Big thanks to NSAI Communications Director Erin Burr for providing us with this wrapup of the first day of the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival.
The 18th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival Presented by Regions Bank officially kicked off last night with some high-caliber talent sharing their tunes and eliciting a few surprise guests.
The ole – Majorly Indie show at The Rutledge Live Music Venue was a “family” affair with Creative Director Shane Barrett frequently playing guitar and Steven Lee Olsen (“Ordinary Angels”), Roger Springer (“Dancing In Circles”), Bruce Wallace (“Old Fashioned Girl”) and Chris Wallin (”Don’t Blink”) singing harmonies for each other. In the audience fellow songwriter Brian White (“Watching You”) and Emerson Drive’s Danik Dupelle showed their support while Rachel Proctor (“Where Would You Be”) and Rick Giles (“Prayin’ For Daylight”) hopped on stage for a round. During the break between shows Big Machine Records’ hot duo Steel Magnolia (“Keep On Lovin’ You”) surprised attendees of the 103 WKDF show by going outside to sign autographs. Regions Bank’s Lisa Harless gave an exciting introduction as the newly-engaged EMI writer Ross Copperman (“All She Wrote) prepared for his first tune. Tim Nichols (“Live Like You Were Dying”) then dished out some advice on women and why he writes so many songs for them: “I know that you have to pay attention, but after years and years of listening, I still have no idea…” before singing “I’ll Think Of A Reason Later” by Lee Ann Womack. Throughout the evening Patrick Davis gave several sweet shout-outs to his wife, Virginia, who manages Steel Magnolia, and brought Jason Michael Carroll up to sing on his song “Where I’m From.” Also spotted was power-couple Scott Borchetta (Big Machine Records President) and Sandi Spika Borchetta(Big Machine records Creative Director/Stylist) enjoying the performances.
Harless also made a stop at 3rd & Lindsley, where she bopped on stage for a duet with Frank Myers, who scored multiple hits with co-performer, the dynamic Eddy Raven (“I Got Mexico,” “Bayou Boys,” “You Should Have Been Gone By Now”). Throughout the evening Billy Dean (“Somewhere In My Broken Heart”) melted the crowd with his silky, soulful voice, and Billy Montana brought people to tears with his Garth Brooks’ smash “More Than A Memory.” During the packed-out late show Sherrie Austin, who held her own as the only female to grace the stage, sang a lot of new material. Jeff Bates and Trace Adkins serenaded the audience with their deep, smooth vocals on “Long Slow Kisses” and “There’s A Girl In Texas,” respectively. Bringing them all together was Mr. Social, Kenny Beard (“If The World Had A Front Porch”), who’s written with everyone on the round! Catching the show was former University of Florida quarterback and NFL prospect Tim Tebow.
A few streets over at The Hard Rock Café Bonnie Bishop (“I Think I Will”), Joanna Cotten (“Sexy Rich”), Jimmy Hall (“I’m Happy That Love Has Found You”) and Johnny Neel (“Good Clean Fun”) were joined onstage by guitar virtuoso and rockin’ entertainer Lee Roy Parnell (“Squeeze Me In”), who arrived early for his late show. Energetic, soulful and gutsy are just a few ways to describe this talented group. Although he isn’t slated to perform until later in the week Bo Bice took in the late show, which also included extremely talented singer-songwriter James Otto (“Just Got Started Loving You”) and The SteelDrivers’ frontman Chris Stapleton (“Your Man”). This all-male round of accomplished singer-songwriters certainly knew how to entertain and amaze, performing crowd-favorites like “In Color” and “I’m Holding My Own.”
Across town The Bluebird Café hosted members of the Memphis Music Association. Rivers Rutherford and Al Bell introduced songwriters Cory Branan, Jeremy Stanfill, Joy Whitlock, Jason Freeman and Billy Worley to the Tin Pan South audience. Filling the room, this group showed that Memphis can give Nashville a run for its money as Music City. Their immense talents include placement in films like Black Snake Moan, frontman roles in the bands Streetside Symphony and Billy Worley & The Candy Co. and strong solo albums. After the changeover, an eclectic mix of tunes began with Steve Dorff, who’s found success in TV & film after writing the theme for Growing Pains and the title track for the movie Every Which Way But Loose. Bill LaBounty sang “Rock My World Little Country Girl” and the hit crossover “This Night Won’t Last Forever” when he wasn’t joining Bill Medley on songs from The Righteous Brothers. Medley also shared some stories about his friend Elvis Presley and had the crowd singing along to “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” Known for his role on CMT’s The Singing Bee, Bobby Tomberlin shared “One More Day” and “I Want You.”