Entertainment, On A High Note

Tin Pan South: Songwriters in the spotlight

Chris DeStefano performs at 3rd & Lindsley during the 27th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival Wednesday evening.
Photo: Cooper Smith

The 27th Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival in Nashville proved a true who’s who of the Music City songwriter community. Night Two of the five-day festival, which runs through March 30th, saw jam-packed crowds at every venue, including The Lounge at City Winery, the Listening Room Cafe, 3rd & Lindsley and the venerable Douglas Corner Cafe.

(l. to r.) – Charles Esten, Regions Bank’s Heather Frost, Sarah Buxton, Gary Burr, Georgia Middleman and Regions Bank’s Lisa Harless at TRUE Music Room Wednesday evening. (Photo courtesy Campbell Ent)

Sports & Entertainment Nashville hit as many spots as possible on Night Two, managing to get the last open seat at the Listening Room Cafe for the early show. The fans showed up to see heavyweight songwriters Josh Kear, Gordon Kennedy, Edwin McCain and the duo The Sisterhood, comprised of Alyssa Bonagura and Ruby Stewart (daughter of Rod).

Their round was highlighted by Kennedy’s rendition of his most well-known tune, “Change the World,” made famous by Eric Clapton. Kennedy co-wrote the popular hit with Tommy Sims and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Kear raved about Kennedy’s facile guitar playing before laying into his co-written smash for Luke Bryan, “Most People Are Good.”

Prior to that show, S&E Nashville began the evening at The Lounge at City Winery, which hosted a fine foursome of writers: Jamie O’Neal, Drew Baldridge, Forest Glen Whitehead and Lance Carpenter. O’Neal chose her song “Somebody’s Hero,” dedicated to her stepmother, for one of her rounds, and delighted the crowd later with her mashup of her No. 1 single “There Is No Arizona” and the Eagles’ “Hotel California.” The two fit nicely together, and O’Neal’s spot-on delivery of “Hotel California” even had the wait staff paying attention. Baldridge had done an earlier mashup of his own, beginning with his tune “Gentle Man,” which segued into “I’m Easy,” from the movie “Nashville.”

(l. to r.) – Ashley Gorley, Chris DeStefano and Chase Rice perform at 3rd & Lindsley during the 27th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival Wednesday evening.
Photo: Cooper Smith

Festival attendees also packed 3rd & Lindsley for one of the hot shows of the week, featuring Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley and Chase Rice, all with a ton of hits among them. Maggie Rose gave a stirring performance at the Hard Rock Cafe early show. The late evening show at Douglas Corner Cafe was billed as The Brotherhood, with Anthony L. Smith, James Otto, Trent Tomlinson and Jamie Paulin living up to the title with a good-natured chemistry.

Maggie Rose performs at Hard Rock Cafe (Stage Sponsored by Mid-South Ford) Wednesday night during the 27th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival Presented by Regions Bank.
Photo: Cooper Smith

Tin Pan South, the world’s largest songwriters festival, is one of the important must-see events on the Nashville music calendar. The festival is presented by NSAI, a trade organization created specifically for songwriters.