PRESS CONF: Trace Adkins joins Show Dog-Universal Music

Toby Keith and Mark Wright (Principle and President respectively of the newly merged Show Dog-Universal Music Label) visited with members of the media today at a press conference held at BMI to answer questions about the expectations and possible changes. They also took the opportunity to announce that Platinum star Trace Adkins is the first new artist to be signed under the newly combined Show Dog-Universal Music.

Adkins joined them at the event, telling reporters that he had 15 good years at Capitol Records, but was excited about the new partnership. Adkins has known Toby Keith for many years, but became better acquainted and discovered how much they have in common on tour together last summer while performing on the 2009 America's Toughest tour. Adkins recalled seeing Keith onstage every night, describing him as “a 12-year-old on Christmas morning.” Then joking, “It’s real…he ain’t that good an actor.” Adkins, who celebrated his 48th birthday today was presented with a cake as members of the label, media and music row executives sang Happy Birthday.

Adkins has been working on new music; of it Keith told the crowd, “he finally saw what he wants and went for it… it’s got edge, it’s got smile.”

Keith and Wright, who have known each other at least 16 years, talked of other details of the merger, calling the newly combined label a “perfect match.” Universal South's big contribution to the merger, Keith and Wright agreed, was to bring in an A&R department. The merger involved the loss of two staffers from Show Dog and six or seven from Universal South; but no other major changes were in the works at this time. Wright went on to say that making changes to staff was the one part of his job he disliked, and they tried to keep the employee roster an easy transition with as few eliminations in positions as possible.

Keith’s superstar power is expected to bring big opportunities for the newer acts signed to the label. They can join him on the road, and play his namesake Bar And Grills.
Artists involved in the merger include Show Dog's Carter's Chord, Mica Roberts, Mac McAnally and Trailer Choir as well as Univeral South's Randy Houser, Phil Vassar, Joe Nichols, Jonathan Singleton & the Grove, the Eli Young Band, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Baylie Brown and Ashley Ray.

Keith said the merged label will release albums this year from Trailer Choir, Carter's Chord, Jonathan Singleton & the Grove and possibly Adkins.

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