Luke Laird and Grammy winner, Michael McDonald )
When you think of Music City, you naturally think of Nashville Tennessee, home of country music and your minds conjures up images of your favorite artists and the songs that made them famous. What you might not think of is the person who wrote the song, the song writer who puts to words our biggest fears, our dreams and captures our everyday thoughts and feelings and puts them to music.
For seventeen years, NSAI has been bringing song writers together at the annual Tin Pan South Song Writers Festival. The history of Tin Pan South originates when a group of songwriters got together to promote the occupation of songwriting through a music festival that would focus on the people who write the songs. Recognizing Nashville as the “new” Tin Pan Alley, like the New York scene at the early part of the 20th century, these modern-day troubadours were seeking to bring attention to the new center of song: Music City. The festival was named Tin Pan South to recognize the past and to celebrate the future. This year over 300 song writers, music from many genres including country, americana to jazz to pop-infused country and rock gathered in nine different venues to intimately share the stories behind the songs, to sing some favorites that never were cut and to give listeners a sneak listen to the new tunes. There is something for everyone and those who attend the shows always go home with a couple more favorite songs or a renewed love of an old tune they were reminded of; as well as a new appreciation and love for the writers themselves. Of course you expect to have all your favorite country writers, but you also get writers like Bethany Joy Galeotti of One Tree Hill, Hanson, the young band that made “MMMBop a tune you cannot get out of your head, Grammy winners like Michael McDonald, former band members of Sixpence Non The Richer and Matchbox 20. The list goes on and on and on.
As a bonus to the amazing and talented song writers on the schedule, show attendees are often treated to a surprise guest. You never know who might have snuck in and is sitting in the shadows listening for their next big hit to record, or who perhaps co-wrote a song with one of the writers, or maybe they were the artist who you heard on the radio. Michael Peterson, James Slater, Vince Gill, Jim Femino and Jonny Lang were just a few of the many surprise guests who took to the stage and sang a song or two.
Produced by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, the festival is a legislative fundraiser in support of NSAI’s efforts in Congress. Along with raising money for NSAI’s legislative efforts, Tin Pan South underscores the rich cultural heritage of Tennessee and draws attention to the wide variety of songwriters who live and work here today.
Over the past 17 years, the festival has featured writers such as Shawn Colvin, Art Garfunkel, Rodney Crowell, Townes Van Zandt, Garth Brooks, Jimmy Webb, Dierks Bentley, Gordon Lightfoot, Donna Summer, Melissa Manchester, Loretta Lynn, America, Carole King, Butch Walker, Lisa Loeb and Kenny Loggins – just to name a handful. If you missed Tin Pan South this year, plan on attending next year!
For more photos of Tin Pan South visit www.flickr.com/photos/momentsbymoser.