. Her sound caught the ear of Arista Nashville, who signed Kelly and brought in award-winning producer Tony Brown and Grammy-winning songwriter ‪Paul Overstreet to oversee her major-label debut including the lead off single, "Ex-Old Man” which was her first top 30 billboard charting single. As one of CMT’s Next Women of Country, Kristen has spent the last few years writing, recording, playing the Grand Ole Opry all the while touring with acts including ‪Brad Paisley, ‪Rascal Flatts, ‪Montgomery Gentry, ‪Jake Owen, ‪Gary Allan and more. Her independently released FIRE ep (2015) includes the hits "Kiss By Kiss" and "Fire". Kristen is currently in the studio working on a new project which will include her latest single release “Ashes”.

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EMI Records Nashville’s Kylie Morgan began writing songs in her hometown of Newcastle, OK when she was only 12 years old. A masterful storyteller, the singer-songwriter released her music independently in her early teens, garnering national attention from music producers and television executives. At the age of 16, she was named “Who New To Watch” by the Country Music Association. This early success led Kylie to begin making regular trips to Nashville, crafting her voice and polishing her songwriting. When she turned 19, she made the decision to call Music City home. Recognizing Kylie’s unique talent, the SMACKSongs team signed her to their roster under the guidance of GRAMMY Award-winning songwriters, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne. An avid yoga enthusiast, Kylie has earned her official Yoga Alliance Certification and participates in yoga daily. Kylie recently released her autobiographical new song “Boys Girl” and was just selected as one of three artists for the CMA KixStart program where she will receive unique opportunities to participate in events as well as connect with industry professionals. Kylie has been named to several Artists to Watch lists including CMT’s Listen Up Class of 2019, CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2020, SiriusXM’s On The Horizon and Pandora’s Artists to Watch for 2020. Kylie has previously toured with artists including Dan + Shay, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Kip Moore Gavin DeGraw, Brett Eldredge and Billy Currington. Kylie is currently in the studio working on her debut album with producers Shane McAnally and Ben Johnson.

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Maia Sharp wears many hats. She has had her songs recorded by The Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Keb’ Mo’, Cher, Edwin McCain, David Wilcox, Art Garfunkel, Terri Clark, Lizz Wright, Paul Carrack, Lisa Loeb and many more. She produced Edwin McCain's last album Mercy Bound (429 Records) and most recently two songs for Art Garfunkel's retrospective double album The Singer (Sony). And through it all, Maia has continued to record her own albums. She has six solo releases, one collaborative project with Art Garfunkel and Buddy Mondlock and her latest duo project Roscoe & Etta, with writing/production partner Anna Schulze. Each release has led to extensive touring throughout the US and UK and appearances on Mountain Stage, Acoustic Cafe, World Cafe, NPR's "All Things Considered," CBS Early Morning and the Today Show to name a few. Her latest album Roscoe & Etta is available now everywhere including Amazon and iTunes.

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Nick Wayne is a singer-songwriter that writes songs the way architects might sketch out a blueprint for a bridge — with meticulous attention to detail. Having musical influences from classic Country, Soul and the Blues, Nick Wayne’s craft as an artist is as solid as he is a person. There isn't a single chorus, verse or even phrase that the Nashville native hasn't slaved over, and it's that precision that makes him one of country music's most promising new singer-songwriters; as evident by CMT naming Nick as one of their 2019 ‘Listen Up’ Artists in addition to Rolling Stone Country touting Nick as their November 2018 Artist You Need To Know. Wayne closed out 2019 by joining his girlfriend, artist Hannah Ellis, for an acoustic cover of the JP SAXE/JULIA MICHAELS song, “If the World Was Ending,” releasing December 2019. The cover immediately took on a life of its own. Nick and Hannah’s acoustic cover video of “If the World Was Ending” amassed 1 million views in only three weeks. One month later it began to close in on 2 million. No end in sight for Nick Wayne music, he kicked off 2020 by releasing yet another new song under Bourbon Neat in January 2020; “Drunk Again (feat. Hannah Ellis),” Wayne’s first-ever commercial release with a featured artist. Nick’s second release of the new decade is the gut-punch “I Love You More” poetically making its release Valentine’s Day, February 2020. Both tracks round out Wayne’s Coffee Black, Bourbon Neat, with three songs each to their credit. Eight original songs and one cover later, Wayne has set his sights towards even more, new, poignant music, ready to make its way to his ever-growing fan base Spring 2020.

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Payton cites Keith Urban, Eric Church and Luke Combs as his primary Country influences, and respects each for the way they honor the genre’s traditions while moving the music forward. Emulating that notion, Payton co-wrote a collection of songs for his new self-titled EP, out now via Big Machine Records, which highlights his gifts as a vocalist, writer and nimble guitarist — he plays every guitar part on each track – just like his favorite slingers across the musical landscape.

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Phil O’Donnell, a Canada native, made his first trip to Nashville in 1983 and began developing his skills as a songwriter. Officially making the move in 1994, O’Donnell has also worked as a musician, playing guitar with many artists including Craig Morgan, Jeff Carson, Kevin Denney, Johnny Lee, and Sherrie Austin. O’Donnell’s songwriting credits include the # 1 single “Doin’ What She Likes” recorded by Blake Shelton, the #1 single, “Give It All We Got Tonight” recorded by George Strait, the # 1 single “Back When I Knew It All” recorded by Montgomery Gentry, “Love Remembers” and “I Got You” (Craig Morgan), “Tougher Than Nails” (Joe Diffie), “For She Was Mama”, “She Won't Be Lonely Long” (Clay Walker) Darryl Worley, “Sounds Like Life to Me”. Phil has also had songs cut by Blake Shelton, Rodney Atkins, Darius Rucker, Josh Thompson, Justin Moore, Scotty McCreery, Brad Paisley, Trace Atkins, Mark Chestnut, Tracy Byrd, Billy Ray Cyrus, Travis Tritt, Gretchen Wilson, Randy Travis, Neal McCoy, Tracy Lawrence, and Sammy Kershaw. In addition to having a successful career as a songwriter, O’Donnell also serves as producer for artists such as Craig Morgan, Josh Thompson, Chris Janson, and Mark Wills. Among his many production credits is the six-week #1 country hit, “That’s What I Love About Sunday” (Craig Morgan), which was the most played country song of 2005.

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James, a contestant on season three of The Voice, is an American original, deeply committed to expressing stories of his life through the power of lyrics. He openly articulates that following repeated trial and error, he has found himself and is keenly aware that determination yielded a true sense of originality. His surroundings, and life as a hometown boy from Worcester, MA has shaped him as a man. The industrial economy, and its hard working local populace, have had an impact on his drive to leave it all out on the stage during every live performance, with his intent to stage great concerts that inspire those in attendance to relate to the lyrics and emotion of the work.

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Grammy award winning songwriter Tim James is the co-writer of the 5 week #1 “My List” by Toby Keith, the Bucky Covington Top 10 “It’s Good To Be Us”, and the smash debut from the Lost Trailers “Holler Back”. James has had over 50 major label cuts by artists such as Alabama, Darius Rucker, Craig Morgan, Chris Young, Montgomery Gentry, LeeAnn Womack, Joe Nichols, Buddy Jewel, Josh Turner and contemporary Christian artist Point of Grace. James penned the Trace Adkins single “All I Ask For Anymore”, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song of 2009, and the 2010 Billboard song of the year and #1 “Love Like Crazy”, by Lee Brice. “Love Like Crazy” was nominated for ACM song of the year in 2010 and broke a record for consecutive weeks on the charts. James also wrote the Rodney Atkins single “He’s Mine”, the George Strait #1 single “Give It All We Got Tonight”, and the title track and single from the Darius Rucker album “Southern Style”. James also penned the single, “Either Way”, from the Grammy-winning Chris Stapleton album entitled “From A Room, Volume 1”.

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Youth and authenticity are two traits that rarely coincide together. Add to that equation a voice that is unique and older than the 22-year old man it’s attached to and you suddenly begin seeing what all the fuss is about Kentucky’s “Golden Boy” Tyler Booth. Raised around music and the struggles of being in a band. Tyler is hardwired for the music business and it shows in his work ethic. Born and raised in Wolfe County in the Southeastern region of Kentucky, Tyler has been writing songs and honing his craft for years. Tyler wrote his first record while a freshman at Morehead State University on a vocal scholoarship. Unknown to the music programs Dean, he didn’t tell anyone of his songs besides his father. His father secretly had Tyler’s music submitted to one of Nashville’s finest songwriters, Country Music Hitmaker, Phil O’Donnel. Phil heard that smooth baritone with an immdiately identifiable southern drawl and knew he had found a young man worthy of his time. Phil has become a mentor, but most importantly a friend to Tyler. Tyler Booth released his first EP in 2018. For the self-titled EP, Tyler and Phil chose six songs that showcased Tyler’s unique voice, but still allowed him to be who he is. For Example, “Hank Crankin’ People” is a song that Tyler immediately identified with and it has quickly become an anthem to those in attendance at his shows. The 6 song EP has taken Tyler all over the US playing shows with National artists the likes of, Luke Combs, Brantley Gilbert, Michael Ray, Colt Ford, Blackhawk, Jerrod Niemann, Joe Diffie, Cody Johnson just to name a few.

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Wynn was raised in the small town of Ellenwood, Georgia, where music was a central part of his life. After graduating high school, Wynn started on the path to musical success. His talent playing bluegrass landed him gigs from Austin to Ft. Lauderdale; during this time he was perfecting his style as a country artist and songwriter. Two of his #1 songs "Have You Forgotten" in 2003 and “Waitin’ on a Woman” in 2008 were nominated for SONG OF THE YEAR by the CMA. His most recent #1, “I'm a Little More Country” (Easton Corbin) was nominated by the ACM for SONG OF THE YEAR. Wynn’s songs have been cut by artists, Easton Corbin, Garth Brooks, Lee Ann Womack, Brad Paisley, Darryl Worley, Kellie Pickler, Montgomery Gentry and many more.

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