Eleven Eleven Music Group was co-founded in 2012 by publishing industry veterans Jewel Coburn and Jason Morris.
Eleven Eleven represents songwriters Doug Gill, Angela Kaset, Max T. Barnes, Charley Stefl, Ciara O'Neill and Wendy Waldman and the catalogs of Lauren Lucas and Shannon Lawson.
The company landed its first cut on Don Williams' 2012 album, And So It Goes, with Gill’s “I Just Come Here For The Music.” Recorded as a duet with Alison Krauss, it became a Grammy-nominated single. On Williams’ next album, Reflections in 2014, Eleven Eleven scored another Gill-written cut, “Stronger Back.” Both Williams albums were produced by Garth Fundis.
Eleven Eleven was also fortunate enough to earn a single on Big & Rich’s 2014 album, Gravity, their first album in 10 years. The song was “Look at You,” written by Shannon Lawson and John Rich.
During his 30 years in music publishing, Jason Morris’ song-finding and song-placement skills have contributed to the careers of Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Patty Loveless, George Jones, Ronnie Milsap and dozens of others. He achieved this stature, in part, by working directly with some of country music’s greatest producers, most recently with Alan Jackson’s and Zac Brown Band’s producer, Keith Stegall, and, before that with Buddy Killen (Bill Anderson, Exile, Ronnie McDowell), Rick Hall (Shenandoah, Mac Davis, Jerry Reed) and Paul Worley (the Dixie Chicks, Lady Antebellum).
Like so many others, Morris entered the music business through a side door. Fresh out of high school, he came to Nashville in the mid-1980s and began working as a waiter—and later as a bartender—on Music Row. In those capacities, he became a confidante and protégé of several legendary songwriters, among them Harlan Howard, Matraca Berg, Ralph Murphy and Red Lane. They found Morris to be an eager student and a reliable sounding board for their stories and new songs.
These luminaries so inspired him that he volunteered to work for free for the publishing company many of them were affiliated with, the giant Sony/Tree music publishing company. And that’s what he did. For six months, he spent every spare hour—day and night—making tape copies of songs for Sony/Tree’s professional staff to pitch. “Here’s where I learned to really listen to songs instead of merely hearing them,” he says, “and to distinguish between the great and the not so great ones.” Donna Hilley, who ran the company, was so impressed by Morris’ work ethic and discriminating ears that she hired him full-time. He’s been in the thick of the publishing industry ever since. His proximity to and friendship with such other first-rate Sony/Tree composers as Don Cook (who would go on to produce and write hits for Brooks & Dunn), Gretchen Peters (“Independence Day”) and Bobby Braddock (“He Stopped Loving Her Today”) gave Morris the opportunity to see how successful songwriters work. It was in this work-and-watch context that he learned the basics of song-pitching.
Over the next few years, he parlayed his new and sharpened skills into positions of increasing responsibility as Director of Creative Services for Gary Morris Music, Manager of Creative Services for Rick Hall’s Fame Music, Director of Creative Services for Jewel and Barry Coburn’s Ten Ten Music, Director of Publishing for Buddy Killen’s KMG Music, Vice President of A&R for Keith Stegall’s Big Picture Entertainment.and Senior Vice President for Zavitson Music Group.
In November of 2011, Morris and Jewel Coburn founded Eleven Eleven Music Group, where he continues to excel in that one indispensable music publishing skill that can’t be taught—inducing record producers, A&R reps and artists to trust your judgment enough to listen attentively to your company’s songs. No song makes money until that happens. Morris has developed a thriving network of musical contacts in Nashville, Los Angeles, New York and Austin and has lectured on songwriting and publishing in all these cities.
Young though the company is, Eleven Eleven Music can already boast some conspicuous successes. In 2012, Country Music Hall of Fame member Don Williams joined with Grand Ole Opry star Alison Krauss to record “I Just Come Here For The Music,” a wistful ballad co-written by Eleven Eleven’s Doug Gill. The recording not only marked Williams’ return as a recording artist after an eight-year hiatus but also became a Grammy finalist for the Best Country Duo or Group award. Two years later, Williams tapped into Gill’s catalog again to record the majestically inspirational “Stronger Back.”
In 2014, Big & Rich recorded “Look at You,” a co-write between John Rich and Eleven Eleven’s Shannon Lawson. Released as the first single from Big & Rich’s album Gravity, the song soared to No. 7 on Billboard’s country songs chart and earned Eleven Eleven and Coburn an ASCAP award for one of the year’s most-played songs.
Because of the versatility of its writers, Eleven Eleven has succeeded in placing its songs with artists from different musical genres. The most recent example of this is Chris Jones and the Night Drivers’ recording of “I’m A Wanderer,” co-written by Eleven Eleven’s Charley Stefl. In early 2017, the song spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Bluegrass Today chart.
Morris’ and Coburn’s track records—both individually and as a team—have attracted some of the most admired and awarded songwriters in popular music and continue to build a voluminous catalog of proven and potential hits.
It became the first single from the project, stayed on the charts for 43 weeks and reached No. 6 in Billboard.
Eleven Eleven staff writers are all accomplished tunesmiths. In addition to the Don Williams cuts, Gill has had his songs recorded by Wynonna and Patty Loveless. Kaset’s credits include Lorrie Morgan’s “Something In Red” and Stephanie Bentley’s “The Hopechest Song,” the latter of which earned her the title of SESAC Writer of the Year. Waldman’s hits include Vanessa Williams’ “Save The Best For Last” and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishin’ In The Dark.” Charley Stefl is an established writer with hits such as Garth Brooks’ “Every Time That It Rains” and cuts on albums for The Grascals and Eddy Arnold. Max T. Barnes is noted for penning “Love, Me,” the Colin Raye breakthrough hit nominated for CMA song of the year, as well as Diamond Rio’s “That’s How Your Love Makes Me Feel,” which spent three weeks at No. 1. Barnes also wrote Randy Travis’ No. 1 single, “Before You Kill Us All.”
Few jobs are more formidable than building a successful independent music publishing company in a landscape dominated by international publishing conglomerates. But Jewel Coburn has beaten the odds in a big way, first with her hit-rich helming of Ten Ten Music, and now with her co-founding of the Eleven Eleven Music Group with fellow publishing veteran Jason Morris. The new company has already had solid cuts with Big & Rich, Don Williams and Alison Krauss and Trace Adkins, among others.
In the 31 years she co-owned and co-managed Nashville’s Ten Ten Music Group, she was instrumental in getting more than 900 of her company’s songs recorded. Dozens of these went on to become hit records, movie and television soundtracks, commercials and other profitable configurations. That’s enough recorded songs, by the way, to fill 91 albums.
Among Ten Ten’s country hits were Reba McEntire’s “Turn On Your Radio,” Ashton Shepherd’s “Look It Up,” Alan Jackson’s “Between The Devil And Me,” John Michael Montgomery’s “The Little Girl,” Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You,” Jerrod Niemann’s “What Do You Want From Me,” Gary Allan’s “Tough Little Boys,” Joe Nichols’ “If Nobody Believed In You” and “I’ll Wait For You” and Blake Shelton’s “The Baby.”
Coburn co-founded Ten Ten Music and Ten Ten Management in 1984 with her then-husband, Barry Coburn. (One of their first clients was Alan Jackson, then still in search of a record deal they would ultimately secure for him at Arista.) She brought to the new enterprises a solid background in singing and acting and an uncanny sense of what the public wants to hear. Born into Australia’s musical Blanch Family, Jewel Blanch was singing and recording professionally by the time she was four years old. In 1968, she moved with her family to America and began acting in movies and network television. (See Jewel Blanch’s acting credits on www.IMDB.com.) During that same period, she also recorded for RCA and Capitol Records.
Coburn has drawn on her rich show business experience to guide her in selecting and nourishing songwriters, finding and developing new outlets for their music and matching the right songs with the right artists. One of Coburn’s first discoveries was a young Australian singer and guitar picker who also appeared to have some promise as a songwriter. She signed him to Ten Ten Music, and for the next 12 years helped shape Keith Urban into the superstar he is today.
Under her guidance, Ten Ten expanded into markets well beyond Nashville with many pop, rock and international recordings. The company licensed music for the Hannah Montana movie and soundtrack, advertising for the 2008 Winter Olympics, the title song for the soundtrack of the bestselling novel, The Book Of Lies, and provided the Selena Gomez track for the movie Ramona and Beezuz. .
One of the most active figures in Nashville’s burgeoning entertainment community, Coburn is a founding member of the Nashville chapter of the Assn. of Independent Music Publishers and of the songplugging group, Chicks with Hits. She holds membership as well in SOURCE, the women’s business networking group, the Country Music Assn., the Academy of Country Music, the Recording Academy (Grammys) and the Nashville Film Festival.
With Morris at Eleven Eleven, Coburn secured and pitched songs recorded by Don Williams and Alison Krauss (the Grammy-nominated single, “I Just Come Here For The Music”), the Big & Rich Top 10 country single and ASCAP award-winner, “Look At You” and Chris Jones and the Night Drivers No. 1 bluegrass hit, “I’m A Wanderer,” among others.