Nashville's Non-Country Pedigree
July 22, 2016
Well, there's thirteen-hundred-and-fifty-two
Guitar pickers in Nashville
And they can pick more notes than the number of ants
On a Tennessee ant hill....
John Sebastian-Lovin' Spoonful 1966
I saw some new Nashville Cats this week and they were in tune ... This is one cat I don't think you saw coming ... A Nashville-based TV show that is a hybrid and it could be a very good thing for Music City.
Let's first go back ... I am always surprised how many local music professionals have little clue of what came before all this Country.
The above song, "Nashville Cats," made it to #8 on the pop countdown in late 1966 ... It was Country-pop made in New York, not Nashville ... The Lovin' Spoonful were making hits in NYC while pop stars like Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison were exploding with pop made on Music Row ...
Nashville is THE home of Country music, but a whole lot of music has come from Music City USA that wasn't Country.
As WSM was playing Ernest Tubb , across town WLAC was playing James Brown and Etta James. R&B beaming out at night to most of the U.S. This town has never been pure Country -- and it isn't today! So it should not be surprising that a new national/international music show is being made here right now.
American Supergroup is multi-genre music/reality show with Nashville and L.A. producers. It's a big-time production with Idol, The Voice and Big Brother influences.
The talent/reality features a mostly Nashville behind the scenes crew with contestants from everywhere playing all kinds of music.
American Supergroup was created by Gary Wayne Bridges and Kevin Wayne Waldrop, and the executive producer is Barry Josephson. Mr. Josephson is the former head of production at Columbia Pictures, and he has worked with everyone in Hollywood.
I spent the day watching the on-camera auditions. I planned to spend an hour, maybe two, and stayed seven hours! It was like a breath of fresh air musically and had so much energy with the staff band and the singers flying in from all over the country. It reminded me of the energy and excitement we felt backstage during the TNN/Nashville Network days.
American Super Group will debut in September and I know you are saying - "Oh boy ... another reality show. Another talent show." True, but this one has taken the best parts of a lot of shows and has come up with a fast eight-episode season. The show is an hour weekly and it will cover ground at a pretty fast pace.
CBS-Lionsgate, MTV Live, VH1 and CAA all have their names in the credits. They are close to hiring a host.
The show, if anything, is ahead of the digital TV wave. Like the new Star Trek series, it will begin life in the digital TV realm, not the over-the-air TV model. There are a lot of moving parts in the production with a short edit turnaround. The audience will have to come find it. But like Star Trek hopes, it should be an appointment TV thing. The ad and promo people have a big job to do. But it's nice to see things around here ahead of the curve, rather than chasing the same old thing.
Sheryl Crow, Jack White, Leon Russell, Taylor Swift, Brenda Lee, Kings of Leon, Kesha, Kelly Clarkson, Duane Eddy ... all have home bases in Nashville. One of the earliest pop stars in Nashville was Brenda Lee. She had 47 pop hits and only Elvis, The Beatles and Ray Charles have more. Note Ray Charles cut some of his best songs here. Two of the four Beatles recorded here.
Elvis and The Everly Brothers made their early big hits at Music Row Studio B. "The Ballad of The Green Beret," "Harper Valley PTA," "Honey" (all those Bobby Goldsboro hits), Crystal Gayle and multi-format superstar Dolly Parton. All crossed over with Nashville-made records. Pop stars, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers were all over Nashville, making pop music.
Joe Tex's "Skinny Legs and All" was recorded at the now-gone Soundshop, "Jet" by Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Grand Funk Railroad's "Flight of the Phoenix" recorded there, too.
Nashville's music roots grow deep ... Think of all the pop sales when you add up Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Elvis. Music City may be the unsung hero of Pop.
Looking forward to seeing American Supergroup make it into the winner's circle this Fall. Looking forward to Nashville 2.0 on CMT and American Supergroup on Pop TV and the MTV Networks. If only we could get a Nashville Network back on the air. It was an important part of Nashville's musical past.