There have been some seismic shifts in the country record label landscape since CMT.com’s 2007 roundup. Category 5, 903 Music and Raybaw Records are gone, dispossessing such artists as Neal McCoy, Darryl Worley, Sammy Kershaw, Travis Tritt and John Anderson. Big Machine, however, thriving through sales by Taylor Swift, has added a second imprint, Valory Records.
More than three dozen acts are no longer with their labels as last reported here, including Van Zant, Cole Deggs & the Lonesome, the Jenkins, Catherine Britt, Dusty Drake, Rick Trevino, Sherrié Austin, Blue County, Rushlow Harris and Katrina Elam.
Perhaps the most positive news is that the major labels have not noticeably cut back the sizes of their rosters despite the continuing decline in album sales.
A number of artists have switched labels, most notably Craig Morgan, who’s gone from the feisty independent Broken Bow to mainline BNA, under the Sony BMG umbrella. Raybaw refugees Cowboy Troy and James Otto have since found homes at Warner Bros. (a Raybaw partner). Jamie O’Neal, who was with Capitol last year, recently signed to 1720 Entertainment.
Trick Pony has broken up, but the trio’s original lead singer, Heidi Newfield, is now on Curb-Asylum as a solo act. Big & Rich and the Wreckers continue to function as collective acts on Warner Bros., even as their individual members — John Rich of Big & Rich and Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp of the Wreckers — pursue solo projects on the same label.
Not listed here are the rosters of such musically eclectic labels as Rounder and Sugar Hill on which country artists are only a small part.
Here are the most recently reported or posted lineups:
• Big Machine: Jack Ingram, Danielle Peck, Fisher Stevenson, Sunny Sweeney, Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood. (Big Machine also exclusively promotes Garth Brooks on Pearl Records.)
• Valory: Jewel, Justin Moore, Jimmy Wayne
Jason Aldean, Dean Brody, Crossin Dixon, Lila McCann, Megan Mullins
Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Chris Cagle, Eric Church, Jedd Hughes, Lady Antebellum, Ashley Ray, Kenny Rogers, Darius Rucker, Cyndi Thomson, Keith Urban, Emily West
• Curb: Rodney Atkins, Bellamy Brothers, Bomshel, Jeff Carson, Star De Azlan, Ashley Gearing, Steve Holy, Hal Ketchum, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, Ray Stevens, Hank Williams III
• Curb-Asylum: Lee Brice, Cowboy Crush, Cledus T. Judd, Heidi Newfield, LeAnn Rimes, Rio Grand, Clay Walker, Hank Williams Jr., Wynonna
Equity Music Group
Clint Black, Laura Bryna, Carolina Rain, Kevin Fowler, Little Big Town, Mark Wills
Keith Bryant, Kristina Cornell, Mark Chesnutt, Drew Davis Band, Shawn King, Townsend O’Donnell, Will Peppers, Carmen Rasmussen, Doug Stone
Sarah Buxton, Bucky Covington, Josh Gracin, Marcel, Rascal Flatts, SHeDAISY, Phil Stacey, Trent Tomlinson
Emerson Drive, Rush of Fools, Whiskey Falls, Jon Wolfe
Montage Music Group
Andy Griggs, Matt King, Little Texas, Minnie Murphy, the Road Hammers
Carter’s Chord, Flynnville Train, Toby Keith, Mica Roberts, Trailer Choir
• Arista: Brooks & Dunn, Jason Michael Carroll, Alan Jackson, Jypsi, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood
• BNA: Kenny Chesney, Terri Clark, Pat Green, Sarah Johns, Blaine Larsen, Craig Morgan, Kellie Pickler, the Lost Trailers
• Columbia: Keith Anderson, Christian Kane, Miranda Lambert, Montgomery Gentry, Jessica Simpson, Gretchen Wilson
• RCA: Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Jake Owen, Crystal Shawanda, Chuck Wicks, Chris Young
• Mercury: Billy Currington, Halfway to Hazard, Julianne Hough, Jamey Johnson, Julie Roberts, Randy Rogers Band, Sugarland, Shania Twain, Lee Ann Womack. (The Eagles and Bon Jovi appear on the roster for special projects.)
• MCA: Gary Allan, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, David Nail, Ashton Shepherd, George Strait, Josh Turner
• Lost Highway: Ryan Adams, Ryan Bingham, Hayes Carll, Elvis Costello, Donavon Frankenreiter, Mary Gauthier, Shelby Lynne, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Fionn Regan, Lucinda Williams
Universal Records South
The Clark Brothers, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jennifer Hanson, Randy Houser, Shooter Jennings, Joe Nichols, Jonathan Singleton, Phil Vassar, Angela Wolff, the Eli Young Band
Big & Rich, Michelle Branch, Cowboy Troy, Whitney Duncan, Jessica Harp, Faith Hill, Lori McKenna, James Otto, John Rich, Blake Shelton, the Wreckers