Meet 2017 Panelist Mike Dekle!

23 Mar

We are delighted to be joined this year by legendary singer-songwriter, Mike Dekle. Mike has released five studio albums and his songs have been recorded by some of the biggest names in country music. Mike’s hits include the recent top-ten smash Size Matters (Joe Nichols), Scarlet Fever (Kenny Rogers), Don’t Love Make a Diamond Shine (Tracy Byrd), and Someone Must Feel Like a Fool Tonight (Kenny Rogers).

In the late sixties, Mike began playing in coffeehouses, speakeasies and other “nice joints” in the Atlanta and Athens, Georgia area. In his performances, Mike included a few original songs. Positive feedback from patrons encouraged him to continue to write songs.

In the late seventies, with encouragement from his wife Crystie, Mike started making regular trips to Nashville. The “dues paying” really began at this point.

In 1982, after years of dropping off tapes, talking to publishers and being told “You’re hooks ain’t strong enough”, Mike decided to record one of his own songs. He’d developed a close friendship with the late Roger Bowling (writer of “Lucille”, “Coward of the County”, “Blanket On The Ground”) a Hall of Fame songwriter. “Roger Bowling was that first person who wanted to see me realize a dream.” He introduced Mike to Byron Hill, then a young writer/producer for ATV Music Group in Nashville. Mike says “Byron Hill is a creative genius whose songwriting and producer credits are legendary.” Byron produced Mike’s first record, “Scarlet Fever”. This song was a chart maker in Billboard Magazine and a pick hit. Within weeks of Mike’s release, Kenny Rogers heard the song on a local radio station and contacted Mike and asked about recording the song himself. Kenny recorded “Scarlet Fever” and released it in July, 1983. This was Mike’s first published song and it became Mike’s first number one. Soon after Kenny Rogers’ publishing company, Lionsmate Music, signed Mike to an exclusive writer’s contract. Their association lasted until Kenny sold his publishing company. Kenny has recorded six of Mike’s songs to date. “Kenny Rogers is a warm and caring man and friend who gave me instant credibility as a songwriter… I can never thank him enough.”

In 1987, Mike signed with Song Source, Inc. This association produced cuts by Ricky Skaggs, T.G. Sheppard, Moe Bandy, The Whites, Hank Thomson, Keith Whitley and several overseas artists. From 1990 until 1994 Mike published his own songs in Square D Music. In 1994, Mike signed with Almo Irving Music in Nashville. Since signing there, Mike’s had a top ten hit with Tracy Byrd titled “Don’t Love Make A Diamond Shine”. Mike’s latest songs are published by Square D Music, including a new song on Gene Watson’s current CD, “No Trash In My Trailer”.

Mike’s “Fine Tuned” album was released in 2000 and garnered him his first success on the Americana charts. “Fine Tuned” has been a great calling card for Mike among industry professionals, especially on Nashville’s Music Row, and has led to other artists recording some of the songs from the album, including Joe Nichol’s 2001 recording of “Joe’s Place”.

In 2003, Mike released his “Sketches” album that resulted in several of his songs being covered by artists like Joe Nichols, Gene Watson, and Rhonda Vincent.

He followed “Sketches” with his fourth album “Tunesmith,” released in January of 2006. The album contains the song “Size Matters,” which was covered by Joe Nichols and released as a single at the same time.

Mike says, “I consider myself a sensitive Southern storyteller who is extremely blessed to have been given a creative talent. Songwriting is in my blood. I’ll write because I’ll bust wide open if I don’t.”



Meet 2017 Panelist Julie Roach!

18 Mar

Julie K. Roach, Esq. is the Director of Marketing & Communications for D. Gonzalez Law Group presents Letterbox Legal, which offers inspired, affordable, and effective legal services to creatives. Julie received her J.D. from Emory University School of Law and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Music and Philosophy. She has worked with Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, ASCAP, at The Coca-Cola Company, Live Nation Entertainment, the Georgia Theatre, and with several solo practitioners. She was on the executive board for Emory Law’s SELS and is on the National Association of Record Industry Professionals board, planning committee for Atlanta Bar’s annual LawJam, and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Entertainment and Sports Law section. In addition, Julie is Corporate Counsel at INFORM, a media and technology startup based in Buckhead. Julie is admitted to practice in the State of Georgia and is Principal Attorney and Owner of Julie K. Roach, Esq., LLC, a law practice supporting artists and entrepreneurs in the advancement of their careers and ensuring that their works are respected and protected. Julie has played saxophone for over 16 years and lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband and dogs.


Come learn from her expertise during our feature panel at 5:30pm on Tuesday, March 28!

Feature Panel: Influence vs. Infringement

16 Mar

Influence vs. Infringement: What Does Williams v. Bridgeport Music Mean For Musicians and Copyright Law?

In March 2015, the jury in Williams v. Bridgeport Music, Inc. (the “Blurred Lines” trial) found that Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, and Clifford Harris Jr.’s hit song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the Marvin Gaye Estate’s copyright for the 1977 song “Got to Give It Up.” The Gaye family was awarded more than $7.4 million in damages and profits and a 50 percent running royalty on future songwriter and publishing revenue for “Blurred Lines.”

Since the jury reached its verdict in Williams v. Bridgeport Music, Inc., musicians, copyright scholars, and fans alike have been left to ponder what copyright infringement truly means. Did the jury get it right? What does it mean to infringe on someone’s copyright? What is the effect of a musicologist’s testimony on a lay jury? What does the jury’s logically inconsistent verdict mean for the future of copyright? How should musicians protect themselves from similar lawsuits going forward?

Our expert panelists will answer these questions and more at Protect Athens Music 2017! Join us for our feature panel Influence vs. Infringement on March 28th at 5:30 p.m.

Protect Athens Music 2017 Is Almost Here!

6 Mar

Calling all Athens music lovers! It’s that time of year again and Protect Athens Music 2017 is almost here! We are back at the legendary 40 Watt Club for another engaging day of learning and live music.


What: Protect Athens Music 2017

When: Tuesday, March 28th, 5:00p.m.

Where: 40 Watt Club, 285 W. Washington Street Athens, GA 30601



5:00 p.m. – Doors Open

5:15 p.m. – Nuçi’s Space Informational Presentation

5:30 p.m. – Feature Panel: Influence vs. Infringement

6:30 p.m. – Live performance from Falco Brown

Meet 2016 Panelist Velena Vego

25 Feb

VV in tunicFor 25 years, Velena Vego has brought internationally acclaimed artists to Athens, Ga as GM/talent buyer for the 40 Watt Club, which was ranked Top 20 Best Clubs in America by Rolling Stone. In her career, she has booked over 6000 artists ranging from Run DMC to Kings of Leon, Jason Isbell to Legendary Merle Haggard… Since 2010, Vego has also served as lead talent buyer for for Atlanta’s Buckhead Theatre. In addition to her work in live music promotion, Vego is artist manager for Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven & The Whiskey Gentry while running an Independent label-Pitch-a-tent records.

Meet 2016 Panelist David Barbe

24 Feb


David Barbe, the director of the Terry College of Business Music Business Certificate Program and a UGA grad himself, is a beloved figure at the University of Georgia and a well known name in the music community. We are thrilled to have him speak on the producers panel!

David Barbe has been in the music business since his days as a student at the University of Georgia in the early 1980’s. Since then…..1985 – Present: Recording Engineer/Producer on hundreds of projects with artists including Drive-By Truckers, Deerhunter, Son Volt, Amy Ray, Bob Mould, New Madrid. 1985-present: Chunderman Music, self-publisher. 1985-91: Mercyland – Bassist, Singer, Songwriter. 1992-95: Sugar – Bassist, Singer, Songwriter. 1997- Present: Chase Park Transduction Recording Studios – Owner, Chief Engineer; 2010 – Present: Director, University of Georgia Music Business Program. 2011- Drive-By Truckers, bassist. 2013 – Present: Left Brain Artist Management – Owner, Manager (New Madrid, What Moon Things, Muuy Biien, Ruby the Rabbitfoot).

Meet 2016 Panelist Neal Pogue

14 Feb



Veteran music producer/mixer/songwriter Neal H. Pogue, born and raised in a New Jersey borough called Roselle, has more than 25 years of experience in the music industry, and has worked with a multitude of artists across nearly every genre. Most notably, Pogue won an Album of the Year Grammy Award for his work on Outkast’s mega-hit album Speakerboxx/The Love Below, which included mixing perhaps the most popular song of the decade, “Hey Ya!”

Pogue, produced, mixed, and A&R’d Earth, Wind, and Fire’s critically acclaimed album Now Then and Forever. In addition, Pogue co-wrote the song “Sign On.”

Pogue also mixed one of the biggest songs in Billboard Top 40 history, Awolnation’s 4x platimum single “Sail.”

One of the most sought after mixers in the business, Pogue has a resume that literally features a “who’s who” in the music industry, including Stevie Wonder, Pink, Travis Barker, Lil Wayne, Jidenna, Aloe Blacc, Nicki Minaj, and Janelle Monae.