It's all about the song
A Trip to Nashville, What to Do? What to Do?
A lot of songwriter’s, artists, interested parties (parents, friends, etc.) are making almost daily pilgrimages to Nashville, much because we are an “IT” CITY, growing and a very vibrant scene. Great for tourism, tough for traffic and prices, but many, many great things, not the least of which is giving those people an “EAGLES EYE” look at what we do here. Glad to have you.
But the big questions from those creative types are “WHAT DO I DO? HOW DO I GET HEARD?”
I know, I know, everyone wants to get heard. But it is a bit more complicated than just showing up at the Bluebird, signing up and waiting to get on town. There are HUNDREDS who move here a week, and THOUSANDS that make trips, all wanting their shot at the big time. And there are a LOT of people in line AHEAD OF YOU. The line starts around Cleveland. Get in it and wait.
Well, not exactly. You are not going to go blasting any doors down, or blowing people away. You are going to have to do some waiting in line. But you can accomplish some things while you are here. If you break them down to simple, achievable goals, you will be doing yourself a favor, and find some ways to maximize your time in town. As well as set up for the future, not just here, but in your home areas.
I like to break them down to THREE DISTINCT AREAS:
#1. NETWORKING. Getting out, seeing people play, meeting people, pressing the flesh, letting people know you.
#2. PERFORMING. While the lines are long, there are still some ways to get on stage, and some ways to show your stuff.
#3. CO-WRITING. It is a co-writing town. And the way into those back doors are through the people you meet and work with.
Now, having said all that, let’s look at the finer parts of those.
Networking by visiting writer’s nights, open mics. A good place to start, is NSAI, or the web site MUSIC STARTS HERE, but there
Are other resources. Usually if you start at one, you will meet people to lead you to others. Doing some research to begin with to find “OPEN MICS” (where anyone can show up and play) and invited “WRITERS NIGHTS” (where you have to earn your way in) can be found in various publications and web sites. A google search is your friend.
You start your way at the open mics, and work your way up. There are a few in town that have open mics at the end of the night.
THE COMMODORE LOUNGE (Holiday Inn West End) Would always be a first stop for me.
DEBI CHAMPION, hosts a full writer’s show from 7:00-10:00 Sunday, Monday, Wed. Thus. There is an open mic AFTER the show. But you have to show up BEFORE to sign in. Get there early and stay, because supporting any night you want to play on IS ESSENTIAL.
RICK STEWART is the host on the weekends and his open mics have to adapt according to schedule.
DOUGLAS CORNER TUESDAYS. Calling their phone number is the way to get your name on the list. Names are taken in the order they come in. www.douglascorner.com
THE BLUEBIRD. “MECCA” for songwriters, it has gotten very difficult to play, because of it’s success in the culture, television, movies. The open mic is Monday, and need to contact the web site, www.thebluebirdcafe.com for further info.
BOBBY’S IDLE HOUR- “SAM’S JAMS” on Wed. and Charles and Janet Cox show on Thursday’s, often do have limited slots available, but a great hang out and always chances someone can’t make it, or participating in the late night “guitar pulls” are always an option.
Other “Invited Nights” but great “hangs” to see other writers:
PUCKETTS, THE LISTENING ROOM, THE LOCAL, MAXWELL HOUSE, are other options. And there are many I don’t even know about. Again, start at one…..
This can be difficult or easy depending on personality. People are all essentially here to do the same thing. But “in town people”
are generally already going to be involved, having jobs, their own contacts, demands on their time. Finding people from out of town is pretty easy, but like dating, you need to get to know them first. Having previous contacts are always a good idea.
Every trip sets up for the next. Collect numbers, web sites, info on others. You can contact them. They might not contact you.
AN MAB TOUR.
I help on all of these elements. That is what the “tour” is. I can connect you with others, help on bookings and help you find your way around. But there are other workshops, get together’s networking opportunities. You just have to dig in and find them. It can be done. Can always save a lot of steps with a little pre-planning. Keep it simple and keep it acheivable.
by Marc Alan Barnette