Entertainment, On A High Note

Day Three of Summer NAMM 2015: A look at the locals

NASHVILLE, TN - JULY 11:  Award presenter Dwight Yoakam attends The American Eagle Awards during day three of Summer NAMM at Music City Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for NAMM)

NASHVILLE, TN – JULY 11: Award presenter Dwight Yoakam attends The American Eagle Awards during day three of Summer NAMM at Music City Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. PHOTO BY TERRY WYATT/GETTY IMAGES FOR NAMM

As the afternoon came to a close on Saturday, a successful Summer NAMM show also concluded as Exhibitors began to break down their displays and head home to their respective cities, states, provinces, and countries. Yes, Summer NAMM brought people from around the globe together in Music City for a spectacular display of products that will shape musical lives for years to come. Because we are Sports And Entertainment Nashville, I thought it would be a great idea to spotlight a few of the local exhibitors that presented their wares at the show, so, the spotlight today is on Nashville.

I had to narrow down the number of local spotlights to three, as I saw more than a handful of companies with addresses in Nashville (and all points East, West, North and South,) Goodletsville, Hendersonville and the like.

Steel Instruments and Jackson Steel have a long lineage dating back over sixty years with the pedal steel market. PHOTO COURTESY: Marc Nathan

Steel Instruments and Jackson Steel have a long lineage dating back over sixty years with the pedal steel market. PHOTO COURTESY MARC NATHAN

In Music City, the pedal steel, dobro, banjo and the like have all been on the upswing due to their mainstream exposure on TV shows like “Nashville.” Steel Instruments is a new distribution company, founded this past year, morphing from the classic 50’s originators, Sho-Bud (“Shot” Jackson, Buddy Emmons) and moving to the present with the Jackson clan still at the helm, showcasing Jackson Steel and offering a wide variety of steel instruments. While a niche market, Steel, and the Jackson family have maintained the highest quality products for decades, and this new distribution wing is opening them up for greater exposure around the globe!

Michael Rohr was born in Indiana, but came to Nashville to attend Belmont in the mid ‘2000s. His guitar playing days took him through a few bands during his education and subsequent graduation. His need for better quality effects and his penchant for business, coupled him with partner Nate Taylor (the techie).

Rohr and Taylor designed a few pedals in 2012 and with bigger ideas at hand, decided to quit their multiple day jobs and concentrate on the formation and expansion of RT Electronix. Now with twenty effects pedals in their catalog, they came to Summer NAMM to display their wares and found the reaction to be overwhelmingly positive. At the moment, RT sells directly to the individual customer via the company website, but after speaking with many dealers at the show, Rohr expects to find some, if not all of his product line in retail stores by the end of the year. By sticking close to home, RT eschewed the idea of sending manufacturing overseas, and claims that each effects pedal made by the tandem are created lovingly on a dining room table in Antioch!

RT Electronix is the brainchild of former Belmont College graduates Michael Rohr and Nate _ -- The company essentially launched this week at Summer NAMM. PHOTO COURTESY: Marc Nathan

RT Electronix is the brainchild of former Belmont College graduates Michael Rohr and Nate Taylor — The company essentially launched this week at Summer NAMM. PHOTO COURTESY MARC NATHAN

One of the larger local endeavors however is warehoused off Dickerson Road in East Nashville and houses both Mental Case, Inc. and 3RD POWER Amplification. Jamie Scott, 3RD POWER’s CEO and “Amp Artist” took a few minutes to sit down and tell us about the growth of the six-year old company.

Scott says, “Essentially, we create and manufacture hand wired guitar amplifiers and speaker cabinets, with the credo that the amplifiers replicate master recording sound quality.”0

He further states the company is a “labor of love” employing six other dedicated local Nashville folks. Why Nashville? James was quick to point out that this was the easiest choice to house his company, as there are more guitar players per square mile than anywhere else in the world, and his ability to serve them made it the logical location.

When asked to name some of the “power users” of his products, Scott quickly reeled off names like producers Dann Huff and Paul Ebersold, artists Vince Gill and Joe Walsh, and cited new and upcoming local band Diarrhea Planet as well.

3RD POWER's Rob Shollenberger proudly stands aside the company product line. CEO James Scott has housed his team in East Nashville for the past six years. PHOTO COURTESY MARC NATHAN

3RD POWER’s Rob Shollenberger proudly stands aside the company product line. CEO James Scott has housed his team in East Nashville for the past six years. PHOTO COURTESY MARC NATHAN

“From the legendary to the young, we tap into the emotion that drew the artist into the instrument in the first place. WE MAKE EMOTIONAL TRANSLATION DEVICES.” Well said by Scott, who clearly didn’t want you to think they were just making amplifiers and cabinets! Citing the intimacy of the Nashville NAMM event, vs. the considerably larger Winter counterpart in Anaheim, Scott says that he hopes key retailers who chose to excuse themselves from the Summer event will come back, as Nashville, and this new Music City Convention Center has new life breathed into it. this is not the same show (or city) that it was four, five… even TWO years ago. “Key retailers NEED to be here.”

The full on (Winter) NAMM extravaganza kicks off 2016 in its usual Anaheim, Calif., location in January, but come July, when things heat up for Summer, NAMM will be back in Music City for another sizzling show.