“Celebrate… Listen To The Music”

Tin Pan South 2017: the biggest yet

“Celebrate, Celebrate, Listen To The Music” was the theme in Music City where Nashville hosts Tin Pan South. It’s the world’s largest songwriter festival and 2017 marked its 25th anniversary! The festival invites more than 300 songwriters and this year they performed over 100 shows for the first time.

Dedicated to the songs and those that write them, Tin Pan South is a yearly event in Music City where fans get a unique, up-close-and-personal experience with the music they love. The music is a five day event, spread out across the city with showcases each night at various venues. Visitors get to enjoy intimate shows from world famous musical acts alongside up-and-coming artists from all across Nashville.

The stories behind the songs

What makes Tin Pan South unique is that the talented artists and songwriters that penned your favorite songs tell the stories behind those songs, and perform them in their original form. Nowhere else in the world can you hear so much original music in one place. With the immense creativity living and working in Music City, Nashville is the natural home to Tin Pan South. The music is inspired here, created here, recorded and performed here. Tin Pan South in Music City is the ultimate musical experience – in its most raw and original form.

Five nights of hit writers and their songs

Monday night was the festival’s kickoff party, hosted by Regions Bank who celebrated their ten year platinum sponsorship of Tin Pan South. Organizers of the 25th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival showed their deep gratitude to the following Platinum and Gold Corporate Partners: Regions Bank – Presenting Partner, Southwest Airlines – Official Airline Partner, News Channel 5 – Official Broadcast Partner, Jack Daniel’s – Official Club Show Partner, Vident Financial, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Ford and Ole’ music group.

L to R: Casey Beathard, Tucker Beathard, Jonathan Singleton & Luke Cooombs. Photo: Catrina Engelby

Tuesday Night: We hit Whiskey Rhythm, first to watch “A Benefit for SOURCE” with Danielle Bradbery, Jaida Dreyer, Jo Smith and Lari White. What a talented round. Danielle showcased her new co-penned tunes that she has been working on. I cannot wait till she has a new project out. Then we boot scooted over to the Hard Rock Café to catch Father (Casey) and son (Newcomer) Tucker Beathard along with hit songwriter Jonathan Singleton and newcomer Luke Coombs.

L to R: Jason Sever, Lance Miller, Derek George & Corey Kent White. Photo Catrina Engelby

Wednesday Night: We kicked off at Whiskey Rhythm again, to catch my longtime friend and hit songwriter Lance Miller, along with Jason Sever, Derek George and Corey Kent White. Lance has writing credits on Lee Brice’s “Beautiful Every Time” and Thomas Rhett’s “Beer With Jesus.” Derek George is the producer for Randy Houser and produced Randy’s Number One song “We Went.”

L to R: Jerry Flowers, Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley and Matt Jenkins. Photo: Catrina Engelby

Right after that show, we rushed over to The Country to catch super-songwriter Ashley Gorley and his co-super writers, Jerry Flowers, Zach Crowell and Matt Jenkins. The record for the most Number Ones ever is 33 from Lennon and McCartney, and Ashley is a close second with 31, including Thomas Rhett’s latest “T-Shirt” and “Crash My Party”. Producer/songwriter Zach Crowell (“Hell of a Night” and “Dirty Laundry”) is the producer behind much of Sam Hunt’s catalog including “House Party” and “Leave the Light On.” Matt Jenkins and Jerry Flowers added the icing with “Cop Car”, “A Little More Summertime” and “You Should Be Here.” They also had hits with Carrie Underwood, Billy Currington, Keith Urban and Sam Hunt. Between them (As songwriters) they have 2.1 billion estimated audience impressions.

L to R: Darryl Worley, Richard Casper, Mark Irwin and Luke Pell. Photo: Catrina Engleby

Thursday Night: Once again, we started the night at Whiskey Rhythm to catch my longtime friend and country star Darryl Worley and his band of “Music Brothers.” Darryl had the crowd making noise when he sang “Have You Forgotten.” Of Course Mark co-penned one of my favorite songs “Here In The Real World.” This show was titled ‘Creativets Healing Veterans Through Songwriting.’

L to R: Rafe Van Hoy, Bernie Nelson, Dave Gibson & Jeff Prince. Photo: Catrina Engelby

Douglas Corner Café was our next stop to see one of my favorite writers (and NSAI Hall of Fame songwriter) Rafe Van Hoy and his crew of “Boys Who Make The Noise.” I was so excited to hear the story behind the song for George & Tammy’s mega-hit Golden Ring, released in 1976, hitting #1 on the Billboard Country Album chart and Country Singles chart. Bobby Braddock had asked Curley Putman to come to Music Row that day to write a song based on the idea. Curley decided to stay at home so Bobby called Rafe Van Hoy and asked him to join him in the write and the rest is history!

L to R: Marc Alan Barnette, Jimbeau Hinson, Scott Southworth, Ronald Brooks & Randy Brooks. Photo Catrina Engelby

Friday Night: We landed at Blue Bar to watch Marc Alan Barnette and his round of incredible fellow writers ….. When Marc Alan and his buds get together, it’s always a wild and crazy – and really entertaining – show! The highlight is the evening was Randy Brooks singing his composition, “Grandma Got Run Over By Reindeer.”

L to R: Bill Whyte, Victoria Venier, Steve Dean, Janelle Arthur & Regie Hamm. Photo: Catrina Engelby

As fast as we could, we then drove over to catch my neighbor and friend Steve Dean for the “Hits, Grits & Idol” Show at the Commodore Lounge.

And you know you’re in Nashville (and it’s Tin Pan South) when you see songwriters with guitar cases running from one venue to the next!

L to R: Mark D. Sanders, Roger Cook, Matraca Berg & Bobby Braddock. Photo: Catrina Engelby

SATURDAY NIGHT: We took a Lyft to 3rd & Lindsley to see the show titled ‘Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Presents: Poets and Prophets,’ where we caught Hall of Famer and our former neighbor Roger Cook, just one of an all-star cast of hit writers. Each song and its accompanying ‘origin story’ got roars of approval from the crowd. Roger got a laugh when he held up his ukulele and said, “Look, you should never put your guitar in the washing machine,” before singing a medley of some of the hits he wrote in England before coming to the USA. Of course Bobby Braddock drew a standing ovation for his rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

L to R: Billy Burnette, Bekka Bramlett. Photo: Catrina Engelby

Our final stop Saturday night was at Douglas Corner, where we were just in time to catch an amazing show featuring Bekka Bramlett, Billy Burnette, Bruce Gaistch and Dennis Morgan with special guest Chris Rodriguez. Bekka sure has inherited her mom’s incredible pipes!

L to R: Chris Rodriguez, Billy Burnette, Dennis Morgan. Photo: Catrina Engelby




So many shows, so little time… Every year, I love the shows I DO get to see, but really wish I could clone myself so I could go to every single one. I’m already looking forward to Tin Pan South 2018. To find more about this year’s Festival go to the Tin Pan South website, and be sure to visit the website of Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).

If you are a songwriter – or if you are hoping to be one – Tin Pan South is like attending a five-day University where the ‘professors’ are some of the world’s greatest living songwriters. If you missed out this year, make plans to be there in 2018.