24 hours of music

24 hours, 8 venues, 17 songwriters and two pairs of boots.

I don’t usually wear cowboy boots. But I do in Nashville. It’s sort of like hats. I think they look good when I buy them, and when I get home, it seems like someone must have swapped my purchase…and what once made me look pretty cool, goes in the closet to stay. If the boots don’t look good in Nashville, at least they don’t stand out.

We stumbled on the Tin Pan South songwriters fest last year when we passed through Nashville. This year, it was a pilgrimage.

Ten venues, 2 shows a night. Small rooms, and songwriters playing big hits. So we didn’t see the Dixie Chicks, but we saw Marcus Hummon, who wrote their hit “Cowboy Take Me Away.”  We didn’t see Faith Hill, but we saw Stephanie Smith who wrote the Faith Hill / Tim McGraw duet “It’s Your Love.”

It’s one thing to hear a hit on the radio…quite another to hear the person who wrote it. We met a rap musician out of LA. Another who writes for Disney. “Tin Pan South is what SXSW used to be before it got too big,” he said.

There. I just gave away the secret.

It’s people who make music and people who love music.

In the first venue the woman who sat behind me had just moved to Nashville to play piano. Last night, a woman joined our table who has been writing songs for 12 years and still waiting for her first number one. Stephanie Smith introduced a new song with the words “George Strait, please hear this one…”

“George is looking for songs for a new CD, and everyone in town knows it, “ said the woman at our table.

I’d write more, but it’s 8:30 am and my daughter needs to shop for a guitar…and the music starts again in a couple hours. Time to get my eyes wide open.

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