Saturday, April 23, 2016

Booking Expert To Offer Course for Performing Singers, Songwriters and Musicians Starting April 27

         NASHVILLE -- Hit singer/songwriter/educator Nancy Moran will offer her "Ultimate Booking and Touring" online training program for five weeks starting April 27.

         Moran's popular, four-week, in-depth program is aimed at performing musicians who want to have more (and better-quality) gigs through expert booking techniques. It’s very detailed and hands-on, and she walks artists through the entire process of professionally booking gigs and tours. Students have reported career-altering results from what they learned in the program.

         "In my five-week-long, in-depth online program, I'm going to walk performing musicians through the entire process of booking gigs and planning tours," said Moran, a former member of the popular group The Bitchin' Babes. "I'm truly going to share everything I can think of to help artists book better gigs and to get them out on the road sharing their music with the world."

         The "Ultimate Booking and Touring" training process will show artists how to

         * Prepare for their first on-the-road gig.

         * Expand into new towns, new venues or even brand new music markets.

         * Land bigger, better and more lucrative gigs (to be able to quit their day jobs).

         *  Overcome the self-booking blues.

         Participants will receive five weeks of step-by-step guidance and in-depth instruction. Video, audio and written lessons will be delivered online and available for Mp3 download onto iPods, Mp3 players and other mobile devices. Artists can also download a host of worksheets, sample scripts, and sample contracts. They will receive personal attention during live group Q&A phone calls. Conference calls will be recorded for 24-hour access. A private group Facebook forum will provide additional insights and student interaction. Participants will have lifetime access to all educational materials.

         Tuition for the "Ultimate Touring and Booking" class is only $397. To sign up, click here.

         Moran is a working indie recording artist who performs at notable venues such as The Bluebird Cafe, house concerts such as Rouse House, and festivals such Kerrville Folk Festival. Declared "Songwriter of the Year" by the Virginia Sound Achievement awards and WXGI-FM Radio, she has released four solo albums, including her most recent "Something Old, Something New".

         The artist's CDs have garnered her public and commercial radio airplay on stations coast-to-coast and have landed her on the Gavin Americana charts alongside Delbert McClinton and Joan Baez. She also has been featured internationally on radio stations in Australia, Canada and Europe. 

         The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch called Moran "nothing short of a [modern-day] Joni Mitchell". Dirty Linen Magazine says Nancy has "a powerful, expressive voice...stunning."

         Moran is a former member of the acclaimed all-female folk troupe, The Four Bitchin' Babes. She also is a frequent keynote speaker at music conferences and events, an NSAI-endorsed music business instructor, a online instructor, the former assistant editor of American Songwriter Magazine and the author of several books, audio series, and live or online courses including, “The Songwriter’s Survival Kit,” “The Professional Songwriter’s Code of Conduct,” "Ultimate Booking and Touring", and “Making and Releasing Your Own CD.”


Monday, April 11, 2016

'Nashville' Stars Close Out Tin Pan South with a Musical Show Dedicated to Saving Dogs

Saturday, First show at 3rd and Lindsley

The Musical World of ABC's "Nashville; Benefit for Bonaparte's Retreat

Starring the cast of 'Nashville'

Report from MCAU Contributing Writer Wil Comstock

         Leaving my part-time Saturday job early, I raced downtown to get in line for this much-anticipated show. Turning onto Lindsley, I immediately found a place to park. “Ahhh, the gods must be with me!” On foot rounding the corner onto 3rd Ave. my heart sinks. The line extends at least three quarters of the way down the long office complex. MCAU Editor Chuck Whiting is saving a place for me somewhere in that long line, and now it is beginning to move into the now open venue! “Don’t panic, stay calm, you’ll get in”, I keep saying to myself as I scan the crowd for Chuck’s familiar face. Found him... whew!   Soon inside, I run upstairs while Chuck looks for seats on the ground floor. I quickly found a table in the corner, not a great view. I texted my buddy and waited, and waited. With my jacket over the chair to secure the table, I stepped to the balcony railing and began to search the crowd... where is Chuck? Finally a text, “ I have a table.” But where? Eventually looking down, I spot him just below me. He has a better view than I do, so I grab my jacket and fly down the stairs.   
         Emcee Emmylou Harris, the founder of Bonaparte’s Retreat, took the stage. (Bonaparte’s mission is to provide nurturing care for dogs when their allotted time at a shelter has elapsed... with the goal of placing the canines in the right home.) She welcomed everyone and introduced the first act, singer-songwriter Janet Dryer, who placed nine songs to date on the show "Nashville". Dryer opened with the haunting “This Town”, fueled by the ghostly chords of guitarist Colin Linden. I am really liking this girl! Twisting a familiar phrase, she said, “This is a song about love.” She then launched into “Love Don’t Conquer All”.  Janet said, “I and Loretta Lynn have the same hair stylist. The stylist told me every time Loretta comes in, she sits down and says, 'Honey, Jack it to Jesus and spray it to hell.'" I let those words roll around for a while in my head and finally came up with a song for Loretta.” The crowd cracked up listening to “Jack it to Jesus and Spray it to Hell”!   
Janet Dryer (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         An explosion of shouts and applause erupted as Emmylou introduced heartthrob Chis Carmack ("Nashville’s" Will Lexington). Wearing a big smile and showing much appreciation, Chris rocked the house with “What If I Was Willing”. As the cheers died down, he asked if there were any bachelorette parties, and a few girls screamed. Carmack said, “My best friend Adam is here with his bachelor party. This next song, which will be in the 'Nashville' season finale, I wrote for his wedding.” Choking up, he continued, “It’s called 'Brothers'." The women responded with “awww” as Chris tenderly sang to his friend Adam, who was standing with friends at the bar. The "Nashville" star asked if anyone liked the blues. There were some whoops and hollers when he said he wanted to play his favorite B.B. King song. He slowly ground into “Sweet Little Angel”, trading off guitar solos with band leader Colin Linden. Who knew this guy was this talented?

Chris Carmack (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         Chris introduced his ex TV wife Aubry Peebles (Layla Grant), who put a smile on all the guys' faces as she sweetly sang “She Don’t Have to Know”.
         Emmylou returned, introducing "Nashville’s" music director, Colin Linden, who in turn introduced the house band: Kevin McKendree on keys, Greg Kaplan on guitar and stringed instruments, Johnny Hammond on bass, and Gary Craig on drums. Colin picked up the ukulele and played “Knob and Tube”, the kick-off song on his 12th album "Rich in Love". His voice sounded familiar. Where have I heard bluesy, old-timey rock like this before... hmmm? The crowd was swaying, I was swaying. I looked over at Chuck, and he was swaying too, oh yeah! Linden, feeding off the audience, fired into the title cut off his new album, “Rich in Love”. Closing my eyes, I felt like I am sitting on the stoop outside an old country store on a hot Mississippi Delta afternoon. Colin told us, “My favorite band in history recorded this next song of mine... I was thrilled to meet Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Levon Helm when they cut 'Remedy'." Mystery solved. Colin is hugely influenced by one of my favorites groups, The Band.
Colin Linden (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         Emmylou entered with a guitar to much applause. After her dog Bonaparte died in 2004, she went to the animal shelter and asked, “What dog is next?” (to be euthanized). They brought her Bella, who she adopted. Bella traveled with her all over the world and was the inspiration for the song she treated us to, “Bella”. We met three of the dogs now staying at Bonaparte’s, who are available for adoption.

Emmylou Harris introduces dogs rescued by Bonaparte's Retreat. (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         A short-haired Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Conner) and fiancé Brandon Young appeared on stage to much clapping and cheering. Their first song, “Long Runner”, brought the house down. Clare said the next song was one she wrote for her mother. I wasn't sure about the title, but it sure sounded great. It might be called “I’m Rolling, I’m Moving, I’m Shaking”... then again, it may not! I leaned over to Chuck and asked what the title was, but he shruged back at me.
Clare Bowen (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         Clare introduced Jonathan Jackson (Avery Barkley), and once again the women start shouting. Jackson flashed a big smile, and strumed the opening chords to the rocker, “Don’t Ask Me Why”.
         Clare returned, dedicating her last song to all of the dogs at Bonaparte’s Retreat. With Colin Linden on acoustic guitar, she closed the evening with “When the Right One Comes Along”. Midway through, I ran out the door to get in line for the 9:30 show saying,"Burrr it’s cold out here!" But I didn't have any complaints about the show I'd just seen.

         Music City Arts Network is 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.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Nashville Film Festival to Screen Hundreds of Films from Around World Starting April 14

Nashville Film Festival 2016 Overview:

         It's almost time for the Nashville Film Festival, and we can't wait! This year looks to be better than ever with a wide range of outstanding films from all over the world. Add the Red Carpet, panels and parties to the mix, and you have one of the best arts events in Nashville. The festival is adding a Nashville Writers Conference this year. From April 14-23, Music City Arts Network will be providing updates at and @MusicCityArts on the various social networking sites.

         To learn more about the festival and to buy movie tickets, visit You can visit the box office at the Regal Green Hills 16 starting on April 13 (Wednesday). The festival will begin on April 14 (Thursday).

         Here's the latest news from the festival office in Nashville...

         NASHVILLE -- Nashville Film Festival completes its full slate of films for the 2016 season with the additions of Kirtsen Johnson's "Cameraperson" and Ben Wheatley's "High-Rise", starring Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons.
         Highlights of the festival: 

         271 Films
         99 Feature Films
         172 Shorts
         42 Countries
         62 Features in Competition 
         48 World/North American/U.S. Premieres

Special Presentations:

American Epic/United Kingdom, USA (Director: Bernard MacMahon)
Born in Bristol/USA (Director: Chusy)
High-Rise/United Kingdom (Director: Ben Wheatley) 
Hunt for the Wilderpeople/New Zealand (Director: Taika Waititi)
Little Men/USA (Director: Ira Sachs)
The Lobster/Greece, United Kingdom, Ireland (Director: Yorgos Lanthimos)
Louder than Bombs/Norway, France, Denmark (Director: Joachim Trier)
Love & Friendship/Ireland, Netherlands (Director: Whit Stillman)
Morris from America/USA, Germany (Director: Chad Hartigan)
Sing Street/Ireland (Director: John Carney)
Smokey & the Bandit/USA (Director: Hal Needham)
A Tale of Love and Darkness/Israel (Director: Natalie Portman)
Weiner/USA (Director: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg)


April and the Extraordinary World/France (Director: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci)
A Blossom of Love in Gannan/China (Director: Liqiang Gao)
Cameraperson/USA (Kirsten Johnson)
Cemetery of Splendor/Thailand (Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Chevalier/Greece (Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari)
Dheepan/France (Director: Jacques Audiard)
He Hated Pigeons/Canada (Director: Ingrid Veninger)
Hearing Implant/China (Director: Junliang Fang)
Lo and Behold, Reveries in a Connected World/USA (Director: Werner Herzog)
A Noble Spirit/China (Director: Yue Miao)
Presenting Princess Shaw/Israel (Director: Ido Haar)
Promise/China (Director: Lin Sheng, Yong Li)
Sunset Song/United Kingdom, Ireland (Director: Terence Davies)
Tickled/New Zealand, USA (Director: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve)

Bridgestone Narrative Competition:

Before the Sun Explodes/USA (Director: Debra Eisenstadt)
collective:unconscious/USA (Directors: Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein)
Demimonde/Hungary (Director: Attila Szász)
Fireworkers/USA (Director: Christina Bennett Lind)
Five Nights in Maine/USA (Director: Maris Curran)
Free in Deed/USA (Director: Jake Mahaffy)
The Great & the Small/USA (Director: Dusty Bias)
Hunky Dory/USA (Director: Michael Curtis Johnson)
I Promise You Anarchy/Mexico (Director: Julio Hernández Cordón)
It Had to Be You/USA (Director: Sasha Gordon)
The Lure/Poland (Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska)
Magallanes/Peru, Argentina, Chile (Director: Salvador del Solar)
Neptune/USA (Director: Derek Kimball)
Song of Songs/Ukraine (Director: Eva Neymann)
The Alchemist’s Cookbook/USA (Director: Joel Potrykus)

Documentary Competition:

Accidental Courtesy: Daryl David, Race & America/USA (Director: Matt Ornstein)
The Bad Kids/USA (Directors: Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe)
The Bandit/USA (Director: Jesse Moss)
Chicken People/USA (Director: Nicole Lucas Haimes)
Holy Hell/USA (Director: Will Allen)
Hooligan Sparrow/USA (Director: Nanfu Wang)
Learning to See/USA (Director: Jake Oelman)
Mother’s Wish/Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal (Director: Joonas Berghäll)
Oriented/United Kingdom, Israel (Director: Jake Witzenfeld)
SEED: The Untold Story/USA (Directors: Taggart Siegel, Jon Betz)
The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berry/USA (Director: Laura Dunn)
Thank You, Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon/USA (Director: Todd Bieber)
To the Moon and Back/USA (Director: Susan Morgan Cooper)
Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru/USA (Director: Joe Berlinger)
When Two Worlds Collide/Peru (Directors: Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel)
A Good American/Austria (Director: Friedrich Moser)

New Directors Competition:

The 4th/USA (Director: Andre Hyland)
Banana/Italy (Director: Andrea Jublin)
The Elk/France (Director: Etienne Labroue)
The Fits/USA (Director: Anna Rose Holmer)
Spa Night/USA (Director: Andrew Ahn)
Tamago/Japan (Director: Koji Hirano)
Transpecos/USA (Director: Greg Kwedar)
The Violators/United Kingdom (Director: Helen Walsh)
To Keep the Light/USA (Director: Erica Fae)

Music Films/Music City Competition:

Artist & Repertoire/United Kingdom (Director: Matthew Jones)
Colin Hay – Waiting for My Real Life/USA (Directors: Nate Gowtham, Aaron Faulls)
A Fat Wreck/USA (Director: Shaun Colón)
Honky Tonk Heaven/USA (Directors: Brenda Greene Mitchell, Sam Wainwright Douglas)
SHU-DE!/USA (Director: Michael Faulkner)
Sidemen: Long Road to Glory/USA (Director: Scott Rosenbaum)
A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story/USA (Director: Keith Maitland)
Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows/USA (Director: Rob Hatch-Miller)
What Would Beethoven Do?/USA (Director: Jonathan Keijser)

Tennessee First Competition:

The Dust Storm/USA (Directors: Ryan Lacen, Anthony Baldino)
Josephine/USA (Director: Rory Feek)
Mom Jovi/USA (Director: Rachel Lambert)
The Polar Bear Club/USA (Director: Brett Price)
Soul/USA (Director: James King)
What’s the Matter with Gerald?/USA (Director: Matt Riddlehoover)

Graveyard Shift Competition:

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne/Romania (Director: Adrian Tofei)
A Beginner’s Guide To Snuff/USA (Director: Mitchell Altieri)
Curtain/USA (Director: Jaron Henrie-McCrea)
The Eyes of My Mother/USA (Director: Nicolas Pesce)
Inside Scarlett/USA (Director: Carter Mays)
The Lure/Poland (Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska)
Maskoun/Lebanon (Directors: Sharif Abdunnur, Krystle Houiess)
Baskin/Turkey, USA (Director: Can Evrenol)

Community Cinema:

24|7|365: The Evolution of Emergency Medicine/USA (Director: Dave Thomas)
Broke* – 5 Years Later/USA (Director: Will Gray)
No Greater Love/USA (Director: Justin Roberts)
No Matter Where/USA (Director: Kevin Johnson)
Peace Officer/USA (Director: Brad Barber, Scott Christopherson)
Saving Banksy/USA (Director: Colin Day)

Tin Pan South: It 'Wasn't' Just Another Night in 'Nashville'

Just Another Night in "Nashville"

The Country

Thursday Night (Late Show)

Report from MCAU Editor Chuck Whiting

         Every year, Music City Arts Network's team heads out to the various clubs for "Tin Pan South". This year was better than ever, celebrating the works and accomplishments of legendary songwriters and emerging professionals who are on the verge of something special. We've already posted details about four shows. Here are highlights of "Just Another Night in 'Nashville'.

Songwriters share tunes they wrote for the TV show "Nashville". (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         It was packed to the gills at The Country as songwriters and actors for the popular TV show took the stage. The fun camaraderie and outstanding performances lifted our musical senses to a new level.

         Fred Wilhelm kicked things off with the upbeat "Little Victories", followed by the Faith Hill cut "Dearly Beloved" ("not" meant for newlyweds), and the ticking-time-bomb song "Got Me Thinking Like a Criminal". He closed with a moving tribute song to his parents, "I Don't Want to Lose You" (with beautiful, heartfelt vocals). His dad died two years ago.

Fred Wilhelm (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         Sarah Siskind started out with one of her oldest songs, "Keeps Me Alive". Wynonna recently discovered the aching, bluesy number for a new album. So far, Sarah has contributed 18 songs to "Nashville". "It's been an oasis for me to have my songs listened to, appreciated and integrated into the story," she told the audience. Her soaring vocals and introspective, well-written tunes prompted "oohs and aahs" after every performance.

Sarah Siskind banters with the audience. (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         What can you say about Charles Esten that hasn't already been told or written. He is a true showman who relishes in the spotlight with amiable charm, expert vocals, and excellent songs. He showed his love for traditional country (and Johnny Cash) with "Cold, Cold Comfort", a tune he co-wrote with Gary Nicholson. Charles decided to pursue acting stints first, reasoning that would eventually lead him to songwriting. He ended his set with "Don't Cry Alone", a song dedicated to the grandparents who helped raise him (with the memorable line, "He don't give us more than we can carry.")

Charles Esten (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         The Stellas (Brad and Marylynne) brought Canadian-rooted warmth and laughs, along with rich vocal harmonies. Mom and dad put on quite a show, delighting the audience with "It Wouldn't Be This" (encouraging us to believe in our talents) and "One of Us is Crazy" (about an eccentric relationship). Their daughters Lennon and Maisy took the stage for a closing number. Then everyone joined in on "A Life That's Good" (showing appreciation for what we have).

The Stellas (Photo by Chuck Whiting)
         Afterwards, dozens of fans of all ages gathered around the stage to meet or catch a glimpse of the stars who contributed to the TV show. It "wasn't" just another night in "Nashville".

         Music City Arts Network is 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.

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.

Tin Pan South: Sensational Songwriters Show Features Berg, Cobb, Combs and Payne

Tin Pan South:

Wednesday, Second show at The Country

Matraca Berg, Brent Cobb, Andrew Combs, and Waylon Payne

Report from MCAU Editor Chuck Whiting

         The late show at The Country was sensational, with some of the best songs and surprising voices I've heard on a Nashville stage in quite a while.

         Described as a country soul singer-songwriter, Andrew Combs melodically drifted to unexpected places, mesmerizing the capacity crowd with a young McCartney-esque appeal. Andrew, who plays a mix of covers and originals at venues in Charleston and other places, said he was excited to perform at one of Nashville's newest venues. He serenaded the ladies with the love ballad "Silk Flowers", then launched into the soulful "Too Stoned to Cry", his closest tie-in to the late, great Merle Haggard. His soft, whispering, crying voice added emotional depth to a story about a lonesome wanderer. He later amazed us by using his voice to realistically imitate the sound of a trumpet on "Ramblin' Rose-Colored Blues", a bluesy tune that conjured the rumble of a slow-moving train. His most beautiful performance of the night was "Hazel", a new song that featured brilliant arrangements with soaring falsetto.  We overheard someone say he was the "surprise of the night". We agree.

Andrew Combs shares the stage with Brent Cobb and Matraca Berg (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         Brent Cobb was an affable and talented complement, offering a wide range of heartfelt, fun and well-crafted tunes. He encouraged us to face challenges during these trying times with the spirited "Go Outside and Dance". He later credited the Bro Country scene for inspiring him to write the imagery (cricket)-filled "Tailgate Blues", conjuring up memories of girls, Friday nights, and romance under the stars. He invited Andrew to join him on their co-write, "Shine On Rainy Day". They took turns singing lead and harmony. Their voices blended well together, and the song was top-notch. Brent is a witty and clever wordsmith who loves bringing laughs to his listeners.

         Special guest Waylon Payne, who portrayed Jerry Lee Lewis in the 2005 movie "Walk The Line", treated the crowd to country blues-accented songs about loss, rough living, and hope. He is following in the footsteps of his parents. His mother, Sami Smith, was a Grammy-winning vocalist. His late father, Jody, was a longtime guitarist for Willie Nelson. The crowd loved his songs "Diana" (about a mother who disappears), "Solitary Thinking" (about a lonesome whiskey drinker), and "Sins of the Father" (about breaking free from generational bad habits). But his deeply moving rendition of "Blue Eyes", a song about his battle with drug addiction, will remain in our hearts and minds for a long time. After singing the song, he offered to talk with anyone who faced similar challenges. 

Another outstanding show at The Country (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

         What a delight it was to hear the lovely and talented (i.e. brilliant tunesmith) Matraca Berg. Her working relationship with country legend Deana Carter (who recorded "Strawberry Wine") continues to grow. She performed their co-write, "One More Is Never Enough", which was recently placed on hold by Kenny Chesney. She left the audience spellbound with "Oh Cumberland", a beautiful ballad about being homesick from Middle Tennessee. Her co-write with Emmylou Harris celebrates the meandering, playful, go-nowhere river that winds its way quietly into Kentucky. She showed her musical range, playing both harmonica and guitar on the tongue-in-cheek tune, "They Still Smoke in Alabama". She drew laughs from the audience when she invited Andrew to play mouth trumpet on "Jesus and Elvis", a song recently cut by Chesney. But she saved everybody's favorite till last. "Strawberry Wine" drew big smiles and sighs as it always has.

         It was a highly enjoyable show... Now on to the next one!

         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.