5 Days in Twangtown
I wrote this blog about the events of my latest Nashville trip mostly for my own documentation. The highlights are:
· Had dinner with #1 writer, Jan Dyer
· Was asked to co-write by Billy Dawson
· Jim Femino declared I was a celebrity during a Tin Pan show
· May have “Stepfather of the Bride” story included in a niche marketing article on Music Dish.
· Got to hang with my on-line friends, Bob Clay, Steve Biscarret, Angie Owens, Eddie Heinzelman, Cheryl Moon, Zan Cantwell, and meet a bunch of crazy Song Rampers
· Everywhere I went in Nashville, MAB showed up
If you would like all the gory details of my trip, continue below.
I would like to preface this by saying that this is the first year that I didn’t arrange to play out anywhere, didn’t attend NSAI symposium, didn't see any publishers, didn't do any tourist stuff, didn't buy a TPS fast pass, and never even made it to lower Broadway. Since it was a shorter trip, I decided to just go-with-the-flow.
Wednesday April 1, 2009
I arrived in Nashville around 3:00pm. After checking into the hotel, I kicked my shoes off and stretched out after the long drive.
I called my co-writer/mentor, Jim Carolan, who was in a writing session with Jan Dyer, she wrote #1 "Every Time Two Fools Collide"/Kenny Rogers and Dottie West. When they finished up, they came to my hotel and we walked across the street to Chicken Tenders for dinner. Jim had to run off to another session, so Jan and I shared a smoke and some stories.
After dinner, I came back to the hotel for a few, and then headed over to the Blue Bar (and Rack Room) because I wanted to see Eddie Heinzelman. No sooner do I sit down at the bar, Cheryl Moon walks up to me and gives me some kind of pick-up line. It was great to meet Cheryl, and then we went over and talked with Marc-Allen Barnette, who was getting ready for his round.
In the meantime, we listened to some great writers. Michael Peterson, "Drink, Swear, Steal & Lie", Mike Willis, & Trent Jeffcoat, Mark Stephan Jones, who has a Hank Jr cut being released in a week, “Red, White, and Pink Slip Blues”. Then it was Marc-Allen Barnette and Mark Stephen Jones, then it was Cory Batten and Mason Douglas, then it was Ben Caver, Rachel Thibodeau, “Good Directions”/Billy Currington, and Jamie Floyd. Pete Sallis sat in for a song too. This was not a Tin Pan show, but every bit as good!
Of course, all these songwriters stretched out their time, so Eddie's round wasn't until about 12:30-1:00am. I was already dragging from a long day traveling and had to be at the NSAI coordinator's meeting at 7:45am!
Eddie had some awesome songs, and a great performance as expected. He also played wonderful fills and licks behind Jennifer Friend's songs. The last one of her songs, Eddie had a sweet solo, just some great improvisation.
Thursday April 2, 2009
7:30am left for the NSAI coordinator's in-service meeting, I picked up Seattle's coordinator Steve Biscarret and gave him a ride. Besides the information presented with regards to running our local NSAI chapters, we were treated to performances by George Teren, who wrote “Real Good Man”/Tim McGraw, “When I get Where I'm Going”/Brad Paisley. Those were co writes with Rivers Rutherford. He also played a new co write, I'm Still Drinking (because life's still hard).
After lunch were more presentations, and performances by Steve Boggart, George Strait's "Carried Away” and “Carrying Your Love With Me," Rascal Flatts' career-breaking "Prayin' For Daylight," Jack Ingram's “Wherever You Are” and Dierks Bentley’s “Every Mile A Memory” Other performances by Trent Jeffcoat, and Mark Stephan Jones. The meeting wrapped up with a break out critique session with Nancy Moran from Azalea Music, and part of 4 Bitchin' Babes.
One of my highlights at the meeting was being dragged over to meet Gigi Swanson, who writes for Music Dish and Indie Connect, by one of the other coordinators, Nancy Deckant . Gigi is writing an article on niche marketing of songs, and Nancy remembered my story of “Stepfather of the Bride” and told Gigi about it. My song and marketing story may be in print!
MAB, he was there too!
After the meeting, Steve Biscarret and I shared some songs in my hotel room, and then we headed over to the Song Ramp Bash at Don McGuiness Pub. We met up with Bob Clay, and Angie Owens. It was raining, and soon after we got there, a downpour started pouring into the outdoor (covered?) area marking another year for the Song Ramp Splash. MAB performed there too. After the Pub, the festivities continued at the hotel. Next door to me had about 20 people with guitars, keys, and a live video feed going out to the World Wide Web on Song Ramp.
Later MAB showed up and we went to another room with Bob Clay, and swapped songs until 2:00am. Bob is known as Telebob, but with his CA carbon-fiber acoustic, provided some awesome licks and fills on other’s songs. Bob is a true master, but modestly says,” I’m just noodlin’”
Friday April 3, 2009
I had a 10:00am appointment at Bob Dellaposta's house. Then I spent the afternoon catching up with quoting and email for my day job.
Friday night I went to the early show at The Station Inn. A. J. Clark, Cleve Clark, Cory Mayo, Ray Scott, and Bryan Simpson. At the end of the show, my friend KK Ryder showed up and we stayed for the late show. She had a press pass, so we were able to stay between shows and sit up front. Eddie Heinzelman came in and sat with KK and I.
I was really there to see Jim Femino, “Just Got Started Loving You”/James Otto, and recently “Like a Woman”/Jamie O'Neal, but also enjoyed Arlos Smith “Mayberry”/Rascal Flatts, Mark Sherrill, “Ol Red”/Blake Shelton, and David Chamberlain, “What’s Going on in Your World”/George Strait. This show was a lot of fun, these guys had some great songs, and the between songs banter and jokes kept the audience in stitches.
Towards the end of the show, Jim Femino says “we have another celebrity in the house.” He introduces me, and asks me to stand and take a bow. He tells the audience, “you’ll never guess what title Mike McLaughlin holds” then proceeds to tell everyone that I am a naked karaoke champion. He did also say that I was the NSAI coordinator from his ‘hood, and that I am a great songwriter. Hey, any publicity is good, right?
After the show, Billy Dawson comes up to me to shake the hand of the naked karaoke champ. Lorna Flowers, and others do too. On the way out the door, Billy Dawson asks Jim Carolan and I to come over to his truck and listen to some of his songs, some great stuff co-written with Rivers Rutherford. Jim Carolan came back to my hotel room and we chatted about the biz until 2:00am.
Saturday April 4, 2009
I slept in and left for the Song U luncheon Meet and Greet about 11:00am. I stopped by the Millennium Hotel where the NSAI Spring Training was being held to check out the NSAI bookstore. Ran into my friend KK Ryder who was attending Spring Training.
While there, MAB showed up and we chatted outside the hotel for a while.
I then headed over to the Song U lunch at Neely’s B-B-Q. I hugged Sara Light, and I sat at a table with Nancy Moran, and Gary Earl and had a nice chat. Saw a few more friends, Ryan Hydro, one of my local members who will be moving south soon, George Hoffman, Bob Clay, and Cheryl Moon.
Oh yeah, MAB showed up here too!
After the Song U Lunch, I headed over to Steve Oxford’s house on the banks of Sugartree Creek in Nashville. He hosted a gathering of Song Ramp members and we all sang a chorus to a song he’s working on in his Chigger Tracks studio. It was another afternoon of merriment and jamming!
No MAB, he was getting ready for his show at 3rd and Lindsley.
I then headed over to 3rd and Lindsley to see the early show with Marc-Alan Barnette, “Too Much Blood in My Alcohol Level”/David Ball, Kimberley Dahme, [Boston bassist], Jimbeau Hinson, “Party Crowd”/David Lee Murphy, and Amanda Martin, "Sometimes A Man Takes A Drink"/Trace Adkins.
MAB introduced Frankie Ballard, who was signed to Sony Publishing, and last week signed a record deal with Warner. He sang their new cut “Bare Feet”.
For the late show I headed over to The Rutledge to see Rivers Rutherford, Shut Up and Drive.”/Chely Wright, "Ain't Nothin' 'Bout You”/Brooks & Dunn, “Lucky Man”/Montgomery Gentry. “Real Good Man”/Tim McGraw are some of his eight No. 1 songs! And Dave Berg, “Somebody”/Reba McEntire, “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows).”/ Rodney Atkins, “Stupid Boy”/Keith Urban, “Moments,”/Emerson Drive, “These Are My People,”/Rodney Atkins, “What Kinda Gone,”/Chris Cagle, and many more!
While in line, I chatted with local member Karen Chronister, said hello to Tim Buppert, Lorna Flowers. Billy Dawson found me and said we should get together and co-write. Said hello to Rivers on his way in. Inside the standing room only venue, I hung mostly at the bar, and chatted with Billy Dawson and some of his friends. I met Betsy Walker, the CMA membership director, and Frankie Ballard, who I saw earlier sing “Bare Feet”. Rivers invited Frankie up to sing, and I heard “Bare Feet” again, third time in a couple days.
Sunday April 5, 2009
I had a late leisurely morning, then headed over to Doak Turners’s Guitar-B-Q about 1:00pm. Stopped for a 12-pack of beer to bring, locals provide food, and out-of-towners provide the drink. If you never attended Doak’s guitar-b-q, it is just a bunch of friendly songwriters getting together to share food, drink, and merriment, and swap songs. He holds one every third Sunday, and an annual one on the Sunday following Tin Pan South. Doak opens his home to local and out-of-town songwriters, and song circles break out inside and out.
I joined a circle out back with Brandon Maddox, Kurt Fortmeyer, Zan Cantwell, Branson Lee (a 13 year old that has it going on!), and about 5 or 6 others who’s names escape me. To hear some of their songs makes you want to put your guitar back in the case, but at Doak’s everyone’s a star. Some of the other folks I chatted with were Karen Chronister, Tim Buppert, Lorna Flowers, Denny Sarokin, KK Ryder, Bill DiLuigi, Stephanie Irish, Steve Biscarret, Cheryl Moon, and too many others to remember. Sorry If I left you out!
Oh yeah, MAB was there too!
Monday April 6, 2009
Left Nashville at 7:00am Central, and returned home 9:00pm Eastern.