Skyline Records launches, signs Nick Dumas

Nashville has a new bluegrass label!

Skyline Records will focus primarily on the grass, with a secondary interest in country, folk, and Americana music. As their first artist, Skyline has signed Nick Dumas, mandolinist and vocalist who had recently spent four years touring with Special Consensus.

The label is the brainchild of Will McSeveney, an attorney in Nashville, who grew up playing bluegrass in and around Seattle. He founded North Country, a band that has served as a hatchery of sorts for northwestern bluegrass talent over the years, and remains active to this day. That’s where he met Dumas, who was a member before moving to Chicago for Special C. Other prominent former bandmates include Stephen Burwell, long time member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, now with Authentic Unlimited, and rising bluegrass singer Zach Top.

When he decided to go to law school, Will knew that entertainment law was his ultimate goal, with an intention to provide more cost effective access for musicians to attorneys.

He tells us that Skyline Records will offer him a way to be directly involved in marketing and promoting bluegrass, and take advantage of his own experience as an independent artist to offer his clients and music partners all the services they expect from a label.

“Over my music career, I have become familiar with the traditional record label model through my legal practice, and my close friends who are signed on other bluegrass labels, and some bigger country labels. I have experience releasing albums, distribution, radio connections, and PR/marketing through my independent releases with North Country, and my legal practice working with artists. I have also studied up on the future of internet model, such as web 3.0, blockchain, NFTs, etc. My goal with this label is to offer very friendly artist deals while also exploring additional revenue streams to help increase our artists exposure. These are areas that the major labels are starting to invest in.

Also, I wanted to start this label as a way to feature some of the bluegrass talent from the west coast. Nick is the first signed act, but we are speaking with other artists and hope to have some announced soon within the next few months.”

And their intention is to make things easy, while dedicating their energies to the music and the artists.

“Our philosophy is to be an artist friendly independent label. I am confident we have the time and resources to work very closely with our artists, and provide artist friendly deals. Our website also has the online ability for artists/bands to reach out to us with a sample and description of their music if they would like to have us check out their music for a potential partnership. We are definitely looking to grow.”

A new project for Nick Dumas has been completed, recorded at Scott Vestal’s Digital Underground near Nashville.

Will says that Nick was an easy choice as his first Skyline Records artist.

“I have known Nick for a long time and think he is one of the most gracious people in bluegrass. Nick has played with Northern Departure, North Country, and most recently full time with Special Consensus. Nick took time off from the road to focus on teaching full time. He also occasionally fills in for bands, such as Kenny and Amanda Smith and Marty Raybon. He independently put out an album about two years ago that, in my opinion, was a great traditional bluegrass album. He wanted to put another one out, and discussed it with me, and wanted me to produce the album.

We decided to choose an all star group of musicians as the session band, and I can tell you they put together a body of work that exceeded any expectation that Nick and I had going in. The artists on this album are Kenny Smith (guitar), Jeff Partin (dobro), Jed Clark (Bass), Russ Carson (banjo on some tracks), Calib Smith (banjo on some tracks), Scott Vestal (banjo on one track), and Carley Arrowood on fiddle. Carly Arrowood and Zach Top will be singing harmonies behind Nick.

I really cannot credit these musicians enough for putting their creative energy into the songs. They brought this album to life – I cannot stop listening to the rough mixes on repeat.”

Material on the album comes from some of today’s top bluegrass writers, with contributions from Becky Buller, Tim Stafford, Zach Top, Carson Chamberlain, and Daniel Salyer. Nick adds a couple of his own instrumental compositions for mandolin as well.

And McSeveney gives a big nod to Vestal for the record’s big sound.

“The album is engineered, mixed, and mastered by Scott Vestal, who was just as integral to the project. We had a blast recording this at his Digital Underground Studio.”

The project is expected to be released in late April or early May, and Dumas is preparing tour dates now in support. He will also be involved in the operations of Skyline Records.

“Aside from his own recording agreement, Nick Dumas will also have a role with label with PR, Marketing, and A&R services. His relationships within the industry are valuable. Nick has already played an integral role in the development of this label.”

Congratulations to Will and Nick, and best of luck with their debut project for Skyline Records!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.