Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Final Lineup for March 21 'Tunesmithing' Announced

NASHVILLE -- "Tunesmithing Off Music Row" will spotlight a dozen professional and emerging songwriters from 7-10 p.m. March 21 (Wednesday) at Belcourt Taps & Tapas, 2117 Belcourt Ave. in Hillsboro Village.  

Taking the stage for professional songwriter spotlights will be Lisa Aschmann, Rand Bishop, Lance Hoppen, and Nancy Moran & Fett.  "Open mic" guests will be Bishop Davidson, Paige Evans, Timothy Flynn, Brad Howard, Ashley Helms, and Antionette Olesen. Publicist-educator-composer Chuck Whiting and comedian Paulina Combow will emcee the show.  

Admission is free. "Tunesmithing" is sponsored by Whiting Publicity & Promotions, Music City Arts Update, and Shine Time Books & Music.  For more information about the event, call (615) 242-9857, write, or visit .

Monday, February 20, 2012


By Bryan Cumming
The WannaBeatles

       We were invited to the Grammys because our album "Fab Fan Memories - The Beatles Bond" had been nominated for an award in the Spoken Word category. The  big event at Staples Center, televised by CBS, occurred Sunday night, February 12, but there were other events, too.  Sunday afternoon was the "pre-telecast" segment, where our particular category would be announced. There was also a "Special Merit Awards" ceremony the day before, on Saturday afternoon, followed by a reception for nominees. We didn't want to miss a thing, so we flew out from Nashville on Friday, Feb. 10.

       That afternoon, we drove to the Wilshire Ebell Theater to attend the "Special Merit Awards" ceremony. No performances; just dignified tributes to very deserving honorees. And very personal stories from the various heroes and their family members. Among the acts that moved us were Memphis Horns and the Allman Brothers. Butch gave testimony to the enduring vision that Duane Allman had, which continues to endure even though he died at 24.

       Representing the Memphis horns, with whom he played on classic records by Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, etc., Wayne Jackson, walking with a cane, told of his high school trumpet teacher, celebrated the 83 number one albums he played on, and called saxophonist Andrew Love his "best friend."

       Roger Nichols (famous for engineering The Steely Dan albums), Rudy van Gelder (likewise for classic jazz acts of the '50s through '80s), Steve Jobs and Diana Ross were among others honored at the ceremony... and Gil Scott Heron, Dave Bartholomew (Fats Domino's producer/arranger), and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

       The reception after that ceremony included handing out medallions for all the nominees and taking official Grammy photos. There was live music from groups composed of brilliant high school students who attend Grammy Camp. They sang and played as if they were much older, very seasoned pros.

       We also saw our friend Peter Cooper from Nashville and Laura and Ed Hill. Peter writes for The Tennessean; Laura is the director of Jam Camp; her husband Ed was nominated for Best Country Song, "Just Fishin'" by Trace Adkins. It was that afternoon that the news that Whitney Houston had died spread like a small brush fire through the crowd.

       When we were leaving the reception, waiting in line for our cars, I noticed "Weird Al" Yankovic, and pointed him out to Holly. He was a fellow nominee, so I had a reason to tell him how much I enjoyed his work, but I didn't want to bother him. Holly - "the good yoko" - took up the slack, walking up to him and telling him her husband was too afraid to come up and tell him how much he admired his work. Holly found him to be a very natural and down-to-earth guy, there with his wife, very appreciative of the compliment.

       Sunday morning we got dressed for the big day and went to the Grammys, which was like diving into full scale LA-hype machinery on red alert: big tents, security, laminated ID tags, parking passes, numbered invitations, red carpet, lights, cameras, media people from around the world, TV screens showing highlights from previous grammy shows... all a bit of over stimulation.

       As nominees, we could walk down the red carpet gauntlet, with camera crews and interviewers lined up along the right side, a white wall decorated with the Grammy logo along the left side, where all the glamorous subjects could pose for photos. An intern would help us find our way to various media spots, and we'd talk about our album in whatever way we could that seemed newsworthy.

       Part of what makes our album interesting, and made this part of the trip tricky, was the involvement with Louise Harrison, George's older sister. She hosts the record, introducing the questions and presenting an authentic British presence to the interviews. She traveled to the Grammys with Marty Scott, who plays the part of George in The Liverpool Legends. Since Louise was not officially a nominee, she was technically not allowed into the red carpet area where nominees are interviewed. But that was solved when Nathan offered his nominee ticket for Louise to hold to get past the guard who was checking that particular credential. On our second pass down the gauntlet, Lou and Marty were joined by one WannaBeatle, making a group of three, while the three remaining WannaBeatles searched for other interview possibilities.

       From that point, we went into the Convention Center for the Pre-telecast. It was actually sort of boring, since it was in the convention center, which felt like 10,000 chairs in a dark box. People were getting up, leaving, going back to their seat, milling about... very haphazard, except for the stage, where a band played walk-on and walk-off music, and the non-broadcast awards were announced and received, as various artists said their thanks.

       We were excited about our chance. The Spoken Word category was approaching. They announced the nominees. They mentioned our album, and all our names. Then, they opened the envelope, and said "Betty White." So that was it.  On my way out, I passed Allison Krauss walking in.

       We headed over (with 10,000 other guests) to Staples Center and shuffled into seats to hear Ken Ehrlich, the producer, tell us what a great show we were about to watch. Opening up was Bruce Springsteen, singing "We Take Care of Our Own" with a string section augmenting the E Street Band. That was the beginning. It was three hours of abundant musical talent, and expensive production to go with it.
       I loved Bruno Mars - his proto-James Brown soul revue number was just as hot as a musical performance could be in my book. Also, that was when I felt ready to admit, "now it's official: the bow tie is back." LL Cool J was sporting one as the host, then Bruno as the front man for the soul band.

       It was one amazing show after another. You could see elaborate sets being erected behind the Grammy sets, and you could imagine vast teams of headphone wearing directors shouting instructions to keep the event moving.

       I was ery glad to see Bonnie Raitt doing a scaled down duet with Alicia Keys in a tribute to Etta James...

       Very glad to hear Beach Boys songs, three of their best ones, as augmented by members of Maroon 5 and Foster the People...

       Very glad to hear Sir Paul doing his stately little standard "My Valentine" with Diana Krall & Joe Walsh on nylon string guitar, and a string section...

       Very glad to hear Glen Campbell doing "Rhinestone Cowboy"...

       Glad to hear Tony Bennett doing "It Had To Be You" with Carrie Underwood, although he's beginning to show his age (after years of very impressive singing in his 80's)...

       And very impressed with Chris Brown, as a dancer & gymnast.
       The winner that night, not only in terms of Grammys, but in terms of audience sentiment, was Adele. Every time her name or album was announced as a winner, you could hear the crowd roar in support.

       We did not get to meet Sir Paul. However, we had a great time, and our seats at the live broadcast were only 200 feet away from where McCartney performed. So I consider that to be a step in the right direction.

       There was an after-party. It was staged with carnival dancers on floats just undulating endlessly. In another room, Kenny Loggins was hammering out his hits.

       Then Monday morning was checking out, fighting traffic, and flying home. Arriving at the Nashville airport, we saw Mayor Karl Dean. He had been at the Grammys. He waited at the luggage carousel just like a regular guy. That said a lot about the difference between LA and Nashville.

-- Bryan Cumming, 17 Feb. 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Music City Arts Update Updated For February

Check out the latest Nashville area arts news at

The February issue (updated) includes stories about visual artist edie Maney, hit songwriter Jerry Michael, Grammy nominees The WannaBeatles, and visual artist gail McDaniel, among others.

Nashville Emerging as a Center for Theatre

By Jaz Dorsey
MCAU Theatre Correspondent

Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a city to make a
really brilliant theatre scene. Just think of London, Paris, Moscow,
New York. Nashville.

Everything about the city of Nashville recommends it as the next
chapter in the history of the American theatre.

Long before the entertainment industry got here, Nashville was know as
The Athens of the South, as the Southern city with the most universities
- and it's our university theatre departments that are really fueling
this Nashville theatre fever - especially Belmont and Lipscomb, who not
only put on awesome shows but also know how to get the audiences in to see them. Instead of treating the theatre departments like "this is
where we keep the weird kids," these two fine schools are putting their
young actors and designers on the front line where most universities
put the football and basketball teams.

Long before country music came to town, Queen Victoria gave "Music City USA" its moniker after hearing  - not Tammy Wynette but The Fisk
Jubilee Singers. Today, Nashville has possibly more African-American
theatre companies than any other city in the country. Queen of the heap
would be Sista Style Productions, so google that when you have a moment.

Speaking of Sistas, while there are a few interesting men in the
Nashville theatre scene, I have to say that it's the women that are
really kicking butt. I have found that dealing with women is so much
easier than dealing with men - I think it has something to do with
testosterone, so here, in no particular order, is my list of awesome
Nashville theatre women.

Shannon Wood, Carolyn German, Denice Hicks, Helen "Olaketi"
Shute-Pettaway, Maryanna Clarke, Marjorie Halbert, Beki Baker, Cathy
Street, Martha Wilkinson, Deb Holloway, Mary McCallum, Persephone
Felder-Fentress, Wesley Paine, Alexis Lherrison, Susan DuPont, Courtney McClellan, Halee Culicerto, Vali Forrester. I shouldn't stop here but I have to so we can get on to other things.

Of course, I should mention the contribution from the gay community,
but I, being extremely "Southern" myself, don't want to make anyone
nervous or accidentally "out" anyone (like myself), so let's keep that
one in the closet, right? Just remember Bianca Paige in Torch Song
Trilogy at The Darkhorse. Sold out a three week run three weeks before
it opened at @ $25 a ticket.

Kinda like "Crowns" is doing now!

And how about a hand for our great critics - Martin Brady, Evans
O'Donnell, Jeffrey Ellis and Amy Stumpfl.

And Fiona Soltes at The Tennessean.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre.

Music Industry Reacts to Loss of Whitney Houston

Legendary pop vocalist Whitney Houston died unexpectedly on Feb. 11. 

Following are comments from some of the music industry professionals who worked with her.  The quotes came via The Recording Academy and the Associated Press.

"Six-time GRAMMY® winner Whitney Houston was one of the world's greatest pop singers of all time who leaves behind a robust musical soundtrack spanning the past three decades. Her powerful voice graced many memorable and award-winning songs. A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice.


-- Neil Portnow
The Recording Academy®

"Mine is only one of millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston.  I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song, and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, 'Whitney, I will always love you.  You will be missed.'"

-- Dolly Parton

"It's so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen."

-- Aretha Franklin

"Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston.  She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth."

-- Mariah Carey

Friday, February 10, 2012

WannaBeatles Featured on WPLN-FM

Congratulations to... The WannaBeatles, who are in the spotlight again with an interview on WPLN-FM (NPR). The group, which is up for a Grammy for "Fab Fan Memories", hopes to meet Paul McCartney at the Grammys on Feb. 12.

You can check out the WPLN interview (and a new song) at .

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tennessean Carries Story About The WannaBeatles

The Tennessean's Peter Cooper has written a great column about The WannaBeatles' quest to meet Paul at the Grammys on Feb. 12.

Check out the story:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WannaBeatles Hope to Meet Paul McCartney at Grammys

By Chuck Whiting
MCAU Editor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (February 2012) – Question: What could possibly be better than winning a Grammy?

Answer: Meeting Paul McCartney at the Grammys!

Fresh on the heels of their first Grammy nomination for "Fab Fan Memories - The Beatles Bond", the Nashville-based Beatles tribute band The WannaBeatles has launched a spirited campaign to meet Sir Paul at the awards show in Hollywood on Feb. 12. The campaign includes release of their new song and video, "We Wanna Meet Paul".

Paul McCartney will be performing at the Grammys this year, where he is being honored as Musicare's "Person of the Year". His album, "Band on the Run", has been nominated for "Best Historical Package".

"We are so excited to be at the same show as Paul," said bandleader and two-time Grammy winner Dennis Scott.

But for The WannaBeatles (Scott, Bryan Cumming, David Toledo and Nathan Burbank), Sir Paul will be close and yet so far.

"Our little album has made it to the Grammys against all odds," Scott added. "This may be our one and only chance to meet Paul McCartney and, on behalf of the fans, thank him for the music that changed our lives."

The "We Wanna Meet Paul" video features The WannaBeatles performing their new song at various Nashville landmarks, including the Union Station Hotel. Scenes include an "Abbey Road"-inspired stroll across a painted crosswalk and a fan-crazed chase after a London town car containing a cardboard cutout of Paul McCartney. The car was provided by Matchless Transportation in Nashville.

The upbeat tune asks fans to do the following: "Text a friend and Facebook someone new... the time is now for 'Fab Fans' one and all... to shake his hand is all we wanna do... and say thanks to Sir Paul."

To view the video of the song, "We Wanna Meet Paul", visit .

The WannaBeatles received their first Grammy nomination in December as the producers of "Fab Fan Memories - The Beatles Bond", a CD featuring songs, stories, recollections and fond thoughts about The Beatles from celebrities and everyday fans. The project is nominated in the "Best Spoken Word Album" category. The other nominees are Tina Fey, Betty White, Val Kilmer, and a performance of "Hamlet" by various performers at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The audio book features narration by George Harrison's older sister, Louise Harrison, with performances by The Liverpool Legends of Branson, Mo., and The WannaBeatles in Music City.

The WannaBeatles perform original Beatles-flavored songs on the CD. The Liverpool Legends, hand selected by Louise and led by Marty Scott, provide several Beatles covers. Heartfelt and amusing introspections are provided by fans, including special guests such as Nancy Lee Andrews, Janis Ian, Phil Keaggy, Melissa Manchester, Ken Mansfield, Alan Menken, Wesley Orbison, Bruce Spizer, Billy Swan, and Rod Davis of The Quarrymen.

"Fab Fan Memories" was released in late November, just in time for The Beatles' 50th anniversary. Ringo joined John, Paul and George in 1962, making 2012 the "Year of The Beatles". The project, which is distributed by MDI, is available through iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and other retailers for $15.98. A portion of the proceeds will support Louise Harrison's newly formed organization, Help Keep Music Alive.

"Our album is all about the fans," said Scott, who has won two Grammy Awards for various children's projects. "If we meet Paul, it will be a victory for 'Fab Fans' everywhere."

To learn more about the "Fab Fan Memories" CD/audio book, visit, or send an e-mail message to To learn more about the organization Help Keep Music Alive, visit


Monday, February 6, 2012

edie Maney to Host Artist Reception on Feb. 17

By Chuck Whiting
MCAU Editor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (February 2012) –Award-winning Nashville visual artist edie Maney will celebrate her latest solo exhibition with an artist reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 (Friday) at the University Club of Nashville at Vanderbilt, 2402 Garland Ave. off West End.

Maney's new collection of original acrylic paintings, "Australia/New Zealand On My Mind And then Some", was inspired by her recent trip to Sydney, Australia, and the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The artist's non-objective abstract paintings show the beauty of the Australian and New Zealand landscapes, the vivacious people, the fabulous food, and the pollution-free environment.

"It is a thrill to showcase my new paintings at one of Nashville's most respected arts venues," said Maney, who recently was selected one of "10 Artists You Should Know" by Watercolor Artist magazine. "I used vivid earth colors, shapes, values and design to capture the moods and vibrant colors of natural surroundings."

Maney describes herself as an abstract expressionist painter who enjoys soaking in the works of J.M.W. Turner, Claude Monet, Helen Frankenthaler, Wassily Kandinsky, and other artists who have taken risks with their art.

"I usually begin a work in a chaotic manner with earth colors and then add some blues and reds, but I like to develop as I paint," added the artist, whose paintings appear in the new e-book, "A Walk Into Abstracts Vol. 2 - How Did They Do That?". "Acrylic paints can be transparent as well as opaque, which both allows for intensity and depth. I love texture and often use acrylic mediums as well as cementing canvas on canvas to create texture."

Maney says she sometimes scrapes into paper and canvas for added flavor, using palette knives, plastic scrapers, and print-making brayers.

"The allure is the surprise in the power art brings to both me and my audience," Maney continued. "Whether a painting is realistic or abstract, it's all about the emotion the painting conveys."

Over the past 10 years, Maney has emerged as one of the nation's top abstract painters. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native has had work acquired by leading Nashville businesses such as the Saint Thomas Heart Institute, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Trans Financial Center, and Pinnacle Financial. Her paintings also can be viewed at Murfreesboro City Hall and the Gaylord Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Her solo exhibitions have included "New Paintings" at Auld Alliance Gallery in 2010, "Figure Paintings" at Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University in 2009, "Not By Chance" at Leu Gallery at Belmont University in 2009, "Collision of Color" at the Tennessee Art League in 2008, and "Flying Solo" at Nashville International Airport in 2008. The artist has participated in group exhibitions at noted art venues such as River Gallery in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Centennial Art Center in Nashville; the Huntsville Museum of Art in Alabama; Leu Gallery in Nashville; Bennett Galleries in Nashville; the Tennessee Arts Commission in Nashville; and The Parthenon in Nashville.

Maney is represented by River Gallery in Chattanooga and Fine Arts Management in Orlando, Fla. The Arts Company in Nashville shows her small abstract square paintings. The University of Georgia graduate served as a board member of the Tennessee Art League for five years. She is a member of the Nashville Artists Guild and the former regional director of the Tennessee Watercolor Society.

Maney's "Australia/New Zealand On My Mind" solo exhibition will continue through Feb. 28. Admission to the artist's Feb. 17 reception is free and open to the general public. Art lovers also can view Maney's paintings from 9-11 a.m. and 2-5 p.m. Monday-Friday (reservations are suggested).

For more information about the exhibition, call the University Club of Nashville at (615) 322-8564. For more information about edie Maney, call (615) 356-4006, send an e-mail message or visit