Kip Moore, songwriters celebrate No. 1

‘More Girls Like You’ lead single from ‘Slowheart’

(L to R): Steven Lee Olsen, David Garcia, Kip Moore, Josh Miller. Photo credit: Preshias Harris

MCA Nashville artist Kip Moore was at The Hutton Hotel’s Analog on Tuesday, February 13 to celebrate with fellow songwriters of his newest Number One, “More Girls Like You.” The party, co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI, honored the song’s four writers David Garcia, Josh Miller, Steven Lee Olsen and Moore.

“More Girls Like You” is the lead single from Kip’s third studio album, Slowheart, following 2012’s Up All Night and 2015’s Wild Ones.

Kip has undeniably paid his dues on his trek to stardom. He made his first public appearance singing at a Mellow Mushroom in Valdosta, GA, and moved to Nashville in 2004. He was signed to a songwriting deal with the help of producer/songwriter Brett James. It would be a further eight years before Kip was signed to a recording contract with MCA.

“There was no Plan B”

During the media session before the award presentation, I asked Kip what he did with his career during those long eight years to keep his eyes on the prize. With a smile, he said, “It was knowing I wasn’t going to be happy doing anything else.  There was no Plan B.” He admitted, however, “It was a battle to keep one foot in front of the other.”

(L to R): BMI’s Bradley Collins, songwriters Steven Lee Olsen, David Garcia and Josh Miller, Moore and ASCAP’s Evyn Mustoe. Photo credit: Ed Rode

The four writers reminisced about the way “More Girls Like You” came about. Steven Lee Olsen (whose first No. 1 as a writer was the Grammy-nominated “Blue Ain’t Your Color” for Keith Urban) noted that when the writers got together, “something magical” happened. “We started talking and that’s how it started.”

“It started falling together fast,” added Kip. “They knew where my head was, coming back from Cost Rica!”

“Kip almost didn’t show up,” said Josh. “He was headed to the lake for some wake boarding.”  We were reminded that Kip has a passion for the water, having been something of a ‘beach bum,’ surfing in Hawaii before making the commitment to come to Nashville.

Discussing tour plans, Kip said he is joining Luke Bryan on his ‘What Makes You Country’ Tour.  “Luke has always been a gracious and nice guy,” said Kip. “I’m looking forward to touring with Luke and the Cadillac Three.”

CMA Songwriters’ Series in Europe

Kip will soon be crossing the pond for concerts in Dublin Ireland, Glasgow Scotland and London England as part of the CMA Songwriters’ Series. He’ll be joining his old friend Brett James for the European dates, along with Luke Combs, Natalie Hemby and Nicolle Galyon.  In addition to a packed U.S. tour schedule, Kip also has 2018 shows booked in Canada and Australia.

Kip’s story of his arduous journey to the top is yet another reminder to aspiring artists and songwriters that there is no such thing as ‘overnight success.’   There will always be a battle to ‘put one foot in front of the other’ as he put it. For Kip, there was no Plan B.

For tour dates and more info on Kip Moore’s new album Slowheart, go to http://www.kipmoore.net

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Preshias Harris is a music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology 101: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com

Brett Young celebrates third No 1, “Like I Love You”

“We used our own money to cut the demo”

Jesse Lee and Brett Young answer questions before the No. 1 party. Photo: Preshias Harris

Big Machine Label Group’s Brett Young celebrated his third Number One at a party honoring him and co-writer Jesse Lee, Monday, February 12.  “Like I Love You” is his third chart-topper and comes just over a year since the release of his debut self-titled album.  The party was co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI.

Brett is one of only three acts in the Country music genre to achieve RIAA ‘Gold’ certification for an album released in 2017.  His breakout single, “In Case You Didn’t Know,” has already reached 3X Platinum status, making him the only debut artist since 2014 to achieve that level. He is also the only new Country artist with a 2017 song to go multi-Platinum, too. All three Number Ones are from his debut album.

Second No. 1 for Jesse Lee

Pictured (L-R): Scott Borchetta, BMI’s David Preston, Jesse Lee, Ole’s John Ozier, Brett Young, ASCAP’s Michael Martin, BMLG Records’ Jimmy Harnen and Big Machine Music’s Mike Molinar. Photo Credit: Ed Rode

Co-writer Jesse Lee was celebrating her second No. 1 as writer, following 2016’s “Peter Pan,” a hit for Kelsea Ballerini.

“Like I Loved You” spent three weeks at Number One, but its release as a single was by no means a guarantee, following the success of Brett’s two previous hits.

“My first two singles were happy love songs,” said Brett at a pre-presentation media session. “Then Jesse and I wrote this one that is really different. My songs are like my babies. A part of me is attached to that song,” he noted. “I fought for getting this song on my record. We used our own money to cut the demo.”

Speaking about the writing session that resulted in “Like I Love You,” Brett said that this was a different kind of co-write, too. “We’d never met before.  We went to lunch then came back and wrote it. That was in late 2014.”

The long road to Nashville

Both Brett Young and Jesse Lee might seem like newcomers, but as with most successful people, that isn’t really the case. At the media session, Brett noted that he’d been playing and performing for 14 years before moving to Nashville.

Jesse Lee is not new to the music business either. Signed to Atlantic Nashville in 2007, Jesse had some minor chart success as a recording artist, but then took a different path.

‘I reinvented myself and started to write’

Jesse Lee

Speaking of her early career as an artist, she said, “People didn’t want me one the radio! So I reinvented myself and started to write.  Then I realized I was getting into publishing companies because of my writing not my artist talents.”

Reminded that Nashville is often referred to as a ‘ten-year town’ when it comes to developing a career in music, Jesse laughed and said, “it’s been more than a ten-year town for me. It’s been eleven!”

Speaking about the diversity of his musical styles and interests, Brett said, “I grew up with rhythm and blues and soul music, so You will hear the soul in my music.”

Brett is about to head out on Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes Tour 2018’ this spring.  Find tour updates at brettyoungmusic.com.

“it’s been more than a ten-year town for me. It’s been eleven!” Jesse Lee

ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo 2018 set for May 7 – 9

Unforgettable experience” for music creators

ASCAP has announced the first wave of music creators who will take the stage at their 2018 “I Create Music” EXPO. Among these ASCAP members from across genres and generations are multi-platinum recording artist Jason Mraz, Grammy Award-winners Marc Cohn, Darrell Brown and Dan Wilson, multi-time ASCAP Latin Songwriter of The Year selection Claudia Brant, jazz legend Marcus Miller, Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees Desmond Child and Paul Williams, rising pop star Billie Eilish and her close collaborator Finneas O’Connell. Now in its 13th year, the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO is the largest conference of its kind in the United States, attracting over 3,000 music creators for three days of panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes and one-on-one sessions with the industry’s top hitmakers.

The 2017 “I Create Music” EXPO included nearly 200 panelists from across the music business covering dozens of compelling topics, from Congressional legislation benefiting songwriters to expanding the role of women in film music to a case study with the team behind Justin Bieber’s Purpose. The 2018 EXPO will feature a comparable amount of panels and panelists, with a host of noteworthy lineup additions planned for the coming months. This will include the announcement of 2018’s keynote speaker, an honor previously given to Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones and Justin Timberlake.

Registration now open

Registration is now open for this year’s EXPO, to be held Monday, May 7 through Wednesday, May 9 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. ASCAP’s New Year discount is active on all pricing levels through February 14 at www.ascap.com/exporegister.

Six songwriters honored at Number One party

Dan + Shay celebrate two consecutive Number Ones 

What’s better than a Number One party? A DOUBLE Number One party, and that’s what happened Tuesday January 30th for writers of two of Dan + Shay’s recent chart-toppers.  The double-header, co-hosted by ASCAP and BMI, was held at ASCAP’s Nashville HQ.

“From the Ground Up” and “How Not To” are the second and third U.S. Country Airplay chart toppers for Warner Bros. Nashville artists Dan + Shay (Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney) following 2015’s “Nothing Like You,” a cut from the album WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.  The two latest Number Ones are both cuts on OBSESSED.

The honorees for “How Not To” were songwriters Kevin Bard, Paul DiGiovanni and Adam Hambrick. Publishing honors went to Kevin Bard Music, Ole Red Cape Songs, Paulywood Music, Sony ATV Music Publishing, Red Like The Sunset Music and Universal Music.

Accepting songwriters’ awards for “From the Ground Up” were Chris DeStafano, Shay Mooney and Dan Smyers, while the publishers’ nod went to Beats and Banjos, CDS Words & Music, Shay Mooney Music, Sony ATV Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.

Inspired by grandparents’ long-lasting love

From left: Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Chris DeStafano talk during media session. Photo: Preshias Harris

At a pre-presentation media session, Dan, Shay and Chris talked about the origins of “From the Ground Up.” The idea was sparked by a very personal incident. “Driving back from my grandfather’s funeral, we ended up at [Chris] Stefano’s place,” said Dan.  “When Chris stepped outside to take a call, [Shay and I] started talking about how both our grandparents were married for 65 years. it so incredible to married for 65 Years!” It was from that discussion and family memories that the song took shape. “We knew we had something special and it was written in about 45 Minutes,” Dan added.

‘Personal moments’ shape songs

Personal life moments are often the genesis for songs, as Dan and Shay can attest. During the media session, they recalled writing “When I Prayed For You.” The song, about a soon-to-be-father praying for his child, was featured in the movie, “The Shack.”  Shay noted that it was written when he and his wife Hannah were expecting their daughter, Asher. Anticipating the birth of a child in real life added poignancy to the writing, Shay recalled.

Getting back to “From the Ground Up,” Chris DeStefano said, “It’s amazing to me to be part of a song that fans can connect with.” Chris is no stranger to chart toppers, having written or co-written Number One songs for Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Brett Eldredge, Jason Aldean and more. “I won’t ever take it for granted, being a songwriter,” he said.

Wexford, Pennsylvania, native Dan Smyers and James Shay Mooney (from Natural Dam, Arkansas) met in Nashville in December 2012 and began songwriting together. They were quickly signed to Warner/Chappell Music. The following year, their first single – “19 You + Me” – went to Country radio.  Although it never topped any chart, the song continued to sell steadily since then and has since been certified Platinum by RIAA.

Pictured (l-r): Songwriters Chris DeStefano, Paul DiGiovanni, Kevin Bard, Adam Hambrick and Dan+Shay’s Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney. Photo: Ed Rode/ASCAP

On the road with Rascal Flatts

Continue reading “Six songwriters honored at Number One party”

Why the Bluebird Café and the Ryman are still going strong

‘Special people’ keep venues special

The Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Café.  Two iconic names that immediately create mental images of what Music City is all about.  Both are at the top of the list for tourists to visit, particularly since the worldwide popularity of the TV drama series, ‘Nashville.’

In fact, many visitors, listening intently to their tour guides, might actually know more about those two venues than those of us who live and work here.  It never hurts to remind ourselves just how important they are to the success of Nashville’s music industry.

In many ways, the story of both venues is really the story of a small number of remarkable people (mainly women, as it happens) whose tenacity, dedication and unwavering belief ensured that both the Ryman and the Bluebird are still thriving today.

The Bluebird put songwriters ‘In the Round’

Inside the Bluebird. Photo: Bluebird Cafe

Originally started as a restaurant in 1982 by founder Amy Kurland, the Bluebird Café had evolved into a 90-seat listening room by 1984, holding regular ‘Writers’ Nights.’  In March 1985, three songwriters, J. Fred Knobloch, Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet, performed the Bluebird’s first ‘In The Round’ show, in which the three writers sat in the center of the room and took turns playing songs and telling the stories behind the songs, while audiences listened quietly and attentively.

The ‘In The Round’ concept was an immediate success and was soon adopted by other venues, but The Bluebird is recognized as the place where it really all started and continues to this day. So many hit writers and recording artists cite the Bluebird as the place where their careers really took off. Among them: Taylor Swift, at the age of fourteen, discovered by Scott Borchetta, and Garth Brooks who, in 1987, filled in for another artist and was spotted by a Capitol Records’ A&R exec and signed to a record deal the very next day.

‘Alive at the Bluebird’ concert series

Photo: The Bluebird Cafe

After 36 years, the Bluebird Café is as popular as ever. It is still the place where songwriters really want to be seen and heard. Baseball great Yogi Berra is credited with saying about a popular restaurant, “Nobody ever goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” And among some Nashvillians, there’s a feeling that the Bluebird has become mainly a tourist destination. But that really is not the case.  Just take a look at the list of upcoming shows at their website, and check out the astonishing list of hit writers scheduled to appear.

The 25th Annual Alive at the Bluebird concert series is currently underway with at least 27 shows running through February 1, 2018 that benefit Alive Hospice. There’s never been a better time to catch a great show and support a really worthwhile cause.

While you’re at their site, it’s a good idea to click on ‘Reservations’ too. That’s where you’ll see the Bluebird’s policy about booking seats. Remember, it’s a small room (the intimate setting and the close proximity to the performers is part of the charm) so have a second or third choice in mind if your first choice is sold out.

The Ryman: 125 years and counting

The Ryman Auditorium dates back to 1892 when it was originally known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle. Now, with around 2,360 seats, it is considerably bigger than the Bluebird, but still one of Nashville’s best venues to see live shows, even in these days of stadium and arena spectaculars.

But, like the Bluebird, the Ryman owes its current existence to a few people who were convinced that it was an essential part of Music City’s heritage. In 1920, Lula C. Naff was hired to manage the space, after working there for several years, booking acts for the Ryman in her spare time. Her tireless dedication kept the venue alive and thriving until her retirement in the 1950s. Since then, the Ryman has had two more female GMs.

“To work here [at the Ryman] you have to be like a crazy, crazy music fan.” – Lisaann Dupont, Director of Communications for Opry Entertainment Group, quoted in an interview at Uproxx.com. You can read the entire story, ‘How Women Shaped the Legacy of Nashville’s Oldest and Most Celebrated Venue, the Ryman Auditorium,’ here.

Saved from demolition

The Ryman. Photo: L.A. Times/Don Bartletti

It’s hard to believe now that, when the Grand Ole Opry moved to its new location at Opryland, the decision was made to demolish the Ryman. Pressure from local preservationists led to the Ryman being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, preventing demolition. But for nearly two decades, it slowly deteriorated as its owners had little interest in it.  Gaylord Entertainment finally carried out repairs to the exterior including the roof.

But the turning point was a recording made in the dilapidated building by Emmylou Harris & the Nash Ramblers. Titled ‘At The Ryman,’ the album won a Grammy for Best Performance by a Duo or Group in 1993. The success prompted Gaylord to invest in extensive renovations. Since then, additional updates have revitalized the Ryman into the great venue it is today.

Both the Bluebird Café and the Ryman Auditorium prove that when even a small number of people believe strongly that a venture is worthwhile and never give up on their objectives, great things can happen. Today, it’s difficult to imagine what Nashville would be like without the Bluebird Café or the Ryman.  They are living proof that people with strong beliefs and perseverance can make things happen.

The Bluebird, the Ryman. Two stops on any visitor’s tour of Nashville. But both great entertainment resources for all of us living in Middle Tennessee who owe a debt of gratitude to those who made them what they are today.

“Inside Track on Music Row” ready to read

Here’s a teaser of the January 2018 edition

The January 2018 version of my monthly column, ‘Inside Track on Music Row,’ is now posted at Nashville Music Guide, complete with some great graphics and photos.

Here are a few few teasers, but click the link above to read the full column of news about songwriters, artists and the country music industry.

Artist News

Brett Young has landed on multiple Billboard Year End charts, as 2017 came to a close, including Top New Artists, the only Country artist to do so. He also landed at No. Two on the Year End Hot Country Songs, Country Digital Songs and Country Streaming Songs charts. ASCAP recognized his “quintessential breakout year,” honoring Young for one of the Most Played Songs of the Year with “Sleep Without You.” Young was named a TicketMaster New Favorite Artist of 2017 and was Shazam’s only Country act included on their Emerging Artists of 2017 list. He also drew prestigious CMA, ACM, Teen Choice Award, CMT Music Awards and AIMP Award nominations. 2018 is already shaping up to be another big year for Young, who is working on new music. He will perform at the College Football Playoff concert in Atlanta January 8 before joining ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett on his LIFE CHANGES Tour.  More info at brettyoungmusic.com.

Concert News

As the curtain closed on a sold-out show at New York City’s Town Hall in December, multi-PLATINUM singer/songwriter Kip Moore took a bow to 2017, for what can only be described as a benchmark career year. Moore is wrapping up an overwhelming year on multiple “Best Of 2017” lists by Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, UpRoxx, Bobby Bones Show, Taste Of Country, Sounds Like Nashville, The Boot, PopMatters and Whiskey Riff for his revered third studio album SLOWHEART, while reflecting on his 4th career No. One for his single “More Girls Like You,” sold-out headlining shows, national TV appearances and more. 2018 tour dates etc at kipmoore.net.

Label News

Luke & Caroline Bryan. Photo: Getty/Frederick Breedon IV

(Capitol Records) On Christmas, via Instagram, Capitol’s ‘Golden Boy’ Luke Bryan surprised his wife Caroline with two baby kangaroos! Yeah, you read that right, two baby kangaroos. The baby roos are the latest additions to Brett’s Barn, a farm of rescue animals honoring their late niece. Country superstar Bryan took to Instagram to share a video of himself surprising his wife Caroline with the most unexpected Christmas gift ever. In the video clip, Bryan approaches Caroline, who is blindfolded, with the two kangaroos in bags. The family named the babies Todd and Margo after two characters from the iconic Christmas film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Todd and Margo will join the family of animals living on the Bryan Family property at Brett’s Barn. The barn is Caroline’s passion project and is dedicated to her late niece who passed away at just 7 months old in early 2017. Brett’s Barn is also home to a pig, goats, and miniature horses. Caroline plans to keep adding to Brett’s Farm and I am sure we will be hearing more about it in the Spring.

And there’s a whole lot more!  Check out the entire column online at Nashville Music Guide.

 

Proactivity keeps your career ahead of the curve

Proactivity is part of a singer or songwriter’s “Pod of Seven P’s”

Graphic image: Mike Harris

Being proactive is not the same as merely being active.  When you are proactive, you take action in advance of a situation. That might mean taking action to make a good situation even more beneficial to you, or taking action to prevent or minimize the effects of a bad situation.

Note: this is one part of my seven-part series “The ‘P’ Pod: Seven characteristics shared by the most successful people in the music industry.” It is currently being serialized at MusicStartsHere.org

Here are two scenarios:

You’ve been asked to open for a fairly well-known act in a nearby town, and, although the money isn’t great, it could be an opportunity to make more people aware of who you are and what you do….

Continue reading the ‘Proactivity’ chapter (and another chapter, ‘Positivity,’ in the same post) at MusicStartsHere.org   MusicStartsHere is the go-to place for news and information for artists, songwriters and anyone interested in the music. 

Remembering these musicians lost in 2017

Troy Gentry, Glen Campbell, Don Williams, Mel Tillis and more

Sadly, 2017 saw the world of music lose so many great talents.  Every year, we have to say farewell to some of our favorite musicians, but in 2017, we seemed to experience more than the usual number of passings.

Among those we are mourning…

Mel Tillis. Photo: Billboard

Mel Tillis, 85, who wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs and recorded more than 60 albums, overcoming a speech impediment to give us so many hits such as “Coca Cola Cowboy, “I Ain’t Never” and “Good Woman Blues.”

 

Troy Gentry. Photo: CNN

Troy Gentry, 50, tragically killed in a helicopter crash on September 8.  With Eddie Montgomery, as part of the duo Montgomery Gentry, he recorded more than 20 charting singles that showed the early influence of Southern Rock on these Kentucky boys.

 

Glen Campbell. Photo: glencampbell.com

Glen Campbell, 81, who found steady work as an in-demand session guitarist in Los Angeles (on cuts by Elvis, Nancy Sinatra, Dean Martin and many Phil Spector tracks), before finding fame as a singer with worldwide pop/country hits including “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Gentle On My Mind” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.”

 

Tom Petty. Photo: AP/Mark Humphrey

Tom Petty, 66. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was also known as a staunch advocate for artist control over music.  With his band, The Heartbreakers, he had scores of pop hits and was also part of The Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne.

 

Gregg Allman. Photo: USA Today

Gregg Allman, 69, a Nashville native who was a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. Despite setbacks and tragedies (including the death of Duane Allman in 1971) the band continued playing, on and off until the 2010s. (Drummer Butch Trucks, another founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, died in January 2017, aged 69.)

 

Don Williams. Photo: donwilliams.com

Don Williams, 78. A 2010 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Williams’ career included 17 number one Country chart toppers, including the Roger Cook & Sam Hogin-penned crossover hit “I Believe in You.” He was also seen in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit II” and “WW and the Dixie Dance Kings.”

 

Robert Knight. Photo: Getty/Rick Diamond

Robert Knight, 72.  The R&B/pop singer and Franklin, Tenn., native was discovered singing at a Vanderbilt frat party and immediately signed to a record deal, resulting in the smash hit “Everlasting Love,” described as “one of the most enduring songs ever to come out of Nashville” by Michael Gray, the Country Music Hall of Fame historian.

 

Chuck Berry. Photo: Chess Records

Chuck Berry, 90, the rock and roll pioneer whose songwriting and guitar playing influenced generations of pop, rock and country artists. Almost until his death on March 18, 2017, Berry was performing and even recording one final album. His massive hits include “Maybellene,” “Little Queenie” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”

And so many others, including…

David Cassidy, 69, teenage heartthrob singer who found fame as part of TV’s Partridge Family… Della Reese, 86, the phenomenal R&B/Soul singer who later became a move & TV star… Fats Domino, 89, the unique New Orleans rock and roll pianist and singer… Al Jarreau, 76, the multi-Grammy-winning singer of bluesy pop hits such as “We’re In This Love Together”… Walter Becker, 67, the singer/songwriter who, with Dan Fagen, formed Steely Dan… Malcolm Young, 64, guitarist, singer and co-founder (with brother Angus) of the hard rock band AC/DC… Johnny Hallyday, 74, known as the ‘French Elvis,’ he released an astonishing 79 albums, selling more than 80 million records worldwide… Wayne Cochran, 78, the ‘blue-eyed soul’ singer whose flamboyant stage performance influenced Elvis, wrote and recorded the original version of the teen tragedy (‘splatter platter’) hit, “Last Kiss.”

Yes, there were more, and all will be missed.  As The Righteous Brothers sang in 1974: “If there’s a rock and roll heaven, you know they’ve got a hell of a band.”

RCA Studio B, 60 years on

Recording artists still keeping the sound alive

Among all the recording studios in Nashville, probably the most famous has to be RCA Studio B. In many ways, it was where the ‘Nashville Sound’ developed, mainly under the direction of the legendary Chet Atkins. But the microphones have not been mothballed just yet, according to a story broadcast on WPLN.

RCA Studio B. Photo: Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

For 20 years (1957 to 1977), Studio B was the birthplace of hundreds of hit records that impacted both the Country and Pop charts. The list of stars who stepped up to the microphone in that studio includes Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton and so many more. My cousins, the Everly Brothers, were there from the beginning, cutting their first Studio B session in November 1957.

Now, Studio B is a must-see stop for visitors to Nashville and the tour buses pull up every hour across the street from my office on Music Square West.  But although Studio B is now a tourist destination, operated and maintained by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, some musicians still find a way to capture the unique sound that only this studio can create.

WPLN-FM, Nashville’s Public Radio station, recently aired a story about musicians and artists who find a way to record songs today in Studio B, keeping that signature sound alive. As an example, JD McPherson recently topped the Americana charts with ‘Lucky Penny.’ He recorded it at the famed studio 60 years after Don Gibson recorded his version of the song in the same studio.

You can hear the audio of that WPLN story and read the text here.

If you want to know more about the amazing history of RCA Studio B, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum published a book, full of stories and pictures, that’s available in the book shop and online.

Garth ‘comes home’ to Nashville

Blows the roof off Bridgestone Arena

Garth Brooks will likely remember Saturday, December 9, 2017 for a number of reasons. When he and wife Trisha Yearwood picked up their mics at the afternoon press conference, he told us it was something of a homecoming for them: the first time they had played Nashville since the fundraiser following the ‘great Nashville flood’ of 2010.

Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood at press conference. Photo: Preshias Harris

As Trisha said, after three years on the road, it was pleasant to realize they didn’t have to pack a suitcase. After each of their Nashville shows, they could simply drive to their home in Goodlettsville. Garth smiled at said, “Welcome to the end of the journey.”

December 9 also marked the official announcement that Garth’s latest single, ‘Ask Me How I Know,’ reached Number One on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. It was his first Number One since 2007’s ‘More Than A Memory.’  To add poignancy, December 9, 1989, was the date that Garth reached the Number One spot for the first time with ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes.’

Oh, and Saturday was the eve of Garth and Trisha’s wedding anniversary: they were married December 10, 2005. A memorable weekend in so many ways.

Garth’s pre-show celebration

Garth Brooks on stage at Bridgestone Arena. Photo: Preshias Harris

At a backstage party prior to Saturday’s show at Bridgestone Arena, Garth and Trisha celebrated their return to Nashville following an incredible tour that shattered  every record for attendance and ticket revenue. Awards were presented to Garth, one after another, marking so many milestones in a unique career. Among his astonishing achievements: he is the best-selling solo artist in the United States with over 148 million domestic units sold, and over 160 million records sold worldwide.

He is also the only artist to have released seven albums that reached diamond status, according to RIAA. (This is an even greater achievement when you remember that he took a hiatus from recording between 2001 and 2009 to focus more fully on being with his family.)

At the pre-show party, it was also announced that Garth also tops the Nielsen BookScan chart with the Number One non-fiction book, ‘The Anthology, Part One: The First Five Years.’

Mitch Rossell at the Bridgestone. Photo: Mike Harris

And then it was showtime. A packed Bridgestone Arena was treated to a superb show that opened with a solo set from singer/songwriter Mitch Rossell who wrote Garth’s current chart-topper, ‘Ask Me How I Know.’ That song is Rossell’s first commercially released cut as a songwriter, making it a memorable night for him, too.  Rossell was followed by a set by Karyn Rochelle, a fine songwriter who co-penned ‘Red High Heels’ with Kelly Pickler.

Two+ hours of high energy

Garth at Bridgestone Arena. Photo: Preshias Harris

When Garth finally hit the stage, the sold-out crowd erupted as he roared into ‘Let’s Lay Down and Dance,’ the beginning of more than two hours of faultless high energy.  Garth is a master of handling a crowd.  At one point, without saying or singing a word, he virtually ‘conducted’ the audience like a mime.  For several minutes, he urged different sections of the crowd to compete in the volume of the noise they could produce, building to a deafening crescendo.

As he had pointed out at the press conference, he understands an audience’s desire to hear the familiar hits and he knows how to finesse the performance of lesser-known or current material into his set. He didn’t disappoint, performing a string of crowd favorites, including ‘The Thunder Roars,’ ‘Rodeo,’ ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,’ and many more. Trisha joined him onstage with some of her own hits including ‘She’s In Love With the Boy’ and ‘Memphis.’

With all the records that Garth has already broken, he isn’t done yet.  Although the current World Tour is finally coming to an end, there’s no end in sight to his unique and remarkable career, as much a tribute to his mastery of marketing as to his amazing musical talent.  There’s more to come.

photo: facebook.com/mitchrossellofficial

Footnote: Mitch Rossell, who opened for Garth and also wrote the current Number One, may be finding his first taste of chart success  as a writer, but he is no newcomer to the music business. As he told the audience during his set, he’d been playing music and writing songs as long as he could remember. He’d been in Nashville for about five years, determined to make music his career. He looked around the packed arena and said that before these tour dates with Garth, “I was playing Tootsie’s bar at the Nashville Airport.” Aspiring artists and songwriters need to remind themselves that ‘Nashville is a five-year town’ – or maybe a ten-year town for some. Patience and perseverance win out in the end.