Attitude of Gratitude In 1994, I joined a spiritual group of men and women that met weekly. Each week, there would be a different topic, more often spiritual than not. One of the topics that came up over and over again was that of humility. I’ve never liked the topic. Quite honestly, I have found most humble people kind of boring, but these people kept bringing it up. One evening, someone said that gratitude was a key to humility. This one guy had a lapel pin that had the words, “Attitude of Gratitude.” Some weeks later, I was home early in the day and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was on. The guest that day was talking about gratitude, and he mentioned that he started each day writing down five things he was grateful for. He said he simply wrote down the first five things that came to his mind. He explained that he didn’t focus on the five things he was most grateful for, necessarily - just the first five things that popped into his mind. That was 1998, and I thought I would start doing that each morning. Most days since, I have done that. I am grateful to be able to take a hot shower each day, to have a reliable car, to have a job that I enjoy, etc. On June 7, 2007, my wife Sue died suddenly. Several days after that, I looked back at the journal for what I had written down the morning of her death. Third on the list was that I was grateful for her. The night before, I was sitting in the back yard and watched her pace back and forth talking on the phone with our third daughter, Carrie. She was laughing and enjoying the conversation. She had just turned 60, and I was grateful that I had a wife that I found even more attractive at 60 than when we were first married. Before her on the list that morning, I had listed Carrie’s dog Asia who was staying with us that summer. Looking back, I kinda wished I had written Sue’s name down first, but I did say I wrote down each day the first five things that came to mind. 2007 was also the first year that we published the first iteration of Sports & Entertainment Nashville. Last year, we had enough sponsorship support to publish four issues. This year, we are set to publish three with an additional special topic magazine. What I have learned over the years is to be thankful for the small things - things that I have taken for granted most of my life. I still don’t think I know much about humility. Nobody has introduced me to others as a humble person, but I do know I am grateful.
With regards to Sports & Entertainment Nashville, I am grateful for an outstanding staff of writers, photographers, production workers and sales people. I am grateful for you as a reader and grateful for those companies and organizations who continue to support us with their marketing dollars.
Page 02 - Publisher’s Letter Page 04 - Table of Contents Page 06 - Editor’s Letter Page 08 - Contributing Writers Page 10 - Luke Bryan and the Team Behind the Fame Page 14 - How Nashville Rock Started Rolling Page 18 - Live in 3, 2, 1...SEC Network Set to Launch in August Page 22 - Have Brush, Will Paint: The Cool Artistry of Muralist MIke Cooper Page 26 - [Tyler] Beede Spurns the Money to Become the Next Great Commodore Page 31 - The Crossroads of Contemporary Christian Music Page 34 - Nashvilles Female Sportscasters: Always on their Game! Page 38 - Women Can Talk Sports: Changing What it Means to Be a Female Fan Page 40 - Anchors Away: Can Nashville’s TV News Professionals Tune out the World and Relax? Page 44 - The Business of Music at Belmont College Page 48 - Garth Brooks Returns Page 51 - Sounds & Echoes: Nashville’s Baseball Ends an Era and Prepares to Slide Home Again to Sulphur Dell Page 54 - The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the New Music City Center’s First Year Page 58 - St. Jude Country Music Marathon: Celebrates 15 Years of Personal Accomplishments and Making a Difference Page 62 - The New Nashville Sound: Our Fusion of Musical Styles is Thriving! Page 66 - Music Business 101 - The Publicist! Page 68 - Sports Business 101- The Sports Information Director Page 70 - Retired NFL Stars Call Nashville Home Page 72 - Charlie Daniels and his CDB Band are “Off the Grid” Page 76 - The OK Corral Comes to Town: Nashville’s Love Affair with All Things Rodeo Page 78 - Nashville In The Round: How We Do Music! Page 82 - Women’s Collegiate Track & Field: Full of History and Leading the Way Page 86 - Up, Up and Away: The Art of Hot Air Ballooning Page 90 - Marty Stuart: Singer, Songwriter...Lifetime Photographer Page 94 - Our Unwritten Rule: “No Paparazzi!” Will It Last? Page 96 – Nashville’s X-Factor
PLEASE ACCEPT OUR THANKS! Special thanks to Luke Bryan, Kerri Edwards, Jeff Stevens and Jessie Schmidt for our cover story. We also wish to give special thanks to all who helped make this issue of Sports & Entertainment Nashville possible.
Steve Absher, Pat Alger, Jim Arnold, Brown Bannister, Cristy Barber, Logan Bedford, Tyler Beede, Mark Bond, Paige Boze, Wesley A. Bulla, Gary Burr, Craig Campbell, Steve & Annie Chapman, Kay Clary, Mary Clippard, Regina & Gabby Conklin, Mike & Mickie Cooper, Derric Cotton, Tim Corbin, Pheobe & Callie Cryar, Don Cusic, Roger Dabbs, Melinda Dabbs, Rory Daigle, Charlie Daniels, Heather Darling, Larry Darling, Dawn Davenport Kok, David Dawson, James I. Elliott, Bill Fitzgerald, David & Sumi Flagg, Mark Ford, Taryn Foshee, Charlie Garrabrant, Keith Gordon, Rollum Haas, George Hamilton V, Jovan Haye, Warner Hodges, Jamie Jenkins, Rhori Johnston, Bruno & Taylor Jones, Demetria Kalodimos, Velvet Kelm, Andy Krause, Jill Lauber, Ken Levitan, Audra Martin, Brian Mason, Caitie Merz, Alex Mitchell, Gwen Moore, Bob Mueller, Roger Murrah, Erika Wollam Nichols, Robert K. Oermann, Farrell Owens, Matt Pelham, Gary Pigg, Jennifer Purdon-Turnbow, Greg Sage, Larry Schmittou, Thom Schuyler, Doug Scopel, Matt Scullion, Al Smith, Jennifer Storck, Marty Stuart, Brad Tammen, Ed Temple, Jake Thomas, Teresa Walker, Kirt Webster, Webb Wilder, and Phil Williams.
“Why not you?...and I told the team, 'Why not us?'" — Russell Wilson
Sports & Entertainment
NASHVILLE President & Publisher Steve Brumfield
For many, the Super Bowl this year was a crushing blow. It was expected that the highly revered Peyton Manning and his team would annihilate the Seahawks and send them home with some nice parting gifts. But what a surprise we all got! Thus the unexpected post-game comments uttered by the Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson after their dominating 43-8 victory over the Broncos: “...my dad had always said 'Why not you, Russ?,' and so I told the team, 'Why not us?'” That very humble “audible” (pun intended) struck me as profound. “Why not you?” And the reason it resonated with me is because I think it’s wired into almost all of us to try and create reasons as to why we’re not living our dreams, or more so, why we, as mature adults, have chosen not to do so. We say things about ourselves like, "I'm too old now," or "I've got kids now," or "I should’ve done that years ago, but it’s too late now." WHO SAYS it’s too late?
Editor-in-chief Jessi Maness Executive Director Chuck Blackburn Managing Editor Leigh Greenwood Art Director Karen S. Roof Production Manager Jessi Maness Printing Kingery Printing, Effingham, Ill
What do you really want to do that you’ve always dreamed of doing? Staff Photographers Bill Hobbs, Russ Corley
Why not you? I believe we all start out with great dreams and great aspirations, and then, somewhere along the way, we hear - and sadly listen to - the naysayers. And the worst thing that happens is that we begin to believe them. We lose sight of our child-like imaginations because we haven’t used them in quite a while. We’re told from about the time we’re in our preteens that we need to “grow up.” So whatever our dreams, if we talk to others about them who are NOT believers in them we probably get negative feedback. Granted, a lot of procrastination is fear-driven. If we never try to catch our dreams then we never have to worry about being disappointed by not reaching them. But just as there is a saying that says, “‘...Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” there should also be one that says, “Better to have chased your dreams and cherished the journey than never to have run after them at all.” Maybe it’s a fear of failure - maybe it’s fear that we would be outshining someone else, or maybe we’ve just convinced ourselves that we don’t want it anymore or that we couldn’t do it now. But as we live in the Bible belt, I’m going to ask you one more thing. Do you remember a passage in the Bible about a lamp that doesn’t put off much light if you hide it under a basket? It goes something like this. "No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.” And who could forget the passage that reminds us there is “a time for EVERYTHING under the sun...,"which I do believe would include a time for YOU to shine. I hope you will give some thought to chasing your dreams, to putting yourself out there, to letting your dream-light shine. I think you deserve it.
Photo Editor Bill Hobbs Contributing Writers: Chris Lee, Steve Morley, Luke Maness, Matt Maxey, Bill Hobbs, Leigh Greenwood & Jessi Maness Circulation / Distribution Chandler Camp, David Camp, Ben Camp, Hannah Sue Nelson, Hope Spring Nelson, Karis Deere Nelson, Harriett Brumfield For sponsorship opportunities contact: Steve Brumfield or Chuck Blackburn at Moss Rose Press (615) 712-7109 On the Cover: Capitol Records’ recording artist, Luke Bryan PHOTO COURTESY OF SCHMIDT RELATIONS PHOTO BY KRISTIN BARLOWE Luke Bryan is Academy of Country Music’s 2013 “Entertainer of the Year.” Bryan will be headlining his own “That’s My Kind of Night Tour” in 2014.
Tyler Beede #11 Pitcher for the Vanderbilt Baseball Team PHOTO BY DANNY PARKER Beede was a 2013 first team All-American according to the NCBWA and a second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, also in 2013.
ESPN Sportscaster Dawn Davenport
PHOTO BY CHUCK JONES
Your friend and editor-in-chief,
PHOTO COURTESY OF ESPN WKRN “Nashville News 2 This Morning” co-host Dawn Davenport spent six years covering sports for WKRN and just completed her first season as a college football sideline reporter for ESPNU.
Jessi Maness Jessi Maness
“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
For further information visit Sports & Entertainment Nashville online: www.SportsAndEntertainmentNashville.com
Contributors MATTHEW W. MAXEY
Matthew W. Maxey is an agent for Mitchell-Haynes Financial Services in Ashland City. Before entering the finance and insurance arena, he spent six years as the assistant sports information director at The University of Tennessee at Martin where he represented four different OVC championship teams and a number of future professional athletes. Maxey has also served in a media-relations capacity with the American Junior Golf Association and several political campaigns across Tennessee. Maxey is a regular contributor to Sports & Entertainment Nashville and has a long history of sports writing.
Leigh Greenwood is the managing editor for Moss Rose Press publications, which are dedicated to showcasing the very best of this city we know and love. As well-respected businessmen in Nashville’s financial industries, Leigh’s father and grandfather served as her examples of offering dedicated support for the city she calls home. Leigh is an alumna of Brentwood Academy and Wheaton College. When not happily writing and editing away, Leigh can be found under a tree with a good book.
Steve Morley is a writer and pop music historian who has lived in the Nashville area since 1987. He has written for and edited multiple music and music industry publications, and he is also a keyboardist who has played professionally with B.J. Thomas, The Bellamy Brothers and legendary Nashville guitarist and songwriter Mac Gayden. He was the music critic/podcast host for UMC.org, the website of the United Methodist Church, and he was with Country Weekly magazine before becoming involved with Sports & Entertainment Nashville.
Luke Maness is a freelance writer/reporter for Sports & Entertainment Nashville. Luke is also a professional singer/songwriter and performs regularly with his wife in Nashville and across the Southeast. Luke is an avid horseman and enjoys nature. This often blends into his writing, whether it is in an article, blog or song.
PHOTO BY KERRY WOO
Bill Hobbs is a writer, photographer and media consultant who has written about everything from politics and business to country music and sports business in his 23 years in Nashville. He has interviewed Titans owner Bud Adams, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and many other celebrities and influential people in Nashville's sports, entertainment and business communities. In recent issues, Bill has also served as photo editor for Sports & Entertainment Nashville.
Chris Lee is the founder and publisher of VandySports.com, part of the Rivals and Yahoo! networks and also works for Nashville Sports Radio (95.9 FM, 560 AM), where he hosts VandySports.com Radio from 9-10 on Saturday mornings and the College Sports Report from 2-3 on Mondays through Fridays. He also blogs for Sports & Entertainment Nashville each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He lives in Franklin with his wife, Kristin, their daughter, Isabella and their new son, David.
Luke Bryan... by Jessi Maness
and the Team Behind the Fame! An interview with Luke Bryan and some of his “top brass”… who aren’t in the band!
Luke Bryan is the Academy of Coun-
try Music’s Entertainer of the Year for 2013, and he garnered three nominations for this year’s ACM awards. And for the second year in a row, Bryan co-hosted the awards with his friend and fellowartist, Blake Shelton. Though no one knew what to expect when the two were paired last year, it appears there may be no slowing the duo down. Having hosted for 2013 and 2014, they are now scheduled to host the ACM’s 50th anniversary show in 2015 from the Dallas Cowboys’ home, the 80,000-seat AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas.
PHOTO BY ETHAN MILLER / GETTY IMAGES
Speaking of not knowing what to expect, when I spoke with Luke Bryan, I was surprised at the depth of humility and warm regard that he exudes. It was like talking casually with one of my own brothers as I listened to him speak of how he loves his music, how he appreciates his supporting crew and fans, and how he loves and holds his own family in very high regard.
Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton hosting the ACM Awards (2014)
— Meeting Luke Bryan — Edwards spent seven years at Arista Records before Arista merged with Sony, which cost a lot of people their jobs. Edwards left Arista and was hired by Murrah Music as a “song plugger,” which allowed her to continue working with songwriters. A “song plugger,” for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, describes a person who markets a songwriter’s songs to labels, artists or producers who can get the song recorded.
PHOTO BY ED RODE
One of the first songwriters she was assigned to plug songs for was Luke Bryan.
Luke Bryan with Manager Kerri Edwards and Producer Jeff Stevens in the studio.
Bryan also talks about how he met his current manager, Kerri Edwards, and how he met his producer, co-writer and friend, Jeff Stevens. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Let’s start at the beginning. Even though Luke Bryan may make it look easy, a lot of commitment and hard work goes on behind the shows, the schedules, the stage, the spotlight and the fame. But despite that workload, you won’t hear Bryan or any of his crew complaining! The underlying theme that is consistently heard from Bryan and his crew is “Grateful.” They are grateful to be where they are today and to be going through this journey together. Some of the folks who make up Bryan’s team include Kerri Edwards, his aforementioned manager; Jeff Stevens, his producer; Jay Williams of the William Morris Endeavor/Agency; Live Nation’s Brian O’Connell (and his team) for concert promotion; Mike Dungan, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group (UMG); Cindy Mabe, UMG’s senior VP of marketing; Dustin Eichten, UMG’s senior director of marketing & artist development; and Jessie Schmidt of Schmidt Relations, who is Bryan’s publicist.
Kerri Edwards hails from the small town of Alum Creek, W.Va. and graduated from Duval High School. When it came time for college, Edwards moved to Nashville to attend Lipscomb University. Edwards had originally planned to intern at a TV station as part of her college requirements, but she happened to run into an Arista Records A&R person at an event. Once the two got talking, Edwards was offered the opportunity to intern at Arista – where she started out working in radio promotions. Eventually, Edwards was hired full time in the label’s A&R department – working with and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists and songwriters. “The basis of the first part of my career was all in the creative, songwriting side of things,” informs Edwards.
“I knew Luke did the ‘artist’ thing, but I was more focused on trying to get his songs cut,” relates Edwards. “But I ended up going to Georgia with some friends to see Luke perform, and when I saw his performance, that changed everything for me! He was at a much higher level than I would’ve imagined. So then it just became a mission to figure out how to help him….and with Roger Murrah’s blessing, I just made my focus at that point to work on Luke’s songwriting and his songwriting partners.” And Edwards had one particular person in mind who she thought would be perfect to write with Bryan. “I had been talking with Jeff Stevens about writing with him, and when we finally got it worked out, they just connected immediately. The first song they wrote ended up being recorded on Luke’s first record after he got his deal.” — Luke’s Producer, Jeff Stevens —A few years back, Jeff Stevens had a record deal of his own on Atlantic Records, which is where, Stevens says, he learned how to make a record from the artist’s point of view. Stevens made three records for Atlantic, but he did not produce his own music at that point. He had a producer doing for him what he does now for Luke Bryan.
This is certainly not the entire list! There are lighting, tech and sound guys, musicians, songwriters, photographers, stylists, road hands (fondly known as “roadies”), and the list goes on and on. And all these people connect every day to back up the career of an artist. Though we didn’t have time to catch up with every member of his crew, we thought we'd touch base with the two people who have worked with him the longest - his manager, Kerri Edwards and his producer, Jeff Stevens. ——————————————————— Luke Bryan with Producer Jeff Stevens in the studio PHOTO BY ED RODE
Luke Bryan at 2013 CMA Fest on LP Field stage
— The Record Deal —
PHOTO BY LARRY DARLING / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/TNCOUNTRYFAN
A year or so in, when Edwards felt that Bryan had enough great songs under his belt, she started talking with different label heads about considering Bryan “as an artist.” They caught the ear of Larry Willoughby at Capitol Records. After hearing songs that Stevens and Bryan had written and that Stevens had produced, Willoughby suggested the two stick with making music together.
Stevens agrees. “It just started from that co-writing arrangement that I ended up getting into producing, and I’m really grateful that it worked out that way!” states Stevens matter-of-factly. “Because working with Luke, I really got into producing full force with everything I had. And I’ve learned a lot since then – and we’re still learning every day!” Edwards adds, “It just worked out that way because we both believed in him and wanted to do all we could to help him.”
From there, Stevens’ career took a natural path into being a full-time songwriter. Part of a songwriter’s duty is to produce his or her own demos, which is what Stevens did. “I spent a lot of time producing hundreds of demos on songs I sang, and I worked some occasionally with other singers,” relates Stevens. “Regardless, I was exploring different sounds, rhythms and everything all the time. But honestly, I wasn’t really that big into the production thing. It just didn’t appeal to me that much.
“She’d asked me to write with Luke, and I told her I’d love to. But it took us a while to get together. Kerri is my cousin, by the way, but she had never asked me to write with anyone before. I knew this guy must be pretty good, because she was real excited about him as an artist.” — Says Luke — “I was writing songs at Murrah Music, and Kerri was hired and started as my song plugger right away. She knew I had said I was an artist, but she had never seen me perform,” Bryan recalls. “She and some friends came to a show I did down in Georgia and afterwards, Kerri was really excited. She — just kind of by default —- started handling my schedule and handling my songwriters and songwriting meetings. She was just a real team player for me, and she was persistent about wanting to book me with Jeff, her cousin. And I think he turned her down for about a year because he said he didn’t really like to write with artists!” Bryan relates with a laugh. ”But finally, she talked him into writing with me, and we hit it off right away. And as they say, the rest is history.
— The Journey — “So that’s how that came about! “ Edwards exclaims. “I hooked them up to write, but Larry is the one who suggested Luke and Jeff keep working together. Jeff wasn’t necessarily looking to produce him at that time, and the same for me. I wasn’t necessarily looking to be his manager.”
Help they did, but the decisions along the way have not all been easy ones. There are decisions about songs, scheduling and even whether or not to headline a tour. Many thought Bryan should’ve been headlining a year or more ago, so why didn’t he?
Luke Bryan performing on tour 2013 to benefit the Luke Bryan Farm Tour Scholarship Fund
PHOTO BY MICHAEL MONACO
“The first song Jeff and I officially wrote was ‘Baby’s On the Way,’ which I cut on my first album too, but ‘All My Friends Say’ was our fourth or fifth one,” recalls Bryan. “It was a really great start and really got my career going where it needed to go.”
Kerri Edwards, Red Light Management; Jeff Stevens, Producer; Luke Bryan and UMG Nashville Chairman & CEO, Mike Dungan.
PHOTO BY ED RODE
“But then, Luke and I met on a songwriting session that Kerri had set up,” describes Stevens.
Luke Bryan - Spring Break 2013 The songs are ready, the buses are rolling and the stages are going up. The artist and his crew are working hard, but the rewards are great! On having the chance to perform to STADIUMS FULL of FANS? Bryan says it is something he’s “dreamed about for years.”
PHOTO BY BRYAN WHITLEY
His dream is coming true!
“We were real patient about the headlining situation,” relates Bryan. “I had seen people jumping out there and doing it too soon, and I didn’t want to do that…It has to be the right time. So I had dug my heels in on making it the right time. Between me, Jeff and Kerri - and everybody’s advice - we always try to make sure we make the right moves. We chose to hold back, and it turned out to be the right move.” Some might compare Bryan to Garth Brooks with the conscientious way he is pacing himself — planning every detail, being very methodical and well thought out when it comes to his career.
Edwards agrees wholeheartedly. “We always try to talk things through, and there’s a group of people we surround ourselves with because we trust their opinions. We all just try to be real and honest and step back and look at everything. And, yes – we probably could have done it, and Luke could have headlined. But we had some great opportunities for Luke to perform in front of some other stars and thought it wouldn’t be a bad thing to get out there and keep learning how they run things and how they do things. And we wanted to keep building up the songs. “Songs take a long time to get charted and move up the charts…so it takes an artist a long time to build up enough songs to do their own show. It’s something a lot of people don’t think about, and it’s a lot of responsibility to take on a tour,” Edwards comments.
— 2014 “That’s My Kind of Night Tour”— Well, there is little to worry about now! We’re betting everybody gets fed and has work for quite a few more years to come. Because Luke Bryan’s 2014 “That’s My Kind of Night Tour” is set, and he is indeed headlining! Fans of Bryan’s live shows will fill stadiums and arenas in droves all over the country and will experience his laidback personality, genuine character and great country songs. They’ll also have an opportunity to see another side of Bryan when he jumps right smack-dab into a rap just for fun! “I wouldn’t say I’m a rapper,” Bryan confides with a laugh. “I’m a Georgia boy and grew up listening to country. But somehow the Beastie Boys, Run DMC and some of those guys got mixed in. Pretty much all forms of music were reaching me at an early age. I think music is that way for everybody these days.”
— That’s a Wrap! — You can’t leave a conversation with an artist like Luke Bryan and not ask how he keeps it all together. “Well, I do feel blessed for sure, and I’m in this with my family. We enjoy it, and we live it together and have fun with it. As long as we stay on the same page about it, we stay fired up about it! “We live in Nashville. It’s my home. The good thing about Nashville is that you can ease around and no one bothers you much. It’s about as normal a life as we could get. So when we get down time, we try to spend it together. It keeps it all pretty real.”
PHOTO BY LARRY DARLING / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/TNCOUNTRYFAN
At the mention of Brooks, Bryan humbly responds, “I’ve not heard that comparison. But if I did, I’d be very complimented. He’s always been almost savant about his career. Anytime you make it to a level like that, talent can take you so far - being lucky and being blessed - but then there’s a whole other level of picking the best people to be around you and help you make the right decisions. And for me personally, I like the people around me to make decisions. I trust them, and they know me and they know what I like and what I don’t like. I don’t mind them pulling the trigger on something when they know me that well. I’m just grateful to have those folks around me and to know they support me the way they do.”
“We probably have 50 employees, and we’re responsible for them and their families and keeping everybody fed!” Edwards says with a laugh. “You know, it’s a lot!”
Three major stadiums have been booked on the tour - Pittsburg’s Heinz Field on June 21, Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 15, and Chicago’s Soldier Field on Aug. 31. We have it on good authority that Soldier Field sold out Bryan’s show in 30 minutes! Though Nashville’s LP Field isn’t on the schedule, there is some speculation that more tour dates could be added. Cross your fingers, Nashville!
Luke Bryan at 2013 CMA Fest on LP Field stage
No doubt many of the songs from the “Crash My Party” album and hits from previous albums will be performed on tour along the way, but there is one song that Bryan has dedicated to his late brother and sister that has very special meaning for him. “Drink A Beer” sums up his goal for every song he puts out. “You want to put music out that really touches people. And it’s my goal to always do that. ‘Drink A Beer’ does that, and in a way that’s really subtle. I think so many people in their life have had someone they have that connection with – kind of a country connection - where they just feel comfortable sitting back and having a beer and going fishing or what not. I think a lot of people can relate to that song. But the whole point in doing this - no matter what the song - is to connect with people and give them something they can relate to. So I try to do that with whatever we write or choose to record.”
For further reading, we suggest Rev. Keith A. Gordon始s Scorched Earth: A Jason & the Scorchers Scrapbook and The Other Side of Nashville, a virtual encyclopedia of the history of local rock (available through excitablepress.com).
Here, Jason & the Scorchers始 Warner Hodges at London始s Marquee Club in 1985; Below left, Jason Ringenberg onstage at the Marquee PHO B TOS Y TO NY M O TT
How Nashville Rock Got Rolling By Steve Morley PHOTO BY TOM SHEEHAN, COURTESY EMI AMERICA RECO
Nashville rock trailblazers Jason & the Scorchers (from left): Jeff Johnson, Jason Ringenberg, Perry Baggs and Warner Hodges
COU RTES Y
In the current vernacular, at least, Nashville has rocked for decades. In a strictly musical sense, though, it hasn’t always been rocking, due to country music’s dominance and its traditionalist leanings, which made Music City seem an unlikely locale for straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll. Rootsrocker Webb Wilder, a longtime Nashville fixture who launched his career here during the city’s initial, mid-1980s emergence as a recognized rock music hotbed, sums it up: "The larger non-country music world [once] tended to look at Nashville as square despite all the cool stuff, the great songwriters, showmen, and musicians who have lived and passed through here for decades. Now,” he observes, “the music intelligentsia has put out the word that Nashville is really cool, so folks are pouring in here every day to make the scene.” Wilder, astutely noting the city’s peculiar mixture of cool and conservative, says, “It’s probably the rub of those two things that makes it unique.” Wilder is well aware that he and his ’80s contemporaries helped make inroads for local rock. They had a harder row to hoe, he reckons, than Kings of Leon, the band many consider the floodgate openers for Nashville’s now-vibrant, internationally respected rock scene. Kings of Leon emerged from the area in the early 2000s to ultimately become one of the most successful rock bands on the planet, with more than 15 million units sold to date. Franklin’s Paramore has also established itself as a top-selling, world-class rock act, while indie-rock avatar Jack White notably established operations here several years ago, followed by noted blues-rockers The Black Keys. In many ways, though, today’s rock explosion is the result of a lengthy fuse lit more than 30 years ago.
Dick Clark with the Georgia Satellites in 1987. (Dan Baird on far right)
VILL E SC
Longtime Nashville entertainment attorney/artist manager Ken Levitan, whose Vector Management more recently played a big role in launching Kings of Leon, affirms that the Scorchers and their counterparts, under Praxis’ savvy guidance, “broke down a lot of walls. They made [industry] people realize that Nashville wasn’t just Hee Haw,” says Levitan, who attended Vanderbilt in the late ’70s and watched rock ’n’ roll take root in the city. “People were coming here [to sign bands].”
Praxis Internationalʼs Kay Clary on a 1989 Nashville Scene cover.
shortlived venue was a vital breeding ground for young, inexperienced rockers such as himself back in 1980. “That was the only place in town to play original music that I knew of,” says Hodges, who recalls a time when an underfunded, pre-fame R.E.M. played the club and slept on the floor. “And then Phranks ’n’ Steins got closed down [in November of 1980]. I think about it now; there are 30 or 40 little gigs in East Nashville. There just wasn’t any of that, you know?” Indeed, there were the Exit/In and Cantrell’s, a beloved if primitive club that would host notable young up-and-comers. One such band was Jason and the Nashville Scorchers, a proto-alternativecountry outfit that featured Hodges’ high-test guitar antics alongside equally frenetic frontman Jason Ringenberg. The Scorchers, long acclaimed by music journalism’s elite here and abroad, won critical raves with their debut EP, Reckless Country Soul, released in 1982 by a tiny local indie label, Praxis International. The brainchild of music-obsessed Vanderbilt student Jack Emerson, Praxis evolved into a management company specializing in rock acts along with partners Andy McLenon and Kay Clary. Emerson—a highly regarded business visionary who left a looming legacy when he passed in 2003—soon secured an EMI Records deal for the Scorchers, who would transmit an internationally heeded all-points bulletin that Music City was more than it might seem. Regrettably, they had to drop “Nashville” from their name to allay EMI’s then-legitimate fears that they’d be misinterpreted as a country act. Says Warner Hodges, “One of the stupidest things we ever did was drop that name. We thought it might be a deal-breaker.”
RY AY CLA SY OF K COURTE
Praxis’s breakthrough act, The Georgia Satellites, was signed to Elektra as the result of a Nashville showcase the company had arranged. The Atlanta-based group had built a fervent Nashville following, thanks in part to heavy airplay on Vanderbilt’s student-run WRVU. Major-label A&R execs pressed inside the dank, crowded Cantrell’s for, as Praxis alum Clary recalls, “a sold-out show, people singing along . . . a moment to remember. Several offers were made,” says Clary of the 1986 showcase, adding that the Satellites’ insouciantly rocking “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” became a No. 2 pop hit later that year. “That was kind of an out-of-control, Clydesdale-horsesracing-down-the-road [time],” Clary says. “Very exciting, but all new to us.”
The Features (from left): Roger Dabbs, Rollum Haas and Matt Pelham (Mark Bond not pictured)
PHOTO BY PAUL VISCONTINI
Guitarist Warner Hodges remembers when West End hangout Phranks ’n’ Steins outraged locals by attracting a ragtag crew of punk-rock types (including local legends The White Animals), but he asserts that the
OF N ASH
Clary remembers that at one point, Praxis had six or seven bands on six or seven labels. But it hadn’t been an easy ride. “Perception of the city was so skewed toward country music that it was kind of hard to overcome,” explains Clary of the team’s early efforts. “But I think we used it as almost a fulcrum, an asset. We were always cocky and confident about how cool it was to have a rock label out of Nashville. And the fact that it was unique just helped us stand out,” she says, noting that the music press in New York, L.A. and London were “the first to get it. They were familiar with what was cool about Nashville, and all the great music that had come out of the city.”
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Kings of Leon (from left): Nathan, Caleb, Matthew and Jared Followill
Even after Music City gained widespread respect for its rock contingent (with the U.K. in particular providing important media support and highly receptive audiences for acts still unproven stateside),
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“During the period that I’ve been in a band,” says Pelham, “I felt that it was really, really hard to come from Nashville, or the South, and [Kings of Leon] opened the door for all the bands that are coming through now. And I think they’ve helped the overall scene. They’ve tried to help the younger bands in Nashville,” Pelham says. Similarly, Jack White and The Black Keys are producing, releasing records on and otherwise championing local acts, integrating themselves into the music community. Kay Clary is among those who feel that White’s presence is especially notable. “The attention he’s brought to the city has helped bring a lot of bands to town,” she says. “It just continues to snowball.”
a degree of American bias would continue to hamper the progress of Nashville-based rock bands who followed. Matt Pelham, frontman for The Features, recalls experiencing that bias in the 1990s, when the band was determinedly building a career from nearby Murfreesboro. “In every interview I did, it was, ‘Isn’t Nashville just country music?’ It was just that stereotype on Nashville,” Pelham says. “[Nashville] was just so heavy with country that no one wanted to pay any attention to what was happening underneath that.” The Features signed with Murfreesboro’s Spongebath Records, an indie-rock label that helped the outlying Nashville suburb to get hailed by Billboard magazine as “an emerging music mecca” in a 1997 cover story. “The rock scene that was happening in Murfreesboro, with bands like Self, The Katies, Glossary . . . I think that a lot of what happened in Nashville, the early stages of it, Murfreesboro had a big hand in that.” The bands Pelham mentions, as well as his own, aren’t currently household names, though all are, or were, respected acts that helped keep greater Nashville on the radar of tastemakers on both sides of the Atlantic in the ’90s. Glossary has since brought its soulful Southern pop-rock to NBC’s Last Call With Carson Daly, while The Features’ body of inventive modern rock includes “How It Starts,” recently heard on a Ford Mustang commercial. The now-21-year-old group happens to be a favorite band of Kings of Leon, whose Serpents & Snakes record label was reportedly created for them. The company has since signed other local and regional bands.
Warner Hodges (left) and Webb Wilder outside the Exit/In.
This rush of attention could leave a bittersweet taste for local rock veterans, who had no such high-profile advocates. Many, though, remain active, including Webb Wilder and Jason & the Scorchers, who reappear at intervals with albums that potently revisit their first-wave alternative-country pedigree. Scorchers guitarist Warner Hodges and former Georgia Satellites frontman Dan Baird invoke their former bands’ rootsy and rocking Southern spirit in two bands: Homemade Sin and The Bluefields, who—like the Scorchers—still enjoy critical cachet in the U.S., the U.K. and beyond. PHOTO BY JO McCAUGHEY
White Stripesʼ co-founder and notable nowNashvillian Jack White
While Nashville has heightened its profile as a rock center, Hodges says, “I don’t think anything’s different—our little secret got out, man. People realized Nashville is a great town, a wonderful place to work out of. You’ve got all the machinery of the business here,” he says. “For years, the Donna Summers, the Peter Framptons, the Steve Winwoods worked out of here. And as Dan [Baird] says, it’s the only place in the world where you can go to the bank, as a musician, and get a home loan. Try doing that in Atlanta.”
Live in 3, 2, 1… SEC Network Set to Launch! By Matthew W. Maxey
The Southeastern Conference,
The Southeastern Conference, which is arguably the biggest brand in all of college athletics, is preparing to get bigger - much bigger. In August, the SEC will officially launch the new SEC Network which will change the landscape in which fans consume information and watch their favorite Southern teams both on television and online. It will also mean money, and lots of it, for the conference and its member institutions. "The SEC Network will provide an unparalleled fan experience of top quality SEC content presented across the television network and its accompanying digital platforms," stated SEC Commissioner Mike Slive during a press conference to announce the network. "We will increase exposure of SEC athletics programs at all 14 member institutions, as we showcase the incredible student-athletes in our league. The agreement for a network streamlines and completes an overall media rights package that will continue the SEC's leadership for the foreseeable future." The SEC, in partnership with ESPN, will launch a 24/7 broadcast network and online digital platform that will feature more than 1,000 live sporting events per year. Of those, 450 will be televised on the network and 550 distributed digitally. Games that previously had been aired on regional networks like FOX Sports South, CSS and even pay-per-view, will now all be available on the SEC Network and its digital platform.
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive made the official announcement of the new SEC Network at a press conference in Birmingham with coaches, ESPN executives and the media.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ESPN
Depending on which television provider fans subscribed to, they may not have always had all of those regional channels, or if they could access them, it oftentimes required the purchase of an additional “sports package” from their television provider. While still in final negotiations, both SEC and ESPN representatives have said they want to make the SEC Network available to fans in the same cable packages as ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, alleviating the need for the purchase of an extra cable package.
AT&T U-verse and DISH Network have already signed on to carry the SEC Network to all of their subscribers nationwide. All other carriers, especially those with a large presence in the SEC’s 11-state footprint are expected to sign on prior to the August 2014 launch date as well. The network will originate from ESPN's Charlotte, N.C. offices, where a full studio was already in existence, with additional staff located at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. ESPN’s Justin Connolly, who was formerly senior vice president of affiliate sales and marketing, will oversee the network's day-to-day operations. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity,” Connolly said. “It is a great honor and a great responsibility to be part of this initiative. Our aim is to bring the passion and the identity of the SEC onto the screen. There is not another sense of conference pride in America like the connection that lives among all 14 SEC schools and their fans.” There have been other networks for conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 in recent years - and even one for the University of Texas - that have been met with mixed reviews and took some time to get off the ground. Officials with the SEC Network and ESPN, though, are both confident that they have the right recipe for success: the most fervent fan base for college athletics in the country and loads of quality content, most notably of which are the live events.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ESPN
ESPN President John Skipper summed it up, saying, “This is a unique opportunity and nothing like this
has been done before. The level of distribution we will have at the beginning, along with the quality of production and the games we will have, will take this to an all new level.”
He added that, "Playing in the SEC represented four of the greatest years of my life, and I feel incredibly fortunate to now have the opportunity to cover this great conference."
In its first year alone, the SEC Network will carry 45 football games, including weekly triple-headers on the network during the 13-week regular season. It will also have a traveling pre-game show called “SEC Nation,” which will air from an SEC campus every week of the football season. The show will be hosted by Joe Tessitore, who is a familiar voice to many SEC fans from his years of calling games with ESPN, along with commentators Paul Finebaum and Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow. Legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger and former Florida quarterback Jesse Palmer have also been announced as the lead commentators for football games on the league’s network.
During the offseason, the SEC Network will also feature the league’s 14 spring football games plus signing day and pro days coverage. The network won’t focus solely on football, though. It will also carry more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games and 50 softball games. Extensive event coverage from the SEC’s 21 different conference championships will also be highlighted, including exclusive coverage of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament’s first three round. The network will additionally provide a variety of studio shows and a simulcast of the popular Paul Finebaum radio show. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will also be offered exclusively on the digital platform.
Musburger, who recently signed a multi-year extension to stay with ESPN, said in a statement that, "I'm delighted to be staying with ESPN, thrilled to be able to call the best football conference in the nation every week and am really looking forward to working with Jesse, who I covered while he was at Florida. Jesse has tremendous football knowledge, knows this league very well and does his homework." Palmer said of the opportunity to join the SEC Network broadcast alongside Musburber that, "I am honored and humbled at the rare opportunity to help launch a national network of this magnitude and to do so alongside Brent, a legend within the sport and the industry."
While the live sporting events will be the primary source of programming for the network, it will also feature studio shows and original content such as the “SEC Storied” series, which is similar to the popular “30 for 30” series on ESPN. The network and its digital platform will additionally connect with each SEC institution and create opportunities for each school to produce and develop content. In the months leading up the launch of the network, conference and ESPN officials have been visiting every member institution to evaluate the production quality of events produced on each campus. Steps are being taken to bring every campus up to the mini-
A huge throng of media was assembled to hear the details of the new SEC Network at a press conference that also featured 32 SEC head coaches, including every head football coach.
PHOTO BY CHUCK BURTON / AP IMAGES / PREFERRED
mum standard set by ESPN so that every game featured on the SEC digital platform has the same quality broadcast as a nationally televised basketball or football game. This has also included the construction of on-campus studios, where much of the content produced for the network will originate. In addition to the increased exposure for each member institution and the conference that comes from a 24/7 network, many coaches and administrators also see benefits for their individual teams. Speaking about the construction of a new on-campus studio for the SEC Network at the University of Tennessee while at last year’s SEC coach’s meetings, Vols head football coach Butch Jones said, “Obviously with all the things that are going to have to be produced, it's an opportunity to sell the Tennessee brand. Not just in football but in every sport.”
Those figures included money generated by football television, bowls, the SEC Football Championship,
PHOTO BY SCOTT CLARKE, ESPN IMAGES
Tennessee guard Josh Richardson (1) celebrating after an NCAA college basketball thirdround tournament game against Mercer, March 23, 2014, in Raleigh. Tennessee won 83-63.
The benefits for each member-institution of the SEC won’t be limited to just an increase in exposure and upgraded production facilities on campus. All 14 programs also stand to profit greatly from the network financially as well. Prior to the network launching, previous television revenue distributions to the 14 conference members in the 2012-13 season were $289.4 million, or roughly $20.7 million per school.
New traveling “SEC Nation” host Joe Tessitore (right) and analyst Tim Tebow (left) first worked together at this yearʼs Rose Bowl.
basketball television, the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament, NCAA Championships and supplemental distribution. With the SEC Network adding almost 1,000 more games on television and online to what will already be airing on ESPN’s primary channels, and the still existing CBS contract for football, that revenue number stands to increase substantially in the coming years. Also as part of the agreement creating the new network, ESPN and the SEC agreed to extend their existing media rights agreement through 2034. In addition, ESPN will now oversee the SEC’s official Corporate Sponsor Program. These agreements will keep ESPN partnered with the SEC for the next 20 years. For that time, ESPN will own 100 percent of the network, while the SEC will own 100 percent of the content, according to the Business Journal. Fans wanting to make sure they have the SEC Network when it launches in August can contact their current service providers directly. The SEC has set also up a website at www.getsecnetwork.com to help fans find out if their local provider will carry the network. We at Sports & Entertainment Nashville are excited about the upcoming benefits the SEC Network will bring to our students and to our local universities. Stay tuned!
It sounds like an opening to a joke with a great forthcoming punch line, but
the President, the Pope and, yes, the legendary rock band Aerosmith all have something a bit unusual in common. True, they all have some form of reigning power: the President over our country, the Pope as head of the Catholic Church, and of course, Aerosmith over the hearts of rock ‘n’ rollers. More than that, however, they all have one very unique thing in common that places them as supporters of a business right here in Tennessee. They’ve all chosen to ride the same bus. Well, not the exact same bus at the exact same time, but they have all spent many an hour aboard a Hemphill Brothers touring coach.
Have Brush, Will Paint:
The Cool Artistry of Muralist Mike Cooper
by Leigh Greenwood Background shot: Cooperʼs room of supplies is a painterʼs dream, overflowing with his tools of the trade, including these rows and rows of brushes and rollers.
Visual art can be introspective, insightful and deeply personal. It can also be communal, public and overtly engaging. We turn our attention in this article to the most public of all forms of visual art – the mural. One of the oldest forms of artistic expression, murals have a lofty pedigree – Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel come instantly to mind! We spoke with local muralist Mike Cooper, who has been designing and creating large-scale murals in the Middle Tennessee region and beyond for decades. Nashvillians are guaranteed to recognize his work around town. He is
PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS
Artist Mike Cooper works at his drafting table, a favorite relic of his commercial and interior design days.
the man responsible for such civic points of pride as Legends Corner, the Nashville Zoo underpass, Yazoo Brewery, the Arts Company, the Arcade and Cumberland Transit. Murals, unlike other forms of visual art, are pieces with a specific commission in mind. “It’s probably one of the few art forms that you don’t have to go to the gallery to see. It’s out amongst the public,” reflects Cooper as we spoke in his studio. “It’s part of the fabric of your everyday life. In and of itself, it’s not only public art and art in public places – it’s just right in front of you. I think it resonates more with people.”
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now painted in copper tones with giant, oversized beer taps painted on the exterior. It’s become a popular place for people to take candid photographs. “We need to go out and put footprints where you’re supposed to stand with the mug!” laughs Mickie. A proud Memphis native, Cooper’s educational background and artistic experience lend themselves well to the precise nature of his work. “I have a degree in contract and commercial & interior design. It’s where I learned perspective and rendering and interiors,” Cooper describes.
PHOTO BY RUSS CORLEY
“As part of the interior design program, I got to draw a lot. And I did a lot of that and then came back to Memphis and did design work. That’s the same drafting board I had back then. I’ve had that thing for, okay, a lot of years… When I started doing murals, it was just a natural fit. Absolutely perfect.” Legends Corner is a perennially popular venue, due in no small part to Cooperʼs eyecatching murals of legendary performers.
Cooper’s love of artistic expression did not simply start in college with his choice of majors. Like most artists of note, Cooper showed signs of an PHOTO BY RUSS CORLEY
Resonate it does. Many Nashvillians will recall even more of Cooper’s murals throughout Nashville’s history. Sadly, these murals are gone now due to civic change and progress, but these murals we will always remember with pride – the “Greetings from Nashville” mural near the new Music City Center, as well as the Hard Rock Café mural, which Cooper himself designed and created. “I miss the Hard Rock mural. It was iconic. I miss the ‘Greetings from Nashville’ that was downtown,” muses Cooper. Painting on buildings and walls brings with it an occupational hazard that the surface may one day be modified, demolished or otherwise changed. Unlike painters who use the more conventional canvas and hang their work on a gallery wall, a muralist’s work is at the mercy of commer-
cial structures and industrial building materials. Luckily, very few of Cooper’s works have met their fate at the hands of a bulldozer. One such lucky iconic work is the mural of legendary musical performers on full display in the window of Legends Corner in downtown Nashville. This mural contains the images of such icons as Dolly Parton, Ray Charles and Patsy Cline, among many, many others. It’s become such a favorite of natives and tourists alike that it can be a challenge to see it without others clustered around. “People will come from out of town and stay with us. ‘Oh, we want to see your murals!’ So we’ll go downtown, and we point out different hot spots. ‘Oh! Over there!’ There’ll be people all in front of it taking pictures with their family members in front of it. We’ll say, ‘That one! Behind those people!’” laughs Cooper’s wife Mickie.
PHOTO BY RUSS CORLEY
Yet another example of Cooper’s remarkable ability to mimic natural surroundings can be seen in his murals for the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. The columns at the underpass on Nolensville Road immediately north of the zoo entrance are swathed in Cooper’s murals, with life-size animals and threedimensional stone blocks painted to appear real. Cooper’s painstaking process to ensure his murals are exacting and precise to his subject is impressive. “For the zoo, I said, ‘What animals do you have that can climb?,’ because I didn’t want something that didn’t look like it wasn’t supposed to be there. I went down there and got images and talked to everyone. That’s just the way you do it!”
Cooperʼs murals for the Nashville Zoo bring eye-catching detail to what otherwise were serviceable but dull concrete pillars for the highway overpass.
Cooper’s sense of humor is interwoven throughout his work, and it can be seen on giant display at one of Nashville’s favorite local breweries. Yazoo Brewery’s outdoor storage tanks, initially an unexciting coat of plain white, have been transformed by Cooper’s ingenuity. “There are three of them. The copper is supposed to oxidize a little bit, because I didn’t coat it. He wanted it to oxidize,” explains Cooper of the tongue-in-cheek application to the outside of the giant storage tanks,
Using photography as his guide, the attention to detail in Cooperʼs murals is remarkably realistic.
artistic bent at an early age. “I have literally been painting walls my entire life. Just for fun. Always. Whether as a kid for my parents - I remember doing stuff for my dad’s office. I did stuff for my kids’ rooms, for their churches and schools.” Cooper and his wife Mickie laugh as he recalls memories of his childhood plans for his education. “I’d get in trouble at school for drawing on stuff when I wasn’t supposed to be drawing on them,” recalls Cooper. Mickie furthers the story. “I had no idea that he could paint! The kids and I left town for a weekend and came back and he says, ‘I can’t wait for you to see what I’ve done!’” The hilarious retelling of the story includes wife Mickie’s realization that Cooper had a remarkable talent for creating visual art after she saw his life-size rendering of a favorite Calvin & Hobbes cartoon. “You’ve got to understand. I didn’t know that he knew which end of the paintbrush to hold!” Cooper laughs. “Drawing on walls is the same thing as drawing on a drafting board. It’s just a bigger board! Instead of a parallel bar and a triangle, I use a 4-foot level and a string. It works!” Describing more details of his intriguing process, Cooper continues. “What I do is - I paint what I
told them what I wanted to do. I took tons of photographs.” Cooper’s work is so well regarded that he has become an expert in his field. Featured on a DVD of instructional videos on mural painting, he and Mickie also host weeklong seminars to instruct students on the art of murals. “We try to teach four classes a year, and when we do, people come from all over,” states Cooper.
PHOTO BY RUSS CORLEY
Mickie continues by saying, “We’ve been contacted about mural classes in Italy and France.” What a way to spend a working vacation, don’t you think?
The outdoor storage tanks at Yazoo Brewery are camouflaged to appear like copper containers with oversized beer taps.
Cooper has even designed custom paintbrushes for the mural-painting industry. “We designed these brushes! When we were at a trade show selling our DVDs, there was a guy that had a bunch of booths across from us,” recalls Cooper. “I went over there and started talking to him. Turned out he owned the brush company! I said,
“We went back and forth, and we finally came back with some brushes that are really pretty cool for murals! If you’re painting on a wall, there’s nothing better!” Cooper and his effusive wife Mickie make the perfect team. As Cooper himself teases, “Mickie does everything but the painting!” He turns serious for a brief moment after they’ve regaled us with humorous anecdote after humorous anecdote. “It is so great to think that you can paint murals for a living and support a family and everything that goes along with it. I think, as an artist, to make a living is remarkable. Even to use the term, I feel blessed, to be able to do it. I’ll say it now. I couldn’t do it alone. Ever.” ——————————————————— For more information on Mike Cooper’s work and his company Murals & More, LLC, please visit them at www.muralsandmore.com.
PHOTO BY RUSS CORLEY
see. Literally, if I’m going to do something, I want good reference material…I’ll take hundreds of pictures of stuff, all to get it at the right angles. There was something I needed a guitar in, and I went down to the guitar shop here in Franklin, and there were specific guitars I wanted to use,” explains Cooper. “I had them at different angles, different lighting. I went down there and talked to them and
“We’ve been thinking about that,” agrees Cooper. “Usually, classes here are a week, and they’re jammed. There’s just a ton of information to work on in just a week. I’m basic. I don’t do any drafting or anything like that on the computer. Everything’s by hand. I teach people how to draft, how to use an architectural scale, how to use a lead holder as opposed to a drafting pencil.”
‘What about mural brushes?,’ and he says, “Well, nobody’s ever asked for mural brushes.’ I said, ‘Let me bring you some of my brushes.’ These things looked pretty historic! They were my absolute favorites! I’d worn them out and gotten them finally where they worked for what I’m using them for. He looked at them, felt them, measured them. I swear I think he even tasted them!” Cooper jokes.
Even Nashvilleʼs iconic Arcade has been brightened with Cooperʼs remarkably detailed murals. Balconies, windows, shadows? All paint!
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Next in line:
Beede spurns the money to become the next great Commodore
by Chris Lee
The 18th year of our lives
is challenging enough for any of us without a curveball thrown our way, and life threw Tyler Beede a pretty big one just 13 days into his. It was June 6, 2011 and Beede, a senior who had just graduated from Auburn, Mass.’ boarding school Lawrence Academy, was preparing to play baseball at Vanderbilt University. But that was the night of Major League Baseball’s annual First Year Player Draft, and the Toronto Blue Jays had other ideas.
That turns the draft into a game within a game, where MLB teams not only try to find the best talent but also the best talent most likely to sign. The Blue Jays picked 21st in the first round that year, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos, perhaps feeling he needed to take a bit of a gamble — that’s understandable when you compete in the same division with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees — did just that when he used that pick to select Beede, a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher with a 93 mile-perhour fastball. Beede had made it clear before the draft that he was going to Vandy. However, teams don’t burn first-round picks on players they don’t think they’ll sign. Fourteen other high schoolers would be picked in that first round. All would turn pro. When the Jays took Beede and offered a $2.4 million signing bonus, Vandy baseball coach Tim Corbin thought he’d lost his future star.
HOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
Unlike the case with the NBA and NFL drafts, high-schoolers can be drafted. Those players may also be drafted and see how much money an MLB franchise throws at them before deciding whether to report to campus.
Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Beede was a first-team All-American in 2013, posting 14-1 record with a 2.32 ERA.
“We obviously didn’t anticipate that he would be here when someone is drafted at that level and that amount of money. You would say that it’s going to be a done deal,” Corbin said.
tweet at you, it’s always easy to say whatever you want to say when you’re behind the keys of a message board,” said Beede, who saw much of what was written.
But when the dust settled on midnight of the August 15 signing deadline, Beede told Toronto he was heading to Nashville, citing the relationship he’d built with Corbin and the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally as a Commodore.
Six months later, when Beede was hit hard in his first two collegiate starts against Stanford and Florida, coming to school almost seemed like a mistake. Corbin’s faith remained unshaken. Beede’s fastball velocity soon climbed into to the mid-90s and in a March 31 start against defending national champion South Carolina, Beede (six innings, one run, seven strikeouts) was dominant.
“It’s unique. It certainly is. I know a lot of people are passionate about fulfilling their dream of being a professional baseball player and at the time, my dream was being a college baseball player and coming here to play for Vanderbilt,” Beede remembers two-and-a-half years later. ——————————————————— Vanderbilt fans were ecstatic about landing Beede. Toronto fans? Well... they weren’t quite as happy. On the Internet, they commented on how “stupid” he was for passing on the money. Some even said they hoped he’d suffer a serious injury.
HOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
“Obviously when you’re exposed on Twitter and social media and people can kind of reach you and
There would be some bumps along the road, but by the end of the year Beede had established himself as a top-shelf Southeastern Conference pitcher and had no regrets. “It’s why you come to college, why you come to Vanderbilt to play in the SEC and go through those experiences and pitch and play in those games,” he said. He took a big step the next year. With that fastball, a terrific change-up and a nice curve, he’d became nearly un-hittable — literally. Many times, he carried a no-hitter into the middle innings of a game. For the 2013 campaign, batters hit a pitiful .187 off
Beede in 101 innings, including just three homers and 14 doubles. Simply put, there was nobody who could beat Beede except Beede -- and that would become the problem. Beede’s the rare pitcher who can just get the ball in the vicinity of where he needs it and still dominate. But Beede wanted to refine his command, to locate pitches more towards the corners of the plate. As Beede tried to nibble corners, hitters waited him out, knowing they didn’t stand much of a chance of getting a bat on the ball. It worked, and the walks started to pile up. To that point, it still hadn’t mattered; Beede won his first 14 decisions and had an ERA under 2 most of the year. He’d become a first team All-American and led the Commodores to a 26-3 mark in Southeastern Conference play, the best conference mark ever in what may historically be college baseball’s best league. But the inability to control his pitches got into his head, and things would soon come unraveled when it most mattered. In his NCAA Tournament opener vs. Illinois, Beede couldn’t get out of the fifth inning. The ‘Dores survived to get to the next weekend against
Beedeʼs remarkable pitching arm is caught in stop-motion as he winds up and pitches from the mound.
Beede should feel at home on a Major League pitcherʼs mound for years to come. The baseball world will be watching to see which team picks Beede in this Juneʼs Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Beede is expected to be a first-round selection for the second time.
You don’t get to where Beede’s gotten in life without a healthy dose of self-confidence, and yet if he has a big ego, it’s well-hidden. Beede, with his easy smile, is about as approachable and likeable a star athlete as you’ll ever meet. There’s a video of Beede circulating on the Vanderbilt campus recently, asking his unsuspecting classmates if they know who Tyler Beede is. While the baseball world knows quite well who Beede is, it becomes increasingly obvious that his classmates don’t, much less recognize that they’re speaking to him. Instead of getting a bruised ego, Beede laughed about it and uploaded it to YouTube. “That was the point of the video, just to kind of have some fun with it, kinda see where the minds of the Vanderbilt students were at. I don’t try to take anything too seriously. That’s the way life should be lived, having fun and not really thinking too much about what others think of you,” says Beede. But within Beede lies an edgier personality that he terms “Young Beedah.” It’s the name under which Beede has recorded eight rap tracks, an endeavor that started when someone on Beede’s hall in high school let him borrow a microphone and a beatmaking machine.
PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
“He’s kind of the voice in my head that wants to express more of a different side of himself. I consider myself sort of an introvert and a shy kid, so whenever I want to write things down or have anything to write down, I just do it in rap and poetry, so that’s my Young Beedah alter-ego,” Beede says. “That’s the fun part of him. I think we all have that side. It just depends what day it comes out in. ... I think he’s Clark Kent on the mound and he’s Superman in that music studio,” Corbin says with a grin. “It’s two different persons.” “Beedah” has gained some notoriety of his own. A track he wrote and performed, entitled “Boston Strong,” was written as a tribute to his hometown and its great athletes. Beede released it after the Boston Marathon bombings, and the Red Sox even played it at Fenway Park.
Louisville anyway. That weekend, control struggles forced Beede to leave the game in the third inning, and Vandy lost to the Cardinals just one step short of the College World Series. After also struggling for Team USA in the summer, Beede took a twomonth baseball hiatus. “I felt like I didn’t keep my body in shape at the end of the year, and things kind of snowballed from there as far as being too thoughtless and not being able to control my thoughts, stuff along those lines. It was good to have those two months off and re-focus my attention on simplifying things on the mound and in
being back with the team,” he said. Still, Beede had great memories of 2013. “You can never expect to go 26-3 in the SEC, and that’s more of an accomplishment that we’ll be able to look at five, 10 years down the road when no team will be able to beat the record. ... It will just bring memories back to the team, back to the group of guys and the legacy team that we had. It’s something that we’re all proud of, for sure,” he says. ———————————————————
Beede says that baseball need not worry about him quitting to be a rapper. In fact, that ability to disconnect from baseball to temporarily delve into other worlds seems to help him on the diamond. After that two-month break, Beede finished his two starts in the team’s annual Black-Gold series without walking a single hitter. In his 2014 season debut vs. Long Beach State on Feb. 14, Beede walked just one hitter while striking out seven in a Commodore victory. If that continues, nobody will be calling Beede “stupid” any more. He may be one of the first five players drafted this June, and if that’s the case, look for a signing bonus of at least a million more than he was offered the first time around. It won’t be the first time that’s happened at Vanderbilt. Major-Leaguers Sonny Gray (Oakland), Mike Minor (Atlanta) and David Price (Tampa Bay) are among the Vandy pitchers who passed on the money the first time around but saw it pay bigger dividends after three years in Nashville.
Corbin expects things to work out well for both Beede and the team that picks him in June. “I think he can play baseball for a long period of time. He loves it. Really, really loves being a baseball player as much as he loves being a pitcher. He loves the clubhouse part of it. He loves the practice part of it. He loves the preparation of the game itself. He’s just a sports guy. He’s immersed in sports and loves the competition. God willing, if his health stays good, I think he can play for as long as he wants to,” he says. PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
But as Beede reminded me just before the season started, his focus right now isn’t on June. It’s on a goal of winning a national title, which was something that he mentioned several times to Corbin during the recruiting process. That would be a first at Vandy, but if Beede continues to pitch at this level, he and his teammates have the talent to do it.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL STRASINGER - CLARKSVILLE SPORTS NETWORK
“That’s really our focus at this point. We’re all hungry to get back to the point where we were last year and then some, to get to Omaha. That’s obviously the legacy we all want to leave on this team,” Beede says.
Batters hit just .187 off Beede last year (and .193 in SEC play), thanks to a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s.
Vanderbilt started the 2014 season ranked 9th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.
Christianity, Creativity and Community:
TheCrossroads ofContemporary ChristianMusic “Jesus freaks, out in the street, handing tickets out for God” (from “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John, released in 1971)
By Steve Morley
In Nashville circa 1972,
there was no shortage of music-making along 16th Avenue South, the heart of Music Row. But another, presumably larger creative force had begun to stir at the corner of 16th and Grand: Belmont Church of Christ had become an anchoring regional location for the youth-driven “Jesus Movement” that was aflame in various pockets throughout the country. What set Nashville apart from most other areas of spiritual activity during this unprecedented cultural era was the significance of its role in helping to midwife a full-blown, non-secular pop genre: CCM, short for contemporary Christian music.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOB HUGHEY
The nascent style, initially referred to as “Jesus Music,” had quietly begun to blow eastward from the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., where vocalist Gwen Moore was living at the time. Moore, who recalls that “kids by the hundreds were being baptized in the Pacific Ocean,” says, “It was tough for us to relate to the old hymns we’d grown up on because of the significance our music had developed in our lives—the music of revolution and protest, the confessional songs of singer/songwriter hippies.” Soon after Moore relocated to Nashville in 1974, she found the Koinonia Christian Bookstore (and later, Bookstore and Coffeehouse) on 16th Avenue, where Steve Chapman, Ron Elder and other local musicians were playing sweet-spirited but lyrically penetrating original music about their Christian faith, every Saturday night. Chapman, cofounder of Koinonia regulars and pre-CCM recording artists Dogwood, says that “our lyrics were Biblically based, but our melodies bore the mark of the secular music of the times. We had no idea,” he says, “that we were helping pioneer what became known as ‘contemporary Christian music.’ Koinonia was a gift from heaven. It was a training ground for us.”
Top: A packed house at Koinonia in the early ʼ70s Bottom: Koinonia Bookstore, before the coffeehouse was added in the mid-ʼ70s
DOGWOOD PHOTO BY STEVE BRUMFIELD; CHAPMANS COURTESY OF STEVE CHAPMAN
sing backup on Amy Grant’s 1977 debut album, later reprising their roles onstage at Vanderbilt’s Langford Auditorium in 1980, when Grant (then a college junior and a rising star) staged her first-ever concert with a full band.
Dogwood—(from left) Steve Chapman, Annie Chapman and Ron Elder—at Koinonia; Inset: Steve and Annie Chapman today
rary style. The music gave us a place to come together and experience something as a group.” WIthin a few years, Moore herself would frequent the Koinonia stage as part of Word Records’ vocal group Fireworks. Moore and fellow Fireworks member Gary Pigg would
Lg photo: Amy Grant today; Top inset: Grantʼs 1977 debut album. Bottom inset: A teenaged Amy Grant and friend Helen Finto (far right at arrow) at Koinonia circa 1973-74.
ALBUM ART COURTESY WORD ENTERTAINMENT
PHOTO BY KRISTEN BARLOWE
“Koinonia was indeed reflective of a move of God,” offers Moore of the spiritually affecting climate experienced at the concerts held in the tiny building. “It was a vital non-church venue where young music lovers could hear artists who were ‘ministering’ in a more contempo-
In the half-dozen or so years before Grant almost singlehandedly began to propel the fledgling CCM format to broader mainstream success, Koinonia’s weekly concert series was drawing attention not only from young devotees of Jesus, but also the hippies, hangers-on and homeless who hovered in those days near the corner where Belmont Church’s staff sought to provide assistance and outreach. As Grant, then a teenaged regular in the Koinonia crowd, recalls it, “There was a thriving bar right across the street and a strip club nearby. I remember one night we heard this crash outside. Two girls had crashed their car. We all ran outside,” she says, “and some Eagles song was just blaring from the car. We'd all been inside singing . . . it was everything, all at once. It wasn’t ‘us and them,’ it was like, ‘Come on in,’” says Grant of the resounding collision of cultures and music occurring at the intersection of 16th and Grand. “This was not a pristine group of people. It was ragtag, and nobody had it to-
PHOTO BY STEVE BRUMFIELD
COURTESY HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
Brian Mason, longtime local radio personality and a frequent Koinonia attendee in those days, remembers somewhat conversely that Grant would sometimes be called up to the stage from her spot on the elbow-to-elbow-packed floor, and that her relative inexperience may initially have clouded others’ recognition of her potential. Mason recreates the scene as he recalls it: “‘What? This is a kid from the youth group. . . . Oh, okay, c’mon, Amy.’ Nobody had any idea what was going to happen with her,” Mason says, laughing. Grant’s own expectations at the time were evidently similar. “I loved popping up for a song or two . . . [but] there were so many people whose talent far exceeded mine,” she says. “I was just the girl who sits in the crowd.”
Amy Grant and producer Brown Bannister at the 2006 unveiling of Grantʼs star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
gether, but everyone was captivated by this incredible experience of community that came because of . . . this . . . spirit of God, I don't know.”
Adds Brown Bannister, “Koinonia was a place where Amy was exposed to radical Christians and artists who were actually beginning a genre of music—without even knowing it. The important thing,” says Bannister, “is that it wasn't about the music business, careers or money. The bedrock motivation was to share the gospel, to communicate the truth. I think that being in that atmosphere was a key component of development for her, both spiritually and creatively.” Of his and Grant’s role at the starting line of mainstream contemporary Christian music, Bannister says, “We were right in the beginning years of what became the CCM industry. I am sure there were probably smarter people than me that could see it was about to explode, but we were blissfully unaware of what it would become, because the focus was on the message—not the genre.” Brian Mason, whose longrunning, eponymously named Sunday morning radio program faithfully preserved the music and memories of CCM’s first wave, remembers that Koinonia “wasn’t about mixing entertainment with ministry. There was constant attention to staying in check—are we entertaining
It was something like a dream, though, for those who experienced the spirit that informed Koinonia’s golden age. Grant, whose debut album came out just before her 1977 high school graduation, remembers returning home to Nashville during college breaks to find “it was never quite the same coming back,” she says. “I would come back and go to the coffee shop. But everything was changing so fast. Change happens all the time, so it wasn’t a bad thing,” says Grant. “People continued to be drawn to that environment, to Belmont, specifically, because of [pastor] Don Finto. I think that church was just a huge welcome mat. People would come and get excited about using their musical gifts: ‘I can do this?’ I think it just caught on and spread.” Belmont Church, whose congregation included another major early CCM artist, Michael W. Smith, ended up being what Mason calls “the contemporary Christian music church face for this area. I would stress that it was not an intentional thing,” says Mason, “but God’s design. We were a different game, and we were an unlikely game. Most of the players,” Mason points out, “were these a cappella-singing Church of Christ people. All [who contributed to birthing CCM] brought their own experiences to it, whether it was sitting in a pew in a Church of Christ, or being in a successful rock and roll band, or coming out of the drug era, or a combination of any of that stuff. But Nashville was incredibly unique, and unlikely, for that reason. Koinonia was a seed. Belmont was a seed, an unwitting seed.”
PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
Human affairs, of course, were also at play. While musical and cultural influences were intermingling, and top-flight studios and session musicians were standing at the ready to add professional polish to this emerging, homegrown sound, Nashville was also attracting creative out-of-towners who aspired to music careers. “[New residents] would hear about this community down on 16th Avenue,” explains Grant, “and they would come down and just be met by this eclectic group of very alive people.” There was a particular influx from Abilene [Texas] Christian University, who, Grant says, had been coming to the city to work on the numerous shows at Opryland. Among the ACU transplants was Brown Bannister, who later would be pivotal in launching Grant’s career. Bannister, who would go on to a production and songwriting career that has since netted him more than a dozen Grammys, began attending Belmont Church and co-led a youth group. Amy Grant was in Bannister’s group, and he recalls the first time he heard her sing her original music, at a youth retreat. “I remember being struck by her personality, charisma and her gift of engagement—making you feel like the only person in the room—sharing songs in a totally conversational style.”
“Koinonia was definitely what made me want to start writing songs,” Grant affirms, emphasizing that music was never the core reason for the bookstore and local outreach. “It was just a gathering point. It was all just about serving that community, being a part of that community. That was the template for me,” says Grant. “That was my first experience of music and community.”
or are we ministering?—and making sure that ministry had the priority. One thing that made it so inviting,” he adds, “was intimacy. It was like we’re all sitting in someone’s living room. I mean, literally, you’re on the floor. It was exciting but unpredictable. Groups would come from regions in every direction—it was a fire marshal’s nightmare.”
Longtime Nashville DJ Brian Mason with Gwen Moore and Gary Pigg, founding members of CCM act Fireworks
Nashville’s Female Sportscasters: Always on Their Game! By Matthew W. Maxey
Nashville was the site of
the biggest event in women’s athletics this year - the NCAA Women’s Final Four. As a result, a lot of attention has been given to the efforts of women competing in athletics. During the lead up to the Final Four, one of the NCAA’s “legacy programs” highlighted the issue of women working in sports media. This is a topic that has been discussed on the national level for some time. We turned to our local female sportscasters and sports writers to learn about them, how they got into the industry and how their experiences have related to some of the national headlines. Teresa Walker – Associated Press Sports Editor Readers across the state of Tennessee have been familiar with Walker’s writings as the Associated Press Sports Editor for years. She has been with the AP in Nashville since 1989 and is responsible for coverage of the Titans, Predators, Memphis Grizzlies and college teams across the state..
PHOTO COURTESY OF DAWN DAVENPORT
Dawn Davenport working as a prime-time ESPNU sideline reporter, interviewing Georgia head football coach Mark Richt.
Dawn Davenport – WKRN & ESPNU Viewers in Nashville have known Davenport since 2008 when she joined WKRN. She spent six years covering sports full time, having won “Best Sportscaster in Tennessee” in 2011 and 2013 before making the switch to WKRN’s “News 2 This Morning.” She didn’t leave sports altogether, though, as she began her first season as a sideline reporter for ESPNU’s Saturday night primetime college football game of the week. Audra Martin - WKRN Martin is the newest name to the Nashville sports media, joining the WKRN sports desk in August 2013 to fill the spot vacated by Davenport.
PHOTO COURTESY OF AUDRA MARTIN
How did your career path bring you to Nashville? Walker: I started my career at The Daily Times in Maryville and for two and a half years was covering school boards and police beats. I got to cover everything but sports. Then when I got to AP, I started off covering college basketball and football by phone, because that’s how we covered it back then. Then I got the chance to start writing sports fulltime for AP, and it was amazing. Davenport: I spent two years in Wilmington, N.C., and then moved to Richmond, Va., for a few more years before moving here to Nashville... It is such a great place that you fall in love with and just don’t want to leave since it is such a great town. Martin: After I graduated from college, I actually decided that I didn’t want to pursue a career in journalism. Instead, I decided to try and do something more behind the scenes on the media or PR side. I flew out to the Major League Baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas on a whim and went to the job fair. I actually got multiple job offers and ended up taking a sales position with the Atlanta Braves, thinking it would be a foot in the door. It took all of five months for me to realize I missed television and I couldn’t get it out of my head. After shadowing the Braves broadcasters for one day, it solidified that I had to pursue television.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ESPN
Audra Martin joined WKRN in August 2013 after stops in Huntsville, Ala. and Atlanta, working for the Braves, the Atlanta Thrashers and even “Family Feud.”
What made you want to become a sports reporter? Walker: I’ve just always been a tomboy and watched sports. I grew up watching the Cubs when we lived in Chicago, and after we moved to Nashville, I watched the NFL on Sundays with my mom. Davenport: I grew up in a sports-oriented family. My dad was a walk-on basketball player at Duke, and my mom has always been really into sports. My brother and I were outside playing sports all the time growing up, and I played volleyball in college at Auburn. [Sports] were just what we did for fun! In college, I ended up with a mass communications major and am really lucky that I fell into what I’m meant to be doing. It wasn’t really until college, though, that I realized I could make a career out of it. Martin: I grew up a sports fan, which was odd because neither of my parents were sports fans. I also grew up playing sports, but my entire life I thought I was going to grow up and be a police officer. It wasn’t until my first semester at the University of Central Florida as a criminal justice major that I ever thought of it. I made a 4.0 that semester, and the university sent me a letter saying because of my grades I might be a fit for some of the restricted majors that were offered, and the television program was one of them. When I read that letter, something just clicked, and I decided to change and become a broadcast major.
WKRN “Nashville News 2 This Morning” co-host Dawn Davenport spent six years covering sports for WKRN and just completed her first season with ESPNU.
I began working with the Atlanta Thrashers. In my second year, they needed a fill-in rink-side reporter, and it was a dream come true. The ironic thing, though, was that the next year the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg. When the team left, I made it my goal to get back into broadcasting. While I was looking, I actually worked behind the scenes on “Family Feud” for two years.
and be knowledgeable, then you won’t be treated differently. As far as senior leadership positions, maybe there aren’t as many females as we would all like at this point, but I can say I have never been treated any differently in any locker room or covering any sport.
I had a great time working there, but it was always in my mind that it wasn’t sports broadcasting. Then one day, [“Family Feud” host] Steve Harvey said, “You can never have ‘Plan B,’ because if you have ‘Plan B’ you are subconsciously telling yourself it is okay to fail at your dream. If ‘Plan A’ fails, you make another ‘Plan A!’” After that, I sent my resume tapes out all over the country and ended up getting a job in Huntsville, Ala. I was there less than a year before WKRN called, and two weeks later I was here in Nashville.
Martin: [Sexims exists] to an extent, but I think it is getting better. You are never going to get away from it; it just comes with the territory. Sports have been a man’s world, and, being a woman in that world, you just have to work that much harder. I like always having to prove myself, though, because it just makes you work harder. In Nashville I haven’t had any problems. Everyone has been friendly, and I think a lot of that was because of Dawn - I came to a place where there had already been a female in this role and laid the path... In Huntsville, I was the first female sportscaster at my station. The people, viewers and players have all been great in Nashville, and I’m incredibly grateful.
Does sexism exist in today’s sports media world? How do your work experiences here in Nashville compare to other markets you have worked in or visited?
You are all active on Twitter and other social media outlets. Do you ever get tweets or messages related to your appearance or gender instead of your reporting? How do you respond if you do?
Walker: I have been very lucky. I think working for the AP helps; it’s a name that is recognized and is a national standard, so I’ve not run into those issues. That said, I’ve been married for 17 years, and I think that having a wedding ring on helps. Dealing with the Titans, they have been great. I’ve never run into any issues when I’ve gone down to Memphis to cover the Grizzlies or Tigers, and the same with the Predators. It really is refreshing. When I hear stories from other women in the industry, I’m really sad for them because I have not run into that in Tennessee. It is a market that has not had a lot of women in it over the years, but largely I have just been “one of the guys.”
Walker: I get some…[B]ack during the NFL conference championship games, I tweeted out my picks, and I had someone respond back with an inappropriate name. Thank goodness, though, there is a block button. If you call me names, you get blocked. I don’t really converse with them much, because when you start out a conversation with some names, there just isn’t a conversation to be had.
Davenport: I have personally never been treated any differently being a female in this business, ever. Maybe I have been lucky, but as a female in the business you just have to know exactly what you are talking about
PHOTO COURTESY OF AUDRA MARTIN
Audra Martin hosting WKRNʼs popular Sunday night show “Sports Extra.”
Davenport: I don’t get a ton of it, but occasionally. During football season, I got a tweet that said, “Great report. Now get back in the kitchen,” but, honestly, I think you would get that in any profession. There are unfortunately people in our society that don’t think women belong in the workforce, and there is nothing we can do to completely eradicate that. I think it is something you just get used to. You do your job, and maybe one day you can change their mind.
Martin: In Huntsville, I got a viewer email that said, “Call me a bigot, call me sexist, call me whatever you want, but there are certain things I don’t want shoved down my throat, and your female sportscaster is one of them. I’m old school and I want my sports news delivered from a man.” I’ve also gotten my fair share of requests for dates and pickup lines on Twitter, but they have never really bothered me. You just have to take it with a smile.
Walker: Anytime I see a woman who is in journalism and thinking about sports, I try to help them because when I was growing up I saw Phyllis George on the CBS “NFL Today” show, and that was the only woman I saw. I try to help them any way I can and also refer them to The Association for Women in Sports Media, which is a networking ability that women didn’t have when I was coming along.
AP Sports Editor Teresa Walker interviewing Titans quarterback Jake Locker in front of his locker at the end of last season.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ASSOCIATED PRESS
Davenport: It isn’t easy! I made pennies and just scraped by in the beginning. It is over 40 hours a week consistently. For those that think it is just “stand in front of the camera and look pretty,” it is definitely not. It is a lot of hard work and a lot of research. If you want to be in this profession, you have to be constantly learning and ready to work!
PHOTO COURTESY OF TENNESSEE TITANS
When younger girls ask you about becoming a sports reporter, what is the first piece of advice you give them?
Martin: You have to be prepared to work harder than the guys, and you can’t be scared to ask questions. Also, if you want to do this, you have to have faith in yourself and you can’t be scared of rejection or moving to a small town. Otherwise, eventually you’ll be like me and be 28 years old and realize you could have spent the last five years of your life doing what you love instead of jobs that were just okay.
Women playing and working in sports has been in the spotlight with the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Nashville this year. What would you like for people’s primary takeaway to be from all the added attention this year? Walker: It is nice that the Final Four is coming to Nashville, but there are women working here in the state. We could probably use some more, and I would say if you are female and looking to get into sports then give it a shot because there is definitely room for growth. Davenport: There are a lot of people who don’t give women’s athletics a chance, and these women are phenomenal athletes. I think if they would just give it a chance, they really would enjoy it. Martin: That we aren’t going anywhere! We are willing to work as hard as anyone else and embrace it, because there are some incredibly talented women athletes. They deserve the same respect the guys get!
AP Sports Editor Teresa Walker has been responsible for coverage of the Titans, Predators, Memphis Grizzlies and college teams across the state since 1989.
Women Can Talk Sports: CHANGING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A FEMALE FAN
What started as a blog for Taryn Foshee has now blossomed into a fulltime career, educating women about sports and how to use that knowledge to empower themselves.
By Matthew W. Maxey
For Taryn Foshee,
a Mississippi State graduate, former Miss Mississippi and top five finisher in the 2007 Miss America pageant, sports have always been a part of her life. She grew up playing different sports and going to MSU games with her dad. Now a Nashville resident, she has set out to change what it means to be a female fan. It wasn’t until she moved to Nashville and completed a public relations internship at Country Music Television in 2007 that she began thinking about how she wanted to do something that would help other women. She knew she wanted to do something — she just wasn’t sure how yet. She continued on with her professional life, going into medical sales for the next five years, all the while carrying with her the thoughts of doing something more for women. “Working in medical sales, I saw that being able to talk about sports allowed me to develop relationships quickly in what is largely a male dominated industry,” Foshee recalled. “I knew that other women should have this opportunity, too, but for many of my girlfriends, it wasn’t as simple, as no one had ever talked to them about it.” While working full time in medical sales, Foshee was also obtaining a Master’s Degree from Vanderbilt University. Her thesis research was in Sport Sociology, with an emphasis on how to create more space for the female fan in sport culture. With ideas that had been building for five years and now with a clear path shaped by her education, Foshee started the “Women Can Talk Sports” website in 2012. It was going to be the place for any women who had ever avoided talking about sports because they “didn’t understand” the game or didn’t have anyone to answer their “silly questions.” Foshee set out to develop a community where they could comfortably learn about the different sports and find answers to those “silly” questions. “I had a passion in my heart and knew I should be doing something with this,” she said. “I just had to start writing and putting it out there, because I knew there are women who can benefit from what I’m learning and teaching myself about sports - other women need to learn this too.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF WOMEN CAN TALK SPORTS
She did just that, posting blogs not just about the basics of baseball, basketball and football, but also about major events and news items in the world of sports as well. She also encouraged women with recommendations on how they can “win in the workplace” with sports and avoid being intimidated by reminding them of what she always says. “You don’t have to know everything. You just have to know something.” It wasn’t without trepidation, though, that Foshee launched “Women Can Talk Sports,” and she relied on her previous pageant history to get started. “My pageant years really taught me perseverance and how to put myself out there,” said Foshee, who competed in the Miss Mississippi pageant four times before winning it. “Knowing that people were going to be judging me and what I write, that gave me the confidence to start the blog. I told myself, ‘You’ve done this before and survived. So just go for it!’”
Women Can Talk Sports Founder Taryn Foshee has one goal, to empower women to join the sports conversation.
Since doing so, Foshee has continued to build a community of women engaged in the sports conversation. That community grew even more at a party on Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament when “Women Can Talk Sports” launched an app that lets female fans connect from wherever they are. Foshee hopes the app will allow female fans to upload pictures, have discussions and expand that community for any level of fan to talk freely. Foshee and “Women Can Talk Sports” also hope to reach those female fans who say they don’t care about sports. “Usually that means she doesn’t care about what happens on the field or court, but being a fan is about so much more. There is always something we can connect with whether it’s a player, a storyline, or the social aspect of attending or watching a game.” Taryn Foshee speaks to groups of all sizes, from large corporate gatherings to small circles of female friends, helping each of them learn that “women can talk sports.” After the launch of the “Women Can Talk Sports” website in 2012, the response was immediately positive. Foshee began hearing from readers saying how they now, for the first time, understand what a first down was. Moms were printing off lists of player positions and basic formations and taking them to their sons’ football practices to better understand the plays.
With the successful start of “Women Can Talk Sports,” it is clear that Foshee is doing every day exactly what she dreamed about - empowering women to join the sports conversation. Women Can Talk Sports founder Taryn Foshee is a former Miss Mississippi and Miss America finalist who is trying to change what it means to be a female fan.
After the early success, Foshee then began speaking at “lunch and learn” sessions and “ladies night” gatherings. She has been asked to speak on a number of panels to educate women not only about sports but also how they can use that knowledge in their personal and professional lives. The website and blog have been such a success that, at the start of 2014, Foshee made the leap and left her stable job of medical sales to become the first full time employee of Women Can Talk Sports.
Can Nashville’s TV News Professionals Ever Tune Out the World and Relax? Story at 10:00. By Steve Morley
Channel 4 anchorwoman Demetria Kalodimos
Anchorman COURTESY OF WTVF
Channel 2 anchorman Bob Mueller COURTESY OF WSMV
COURTESY OF WKRN
They’re in your homes nightly. You tune in to see their friendly but
authoritative faces as they deliver the latest news. Chances are you’re in your recliner, shoes nowhere in sight, but it’s not easy to imagine your local anchormen and women similarly supine—after all, news never stops happening, and duty frequently calls. 40
If nothing else, newscasters do have to eat.
Not surprisingly, the kitchen-bound anchorman says he’s “really gotten into wine the last few years. I find that that’s a lot of fun, talking to people about wines, and pairing them up with foods.” His friend Jimmy Collins, longtime publisher of the Nashville Wine Press, is one of a group of friends who, Johnston says, will “discuss and taste wines together, with Jimmy as ‘the explainer.’”
driven” flute major in college until broadcasting (initially at radio) proved a more natural path. She and Thompson combine their interest in hiking and travel by taking walking trips abroad. Walking trips, she says, “[are] a wonderful way to travel and not have to skip dessert.”
PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
When we caught up with Channel 5’s Rhori Johnston, he’d just sat down at Burger Republic in the Gulch. Food happens to be his respite, be it exploring local eateries with kids Piper and Seaver, or assuming chef duties himself. “I used to work in the restaurant business, so that’s what got me started tooling around in the kitchen a little bit,” understates Johnston. An experienced cook, he has compiled a 3-ring binder stuffed with recipes that he pulls out “on weekends, when I have time.” He says his usually low-carb menus often involve chicken, adding that “sometimes, making an appetizer or a salad is more fun than the entrée. You can really get creative with them,” he explains, “surprise people with something different.” Johnston may have surprised viewers recently as a guest on Channel 5’s “Talk of the Town,” where he rolled up his sleeves and prepared Blackberry Pork Chops, clearly at ease behind the burners.
Rhori Johnston prepares a meal.
here, was delighted to accept his current assignment in 2005. “I love the live music scene here,” says Johnston, who often catches shows at 3rd & Lindsley. Since relocating, he says, he’s been finding more balance. “I take my job seriously, and it is a 24-7 job in some respects, but it's a very good family over there [at Channel 5]. Everybody's watching out for each other, and we all get the time we need to unplug and de-stress.” If you ever see Demetria Kalodimos sitting completely still, it’s likely because she’s at her anchor desk. The popular newswoman, who recently hit the 30-year mark at Channel 4, isn’t otherwise prone to remaining stationary—or avoiding cameras. “The fun thing is, I do video work as a hobby,” says Kalodimos, also a documentary filmmaker. “My husband [Verlon Thompson] is a great musician and singer/songwriter/performer, and sometimes we'll just shoot a little video for fun, on the weekend. But at the same time,” she adds, “I love to hike, I really love to travel, I'm constantly trying to learn to be a better musician on different instruments. My husband is painstakingly trying to get me to play mandolin, which I've really enjoyed,” says Kalodimos, who was a “very
Demetria Kalodimos with one of her three Cornish Rex cats. Having grown up in an artistic family, Kalodimos remains passionate about painting. “When I actually have ample leisure time, there's nothing more fun than to bring out paintbrushes and paints.” Her Cornish Rex cats seem to agree; they’ve been known to “step in the paint and just take off,” she says—particularly a dearly departed pet named, no kidding, Paintbrush.
Investigative Reporter COURTESY OF WTVF
Cooking, he emphasizes, “is such a stress reliever. I'm ruled by the clock. There are deadline pressures every day. It's nice to be able to unwind in the kitchen—good glass of wine, friends, some good music—and just have fun preparing a good meal.”
PHOTO COURTESY DEMETRIA KALODIMOS
Demetria has been “hands on” in many of her productions, shooting and editing herself, but sheʼs most comfortable working with her team on a shared vision.
Johnston, who has relatives in Nashville and had become attracted to the city long before moving
PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
Investigating Phil Williams Award-winning investigative reporter Phil Williams admits that digging up dastardly details can take a personal toll. A longtime member of the Nashville media who’s been on staff at Channel 5 since 1998, Williams says he “never had a lot of hobbies, because there simply wasn’t time. Up until recently, I would say that work was my life—along with taking care of my son.” For his teenaged son’s sake as well as his own, Williams decided last year, upon turning 52, to make a change. “Instead of going out and buying a convertible,” he says, “I decided to buy a pair of running shoes.” The purchase, he says, hardly brought immediate gratification. “When I started running, I frankly did not enjoy it,” says the reporter, who stuck with it nonetheless. The turning point, he says, was signing up for the Country Music Half Marathon. “I am such a goaloriented person, that I was afraid I would not stick with it unless I had some kind of goal in front of me.” He sweetened the deal by asking friends to pledge donations to his favorite cause, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., and set the reasonable mark of covering the nearly 13.2-mile stretch inside three hours. He completed it with 22 minutes to spare.
To get away, she and her husband go to their “hillbilly beach”—their personal piece of shoreline along the south Harpeth River. “We take an FM radio, float a cooler and sit in our lawn chairs, thighhigh in the water, and hang out all day long.” Pondering her considerable energy, she says, “I hope I know how to relax. My husband thinks I don't. You know,” she admits, “I don't think you ever truly unplug from news. Sure, I'll take a vacation, but if you've got this in your blood, the last thing you want to be is totally out of touch. If you're an innately curious person—and 'curious' is a nice way of saying ‘nosy’ [laughs]—then you're well suited for this kind of work.” Bob Mueller, who’s been with Channel 2 News nearly 34 years, echoes Kalodimos’ sentiment: “I probably don't ever really check out, except when my phone battery dies for a couple of hours.” Or, perhaps, when he’s attending a local game. “Sports is a nice release for a couple of hours,” says Mueller, “when you're not thinking about anything else.” It’s a wonder the busy newsman didn’t end up a sportscaster, given the wide variety of athletically oriented activities he enjoys. Because of his high-profile career, Mueller is as likely to be participating in local events as simply spectating. “I'm a hockey fan, I go see the Preds a lot. Got to skate with the Predators a couple of times for some
charity events,” Mueller mentions. “I go see the Sounds sometimes in the summertime; they let me throw out the first pitch every now and then. I’m a golfaholic,” he continues. “Whenever I can get out and hit the links, that's my escape. I'm really fortunate, because I get asked to play in a lot of charity events,” says Mueller, whose own fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will tee off for the 18th time this June. “So I get to play on some really nice golf courses at charity events.” For a more extended getaway, he and his wife hit the beach in Destin, Fla. “It's really funny, because there's a lot of people from Middle Tennessee who vacation in Destin. And I probably get recognized more at the beach than I do anywhere,” he says, laughing. When Mueller is at home, he’ll chalk up a cue stick or pick up a book. He recently finished bios of Steve Jobs and Walter Cronkite, and he’s about to crack open “This Town,” a book on Washington life and politics given to him by Channel 2 News co-anchor Samantha Fisher. While he clearly appreciates his WKRN teammates, Mueller notes that Nashville is “lucky to have three, four really good news organizations.” Citing the lengthy tenures he and many of his TV colleagues have enjoyed here, he says, “We fell in love with Nashville, and made this our home. And, in this business, that's really rare.”
PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
Bob Mueller enjoying some pool time.
Phil Williams, suited up for a run in Granny White Park. “Suddenly, the bug had bit me. It was a sense of accomplishment that I had not expected,” says Williams, who began running 15 to 20 miles a week and eating wisely, dropping 30 pounds and shaving 30 minutes off his initial half-marathon time. His next goal, a full marathon, is on this year’s list. He says he’s felt the professional benefits, too, as running promotes alertness and offsets the extreme stress his job creates. The self-described homebody says he largely avoids social events and maintains a fairly private personal life, a necessary choice for an investigative reporter. “I am always mindful of the fact that some people are uncomfortable around me. I have been in situations where it became very obvious that certain people would prefer that I not be there,” he says, chuckling, “because they don’t feel like they can relax.”
The Business of
at Belmont College
by Bill Hobbs
The turbulent '60s
had just ended and the disco era was about to begin, when some leaders of Nashville's growing music industry looked around and realized they needed a certain kind of talent to really grow the industry. Not singing talent. Not songwriting talent. Not musical talent. Nashville had plenty of that â€” and its place as a magnet for musical talent was secure. No, what Nashville needed was people who knew how to operate music industry businesses â€” operational, administrative and technical talent.
Ocean Way Studios on Music Row was purchased by Belmont in 2001 and is operated as a working studio and classroom.
PHOTOS THIS PAGE COURTESY BELMONT UNIVERSITY / PHOTO BY ANDREA HALLGREN
Belmont graduate and country music recording star Brad Paisley in conversation at an event called The Insiders View in which Belmont Entertainment & Music Business students learn about the industry from people working in it.
At the same time, just off the end of Music Row, there sat Belmont College, a small and struggling Baptist-affiliated school that was looking for a way to attract students and money, help the school stay afloat, and then grow. So when the music industry leaders came to Belmont looking for help, a hit song was born.
Music historian, Don Cusic In 1971, Belmont created a music business program to prepare and educate students to fill positions in fields that were more business, but without losing the parts of the program that offered courses on the creative. For the music industry to thrive, it needed strong leaders suited to every aspect of the business of making music. That program established in the early ‘70s grew into what is Belmont’s current Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. So named in 2003, Belmont continues to provide Nashville and the world beyond with students trained for success in all aspects of the entertainment industry. The Curb College within Belmont University attracts top-notch students from around the country, and its proximity to Music Row has resulted in a two-way street of talent, with the Curb College’s faculty reading like a “Who’s Who” of Nashville’s music industry professionals. But it didn't start out that way. For Don Cusic, one of the premier historians of country music and currently a professor of music business at Belmont, the story begins with Ed Sullivan.
At the same time, Nashville was emerging as a major music center, and Belmont was sitting there "at the top of Music Row … trying to attract students and raise money." Belmont's president at the time, Herbert Gabhart, "was doing anything he could to pay the bills,” and so he was open to the music industry. Cusic, author of more than 200 books, says Gabhart had heard a tale about Roy Acuff accidentally leaving a lot of cash in a hotel room, and he had realized there was money in the music industry. About that PHOTOS THIS PAGE COURTESY BELMONT UNIVERSITY / PHOTO BY ANDREA HALLGREN
PHOTO COURTESY BELMONT UNIVERSITY
"You can start with the Ed Sullivan Show when the Beatles were on," he says, "because what happens is the Baby Boom generation has a connection to music. The music industry was something someone else did, it was distant, but it (Beatles performance) got close to them then, and they wanted to be part of it."
PHOTO COURTESY BELMONT UNIVERSITY / PHOTO BY ANDREA HALLGREN
Nashville was a different city back then – it didn't necessarily embrace the music industry in quite the way the city does today. The leaders of the time hadn’t come to realize yet - at least not to the fullest extent - that "Music City USA" meant a true sense of community, and it was just the kind of wellknown brand most cities would kill for.
same time, a group of music industry executives, including Bill Denny, Francis Preston and Joe Talbot, met with Gabhart and asked him to get Belmont involved with educating future executives for the Music Row. "They had big-picture vision," says Cusic. "They knew there was going to be plenty of 'pickers and grinners' – how about attracting the executives." So Belmont did. "They started it in the School of Music, which was the wrong place for it to be," Cusic says. “Not too long after, the program was moved to the Belmont's business school, because nobody else was interested." Cusic says the program then "becomes part of the country music industry" primarily through its internship programs, which allow Belmont students to, in effect, audition for jobs in the music industry. "Next thing you know, the industry is full of Bel-
Wesley A. Bulla, Ph.D., Dean of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont, presents the 2013 Music City Milestone Award to LeAnnPhelan, Belmont graduate and leading music industry executive.
PHOTOS THIS PAGE COURTESY BELMONT UNIVERSITY / PHOTO BY ANDREA HALLGREN
Dr. James Elliott, assistant professor of entertainment and music business at Belmont University, leads a songwriting class.
"That is a contribution," he says. "When I got into this, there was no degree – you just learned it on the street. You learned it in the bars. You learned it from people that were working in the business, and that's how I learned it. Now, these kids they graduate knowing what clauses are in a recording contract and what the structure of a publishing agreement is. "When we came to town — my generation — we did not know any of that, and these kids do. They have contributed to the professionalization of the business, no question." In the early days of the music industry in Nashville, it grew by "native intelligence" of the people who founded the first businesses — people who just figured out a way to make it go.
mont grads. You go up on Music Row and swing a dead cat around, and you'll hit a Belmont grad. And so, that kind of perpetuates itself." James I. Elliott, assistant professor, credits Bob Mulloy – who is often described as the founder of the music business program – as the visionary architect of the program. Mulloy "very wisely put together a board of advisors – he got industry leaders and executives to be on a committee to advise even developing the curriculum." Elliott says Mulloy deserves credit for putting the program in the school of business, so that graduates had a business degree. Eventually, the program became a school, and now a college. Wesley A. Bulla, Ph.D, Dean of the Curb College, says three things propelled the rapid emergence of the program – the proximity to Music Row, its “openness to new ideas," and "an industry that's looking to expand from a business perspective, knowing that artists are really fairly easy to find but somebody that knows copyright law, marketing, management, those types of things, are much more difficult to find." At about the same time, in the late '60s and early 1970s, NARAS, the National Academy of Recordings Arts & Sciences – the organization behind the Grammy Awards – was trying to get schools to start music business programs, because it intended to become the accrediting organization for such programs, Bulla says.
"Clearly, when Brad Paisley came here, we couldn't teach him anything about music," Bulla says of Belmont's most well-known music business graduate. "He wrote a lot of his early hits when he was here on campus." The program's impact on Music Row is undeniable, with a growing roster of both artists and executives listing a Belmont degree on their resume. Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, and Josh Turner rank high among the many talented and successful alumni of the program, while Music Row is populated with many Belmont grads in offstage roles — people like award winning producer Frank Rogers; Mark Wright, President of Show Dog Records/Universal Music; guitarist and producer Dann Huff; publishing company owner Doug Howard, who is president of the startup 101 Ranch Records; entertainment attorney Tiffany Dunn at Loeb & Loeb, Kay Clary, former executive director of media relations at BMI, and many others. Overall, Belmont's music business program has elevated the artistry of the Nashville music industry, says Robert K. Oermann, longtime music industry journalist, current weekly columnist at MusicRow Magazine and the author of eight books, including his latest, “Behind the Grand Ole Opry Curtain: Tales of Romance and Tragedy,” published in 2008.
Looking to the future, Bulla says the next evolution of Belmont's music business will be adding graduate programs. Undergraduate programs are oriented toward producing an educated workforce for a specific field, he says, while graduate programs typically focus on "solving the big problems." For the music and entertainment business, the "big problems" include the way digital technologies have upended the traditional business models. Oermann says to the extent solutions can be found for such problems, people who have a music business education may have a leg up in finding them. "There are people who say you can't teach this stuff, that the only way to really understand the music business is to just do it, and there is some truth to that," Oermann says, "but it certainly doesn't hurt to have an educational background." Belmont College is an asset that continues to help Nashville build upon our “Music City” brand. As the educational institution that began the push toward creating professionals to help lead “behind the scenes” of the music industry, Belmont continues to lead the charge, over four decades after its humble beginnings. Nashville is grateful for Belmont’s impact upon the strong and vibrant community that our “Music City” brand represents and what it means for our thriving city overall. PHOTO COURTESY ROBERT K. OERMANN
The combination of NARAS’ interest, Belmont being “open to the conversation," and industry leaders who saw the value in it, "was really the perfect storm," Bulla confirms. "I've got documentation of probably three or four different people that claim they started the program, and in reality they all started the program. There were lots of people that came together with the same idea – being a training ground for the next generation of music industry professionals – not just artists and performers but the business people behind the scenes."
In its early days, the program was a hybrid program of both music and business – students had to take 32 hours of music classes. That's no longer a requirement.
These days, however, Music Row wants people who have a college degree and are trained in the business. "I'm not saying it’s impossible, but it's increasingly less common for a person with just 'street smarts' to make it."
"There's no question that it’s elevated the artistry just look at the graduates,” Oermann says. "I really think the industry would have grown as it did with or without the program at Belmont … but there's no question that they've provided a tremendous wellspring of talent to Music Row.” The professionalization of the music business in Nashville is one area where Belmont's program has had an impact, he says. MusicRow Magazine columnist and country music historian Robert K. Oermann.
BY LUKE MANESS
COURTESY OF GARTH BROOKS WEBSITE
Garth Brooks supercharged
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Garth Brooks Returns country music in the early ‘90s, raising its worldwide visibility and appeal to an extraordinary level. He went on to become one of the biggest selling solo artists in U.S. music history, with over 68 million albums sold. He also was the fastest selling album artist in Recording Industry Association of America history and one of the industry's most awarded artists. Garth played New York's Central Park in 1997 and drew an audience of around 750,000, filling the park's North Meadow to its capacity and spilling out into seemingly every available patch of grass and asphalt within earshot of the stage. This historic concert has been documented as the largest crowd to ever to attend a concert in Central Park. The performance was also viewed by an additional 14.6 million from a television audience, so there is no wonder why country music fans are excited about the return of Garth Brooks in 2014. It is no secret anymore what Garth has been doing for the past few years. His performances at the Wynn Encore Theater in Las Vegas have become a launching pad for his newly announced world tour planned for later in 2014. Early in negotiations to bring Garth Brooks to the Encore, CEO Steve Wynn asked the entertainer what it would take to bring him out of retirement. Brooks responded with, "You
can't afford me." Technically, he was right. The show only grossed $11.25 million per year. When you add up the private jet Wynn purchased for Garth's use, that doesn't seem like much, but this venture has put Wynn Encore center stage in Las Vegas's view to America. The Wynn Encore Hotel employees were excited, because of the part they played in persuading the country music superstar to enter into a three-year weekend residency at the establishment. The Oklahoma native quietly took the stage at the 1,500-seat Encore Theater in two “hush hush” shows attended by hotel workers, according to several employees at the Wynn Encore. One was an intimate acoustic performance, and the other was a concert with his full band. Steve Wynn also gave all of his employees "The Blame It All On My Roots" boxed set, containing songs Garth performed at his shows. Garth charmed the Wynn guests and Las Vegas visitors with his down-to-earth charisma for three years, rekindling old flames in hearts and winning new ones. Brooks brought his full band to the Wynn for two nights early in January of 2014. “Garth Brooks: The Man, His Band and His Music” performed January 3 and 4, for two shows nightly. Each performance sold out in a matter of hours, even though the tickets were priced at just over $200.
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PHOTO BY HEATHER DARLING
While speaking Pat Alger with Pat Alger, who is chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and a long time cowriter with Brooks, he stated, “Garth was an aspiring singer/ songwriter when we met. From our very first writing session, he always came prepared and knew what he wanted. He's a terrific lyricist, and of course he has that amazing voice. I have been in the business a long time, and he is one of the very few people I've encountered that was prepared for success. He remains the same gentleman today as he was on that lucky day so long ago when we were introduced, com-
ing out of Allen Reynolds’ office. Sometimes I thank God for Garth Brooks,and Allen Reynolds too!” According to Brooks' website, Garth has just announced he and his band will perform five gigs in Ireland this July. "Before we go back on tour in the fall of 2014, I want to challenge myself, the band and the crew, It's time to returning to life on the road. Although arrangements are still being made, one thing’s certain — it’s going to be loud." They've had offers from basically everybody to join his tour, simply because everyone wants Brooks' tour to be the best. Although this tour is allegedly going to trump anything Brooks has done before, fans can rest easy, knowing that the music is still going to be true to his original sound. “We’re gonna be whatever Garth is,” says the singer. Garth Brooks and fellow country star Trisha Yearwood married on December 10, 2005 at their home in Okla., and she will join him on this new tour. During a recent interview with the Associated Press, Garth said, “Me and Miss Yearwood are free to do whatever it is we want to do. And I’ve got to tell you: Anything I do with that woman is fine with me. Any place that I am with that woman is home to me. But if I have my wishes, it’s going to be filled with music, and it’s going to be filled with music at a level I’ve never seen before.“ Now that Garth has announced his tour, the world waits anxiously to see what he will come up with next.
COURTESY OF COURTESY OF GARTH BROOKS FACEBOOK
In 2011, Garth Brooks was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In his acceptance speech he was very humbled when he said, “The songwriting. That’s what it’s all about. This is it. We can talk all day about being an entertainer. We can talk all day about record sales, but it starts with the song and to be confused as a songwriter and then honored as one, that’s ‘the bomb.’ I can go in that room and show you all the guys I hang out with, and they are songwriters. To be called that with these guys, I’m very flattered. I’m not saying I agree with it, but I’m very flattered.”
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood in 2010 at Bridgestone Arena. Word on the street is that Garth and Trisha are moving back to Nashville this year.
Sounds and Echoes Nashville Baseball Ends an Era and Prepares to Slide Home Again to Sulphur Dell
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By Steve Morley
Greer Stadium, home to Nashville Sounds baseball since 1978. Throughout most of the 1960s and ’70s, professional baseball in Nashville seemed relegated to the dugout for good. It had been 15 years since the 1963 swan song of the Nashville Vols and the subsequent end of their historic Sulphur Dell home when, in 1978, Vanderbilt head baseball coach Larry Schmittou pulled a trick out of his glove. He enlisted a team of investors, acquired a Double-A minor league team and built Herschel Greer Stadium. Though beleaguered in recent years, the Chestnut Street ballpark has continued to host a treasured local tradition—one which is about to get its contract renewed, as Music City prepares for the construction of the as-yet-unnamed “new Nashville ballpark.” Not that sports fans are superstitious or anything,
but it just might be a plus to some that the soon-tobe new stadium will overlap a portion of the land where Sulphur Dell gave birth to Nashville pro baseball in 1885. “The most significant thing about returning to Sulphur Dell,” says Sounds co-owner Frank Ward, “is that our ball club, front office staff and ownership will be a part of the rebirth of a neighborhood that has a storied history—one that includes the exploits of some of baseball's greatest players . . . and characters like Babe Ruth.” Our Nashville Sounds, of course, have been busy creating the more recent history of local baseball from inside Greer Stadium. As the facility moves into its ninth inning and pre-
pares for its team’s farewell year, it’s fitting to toss out some highlights from the Sounds’ first era. Larry Schmittou’s first recollection is immediate: “The hurdles we had to clear to get it done. That was a monumental task,” says Schmittou. “We had a lot of cooperation from a lot of good citizens of Nashville to help us get it done.” Farrell Owens, the Sounds’ first general manager, says the infield was still bare two days before the scheduled April 25 opening game. That day, he was in the ticket office pondering the problem. “Lo and behold,” Owens recalls, “a fellow pulls up in a big rig that has the name of his sod company on the side. He came by to buy tickets!” Owens arranged for the company
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to haul sod to Greer on the 24th, and local volunteers helped lay it down. A rainout on opening night allowed the backstop to be completed, and the first game took place on April 26, when the team beat the Savannah Braves 12–4.
The dependability of such upbeat and wholesome entertainment, coupled with America’s favorite pastime, kept fans coming through the Sounds’ highs and lows. The team again captured a league cham-
PHOTO BY MICHAEL STRASINGER / NASHVILLE SOUNDS
An aerial view of the new stadium in rendering form ises that future Sounds games “will continue to offer experiences that are memorable, family-oriented, and budget-friendly.” Though details are still forthcoming, Ward temptingly adds, “Today's new technology is going to allow us to present the game in a special way at the new ballpark.” No doubt, this asyet-unveiled high-tech innovation is something that would have been unthinkable to fans who witnessed Sulphur Dell’s original glory days.
Jimmy Nelson signing autographs for some young fans The Sounds’ first five years included two Southern League championships (1979 and 1982) and saw some of their best-remembered alumni pass through town, including future major-league MVPs Willie McGee and Don Mattingly, as well as 1980 Southern League MVP Steve Balboni (whose fun-to-pronounce name was memorably elongated by Greer PA announcer Chuck Morgan). The move from the minor-league Sounds to the majors has been a common one; in recent years, such all-star players as Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, R.A. Dickey, Corey Hart, and Yovani Gallardo made stops in Music City. Other Sounds alumni who are worthy of special mention include Buck Showalter (1980–’83), Skeeter Barnes (1979; 88–’90) and Chad Hermansen, who comprise the team’s Top 3 career leaders across many categories. As Schmittou points out, it wasn’t possible to market a minor-league team, “since there’s no control over who the team will be.” Instead, he opted “to market fun,” starting a longstanding tradition of such antics as “used car night” (one was given away each inning) and appearances by the flappin’-crazy San Diego Chicken. Inspired by UT’s Big Orange brand, Schmittou decided to make Sounds merchandise available. “It was wonderful,” he says, “to see the kids wearing a Sounds shirt or hat, batting glove or whatever, and having fun.” Says Owens, “I think the fans always felt like they had gotten
pionship in 2005; three years earlier, the Sounds were the first in the country to establish a Christianthemed Faith Night, which has since become one of the best-attended events at Greer. Eager to continue the Sounds’ time-tested appeal, Frank Ward prom-
Change, of course, can be bittersweet, as is the thought that dearly departed Sounds superfans like Chuck Ross and Joe “Black Cat” Reilly—(in)famous for casting curses on opposing teams—won’t get to see Nashville baseball make its ’round-thebases return to the Dell. Asked about Chuck Ross, Schmittou recalls that he was “beloved by all the players and even umpires, knew 'em all. He got there about 10:00 in the morning for a 7:30 game,” adds Schmittou. “Everybody in my office loved Chuck.” Owens says he “could go on forever about Chuck and Black Cat. Shame they will not get to see the new park from here. But then again,” Owens muses, “they may have a better view than any of us could possibly have.”
Former Sounds second baseman Scooter Gennett. Inset: The Nashville Sounds Mascot, Ozzie
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The Soundsʼ iconic guitar scoreboard
their money’s worth and more. Our food was good, and things like ice cream in a miniature batting helmet were a big hit. Larry headed up our concessions,” Owens says, “and he did a great job in hiring good people.” A giant among them was beer vendor David Cheatham, who worked in the stands every season from Greer’s 1978 opening until his death in 2009. “David was known by every person in the stadium,” says Schmittou, “whether they drank beer or didn’t. He was interested in your family, in what you were doing . . . he didn't just want to sell you a beer, he wanted to chat with you.”
TheNashvil e Songwriters Hall ofFameandthenew Music CityCenter’s firstyear
PHOTO BY: BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
by Luke Maness
It was established in 1970 to educate, archive, and celebrate the contributions of its members to the world of music. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (NaSHOF) has become part of Nashville's rich history in music and celebrates the beginning of the songs we enjoy today. NaSHOF is now permanently housed in the lobby of the new Music City Center (MCC) to honor all 185 of its members, six of whom are duos. We decided to take a look at the NaSHOF and its new home, the new Music City Center, to see the joint impact its first year in business has had on Nashville.
“I would say the impact of the NaSHOF’s location in the new Music City Center thus far has been more cultural than economic,” claims Mark Ford, NaSHOF’s executive director. “It’s extremely gratifying to finally have a permanent physical presence in such an amazing new facility, free of charge to all who come to see it.
The Nashville Music City Center at night
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inside the MCC from above
strued as being intentional or political in nature, when that is not the case at all,” relates Murrah. “The fact of the matter is, there is just no perfect process. Each process of a given hall of fame is - of necessity - always under scrutiny for improvement, to accommodate deserving individuals. It requires patience on everyone's part, so the integrity and fairness of our Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame process is one of its qualities that I am most proud of." When Murrah was asked what the economic impact NaSHOF has on Nashville's economy, he expressed that the impact the industry of songwriting has on the city of Nashville is staggering.
PHOTO BY: BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
“Our presence at the Music City Center lets visitors understand the importance of songwriting, while letting them realize that songs were created by actual, incredibly gifted writers, most of whom were not the artists. Don't get me wrong - the NaSHOF is on its way to becoming a tourist spot. It's just right now we have a relatively small footprint, but we add an overall value to both the Music City Center and the area in general,” states Ford.
Since the MCC has put the NaSHOF front and center, the obvious question comes to mind. With so many deserving candidates, you might wonder what it actually takes to decide who will receive the honors and become a member of the NaSHOF, so we asked the former chairman of the NaSHOF, Roger Murrah, about the process. “To be considered for induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, a songwriter must be closely associated with
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK FORD AT NaSHOF
The stunning views of the Nashville skyline from the Music City Center may be as breathtaking as some of the lyrics in the songs written by the Songwriters Hall of Fame Members. The grand opening of this beautiful facility was May 19-20, 2013. Thousands of people came out to tour the Center, to enjoy the festivities, and to take in the free concerts. The building was open for public tours, music played throughout the facility and there was a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the official opening. As you might expect, there was plenty of music on hand. Brad Paisley, the Nashville Symphony, Phil Vassar, Vince Gill with The Time Jumpers, and Sheryl Crow all performed during the celebration. “This kickstarted the rest of the year, and so far, business has been great!,” claims Mary Clippard, marketing and public relations manager for the Music City Center.
“During 2013, we had a number of smaller groups at the MCC, but on January 1, 2014 some of our larger groups started to roll in, such as Archery Trade Association and American Bus Association, and we really don’t slow down during 2014,” states Clippard. “We have a major show about every 11 days, so things are very busy here. The amount of short-term business we’ve received, the number of local groups and organizations that have booked lunches, receptions, and dinners, along with a number of proms, weddings, etc. has exceeded our expectations. We are very excited to have had such a great reception from the local community as a new venue for events,” explains Clippard.
Roger Murrah speaking at a NaSHOF dinner. Murrah has been a member of the NaSHOF since 2005. Nashville and whose first significant song occurred 20 or more years ago. There's a committee of hall of fame members and historians that deliberates in depth, then they create a ballot of songwriters and songwriter/artists that must be approved by the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Board of Directors,” explains Murrah. “Once approved, the final ballot is voted on by NaSHOF members, professional songwriter members of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, the NSAI board of directors and the NaSHOF board of directors. That is the process it takes to decide who will become a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
“There would be no ‘Music City’ without the songwriters who write the music. As I say that, I hasten to add honor and give credit to everyone in our industry who contribute in a thousand ways to make our songs successful. We need the industry and the industry needs us. With children, they say 'it takes a village.' With music, it takes an industry,” states Murrah. “There are a lot of things most people don't know about the NaSHOF,” claims Pat Alger, current chairman of the NaSHOF. “We have a father and son who are members, a husband and wife who are members, and three sets of brothers. Many hall of fame members have recorded hits written by other HOF members, and HOF members have produced hits on other HOF members. In the coming months, the new website will premiere some of these unknown facts, and I encourage everyone to check these things out. We are extremely excited about the potential of the NaSHOF at its new home,” encourages Alger. “The biggest challenges for the NaSHOF board and its nominating committee is the same as for any Hall of Fame: how can we get everyone in who deserves the honor? Every year, more and more songwriters qualify for the nomination, and so many deserving songwriters don't make the final ballot. We all feel that frustration,” claims Alger. “For those up and coming songwriters who aspire to become a member, don't forget you can't change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails to reach your destination. Have a great work ethic, because you can't write enough great songs. The world around you is full of inspiration, but it's up to you to provide the perspiration,” Pat Alger explains. Pat Alger being inducted into the NaSHOF
"There is a dilemma that pervades halls of fame in general, which is how the process can appear at times to move too slow on the induction of one or more deserving individuals. A lot of circumstances contribute to such a dilemma, which can be misconPHOTO COURTESY OF MARK FORD AT NaSHOF
inated seven times before I finally got inducted in 2011. It has been over two and a half years and it is still surreal. I am still in a daze, and I thank God for blessing me with this every day.” Schuyler is not the only NaSHOF member who is flabbergasted by this honor. Gary Burr claims, “It remains the shining professional achievement of my life. Everything else is icing. Every time I drive by the Music City Center, it reminds me that I live in a worldclass artistic city. I am honored to be a member of NaSHOF and part of the city of Nashville.”
NaSHOF member Thom Schuyler who wrote “16th Avenue” PHOTO COURTESY OF THOMSCHUYLER.COM
There is no doubt that the members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame were filled with inspiration - members like Thom Schuyler, who expresses just getting nominated is a rare honor. “I was nom-
The Music City Center has also been the driving force in the recent growth of the SoBro area in Nashville. Shortly after the Music City Center opened, SoBro welcomed a brand new 800-room Omni Hotel, a 255room Hyatt Place, a 215-room Hilton Garden Inn and a new expansion of the Country Music Hall of Fame. A number of other new restaurants, bars and shops have also popped up in the area since the opening of the MCC.
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is a great addition to the New Music City Center, and tourists will be In the grand scheme of able to experience what things, the Music City we take for granted Center and NaSHOF is every day. Nashville Multi-Award winning having a significant efcitizens take a lot of songwriter and fect on the Nashville pride in their artists, NaSHOF member community. “The Music songwriters and the way Gary Burr City Center’s financial we project ourselves to success is measured by the world. Nashville is PHOTO COURTESY OF CONNBOY MUSIC the amount of groups definitely not afraid to they bring into the building and the city. When a take a leap of faith, in hopes of a better large group comes to the Music City Center, the at- tomorrow. So, there is no question of the impact tendees stay in downtown hotels, eat in local restau- that the MCC and NaSHOF has had so far on rants, visit various entertainment venues and use Nashville. Just imagine the future projections that transportation services. This influx of tourists cre- will keep Nashville thriving for years to come. ates job growth,” claims Mary Clippard.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARY CLIPPARD OF MCC
Aerial building shot of MCC with the city
St. Jude Country Music Marathon
Celebrates 15 Years of Personal Accomplishments and Making a Difference By Matthew W. Maxey
PHOTO COURTESY OF COMPETITOR GROUP
In the 15 year history of the St. Jude Country Music Marathon & Â˝ Marathon, it has grown from 7,500 participants in 1999 to over 30,000 this year.
PHOTO COURTESY OF COMPETITOR GROUP
revamped leading into the 2014 event. Instead of starting in front of Centennial Park like years past, it will begin a mile further into downtown on Lower Broadway. That will allow runners to see more of the downtown district, along with also breaking up some of the hills runners face. "Nothing says Nashville like the neon lights and live music along Lower Broadway," said McCormick. "Runners staying downtown will literally be able to roll out of bed and be at the start line. With the finish line just a short walk away at LP Field, this will not only be one of the most convenient marathons for runners, but for the spectators and supporters as well."
The starting line for the 2014 St. Jude Country Music Marathon was moved from Centennial Park down to Lower Broadway to give participants more of a view of downtown. The St. Jude Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon has become a signature event for the city of Nashville. From its infancy in 1999 when it had just 7,500 participants, it has grown to a four-day event with more than 30,000 expected to lace it up in this year’s 15th running of the race. It now also includes a Mini Marathon of 2.6 miles plus a twoday Health & Fitness Expo which will take place the Thursday and Friday prior to the race at the new Music City Center and a Sunday brunch for those running as “St. Jude Heros.” In the 15 years of the event, countless runners and visitors have not only helped boost Nashville’s economy, but they have also achieved new personal goals and helped to support a number of worthy causes. "To see the transformation over those years is just one of the absolutely thrilling things for somebody that's grown up in the sport," said Tracy Sundlun, Sr. of the Competitor Group which plans the event.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is also excited about the success the marathon and half marathon have had in Nashville. "It sends a great message about Nashville trying to be a healthier, more active city. It's just all positive, and you can't beat having all these visitors come into our city. The city looks good and looks good for over 26 miles." The aspects that have made this race such a success over the years are the unique touches that aren’t found in many others around the world. When runners make the 26.2 mile trek through the city, they are greeted by a variety of live bands showcasing exactly why Nashville is Music City, USA. It isn’t all country music, either - while our trademark country genre certainly is well represented, runners can also be treated to classic and punk rock tunes on one mile, then hear jazz or soul music along the next. This year, runners will get to see even more of the downtown area than in races past, as the course was
She added, "Most of that distance you'll see is made up within the downtown area to continue to highlight what the city of Nashville has to offer downtown. So what we're trying to do is manipulate the course so that it allows the runners to make that incline at a broken up period of time to make it a little bit easier on those legs." While runners are traversing the new route, many of them will have something else on their mind. The St. Jude Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon is a fundraiser, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis is the primary sponsor. Their admirable goal is to raise $1.9 million during this year's event, which is the staggering amount it takes to run the hospital for a single day. Many people will run the race as a “St. Jude Hero,” meaning they have committed to raise between $500 and $2,500 for the research hospital before even stepping up to the start line. At the same time, other participants will have their own individual goals and causes on their mind race day. Paige Boze of Gallatin is using the race as a culminating event to celebrate a life change. “I quit smoking two and a half years ago and picked up running to compensate,” she said. “I’m finally feeling confident in my ability to do it and lost 45 pounds in the process, so I’m feeling really good.”
The race has had a tremendous boost to Nashville both economically and from a tourism standpoint. The 2013 race alone, which attracted over 30,000 visitors to the city, generated $38.2 million in economic impact, according to data provided by race organizers. Runners traveled from all 50 states and 26 countries to run the streets of Nashville. Organizers also noted that 70 percent of the visitors for the race stayed in hotels during their stay, accounting for over 25,000 hotel room nights.
Every year many participants run as “St. Jude Heros” to raise funds for the Memphis childrenʼs hospital. Organizers hope to raise $1.9 million this year to fund a single day of the hospitalʼs operating expenses.
PHOTO COURTESY OF COMPETITOR GROUP
St. Jude Country Music Marathon and ½ Marathon organizers, like Event Director Malain McCormick, know they have a great product on their hands. That is evident by the number of participants each year. The marathon had 2,681 finishers last year, while the half marathon had nearly 24,000 finishers, making it the second largest half marathon in the country according to Active.com, an award-winning website that acts as a national clearinghouse for athletic and recreational activities and events.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PAIGE BOZE
Half Marathon rookie Paige Boze will be running her first 13.1 mile race to celebrate new life changes after quitting smoking two years ago.
Jamie Jenkins, principal at Hillsboro High School in Nashville, will be making the Country Music Marathon his first 26.2 mile effort. While he is far from a novice, having completed multiple half marathons in the past, he is choosing to challenge himself even more this year to honor a very special lady, his mother. “I want to show the toughness and determination she gave me as a kid,” Jenkins said. “I’m running in honor of her for the sacrifices she has made throughout her life to give me a chance at success. We grew up in a tough neighborhood, but she was always the rock that saw me through.” Jenkins, who grew up near Shelby Park, will have an exceptionally proud cheering section down the final stretch as the course route will take him directly by his mother’s house in mile 20. That encouragement will be the extra push Jenkins will need as he works to finish under 3:10, qualifying him for the prestigious Boston Marathon — another of Jenkins’ goals. Another participant who is anything but a marathon novice is Gabryelle Conklin, or “Gabby,” as she is known. Gabby is one of a set of triplets born to Regina and Chuck Conklin in 1993. Since birth, Gabby was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which confines her to a wheelchair. Growing up, she often saw her sisters and friends participating in events and playing sports, but she was unable to participate herself. It all changed in 2009, though. As she was preparing to attend Wilson Central High School, she said to her mother, “Mom, I want to be a cheerleader!”
That is exactly what she did, too! Gabby became an honorary cheerleader and was a fixture on the sidelines at Wilson Central Wildcat football games for four years, helping to not only cheer on the team but also show people you can do the things you want, in spite of what challenges you may face. Gabby’s inspirational story touched many and caught the attention of the producers of the ESPN series “E:60,” which profiled Gabby on its national show in 2013. Regina Conklin received a phone call after the show aired, and on the other end was a man named Heath White. White had seen Gabby’s story and was inspired to reach out. White himself had also been featured by “E:60,” detailing his story of running races with his daughter Paisley, diagnosed with Down Syndrome. White and his daughter had run numerous races together, totaling 321 miles. This significant number was chosen to represent Down syndrome, which is, in genetic terms, the third replication of the 21st chromosome. After all these miles with his own daughter, White was touched by Gabby’s story and wanted to run a race with Gabby, too. The two paired up to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., in June 2013. In their first marathon together, Gabby and White finished the race in 3:02 which was a time fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which they are considering! Since then, they have also competed in a pair of marathons in Little Rock, Ark. Our hometown St. Jude Country Music Marathon will be their fourth marathon together. While not running marathons with White, Gabby and Regina have been training for 5K races together.
Gabby had previously met Cayden Long, who is also diagnosed with cerebral palsy, at summer camp. While there, ESPN’s “E:60” was actually filming a story about Cayden, too. Our readers may remember the remarkable story of Cayden and his older brother Connor. The two compete in triathlons together as “Team Long Brothers.” Their mother, Jenny Long, is in the process of starting a local chapter of My Team Triumph, called My Team Triumph TLB. Part of their fundraising went to cover the cost of an additional jogging chair to be used by others who wanted to compete. The first user of that chair was none other than Gabby Conklin in The Mayor’s 5K Challenge here in Nashville. As the St. Jude Country Music Marathon approaches, Gabby continues to inspire people. While Gabby and White run the marathon, Regina plans to participate in the half marathon. She has wanted to run a half-marathon since 2012, but she has the extra motivation to see it through this year, so that she can be at the finish line to greet Gabby and White when they cross their own finish line. “Once we decided that they were going to do the Country Music Marathon, I said, ‘Here’s my chance, here’s my motivation!’ So I’m going to start training to do the half marathon,” Regina said. “I signed up and have been training since January.” Her mother won’t be the only person joining Gabby in the Nashville race this year, either. Gabby’s best friend Rochelle lives in Colorado, whom Regina describes as Gabby’s twin. White had the idea for Rochelle to compete in the marathon with him and Gabby. He recruited his sister, also an avid runner, and together they will push both Gabby and
Due to press deadline, story and quotes were gathered prior to 2014ʼs marathon.
PHOTO COURTESY OF REGINA CONKLIN
The St. Jude Country Music Marathon will be the fourth for the team of Heath White and Gabby Conklin, who first did the Marine Marathon in Washington D.C. in 2013. Rochelle through the streets of Nashville, undoubtedly continuing to inspire people along every inch of those 26.2 miles, which is exactly what Gabby wants.
Regina Conklin, Gabbyʼs mother, will be fulfilling a personal goal of her own by running her first half marathon at the St. Jude Country Music Marathon.
While recently sitting at dinner, Regina asked Gabby, “If you got to choose between going to your favorite college and cheering for your favorite football team or continuing to do marathons, which would you pick?” Without hesitation Gabby said, “I think I want to do the marathons, because I think I can reach more people with my story.” So, while the St. Jude Country Music Marathon is certainly an economic boost for the city of Nashville, even more importantly, it also serves as a way for people to achieve personal goals and help those around them. For some, this marathon is the perfect vehicle to share their inspirational story of never, ever giving up.
PHOTO COURTESY OF REGINA CONKLIN
The New Nashville Sound: By Leigh Greenwood
Our Fusion of Musical Styles is Thriving! N ashville is the proud home of multiple genres of music, most notably
country, bluegrass, folk, gospel and contemporary Christian music. This is not news to any of us, but there have been such remarkable combinations going on, just under the current of popular music, that we felt it important to shine the light on these insightful, infectious and engaging forms of music. Nashville is undergoing a bit of a transformation these days in more ways than one, and it is due in no small part to the creative, visionary talents of our resident musicians and artists. One of the most intriguing forms of music coming out of Nashville these days is what has been termed “Electro Shine.” The brainchild of country superstar “Big Kenny” Alphin, this new form of music birthed here in Nashville is a movement that combines the rhythmic beat of house music found in big cities’ dance clubs, the high fiddle of bluegrass and the catchy melody lines made so popular in traditional country music. The first production of this new style, entitled “Dance Upon the Solid Ground,” features Alphin, EDM and R&B artist Chebacca and the duo ChessBoxer made up of artists Matt Menefee and Ross Holmes. The most recent “ Electro Shine" release is titled “The Great Unknown” and features Damien Horne and was co-produced by Alphin and Chebacca is already making waves and has been receiving great airplay on such popular Top 40 radio stations as WXYK in Biloxi, Miss. and WAYV in Atlantic City, N.J.
Electro Shineʼs hallmark sound and presentation includes rhythmic bass notes, high fiddle and… circus tents! PHOTO COURTESY OF WEBSTER & ASSOCIATES
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE VESPERS
Independent artists The Vespers, comprised of sisters Phoebe and Callie Cryar and brothers Bruno and Taylor Jones, are wowing artists and critics alike with their signature sound and impressive instrumentals.
Some of our readers may be thinking, “What in the world? House music meets bluegrass? Is that even possible?” Well, we are here to say that it certainly is! Alphin put it best while presenting his project to reporters when he said, “I know it’s early, but some of you are going to want to dance, and if I do the same, please forgive me, because I think everybody ought to wake up every morning, dancing!” That infectious nature of Alphin’s personality, either behind the mike or behind the producer’s headset, shines through this undeniably unique style of music. He waxes poetic for a moment when he says, “Music City is a beacon of creativity for the world right now… There is just so much flooding in here, and there’s so much varied talent that comes in and out of this place!” From Electro Shine to Americana, our next intriguing genre of music cropping up these days is one of the oldest yet most-recently recognized. Call it “roots” music. Call it Americana. Call it folk-slashcountry-slash-soul-slash-rock. Despite the fact that folks are still struggling to light upon a name, what we will term “roots” music has become one of the most fastest-growing and innately intuitive genres of our time. Our generation can’t really take full credit for this one. After all, “roots” music, at its most bare, is based predominantly upon the genres of bluegrass and folk, both of which have been around for decades, if not centuries. As the popular Americana band The Vespers will attest, “We don’t fit one genre enough, like a lot of artists nowadays, and oftentimes no one knows what to call it. Folks
who work in several genres have contacted us and wanted to see what we smell like.” Band spokesman Bruno Jones continued by commenting, “It’s interesting. Americana as a genre allows you to basically say we are ‘undefined’ to a traditional genre label.” The Vespers, if our readers might recall, are one of the most talked-about new groups emerging from the “roots” music renaissance. Comprised of two pairs of siblings – two sisters and two brothers – Phoebe and Callie Cryar, along with Bruno and Taylor Jones – The Vespers have developed a cultlike following among their devoted fans and have been showcased on two of Nashville’s own homegrown products — NPR’s “Bluegrass Underground,” taped in the Cumberland Caverns and “Music City Roots” recorded at the Loveless Barn, both distributed to a national audience by National Public Television. Despite these admirable exhibitions, Jones jokingly says, “Ha! Again, we appear way more popular than we actually are, I guess. We still play to about 100 people in most towns, and that’s on a good night!” He continues with a little more of their story. “We’ve fought to get where we are, one fan at a time, and [we] just keep grinding and investing in hopes of one day making a career out of it.” All four members are native Nashvillians, and the Cryars have a second-generation musical pedigree with their father Morgan Cryar, a CCM artist who first came to fame in the 1980s. The Vespers’ 2010
album “Tell Your Mama” and their 2012 release “The Fourth Wall” have critics raving about their remarkable harmonies and impressive instrumentalism. When asked what advice The Vespers would give to other young independent acts trying to establish a presence in this musical environment, Jones replies, “I’d tell an artist to find what makes you unique, practice until you bleed, record some music in someone’s bedroom for cheap, then make yourself available. Good songs are the priority – good songs that bring out an emotion in people.” This emotion in verse is quickly becoming the hallmark of The Vespers, and we here at Sports & Entertainment Nashville feel sure that The Vespers are on the cusp of worldwide acclaim. Being on the cusp of worldwide acclaim is something in the rearview mirror for many of the artists that have established a presence in the “roots” music genre. Indeed, such artists as Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Dwight Yoakam, Rosanne Cash, and the Old Crow Medicine Show could all be defined in one form or another as Americana artists. Indeed, the Americana Music Association is headquartered in Franklin, Tenn. and hosts its annual festival smack dab in Music City. Bringing Americana music to the world is the lofty task of this organization, and their efforts have been substantially productive, bringing attention like no other genre has of late. The aforementioned venues like “Bluegrass Underground” and “Music City Roots” have helped to propel this genre to the forefront of listeners’ minds.
PHOTO COURTESY OF VIVA! NASHVEGAS / PHOTOGRAPHER CHARLIE GARRABRANT
George Hamilton V, whose own years of performing have taken him across the globe and back again, remarks that Nashville’s image is beloved by all those he has met in his travels. “We’ve sent this message like a satellite going out in space, and it’s taken this long for the country music I grew up lov-
COURTESY OF VIVA! NASHVEGAS/ORIGINAL LETTERPRESS DESIGN BY GEO. HAMILTON V
One such venue that is also quietly going about celebrating both the old and new in music is George Hamilton V’s weekly old-fashioned “Viva! NashVegas Radio Show,” filmed in downtown Franklin, Tenn.’s Handy Hardware store and available to a growing international audience via internet-streaming content. Just off Five Points in downtown, the folksy Handy Hardware is the backdrop for this production that highlights both celebrated traditional artists like Brenda Lee and Riders in the Sky and up-and-coming acts like Ireland’s Rackhouse Pilfer and indie artist Rachael Davis. Established as a means to celebrate Nashville’s history and introduce it to the future, the “Viva! NashVegas Radio Show” provides a “smaller than life” glimpse into “revisiting roots music – it’s just a wide open dream trip of music,” raves Hamilton, the son of Grand Ole Opry member George Hamilton IV. Recently celebrating his 54th anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry, “Viva! NashVegas” hosted a show that highlighted the best of “old school and new cool country” has to offer. “It’s amazing how time flies, and it’s really just wonderful how a lot of people met – George IV and Brenda Lee back in 1956 when they were touring with Little Richard. They just shared all the fond memories and the friendship that carries on,” enthuses Hamilton. As we have seen before, music indeed comes full circle. What an interesting image that brings to mind – George Hamilton IV and little bitty Brenda Lee, all touring in the ‘50s with the enthusiastic Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Little Richard!
ing to actually hit other parts of the world, and it’s so beautiful. You can call it innocent, I guess, but it’s also reverent. It makes you realize, ‘Wait a minute! Let’s look back at Nashville the way these people look at Nashville.’” Commenting on how remarkable Nashville’s fusion of musical styles has become, Hamilton tells a story of meeting Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant. “I was backstage at the Opry, and we were getting ready to do a spot… When we came off stage, there was Robert Plant on the side of the stage. I couldn’t miss that opportunity, so I went up to Robert Plant and said, ‘Mr. Plant, sorry to bother you. Would you mind if I take a picture of my father George Hamilton IV and you?’ and he said, ‘On one condition,’ and I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘If you let me take a picture of him with my lady! Oh, yeeees! I’ve been a fan of your father’s forever!’” Laughing, Hamilton continues by describing how this chance meeting occurred just prior to the critically acclaimed collaboration between Plant and Alison Krauss on their 2007 “Raising Sand” album. “That type of music just blows everything away, because it’s such a neat blending and a respect (of both genres) but such a cool sound at the same time!” With all of these genres colliding and creating new sounds, it is as if we are watching the birth of musical stars from our own backyard. From the frenetic, rhythmic “Electro Shine” to today’s Americana music from bands like The Vespers, Nashville is sitting on the edge of a “roots renaissance.” Hamilton said it best when he mused, “Everything that is old is new again, and it really is great to watch the circle spin around.” We couldn’t agree more.
Riders in the Sky, Brenda Lee, new artist Amber Brooke Taylor and George Hamilton V gather to celebrate George Hamilton IVʼs 54th Anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry.
You never know what music legend youʼll meet at Franklinʼs only hardware store meets world-class music emporium: Historic Handy Hardware, home of the “Viva! NashVegas Radio Show”!
Music Business 101—
The Publicist! by Jessi Maness
You’ve been writing songs and dreaming of “hitting it big.” Do you need a publicist yet? What is a publicist, exactly? What does their job entail?
To answer these questions, we went straight to the source. Kirt Webster of Webster & Associates represents some of the greatest artists of our time, from Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Charlie Daniels to Kid Rock, Meatloaf and Hank Williams Jr. His company also represents several well-known actors and a handful of blazing hot newcomers like Midnight Red. Craig Campbell of Campbell Entertainment Group has represented such greats as Martina McBride, Gretchen Wilson, 38 Special, and Randy Owen during his 30+ years in the business. Campbell’s company also represents relatively new artists like North 40, Chelsea Bain, Angie Johnson and Phoenix Drive and also represents Tin Pan South, Nashville’s annual songwriters festival. What are some of the greatest challenges for a publicist? “Challenges are quantitative based on what each artist’s expectations become,” comments Webster. “Some artists want national television, while others want more magazine covers… The biggest challenge is having the artist and their management team understand the reality of where the artist is in their respective career. Knowing and understanding that will not only help create more of a long-term artist/publicist relationship but also will create the ‘fire’ for the publicist to deliver what the artist is wanting to achieve.”
Kirt Webster of Webster & Associates with Dolly Parton at “An Evening With… Dolly” Gold Record Celebration (2012) Inset: Kirt Webster with the legendary Kenny Rogers at the “Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years” performance (2010) PHOTOS THIS PAGE COURTESY OF RICK DIAMOND / GETTY IMAGES
Campbell agrees. “Sometimes the biggest challenge is sorting through requests. An artist at any level is getting pulled by everyone – management, promotion, marketing, booking, and you can’t forget family – so you have to prioritize what time you get for your piece of the pie. If an artist gives their publicist an hour a week for tour press phoners, the publicist wants to pack in as many as they can while still giving the media outlets quality interviews. And further, try and give priority to major markets, covers of entertainment sections, front page mentions, etc.”
What are the key things a publicist does for an artist?
When should an artist look for a publicist? Is it necessary they be signed to a record label?
“As a publicist, you need to learn and know all the different aspects of the business. Because we are the liaison between the label departments – marketing, A&R, promotion, creative – booking agents, managers, stylists, promoters, venues and more,” relates Campbell.
“Remember, ‘Out of sight, out of mind!’” Webster comments. “Artists come to Nashville and spend lots of money to make a record, but then have very little to promote it. So was the plan to sell it out of the trunk? Or was the plan to try and get recognized to potentially get a record deal?”
“Everything we do as a publicist is in an effort to put the artist in the absolute best light possible. I’ve had to give my shirt to an artist because the one he had on didn’t look good on camera. I’ve had artists spit their gum in my hand because they were about to do an interview. Artists need to know you have their back in every situation.”
Webster’s humorous remarks are quite true, however. Very few beginning artists consider the value of having professional publicity weigh in on such vital aspects of their careers.
“Define the artist’s brand first,” says Webster. “What do they want to accomplish in their career overall besides having a hit record? Once you define the brand, the publicist will pitch television, print publications, and top online outlets. In addition to pitching, the publicist becomes a buffer between the media and the artist to sort out what requests are ‘real’ and which ones are ‘fluff.’”
“Artists need a publicist sooner than later - sometimes not to play the role of a publicist but to help steer the artist in the right direction…help them find a lawyer, producer, booking agent, or a way to pitch to a label. More and more as radio airplay gets tougher to attain, media exposure becomes more and more important.” Campbell adds, “An artist can really use a publicist when they’re on tour, when they have a new single going to radio or when they have new product com
Craig Campbell of Campbell Entertainment Group with hit songstress and recording artist Gretchen Wilson. Inset: 38 Special is famous for hits like “Hold On Loosely,” “Caught Up in You” and “Little Sheba.”
ing out. It’s even more important for an artist who is not signed to a label. Indie artists are putting out great music, and they need a publicist to help them get it out there.” What is the difference in representing a “legendary artist” over an artist who hasn’t quite reached that status? “The majority of my client roster are artists that have been in the business for 20+ years and have had hit records in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. Although the majority of media may want to talk to today’s hit makers, they still love talking to the ones that paved the way for the new crop of entertainers. Legends have stories that everyone wants to hear,” states Webster. What is the greatest challenge if the artist isn’t a “star” yet? “It’s about expectations,” states Campbell matterof-factly. “TV shows especially look at numbers #1 single, #1 album, something exploding on YouTube. If they book an act to take up three minutes of airtime, they want to make sure people aren’t going to change the channel,” explains Campbell. “It’s the same thing with coverage in a magazine or newspaper. The bigger names get more ink… New artists are used to doing one thing - driving to a gig, playing and driving to the next gig. When you jump into the star-making world, you add radio interviews that start at 6:00am, day-long photo or video shoots, …endless media interviews, maybe media training, fixing a vocal on a song, attending some event, a local TV appearance, etc. And then you go on stage at 7:00pm to play for 20 minutes opening for the act people actually paid money to see,” Campbell describes. “You can explain what’s involved to a new artist, and they always say, ‘I’m in!’ but they don’t really understand until they’re in the middle of it.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPBELL ENTERTAINMENT
Webster concurs and adds, “Again, artists need to understand realistic expectations. So many artists come to Nashville with high hopes and spend a lot of money without getting any results. Sometimes those results are just not in the cards for that artist, as there are absolutely no guarantees in this business. But some people come to Nashville thinking money can buy their way into a hit record, and this is just not the case. The ‘stars must align’ for an artist to hit on all cylinders. So for me the biggest challenge is explaining and having the artist understand the process that it takes to have success. It is not overnight...” And what is the most common complaint heard by a publicist? Campbell laughs: “How come so-and-so is on ______________ and I’m not?” (You can fill in the blank with any TV show, tour, magazine feature, etc!) Many thanks to Kirt Webster of Webster & Associates and Craig Campbell of Campbell Entertainment Group for their insight and expertise. We hope you enjoyed this look into the world of publicity! PHOTO COURTESY OF WIRTH ENTERTAINMENT
SPORTS 101: The Sports Information Director By Matthew W. Maxey When you tune in to watch your
favorite college team’s latest game on television or read a story about them in the paper, do you ever wonder how the broadcasters and reporters are able to know so much about so many different teams? Is it because they spend every waking moment studying the rosters of every team in America? Are they calling and talking to coaches every night? Well, not exactly. While many broadcasters and reporters aren’t afraid to do homework on the teams they cover, they also get a lot of help from some people who are rarely noticed or acknowledged – the Sports Information Director (SID). Associated Press sports editor Teresa Walker, who covers both professional and college teams across Tennessee, described SIDs as “crucial” to her job. “Sports information directors keep me informed on a daily basis about what is going on with their programs.” The role of the sports information director is multifaceted, meaning they have to be able to wear several different hats in their job, many of which they must wear at the same time. The overall goal, however, is to help promote the university and its athletic teams. One local sports information director who has done just that is Greg Sage of Belmont University. Sage, who is in his ninth year as Belmont’s SID, has helped facilitate the Belmont athletics brand from that of a small Nashville college to a nationally recognized level. While overseeing all of Belmont’s 17 NCAA sports, Sage works largely with the men’s basketball program. He has seen the Bruins advance to college basketball’s biggest stage, the NCAA Tournament, six times during his tenure. When casual sports fans hear this, it sounds like a dream job. They often envision it as hanging with their team in front row seats, keeping the stats and talking about the game afterward. In reality, it is much more than that. While there is a lot of interaction with the coaches and players, and the seats with a good view are rarely complained about, the two or three hours spent at a
Prior to tip-off of the Belmont vs. Murray State game, Sage shows visiting media member Adam Wells of WPSD in Paducah, Ky. where he can film from and prepares him for the game. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY
game are only a small portion of a “typical” day for the SID. The real truth is that there is no “typical” day in this job, and a 40-hour workweek can easily be achieved by Wednesday or Thursday of each week. “People often think of us as pencil pushers and stat keepers, and there is a piece of that in the job, but so much of what myself and others in my role do now is so new media oriented,” said Sage. “It now also includes audio production and editing, managing live video feeds and pitching stories to local, regional and national media outlets.” He added, “There is almost no difference than if I was an event planner for a music or sporting red carpet event.” Like event planners, much of the work an SID does is completed well before game day even arrives. When Sports & Entertainment Nashville was on hand at Belmont’s men’s basketball reg-
ular season game against Murray State in February 2014, this game featured the top two teams in the Ohio Valley Conference and was aired to a national audience on ESPNU. For this game, like those before and after it, an SID will compile a new set of game notes and send those out to media outlets across the country who will likely be covering the game. Those notes will include research materials for media personnel like statistics, trends and individual player analysis, along with interesting notes on each player. He will have also worked with local and national media, pitching stories for them to cover and coordinating times for them to attend practices and conduct interviews leading up to the game. In a town like Nashville that also features multiple professional teams and a wealth of other colleges all looking for media attention, this can be a rather time consuming effort.
PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY
Sage noted about his job that it is really a “hybrid, non-descript role. You have to be extremely versatile, not locked into just one or two skillsets and able to adapt.” Sage’s versatile background helped prepare him for the role of a sports information director. Having previously worked as a producer at The Golf Channel and as a sports anchor/reporter/ producer at two television stations, he knows what reporters are looking for when they cover a team. He also still uses his broadcasting skills — during basketball games, he also serves as the color analyst for the Bruin Sports Network broadcasts with Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram. Belmont head coach Rick Byrd calling out a play during the Bruins February win over Murray State at the Curb Event Center. When game day arrives, Sage and SIDs like him at universities around the country change the hat they wear countless times throughout the day. Prior to the Belmont vs. Murray State game, Sage spent time as a technical coordinator, helping television and radio crews prepare to broadcast the game. He also worked as a logistical coordinator, assigning credentials to media and photographers, assigning seats to those in attendance to cover the game. He also wore the hat of statistical coordinator, putting together a crew to keep the official stats for the night’s game, in addition to updating social media outlets throughout the game and coordinating the inhouse video production to show the game and replays in the arena.
“There is a contrast between us and BCS schools,” he said. “They have a greater number of full time staff and more niche sport assignments, but they also sponsor more sports usually.” After the final buzzer sounds on Belmont’s win over Murray State and fans begin heading home, Sage’s work is still far from done. He still has to gather players and coaches to appear at the postgame press conference he will oversee, write a story for the school’s website, send the final statistics to media and the OVC and answer questions from reporters. After putting all the final touches on the Murray State game for the night, Sage will be back in the office the next day, starting the process all over again.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BELMONT ATHLETICS
SIDs like Sage at schools the size of Belmont also must remain versatile because they have to cover so many different sports and treat each one of them equally. At Belmont, Sage is one of two full-time staff members, along with three grad-
uate students. Contrast that with some of the larger BCS schools that may have five to 10 fulltime staff members.
Belmontʼs Blake Jenkins lets go of a floater in the lane over a pair of Murray State defenders helping the Bruins pick up a 99-96 win over the Racers en route to the OVC Regular Season Title.
PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY
Sage serving as color analyst with Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram as Belmont took on the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena during the 2013-14 season.
So the next time you are reading about your favorite team or watching the game on TV and hear something new and interesting about your team, know that there was probably an SID like Sage behind the scenes helping to bring that information to you!
Retired NFL stars call Nashville home It was 1986, and Jim Arnold was tem-
porarily out of work. Arnold, who’d been a punter for the Kansas City Chiefs the previous three seasons, had been released that summer but was hoping to play again; it wasn’t an unrealistic goal, since he’d led the league in punting average just two years prior.
Wide receiver, Derrick Mason, played for fifteen seasons in the National Football League.
a free agent in high demand, but he decided to make Nashville home. Fortunately, the Titans came calling, where Haye played for two years before hanging up the cleats for good. By that time, Haye had met a Nashville gal and married her. To this day, the couple lives in Brentwood
The problem, though, was that Arnold had no clue where the next call would come from. The NFL had franchises in 27 cities, so any settlement would likely require a move. Arnold was explaining this problem to a former college teammate, who then asked the question that would change Arnold’s life: “Why not Nashville?” Arm-twisting wasn’t required. The Georgia native had played his collegiate ball at Vanderbilt, where he was an All-American. Arnold came back to town, found an apartment the first day, and the rest is history. “I don’t regret it. I love Nashville,” Arnold says. ——————————————————— Jovan Haye, another former Vanderbilt player, would be in a similar situation 23 years later. Haye had finished his fourth year in the NFL and had been a full-time starter the previous two years in Tampa Bay. The big, durable defensive tackle was
Jovan Hayeʼs Vanderbilt experience helped him to decide that he not only wanted to be a Titan, but that he wanted to live in Nashville as well. PHOTO COURTESY OF TENNESSEE TITANS
PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM ARNOLD
PHOTO COURTESY OF ESPN.GO.COM
12-year NFL vet (and now ESPN commentator) Trevor Matich make Nashville home despite no previous connection.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TITANSIZED.COM
by Chris Lee
Jim Arnold was one of the NFLʼs best punters during his long career.
with their two little girls (and a third child on the way). Like many people who figure out what they want in life as they marry and mature, Haye thought Nashville was a great place to raise his kids. He also liked the city’s climate and size: big enough to find things to do, but not too crowded.
However, one thing about Nashville really stood out. “(It’s) the people. The people are just extremely nice. Everyone’s friendly … Nashville as a city and Tennessee as a state are perfect,” he said. —————————————————— Then, there’s Al Smith, who neither went to Vanderbilt nor played for the Titans. However, Smith had played for Houston (he made the Pro Bowl twice as an Oiler) and was working in the Titans’ front office when the franchise re-located to Tennessee in 1997. That job would end after a decade, but seven years later, Smith’s still here. “A radio opportunity came up, I was elected president of (the Tennessee chapter of) the NFL Alumni Association, and so I started working with that and liked the city. My family liked the city,” Smith said.
“Unless something grand pulls me away, I like it here because it’s a good place to raise the family and good opportunities, so I didn’t want to necessarily chase around the country just chasing jobs,” Smith says. —————————————————— A number of other former Vanderbilt players who starred in the NFL, like former Philadelphia Eagles stars Bernard Wilson and Dennis Harrison, live in Nashville. A bunch of former Titans, including (but not limited to) Eugene Amano, Ken Amato, Dave Ball, Eddie George, Craig Hentrich, Erron Kinney, Brad Hopkins, Donnie Nickey, Benji Olson, Zach PIller and Ben Troupe, still reside here post-retirement. It’s not surprising that a Titan would realize the value of living in Nashville, but it is a point of pride that such notable players, including Blaine Bishop, Kevin Dyson, Derrick Mason, Neil O’Donnell, Chris Sanders and Frank Wycheck all have continued their presence here and are giving back to our community. Some have provided their professional expertise to television and radio broadcasts. Others have supported our local schoolchildren by mentoring at skills camps, and yet others have even taken on the mantle of coaching high school football teams themselves.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TENNESSEE TITANS
Some of our local retired athletes are even born and raised here. Fayetteville, Tenn.’s own Kelly Holcomb, whose career while with the Cleveland Browns resulted in a record-breaking 400 total completed yards, is back home again. Prior to his 13-season career in the NFL, Holcomb lettered at Lincoln County High School and led MTSU to an OVC championship.
Al Smith, who was one of the NFLʼs best linebackers when he played for the Oilers, now calls Nashville home. Like Haye, Nashville’s size was attractive to Smith. But the big reason it’s worked for his family is that, also like Haye, he felt it was a good place to raise kids. Primarily because they all have children, the three admit to being homebodies. For Haye, his ideal night out is dinner at the Hibachi Grill. Arnold’s girlfriend is part owner of the Corner Pub in the Woods, so he spends a lot of time there. “I’m not the guy you’re going to see in the Nashville Scene that much!” Arnold says with a laugh. Smith is out and about a little more, but most of that is for what he terms “giving back,” either through coaching, running football camps or attending NFL Alumni Association events. It’s clear that Arnold’s not leaving. Nor is Haye, who resides in Brentwood and is discussing “building his dream home.” Smith’s roots don’t go back as far as the others, but he’s in the same boat.
Others, like 12-year NFL vet (and now ESPN commentator) Trevor Matich make Nashville home despite no previous connection. Former Cincinnati great Ross Browner and the late punter Reggie Roby also spent time here as residents. Based on conversations with his NFL connections, Arnold suspects that number will grow. “David Culley, who played and coached at Vanderbilt and is now with the Chiefs and was with the Eagles for a while... told me that any of the players he’s run into and either played here or coached here, there’s something about Nashville that they all want to be back. Jim Washburn, who was here with the Titans and then he went up to the Eagles for a little while and now he’s with Detroit, has told me, ‘In two or three years when I retire, I’m moving back to Nashville,’” Arnold said. This does not surprise Arnold, who notes that there were other cities where he had attachments. He played in Kansas City, Detroit and Miami, but he kept coming back to Music City. “Looking at the cities I was in and played in, I’m not saying I couldn’t have lived year-round in Detroit... I still get back up there, I have some friends and some things going on, but I just -- I love Nashville,” he says.
Charlie Daniels and his CDB band are...
Off the Grid
PHOTO COURTESY OF WEBSTER & ASSOCIATES
by Bill Hobbs
Charlie Daniels “Off the Grid” album — that Daniels describes as a real CDB album which just happens to be acoustic and has 10 songs written by the Dylan.
The Charlie Daniels Band
has cut a tribute album to Bob Dylan. This will surprise people who think Charlie Daniels' music started with "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and jumped straight to the Reagan-era America's-back anthem "In America." These days, Charlie Daniels is known widely for his conservative politics as well as for the music he has produced over some decades now, so the notion of him recording an album of songs by Dylan, cultural icon of the liberal 1960s, does at first sound … unexpected.
It may be unexpected until you recall – or learn for the first time – that Charlie Daniels played on not one, not two, but three albums Dylan recorded as 1969 turned to 1970, including “Nashville Skyline,” Dylan's critically acclaimed 1969 foray into country music, recorded over 12 days in Nashville in February 1969. Daniels was already a fan of Bob Dylan when Dylan's producer called and asked him to fill in for a guitarist who couldn't make it to the first recording session for “Nashville Skyline.” Daniels was working as a session musician in Nashville, but his own debut album was a year in the future, and his first hit – "Uneasy Rider" – wouldn't happen for four years.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WEBSTER & ASSOCIATES
PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE HAT RECORDS
Charlie Daniels in the studio with Bob Dylan in their early years.
song he doesn't understand. "It speaks of something catastrophic – I don't know if it would be an atomic attack, judgment day, war, but something earthshaking." But lines like "I've been 10,000 miles in the mouth of a graveyard" and "I saw a room full of men with their hammers bleeding" and a white ladder "all covered with water" – the meanings of those lyrics Daniels can't say – and he wouldn't ask Dylan to explain them even if he had the chance. "I wouldn't dare. I don't think anybody would ever ask Dylan what he meant," he says. "The Times They Are A Changin'," on the other hand, is not difficult to understand. It's about the inter-generational conflict of the 1960s. Daniels calls the song "a mini-documentary."
After his first recording session with Dylan, Daniels thought he was done. “I went to leave, and Dylan wouldn’t let me leave,” he recalls. “Dylan said, ‘I don’t want the other guitar player. I want him to stay around,’ so I ended up doing ‘Nashville Skyline’ and then two other albums with him, ‘Self Portrait’ and ‘New Morning.’"
"When I went in to do the vocals, I didn't want to phrase like him, I didn't want to sound like him, I didn't want to do any thing like that. I wanted to do a record of Bob Dylan songs, but I wanted it to be a CDB album – the way we would have treated it if we had written the songs. I wanted to stay away from his arrangements."
One song from “Nashville Skyline” – "Country Pie" – shows up on Daniels' newest album, “Off The Grid - Doin' it Dylan.”
That meant he couldn't do every Dylan song he really wanted to do. He couldn't find a way to do "Lay, Lady, Lay" that "wasn't completely reminiscent of the way that it was done" by Dylan, he says, "so I just bypassed it."
"This will always be a special song to me because when Dylan first started singing it, I came up with a guitar riff for it on the ‘Nashville Skyline’ album, and it’s probably my favorite piece of guitar playing on the whole album because I felt like it certainly added to what the song was about," Daniels recalls. But replicating that recording was not what Daniels set out to do when he took his band into his recording studio. When culling through Dylan's extensive catalog to pick songs for the new album, Daniels says they chose songs which they thought they could “do right by” without trying to mimic Dylan's signature sound. "My main concern in doing this album was staying away from Dylan," Daniels says. The idea for making an acoustic album grew out of The Charlie Daniels Band’s song recorded for the cable TV series “Hell on Wheels.” They recorded using only acoustic instruments, because the show is set in the 1800s, when there were no electric guitars. "We did the song, and we liked the way it sounded – it still sounded hot, that CDB sound, but acoustic," he said. He also had been wanting to do a Dylan album, and the two artistic impulses collided to produce “Off the Grid.” It is described as a "Dylan tribute," but Daniels would rather you just think of it as the newest album from the CDB, which happens to be acoustic and have 10 songs written by the Dylan.
The CDB's own first hit, nine years later, is another look at culture clash – this time between a longhaired marijuana user driving a Chevrolet with a "peace sign, mag wheels, and four on the floor" making a cross-country drive to Los Angeles when he meets up with some southern rednecks in a Mississippi bar. The song – considered a novelty song by some – tells the story in a humorous way, but, like "The Times They Are A Changin'," Daniels' song is about very real cultural divisions in the country at the time. Instead of intergenerational conflict, the CDB song pits the 1960s counterculture against traditional Southern culture. But the protagonist of Daniels' song is the counter-culture, potsmoking peacenik. PHOTO BY BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
"There were songs that didn't fit what I was trying to do – that we couldn't do a decent job of them without following along what was done on the record. I didn't want to do that – I wanted to do it completely different," he said. "If we had written these songs, how would we do 'em?" One good example is the song "Gotta Serve Somebody," a song on Dylan's 1979 album “Slow Train Coming.” Daniels, whose own songs often pit good versus evil, clearly connects with the message of the song – life is basically a choice between serving God or the Devil – and he's proud of how the CDB put its own musical spin on it. "If you listen to the introduction to that song before you hear the lyrics, you'd never guess what that song was until the lyric comes in. It's totally different, and that was my aim. That's one of the things that I wanted to accomplish - that it would be totally different from the way Bob done 'em." The 10 songs Daniels ultimately chose come from all parts of Dylan's career. Two of them – "Hard Rain" and "The Times They Are A Changin'" – are "vintage '60s Dylan," Daniels says. "Hard Rain" is a warning of something catastrophic coming, he says, but he admits there are lines in the
Charlie Daniels today, taking a break for an interview while hanging out in his own studio in Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE HAT RECORDS
But all of that would come after his recording sessions with Bob Dylan, though Dylan sensed a kindred spirit and a real talent during those sessions, as he acknowledged in his 2005 memoir “Chronicles: Volume One.”
Charlie Daniels Charlie Daniels today is a member of the Grand Ole Opry – the heart of country music traditionalism – and the traditionalist streak runs strong through his music and his lyrics. But throughout his career, he's also recorded many songs that defy traditionalism both musically and lyrically. He's the fist-pumping, flag-waving in-your-face patriot of "In America," the rural sentimentalist of songs like "Carolina (I Remember You)," and the defender of a man's right to his own choices – whether counterculture or redneck – on songs like "Uneasy Rider" and "LongHaired Country Boy."
PHOTO COURTESY OF WEBSTER & ASSOCIATES
The Charlie Daniels Band (CDB)
"I felt I had a lot in common with Charlie," Dylan wrote. "The kind of phrases he’d use, his sense of humor, his relationship to work, his tolerance for certain things. Felt like we had dreamed the same dream with all the same distant places. A lot of his recollections seemed to coincide with mine. Charlie would fiddle with stuff and make sense of it. … When Charlie was around, something good would usually come out of the sessions." Dylan continued, "Charlie eventually struck it big. After hearing the Allman Brothers and the sidewinding Lynyrd Skynyrd, he’d find his groove and prove himself with his own brand of dynamics, coming up with a new form of hillbilly boogie that was pure genius," said Dylan, "atomic fueled — with surrealistic double fiddle playing and great tunes like 'Devil Went Down to Georgia'..."
Luke Bryan joins Charlie Daniels for a tribute and fundraiser for veterans, one of Danielsʼ committed causes. High praise from Dylan, whose own maverick genius is such that the culture coined a new word to describe it – "Dylanesque." Charlie Daniels' new album isn't "Dylanesque" – but it is most certainly CDB-esque. That makes it a tribute record in a way that an album merely mimicking Dylan could never do. For all their mutual admiration, it might surprise you to learn that Charlie Daniels and Bob Dylan haven't played together since that last recording session in 1970, more than 40 years ago. "I've seen Bob Dylan, gosh, two times in 20 years," he says – once at a TV show taping and once at a Grammy awards show. "You don't run into him – you aren't going to see him go walking down the street. You may run into me at the grocery store in Mt. Juliet, but you're probably not going to see Bob Dylan there," Daniels said. "I talked to him the other day and said I was gonna come see him, and he said, 'Bring your fiddle and guitar with ya,' and I said, 'Okay'."
PHOTO BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
He's a fiddle-player extraordinaire – showcased on "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and his 1975 recording of "Orange Blossom Special" – who is also a fantastic guitar player. And he's the country music icon who made some of the best southern rock back during the heyday of that sub-genre – and had a hit song that name-checked some of the greatest in country and southern rock with his song "The South's Gonna Do It Again."
The OK Corral Comes to Town:
Nashville’s Love Affair with All Things Rodeo By Leigh Greenwood
Cowboys and country music
go together like…well, cowboys and country music. Every country singer has their Wranglers, every cowboy sings along to George Strait in his truck. Even the legendary Reba McEntire credits the rodeo for giving her “her start” in country music with her performance of the national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Oklahoma City, Okla. Can you think of any more iconic lifestyle than a cowboy’s that has been memorialized more often? They’re sung about in country songs, they’re brought to life on the big screen in movies like “Pure Country” and “8 Seconds,” and they’re emulated in every storefront on Lower Broad with Wrangler jeans and cowboy hats. Steer wrestling is a popular event at the Franklin Rodeo.
But so much more goes on behind the scenes of a cowboy’s way of life. It is not simply riding off into the sunset, playing the harmonica beside a campfire under the stars. Today’s modern cowboy lives a life of determination, teamwork and dedication. Cowboys will be on full display at Franklin’s Rodeo celebration, held each year in May. The Franklin Rodeo is celebrating its 65th year in 2014. In fact, says Bill Fitzgerald, the Franklin Rodeo’s executive director, the rodeo is the “longest running event in Williamson County and the largest rodeo in the state of Tennessee.” Over 16,000 people flocked to Williamson County in 2013 to enjoy the threeday event, helping to raise the total amount of money donated to worthy causes to $2 million over the life of the Rodeo.
Many of the livestock competing at the Franklin Rodeo also qualify for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas. ALL PHOTOS ARE COURTESY OF THE FRANKLIN RODEO, TOM THOMSON PHOTOGRAPHER
As an event hosted each year by the Franklin Noon Rotary Club, the Rodeo brings nationally ranked cowboys and livestock to the South for a rare glimpse into the cowboy way of life for our increasingly metropolitan part of the world. “We are not a community of cowboys and farmers anymore. We’re a community of office workers, factory workers - you name it. We’re a community of working people, whether it’s white collar or blue collar,” states Fitzgerald matter-of-factly.
This team spirit is an admirable quality that the rodeo provides its audience. Observing the fun, the noise and the action is one thing. Taking away a rough-and-tumble lesson on the importance of teamwork is quite another. Young admirers of the cowboy can take home some important lessons here. “You don’t go out all by yourself and be a winner,” relates Fitzgerald.
Cowboys gather for a heartfelt prayer at the 2013 Franklin Rodeo.
Young boys and girls, all admirers of the mighty cowboy, can take part in some of the action themselves. One of the most enjoyed parts to the Franklin Rodeo is the “Mutton Bustin’” competition, where children ages 5 to 7 can try to hold onto a sheep for as long as they are able. “They are so into it. They’re so psyched up, just like the regular contestants. And the smiles on their faces, the joy in their hearts from doing that!” smiles Fitzgerald. Yet another aspect to the rodeo that fans of all ages enjoy is the parade put on by the Franklin Rodeo each year. “It’s a huge draw in downtown Franklin. It’s great for our community,” states Fitzgerald. “Kids and adults all love a parade. They love to see the clowns, and they love to see the horses.”
Even little cowboys and cowgirls enjoy the Franklin Rodeo! “We don’t see the horses in the pastures or the bulls or the calves or the cowboys out there rounding the cattle up anymore on horseback, so we go to the rodeo to see it and get entertained and have a night out with the family.” This year’s “night out with the family” will treat the audience to a professional outfit of NFR-qualified contestants. “Last year, we had 15 NFR contestants that came to Franklin…, (and) we had 27 horses that went to the NFR that the cowboys competed on,” says Fitzgerald. “We have sanctioned with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and the PRCA brings all of our contestants. They’re all professionals. This is what they do for their living.” “With us working with animals and people – that’s two athletes that are working together,” says Fitzgerald. “It’s unpredictable as to what’s going to happen, and we can’t take that out of it. It’s exciting. It’s fun. It’s extreme. We can’t tame [the animals] down. They have a mind of their own, and they’re athletes, just like we are.” This high level of competition ensures that our Franklin Rodeo will be an event not to be missed.
Rodeos provide thrills and excitement aplenty, but it is one of very few activities that put solid teamwork on display front and center. “Right now, rodeo is the fastest growing extreme sport out there. It’s taken over NASCAR. It’s taken over all the extreme sports. It’s good, clean family fun and entertainment, so everybody wants to go to the rodeo,” states Fitzgerald. The teamwork evident at each and every event is impressive. “You think you’re watching one person work, but you’re watching a whole team of people - not to mention the people that are behind the chute, loading the horses, loading the bulls, loading the calves or steers. It’s a huge, whole team effort,” relates Fitzgerald. “Take a team rope. There’re two people, two horses, a cow or a steer, and then the gate man that’s going to let ‘em out. They all have to be working in the right direction, working together for them to score.” “It’s a team effort. When the cowboys nod, the guy’s got to open the gate, the other guy’s got to pull the gate, and the flank man’s got to flank him in order to be successful. If one part fails, they all fail.”
For Fitzgerald, the opportunity to provide wholesome, enjoyable activities for the whole family is an important aspect to the Franklin Rodeo. On the evening prior to the start of the events, the Franklin Rodeo is hosting an event for the first time this year. The “Franklin Rodeo Experience” will give fans the experience very few ever get. “We’re going to have the arena open to the public. You can come get down in the dirt and actually see where the action happens. You can go behind the chutes, see the livestock and talk to the cowboys. You can have your picture made in the chute if you want!,” enthuses Fitzgerald. “We’re going to have food trucks there for people to have dinner. We’re going to have some music, maybe have some line dancing. Everybody will have a good time and get some dirt on their shoes!” For some die-hard cowboy fans, large or small, this is a chance of a lifetime to meet their heroes up close and personal. “All the old movies and TV shows, with cowboys shooting them up, banging them up, dragging them behind the saddle?” reflects Fitzgerald. “Everybody thinks cowboys are rough, they’re mean, they fight, because that’s what movies put in our heads.” But the truth is far from the iconic image of the tough and mean cowboy. “It’s a brotherhood. It’s a family. It’s a good, clean way of life,” states Fitzgerald honestly. “Some of the best friends I have are cowboys.” ——————————————————— The 65th Annual Franklin Rodeo is scheduled for May 15 through 17 at the Williamson County Agricultural Expo Center, with the Parade scheduled for May 10 in downtown Franklin and the “Franklin Rodeo Experience” on Wednesday, May 10. For more information, please visit www.franklinrodeo.com.
Nashville In the Round... How we do Music!
There is enough music in this town
to keep you busy seven nights a week. From Lower Broadway’s honky tonk bars like Robert's Western World and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge to the Ryman Auditorium, to just off Music Row along Division Street and Demonbreun Street, nowhere else in the world will you find a greater collection of songwriters and musicians than Nashville, doing music the way we want. The Nashville songwriting community alone has its own way of doing music. It's something we like to call "Songwriters in the Round." It's just like it sounds - a group of songwriters in a circle facing each other, performing for an audience. The first "in the round" show was held at The Bluebird Cafe on March 29, 1985, with Thom Schuyler, Fred Knobloch, Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet. “We were all performing on a regular basis at the Bluebird. Fred Knobloch, Paul Overstreet and myself were performing the late spot, and Don Schlitz was playing the early spot. That went on for about six months or so, when Fred and Don had been out drinking one night and came up with the idea and said, ‘Let's put four chairs in the middle of the room, facing each other, turn around the lights, and see what happens.’ So we all tried it the next night, and it worked,” Thom Schuyler explains. “Later on, I think (Bluebird founder) Amy Kurland had a group of women writers try it, then other groups tried it and somehow it caught on. I don't think we were trying to start a craze. We were just having fun, playing our music,” claims Schuyler.
By Luke Maness
Fred Knobloch has had his songs recorded by everyone from Trisha Yearwood and George Strait to Etta James and Ray Charles.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FRED KNOBLOCHʼS FACEBOOK
PHOTO COURTESY OF YOUTUBE
Thom Schuyler performing his hit, “16th Avenue.” Schuyler was in the very “first” round in Nashville, which was held at the Bluebird.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL OVERSTREETʼS FACEBOOK
Grammy Award-winning songwriter Paul Overstreet has written or co-written 27 Top Ten songs.
The Bluebird Cafe is America's signature songwriters venue and "in the round" is a regular practice there.”The set-up clearly has a certain dynamic to it, and I think the writers responded to that, as did the audience, and more and more folks wanted to try it. Now it’s kind of routine,” claims Erika Wollam Nichols, President of the Bluebird Cafe. “Most performance spaces are not created for that type of performance, outside of The Bluebird or Douglas Corner. Most of what people call an ‘in the round’ is actually songwriters performing in a row on a stage. That's different from our ‘in the round’”. explains Nichols.
“The songwriters and the audience is what made it all happen. None of this would have been possible without them. Songs have always been a huge part of how I mark my life, and to get to hear them from the ground up?! It is awesome. Running the Bluebird is great, because I get to see how songs affect people - to be able to help provide a situation where they can experience the emotional impact of a song is also exciting,” claims Nichols. The Songwriters “in the round” tradition even has its own festival. The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) produces Tin Pan
For 22 years, NSAI has been bringing songwriters together at the annual Tin Pan South.. This Nashville tradition originated when a group of songwriters got together to promote the occupation of songwriting through a music festival that focused on the people who write the songs. It has grown to also become an important legislative fundraiser in support of NSAI’s efforts in Congress. Although NSAI is based in Nashville, their issues are national and international, and they are the largest not-forprofit member trade association for songwriters in the world. Thanks to past efforts, Tin Pan South draws worldwide attention to the variety of songwriters who live here and definitely has made its footprint on the legacy of Nashville “in the round.” There is also a television series about songwriters “in the round.” The local production company Songwriters in the Round has produced the series “Legends & Lyrics,” which appears on PBS stations nationwide. Distributed by American Public Television, “Legends & Lyrics” has broadcast its first season with an interesting mix of performers, such as Shawn Colvin, John Hiatt and Jessi Colter in an “in the round” performance. Kris Kristofferson, Patti Griffin and Randy Owen were also the guests in an additional episode in Season 1. Performances with artists and songwriters of this caliber expose the average American to Nashville's way of performing, so its safe to say the "in the round" style is certainly gaining steam nationally and internationally.
Looking across the USA and the world you can see promotions of "Nashville Songwriters In the Round,” which makes sense, because Nashville leads the world in country music. You can find songJeff Black, Sam Bush, Gareth Dunlop, Kim writers in the round, around the Richey at the Bluebird world, in places like the Songbird Cafe in St. Louis, Mo., the Balsam Mountain Inn in Balsam, N.C., and the California Beer Festival in Ventura, Calif. You can also find Nashville style songwriters’ rounds used in places like the United King-
dom Songwriters Festival, the Hague International Singer/Songwriter Festival in the Netherlands, and the Tamworth Country Music Festival in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia. While talking to one of Australia's hit songwriters Matt Scullion, he claims Australia has always been influenced by the Nashville songwriting element. “I run a ‘Songwriters In the Round’ show at one of Australia's biggest Country Music festivals in Tamworth (The Tamworth Country Music Festival) called ‘The Scullion Sessions." I set it up very much like they do in Nashville with three songwriters taking turns singing and telling stories about their songs,” explains Scullion. “Songwriters ‘in the round’ is a fairly common practice throughout Australia. People really love the intimate setting.”
Native Australian Matt Scullion is a songwriter with 11 #1 hits to his credit in his home country.
COURTESY OF MATTSCULLION.NET
“The signature status of The Bluebird is made up of so many things it’s impossible to separate the aspects of it,” explains Nichols. “Whether the ‘in the round’ played a part in its legacy is hard to say, but Amy Kurland was such a fan of the songwriters who performed here, and she was willing to take a chance on this unusual format. She was excited about what excited the writers.
South, the world’s largest songwriter festival that hosts songwriters of varying levels. Thousands of songwriters, musicians and fans flock to Nashville every year to attend. It is only on very rare occasions that Tin Pan South deviates from the "in the round" format. “Some of the venues we use aren't physically set up so that we can put the songwriters in a circle, but we stay as close to tradition as possible,” states Jennifer Purdon-Turnbow, the director of Tin Pan South. “Fred Knobloch, Thom Schuyler, Don Schlitz, and Paul Overstreet have been frequent participants in Tin Pan South, but typically are not on a show together. That is part of what makes Tin Pan South so special. You will often see groups playing together at Tin Pan South that you wouldn't normally see any other time,” states Turnbow.
You will find songwriters in the round all over Nashville. It is a way of life for us. So we can thank those four original songwriters and that magical night at the Bluebird, back in 1985 for this treasured tradition. Thom Schuyler, Don Schlitz, Fred Knobloch and Paul Overstreet are the forefathers of “Songwriters in the Round,” but now it belongs to Nashville. Thom Schuyler, Fred Knobloch and Paul Overstreet originally performed together in a group called S-KO and recorded one album for MTM Records, which charted three country hits, including the number one hit, "Baby's Got a New Baby.” Don Schlitz is a Grammy award-winning country music songwriter with too many hits to mention, and all four have been a cornerstone to Nashville's music industry.
79 PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMPBELL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Thanks to these four guys, we have "Nashville In the Round," and I imagine that new songwriters to Nashville will continue this tradition for years to come. So take in a songwriters night sometime, and enjoy the culture of our great city. When you do, you’re likely to find that songwriters are usually fine performers in their own rights, but in many cases their calling cards are specifically their songwriting talents. These are the people who write the lyrics and the music that many well-known country and Americana musicians make famous. They sit in a small circle in the middle of the room with the audience all around, and swap tales and sing songs. Whether they are Grammy-winning songwriters or not, the “songwriters in the round” performances are authentic and extraordinary, shining a light on the songsmith since 1985. Nashville has treasured this style of performance ever since. Whether we like to do things our own way or we just like being unusual - either way, "Nashville in the Round" is here to stay. Erika Wollam Nichols from the Bluebird Caf´e said it best when she stated, "It's not ‘in the round’ unless it's in the round."
Don Schlitz is a two-time Grammy winner for his songs “The Gambler” and “Forever and Ever Amen.”
The “Round” Configuration PHOTO COURTESY BLUEBIRDCAFE.COM PHOTO GALLERY
PHOTO BILL HOBBS / BILLHOBBS.COM
PHOTO COURTESY OF DONSCHLITZ.COM
The world-famous Bluebird Caf´e
Women’s Collegiate Track & Field
Full of History and Leading the Way By Matthew W. Maxey
WHEN PEOPLE THINK HISTORICALLY
about sports in Nashville, that history didn’t just start when professional franchises like the Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Predators came to town. The Music City has been turning out top athletic talent for as long, or longer, than the Grand Ole Opry has been turning out country music legends. There have been generations worth of great football and basketball players that have come out of local universities like Vanderbilt, Belmont, Lipscomb
and Tennessee State and gone on to professional success and even Hall of Fame careers. There have also been hundreds of great baseball players dating back to the 1860s, who either got their start in Nashville or at one time stepped up to the plate at the old Sulphur Dell ballpark or Herschel Greer Stadium. Many people, though, don’t realize that track and field has a very rich history in this town. At Tennessee State University, they have been producing some of the top track and field talent in the world. Much of that success is due in part to one man, Edward Stanley Temple, who served as head women’s track coach at Tennessee State from 1953 to 1994.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TENNESSEE STATE ATHLETICS
Legendary Tennessee State head coach Ed Temple posing for a photo with one of his 34 Tigerbelle national championships he helped bring to Tennessee State.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TENNESSEE STATE ATHLETICS
only that they were great athletes, but they were also women that were doing something to make careers for themselves when they were told ‘no,’ and also to be black women and in the South, there were a lot of hurdles to get over.” Speaking of those hurdles, she added that Temple often reiterated, “You just have to keep doing what you need to do.” She says he would also often add, “And even if you do that, you could go to the Olympics and win three, five or six gold medals and you may not ever get the credit you deserve. And it’s not about that. You need to get an education, so that’s what the Tigerbelles are all about. You go to school, you run, yes, but your main goal is to get a good education and be what you want to be.” Through the years, Temple helped guide his Tigerbelles through the classroom with almost equal success as, of his 40 Olympians, 39 graduated with a college degree. “And really, when I sit back and look at it now, I’m just as proud of that as if they won the gold medal,” Temple says. “I had 28 get their Master’s, and 13 or 14 got their MDs or Ph.Ds or Ed.Ds.”
Legendary Tennessee State head coach Ed Temple posing for a photo with his award-winning Tigerbelles. Temple is most proud that his athletes also succeeded in life, graduating to become successsful doctors, lawyers, among other admirable professions. During Temple’s 44 year tenure, he guided his famed Tigerbelle teams to 34 national titles. While at Tennessee State, 40 of his athletes became Olympians – including five for countries besides the United States. They won 23 Olympic medals, 13 of them gold. Temple himself was the head coach of Team USA for the 1960 Games in Rome and the 1964 Games in Tokyo, while also serving as an assistant coach for the boycotted 1980 Games in Russia.
In a truly remarkable feat at the 1960 games in Rome, seven members of the U.S. women’s track and field team all came from Temple’s Tennessee State team. That Olympiad saw Rudolph run into the record books by capturing gold in the 100 and 200 meter races. She then became the first American woman to win three gold medals in the same Olympics when she anchored the winning 4x100 relay team, in which all four participants were Tigerbelles from Tennessee State.
In those 1960 Games, right behind Tyus in the 100 meters was Tigerbelle teammate McGuire, giving Tennessee State the two fastest women in the world that year. McGuire collected a gold medal of her own later in those Games, winning the 200 meter race. The Tennessee State program was also about more than just producing quality athletes and future Olympians. In a true testament of perseverance and strength, Temple was able to produce these dominant teams of African American women year after year, in the racially divided South and well before Title IX came into existence. Temple was determined to nurture his teams into becoming quality citizens as well.
Tigerbelle and Clarksville, Tenn., native Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in the same Olympics at the 1960 Games in Rome. PHOTO COURTESY OF TENNESSEE STATE ATHLETICS
Temple’s Tigerbelle teams have produced some of the most famous names in US Olympic history - names like gold medal winner and Clarksville, Tenn., native Wilma Rudolph, along with gold medal winners Edith McGuire, Wyomia Tyus and Chandra Cheeseborough, just to name a few.
Tyus, now a U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member, became the first sprinter – male or female – to repeat as Olympic champion in the 100 meters, winning in both 1964 and 1968. Her repeat performance also meant that for three straight Olympic Games, the fastest woman in the world hailed from Tennessee State.
The Tigerbelles had more than challenging social environments to overcome in their college careers. The training itself was a challenge in more ways than one. As was evident through his athletes’ Olympic successes, Temple was very good at teaching the Tigerbelles to run, despite difficult training situations. Even though he was producing world class athletes, the Tigerbelles had anything but world class facilities to train on. At times leading up to national championships of U.S. Olympic Trials, his teams would practice three times a day – at 5 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on an old cinder track.
During Temple’s induction to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2012, Tyus recalled in an interview that “To me, the Tigerbelles are everything that I could see a woman should be. It was not
PHOTO COURTESY OF VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
field since 1989, and, in that time, they have reached the NCAA Championships as a team nine times, finishing as high as 14th in the 1997 outdoor championships and 15th in the 1998 indoor championships. A quick look at the Vanderbilt team’s facilities also shows exactly how far women’s track and field as a whole has come since Temple and his Tigerbelle teams were training on cinder tracks and basketball courts. The Commodores outdoor track facility underwent a $1.7 million renovation back in 2003, which made it one of the finest running surfaces in the Southeast.
Vanderbilt Universityʼs new $38 million multi purpose facility, opened in November 2013, is home to the Commodores indoor training facility. “And, brother, when it’s 2 in the afternoon here in July, it’s 90 or 95 degrees,” Temple said. “They had to put tape on their knees and tape on their fingertips to get down on their mark with the cinders so hot.” Indoors, they would work out on the basketball court, which made it difficult to prepare for the indoor tracks they would be competing on.
Since taking over, Cheeseborough-Guice has continued the winning ways by leading the Tigerbelles to six Ohio Valley Conference Track and Field Championships and has been named OVC Coach of the Year four times. She has also followed Temple’s lead and was named the sprinter’s coach for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and helped guide Team USA to 23 medals, 10 of which were gold, at the Beijing Olympics.
Because of groundwork laid by Temple and his early Tigerbelle teams, female track and field athletes across the country now have the opportunity to compete in amazing venues like Vanderbiltʼs new multi purpose facility.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TENNESSEE STATE ATHLETICS
Templeʼs last gold medal winner Chandra Cheeseborough, winning two at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, was named Templeʼs successor at Tennessee State when he retired in 1994.
Clearly, the deep rooted history in track and field has helped inspire future generations of Tigerbelles, but the work of Temple and runners through the years has also set the bar tremendously high for the other NCAA Division I teams in Nashville. Belmont and Lipscomb are both relatively new to the arena, having only joined the Division I ranks a little over 10 years ago, but the competition successes for both have improved with each season. Vanderbilt has been competing in SEC track and
doors, we would have to do it outside. Now we are looking forward to having a home with consistent training and for recruiting it has been phenomenal.” With historic staples of excellence like Tennessee State’s women’s track program and others improving and making continual strides like Belmont, Lipscomb and Vanderbilt, it is very reasonable to expect that Nashville will certainly continue to impact the future of track and field in years and decades to come.
PHOTO COURTESY OF VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
Temple coached his last Olympic gold medal winner in 1984, when Chandra Cheeseborough became the first woman to win gold in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays at the same Games. Fittingly, when Temple decided to retire from coaching at Tennessee State in 1994, it was Cheeseborough, now Cheeseborough-Guice, who took over the reins of the program.
That pales in comparison, though, to the brand new multipurpose facility that houses the track and field team’s indoor training facility. Leading the way in what is expected from indoor track facilities in today’s NCAA, the $30 million dollar project includes a six-lane, 300-meter indoor track, training room and video board for hosting home events. Commodore head coach Steve Keith said of the new facility that, “now we are able to host an SEC level championship and have a winter home. It was always a limitation for us in the winter outdoors. In January and February when we are competing in-
Up, up, and AWAY!...
The Art of Hot Air Ballooning SHUTTERSTOCK
By Bill Hobbs
in the parking lot of the shopping center that won't open for almost four hours – two guys with a white van and a giant basket, and a family of four from Hawaii, about to take their first ride in a hot air balloon. It's 43°, and the Williamson County skies are still dark. Balloon pilot Jake Thomas releases a white helium-filled balloon to test the wind direction, which helps determine where the flight will begin. Minutes later, we're driving south on I-65 to Saturn Parkway and then on Port Royal Road into Spring Hill. As the skies lighten, Thomas and his assistant set up the balloon, first setting up the bas-
ket, attaching a GoPro camera, getting the fuel and burners ready, then laying the basket on its side and attaching the balloon, stretched out across the field across from a Kroger store. Then, as a high-speed fan quickly fills the formerly flat balloon with air, the burners are fired, heating that air and quickly lifting the balloon – and the basket — upright. It's time to fly. Just five minutes after sunrise, the yellow-and-red balloon is airborne and carrying David and Sumi Flagg of Hawaii and their two teenage sons northeast across Williamson County.
Hot air balloons are a common site in the skies of Middle Tennessee, especially over Williamson County during the spring, summer and fall. The red-and-yellow balloon carrying the Flagg family is one of six balloons operated by Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures, owned by Leiper's Fork entrepreneur and balloon pilot Logan Bedford. Hot Air Adventures is one of a handful of ventures offering hot air balloon rides in the Nashville area. Unlike most of the others, however, Bedford's is a full-time, year-round business, not just part-time, weekend or seasonal. His balloons vary in size – some can carry as many as 10 passengers.
sunrise and sunset flights, Bedford offers "dawn patrol" flights where you take off about 45 minutes before sunrise and fly through the sunrise. "That's our most unique flight," Bedford says. The FAA allows "dawn patrol" flights if the balloon is equipped with lights so it is visible to other aircraft. People have been flying hot air balloons since 1783 — 120 years before the Wright brothers' first airplane flight.
Pilot Jake Thomas heats up a Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures balloon for a sunrise launch in mid-March. "Most balloonists are just hobbyists, and they take passengers every now and then to help pay for their hobby," says Bedford. But his company offers sunrise and sunset balloon rides year-round in the Nashville area, and also for about five months a year in the Las Vegas area. He relocates part of his business from Music City to Sin City for part of the year because cold weather reduces demand for flights in Nashville, he says — although it is rarely actually too cold in Middle Tennessee for an enjoyable flight. Bedford's busy season in Nashville is from early April through late November. "In the winter, it kind of slows down because people have this perception that it gets colder as you climb up, which is pretty logical thinking, I guess. But people don't realize we have no windchill because we're moving right with the wind – and also we've got the heat of the burners, which is like 20 million BTUs per burner," Bedford says. "I fly in a t-shirt down to probably 40 degrees." Also, he said, temperature inversions are common in Middle Tennessee in the winter, meaning it can be significantly warmer aloft than at ground level. "You can actually feel it warm up as you go higher."
Balloonists often steer by rising in altitude to find wind currents going in different areas. Sometimes they can hover virtually still, in a valley. The iPad maps allow the driver of the chase van to knew where the balloon is, even if he can't see it. A different app on the pilot's iPad makes it possible to see wind direction at different altitudes, so they don't have to rise and descend in order to hunt for the right wind to steer the balloon where they wish to fly it. Weather radar accessible on the iPad contributes to flight safety, and the map app also shows both available landing sites and the different airspace zones around Middle Tennessee. As a side benefit, Bedford says, the iPad apps make it possible to save a flight profile and map, and email it to the customer "so they can have a profile of their flight." Most flights are around sunrise or within two hours of sunset, since winds are usually calmer and less "swirly" than during the middle of the day. Besides
Today, the FAA regulates hot air balloons as it regulates any other aircraft. Hot air balloon pilots must be certified, and the balloons must have an air worthiness certificate, Bedford says. The FAA inspects the balloons used for commercial ventures after 100 hours of flight time or at least once a year. Accidents are rare, but they do happen, so pilots must demonstrate proficiency in emergency skills. They must also demonstrate an ability to operate the balloon for licensure purposes and then go through a flight review every two years. "Ballooning is normally a very safe, routine activity," said Glen Moyer, editor of Ballooning magazine, the in-house publication of the 2,200-member Balloon Federation of America, in a recent USA Today article. "It's an activity that thousands of people participate in all the time and do so safely." There are an estimated 7,500 hot air balloons operating in the United States. Recreational ballooning has grown sharply since 1964, when there were only six hot air balloons registered with the FAA. Middle Tennessee is considered a "tight" flying area for hot air balloons because there is very little truly open land – which is why Hot Air Adventures' flights take off from different locations, depending on the wind speed and direction. In the future, the growth of the Middle Tennessee region may eventually push balloonists to start their flights further out than Franklin or Spring Hill. Part of the problem is that most of the rural fields that might look like good places to land are actually behind fences and locked gates, making it impossible for the chase van to get to the landing site to recover the balloon and passengers.
Bedford learned to fly from his dad, Henry Bedford, who still flies balloons for his son's business from time to time. While ballooning is a very old sport, technology is changing it in ways that can make for a better experience for both passengers and pilot. While old-school balloonists fly by experience — and the Federal Aviation Administration requires balloonists to be visual-flight certified – newer technology such as iPads with apps for maps, weather, and wind speed and direction aloft make it possible for pilots to give customers a better, safer and more enjoyable experience, Bedford says. "We keep an iPad in the balloon and one in the van – any time we look at the map, we can see the other person on that map. If I'm in the balloon, I can look at that map and know where the crew is, and vice versa. If we go behind a hill, they can still see where we are."
A couple of air balloons end their evening trips in a field north of Franklin in the spring of the year. ALL PHOTOS BY BILL HOBBS PHOTOGRAPHY UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED.
Fork, and there's tons of room out there. We can always fly out there. The reason we come in to Franklin is it is really easy for people to just get off the interstate and meet us – and more people are from that area. We try to mix it so we have some countryside and some where we fly into the city."
The Air Up There!
While tourism is a huge part of the local economy, Bedford says most of his business comes from local residents, "people who just want to see where they live from a different perspective,” and "our business has increased quite a bit over the last three or four years."
Native Nashvillians will fondly remember our Balloon Classic, held in Edwin Warner Park as the EAR Foundation’s fundraiser to support our deaf and hard-ofhearing communities. Now part of the worthy organization Bridges, the EAR Foundation hosted this popular spring-time event for over a decade, which was a crowd favorite for young and old alike. Glen Moyer of Balloon Life magazine first competed in 1995 and wrote the article “The Nashville Balloon Classic: A Decade of Charitable Service,” detailing his experiences. “The Classic traces its beginning to a simple benefit picnic in 1981 that featured two hot air balloons giving tether rides. The event was so successful… [that] by the early 90's the event would routinely attract more than 60 balloons and some 60,000 spectators over the three day schedule.” The Balloon Classic is no longer held, but we at Sports & Entertainment Nashville would be thrilled to see its return. It was a remarkable sight — dozens of hot-air balloons, all rising en masse to the Nashville skies.
All those passengers get to see Middle Tennessee from a perspective you can't get in a car — or even from the tallest hotel or office building. The typical balloon flight goes to about 2,000 feet. If you are in a gondola beneath a hot air balloon at that altitude over Franklin, you can see the tall towers of downtown Nashville. Jake Thomas, a balloon pilot for Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures, prepares for liftoff with the family of David and Sumi Flagg of Hawaii in the basket for a sunrise balloon trip over Williamson County in mid-March
"That's a cool view," Bedford says. "At about 1,000 feet, maybe 800, 900 feet, you start to see the tops of the tall buildings, and at about 1,500 feet you see the whole central basin area down there. The rolling hills are just beautiful — this is a really beautiful place to fly.
"We're trying to work with the city to get some ability to use the city parks - to secure some more options," but as growth continues, "it's going to push us farther and farther away."
"I've flown all over the world. I've flown in France and New Zealand, I've flown in Albuquerque, I've flown in Vegas, I've flown in South Carolina and Kansas City and all over, and I still love Middle Tennessee — it's just beautiful."
"In the future, I see it that we might have to go down past Columbia to fly up and land in Spring Hill, or we might be going to south Leiper's Fork to fly toward Spring Hill," he says. "I don't see it as a major negative thing. We live out in Leiper's
——————————————————— Interesting in learning more about hot-air ballooning in Tennessee? Visit the Tennessee Hot Air Balloon Association at www.thaba.org.
Hot air balloon owned by Robert Grimes, Ace High Ballooning, flies over historic Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin in April 2013.
by Leigh Greenwood
Marty Stuart —
Singer, Songwriter… Lifetime Photographer American Ballads — The Photographs of Marty Stuart By Bill Hobbs
By the time he was 14, Marty Stuart had a guitar, a man-
dolin, a spot in Lester Flatt's bluegrass band and a Kodak Instamatic — the latter because of his mom and a jazz musician. While touring with Flatt in New York City, Stuart came across a book of photographs taken by jazz bassist Milt Hinton while in the studio, on the road, on his tour bus and off it. "He played music, and he told the story of his life and his peers with his camera, and it dawned on me, ‘Well, I have the same access to country music now,’ so I got a camera, and I proceeded to terrorize everyone that would stand still,” Stuart said. "I walked outside of that bookstore in Greenwich Village and called my mom down in Mississippi and asked her if she'd send me a camera, so she sent me one of those little Kodak Instamatic cameras. You just put it in your pocket and go on." Four decades later, Stuart's photography will be exhibited at Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts. American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart, May 9 through Nov. 2, features Stuart's black-and-white photographs of iconic legends of country and bluegrass, in addition to ordinary people he's met along the way. The songwriter, platinum recording artist, five-time Grammy winner and Grand Ole Opry member honed his photography skills through decades of documenting the people and places surrounding him since he first went on tour with Flatt. Frist Center Curator Katie Delmez says American Ballads shows Stuart is a master storyteller not only through his songs but also through his revealing photographs. Stuart’s images ranges from intimate and often candid behind-the-scenes depictions of legendary musicians, to photographs that capture the eccentricities of characters from the back roads of America, to dignified portraits of members of the impoverished Lakota tribe in South Dakota. Among them will be the amazing last photograph taken of Johnny Cash four days before his passing, a photograph of bluegrass legend Bill Monroe playing "Chicken Reel" surrounded by chickens, a backstage snapshot of George Jones, and photographs of a slew of music legends like Porter Wagoner, Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard — and lesser-known personalities like Unknown Hinson ("The Country Music Dracula"). "I often found myself in the company of Bill Monroe, Roy Acuff, Porter Wagoner, Merle Travis, Grandpa Jones, Ernest Tubb and Stringbean," Stuart says. "They always welcomed me, treated me like family, and gave me reasons to believe I was a part of the tribe. Whether at a concert, the Opry, a recording studio, a truck stop or poker game - any time any one of these people were present, I viewed it as history in motion. However, other than the fans, I seldom saw anyone present with a camera to capture the proceedings."
PHOTO BY ADAM SMITH, COURTESY SUGAR HILL RECORDS
American Ballads is composed of more than 60 photographs from three bodies of work: “The Masters” of country music; the “Blue Line Hotshots” Stuart met on his travels on America’s back roads; and the Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and others in South Dakota in the section “Badlands.”
John R. Cash, Last Portrait, September 8, 2003. Archival pigment print. © Marty Stuart
The latter came about through a relationship Stuart began with the Lakota in the early 1980s through his former father-in-law Johnny Cash, and the images are rooted in mutual respect and admiration. "The fierce spirit of individualism is the common bond that unites the masters of country music, the characters from the blue line roads of America, and the Native Americans who live in the shadow of the Badlands," says Stuart. Stuart's images are a love song to an art and a culture he loves. His approach to photography is to photograph what moves him, he says. He's part photojournalist, part fan with a camera, part artist making art. "All of the above," he says. "Mainly, I think, if I had to pick one of those, I'd probably consider myself a documentarian because I look around this town at people like Jack Spencer, my goodness, what a master — he's just an artist with his camera. I see so many people that are true artists, that manipulate images and know how to manipulate light. I just basically hope for the best light possible and hope everything is in focus when I can," he says, a little laugh in his voice. "I'm not a great technician. No way," he says. "But I shoot from the heart. That works for me because, you know, country music is the same way. I'm really not a formal musician, but it just comes from the heart, and that seems to work out okay." Stuart sees “no difference" between songwriting and photography. "Every time I shoot a good picture I probably play a better guitar solo the next time. Every time I write a good song it makes me look for deeper things in the next photograph I'm trying to take. It's all under the same umbrella — it's God's creativity, and it's a great gift to us." Comparing photography to performing, Stuart sees even more connections. "If I was on the other side of the footlights, I know what I'd be looking for in a performer. You look for honest moments and authenticity from the stage — at the end of the night, it's the honest moments and the authenticity that matter when the lights go down." Stuart still shoots with film, not digital. His current camera is a Nikon F5, the fifth in Nikon's venerable line of 35mm cameras single-lens reflex cameras that began in 1959 with the Nikon F, which was widely used by professional photographers in the 1960s. The Nikon F5, sold from 1996 through 2004, is a technological leap forward from the Instamatic Stuart started with, yet it is far behind today's digital photography technology. That's okay with Stuart, who prefers film to digital, just as he likes to use older analog equipment in the recording studio.
"It's the same thing with recording – there's a depth and a warmth. Digital images are perfect. Maybe that's what bothers me about it. There's a depth and a warmth about analog recording sometimes. I still love true black-and-white prints that look like I could stick my arm down in them and reach as far as I can reach — it's that depth that I love." Being on the road as a traveling musician at 13, with his family still back home in Mississippi, photographs became a way "to capture life around me so I could share it with my people back home," he says. "The camera is the only instrument I have
ever found where you can absolutely make time stand still and capture something that's for the ages. "The thing I did notice about photography is I've never lost interest in it. Sometimes I go for six months and don't shoot a picture because I don't see something that moves me, but I never lost interest in it. But to be shown at the Frist? Absolutely not — never thought it would happen, never dreamed it would happen," he says. Stuart owns what is considered the largest private collection of country music memorabilia outside
Bill Monroe, Last Winter, 1995. Archival pigment print. © Marty Stuart
of the Country Music Hall of Fame – things like stage costumes, musical instruments with historic value, and song manuscripts — and photographs. "I collect other photographers — Les Leverett, the dean of country music photographers. I love collecting Les' works," says Stuart, referring to the Grand Ole Opry's official photographer for 32 years. "Edward S. Curtis, the Native American photographer. Anthony Scarlati, Bill Thorup. Jim Marshall, Annie Leibovitz … They're as much a part of the archives as anything else." We asked Marty to name three of his most favorite photographs, and he quickly rattles them off - not by name but by telling stories, because songwriters tell stories. "Well, I think the last day that I spent with Bill Monroe out on his farm, photographing him. It was a treasured day, because I really loved that old fella. The first time I saw him I was probably 12 years old, and he gave me his mandolin pick that night. I took it to school like I had kryptonite in my pocket. "He was always a treasured friend. I know he didn't feel like it, but he granted me an afternoon just hanging out with him around his home and on his farm." That shoot yielded Chicken Reel, the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, an amazing image of the legendary Monroe playing "Chicken Reel" for a flock of actual chickens.
Perhaps his most famous photo is John R. Cash, Last Portrait, September 8, 2003, a three-quarters profile of Johnny Cash, late in life with wispy white hair. The last portrait ever taken of Johnny Cash, there’s a Mount Rushmore quality to the image. "I walked next door — he was my next-door neighbor — and took that, and four days later he was gone," Stuart says.
"My favorite shot is probably a shot that I borrowed my momma’s camera and took of my wife Connie Smith when she came to play at the Choctaw Fair when I was 12 years old, and that's the first time I ever saw her," Stuart recalls. "I thought she was the prettiest girl I'd ever seen, so I borrowed the camera — that's the first photograph I ever remember taking, so that one means a lot to me."
But his favorite is the very first photograph he remembers ever taking, at age 12, of country singer Connie Smith.
American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart
The King of Broken Hearts, George Jones, 1997. Archival pigment print. © Marty Stuart
May 9 - November 2, 2014, Conte Community Arts Gallery IMAGE CREDITS. Any image released is available for editorial puposes related directly to the exhibition at the Frist Center for Visual Arts.
Our Unwritten Rule... “NO PAPARAZZI!” Will It Last? by Jessi Maness
has been a long-time problem in many larger cities where celebrities are trying to live and maintain some kind of privacy. From New York to LA, it seems to be an ongoing problem. A celebrity steps outside their door with their children in tow to go out for ice cream and from across the street, from behind a bush or a sign, the cameras start flashing — with our without the knowledge of the celebrity. It has gotten so bad as a matter-of-fact, that noted actresses and mothers Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner testified before Congress in favor of a paparazzi bill that will protect their children. The bill (SB 606) was created to change the legal definition of “harassment” to include any conduct that "alarms, annoys, torments or terrorizes" a child while photographing or recording that child without express parental consent. The bill passed, was written into California State Law and went into effect January 1 of this year.
Now there is the question of whether or not the paparazzi moving to Nashville will detrimentally change “Nashville” as we know it. Though many assume the paparazzi movement could never permeate our fair city, so many artists and celebrities have moved here seeking privacy within our welcoming walls that there is now some speculation that it won’t be long before our famed and treasured privacy vanishes. That being said, a full-fledged paparazzi town may never take effect, either — for the simple fact that our city has always prided itself on being a “paparazzi-free zone.” Further, our city is a little spread out, so there are still many remote places where people in the public eye can roam with little or no scrutiny. Should it arise, the problem may be for those who wish to
shop or eat “in-town.” And since that’s where the majority of cool shops and restaurants are, it’s always a slight possibility that it could become a problem. What do our hometown celebrities think? Many believe, as country music artist Craig Campbell does, that “paparazzi in Music City won’t get out of control.” According to a brief interview of Campbell conducted by Nashville’s NewsChannel 5, Campbell was quoted as saying, "I don't think Nashville will allow it. If it does,… I feel like someone will put together a paparazzi revolution." NewsChannel 5 interviewed Campbell after he’d been approached by TMZ earlier this year on the street outside of Winner’s in Nashville. As our readers are likely all too aware, TMZ is a nationally based gossip website and paparazzi group that moved to town back in 2011.
Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner testified before Congress last year to pass Senate Bill 606 — a bill designed to protect children of celebrities from being harassed by paparazzi.
PHOTO BY RICH PEDRONCELLI / AP
Will paparazzi keep our stars from going out in public?
No paparazzi. We pride ourselves on giving
people their privacy and their freedom, famous or not.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BIG PICTURE GROUP
But also for years on end, it seems that our way of living life among celebrities has been relatively unknown. Or at least, it has not been given much thought by the national gossip mills. Just like everything else we have close at hand, we sometimes
We have Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Alan and Denise Jackson, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams, and the list goes on.
Will paparazzi change our hometown feel?
For years on end, Nashville has had an unwritten rule.
If you go back to when country music really “hit it big” on the national scene, native Nashvillians have been living with our “famous folk” for many generations. As a small little tidepool separated from the big wide ocean of celebrity-stalking, Nashville has quietly continued to grow with our ease among those with famous faces. It doesn’t take too many times seeing a celebrity in the grocery store or a restaurant that it becomes routine. Granted, we all may fall victim to sneaking a second glance on occasion, but you have to admit — Nashville takes care of its own. We pride ourselves on the motto, “live and let live.” We’ve become the very type of place that fame seemingly defines as impossible a place to live an ordinary life.
they don’t want to step back to wherever they are from. This is all okay with us, of course. We welcome our celebrities with open arms and are also very open to giving them their solitude. That is, all of us who are aware of the longtime “rule.” And we here at Sports & Entertainment Nashville have been talking with artists for a while now — all who claim that Nashville is a place that has all the cool things that other cities have, but where they can still have their privacy and a “normal” life, too. Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Vince & Amy, and Luke Bryan have all commented on the joys of living “normal in Nashville” in our paparazzi-free zone. Even our own iconic Taylor Swift has been quoted as saying that Nashville is one of the few places she can go without paparazzi capturing her every move. We now have to wonder how long that will be the case. So, what are your thoughts?
Country music artist, Craig Campbell, was approached earlier this year by TMZ but says he doesnʼt think paparazzi will get too far out of control in Music City. He thinks if it does, someone will put together a paparazzi revolution.
don’t fully appreciate things we assume will always be there. So perhaps because Nashville has always offered this safe haven of refuge for artists and their families, very little thought was given to it by those who were enjoying it.
Check us out online at www.sportsandentertainmentnashville.com and let us know. We’re anxious to hear what you have to say!
And there are others we have lured in with our genuinely hospitable charm and who have decided to stay - names like Jack White, The Black Keys, and several members of the cast of “Nashville.” Hayden Panettiere has stated that she now has a sense of “normalcy” back in her life. SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Now however, with the paparazzi being more intrusive in places like LA and New York, Nashville has become the place to be. Thanks to Nashville and its residents having developed a reputation for “leaving our celebrities alone,” the word has spread, and artists and celebrities from all over the world now choose Nashville as their home. And it is no wonder. They can drive carpool, attend Parent’s Nights at school, and cheer from the sidelines if their children are participating in school sports. They can go out to eat, attend sporting events, even get groceries — and all with very little or no interruption.
Sheryl Crow moved here for the very purpose of being able to live a “normal” life with her kids. Grammy-nominated British singer/songwriter (and recent duet partner for Taylor Swift) Ed Sheeran now calls Nashville home and feels our city is full of truly nice people, which, of course, is completely true.
Will we, as a community, be able to continue dwelling with our celebrity friends and neighbors in tranquil serenity or will paparazzi change our ways? Will our famous neighbors eventually be forced to hide, or do you feel as Craig Campbell does, that “...someone will put together a paparazzi revolution,” and that Nashvillians — celebs and non — will prevail over paparazzi?
It seems that, once these celebrities set foot in Nashville and realize just what a “we’ve got your back” kind of community we have created here,
Will paparazzi get out of control in Nashville?
Nashville has an “X Factor” differentiating it from other communities. We are blessed with strong leaders who understand the value of giving back to the community. These extraordinary corporate citizens exemplify community leadership for all who choose to call our fair city home. They have unselfishly stepped up, making it possible to publish Sports & Entertainment Nashville as a print and digital gift to over one hundred thousand influential Nashvillians. This fine publication is also placed with businesses and families considering relocation to provide a glimpse into what makes Nashville the best place not only to make a living but also, in the words of Winston Churchill, to make a life!
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