by J.D. Reager
This Tuesday night, March 30th, the Memphis Music Foundation hosted the first of a proposed series of songwriter showcases in partnership with the Nashville Songwriter's Association International at the famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. The showcase also came with the added prestige of being a part of Tin Pan South, the music industry's premiere professional songwriter showcase event.
The showcase was hosted by Music Foundation Chairman and former Stax Records executive Al Bell and Memphis-to-Nashville transplant Rivers Rutherford, a well-known songwriter responsible for numerous modern country chart toppers by the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley and Tim McGraw.
A diverse group of Memphis songwriters was selected to perform at the inaugural Memphis Music Bluebird showcase. Jason Freeman, Joy Whitlock and Billie Worley opened the show in the round, trading songs and VH1 Storytellers-esque anecdotes before handing things off to former Streetside Symphony frontman Jeremy Stanfill and headliner Cory Branan. The clearly road-weary Branan gave the night's best performance, delivering a dynamic set of new material from his forthcoming third album alongside a few old favorites ("Tall Green Grass," "Tame").
Music Foundation President Dean Deyo lauded the event as a success.
“Our main objective was twofold,” said Deyo. “First, we (the Foundation) wanted to be invited back to do another showcase, and secondly, we wanted the individual artists to be invited back to perform on their own. We achieved both.”