R&J Records

By Jennifer Sackett

R&J Records is a Nashville-based independent label founded by industry legend James Stroud and his partner, Rick Carter. Founded in 2011, R&J is the spin-off of Stroud’s previous venture, Stroudavarious Records, and features the same great roster, staff and vision.

James Stroud and his previous partner, Ronnie Gilley, founded Stroudavarious in July 2008 with a focus on the creative side. “The vision of Stroudavarious Records is for the creativity to take precedence and to allow the music to take care of the business,” said Stroud. The label roped in two Country veterans to join the roster – the legendary Willie Nelson, as well as Darryl Worley. The roster quickly filled up, adding newcomers LoCash Cowboys, Houston County and Shelly Fairchild.

2010 was a busy year for Stroudavarious and James Stroud. Stroud joined forces with Dale Morris of Morris Management to form a partnership between Stroudavarious Records and DMP/Treehouse Records, which was founded by Morris in 2009. Treehouse artists included Blaine Larsen, Rob Lane, Andy Gibson and Jason Mitchell. James Stroud saw the business model of the music industry shifting towards the combination of booking, management and making records, and believed this partnership was a move in the right direction.

That same year, Stroud also established another imprint, Emrose Records, with investor Tom Natelli. James admired Natelli’s ability to adapt to the ever-changing business climate and thought him to be the perfect match for the company. Stroudavarious handled all aspects of the sister-label’s promotions, sales and marketing efforts. The first artist signed to Emrose was Nashville singer/songwriter Margaret Durante.

Closing out 2010, Stroudavarious signed former Staind frontman, Aaron Lewis. Lewis’ debut single, which featured George Jones, Charlie Daniels and Chris Young, titled “Country Boy” was released in December, along with a video featuring the guest artists as well. His debut album, Town Line, followed in March 2011 and topped the Country charts its first week with sales of almost 38,000 copies. The success of this album helped put Stroudavarious back on the map, as it had been going through a restructuring period. Stroud, along with partner Rick Carter, had been in the process of joining all of the above mentioned companies into one label.

R&J Records was launched in May 2011, following Stroud’s split from Stroudavarious. His strong, executive staff carried over to the new label, as well as the extensive roster – consisting of artists from each of the previous label ventures. Current artists include Margaret Durante, LoCash Cowboys, Aaron Lewis, Rob Lane, Andy Gibson and Alexa Carter. Lewis, Durante and LoCash all currently have active singles at radio, with Gibson to follow suit later this summer. Stroud is currently working with Alexa Carter in the studio. R&J is open for business and off to a great start!

Margaret Durante – “Maybe Tonight”

LoCash Cowboys – “Keep In Mind”


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