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Our 2016 Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival schedule

Tin Pan South


Of all the music festivals that happen in Nashville — and there are many, many, many of them — the one that might be the most quintessentially Nashville: the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival.

There almost certainly isn’t another city that has so many people, per-capita, living and making their living as a writer of songs. New York and Los Angeles has music industry infrastructure, and session players might be very happy on the East or Left Coast. But if you’re a songwriter, Nashville is the place.

And Tin Pan South is the one festival that celebrates the songwriter specifically — if he or she is a performer too, great, but it’s the writing that’s on the pedestal over this five-day event.

Songwriters don’t always get all the accolades/attention they deserve, since they’re not necessarily on stage, sometimes working exclusively behind the scenes. Every year at Tin Pan South, the people who write the songs that move us — from major country hits to low-key indie-rock favorites — take stages throughout the city, and get the celebration they’ve earned as they celebrate the art form with us.

The 24th annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival is almost here: April 5 through 9, 10 venues around Nashville will host early shows and late shows with writers from a broad range of genres, bluegrass to pop, rock to folk.

Nightly tickets are available if you’d like to pick and choose, but Tin Pan South pass holders can hit as many shows as they like. (Those are sold out.)

Deciding on a five-day schedule of choices isn’t exactly easy, but our game plan follows. We’ve included some song snippets to encourage you to join us. Wherever you land, though, you’re bound to hear a melody that does it for you.

Our 24th annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival schedule


Tuesday, April 5

The Listening Room Cafe 
217 2nd Avenue South
6 p.m., $15

At Tuesday’s early show at The Listening Room downtown, we’re indulging some serious pop nostalgia. Even if you don’t know Desmond Child’s name, chances are more than good that you’ve heard a bunch of his songs — the Songwriting Hall of Famer wrote/co-wrote tracks like Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and ”You Give Love a Bad Name,” Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and Ricky Martin’s ”Livin’ la Vida Loca.” Big, fat hooks will be in the house, for sure. He’ll be joined by Levi Hummon and BC Jean.



Wednesday, April 6

The Listening Room Cafe 
217 2nd Avenue South
9 p.m., $20

If you like the soulful side of pop, Nashville’s Dave Barnes is as solid a bet as they come. But we’re particularly fond of him because he doesn’t take him self too seriously — quite the opposite, in fact. He’s moonlighted as a stand-up comedian just a little bit and made more than a few hilarious contributions to the Internet, as evidenced above. Fairly rare to find a songwriter that’s as funny as he or she is golden-throated. (If you want better insight into the latter, check out “God Gave Me You.”) He’s joined by Jim Collins, Wendell Mobley and Jordan Reynolds.



Thursday, April 7

The Country 
110 28th Avenue North
9 p.m., $20

At The Country in Midtown, you’ll be able to catch a Nashville star sighting (of the TV variety), as Charles Esten, a.k.a. Deacon Claybourne, takes the stage. That’s totally fun, but we’re particularly drawn in by Nashville folk/Americana singer-songwriter Sarah Siskind, who has a remarkable knack for hauntingly beautiful melodies. The above song, “Lovin’s For Fools,” gripped Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon so tightly that he closed most of the band’s 2008 shows with it. (Fittingly, Alison Krauss has also recorded some of Siskind’s songs.) Those two will be joined by The Stellas and Fred Wilhelm.



Friday, April 8

3rd and Lindsley 
818 3rd Avenue South
6:30 p.m., $20

Singer/songwriter Angaleena Presley is probably best-known as part of country trio Pistol Annies, with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe. And like her bandmates, she’s a powerful country voice, as well as a gifted writer. She’s sharing the stage during Tin Pan South with another Nashvillian with a sharp pen: Travis Meadows, who’s had songs cut by Dierks Bentley, Eric Church and many others.



Saturday, April 9

Station Inn
402 12th Avenue South
6:30 p.m., $15

It’s worth braving the busy Gulch on a Saturday night to catch Nashville rock singer/songwriter Will Hoge at a venue as cozy as The Station Inn. His biggest hit came via the Eli Young Band, who recorded his “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” But that one barely scratches the surface — Hoge’s catalog as a writer and performer is deep and rich, and his voice is gritty and powerful. Listen above for proof. He’ll be joined by Marti Dodson, Tony Lane and Jason Mizelle.


Planning on hitting Tin Pan South? Have a similar (or totally different) schedule in mind? We’d love to hear your picks — and hope to see you there!

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