Tin Pan South:

A Celebration of the American Songwriter

By Karen LeVan

NASHVILLE — Nashville is fast becoming the capital of the songwriting industry. Music Row is growing in leaps and bounds, with new buildings replacing the quaint offices housed in old homes on the Row. But one thing hasn't changed: the quality of the songs coming out of Music City.

April 13-18 Nashville held its second annual Tin Pan South: A Celebration of the American Songwriter. The festival featured 25 Grammy Award-winning songwriters, 30 Country Music Association Award winners, 25 Academy of Country Music Award winners, 18 Dove Award winners, 15 Hall of Fame inductees, 15 Top ASCAP award winners, 18 BMI winners and 15 Top NSAI award winners, plus writers of 10 TV and 4 motion picture theme songs. More than 300 writers entertained at 10 venues around the city, with a grand finale at TPAC featuring, among others, Jimmy Webb, Hal David, David Gates, Jeff Barry and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

Left to right, Randi Michael and Jonell Mosser check out Delbert McClinton's licks. Photo by Karen Le Van

Kentucky songwriters were well represented with appearances by Louisville's Alan Rhody ("I'll Be True to You") and Tim Krekel ("Turning Away From Love") and Bardstown's James Dean Hicks ("Jesus & Mama"). Louisville native Jonell Mosser made a brief appearance backing up Delbert McClinton in one of the hottest writers rounds, featuring Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keene and Gary Nicholson.

Most of the showcases were done "in the round" to standing-room-only crowds.

The event was sponsored by the Nashville Songwriters Association International and American Airlines.

Music is the universal language and, as they say at NSAI, "It all begins with the Songwriter!"