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Darius Rucker To Mentor Song Contest Winner

Budding songwriters take note: the NSAI Song Contest Presented by CMT opens August 1 and the grand prize winner will get a mentoring session with Darius Rucker.

NSAI’s 11th annual contest, running through Oct. 31, will yield one industry-selected Grand Prize Winner and one CMT Listeners’ Choice Winner. Past winners have found success ranging from artist development deals to music publishing staff writer deals.

“Through the years the NSAI Song Contest has been a vehicle to let our organization discover some amazing new talent. Many of the winners have gone on to sign professional songwriting or artist deals. While many of the new talents were not the winners, they were discovered throughout the judging process. We get excited every year when the NSAI Song Contest Presented by CMT comes around for this reason!” says NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison.

Nashville pro writers, publishers and industry professionals will select the Grand Prize Winner, 10 Runners-Up and 10 Honorable Mentions before the Top 10 (excluding the Grand Prize Winner) are posted on nsai.cmt.com. Fans can vote online for their favorite song from January 15-February 28, 2011. Last year there were more than 450,000 votes for the CMT Listeners’ Choice.

All genres of music are encouraged. The entry fees are $35.00 (current NSAI Members) and $45.00 (Non-Members) per song. In addition to the mentoring session with Rucker, prizes include a single-song professional demo, tickets to the 2011 CMT Music Awards, a tour of the CMT studios, a performance at The Bluebird Café, meetings with major music publishers and a one-year membership to NSAI. For a full list of prizes and how to enter, visit nsai.cmt.com.

RAM Writer’s Group Signs Will Rambeaux

Seated (L-R): Will Rambeaux and Doug Merrick. Standing: BMI's David Preston

Doug Merrick has formed a new music publishing company called RAM Writer’s Group and has signed hit songwriter/producer Will Rambeaux as the flagship writer for the outfit.

“Will and I have been associates for years, and when I decided to form RAM Writer’s Group I knew he would be a great asset to the new company,” says Merrick.

Rambeaux’s songs have garnered many BMI Most Performed Songs of The Year awards, as well as several BMI “Million-Air” awards. He has written numerous Top 10 and No. 1 hits for artists such as Faith Hill (“Wild One”), John Michael Montgomery (“How Was I To Know,” “Hold On To Me”), Patty Loveless (“Can’t Get Enough”) and Kathy Mattea (“Nobody Gonna’ Rain On Our Parade”). As a producer, Rambeaux has also helmed four albums for singer/songwriter Sherrie Austin.

RAM Writer’s Group can be reached at 615-799-5534.

Songwriting Legend Hank Cochran Passes

Hank Cochran, the songwriter who touched the world with classics like “I Fall To Pieces,” has passed away. He died peacefully at home in Hendersonville, Tenn., this morning (7/15) surrounded by family and friends. Earlier this year the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee underwent surgery for an aortic aneurysm; he had also been treated for pancreatic cancer in recent years. He was 74.

Last night Cochran visited with friends Jamey Johnson, Billy Ray Cyrus and Buddy Cannon, who dropped by to sing songs with the ailing musician.

Garland Perry “Hank” Cochran was born August 2, 1935 in Isola, Mississippi. Following his parents’ divorce at age 9, he was shuffled between an orphanage and relatives, eventually landing in Nashville in 1959. The Encyclopedia of Country Music says he “defined country songwriting in the 1960s, and continued to be a major creative force in Nashville into the 1990s.”

Cochran’s influence persevered for the remainder of his life. In June 2009, BMI toasted his six decades of success, which included penning Cline’s “She’s Got You,” Eddy Arnold’s “Make The World Go Away,” George Strait’s “Ocean Front Property” and “The Chair,” and Ronnie Milsap’s “Don’t You Ever Get Tired Of Hurting Me.”

Cochran is survived by wife Suzi, daughter Booth Calder and sons Garland Perry Cochran Jr., James Lee Cochran and Daniel Cochran. A private, family memorial will be held in the near future, and a public service will follow. Details will be forthcoming. The family asks for privacy at this time and, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation.

Pictured at the BMI reception held Monday, June 15, 2009 in Nashville to honor legendary songwriter Hank Cochran are Bobby Bare; BMI Assistant Vice President Writer/Publisher Relations Clay Bradley; Theresa & Merle Haggard; Hank Cochran; songwriter Dale Dodson; BMI Vice President Writer/Publisher Relations Jody Williams and BMI President & CEO Del Bryant. (Photo by Peyton Hoge)

Songwriters Set For Benefit, NY Series

This Saturday’s (7/17) Songwriters Sing For Nashville flood relief benefit at The Woods at Fontanel has added more performers to the line-up, including (in order of appearance) Lari White, Chuck Cannon, James House, Danny Flowers, Rafe Van Hoy, Billy Burnette, Marc Beeson, James Slater and Danny Myrick. The newly-added group will play on the Gibson Tunesmith Stage at the Farm House Restaurant from noon until 4:00 p.m.

Songwriters already announced for The Woods stage from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. include Roger Murrah, Matraca Berg, Kye Fleming, Dallas Frazier, Dickey Lee, Dennis Morgan, Hugh Prestwood, Mark D. Sanders, Don Wayne, Jim Weatherly and Mike Reid.

This will be the first concert at the new venue. Tickets at ticketmaster.com.

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The CMA Songwriters Series will return to New York City’s Joe’s Pub for two shows on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Representing Nashville will be hitmakers Jamey Johnson, Buddy Cannon, Bobby Pinson and Bob DiPiero, who will also host the evening. With tons of charttoppers between them, this group is sure to impress music lovers in NYC. Tickets are $25, details at www.joespub.com.

Jason Blume Songwriters’ Workshop

BMI Nashville will once again host the Jason Blume Songwriters’ Workshop Series. The 2010/2011 season kicks off July 20 with hit songwriter and best-selling author Blume offering creative tips and business counsel.

Each session will conclude with either a one-song pitch to an established music publisher or a thorough critique from Blume. Individuals who wish to participate in the pitch or critique option are encouraged to bring a recording or lyric sheet, or to be prepared to perform the song live. The series is open to all songwriters. Register online at BMI.com/events.

2010/2011 Schedule:
July 20 – Hit Lyric Analysis
August 24 – The Secrets of Successful Demos
September 21 – How to Publish or Self Publish Your Songs
October 26 – Writing Memorable Melodies
January 11 – Song Rodeo (In-Depth Critiques)
February 8 – How to Publish or Self Publish Your Songs
March 8 – Writing Hit Lyrics
April 5 – The Secrets of Successful Demos
May 10 – Creating Melodies Listeners Can’t Forget
June 21 – Song Rodeo (In-Depth Critiques)

First Concert at Fontanel: Songwriters Sing For Nashville

The Woods at Fontanel is partnering with Anchor Trailways & Tours and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation to present its first concert, Songwriters Sing For Nashville. The benefit for flood relief is scheduled for Saturday, July 17, 2010 from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees slated to perform include Roger Murrah (Board Chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation), Matraca Berg, Bob DiPiero, Kye Fleming, Dallas Frazier, Dickey Lee, Dennis Morgan, Hugh Prestwood, Mark D. Sanders, Don Wayne, Jim Weatherly, Mike Reid, and surprise guests. All ticket proceeds and all receipts from the day’s tours at the Fontanel Mansion will be donated to First Tennessee Bank for flood relief.

Tickets for members of select music-related organizations will go on sale tomorrow, (6/16) at 10 a.m. Public tickets will go on sale Saturday morning.

United Way Hosts Song Contest

United Way is hosting the “Live United” Summer Song Contest. The organization is looking for songs about hope, teamwork, restoration and overcoming adversity, such as songs inspired by Nashville’s recent flood.

Two finalists will perform their songs live at 3rd and Lindsley during United Way’s “Stuff the Bus” School Supply Drive Launch Concert on June 24, featuring Kink Ador and Knapsackheroes. The winner will be announced at the event. The winner’s song may used in an upcoming video, which will be featured on UnitedWayNashville.org and emailed to thousands of partners across the city.

Songs will be accepted until 5:00 pm on June 18. Details on the contest here.

Screenwriters Conference Draws Top Talent

Standing in back are staff from panel sponsor ole, (L-R): COO Gillies Godard and stafters, Matt Turner, Whitney Taylor and Kele Currier. Seated are panelists Julia Michels, host/organizer Anastasia Brown, Howard Parr, Dave Jordan and Andrea Von Foerster. Photo: Alan Mayor

The 12th annual Nashville Screenwriters Conference hit town last weekend with events at the Union Station Hotel. One highlight of the gathering is always the Music in the Movies panel, held this year at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Founded by 821 Entertainment Group President Anastasia Brown, the luncheon features advice from top music supervisors for those hoping to tap into the world of song placement in television and film, as well as opportunities to submit music for placement in upcoming projects.

For the recent event, Brown recruited Music Supervisors Julia Michels (Sex and the City 1 and 2, The Blind Side, The Devil Wears Prada), Andrea Von Foerster (500 Days of Summer, It’s Kind of A Funny Story, Stargate Universe), Howard Paar (Hung, Monster, L Word), and Dave Jordan (Iron Man 1 and 2, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, The Upside of Anger). Sponsored by ole.

Also at the Screenwriters Conference, a performance at the Loveless Barn by songwriters (L-R): Lori McKenna, Natalie Hemby, Jim Lauderdale (Host), Deana Carter and Rosanne Cash. Photo: Alan Mayor

Benefit For Songwriter Larry Wayne Clark

Larry Wayne Clark, a longtime Nashville songwriter and MusicRow contributor, has been undergoing cancer treatment in his native Canada. Among Clark’s catalog is Chris Young’s first single, “Drinking Me Lonely,” and cuts by the Statler Brothers, Lee Greenwood, Anne Murray, and many others.

Music City friends and colleagues are staging the benefit concert “Nashville Sings for Larry Wayne Clark” to help pay for his medical expenses. The show is set for Monday, June 14, from 6-9 PM at the Red Rooster Bar & Music Hall on Demonbreun. Buddy Jewell, who wrote “Addicted to the Rain” with Clark and included it on his sophomore album, will headline. Also on the line-up are Robin English, Andrea Pearson, Lauren Lucas, Chelsee Oaks, Adam Gregory, Jared Blake, Ryan Laird, Erinn Bates, Cassidy Lynn and renowned guitarist Ladd Smith. Many will perform songs they wrote with Clark.

There will be live and silent auctions. Admission is free, but donations will taken at the door. Everyone who makes a donation of $20 or more will receive a copy of LWC Favorites: Songs of Larry Wayne Clark. The CD is available for purchase at www.larrywayneclark.com/cd.html with all proceeds going to his medical expenses.

Friends who cannot attend the benefit will be able to view streaming video at UARadio. Online donations may be made via PayPal. The “send to” address to use in the US is [email protected] and in Canada it’s [email protected]

For more information, call Robyn Taylor-Drake at 615-726-5810 or [email protected]

Benefit For Josh Ragsdale

Friends are rallying to support songwriter Joshua Ragsdale who is undergoing cancer treatment. A benefit is set for Tues., June 1 at the Mercy Lounge featuring Rivers Rutherford, Randy Montana, Leslie Satcher, Luke Laird, host Cledus T. Judd and many more. Ragsdale co-wrote Montana’s debut single “Ain’t Much Left Of Lovin’ You” with the artist.

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A May 24 Songwriter’s Night at The Listening Room in Cummins Station will benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Set to perform are Wil Nance, Bill Whyte, Watson-Nash, Steve Dean, Tony Stampley, Lisa Shaffer, The Broussards, and more. The event starts at 4:30 PM and costs $10 at the door. Blake Gray of Blue Guitar Music Publishing is planning the show to benefit Lissa Maxwell’s LLS Woman of the Year campaign.

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