Saturday, March 31, 2012

'Tin Pan South' Report - March 31, 2012

         The shows we chose for Friday night turned out to be the ideal mix of emotion, comedy and nostalgia.  We decided on the 6:30 p.m. show at the Station Inn (Buzz Cason, Alex Harvey, Dallas Frazier and Dickey Lee) and the 9:30 p.m. show at the Listening Room (Marc Beeson, Jim Femino (AKA Uncle Sexy), Joel Brentlinger and Michael Peterson).  We were "grateful" to have a great time.

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

March 30 (Friday):

The Station Inn:

         Just when you think it can't get any better... and you are filled to the brim... and you feel like you can't take in any great new songs... "Tin Pan South" takes you back to the songs of your childhood. 
         Stepping back in time, we found ourselves listening to the family radio in the living room or maybe a new transistor tucked under our pillows. Buzz Cason took us back as we joined with him on the chorus of "Sandy" by Ronny & The Datonas.  He also sang the classics, "Love's the Only House", "Everlasting Love", and "Soldier of Love", which was released by Apple on The Beatles' BBC sessions.
         What can we say about Alex Harvey? His West Tennessee voice is like warm sorghum on grandma's fresh-baked bread... served up with the classic "Ruben James", "Hell and High Water", and "Delta Dawn".
         Dallas Frazier sat behind the keys dishing out hit after hit.  "If My Heart Had Windows", "There Goes My Everything", "Elvira", and the hit waiting in the wings, "Big Mable Murphy", which was an album cut for Diana Ross.
         Dickey Lee joked about his heart, doctor and dentist being in the audience in between the standards, "Let's Fall to Pieces Together", "A Different Light", and "I Saw Linda Yesterday".
         This was so much more than a trip down memory lane.  We left encouraged and inspired by the great legends of country, rock and pop.
-- Wil Comstock, MCAU Music Correspondent

The Listening Room:

         Friday night's show at the Listening Room was a combination of heartfelt emotion and belly laughs.  That's because of the unique round of Marc Beeson and Michael Peterson (two of the best craftsmen in the business) and Uncle Sexy and Joel Brentlinger (two antic-prone jokesters).

         Michael Peterson let it be known he was a fan of Marc Beeson, so much so that it inspired his move from Seattle to Nashville.  Michael's description of Marc as a top talent proved true.  Every song on his play list mesmerized the crowd, and his vocal performance and guitar playing were top-notch.  Songwriters and music lovers in the crowd were treated to songs such as "Be Grateful", "When She Cries" (a crowd favorite), "What I'm For", and a soon-to-be classic, "I Was Makin' The Right Mistakes".  (Can songwriting be any better than this?)

         Being the perfect gentleman (something he is known for), Michael Peterson smiled as he gracefully performed brilliantly crafted songs such as "Right About Now", "When The Bartender Cries", "She Can't Remember And He Can't Forget", and the unforgettable "From The Grave To The Cradle", a lyric that's as close to perfection as we've heard.  Michael's vocals were dead on -- smooth, flowing and effortless -- with emotion to match.

         It seemed unlikely that a show like that could produce belly laughs, but it did. Philly native Jim Femino (AKA Uncle Sexy) put the audience in stitches.  His quick-witted, sometimes self-deprecating humor centered on his weight, body habits, sex, pretty girls and whiskey.  The cigar-holding, whiskey-slugging artist had the personality to get away with risque' jokes that most people would be criticized for.  He set the crowd up, convincing everyone that "a fat man can't sing". Man were we surprised!  He belted out some of the best blues vocals in Nashville (and/or Philly), showing groove, range, attitude and rhythm.  It was a hilarious mix of crass and class.

         Although he probably drank too much of Uncle Sexy's whiskey, Joel Brentlinger was a nice sidekick, playing off jokes and making up his own.  He almost seemed to take over as show emcee, complimenting his fellow artists at every turn.  He sang a nice duet of his song, "I Will", with co-writer/solo artist Crystal Hoyt.  Crystal provided beautiful background vocals much of the night.  Special guest Gary Hannon was invited up to the stage to sing "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off".

         MCAU writers left the show feeling more alive and healthier, having laughed away the stress of the week.  It was a unique show for sure.  Now on to Saturday night's finales!
-- Chuck Whiting, MCAU Editor

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, tour press, brainstorming/consultation, press kits, and social networking.  Visit our web site at .

Photos (pictured from left to right):

1.  Alex Harvey and Buzz Cason
2.  Alex Harvey and Buzz Cason
3.  Alex Harvey and Fan
4.  Dallas Frazier and One of His Biggest fans
5.  Buzz Cason
6.  Dallas Frazier
7.  Delbert Cagle and MCAU staffer Wil Comstock
8.  Dickey Lee
9.  Gary Hannon
10. Joel Brentlinger
11. Marc Beeson, Uncle Sexy and Joel Brentlinger
12. Marc Beeson
13. Michael Peterson
14. Michael Peterson
15. Uncle Sexy and Joel Brentlinger
16. Uncle Sexy

Friday, March 30, 2012

'Tin Pan South' Report - March 30, 2012

         With so many wonderful offerings, choosing where to go on Thursday night proved just as challenging as the first two nights.  After some consideration/discussion, we decided on the 6 p.m. show at Douglas Corner (Billy Montana, Randy Montana, Karen Staley and Don Poythress) and the 9 p.m. show at the Loews (Lionel Cartwright, Michael Johnson, Lari White and Joey & Rory).  It was an unforgettable night from start to finish.

Check out our latest "Tin Pan South" photos below

March 29 (Thursday):

Douglas Corner:

         What do two new first-time dads, a new grandfather, and a gal with one hell of a powerhouse voice have in common?  Great songs... by “buddies” who love writing and singing together.  The look of appreciation and affection on their faces as they watched each other play let all in attendance know how privileged we were to listen in. 
         The audience sang along with Billy Montana on “More Than A Memory” and “Suds In The Bucket”. In between songs, we heard fun stories about Randy Montana growing up.  Although maybe a tad embarrassed, Randy proved to be the gracious son who learned the craft of writing from one of the best.  His skills were evident on “Can’t Even Fall In Love In This Town” and my favorite, “The Last Horse”. 
         Karen Staley inspired all of us with “Tell The Mountain About Your God”, a song that will get you through the difficult times and plant your feet firmly on the other side.  She had us laughing and yearning on “Just What I Need On A Night Like This”, reflecting on how she ignored her mother’s repeated warnings about boys. 
         Don Poythress brought the house down with the crowd pleasers “The Trouble” and “It’s Hot”. And with our eyes closed, we drank in “You Remain”, a song covered by both Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt.  I happened to be sitting next to Don’s proud mom.  At times I would take her perspective looking at her son and the other three performers. 
         Hell, I’m proud to live in the same town with all of them. Thanks guys for a sweet and memorable  evening!    
-- Wil Comstock, MCAU Music Correspondent

The Loews:

         How do you sum up one of the best rounds imaginable?  Performances by Lionel Cartwright, Michael Johnson, Lari White and Joey & Rory even left audience member Hugh Prestwood spellbound.  "It's one of the best rounds I've ever seen," the songwriting legend said.  We totally agree.

         Using piano as his main instrument, Lionel Cartwright sang and played originals such as "Give Me His Last Chance", "I Watched It All (On My Radio)", and "Press On".  He also performed a touching holiday tune that is currently being considered by Bette Midler.  His piano playing and singing were passionate and energetic.
         Michael Johnson masterfully played and sang gentle classics such as "Old Fashioned Love", "April Fool" (co-written with Prestwood) and "Bluer Than Blue".  He surprised the crowd with "Emilio", a Brazilian-accented number to be featured on his forthcoming album on Red House Records.  The audience became a chorus on "Bluer Than Blue".

         Lari White showed her tremendous range with songs ranging from "Lead Me Not" (which drew a lot of laughs) to "Eden Before The Fall" to "Champagne", a show tune about the healing aspects of "bubbly".  A critique of "Champagne" by friends Alan and Marilyn Bergman prompted her to rework some of the rhymes.  The Loews staff presented her with a glass of champagne after her performance.  A highlight of the evening was an unforgettable duet of "I Love The Way You Love Me" with husband Chuck Cannon. The heartfelt performance (with soaring vocals and luscious harmonies) left everyone deeply moved.
         Joey and Rory added a touch of fun to the evening with performances of "I'm A Little More Country Than That" (which Don Poythress had performed earlier at Douglas Corner), "That's Important to Me", and "Chain Of Love".  Hearty laughs came when Rory sang the sassy "Cheater, Cheater".  Another highlight was Joey's touching performance of "Teaching Me How To Love You", a song written during his Harlan Howard staff writing days.

         Everyone wore smiles after both shows ended.  It was a great night... to be remembered for a long time.

-- Chuck Whiting, MCAU Editor

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, tour press, brainstorming/consultation, press kits, and social networking.  Visit our web site at .

Photos (pictured left to right):

1. Billy and Randy Montana
2. Billy Montana with Songwriters
3. Don Poythress, Randy Montana, Karen Staley and Billy Montana
4. Don Poythress
5. Hugh Prestwood and Lisa Aschmann
6. Joey & Rory
7. Joey and Rory, Lari White, Lionel Cartwright, Michael Johnson
8. Karen Staley
9. Lari White
10. Lionel Cartwright
11. Michael Johnson
12. Round with Billy Montana, Randy Montana, Karen Staley and Don Poythress

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'Tin Pan South' Report - March 28, 2012

            NASHVILLE -- "Tin Pan South" is in full swing, with more than 350 songwriters performing at various venues around the city.  Choosing which shows to attend was a challenge for MCAU's two writers.  We finally opted to take in the 6 p.m. show at Belcourt Taps & Tapas (featuring Sally Barris, Don Henry, Tom Kimmel, w/guest Dana Cooper) and the 9 p.m. show at Loews Vanderbilt (featuring Sherrie Austin, Steve Bogard, Lindsay Ell, Rob Hatch w/guest Elliot Lurie). 

March 27 (Monday):


            A standing room-only crowd of songwriters filled the lobby of the Roundabout office tower on Music Row.  Excitement was definitely in the air as tunesmiths from across the nation renewed friendships (or made new ones) and talked about the upcoming shows.  Per usual, the NSAI staff did a marvelous job with food and beverage... and greeting the attendees. 

-- Chuck Whiting, MCAU Editor

March 28 (Tuesday):


            I first heard of The Waymores (Don Henry, Sally Barris and Tom Kimmel) a couple of years ago. For one reason or another, I did not have the opportunity to see them until last night.  They did not disappoint.  What great harmonies!  And then there are the songs…  Tom’s “Trip On Love” brought some smiles as we shook our heads recognizing a bit of ourselves in the lyric.  Sally’s “Let The Wind Chase You” gently tugged at our hearts as she sang so beautifully.  And Don’s “Road To Paridise” had each of us reaching back and remembering our own childhood.   And then there was Dana Cooper, who rocked and lulled us with “Thank You” and “Find Your Place in This World”.   All of this in the intimate atmosphere of Belcourt Taps and Tapas, whose staff served up tasty meals and drinks with a warm smile.

-- Wil Comstock, MCAU Music Correspondent


            Several standing ovations and sing-a-longs marked Steve Bogard's unforgettable round at the Loews.  Sherrie Austin kicked things off with the fun-filled "He Thought He Was, I Didn't", providing one-liners such as "The only thing I haven't done is porn and gospel."  A number of laughs were had by all.
            Steve, who will relinquish his role as NSAI president this year, conjured up memories of the late Etta James with the song "Damn Your Eyes".  NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison congratulated Steve for his contributions to songwriters when the show ended.
            The crowd was equally pleased to hear Rob Hatch do a gravelly performance of his first number one hit, "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away". 
            The incredible Lindsay Ell provided "she plays like a girl" guitar licks throughout the show. 
            A highlight of the evening was a guest appearance by songwriting legend Elliot Lurie.  A rendition of the classic "Brandy" had Bart, Doak Turner and others singing background chorus. 
            What a wonderful way to begin "Tin Pan South".

-- Chuck Whiting

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

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 .

Photos (Pictured left to right):

1.  casey Kelly, rich fagan, Greg hall (tall guy) and Rose Prock Fagan

2.  Angela Parsons and Wil Comstock

3.  Lindsay Ell and Steve Bogard

4.  Lynn Wilbanks and Kim Franca

5.  Randi Perkins, Seth Jackson and Alex Call

6.  Rob Hatch, Bart Harbison, Lindsay Ell and Steve Bogard

7.  Shawn Bowling, Lynn Wilbanks, Lisa Sekscinski and Amanda Toney

8.  Will Rambeaux and Sheree Austin