Tennessee Songwriters Give Music to the World
Let’s face it. Without songwriters, there are no songs. Thank God for Tennessee, where some of the greatest songwriters in the world give birth to the music we wouldn’t want to live without. Tennessee songwriters run the gamut of the genres – blues to bluegrass, country to rock, pop to hip-hop. Some say it’s in the water Tennesseans drink. I think it’s because the music gushes out of our state like a swiftly flowing river. Visitors can hear these original lyricists in a festival or intimate concert setting. Check out these attractions and events happening around the state.
Check out the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival happening Aug. 15-18 in Gatlinburg, where bluegrass, country and ole time music originated. Celebrate the Appalachian Musical Roots of the region by listening to a myriad of songwriters who will perform throughout the three days. You’ll find songwriter workshops, a contest and the Runnin’ & Strummin’ 5K on the schedule. The songwriters perform the songs but also share the story behind the song, giving it depth and meaning and offering some of the best entertainment.
The 2013 Tennessee Fall Homecoming Oct. 11-13 at the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tenn. is one of the nation’s largest and most authentic music and folk festivals. Local artists can be found jamming out traditional mountain, folk, bluegrass, Gospel and old-time country tunes on five stages. Fiddlers, guitar and harmonica players are just some of the musicians you’ll see at the homecoming. The homecoming is a great event to hear some new talent while simultaneously learning about the region’s history.
There’s a reason Nashville has been dubbed the “Songwriting Capitol of the World.” With its immense resources for songwriters to showcase their talent, Nashville is a treasure trove of undiscovered talent. There are countless ways to hear original artists on any given day of the week but if you want to attend a festival filled with songwriters, mark your 2014 calendar for the Nashville SongWriters Festival May 29-June 1, 2014 on historical Music Row; the festival is an annual grass roots event for local, national and international songwriters.
If you just can’t wait until next summer, Nashville Unleashed is always another great option to hear local talent. The popular dinner concert is perfect for a date night as the show centers around songwriting hosts, Jack & Diane, and their roster of impressive, pro-level songwriters. The atmosphere is set for downhome and cozy with low lighting and candles. A quiet ambience welcomes the songwriters to be open, unscripted and unrehearsed.
Local and regional artists like to head to the quiet corner of Brownsville, Tenn. Head to the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center for its concert summer series, Concert on the Porch that continues to keep its musical heritage alive. Old time string bands, bluegrass and Rockabilly sounds can all be heard on the porch. Rockabilly star Rayburn Anthony will take the porch Aug. 17 and perform his unique blend of rock and country. Emily Pilant and Piper Waddell will open for Anthony, presenting a medley of songs from a variety of genres.
Sun Studio, the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, is where legends like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash got their start in Memphis, Tenn. You can tour the facility and learn more about this historical landmark. You can also tune in to some of the local artists that have recorded a song for Sun Studio. From Grace Potter and the Nocturnals to Garrison Starr and Jenni Alpert, scroll through the songs and see which ones are your favorites. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself listening again and again.
Which songwriter attractions and events will you visit in Tennessee? Let me know in the comments below!