Kory's Country Core

Kory Zelkind

One of the biggest parts of my job has to do with securing media opportunities in our "Country Core" outlets, or the outlets that have a niche in country music. Since there are so many amazing country news sites out there, I'm here to help you figure out which ones you should keep up with.

Rare Country

  • Read this if you are always the first to know all the gossip in your friend group. Rare Country does a great job of keeping up on the country music celebrity world while still breaking timely music news. Truly the best of both worlds!

Rated Red

  • Stay up to date on Rated Red if your favorite part of the day is watching all of the viral videos on your Facebook timeline. They are heavily focused on video content, which is a great way to unwind at the end of the day and find your newest music obsessions.

Sounds Like Nashville

  • You should follow Sounds Like Nashville if you always look forward to the game segments on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. They have some of the most unique articles I've ever seen, which deserves major props.

Taste of Country

  • Read Taste of Country if you're still in post-concert CMA Fest depression. They have their own festival, Taste of Country Music Festival, with Sam Hunt, Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean headlining this year. Since they have their own festival, they obviously have the best exclusives and coverage, which is the perfect way to hold yourself over to summer 2018.

Nash Country Daily

  • Follow Nash Country Daily if you're constantly listening to Ty, Kelly and Chuck on your way to work (and find yourself laughing at Chuck's jokes for the rest of the day). Nash Country Daily is unique because it is part of 103.3 NASH-FM. Since they have an insider look on who the hottest new radio star is, you'll always be the first to know about new artists!

Whiskey Riff

  • Read Whiskey Riff if you are constantly scrolling through Twitter and tweeting to your thousands of loyal followers. Whiskey Riff is known for their loyal fanbase, especially on Twitter, which makes them a great outlet to feel like you're actually becoming BFFs with the featured artists.

One Country

  • Choose One Country if you're always procrastinating by taking Buzzfeed quizzes. One Country is basically the one stop shop for everything you could ever need. From recipes to quizzes and even country music news, they've got you covered.

Hopefully I've helped you figure out which "country core" outlet is best for you. Or, if you're like me, you'll spend all your free time reading them all anyways ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Kory's Ones To Watch List

Kory Zelkind

One of my favorite parts of every day is researching what emerging outlets can cover our up-and-coming artists. I love being even a small part of helping artists fulfill their dreams, and these outlets are doing a great job of telling their stories to the world. Here are a few of my favorite outlets that are on the verge of becoming the next Rolling Stone.

Big City Thoughts

  • They have a great staff of dedicated team members who are incredibly passionate about good music of all genres. Their sister site, Big Country Thoughts, also does an incredible job of balancing emerging artists with those who everyone already knows and loves. Personally, I feel accomplished whenever they feature one of our artists because I know it means they aren't just pushing out content but they are truly fans of the music.

Stage Right Secrets

  • I got the privilege of attending quite a few interviews with Stage Right Secrets during this past CMA Fest, and boy are these girls a riot. They are so fun to be around, and this shows through in their engaging segments such as telling the last Netflix show you binged and the first concert you went to. My personal favorite is where the artists pick songs to describe their lives, like saying what song you would have playing any time you enter a room. Check out some of their interviews and I promise you won't regret it.

Country Music Pride

  • Unlike the other two sites I mentioned, Country Music Pride's niche is exclusively country music. The website does an amazing job of finding noteworthy artists that are on the rise. They are so up-to-date on all of the breaking news and new releases that they are bound to make it to the big leagues soon.

Go ahead and give these guys a follow, and soon you'll be able to say "I knew them when..."

The Red Couch Party

Joel Irby

Last month we celebrated the birthday of our very own boss lady, Faithe Dillman. At first I was very nervous about planning this party because it’s for my boss and I wanted everything to be perfect. After a brainstorming session with my co-host Julie Behr, I realized it’s not about throwing an expensive party with flashy things, but doing something that is personal for the guest of honor. Thus the Red Couch Party was born, designed to recreate the feeling of Marbaloo’s inception with some of it’s memorable tokens. 

The company was started on a red couch, so we decked out our conference room with a red table cloth and lots of red cups, plates, etc. Another icon of early Marbaloo was Camden, a friendly black cat and unofficial mascot of the office. Black cat masks were taped up on the walls, but I wanted to take it a little further. Another lesson, don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself for the birthday girl’s amusement. I found an extra glittery cat mask and black tail that I wore for the party to act out the part of Camden and bring a little more life to the scene. Julie also told me how she and Faithe essential survived on SmartOne bean and rice microwaveable meals back in the day, so naturally that was what we served for food. Again, it wasn’t about having something lavish, because even these simple little meals brought a smile to Faithe’s face. I added chips and queso to the menu, cause it went well with the meals and helped add more substance. Finally we had to have margaritas, because the boss loves some good tequila (even though I bought José Cuervo…). When serving for a big crowd, I find it helpful to use some premixed and then add some fresh ingredients to take it up a notch. This makes it easy to get the quantity you need while controlling quality and not breaking your back juicing limes, etc. Overall the party turned out great, it was fairly simple but we created the feeling we wanted to and were able to take Faithe on a little trip down memory lane.

Sorry Aloe Blacc, You Are Not The Man (or Woman)

Haley Schaafsma

At Marbaloo, we have many things in common. We love music, we love being creative, we love to eat, but unfortunately most of us also have one other thing in common; we are related to or know someone who has been affected by cancer. Faithe Dillman, our owner, and I have both had someone very close to us diagnosed with Leukemia & Lymphoma. Fortunately, the other thing we both have in common is those people are both survivors. It is because of organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society [tag] and the events they put on like The Man & Woman of the Year [tag] that help make finding a cure and helping patients possible. The society’s mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

I was grateful to attend Nashville’s Man & Woman of the Year event this year to get a first hand look at what a true difference the organization is making in people’s lives. The Man & Woman of the Year event raises funds for LLS blood cancer research the candidates compete in honor of children who are local blood cancer survivors, the Boy & Girl of the Year. Every dollar raised counts as one vote and the titles are awarded to the man and woman with the most votes at the end of 10 weeks. Each year the winners are announced at the Grand Finale Event along with a live and silent auction where all proceeds go back to LLS. It was bittersweet to hear the stories from families who lost loved ones, yet at the same time were there to celebrate their lives.

Two years ago, Faithe had the opportunity to be on a team to help raise funds for her good friend Rebecca Sweet [tag]. Just as she puts her whole heart into Marbaloo every day, she put her whole heart into the LLS society and into Rebecca Sweet, who ended up winning Woman of the Year.

Providing Hope & Faith[e]

Haley Schaafsma

As hard as we try and work every day for our clients, we also put in a great deal of effort into finding non-profits, charities and organizations to give back to. One organization we provide a great deal of support to is World Vision [tag]. World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God. Faithe Dillman, Marbaloo owner, has a very special place in her heart for World Vision and has been greatly involved by sponsoring several children.

World Vision works in nearly 100 countries to provide communities and children with the tools they need for sustainable success. The children directed non-profit handles everything from health, education, faith, disaster relief, clean water, and everything in between for these individuals. They have opportunities for donations, volunteer programs, and child sponsorship.

Marbaloo plans to continue to donate to this amazing organization for a very long time and will continue to sponsor more and more children. We want to provide them with the hope and faith to have a truly happy life.

Recap: South by Southwest 2017

Frances Blout

As South by Southwest 2018 applications have opened up, we’re taking a quick look back at our time at SXSW 2017. It was mid-March, and - always up for an adventure - Julie and I decided at t-minus one day to take the South By plunge and book our trip. It was our first time going to the festival, and we really didn’t know what to expect. The details were hammered out that night, and we took the 9 AM Sunday morning flight out of Nashville. We landed in Austin and our SXSW experience officially began when we found ourselves in a taxi, stuck in traffic, and 250 people in their underwear ran by us. Keep Austin Weird, right? (For the record, the naked people were apart of one of many outlandish activations promoting new Netflix and HBO shows)

After checking into our hotel, we booked it to the convention center to get our Interactive Passes and to really get our day started. After a quick pitstop for margs and tacos (gotta love Texas!), we were off to the races and began exploring the city. Without a plan, a guide, or even a single clue of what was really happening, the first day was pretty overwhelming. Luckily, everyone around town was incredibly friendly and helpful in giving us tips and tricks of how to navigate the festival. In fact, no one even laughed at me when I asked why there was no Southwest Air branding anywhere - they kindly explained that the festival, which has been around since 1987, was named as a play on the Alfred Hitchcock classic North by Northwest and had nothing to do with SWA.

After a few short hours, we were already calling it “South By”, checking out the “houses”, and judging the “activations.” Just call us locals! Later that night, we went to a happy hour thrown by The Founders Organization - props to our friend Anoop Kansupada for a fabulous event. Food was delicious, The Hard Truth was playing great music, and the drinks were on point (we quickly realized that SXSW was just as much about the food & drinks as it was about the music, film, and interactive expos).

After the Founders meetup, Jules and I hit up the “unofficial South By” parties including the Twitter House, the Mashable House, and finally the Snapchat House, where we eagerly ordered two pairs of spectacles from the vending machine. We would not let this week go undocumented!

Over the next few days, as we got into the groove of the festival (pun totally intended), we had a packed schedule. We met up with old friends, made new ones, listened to great music, and explored the future of the interactive world. We did all of this on foot - next year we are definitely packing more comfortable shoes! Highlights include checking out the booths at the expo, such as the one from our friends at Oliso and Bevi, doing meetings and shows with the wonderful Kelleigh Bannen, and attending thought-provoking panels. One of our favorites was the one about the future of cannabis; Elizabeth from Willie’s Reserve and Elise from Kind Courier provided amazing insight into possible changes for music festivals and the music industry as the legality of cannabis changes as well. We even got to sneak off to Rodeo Austin to see Marbaloo client Cole Swindell steal the show.

Some of the most valuable information came from exploring the interactive expositions from companies like Shazam, National Geographic, Google, and more. We learned that augmented reality is the future, and that the future is now. We were so excited to experience all of the new AR developments that as soon as our plane landed back in Nashville, we came up with a game plan for how to begin implementing augmented reality into future client campaigns.

Our biggest takeaway from the festival was that amazing things can happen when you combine the best and brightest in entertainment, science, technology and innovation together in one city for one week. When Julie and I ventured to South By for the first time this past March, we both didn’t know what we were getting into but it’s safe to say we were blown away. Our time in Austin was so amazing - we had clients to see and hear, made so many great new connections, and - most importantly - ate (and drank) our way through the best of Texas. We’re so excited to start booking hotel rooms and flights for next year’s SXSW - will we see you there?

Full Hearts and Full Shopping Carts

Haley Schaafsma

Working in the music industry, it can be so easy to get wrapped up in your own “problems” and “crises.” We forget sometimes that there are so many families right in our own neighborhoods that are experiencing a real life problem and crisis, hunger. Myself and the other Marbaloo employees had the chance to see first hand the true effects hunger has on many Nashville families. Fortunately, through the amazing efforts of 1GenAway and Team Music is Love, a foundation founded by Martina McBride, we were able to help take one small step towards a solution.

On Friday, June 9th, Team Music is Love and 1GenAway teamed up to provide fresh produce, groceries, medical examinations, and a lot of love to many Nashville families in need. With our love for the music industry and passion for giving back to the community, there was no chance Marbaloo was missing out on volunteering for this event (even in the middle of CMA Fest.) We bagged fresh produce that was rescued from local farms and grocery stores, helped families fill their carts with their favorite foods, and then escorted them to their cars to help load everything and said a prayer. Even though the families were the ones receiving the food, I believe Marbaloo received a lot more. Here are just a few statements and stories from Marbaloo employees about the experience:

Kalaway Voss: “This experience was a humbling one.I don't think I spent more than 14 minutes with any one family or individual, but I saw vulnerability, I saw appreciation, and I saw love. So quickly, when we are in true need we forget about ego and about pride. It is an overwhelmingly human space. One that is easy to forget as we enjoy our lives of fortunate abundance. Friday reminded me to be thankful, to remember where I come from, and to be even more giving, if only of time.It feels good to be grateful. It feels good to give. I would like to remember that more often. Also, very proud to work for a company that believes in philanthropy and giving back”

Maddi Farr: “Each time, after loading their car and shutting the door, I asked if they had anything they wanted to pray about. I never expected someone would take me up on it, but every single person did. Mostly they prayed just for everything to be okay, and they held my hands tight like we had known each other for ages. After that, we parted ways. Moments like that are what made the event so special, and I'll take that with me.”

Frances Blount: “One of the sweet ladies I was with was a highlight because her son, who supports her, was overseas for the military so he's not around to take her grocery shopping, etc - she teared up when we were praying for his safe return it honestly made me tear up, too!!!”

Marisa Boras: “My personal highlight was talking to a woman while I was pushing her cart - she was shy at first but opened up and told me that "you have no idea how much this helps" and seeing the look on her face when she was handed a rose at the end of the line. She nearly had tears in her eyes and it was so emotional to see the impact that such a small gesture had on her!”

After seeing what a difference 1GenAway has made in the lives of families, we wanted to continue to stay involved. As a company, we pledged to donate $5 a month for each of the 24 employee that volunteered that day.. If you are not familiar with 1GenAway and their amazing efforts, they are a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing emergency food service to those in need via mobile pantries, as well as through partnerships with hospitals, social workers, schools, law enforcement, churches, civic groups, and many others who want to wipe hunger off the face of America. 1GenAway was founded in Franklin, TN with the dream to eliminate poverty, racism, and denominationalism in our lifetime. It is easy #jointhemovement by volunteering at one of the many food distribution events they hold throughout the year.

It Was A Paw-ty Participating In The First-Ever Muttnation Walk!

Caitlin Davis

CMA Fest is always a crazy, busy time for Marbaloo, especially the press team. We are in and out of the office running here and there for interviews with our artists. It’s a blast, but can make it hard to fit anything else in our schedules. However, when Miranda Lambert’s team reached out to us about participating in the first-ever Muttnation walk on Thursday of CMA Fest, we jumped at the opportunity (especially me, since I’m a dog mom to two crazy boys - a Husky mutt named Astro and an Alaskan malamute named Noah.)

Muttnation Foundation, founded by Miranda and her mom, Bev, in 2009, is a donation-supported organization with the mission to end animal cruelty, neglect and homelessness. I’ve always had a heart for dogs, especially rescue shelter dogs. A little backstory on my two boys. Astro was one year old when I got him from the Williamson County Animal Shelter. I don’t know his backstory but if he had a rough start in life, you’d never know it because he is one of the happiest little boogers. He jumped from the backseat into my lap before I even pulled out of the animal shelter parking lot on his adoption day. :) Over the last three years, he has kept me laughing, given me a heart attack or two from his escape artist abilities and become one of my best little buddies. I’m pretty sure God chuckled the day he made Astro man.

I rescued Noah (or as I say, Nodie), who unfortunately had been abused as a puppy, when he was two. I wanted little Astro to have buddy to play with and luckily they took to each other right away. Mr. Nodie Nodes is a full-on D-I-V-A! He is all about the theatrics from his howling to his paw gestures and he has no problem giving me sass or back-talking. I’m also pretty sure he has no idea just how big he is - 110 LBS! His favorite thing is to destroy squeaky toys in record time. When my mom gave him a toy for Christmas with 13 squeakers in it, he had killed every one of them in under five minutes. Needless to say, he was proud of himself. I feel lucky to get to be his momma because he is such a sweet, goofy boy!

After agreeing to participate in the  Muttnation Walk, I had to decide if one or both was going to go. Last Fall, I learned the hard way that I can’t exactly walk both dogs at the same time, so I had to figure out what I was going to do. I ultimately chose to take Astro because I knew the heat would be way too much for Noah and he’d be miserable.

So, I loaded up Astro man on that Thursday and headed to Nissan Stadium in East Nashville to meet my fellow Marbalooers  and their pups for the walk. There was a great turn out of humans and their pups all ready to raise awareness about shelter dogs. Astro was SO excited to meet the other dogs he could barely contain himself. After the kick-off speech outside the stadium, Miranda led the pack with boyfriend, Anderson East, Nashville Mayor Megan Berry, and radio host, Storme Warren.  

As we made our way toward the Pedestrian Bridge, Little Astro decided he was not going to get lost in the pack, so we cut to the outside and stayed in front. I think he thought he was in a race and he wasn’t going to lose. When we reached the Chevy Park Stage, Miranda stepped on stage and talked about how important Muttnation is to her and what the walk meant to her. She talk about her seven rescue dogs and how one Christmas she took all of them to her mom’s, who has four of her own, house and the celebration ended up being more about dog treats than human presents. She also explained there were 70 dogs who participated in the walk that would be up for adoption during her adoption drive at Music City Center during CMA Fest. Miranda expressed her gratitude for all the participates in this Instagram post.

Overall, the event was such a blast and I’m already looking forward to it next year! Not only was it great to participate in a cause near and dear to my heart, but it was great to be able to do it as a company and share the experience with Astro man. (Don’t worry about Mr. Nodie - he got lots of hugs, kisses & treats when I got home!)

To check out more about Muttnation or to donate, click here.