Friday, March 31, 2017

Tin Pan South: An Inspirational Wednesday Night at Third & Lindsley in Nashville

By Wil Comstock

Music City Arts Contributing Writer

Wednesday, March 29, 6-7:45 p.m. at 3rd & Lindsley -- An inspirational set with Brandon Heath, Bernie Herms, Ryan Stevenson, and Mike Donehey with special guests Danny Gokey and Emily Weisband

                  Host Brandon Heath started off the evening with a song inspired by Mother Teresa, who said she always liked to be the first to open the door because she knew it would be “Jesus in Disguise." This is Heath’s new single.   


                  Canadian keyboardist, producer and songwriter Bernie Herms was up next.  This Dove Award winner explained that he was not blessed with a good voice, so he asked Danny Gorkey to come and sing for him.  Gorkey was an American Idol third-place finalist on season eight and was once signed to RCA Nashville for a short-lived career in country music.  Herms and co-writers Randy Phillips and Mathew West heard a story about a heart surgeon who operated on a woman. During surgery, the body is hooked up to a machine that pumps the blood for the patient.  After the surgeon repaired the heart, he couldn’t get it to start again.  He leaned over and spoke into the woman’s ear, “Your heart is fixed... You need to tell it to start up again,” and immediately the woman’s heart started beating. Gokey’s powerful vocals sent chills up my spine on “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again."  

                  Northwestern native Ryan Stevenson told us he went to the same church all his life.  That church split recently over gossip that wasn’t even true.  The Lord spoke to Ryan about the power of our words.  This led him to the beginnings of a song he shared with TobyMac.  Toby asked if he could finish the song with him. The result was “Speak Life,” which Toby recorded and brought to #1 along with a Grammy nomination!  

                  Mike Donehey, front man for the band Tenth Avenue North, spoke of how the Church is quick to relieve us of our guilt but also quick to burden us with concerns about our Christian legacy and winning lost souls. The truth is God is not dependent on us, but he does want to use us. Mike wooed us with the tender “Somehow You Want Me."

                  Brandon joked that his next song was not written by the textbook because it had no chorus.  But that didn’t stop “I’m Not Who I Was” from becoming his first number one!

                  Herms wrote the next number with Mike Hall, a youth pastor.  They were talking about a girl in Mike’s youth group who had cancer and had died.  The kids in his group had a hard time reconciling that their prayers were not answered the way they expected. “I Will Praise You in the Storm” was Mike and Bernie’s response to their questions.  Gokey filled in for Mike Hall, who was sick and couldn’t make it, on the vocals, having rehearsed only once backstage an hour before the show.  What an uplifting song!   

                  Ryan followed with a plea from his heart to God on the beautiful “Between Me and You”.  Mike followed with the thought provoking “Worn” inspired by his wife who was worn out by staying up with their new baby.   Next Brandon introduced his phenomenal backup guitarist Adam Lester, who played with Peter Frampton. Adam sang background on Brandon’s upcoming radio friendly single “Whole Heart”.  What a great hook.   

                  Bernie Herms asked Emily Weisband to come to the stage to sing the Hillary Scott song “Thy Will."  It was written by Herms, Weisband and Scott after Scott had a miscarriage. Emily’s contemplative vocal was the perfect match.  

                  Ryan had worked as a paramedic for nine years having a front row seat to tragedy and loss. He put those experiences into his stirring next song “In the Eye of the Storm”.  Mike told us that he and co-writer Jeff Owens wrote this song for Jeff’s 32-year-old sister-in-law, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer.  Several months later, she asked to be there when the song was recorded.  While the song was being recorded, she received a text from Vanderbilt that her cancer was in remission.

                  Herms brought Danny Gokey and Emily Weisband back to harmonize on “Chasing”.  I love the lyric: “I’ve been chasing dreams and you’ve been chasing me." 

                  Brandon closed the set with his song of surrender “Give Me Your Eyes” as we all sang on the chorus.   This set of songs encouraged me and reminded me of who I am… Thanks guys!

                  Tin Pan South continues through April 1. See the show schedule at

'Tin Pan South' SOURCE Show Spotlights Lari White, Jaida Dreyer, Danielle Bradbery and Jo Smith

By Wil Comstock
Music City Arts Contributing Writer

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 -- 6 p.m. show at Whiskey Rhythm Saloon

         This show was a benefit for SOURCE, the invitation-only women’s music business organization that provides professional contacts, career opportunities, and industry related information and education.  Whiskey Rhythm Saloon provided an intimate spot where these writers could tell us their stories and knock us off our feet with their killer songs.

         Canadian-American singer songwriter Jaida Dreyer is quite the character.  Her “Tease it to Jesus and Spray it to Hell," a quote from Loretta Lynn, had us in stitches.  She delivered quite a tale about her first time in LA. She was a little nervous about working with an unnamed writer.  They hit it off just fine, worked on a song, and Jaida was invited back to her apartment to hang out afterwards.  After a few hits of whiskey and several cigarettes, her host asked Jaida if she could do a Tarot Card reading for her.  For an hour and a half, her new friend proceeded to tell her the most horrible things, 90 percent of which came true! They remained friends, and Jaida put this experience into the haunting “There Will be Blood."  Dreyer closed with her number one hit for Luke Bryan and Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, “Home Alone Tonight,” telling the crowd excitedly, "I can finally say I have a number one!"

         Big Machine artist Danielle Bradbery, winner of The Voice season four in 2013, sang the memorable “Sway." Lari White commented that the hook would be in our heads for weeks to come.  Bradbery also shared two new songs that really pulled at the heart: “Potential,” about falling in love with the potential of a guy, and the sweet “Laying Low," sometimes you need a quiet time away from the crowds.

         Lari White asked us to imagine it was Saturday night around midnight. We’ve had six or seven beers, and we knew there was no way we would make it to church the next morning.  “So,” she whispered, “We’re gonna have church right here” as she played the beginning chords to “Lead Me Not into Temptation."  Everyone rededicated their lives as she delivered the most soulful performance of the evening, "Hallelujah!"  We were treated to two songs from her "Green Eyed Soul" CD, the sassy “Because I’m a Woman” and “Eden, Before the Fall,” which she co-wrote with Gary Nicholson.  White was in the Broadway musical “Ring of Fire ” about Johnny Cash.  While in New York, she was inspired to write a classic like those in the Great American Songbook.  She exceeded all expectations with the stunning “Champagne." All I could do was shake my head and smile, "Hmm, hmm, hmm..."

         Jo Smith kicked off with “Poster Child,” a song about being good at finding a guy that’s trouble.    Her Motown-torcher “Old School Groove” is a Highway Find on SiriusXM’s “The Highway.” She announced that the video shoot was tonight at the American Legion!  I loved the infectious “Dance Dirty with Me."  And we all could relate to her closing number “This Town” about the ups and downs of life in Music City.  

         This is a night to savor and play over again in my mind as I “Lay Low” and sip a glass of “Champagne"!

            Tin Pan South continues through Saturday, April 1. See the show schedule at

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

More than 400 Songwriters to Take Stage at Tin Pan South from March 28-April 1

            NASHVILLE - Organizers of the 25th annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival presented by Regions Bank pulled out all the stops for the Silver Anniversary, and the 100 shows and more than 400 writers have been announced and are now available at

            Set for March 28-April 1, 2017, writers representing virtually every genre will perform at 10 of Nashville's top music venues.

            CMA Vocal Duo of the Year winners Brothers Osborne will entertain at 3rd & Lindsley, and "Nashville" television show stars Charles Esten, Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen will appear at the Hard Rock Cafe and The Listening Room Cafe, respectively. Grammy Award-winner Keb' Mo' will bring his unique Blues style to The Country, and Rock legend Jim Peterik returns to perform at Whiskey Rhythm.

            Country hit-makers Jake Owen, Craig Campbell, Maddie & Tae, Danielle Bradbery, Mo Pitney, Kristian Bush, Love and Theft, Mickey Guyton, Luke Combs and others will hit various stages, and legends like Larry Gatlin, Lee Roy Parnell and Mac Davis will tell fascinating stories behind their biggest hits.

            After a two-year absence, BMI Pop Songwriter of the Year, producer, music publisher, author, Broadway performer and TV personality Kara DioGuardi is set to perform. Dove and Emmy Award winner Brandon Heath will delight with his story telling, and former Sixpence leader Leigh Nash returns to Tin Pan.

            To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on April 1, 1967, the museum is offering Fast Access Pass holders free admission on Saturday, April 1. 2017. The Tin Pan South Fast Access Passes permit patrons to bypass the cover charge at the door and allow advance entrance, space permitting. Most venues offer cash admission for individual shows not already at the posted capacity, and single show tickets will be available at the door and range from $10 to $20.   

            The free Tin Pan South Festival App is now available for IOS and Android devices and features:

            * The ability to add individual events to a personal schedule.
            * News and social media feeds to stay informed of festival happenings.
            * Real-time notifications on the status of show changes.
            * Festival map and venue information.
            * Explore Music City with a list of landmark recommendations.

            Tin Pan South is set to run March 28-April 1, 2017 at 10 of Nashville's top music venues. Produced by Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), Regions Bank returns for the 10th year as the presenting partner of the Festival.

            For up-to-date lineups, tickets, venues, schedules and other festival information, download the Festival App or visit Updates can also be found on the Tin Pan South Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram. The Tin Pan South program will be published in the March 22, 2017 issue of the "Nashville Scene."

            Organizers of the 25th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival would like to thank the following Platinum and Gold Corporate Partners: Regions Bank - Presenting Partner; Southwest Airlines - Official Airline Partner; News Channel 5 - Official Broadcast Partner; Vident Financial; Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.; ASCAP; BMI; SESAC; Ford; Jack Daniel's; ole.

            About NSAI: The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) celebrates its 50th year as the world's largest not-for-profit songwriters trade organization. Established in 1967, NSAI is dedicated to protecting the rights of and serving aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music. Its membership of more than 5,000 spans the United States and 10 foreign countries. For more information, visit

            About Regions Financial Corporation: Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $126 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation's largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, mortgage, and insurance products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 1,900 ATMs. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at

Jazz-Americana Artist Bryan Cumming Releases New Jazz CD

            NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 2017) -- Bryan Cumming, a jazz-Americana artist who has recorded with popular acts such as Al Jarreau and The Pointer Sisters, has released a new CD that pays tribute to the classic songs and legendary jazz artists of the Silent Generation.

            "Come Out Swinging" celebrates the spirit of swing with a lively mix of traditional jazz classics and originals. Highlights include covers of standards written and/or performed by legendary artists such as Nat King Cole, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Dorothy Fields, and Irving Berlin. The album, which was recorded at Java Jive Studio in Nashville, features Kelli Cox on keyboards, Adam Mormolstein on drums, and John Vogt on bass.

            "I grew up listening to the music my father loved, including recordings by jazz artists such as Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Glen Miller," said Cumming, who also performs as a member of the Grammy-nominated Beatles tribute band The WannaBeatles. "As my music career has developed, I've found myself gravitating toward swing. It has a life-affirming tempo that expresses optimism, enthusiasm and energy. I hope my new album will inspire motion, inviting dancers to sway together, bounce, and enjoy the moment, just like in my daddy's day."

Bryan Cumming (Photo by Johnathan Pushkar)

            "Come Out Swinging" is available at major online retailers including CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon. To download, order or hear tracks from the album, visit or .

            Among the covers are "Sunny Side of the Street," a standard recorded by Tommy Dorsey and The Sentimentalists in 1944. Other covers include "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "It Had to Be You," and "Blue Skies."

            The album's title track, "Come Out Swinging," swings to life with the sounds and lyrical images of the '30s, '40s and '50s.

            "I wrote the song in 2008 to honor the classic swing music I learned from my parents," said Cumming. "'Come Out Swinging' is a nostalgic look at yesterday. It is presented as an imaginary epiphany,
where the singer hears the phone ring and mysteriously hears the sounds of old swing tunes. He gets inspired and preaches the message 'it's time to play' to his listeners."

Download songs from "Come Out Swinging" at iTunes
            According to music critic Chuck Davis, '"Come Out Swinging' is a fluent expression of a musical maturing... delivering swing-inspired original tunes for his father's generation and re-distributing 'that thing called swing' to the next generation."

            Cumming is receiving positive reviews from top music industry professionals.

            Hit songwriter and author Jason Blume says the project "offers a refreshing blend of original and traditional swing tunes that are both fun and exhilarating."

            "Honest and unflashy singing with wit and joy, and refreshingly relaxed playing makes these songs well worth hearing," raves Nashville musician William "Tiger" Fitzhugh.

            "Veteran musician Bryan Cumming has come up with a very good album that should appeal to the same audience as Steve Tyrell, with Cumming's charming vocals and the added attraction of his Sidney Bechet-influenced soprano sax playing, along with a solid combo," notes hit songwriter Billy Vera.

            Harry Stinson of the Marty Stuart "Fabulous Superlatives" praises Cumming's project for its "tight arrangements, innovative solos, and finger-snapping right-in the pocket rhythms."

Bryan celebrates with fellow musicians Kelli Cox, Adam Mormolstein and John Vogt (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

            A Georgia native, Bryan Cumming grew up in a musical family playing Dixieland and classic jazz and singing harmony on Beatles songs. After serving a year in the U.S. Army playing saxophone, he toured and recorded with Martin Mull. He moved to Los Angeles in 1976, playing sax on sessions with artists such as Al Jarreau, The Pointer Sisters, Maria Muldaur, Al Hirt, and The Ohio Players. He later joined Billy Vera and The Beaters, performing at the Tokyo Music Festival and on the number one single "At This Moment". He performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as a member of the Los Angeles Jazz Choir. He toured Japan and South America with David Soul, and toured four years as the lead guitarist for ShaNaNa.

            Since moving to Nashville in 1988, he has performed and/or recorded with artists such as K.T. Oslin, Cleve Francis, and the Grammy-nominated Beatles tribute band The WannaBeatles. In 2009, The WannaBeatles received a Grammy nomination for the CD "Fab Fan Memories - The Beatles Bond." Cumming also produces and records artists at Studio 23 Nashville.

            For more information about Bryan Cumming and his new album, "Come Out Swinging," visit