Tin Pan South writers’ rounds are generally at their best when there’s a natural chemistry among the participants. That was certainly the case with the Tin Pan South late show at the Commodore Grille, Wednesday night (April 4th). Writer/artists Natalie Stovall, Mickey Guyton, Ruthie Collins and Kylie Morgan cracked jokes, shared stories and even talked about their pets in a lively show billed by Stovall as a “Girl Power” night.
All four succeed at chronicling relationship highs and lows without sounding maudlin or overly dramatic. Morgan and Collins in particular often put a sarcastic spin on their tunes, such as Morgan’s “T-Shirt Back” and “Good for You” and Collins’ “About Last Night,” which she slyly referred to as, “My attempt at country radio,” pausing in mid-song to point out a truck reference.
As part of their amiable banter, Collins triggered some heartwarming talk about various pets with her tune, “Me and Emmylou,” which happens to be about her dog. Guyton and Stovall weighed in on their own pets in an engaging manner that added to the enjoyment of their set. Collins also pointed out that her mom was in the audience.
In contrast to the good humor, two of the evening’s highlights came with poignant numbers. Stovall had the crowd spellbound with her story behind “Brooklyn,” which centers around emergency rescuers. After her powerful performance, Guyton raved, “That song is just so beautiful.” The crowd also listened intently to Stovall’s “White Noise.”
Guyton was candid in her account of “Work It Out,” inspired by some communication issues with her husband. She also recalled the life-changing day when she decided to become a singer: a performance of the national anthem by a young LeAnn Rimes prior to a Texas Rangers baseball game. Fans love those sorts of stories, something for all artists to keep in mind. Guyton also presented a new song, “Golden,” and past favorite “Nice Things.”
The early Commodore Grille round, “West Meets South,” featured Alex Kline, solid hitmaker Dave Berg, Ross Ellis and Jordan Rager. Rager, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter from Georgia, will be featured in a “Sports and Entertainment Nashville” piece soon. His cut “If Only I Smoked” proved a popular audience favorite.
The 26th annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival supports the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). The event features more than 400 songwriters performing their songs at various venues throughout Nashville.