The first evening of showcases for the 20th annual Tin Pan South songwriters festival kicked off yesterday (3/27) in Nashville. Nine local venues are scheduled to host nearly 350 songwriters performing original material in the round throughout the week. MusicRow paid visits to shows at Commodore Grille, Hard Rock Café, The Listening Room and The Rutledge.
Mark Narmore (“That’s What I Love about Sunday”), Mark Nesler (“Just To See You Smile”), Jeremy Spillman (“Sinners Like Me”), and Josh Turner performed at the BMI-sponsored Hard Rock Café show during Tin Pan’s 6 pm lineup. The round highlighted many of Turner and his companions’ co-written songs, including “The Answer” (Narmore), “Another Try” (Spillman), and “Everything Is Fine.” Narmore also serenaded the audience with hits from his piano including, “Moon Over Georgia,” and Nesler showcased his Keith Urban hit “You Look Good In My Shirt.”
Meanwhile, Buddy Brock, Lyman Ellerman, Michael Heeney, and Wil Nance performed at the Commodore Grille. Highlights included Nance’s performance of the Brad Paisley hit “She’s Everything” and Heeney’s rendition of the Eric Church chart-topper “Drink in My Hand.” Brock summoned crowd participation with “There Ain’t Nothing Wrong With the Radio” and “Watermelon Crawl” by reminding the audience, “this is the CommoDORE Grille, not the CommoBORE Grille.” The audience took direction well and turned the performances into a songfest. Ellerman proclaimed himself as “the band,” which quickly became a misnomer as he serenaded the audience with his gems, including audience favorite “In Spite of My Fears.”
For the 9 pm block of shows, Erin Enderlin (“Last Call”) gathered Jessi Alexander (“The Climb”), Matraca Berg (“Strawberry Wine”), and Angaleena Presley (“Look It Up”) for a round at The Rutledge. The ladies performed a mixture of sassy, silly and serious material throughout the evening in what Berg, whose “Dreaming Fields” is currently reviewed in MusicRow’s DISClaimer, dubbed, “one of my favorite rounds ever.”
Over at The Listening Room, Warner/Chappell showcased writers Marcus Hummon, Jedd Hughes, Damien Horne, and Troy Olsen. Horne (also a member of WMN’s The Farm) delivered soulful tunes like “Shine” and “Heart of Africa,” sprinkling snippets of hits like the Peggy Lee standard “Fever” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” on top of his compositions. Hughes showed off his formidable guitar skills on songs like “When I Get Back From The War,” “Halo” (included on Tim McGraw’s new record) and the gorgeous, delicate “Crazy Old Man” (co-written with Sarah Buxton). Olsen chimed in with the Blake Shelton hit “I’ll Just Hold On,” as well as his own radio singles “Good Hands” and “Summer Thing.” Hummon pleased the crowd with his Dixie Chicks favorites “Ready To Run” and “Cowboy Take Me Away,” and the Sara Evans smash “Born to Fly.” Horne closed out the evening with the jazzy “Monkey On My Back,” and dropped in a rousing chorus of Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It (On The Alcohol).”
reporting by Eric Parker, Jon Freeman, and Sherod Robertson