Thursday, March 29, 2012

'Tin Pan South' Report - March 29, 2012

            Wednesday's impressive list of shows posed another challenge for MCAU writers.  Which shows should we attend/cover?  After studying the schedule, we opted to attend the songwriter legends show at 6 p.m. at 3rd & Lindsley (Felix Cavaliere, Jack Tempchin and Jimmy Webb) and the ASCAP show at 9 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe' (Radney Foster, Josh Kear, Eric Paslay, Rivers Rutherford, and Striking Matches featuring Justin Davis & Sarah Zimmermann.  It was a wonderful evening of music and stories.  Attending the shows last night were MCAU Editor Chuck Whiting and Music/Theatre Correspondent Jaz Dorsey.

Scroll down to the bottom for the latest "Tin Pan South" photos.

March 29 (Wednesday):

3rd & Lindsley:

            If anyone were to ask me the best time to come to Nashville, I would have to say, "Come to 'Tin Pan South'." This awesome, weeklong event, which is produced by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, really captures what our town is all about. This year, "Tin Pan South" celebrates its 20th anniversary with performances by more than 350 artists at some of Nashville's finest songwriter venues.

            To cover the width and breadth of "Tin Pan South 2012" would be a mighty task, but the 6 o'clock show at 3rd and Lindsley was certainly a highlight of legendary proportions, with appearances by three extraordinary songwriters whose performances of some of their greatest hits provoked waves of nostalgia. Not only did Felix Cavaliere, Jack Tempchin and Jimmy Webb enthrall the packed house with songs dating back to the '60s, the three fellows together give us a show that offered a wonderful contrast in styles and artistic temperaments.

            At 70 years old, Cavaliere sat down at his Korg and rocked out like a manic 17-year-old with such memory-inspiring songs as "It's a Beautiful Morning", "Groovin' ", "What You Tryin' To Do To My Heart", and "How Can I Be Sure", and closed with a great new song called "Let Love Rule the World", which once again recalled the spirit and soul of our hippie youths.

            Cavaliere was followed by Tempchin, who with his guitar and sweet harmonica, gave a performance more like the folk singers of my youth, such as Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell. I was less familiar with his songs until he got to "Peaceful, Easy Feeling", which had the crowd in the palm of his hand. In addition to his songs, Tempchin is also a great storyteller who gave us the backstories of his songs and how they came to be written - the kind of experience that will change forever the way you listen to those songs in the future.

            In contrast to the other two artists, Jimmy Webb sat down at the grand piano and served up a performance that was more classical in tone. Like Tempchin, Webb also shared history with us, including the story of how he became drawn to songwriting after hearing Glen Campbell sing "Turn Around, Look At Me".  According to Webb, he then went home and prayed that the Lord would let him write a song nearly as beautiful - and that Glen Campbell would record it. To which, Webb says, the Lord replied, "No problem." Then Webb sang "Wichita Lineman." And he closed with his own rendition of "MacArthur Park", which was unlike any version of the song that I had ever heard.

            As a child of the '60s now pushing 60 myself, I have in recent times found myself reflecting heavily on the songs that shaped my youth and guided my soul as we were growing up during an era that truly transformed the world. An evening with Messrs. Cavaliere, Tempchin and Webb just reinforced my conviction that the songs of that time are just as powerful today as they were then. Though the audience was largely made up of fans from "back in the day", I was most delighted to watch some of the 20-somethings in the crowd and to see them singing along with everyone else.

-- Jaz Dorsey

Editor's Footnote: Here are a few more observations.

*  Film composer Greg Sims wagered a $5 bet with his wife, singer-songwriter Annie Sims, that Jimmy Webb would sing the vocally challenging "MacArthur Park".  Greg won the bet!

*  Good-natured songwriter Dar Frantz was at the front of the line when we arrived to cover the show.

*  We knew we'd selected the right show when we spotted Bart Herbison and Doak Turner (once again!).

* "Nashville is the last stronghold for songwriters and their rights," Jimmy Webb told the crowd, adding that songwriters' fight to protect their music has only just begun. FYI... Webb's father was a Baptist preacher and U.S. Marine.

*  Jack Tempchin recalled the '60s with this one-liner: "All we needed was a Volkswagon bus and a girlfriend."  He wrote "Slow Dancing" in 1972 for his girlfriend, who is still with him 40 years later.


            A huge crowd attended ASCAP's show at the Hard Rock, and songwriters for the performing rights organization did not disappoint. The venue's facilities (indoor seating, outdoor patio, and brightly lit stage) are beautiful... the ideal atmosphere for a "Tin Pan South" show.

            Striking Matches (Justin Davis & Sarah Zimmermann) enthralled the crowd with luscious vocal harmonies and spirited camaraderie.  Sarah showed her instrumental chops on mandolin.  Their voices seemed perfectly matched.  They ended their set with the melodic "Saving All My Tears for You". The duo has definite star appeal.

            The second part of the show featured an "in the row" with Radney Foster, Eric Pasley, Rivers Rutherford and Josh Kear.  The mix of legend and new was a treat for music lovers of all ages.

            Radney Foster performed a number of mainstays, including "Raining on Sunday" and "Just Call Me Lonesome". He expressed his love for "honky-tonk" music, telling fans that "Lonesome" was recorded before younger writers Pasley and Kear came to Nashville.

            Rivers Rutherford treated the audience to the new song, "I Can't Keep My Mind On The Money".  The bluesy, upbeat number had fans tapping their feet.  There were also classics, including the moving "Stealing Cinderella".

            Josh Kear admitted that he'll probably hate his song, "Drunk on You, and High On Summertime", 15 years from now. But he loves how his hit is making life better for his wife and 2-year-old daughter.  He said it took 11 years of determined pitching before finding success.  A performance highlight was the moving "Dancing Away With My Heart".

            Like Kear, Eric Pasley has found recent success.  He performed his new EMI Nashville single, "If The Fish Don't Bite".  Based on the crowd reaction (especially the girls), his song about fishin' and kissin' will be a big hit.

-- Chuck Whiting

Do you have a "Tin Pan South" story/experience to tell.  Please send it to us at .

"Tin Pan South" Schedule:

MCAU is sponsored by Whiting Publicity & Promotions, the artist-friendly choice for press releases, bios, artist statements and press kits. Visit our web site at .

Chuck Whiting
MCAU Editor
Whiting Publicity & Promotions or or

Photos (Pictured left to right):

1. Bart Herbison
2. Eric Pasley
3. Erika Wollam-Nichols
4. Felix Cavaliere
5. Greg and Annie Sims
6. Hard Rock Cafe Crowd
7. Jack Tempchin
8. Jaz Dorsey and New York Visitors
9.  Jimmy Webb
10. Radney Foster, Eric Pasley, Rivers Rutherford and Josh Kear
11. Striking Matches
12.  Ted Rush, Michelle Sherman, Doak Turner and Jason Pappafotis

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