Saturday, April 28, 2012

'Tunesmithing' to Feature CJ Watson and Leslie Ellis on May 16

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

Taking the stage for professional songwriter spotlights from 8-10 p.m. will be the trio Leslie Ellis ("Love Is A Mystery"/The Consoulers), the duo Lisa Hannah & Paul NielsenYvonne Smith, and CJ Watson ("Misspent Youth"/James Otto). 

(Photo: CJ Watson)

An opening segment from 7-8 p.m. will feature Gordon EllisHope Nix, Cornelius "Popcorn" Robertson, and Nicole Scott.  

Publicist-educator-author-songwriter 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 .

Friday, April 27, 2012

NCA's 'Score-Com' Provides Invaluable Insights for Composers

By Greg Sims
MCAU Music and Film Correspondent

I participated in "Score-Com" (a two-day seminar for media composers) for the first time this year. Even though I am a veteran composer for advertising, production music, theme parks and television ("The Oprah Winfrey Show", "Dr. Oz"), I am somewhat new to the feature film scoring scene ("The Lion of Judah", "Tugger the Jeep Who Wanted to Fly") and am of the mindset that one never stops learning. I also wanted to meet some of my fellow Nashville composers. 

(Photo: Greg Sims)

The "Score-Com" panel consisted of veteran LA-based film composer Aaron Zigman ("The Notebook", "Sex In the City") and Richard Glasser, music executive for the Weinstein Company ("The King’s Speech", "The Artist"). Aaron’s experience, insight and versatility enabled him to share many tips of the trade on how to approach scoring for film. Richard shared a wealth of information drawing from his experience as a music editor and his expertise on music synchronization rights. All of the attendees were given the opportunity to score a short film clip and received invaluable feedback from the two panelists.

I really enjoyed "Score-Com", and I look forward to attending another one in the future. I'd like to thank Geoff Koch of the Nashville Composers Association for organizing and moderating the event. 

Learn more about the Nashville Composers Association at . 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Music City Arts Update Posted For April

Following are highlights from the April issue of MCAU: Music City Arts Update.  See the entire issue at .

The Latest News:
***STORY OF THE WEEK... Cool Pepper Disc, a Nashville record label owned by hit songwriter/producer/publisher Jerry Michael, is releasing a new single by R&B/soul recording legends The Impressions.  
NSAI'S "TIN PAN SOUTH" WAS BETTER THAN EVER... The 2012 edition of NSAI's "Tin Pan South" was terrific, spotlighting performances all over town by more than 350 tunesmiths.  Reports were written by MCAU staffers Wil Comstock, Jaz Dorsey and Chuck Whiting.  
NCA TO OFFER FILM/TV/MEDIA COMPOSER SEMINAR... The Nashville Composers Association and Film-Com will present the two-day seminar "You're Hired! How to Get Work and Stay Working as a Film/TV/Medie Composer" from April 14-15 (Saturday-Sunday) at the Ocean Way Studios on Music Row.  The seminar will be led by Weinstein Co. music executive Richard Glasser and LA-based film composer Aaron Zigman.  The deadline to register is April 13 (Friday). 
GAIL MCDANIEL TO TEACH WATERCOLOR PAINTING CLASSES... Gail McDaniel, an acclaimed watercolor artist/instructor who has served as an associate member of the Winsor & Newton Creative Artist Network of London, England, will teach a series of watercolor painting classes in Brentwood and Nashville this spring and summer for artists at all levels.    
'TUNESMITHING OFF MUSIC ROW' TO FEATURE PETE & PAT LUBOFF ...  The monthly songwriters show "Tunesmithing Off Music Row" will occur on April 18 (Wednesday) at Belcourt Taps and Tapas in Hillsboro Village with performances by Pete & Pat Luboff, David Llewellyn & Ida Kristin, Ashley Helms, and Deborah Bishop.  Taking the stage for the "opening segment" this month will be AJ Bigler, Dustin Mitchell, Mike Rodgers, Thomas Turner and Kelsey Wells.  Learn more about "Tunesmithing" at . (See "Songwriting")
'NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL' TO FEATURE NICOLE KIDMAN... A panel discussion featuring producer and Academy-award winning actor Nicole Kidman, a one-on-one discussion with novelist and screenwriter Delia Ephron (“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, “You’ve Got Mail”); and the opportunity to learn from some of the finest music supervisors in the film and television business, including “Glee” supervisor PJ Bloom, are just a few of the additional offerings at this year’s Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) presented by Nissan, taking place April 19-26, 2012 at the Regal Green Hills Cinemas and various venues around Nashville.  Visit the festival web site at .
QUOTE OF THE MONTH... "Play it Sam.  Play 'As Time Goes By'."  
-- Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in the movie "Casablanca"  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cool Pepper Disc to Release New Single by The Impressions

      NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 2012) -- Cool Pepper Disc, a Nashville record label owned by hit songwriter/producer/publisher Jerry Michael, is releasing a new single by R&B/soul recording legends The Impressions.

      "Caught in the Middle", a song first recorded by The Impressions in 1986, has been re-mastered for release through iTunes, Amazon, emusic and other online music retailers. Michael produced the recording at his Suite 900 recording studio in the former United Artists Tower on Nashville's Music Row.  The song, which was penned by LA tunesmiths Harold Johnson and Ron Kersey, features performances by The Impressions' Fred Cash, Sam Gooden, Smoky Hampton and Ralph Johnson.

(Photo: Jerry Michael in his studio)

      "I am working to make The Impressions' hidden musical treasures available online for the first time," said Michael, who garnered success as a tunesmith and publisher with the hit "Play the Game Tonight" (Kansas) and other cuts by acts such as Pure Prairie League, Aretha Franklin, The Oak Ridge Boys and Shirley Ceasar.  "'Caught in the Middle' is a love song with a cool groove.  It's been in our music vault for more than 25 years."

       Cool Pepper 's latest single follows the 2011 release of "The Impressions' 50th Anniversary Salute to Curtis Mayfield", a CD featuring 17 Mayfield-penned hits, including "Keep on Pushin'", "Amen", "People Get Ready", "It's All Right", "Woman's Got Soul", and "Talking About My Baby".  The label has also released a rare extended recording of the 1960s smash "Gypsy Woman" and the 1980s single "Never Too Much Love".  All selections are also downloadable at Orchard Music Group is handling worldwide digital distribution.

      "There was no group, artist or band who did more for the Civil Rights movement than Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions," Michael added.  "Their sense of compassion and unity clearly shows on these unforgettable recordings."

      Led by Curtis Mayfield, The Impressions became a powerhouse group of the "Soulful Sixties" with a consistent string of chart hits. Arrangements and vocal harmonies helped set the band apart. The group even managed to take a stand against the arrival of The Beatles as chart dominators.  When the British Invasion started in 1964, The Impressions racked up no less than five Top 20 hits that year, all crafted and tailored by Mayfield.  Mayfield died in 1999 after racking up numerous hits with The Impressions and as a solo artist.  The group continues with Cash, Gooden and Regie Torian.

      Michael has achieved success as a recording artist for Capitol and Mercury/Smash Records; a music publisher; a songwriter; a record producer; and a studio owner.  He also has served as the owner of a booking agency and concert promotion company.  His songs have been featured on gold, platinum and/or multi-platinum albums by top recording acts in pop, rock, R&B, country, adult contemporary and gospel, including Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Kansas, Pure Prarie League, Paul Overstreet, The Oak Ridge Boys, Rita Coolidge, Dobie Gray, Exile and Shirley Ceasar, among others.  As a former member of the popular 10-piece soul band The Entertainers, he performed on concert stages in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and top venue circuits across the nation.  For many years, he owned a state-of-the-art recording studio called Suite 900 on Nashville's Music Row.   His Cool Pepper Disc record label spotlights artists in various musical formats.

      For more information about "Caught in the Middle" and other new Cool Pepper Disc recordings, visit or send an e-mail message to

(Whiting Publicity)

Gail McDaniel to Teach Watercolor Painting Classes

            NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 2012) -- Gail McDaniel, an acclaimed watercolor artist/instructor who has served as an associate member of the Winsor & Newton Creative Artist Network of London, England, will teach a series of watercolor painting classes in Middle Tennessee this spring and summer for artists at all levels. 

            *  Two separate watercolor painting classes will be offered to beginning, intermediate and advanced artists on selected Tuesdays beginning May 1 at the Brentwood United Methodist Church, 309 Franklin Road.  The classes will meet from 9 a.m.-noon and 6-9 p.m. on May 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 and July 10, 17 and 24.  Tuition is $150 for eight, three-hour sessions.

            *  A watercolor painting class will be offered to intermediate and advanced artists on selected Wednesdays at Plaza Artist Materials, 633 Middleton St., in downtown Nashville beginning May 2. The class will meet from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 and July 11, 18 and 25.  Tuition is $165 for eight, three-and-a-half-hour sessions.

            Because space is limited for the classes, reservations are required.  Both check and credit card payments are accepted.  For more information or to register, contact the artist by phone at (615) 599-5115 or send an inquiry to  Individuals can learn more about the artist/instructor and view her artwork at

            McDaniel has taught watercolor workshops on three continents and in Central America.  More than 1,000 artists from 36 different states (including Alaska and Hawaii), the District of Columbia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines and South Korea have studied with the artist.  She has taught 11 workshops at historic Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, a landmark where the late Georgia O’Keefe lived and painted.

            "This is a wonderful opportunity for developing watercolor artists," said McDaniel, a traditional watercolor artist who is best known for her vibrant use of colors when depicting images from nature and real life. "I'll be demonstrating the techniques, shortcuts, and concepts that I have developed or learned by doing, reading or studying with others.  I show my students everything I know, holding nothing back.  My goal is to inspire them without making them feel overwhelmed."

            McDaniel has helped raise almost $90,000 for the arts in area public schools through the "Students and Friends of Gail McDaniel Awards".  The fund-raising effort earned McDaniel and her husband, Ken, a nomination in the "volunteer innovator" category of the 2009 Mary Catherine Strobel Award.  She was invited to be the featured artist for the "Martin's Master Show" in Brentwood, Tenn., in November 2009.  She recently received an award for "Excellence in Community Service" from the Travelers Rest Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was inducted into the Cave City, Ky., Hall of Fame.

            In 2005, McDaniel was commissioned to paint the invitation cover for "A Little Night of Music", a PENCIL Foundation fund-raiser starring LeAnn Rimes.  A local newspaper recently spotlighted the artist after she created a poster commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce.

            McDaniel, who lives in Williamson County, gained international notoriety in 2001 when she was named an associate member of the Winsor & Newton Creative Artist Network in London, England, and invited by directors of the "Art in Provence" program to conduct an eight-day watercolor workshop in Dieulefit, France. 

            A native of Kentucky, she has studied under 35 noted watercolor instructors.  The artist’s reputation as a budding artist grew in 1984 when she was commissioned to paint a family landmark by Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn.  She has had 43 solo exhibitions during her career.  The Brentwood Public Library hosted her first Tennessee solo art exhibition in 1994.  In 1996 and 1997, she was invited to design the theme poster for the Nashville Symphony’s "Italian Street Fair".  In 1998, she was commissioned to paint 18 watercolor paintings for a permanent collection at the newly opened Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Franklin, Tenn.  A year later, she was commissioned to paint 13 pieces for the annual Nashville Scene N-Focus social calendar. 

            In 2000, she became a member of the arts faculty of Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art in Nashville, teaching weekly art classes.  In 2001, she traveled to Giverny, France, and painted in Monet’s Garden.  The same year, she was commissioned to paint a promotional streetscape of four homes for Newmark Homes and five other paintings for the Nashville Home Builders Association/SunTrust Bank 2001 "Parade of Homes". She has judged local, regional and statewide art shows, including a statewide competition at the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville.

(Whiting Publicity)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Details Announced for Film/TV/Media Composer Seminar

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Composers Association and Film-Com are pleased to present the two-day seminar, “You’re Hired!  How to Get Work and Stay Working as a Film/TV/Media Composer” with The Weinstein Co. music executive Richard Glasser and LA-based film composer Aaron Zigman.  

The seminar will occur from from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on April 14 and 15 (Saturday-Sunday) at the Ocean Way Studios, 1200 17th Ave. S. on Music Row. Attendees of “You’re Hired!” will learn about how and why composers are hired, and how a successful, continuous creative and working relationship between composer, music supervisor and film company plays out. 

Having recently worked together on “The Company Men” and “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, Glasser and Zigman will bring attendees their collective experience making music for some of the most well-known films in recent years.  

Tuition is $55 for members and $85 for non-members. For more details and to register, visit .

Final Lineup Announced for April 18th 'Tunesmithing Off Music Row'

NASHVILLE (April 2012) -- "Tunesmithing Off Music Row" will spotlight 11 professional and emerging songwriters from 7-10 p.m. April 18 (Wednesday) at Belcourt Taps & Tapas, 2117 Belcourt Ave. in Hillsboro Village.

Taking the stage for professional songwriter spotlights will be Deborah BishopAshley HelmsDavid Llewellyn & Ida Kristin, and Pete & Pat Luboff("Trust Me"/Snoop Dogg).

(Photo: Pete & Pat Luboff by Chuck Whiting)

"Open Mic" guests will be AJ Bigler,Dustin MitchellMike RodgersThomas Turner and Kelsey Wells.

Publicist-educator-composer Chuck Whiting and comedian Paulina Combow will emcee the show.  Admission is free. "Tunesmithing" is sponsored by Whiting Publicity & PromotionsMusic City Arts Update, and Shine Time Books & Music.

For more information about the event, call (615) 242-9857, write, or visit .

Sunday, April 1, 2012

'Tin Pan South' Report - April 1, 2012

         The final night of "Tin Pan South" was a delightful mix of classic country, contemporary country, pop/rock, blues, jazz and Broadway -- a great way to end the week.  We decided on the 6:30 p.m. show at the Loews (Rich Fagan, Peter McCann, Amanda Williams, Kim Williams with guest Tim Fagan) and the 9:30 p.m. show at the Loews (Alex Call, CJ Watson, Leslie Ellis and Casey Kelly).

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

March 31 (Saturday):

The Loews:

Two Williams, Two Fagans and a McCann

         This round was led by Amanda Williams, daughter of mega-hit writer Kim Williams.  Amanda started off by introducing her dad, as well as Rich Fagan (a frequent writer of Kim's who watched Amanda grow up), Tim Fagan (No relation... born in Hawaii now living in LA), and veteran writer Peter McCann.  Amanda received a glowing introduction from her father.  It turns out that she graduated magna cum laude from Berkeley! 

         Amanda kicked off the round with the rousing "Just Need A Man".  She later moved to piano and nervously showed off her fine skills on "If I Don't Move You".  Her biggest applause was for her country rap song, "Asstastic", a tribute to one of her finest ass-ets.

         Kim entertained us with a string of his hits, "Papa Loved Mama", "If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets" (his first number one hit with Ken Spooner), and the gospel-country standard "Three Wooden Crosses".  He expressed a true fondness for Garth Brooks, as well as Rich Fagan.

         Next up was troubadour Rich Fagan, who performed "Overnight Male", "Be My Baby Tonight", and "A Long Walk Home", which brought roars of laughter from the audience. He thanked Neil Diamond for cutting his song, "The Good Lord Loves You".

         The surprise of the evening was just how much the crowd loved West Coast songwriter/artist Tim Fagan. Tim won us over with his haunting and skillful guitar and his confident and direct vocals.  We listened intently to "Soldier in the War", (a song about a broken relationship) and "Revolving Door" (which was cut by Radiohead).  He had us hanging on every word as he performed "In the Woodshop", an autobiographical story where Tim confesses to having stolen another student's woodshop project and presenting it to his mother as his own.  Years later, when he was deathly sick in bed, a chainsaw goes off next door, reminding him of his sin. Karma visits with the words: "It's always better when you make it with your own hands."

         Peter McCann began by telling us that he just celebrated his 64th birthday, leading into his new song "Geezerville".  He later drove the point home when he thought he saw hit writer Jim McBride in the audience, only to discover that it was Jim's son! Everyone sang along as Peter performed "It's the Right Time of the Night".  We all shook our heads in amazement and appreciation as he sang "Take Good Care of My Heart" in tribute to Whitney Houston.  Houston's duet of the song with Jermaine Jackson sold 26 million copies.

Wil Comstock, MCAU Music Correspondent

The Loews

A Show With Good Friends

         Being somewhat sentimental, The MCAU staff decided to stay for the show featuring good friends Casey Kelly and Leslie Ellis.  They were joined in the round by Alex Call and CJ Watson. 

         Casey Kelly was the perfect host (and storyteller), performing classics such as "You Can't Get There from Here", "Soon" (recorded by Tanya Tucker), the lovely " That Road Not Taken", and the George Strait standard "The Cowboy Rides Away".  There's a reason why so many songwriters want to work with him.  He is simply one of the best lyricists on the planet, and his melodies and bridges are unforgettable.

         One has to wonder why Leslie Ellis hasn't landed a major record deal.  She is one of the best pop/country singers in town, showing tremendous power, range and passion.  She presented beautiful songs co-written with songwriters such as Robin Ruddy and CJ Watson.  The audience was deeply moved to performances of "You Don't Say That Anymore", "All Over" (she stood up to sing this soaring jazz/pop ballad), "That's What Crazy Is", and "Cast Away", a song inspired by the Tom Hanks movie.  A highlight of the evening was her duet of Casey's "I Feel Sorry for Anyone Who Isn't Me Tonight" (made famous by Kenny Rogers and Dottie West).

         Former San Franciscan Alex Call added a touch of pop/rock with "Power of Love" (recorded by Huey Lewis & The News for the "Back to the Future" movie series), "Time Machine" (a story song inspired by his 9-year-old son's baseball glove), and "Perfect World" (another Huey Lewis hit).  The crowd happily sang along to his pop classic, "867-5309/Jenny" (He got the idea for the song while sitting under a plum tree). 

         CJ Watson was an absolute delight, displaying his lyrical and musical genius (and bluesy vocal chops) with every song.  He performed songs covering the blues, jazz and swing genres, including " More to Love" (a song he wrote for the Miss Plus-Size Pageant), the hilarious "Coupe-de-Ville" (reflecting on his living-in-a-car days), "My Dog Jesus" (one of the most creative gospel songs we've heard), and "The Day My Baby Went to Hell".  He added clever guitar picking throughout the evening.

         When the show ended, it dawned on everyone that the 20th anniversary of "Tin Pan South" was over.  We were worn out, but we still wanted the festival to go on.  Some of us hung out for a while to take pictures and watch Casey, Alex and CJ sign their new books on songwriting.  As we walked to our cars on West End, a couple from Kansas told us how special the festival was.  "We drive down for this every year," the husband said.  "It's the highlight of our year."  We came away from the 10 shows we attended feeling the same way.

-- 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.  Alex Call Signs His New Book
2.  Alex Call
3.  Amanda and Kim Williams
4.  Amanda Williams
5.  Amanda Williams
6.  Casey Kelly
7.  Casey Kelly
8.  Casey Kelly and Leslie Ellis
9.  Casey Kelly Signs His New Book
10. Casey Kelly
11. CJ Watson
12. David Lauver, Amanda Williams and Kim Williams
13. Guest, Kim Williams and David Lauver
14. Kim Williams
15. Leslie Ellis
16. Leslie Ellis and CJ Watson
17. Leslie Ellis
18. Pam Belford with friend
19. Pam Belford and Chuck Whiting
20. Peter McCann
21. Peter McCann
20. Rich Fagan
21. Rich Fagan
22. Tim Fagan