Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tin Pan South: Present and Future Hitmakers Put on Quite a Show at the Commodore

Friday, First Show at the Commodore

"Given" a Hand to NSAI featuring Naima Adedapo, Cassidy Lynn Alexander, Clay Mills, and Anthony Smith

Report from MCAU Contributing Writer Wil Comstock

         After having a tasteless Commodore chili bread bowl, I was ready to hear some good music. I was not familiar with any of the writers of this show, so I was a little skeptical. I need not have been. This group of Given Music writers is solid.

         Clay Mills is a writer's writer. We heard "Don't Think I Don't Think About That", his Darius Rucker hit. His first recorded song, "Take It And Fly" by Trisha Yearwood, was a good vehicle for Clay's soaring vocals and his more-than-adequate guitar skills. When Clay's son was in seventh grade, his teacher asked if Clay could come and sing a certain song at his school. None of his son's friends listened to country music, so he told his father not to come. A few months later, his son's favorite show, "American Idol", was on. Clay did not tell him that his song would be featured. After one of the contestants sang the song, there was silence. Simon loved it. Clay's son turned to him and said, "You're still not playing at my school!" Clay then played his Clay Walker hit, "Fall". When Mills first moved to town, his friends back home kept calling and asking when he was going to return. This went on for seven years until he had his first number one. Then those same friends called to say, "I knew you would make it." He closed with his Diamond Rio classic, "Beautiful Mess". 

Clay Mills (left) performs at the Commodore (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         American Idol 10th season finalist Naima Adedapo told us we wouldn't recognize any of her songs. I'll bet one day soon we will with songs like the soulful "Whatever It Takes", "Don't Drink and Lie"(which she wrote and performed with Lance Carpenter), "That's What a Front Porch is For" (written with Dave Berg and Danny Myers), and the beautiful future hit "Pain Got Her In, and Love Will Get Her Out". Naima is going places. There is no stopping this talented girl with the powerful voice and great songs. 

Naima Adedapo performs at Tin Pan South (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         Another strong vocalist with killer songs is Cassidy Lynn Alexander. I fell in love with her "Light of the Moon" and the saucy "Water into Wine". The song "Tough as Leather", written with Paula White and Dan Wilson, just might be a future hit for George Strait. Will someone please let him know? She's from upstate New York dairy country. Cassidy said it's a little different "country" than Nashville. Naima teasingly said, "I can't understand what she's saying sometimes with that accent." Cassidy grew up on classic country, and it showed on the beautiful "Wallpaper Flowers". 

Cassidy Lynn Alexander (right) shares the stage with Naima Adepapo (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         How did I not know about Anthony Smith? I guess I'll have to go out more! This NSAI board member has a huge catalog of hits, including the ones he served up during this round. They included the Lonestar hit "What About Now"; "I Want My Life Back" (by Bucky Covington); and the soothing "Hold On To What You Can and Let Go Of What You Can't".  Anthony said one night he and Frank Myers were hanging out at the Losers bar on Division. Someone remarked that there was a song called "Yesterday" and one called "Today". Someone should write "Tomorrow". Later, they got together with Chris Young and did just that. "Tomorrow" was Chris's fourth number-one hit. 

Anthony Smith wows the audience with his cleverly written hits (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         I'd like to thank the artists for a great evening and for helping me digest a rather dry and tasteless chili bowl.

         From now through April 10, Music City Arts Network will be posting coverage and tweeting out messages about this year's Tin Pan South songwriting festival. Follow us and Please share your TPS experiences with us.

No comments:

Post a Comment