About Us

The Midwest Country Music Organization was founded in 2017 in order establish a network of musicians, businesses, and fans to cultivate the country music community in the Midwest. It is structured as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit and is run entirely through the generous support of our team of volunteers. The association provides various resources to artists to help hone their craft, advance their career, and give back to the community.


Businesses can also become members or sponsor various activities and events to support the organization. Fans are able to follow their favorite artists, discover new ones, and enjoy countless other opportunities, events and exclusive content.

 (FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard the Midwest CMO is a “non-profit”—is that true?

YES! The organization is a registered 501c3 non-profit—it was created this way for many reasons but primarily so that the mission and vision of the organization could always remain one that would ultimately always benefit the members and stakeholders of the organization, not any one individual. Furthermore, by establishing the org as a non-profit we are able to receive funding sources and grants that wouldn’t be available for a regular business.

Who do you serve?

We have 3 very important stakeholders that make up this organization: The artists, the business community, & the Fans! We need to make sure to provide programming and networking value to our artists members and give them a strong sense of pride in being a part of this special musical family. We need to create strong business partnerships with venues, record labels, sponsors, so that they can give us the resources and financial support to keep driving forward. We need to provide to the fans the best possible experience when it comes to embracing and loving country music in the upper Midwest.

How do I become a member?

Please see our membership page for all the details and to join now!  Membership is VERY affordable and most members feel that this.

What are some of the benefits of membership?

Our members work together to bring benefits to the entire organization. A few examples include discounts on equipment or services, collaboration, networking, industry contacts, workshops, resources, mentoring, booking and marketing opportunities. It’s an all volunteer, member driven organization.

Do I have to live in the Midwest to become a member?

The short answer to this question is NO.  There are no official geographical “restrictions” to membership in our organization–however because most of our programming, membership, and resources exist to cultivate the country music community in the MIDWEST most members probably have some type of “tie” to the Midwest—perhaps they are from here or have a strong following in this area.  If members live/work in other parts of the country and want to retain membership that is perfectly fine.

How do I stay up to date on Midwest Country Music Organization events?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram or visit our website and sign up for the newsletter.

How can I hear all of the talented artists in the organization?

You can look up the Midwest Country Music Organization on Spotify, or visit the artist’s link in the directory.

Can I be a member if I’m an artist that is signed to a record label?


What does the leadership structure of the organization look like?

First of all this organization is 100% volunteer—which means that everything we do is being done WITHOUT a paid staff!  We have a volunteer board of directors that drives the mission and vision of the organization on a daily basis. We have various volunteer positions that make up the Operational Committee which meets regularly to report activities to the board and to facilitate any required programming & activities of the organization.  Finally we have a volunteer Advisory Board consisting of influential individuals that meets with the board of directors on a quarterly basis to discuss various ideas and/or issues/concerns within the Midwest CMO. 

The Board

Paul Thomas

Morning show personality, marketing consultant, and event promoter, Paul Thomas (aka “PT”) is involved with a wide variety of organizations around the Twin Cities. His current role is morning show host for Entercom station The WOLF 102.9.
His passion for giving back to the community is evident in his 10 years of volunteer work as a youth hockey coach and his emcee work for various other charitable causes. He is also the founder of the LIVIN Foundation for mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

Allie Gilbert

Allie Gilbert, President of Workhorse Marketing, has spent a 25-year career creating drive and excitement around a multitude of brands. She also spent several years as a part-time adjunct professor teaching marketing and loves sharing her passion for all things promotional.
Her love of music and entertainment is what lead her to both her current profession and her board member role with the Midwest Country Music Association. 

Ryan Pilgrim

Ryan is the Treasury Manager for Liberty Diversified International. In addition, he is part of the corporate development team. Ryan has been with LDI for 9 years. Prior to that he was in the finance industry as an Equity Trader. Ryan has a B.S in Accounting and in Finance from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Bob Keseley

Bob Keseley is a recently retired consulting services executive now pursuing philanthropy, giving back, and cultivating county music in the Midwest. As a board member of the Midwest Country Music Organization, his current focus is strategy, operations and business development.Bob is a strategy consultant by profession, but also a passionate musician who currently manages and plays in the local country band, ShakeDown. 

Matt Graunke

Matt has been a member of the Midwest Music Scene since the early 2000’s, working as a band leader, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, producer and hired gun. His business experience includes Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Management. He works within the org to bring value to the membership and continuously improve  the offering. He can be reached at matt.graunke@midwestcountrymusic.org

The Team

Melissa Petersen

New business ventures, country music and serving others are true passions of Melissa’s, so when the opportunity to be a part of launching Midwest CMA was presented to her, it was a done deal. Melissa’s desire for volunteering and event planning has given her the honor of coordinating numerous benefits, golf tournaments, weddings and private parties. Add to that, 11 years of working for Marriott Hotels Int’l, Melissa brings a wealth of knowledge to the event planning and networking portion of Midwest CMA. Along with her many years in the hospitality and event planning industry, Melissa has been a licensed Realtor since 2001 and she and her husband, Chris own a small business where Melissa manages the sales, marketing and other day to day tasks. Melissa, Chris, their two teenage daughters and chocolate lab, Hank reside in Lakeville, MN and are active members in their church and their community they love.

Jamey Worley

Jamey Worley is a local business owner, band manager, event producer and mom to three dynamic kids. She loves live music and is frequently on the road tour managing her favorite project, The Devon Worley Band. In her infrequent spare time she enjoys gardening and cooking.

Andrew Ellis

Andrew Ellis’ passion for country music went into overdrive when he was 16, and he’s been covering the genre as a journalist since 2011 when he got his start at his alma mater Bemidji State University. He’s interviewed artists such as Kelsea Ballerini and has written for publications such as City Pages, Sounds Like Nashville, and the Growler. He got a taste of the top notch talent in the Midwest when he shot performance footage for The Homegrown Show on BOB Country. He’s excited to be part of the Midwest CMA team and work closely with artists to further their careers and help them realize their dreams.

Megan Lyons

When she about 10 years old, Megan toured the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting, and was bit by the radio bug. Fast forward a couple decades, and she now works as Traffic Director at Milestone Radio. Combine that with her 12 plus years working concerts at a local venue, and you have a combination that makes Megan passionate about helping local talented artists get the recognition they deserve. She truly believes in the healing power of music, whether it be someone sick with a chronic illness, or someone sick with a broken heart. When she is not working or at concerts, Megan enjoys spending time with her family, cooking new recipes, and spending time on the North Shore. 

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