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Jerry Salley Tapped to Head New Bluegrass and American/Roots Record Labels

Announcing the Debut of Billy Blue Records & Billy Jam Records

Nashville, TENN — Seeing opportunity for artist curation in the Bluegrass and Americana/Roots landscape, Ed Leonard, President of Nashville-based Daywind Music Group, and Jerry Salley, multi-award winning songwriter, artist and producer, are excited to announce the launch ofBilly Blue Records and Billy Jam Records – Nashville’s newest Bluegrass and Americana/Roots labels.

After several months of discussions between the two long-time music business veterans, Leonard tapped Salley as A & R and Creative Director for both labels. “Jerry Salley’s considerable success and sterling reputation in the Bluegrass and acoustic music worlds make him the perfect fit to lead our newest venture,” says Leonard.

“Jerry’s experience and creative abilities combined with Daywind’s talented staff and distribution reach allow artists at the new labels to compete from record one.”

“I am very grateful to Ed Leonard for this opportunity,” Salley says.  “Daywind’s history as a leading independent label in Nashville with an intense artist and song focus is second to none.  I am honored and eager to build these new labels with them.”

Daywind’s founder and CEO, Dottie Leonard Miller, is a true creative visionary and sees tremendous potential in the new ventures.

The labels will join Daywind Records, Daywind Soundtracks, and Daywind Music Publishing as part of Daywind Music Group, which also houses two recording studios.  Daywind Music Publishing will begin to add songwriters from these genres to join its industry-leading presence in Christian music publishing.

Salley will be key to drive growth at the labels.  Referred to by Billboard magazine as “one of Music Row’s greatest veteran tunesmiths,” Salley has had an incredibly successful songwriting career. The 2003 SESAC Country Music Songwriter of the Year and two-time nominee for IBMA’s Songwriter of the Year, Salley has had over 500 different songs recorded with sales in excess of 17 million records.  He has written multiple chart-topping hits in Country, Bluegrass and Gospel music and may be the most successful songwriter to have earned equal recognition from all three genres of music.

In an ever-changing music business, Leonard and Salley see opportunities to grow the acoustic music genres and are prepared for the challenges that creating new labels present.  Leonard observes, “With the recent increase in popularity of roots music, we feel it’s time to launch a new division providing opportunities and guidance for the talented artists and songwriters in these genres.”

Salley adds, “The labels’ motto, ‘We’re Here To Play,’ is intended to express our sincere and determined desire to identify top talent and work as hard as they do to bring their creations to the world.  Billy Blue Records and Billy Jam Records are created to be the best.”

The new labels will announce the first signings shortly and plan to have a presence at IBMA and Americana gatherings this fall.  The labels will be distributed through the Orchard, Sony’s fiercely independent music distributor.

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Formed over 19 years ago by Deon & Susan Unthank originally as SoGospelNews.com, the site was birthed from an email discussion group by the same name. The SoGospelNews email discussion list was created by the Unthanks after the Singing News shut down its extremely popular discussion list. SoGospelNews started as a simple webpage listing artists, fans, individuals, etc. that were avid supporters of the newly formed SoGospelNews talk list. The site eventually took on printing news for Southern Gospel artists, and eventually took on reviewing the latest recordings from both signed and independent artists within the small genre. SoGospelNews became the most viewed Southern Gospel website on the Internet with over 4,000,000 hits per month.

The Unthank family are now involved in the site, as well as the addition of over two dozen staff writers. The website is based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In April 2010, SoGospelNews changed its name to AbsolutelyGospel.com. The name change allows them to cover news items of not only Southern Gospel, but also Country Gospel, Inspirational, and Black Gospel.

On January 5, 2011, Susan Unthank passed away, leaving the website in control of Deon, their son, Chris, and their daughter Amy.

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