Wednesday, March 25, 2015

'Tin Pan South' Performances Wow Music Lovers On First Night


Day One: March 24 (Tuesday)

         "Tin Pan South" is in full swing, spotlighting professional songwriters at various venues around the city. It's always a challenge deciding which shows to attend. The level of talent in Nashville is amazing. On Wednesday night, hanging out at 3rd and Lindsley seemed a good thing to do... especially with performers such as Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Casey James, Tom Johnston, and Charlie Worsham. Their performances did not disappoint.

(Left to Right): Casey James; Doobie Brothers Tom Johnston and John Cowan; 
Charlie Worsham at 3rd & Lindsley late show. Photo: Moments By Moser 
(Provided by Campbell Entertainment Group)

Kick-off Show (Early Show at 3rd and Lindsley):  

         Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Brandy Clark, with surprise guest!

         This show may turn out to be my favorite this year.  All of these singer-songwriters are riding the crest and deliver a great performance.  Each one witty, entertaining and masters at their craft.

         Josh opened by saying "Tin Pan South" is sponsored by Regions Bank. “A few years ago I didn’t have enough money to open a bank account, (but) now I have a Regions Bank account.”  I’ll bet he does!  Osborne then got things going with the familiar "Leave The Night On", a number one song by Sam Hunt, which he wrote with McAnally.  He also treated us to "I Got A Little Drunk Last Night" recorded by The Eli Young band. We heard Reba’s upcoming killer single "Whichever Way It Hurts the Least". He closed with Blake Shelton’s new release "Sangria".

         This is the first time I saw Brandy Clark live.  I was not disappointed.  Her velvet, rootsy voice reminds me of what country music is all about. I could listen to her all night.  She got the groove going with Miranda Lambert’s #1 "Mama’s Broken Heart". Brandy cracked us up with "Big Day in a Small Town" and brought us to the edge with "Hold My Hand", a song from her debut album.  I sure hope you caught her performance of this ballad on this year’s Grammy’s with Dwight Yoakam.  Unbelievable!  We also heard the number one "Better Dig Two" recorded by The Band Perry.  She had us laughing, identifying and sympathizing with the words to "Get High", another song from her CD. Clark closed with The Craig Campbell cut "You Can Come Over".  This girl knows her way around the guitar oozing out some great accompaniment. 

         Shane McAnally told us the story behind Reba’s "The Day She Got Divorced".  It was about his mother!  Early on, his mom asked him to stop telling people it was about her.  She was embarrassed.  That was until the day she met Reba backstage and told Reba that Shane had written the song about her.  Shane and Josh performed the Blake Shelton hit "I Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You", which came about after a night of drinking with Osborne.  The next day, Josh sent Shane pictures of silly things he was doing and quotes of things he said which lead to the title of the song.  I just loved the line, “There ain't really no such thing as gin and platonic”.   McAnally and Clark had us smiling on the upbeat "Follow Your Arrow", which they wrote with Kacey Musgraves, who turned it into a hit.  Shane left us rockin’ on the Lady Antebellum chart topper "Downtown", co-written with Natalie Hemby and Luke Laird.

         These three writers are responsible for 11 or the 12 songs on Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy-winning album “Same Trailer Different Park”.  So it was no surprise when she was called to the stage to perform her new single "Biscuits", written with Brandy Clark, Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally, and Luke Laird.

         Josh, Kelly, Shane, and Kacey are close friends who wrote together before their songs were cut and made them a lot of money.  They have laughed, drank, kidded and encouraged each other for quite a while.  The ease that they share with one another made this show one to remember.  

-- Wil Comstock, MCAU Contributing Writer

BMI Show (Late Show at 3rd and Lindsley):

         The BMI show featuring Casey James, Tom Johnston and Charlie Worsham (with special guest John Cowan) was splendid from start to finish. An enthusiastic audience was treated to a mix of country, blues pop and Americana songs performed by expert singers, songwriters and musicians. The sound was top-notch with up to six stringed instruments being played at the same time (plus percussion). It was an unforgettable blend of classic and young, with each songwriter holding his own weight.

         Tom Johnston wowed the crowd with stirring renditions of his hits "China Grove" and "Listen to the Music". His voice was in top form, taking Baby Boomers back to the Doobie Brothers days. The audience sang along eagerly, seeming to know every word. The artist introduced the harmony-laced "Nobody" saying, "We do this because we love to make music. Music should be authentic and real, getting you through a tough time."

         It was a pleasant surprise to see John Cowan (who was not listed in the "Tin Pan South" program). The American soul music and progressive bluegrass vocalist/musician, who served as the bassist for New Grass Revival, was outstanding. He played bass (including a beautiful green one) for most of his songs. Cowan showed his range with the remarkable (and moving) ballad "This River" and the fast-moving (clever) tune "Six Red Birds in a Joshua Tree".

         Johnston was very complimentary of brilliant newcomers Casey James (of "American Idol" fame) and Charlie Worsham (a storyteller that someone sitting near me described as a younger Shane McAnally).

         James was eager to play as many of his bluesy, spirited tunes as possible, and the audience urged him on. His ability to powerfully sing original tunes (such as "Devil Down") while playing complicated, syncopated riffs on his guitar inspired Worsham to deem him a "triple threat". "You're a triple threat, too," James replied back.

         Worsham proved James was right with a strong voice, weaving melodies, and creative guitar licks. He is an excellent wordsmith, too. The crowd loved his tongue-in-cheek song "Wired That Way". The thought-provoking (and fun) "You Can't Please People" could be a hit (if he remembers the words).

         We left 3rd and Lindsley invigorated, inspired and ready for more.

-- Chuck Whiting, MCAU Editor

See photos from the TPS Opening Party at the Roundabout at

Do you have a "Tin Pan South" story/experience to tell.  We can only be so many places at one time. Please send it to us at .

     Check out the "Tin Pan South" schedule at .

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