Unplugged ... Making It Real
July 31, 2015
Nashville has a wonderful new place to play music ... Eric Church unplugged christened it on a perfect weather evening this week. Great place to hear music under the stars with even the mosquitos taking the night off.
Eric, like most artists, were all originally unplugged. Hard to find artists who didn't start small and work up to having a band. Dierks and Kenny come to mind, when you think of young new kids in town going downtown and playing for tips. "Gonna Buy Me a Boat" singer Chris Janson sure started that way on Lower Broadway Nashville, even sleeping in his car nearby at night. That acoustic guitar was your meal ticket. Eric has rediscovered the appeal and simplicity of that kind of performance.
Nashville is on some kind of viral roll. The politicians put into gear a series of events and building programs that arrived at the right time. The right time was the TV show, Nashville, and the return of Country music as the hottest genre of music. Again you have to credit Taylor Swift with a big part of plugging Nashville, as she began her acoustic guitar-led career path. Taylor and Nashville and the new buildings like the Music City Center and now the "Ascend" are adding to an already great list of places to play. From the legendary Station Inn, Tootsies and Bluebird Café ... to TPAC, The Wild Horse and of course, the Ryman and Opry House.
We have a whole lot of places to play of all sizes. The traffic is Nashville is awful and growing worse ... We are victims of our own success. As the traffic grows and the condos rise, Music Row shrinks and the feeling of Country Music family seems strained. It's the not-living-in-town stars who don't help the situation, but most do and you would never know it. They are here to hunker down and hide. Recharge and get those creative juices working. Most live outside the city of Nashville in Williamson County South. You see their buses as they come and go, but you rarely see them. Today the buses are stealth and you have little idea who rides on what. Mostly they don't ride but own or rent charter business jets. It is a big money, high-stakes business more than ever.
Look at the Forbes money-maker list this week ... 17 touring Country artists making over $17 million a year, with Garth clocking in at $90 million! Go back to the days here in the '70's ... few made a million ... these are hot times for the touring Country artist.
The label situation will shake out somehow ... new leadership at Sony with Randy Goodman is exciting. He is a solid guy and will make a difference. These are truly exciting times in Nashville. Add a little diversity to the constant "Bro" music thing and we will be that shining city on top of the hill ... Happy Blue Moon ... and welcome, August!