Summer Singer Songwriter Concert Series
Ryan Kinder – LISTEN
In life, our only constant is change. Its ubiquitous presence observed in real time with no regard to whether we’re prepared for or in favor of. Our only control is in the moment of now: how we reflect, and how we set our course toward the future. With “Stay”, Ryan Kinder has powerfully captured the vulnerability of uncertainty with a passionate plea to find comfort in the present.
“At the root, this song is a prayer, a mantra, a plea to the one you love to walk alongside you through life’s journey of ups and downs,” explains Kinder. “In a moment when everything is crashing down around you, [“Stay”] is a cry to the one person you can count on, hold on to, fight through the circumstances and walk out of the fire together.”
Co-written by Kinder, Fred Wilhelm and co-producer Luke Sheets, “Stay” isn’t a new creation, but found its way to the top of pile of songs through a series of recent life events. “I wrote this song for a friend’s wedding over five years ago; but, little did I know that the message of that plea would take shape into a whole new meaning,” he says.
No stranger to adversity, Kinder found his way to Nashville in 2011 after a near-death experience when an EF4 tornado ripped across Tuscaloosa, AL and the University of Alabama neighborhood where he lived.
The early years in Music City had a tornadic feel of their own for Kinder. His first record label shuttered just days after releasing his debut single – “Kiss Me When I’m Down” – despite its sales success. An in-demand artist, another deal followed but often with an insulting criticism that his style was “not country enough,” despite the global success of “Close” (now over 40 million on-demand streams).
Now, as the boomerang journey comes full circle, Kinder’s relentless optimism has shone light on a path to success reminiscent for him to his first musical vision. “Music is my first love,” he says. “It has been my companion and saving grace more times than I can count.”
Finishing his debut album has been therapeutic and validating. During this time, a remake of rock ‘n’ roll legend John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son” made its way to the Hall of Famer who reciprocated by inviting him out on tour for the summer with fellow rockers ZZ Top. As if that weren’t surreal enough, the run was capped off with a bucket-list-come-true opportunity to share the same stage as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood and Gary Clark, Jr. for London’s British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park.
“Stay” joins a trio of preview tracks recently released in anticipation of his album to be released soon. For Kinder, he has found rejuvenation in blending his self-proclaimed style of “riff-roaring rock with a side of sweet southern soul” with lyrics that provide an honesty only he can attest to.
Alicia Whitt – LISTEN
Actor and singer-songwriter Alicia Witt has played her piano-driven pop-rock music all over the world, including a performance at the renowned Grand Ole Opry, as well as opening for Ben Folds Five, John Fullbright, Rachel Platten, Jimmy Webb, and Bob Schneider. She will be releasing her next album, The Conduit, in 2021, which she co-produced alongside Jordan Lehning (Lydia Luce) and Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses). Previous releases include 15000 Days, produced by Grammy award-winning producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Dawes) and the Ben Folds produced Revisionary History, hailed by Nashville Scene as “a piano-pop gem that sounds by turns like “Grey Seal”-era Elton John, an alt-universe Fiona Apple and a film-noir chanteuse notching her nights in cigarette burns on the fallboard.”
Also known for her decades-long career as a prolific TV/film actress (beginning with David Lynch’s ‘Dune’ at the age of 7), Alicia’s music has been featured in numerous movies. Her most recent Hallmark Christmas movie, 2020’s Christmas Tree Lane, features two of Witt’s original songs. Alicia was most recently seen in Netflix’s I Care A Lot, starring Rosamund Pike, and leading the cast of Modern Persuasion. Other credits include Orange Is The New Black, The Walking Dead, ABC’s Nashville, Two Weeks Notice, Mr Holland’s Opus, The Sopranos, Cybill, and Urban Legend.
James Slater – LISTEN
James T. Slater is a two-time, grammy-nominated, piano-playing, bilingual singer-songwriter of Bolivian American descent signed to Disney Music Group Publishing in Nashville, Tennessee. Born in Durham, North Carolina, and raised in the tropics of the Panama Canal Zone in Central America.
Willie Nelson’s “Life Is A Moment”, Tim McGraw’s recent first single…Looking for That Girl, Enrique Iglesias’ “Only A Woman” on his new Sex And Love C.D., Rascal Flatt’s “Life Is A Song” are all James’ compositions. His songs have been recorded by Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Kelly Pickler, Reba McEntire, Gloriana, Martina McBride, Enrique Iglesias, Chris Brown, Chris Young and a host of others. His Grammy nominations include Jamey Johnson’s “The High Cost of Living”, country song of the year, and for Martina’s “In My Daughter’s Eyes”. James also has a song in the new George Clooney Film “TOMORROWLAND” which hits theaters May 22, 2015.
James lived in Zurich Switzerland for six years touring, recording and writing with Belgian super group Vaya Con Dios and has traveled the world from Panama to Dublin, from Spain to Havana.
He and his grand piano now live in Nashville, Tennessee. He has recently signed a Worldwide Publishing Deal with Disney Music Group. Martina’s recording of “In My Daughter’s Eyes” has become a modern day standard garnering James a BMI country award as well as a BMI pop award in 2006.
James also co-wrote the winning “The Way That I Want You”, sung by Julio Iglesias Jr. on CMT’s Season 1“Gone Country” reality show as well as co-writing “Glorious Train” with Sheila E on Season 3, and his solo c.d. release “Key West Address” is a love letter to the island that reminds him so much of his tropical upbringing, so much so that the mayor of Key West has awarded James the “keys to the city” and proclaimed the song “Key West Address” the island’s official theme.
James’ latest release is “Barefoot Heart”, 14 brand new compositions including the raucous
“Mexicoma”…a Tim McGraw favorite in concert…
Kylie Sackley – LISTEN
As a wunderkind performer in her birthplace of Australia, Kylie dazzled audiences with her authentic grasp of country, her gorgeously expressive vocals, and her electrifying stage presence. When she won Australia’s most prestigious country music talent search, Star Maker (Keith Urban was a previous winner), she made the fateful decision to go the route of being a professional songwriter, and she hasn’t looked back since.
Kylie is adept at all facets of songwriting, comfortable writing lyrics, melodies, music, and contributing production ideas. Kylie’s songs have been recorded by Sam Hunt, Keith Urban, Randy Houser, Alan Jackson, Danielle Bradberry, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and more, including Walker Hayes’ single “You Broke Up With Me.”
Jeff Cohen – LISTEN
Jeff Cohen a 4 Time BMI Award winning, Grammy Nominated Songwriter/Producer/Publisher based in Nashville whose songs have appeared on over 20 million albums sold, over 100 placements in TV/Film and over 10 million video games. Jeff’s songs have been recorded by The Band Perry (Hit single/BMI Award – Postcard From Paris), Evan and Jaron (Hit single/BMI award – Crazy For This Girl), Big and Rich (Hit single/BMI award – Holy Water), The Shires (Hit Singles – 1000 Hallelujahs, Daddy’s Little Girl and Echo), The Worry Dolls – Endless Road (2018 UK Americana Award Song of The Year Nomination), Laura Bell Bundy (Hit single – Giddy On Up – also #1 Video CMT and GAC, Richie MacDonald of Lone Star (Hit single – I Turn To You), Ilse DeLange (Hit Single – Beautiful Distraction), Waylon (Hit Single – Hey), Nell Bryden (Hit Singles “Amy” and “These Changes”) , Nikhil D’Souza (Singles – “Beautiful Mind” and “Silver and Gold”), Sugarland, Josh Groban, Mandy Moore, Macy Gray, Spin Doctors, Nick Lachey, Teitur, Doc Walker, Mickey Guyton, Hush, Luz Casal, Marc Broussard, Kristian Bush, Jasmine Murray, Cho Yong- Pil, Tina Dico, Sandi Patty and many more.
His songs have been featured in TV shows such as Jack and Jill (theme), Paw Patrol (theme) I Married A Princess (theme),The Exes (theme), Dawson’s Creek, Party of Five, One Tree Hill, American Idol, Saturday Night Live, The Simpson’s and many more. HIs songs have been featured in movies such as Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Stuart Little 2, Aquamarine, Princess Diaries, Grandma’s Boy and more.
Among his constant co-writers are Jamie Hartman, Sacha Skabek, Kara DioGuardi, Liz Rose, and many more.
Jeff is a Board Member of NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) and Board Member of Inspired Nation Foundation. He is also founder and songwriter of the critically acclaimed band Pancho’s Lament
In a previous life he was a music executive at BMI working with such talent as Jeff Buckley, Kara DioGuardi, Lisa Loeb, Joan Osborne, Ben Folds, Ani DiFranco, Spin Doctors, and many more.
Jenn Bostic – LISTEN
Jenn Bostic is an inspirational pop/gospel singer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her emotive songwriting and powerful vocals have been touching hearts around the world. Jealous of the Angels, a song written for her late father, reached #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart. She has performed on BBC Breakfast. Songs of Praise, TBN UK and has had 4 singles playlist on BBC Radio 2. She has performed on the stages of The Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The British Country Music Awards named Bostic “International Touring Artist of the Year” in both 2017 and 2018. Her latest project Take My Hand Part 1, was recorded with Grammy winner and hit songwriter Lauren Christy.
Marty Dodson – LISTEN
“I was born in Apple Valley, California. My family moved around for several years before settling in Nashville, Tennessee when I was 5 years old. I have always loved music, but was intimidated by the sheer number of people I encountered growing up that were NOT succeeding in the music business. So, I went to college, got a degree in Psychology and worked in another career for 10 years. At that point, I decided I had to try to chase my dream of being a professional songwriter.
It took several years of writing for free before I landed my first publishing deal with Kim Williams and Sony ATV in Nashville. Several years after that, Rascal Flatts recorded “While You Loved Me” and I had my first top ten single. Another three years went by before Billy Currington, Jason Matthews and I had our first #1 single with “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right”.
People often ask me what my favorite song is that I have written. I’m very proud of the six #1 singles. I’m thrilled that several iconic artists have recorded my songs – Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, The Oak Ridge Boys – to name a few. I’m proud of my song “Bounce” knocking Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop chart in Korea and for winning Asian Song of The Year this year. And I’m proud of my Plain White T’s and Saving Jane cuts because they are off the beaten path for a Nashville writer. But my FAVORITE songs have yet to be recorded. Ask me sometime and I’ll play some of them for you.
It has been a long, hard journey with considerable costs. But, in the end, it has been worth it. I wake up every day and get to do something I love. You can’t put a price on that.
- “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” – Billy Currington 2 Week #1 Single – Platinum Single
- “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven” – Kenny Chesney 2 Week #1 Single
- “Let Me Down Easy” – Billy Currington #1 Single
- “Fire It Up” – Joe Cocker and Johnny Reid #1 Single in Canada – Johnny Reid #1 Single in Germany – Joe Cocker
- “Bounce” – Cho Yong Pil #1 Single in South Korea – Asian Song of The Year 2013
- “Songs Like This” – Carrie Underwood Double Platinum Album
- “Cirque Dans La Rue” and “Killer” – The Plain White T’s
- “While You Loved Me” – Rascal Flatts #7 Single – Double Platinum Album
- “Could It Be” – Charlie Worsham #12 Single – Highest Debut Single of 2013
- “Dirt” – Dean Brody – Top Ten Single – Canada
- “Immortal” – Saving Jane
- “Doing It To Country Songs” – Blake Shelton
- “Did It For The Party” – Big And Rich
- “Harder” – Steep Canyon Rangers
- “Bernadine”, “Bohemian” and “Around Like Vinyl” – Songs From The Road Band
Clay Mills – LISTEN
Clay Mills, a 16-time ASCAP award-winning songwriter and producer, grew up surrounded by music in the Blues-rich Mississippi Delta. Over the course of his songwriting career, Mills has penned Number 1 hits for Darius Rucker, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” Diamond Rio, “Beautiful Mess,” and Kimberley Locke, “Fall,” while collecting Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” and Trisha Yearwood’s “Heaven, Heartache, and the Power of Love.”
Clay began playing at clubs in Rock and Country bands by age 13. When he was 19, he moved to the New York City where he wrote, programmed tracks, created beats for rap and hip hop artists, and sang on major TV commercials; including Red Lobster and the Armed Forces. In the late 90’s, Clay started co-writing with a New York actor who was an aspiring Country artist, Ken Meeker. Ken introduced Clay to Nashville producer Mark Bright, who flew to New York to watch him perform for a crowd of 500 people. Impressed, Mark signed Clay to a publishing deal with EMI Music. Since moving to Nashville, Clay has had over 75 major artist cuts, three Number 1 hits, six Top 5 singles, and 12 Top 40 singles. His love of all types of music shows in the diverse list of artists who sing his songs: Babyface, Lady Antebellum, Easton Corbin, Reba, Bill Gaither, Lone Star, Darius Rucker, Trisha Yearwood, Clay Walker, Kimberly Locke, and Joe Nichols. Clay’s latest string of singles, co-written with Country superstar and groundbreaker Darius Rucker, include the song that introduced Darius to the world of Country music: “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” More hit singles, “History in the Making” and “I Got Nothin’,” soon followed.
Mills believes strongly in songwriters and their value to world. He has served on the NSAI board and lobbied Congress on behalf of creators and copyrights. In 2012, Clay co-founded SongTown, a 6,000 plus group of aspiring songwriters. He is personally involved in helping members advance their craft and make connections in the music industry.
When Clay is not writing songs, you might find him riding horses on the Wyoming plains searching for inspiration for his next song. “The great thing about the West is that there are still huge pockets of land that look like they did hundreds of years ago…bristling with wildlife and the elements. It helps me find that healthy balance between life, love, and the music business.”
Steve Bogard – LISTEN
Steve Bogard has written ten number one country songs including George Strait’s, “Carried Away” and “Carrying Your Love with Me,” and Rascal Flatts’ career breaker, “Prayin’ For Daylight.” Total sales of albums containing Bogard songs are well over one hundred fifty million units. Bogard has won twenty-two ASCAP, BMI and SESAC awards with hits and cuts by artists as diverse as Reba, Tanya, Patty Loveless, Etta James, The Four Tops, Sinead O’Connor, Jack Ingram and Restless Heart. He has had two Grammy nominations for Best Country Song with Dierks Bentley and has produced nine major-label album projects for Arista, Virgin, Lyric Street and Sony. Recent cuts include song recorded by Kristian Bush and Walker McGuire and the #1 song “Seein’ Red,” the first single from Dustin Lynch’s latest album. Bogard has had at least one #1 song in each of the last 4 decades!
After successful early forays in the music markets of Memphis and Miami, working with legendary producers Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd, Steve was drawn to Nashville, when in 1983, an eleven-year-old Bogard song, “Touch Me with Magic” became a top ten hit for Marty Robbins. He spent over twenty years as a staff writer at Warner Chappell Music, has owned his own publishing company and independent record label, and is currently a staff writer at Magic Mustang Music, a division of the BBR Label Group.
Jeff Stevens – LISTEN
Jeff Stevens has written or produced over thirty #1 country music hits during the past three decades and continues to be at the top of the charts. Recently the Academy Of Country Music presented Jeff with its “Album Of The Decade” award for Luke Bryan’s fourth album, “Crash My Party”. Jeff is Luke’s longtime producer and has produced all of Bryan’s music. RIAA also recently announced that Luke Bryan has more certified digital singles than any country artist in history with over 46 million tracks, 12 million albums and 4 billion music streams. Jeff cut his teeth in a band playing the rough bars and flatbed trailers of southern West Virginia. His first two hits as a songwriter came in 1984 and as Jeff says “were mailed to anyone in Nashville who would accept a tape.” As an artist Jeff Stevens and the Bullets made waves on Atlantic Records when they arrived in Nashville in 1986 and through national TV appearances, videos and touring they met with critical success. By the early nineties Jeff settled back into writing with simultaneous hits, John Anderson’s “I Fell In The Water” and Alabama’s #1 “Reckless.” The next decade brought many hits including George Strait’s classics “Carrying Your Love With Me” and “True” and Tim Mcgraw’s #1 “Back When.” In 2004 he met Luke Bryan at a songwriting session and has gone on to produce all seven of the two time CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year’s albums including the current “Born Here, Live Here, Die Here” that includes the summer #1 smash “One Margarita”. All six of the singles released from Bryan’s “Kill the Lights” album reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making Bryan the first artist in the 27-year history of the chart to achieve six number one singles from one album. Jeff co-wrote “Luke’s #1 hits “Someone Else Calling You Baby”, “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” and the debut single “All My Friends Say”. Jeff was recently honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame being recognized by their Music Masters Program.
Sarah Darling – LISTEN
Iowa native Sarah Darling has developed collaborations with writers and producers in Nashville, Los Angeles, and the UK, giving her a distinct and contemporary country sound. Her credits include 5 full length albums, multiple singles and duets. The latest release, The Campfire Sessions, is an acoustic collection of country songs that inspired us all. Tracks include Wide Open Spaces, Bring on the Rain, You’re Still the One, and even a country version of California Gurls.
The last full album release, Wonderland, reached #1 on the official UK Country Charts. She has over 20 million streams on streaming platforms, over 11 million video views, and over 600k worldwide fans. She has performed on many historic stages – Grand Ole Opry stage over 95 times, BBC Radio, C2C London, Conan, HLN and more.
Michael Logen – LISTEN
“The noisier the world gets, the more powerful silence becomes. I headed out to a cabin in the Tennessee mountains. I took a few books. I covered all the clocks. No TV, no internet, no phone, no radio. Songwriting can be a bit like deep-sea diving and in everyday life, you have to “surface” now and then. But in the wilderness, you never surface, even if you want to.”
This is Americana/Folk artist Michael Logen, based in Nashville, Tennessee, describing his writing process for his stunning, sophomore album, “New Medicine”.The album has garnered 6 TV placements so far and includes Michael’s original, acoustic version of a song he wrote with Jennifer Hanson, called “Breaking Your Own Heart”, which was covered by Kelly Clarkson on her Platinum-Selling, Grammy-Winningalbum, “Stronger”.
“New Medicine” is an articulate, measured examination of the inner workings of the human mind and heart on a backdrop of gorgeous, sweeping, acoustic-based, rhythmic folk/pop.
The album features 3 phenomenal guest artists: Kim Richey, Liz Longley and Ruby Amanfu.
Logen grew up in a small college town, Lewisburg, in North Central Pennsylvania. He was raised listening to Americana and Folk classics like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Gordon Lightfoot. He comes from a musical family and learned to play guitar from his Dad, even recorded a folk project with his brother, Dave.
Michael’s songs have been featured on many TV shows including multiple placements on “Nashville”, “Suits”, “Parenthood”, “The Fosters” and “One Tree Hill”.
Logen’s folk song, “Couldn’t Ask For A Better Friend” played prominently throughout the 2016 Rio Olympics when it was chosen by Folgers as the theme for their award-winning ad.
Billboard Magazine also did a write-up on Logen’s song in their article, “Olympic Gold”.
Michael has performed in every state in the continental US as well as in the UK, Denmark, The Netherlands, France and Spain, opening for such artists as John Hiatt, John Legend, India. Arie, Jonny Lang and Mat Kearney.
A prolific songwriter, Michael’s songs have been recorded by many other artists including Jonny Lang, Kelly Clarkson, Mat Kearney, Brandon Heath, The Greencards, Paul Carrack, Will Hoge and Sister Hazel.
“Ready Or Not,” the first single from the album, starts out small before exploding into a full‐on, sing-along, indie‐folk/rock redemption story.
Regarding the album, Michael says, “Music to me is a mystical medium that connects us all to some other, deeper dimension of ourselves and reality. It expresses the inexpressible. It can truly act as prescription-strength medicine to the human soul. That’s the theme running through this record.”