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Ryman Auditorium and Laurel Wright

25 Feb

Perhaps the highlight of my last Nashville trip in January 2012 wasn’t performing at the Commodore or talking with Steve Seskin about his amazing career in the 90’s, but it was the Texaco Country Showdown at the Ryman hosted by LeAnn Rimes. This was the first time I experienced a live show at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

I was invited by friend and co-writer Sherry Brusso, who is also from Houston and happened to be in Nashville at the same time as me. She got free tickets through a friend to go support, Shane Martin. She also invited an old friend, Ana Vincent. So the three of us hung out for the night and experienced the National Finalist of the Country Showdown at the Ryman together. It was a nasty rainy night in downtown Nashville, but we had fun hanging out together.

LeAnn was an entertaining host as she introduced the 5 finalist of the national competition. The finalist included Gwendlyn Kay from Arkansas, Laurel Wright from Tennessee, Shane Martin a native of Minnesota, Keeira Lyn Ford from California and Paisley Van Patten a Utah native. All of these young performers were very entertaining, but it was Laurel Wright who stood out the entire night.

Laurel is a 16 year old singer/songwriter from Marysville, Tennessee whose influences include Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Patsy Cline. She was represented by WIVK in Knoxville, TN and sang two original songs in the competition, “Can’t You See” and “All That Is On her Mind”. Laurel  blew us all away with huge talent of not only singing but also songwriting. In the end she was presented with a $100,000 check from LeAnn Rimes. Find out more about this upcoming future star on facebook at or follow her on twitter at

Eric Paslay

28 Sep

In March 2011, I attended Tin Pan South in Nashville, which is the largest songwriter festival with hit songwriters performing at all the venues around Nashville. One of those nights I was at Douglas Corner to see Allen Shamblin (The House that Built Me) with a group of friends from Texas and was amazed by a special guest. This young guy was tall and lean and a hell of a guitar player. He inspired me with the grooves he was banging out on his acoustic guitar. His name was Eric Paslay and his performance was one of the most memorable performances over the entire week competing with huge hit writers such as Hillary Lindsey (Jesus Take the Wheel) and  Josh Kear (Need You Now)

Now only 6 months later, Eric finds himself at the top of the billboard charts with Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and on top of that he has signed his own record deal with EMI records and released his own first single “Never Really Wanted”. His unique style of country is the future of country music and I know we will be hearing much more from this great songwriter and artist.

If you have never heard of Eric Paslay, now is the time to check him out: