This is such a cool week to be in Nashville! Tin Pan South is an annual songwriting festival sponsored by NSAI. It's a week of shows, 2 shows a night, in all the best venues, with all the best songwriters. Later in the week, there are 2 days of songwriting workshops, called 'Songposium', and Gerald will be taking part in that.
Tonight's show was called "The Hit Men", a title taken from a new reality show being shot about 4 of Nashville's most successful songwriters: Jeffrey Steele, Craig Wiseman, Bob DiPiero, and Tony Mullins. These guys are not only songwriting peers, they are also great friends, so the energy on stage was pretty wild. The energy outside was pretty wild too, with the line-up stretching down the side of the building, and only people with festival passes actually making it in to see the show. (Yay! We bought passes!)
Even if you've never heard of Jeffrey, Craig, Bob, or Tony, if you listen to country music, you will have heard their songs.
Every song they played was great, but the show was so much more than just the songs. The energy among the players was infectious. They would just jump in on guitar or vocal harmonies, and suddenly you were watching a band of buddies and not just solo performers.
But the highlight (and what may very well be the highlight of all Tin Pan South for me) was "Believe". The first time I heard this song, I just shook. I couldn't wait for Gerald to hear it. I've heard it a hundred times in the past year, and it never fails to move me.
Craig Wiseman co-wrote the song with Ronnie Dunn, and near the end of the show, he started to tell this story about talking to a woman from his hometown, who reminded him that all his songs come from God. As the story developed, you knew it was coming, and I was so excited.
Craig isn't the same kind of singer as Ronnie, but it didn't matter. His performance was passionate and authentic. I couldn't help but cry. You could feel God's presence in the bar. It reminded me of a speaker I heard recently who said that we are always so determined to 'invite' God into our worship, that we forget that God is already here, no matter where 'here' is. And God was definitely in the room tonight.
The rest of the show was so good, and it ended on a truly awesome note: Craig's other life-changing song, "Live Like You Were Dying". It was one of the few moments of the night when the audience really sang out and sang along.
Such a great night! Can't wait to see what else is in store this week...