"This year has been a rollercoaster," Craig Campbell told Rolling Stone Country at the CMA Awards last month. "I had my highest-charting single I've ever had ("Keep Them Kisses Coming"), and then my record label closed. But I made a couple of calls…. There was a label in town I really wanted to at least talk to, and it ended up that we started negotiating."
That label was Red Bow Records, home to Joe Nichols, Chase Bryant and David Fanning. Its parent company, Broken Bow Music Group has been one of the biggest indie success stories to ever come out of Nashville, breaking sales records with Jason Aldean and celebrating chart-topping hits with acts including Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser and Thompson Square.
"I've had my eyes on them and am just in awe of how they have been breaking artists and are having so much success in being a powerhouse record label," Campbell tells Billboard, which broke the news of his signing today. "Some people would call them an independent, but they have been kicking everybody's butt."
There's no word yet on the timing of the Georgia native's first album for Red Bow. In the meantime, he's basking in the chart-topping success of Garth Brooks' new album, Man Against Machine. Campbell co-wrote a song on the project, "All-American Kid," with Brice Long and Terry McBride.
It looks like Ronnie Dunn has a brand-new solo record deal, as well — and he's got the hat to prove it. In late October, the singer, who with partner Kix Brooks reached the country-music stratosphere as multi-award-winning duo Brooks & Dunn, began teasing fans via Facebook and Twitter, saying that "something big is about to happen." That something, he not-so-cryptically revealed last week, is his signing to the recently launched Nash Icon Music label, which has already signed Reba McEntire as its flagship artist. Dunn posted a picture of himself on Facebook, wearing what he referred to as his "new company cap." In the accompanying message, the singer mentions Nash Icon and Big Machine (the label group of which Nash Icon is a part). The hat has a "Nashchetta" logo on it, which refers to Big Machine/Nash Icon president Scott Borchetta. Also noted in Dunn's message is McEntire's husband, Narvel Blackstock, another executive with the Nash Icon label.
Interestingly, the label, which is a joint venture between Big Machine and Cumulus Media, means Dunn and his former singing partner are once again employed by the same corporation. Brooks is the host of the Cumulus-owned American Country Countdown radio show, which will premiere the first annual American Country Countdown Awards December 15th on FOX. McEntire will be the recipient of that awards show's first Nash Icon award.
Big Machine Label Group is also home to Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line, the Band Perry, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and several other artists.
Several hundred miles north of Big Machine and Red Bow Records, New Jersey's Reviver Records is also reviving another country music career. Country Weekly reports that LoCash (formerly known as LoCash Cowboys) have signed a new deal with the indie label, also home to Lucas Hoge, Little Anthony and Paulette McWilliams, among others. The duo — Chris Lucas and Preston Brust — were formerly with Average Joes Entertainment.