Songwriter of the Month: Josh Kear

IMG_6908.JPGJosh Kear is a four-time Grammy nominated songwriter and recipient of the ACM Song of the Year for Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.” He is the only songwriter in Grammy
history to win Best Country Song three times. Josh boasts a total of 11 number one songs and dozens of cuts by some of the world’s most famous musical artists including Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Labrinth, and Charlie Puth. 

Not only is Josh an incredibly successful songwriter, but is also a strong vocalist and tells great behind the scenes stories of how his hits came to be. He always gives a great Songwriter City experience.

#1 Songs

“Need You Now” –  Lady Antebellum  (14 week #1 AC, 5 week #1 Country, #2 Top 40)
·  2011 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Performance     by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and Best Country Song
·  2010 ACM award for Single of the Year and Song of the Year
·  2010 CMA award for Song of the Year
·  2010 ASCP Song of the Year
“Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood  (5 week #1)
·  2008 Grammy award for Country Song of the Year and Best Female Country Vocal        Performance
·   2007 CMA award for Single of the Year
·   2007 ASCAP awards for Song of the Year and Most Performed Song of the Year
“Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley
“Neon Light” – Blake Shelton
“Helluva Life” – Frankie Ballard 
“Highway Don’t Care” – Tim McGraw (feat. Taylor Swift & Keith Urban)  
“Drunk on You” – Luke Bryan  
·   ASCAP Song of the Year
“Blown Away” – Carrie Underwood 
  ·  2013 Grammy Awards for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance
“Two Black Cadillacs” – Carrie Underwood
“Drinking Class” – Lee Brice

Top 5 Songs

“(Kissed You) Good Night” – Gloriana #2
“Dancin’ Away with My Heart” – Lady Antebellum #2
“Redneck Crazy”  – Tyler Farr  #3

Other cuts by:  Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Susan Boyle, Jimmie Buffet, Darius Rucker, Labrinth, Eli Young Band, Martina McBride, Chris Young, Charlie Puth


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Thank You for an Amazing Year!


We want to thank our clients, partners, friends, supporters, and songwriter advocates for making it an incredible 2016 for Songwriter City. Many of Nashville’s elite songwriters gave the authentic music experience for conferences, dinners, lunches, closing ceremonies, conventions, corporate events, private parties, and more! Small groups, large groups, and everything in between. We are beyond excited for what 2017 holds as we bring tailor-made songwriter shows to more groups wanting a special one-of-a-kind experience. 

All of us with Songwriter City wish you the best of everything in 2017!



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Favorite Music of 2016

I don’t get too caught up in the “best of” list frenzy, but I do make an effort to list my favorites from the past year. Critically acclaimed or not. So here are some from 2016.



Top Musical Groups of 2016:

NEEDTOBREATHE, Little Big Town, Shovels & Rope, Judah & the Lion, twenty one pilots, Radiohead

Top Female Musical Artists of 2016:

Caitlyn Smith, Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, Lucie Silvas, Lori McKenna, Margo Price, Adele, Lauren Daigle, Brandy Clark, Daya

Top Male Musical Artists of 2016:

Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Dwight Yoakam

Top Albums of 2016:

  • Caitlyn Smith “Starfire”
  • Gabe Dixon “Turns To Gold”
  • Various Artists “Southern Family”
  • Maren Morris “Hero”
  • Dwight Yoakam “Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…”
  • Dawes “We’re All Gonna Die”
  • Audrey Assad “Inheritance”
  • Keith Urban “Ripcord”
  • Radiohead “A Moon Shaped Pool”
  • Sturgill Simpson “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth”
  • Miranda Lambert “The Weight of These Wings”
  • twenty one pilots (featuring MUTEMATH) “TOPxMM”
  • Margo Price “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter”
  • Lori McKenna “The Bird & The Rifle”
  • Gregory Porter “Take Me To The Alley”
  • Joe Bonamassa “Blues of Desperation”
  • Allen Toussaint “American Tunes”
  • Vince Gill “Down To My Last Bad Habit”
  • Kacey Musgraves “A Very Kacey Christmas”
  • Brandy Clark “Big Day In A Small Town”
  • Shovels & Rope “Little Seed”
  • Hillary Scott & The Scott Family “Love Remains”
  • Norah Jones “Daybreaks”

Top Singles of 2016:

  • “Starfire” – Caitlyn Smith
  • “Holding Her Freedom” – Gabe Dixon
  •  “Testify” – NEEDTOBREATHE
  • “Chain Breaker” – Zach Williams
  • “Better Man” – Little Big Town
  • “Driver” – Charles Kelley with Dierks Bentley and
  • “Humble & Kind” – Tim McGraw
  • “My Church” – Maren Morris
  • “Sober Saturday Night” – Chris Young w/ Vince Gill
  • “Good Good Father” – Chris Tomlin
  • “24K Magic” – Bruno Mars
  • “Parachute” – Chris Stapleton
  • “These Arms” – Dwight Yoakam
  • “Thy Will” – Hillary Scott & The Scott Family
  • “Letters To Ghosts” – Lisa Silvas
  • “Sit Still, Look Pretty” – Daya
  • “Black Magic” – Ruston Kelly
  • “Record Year” – Eric Church
  • “Tacoma” – Caitlyn Smith
  • “Take It All Back” – Judah and the Lion
  • “Money & Fame” – NEEDTOBREATHE
  • “Cake By the Ocean” – DNCE
  • “Back From The Dead” – Skillet
  • “Dangerous Woman” – Ariana Grande
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Doing The Prep Work

Brown and Brown Insurance 3-4-16

In the business world we all realize how important it is to execute and deliver for a big day, whether it’s a show, meeting, procedure, or any other important event. And while that target day is a pinnacle of importance,  it’s the advance work we do in preparation for it that matters just as much.  Not only our own normal personal planning we go through for the actual day, but the communication and prep work we must do in advance to equip clients, associates, and others we are partnering with for success. Otherwise we are just crossing our fingers and hoping for the best, which could be setting us up for falling below expectations.

Advance prep work has been an integral part in the early stages of Songwriter City. We have had a number of successful shows, and though it can be a challenge to prepare an audience who is unfamiliar with what our songwriters do exactly, it’s essential to lay the groundwork for a successful evening. Then the talented songwriters can deliver their best show and the audience can be ready to receive it.

In setting up these songwriter-round type events, I can’t stress enough to the client and buyer that what we’re putting together is not just another average show or background entertainment. It’s so much more than that. And if they’ve never seen a premiere songwriter show in action, it can be beyond conception. So we do everything we can to help that process along. Take for instance a recent corporate show we did for a group of about 50 business professionals from all over the U.S.. Only one or two had ever seen a songwriters in the round show, so we had to do our best to make sure they were initially attentive. During the course of the performance the entire crowd went from attentive to engaged and then to captivated. Standing ovation at the end. The stuff we aim for every show.

If the time isn’t put in on advance communication and prep work, then we leave it all to chance. Risking that the crowd will be more interested in networking or their dinner than the songwriters and missing something unmatched anywhere – getting to know the songwriters, how the hit songs were born, where they got the idea from, how it got from them to the artist that recorded it, all of which personalizes the song and gives it a deeper meaning. The crowd will miss the transparency, raw emotion, and interaction with true music creators. As a result they miss the power of the song and the essence of the music. So we do our best to ensure our guests understand that this is like nothing else they’ve seen and heard, but it takes a good amount of front end work to advise the client, event planner, or destination company so they’ll get everything they can out of the Songwriter City experience.

In business it bodes us all well to take the necessary time to lay the foundation, communicate details, and walk with clients and colleagues through what our cumulative goals are. The more informed they are and the greater understanding they have about what is going to take place, the more they can partner with us in bringing everything to the highest level of success for everyone involved.


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Ridiculously Talented – Jessi Alexander

I’ve always known it. The music industry has always known it. Jessi Alexander is one of the best female vocalists in Nashville. Unfortunately the general public didn’t get a full opportunity to discover it for themselves, in further proof that cream doesn’t always rise to the top, or at least in the way that is expected.Jessi_Alexander

After a friend submitted a demo tape to the NARAS Grammy Showcase in 2001, Alexander, who had no knowledge of the submission found herself a very surprised winner of the contest, an achievement that helped her get signed to a label deal with Columbia Nashville in 2003. Her debut album, Honeysuckle Sweet, was released in March 2005, but Alexander was dropped from the label a year later. So much for artist development. But she moved on to become one of the best songwriters in Nashville.

Alexander has since penned four #1’s including:

“The Climb” – A world-wide smash for Miley Cyrus and the anthem to her box office hit “The Hannah Montana Movie.” The track won the 2009 MTV Movie Awards Best Song from a Movie.

 “I Drive Your Truck” – Recorded by Lee Brice which won Song of the Year from the 2013 CMA Awards, 2014 ACM Awards, and 2013 NSAI Awards. The single was also nominated for a Grammy Award for “Country Song of the Year” in 2014

“Mine Would Be You” – A three week #1 for Blake Shelton and 2014 Grammy Award nominee for “Country Song of the Year.”

“Drink On It” – Another #1 for Blake Shelton

Jessi has had other cuts by: Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Ashley Monroe, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Tim McGraw, Celine Dion, Darius Rucker, Will Hoge, Sheryl Crow, Jana Kramer, and others.

Choosing to be her own artist, in her own way, and enjoying the life balance of family and career, Jessi Alexander is proof that the traditional music business game isn’t always the ideal road for a successful career as an artist and being Ridiculously Talented isn’t dependent or validated by a record deal. It’s by being the real deal. So if you aren’t familiar with her, then I would highly encourage you to get to know her music.



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The “Why” Behind Building Songwriter City

After more than 20 years working at various companies in the music business, I have been
getting asked the question in recent months, “Why did you decide to launch Songwriter City?” It sounds like an innocuous question, but it’s also profound. Anyone in the process of starting a business should be asking themselves the question of “why?” Mine is wrapped up in my fundamental design and desires.

It begins with the “why” I moved to Nashville, which was to be a part of the music industry because I had an intentional desire to work with talented artists and to help them be successful. It started in radio, went deeper with record labels, and then moved into other various forms of business. But my work with companies came to a point where it was more about the business and less about the artist. More about ego and power and less about the music. In an effort to get back on course, the opportunity  came to take the helm into my own hands.

I’m a big believer in “do what you love.” So what was it I loved most about the music industry? Songwriters. The foundation of everything artistic and creative. The fabric of talent that holds it all together. And my favorite form of entertainment are songwriter rounds. Those events when gifted songwriters gather together on stage to tell their stories of how their songs came to life, and perform those original songs in an intimate setting. Songs that may have been huge hits for other recording artists. It’s an authentic time of music and storytelling, and with the right combination of songwriters, a profound experience that is unmatched in any form of entertainment.

Time and time again I’ve seen people walk away from those type of shows saying it was one of the best music experiences they have ever been a part of and how special it was getting a glimpse behind the scenes. Songwriter City was born to bring those magical songwriter shows to as many people as possible and provide songwriters more opportunities through private, corporate, and select public shows. That gets me fired up.

So the simpler answer? Because I’m passionate about it. Because songwriters need to be lifted up and celebrated. A new mission has formed from the original desire, but it’s not about me or a business. It’s about songs, music, and true artists. Again.

Do you have a “why?”


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Song: Humble & Kind

Without going into the abyss of current stylistic debates of country music, one particular thing that has been missing on country radio is a great uplifting, inspiring, and introspective type of song.


Well, the wide chasm just waiting to be satisfied is getting its fill with the new single from Tim McGraw entitled “Humble & Kind.”

Written by the immensely talented singer/songwriter Lori McKenna, “Humble & Kind” is an important song at the perfect time. A song that, in the words of McGraw, “needed to be heard,” and I couldn’t agree more.

This should be one of the biggest songs of the year as people soak in the truth and wisdom of the lyric, stirring music, and the meaningful reminder of things lost which we must get back to again. Be humble. Be kind. Be better than we are. Love our neighbor as ourselves. Raise the bar back up from where it has fallen.

Music that matters and moves people deeply is vitally important to the health of not only country music, but music as a whole. May we have more of these category of songs to help heal and lift up our heads; to focus on what is most important in our lives and the lives of those around us.


“You know there’s a light that glows by the front door / Don’t forget the key’s under the mat / When childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind / Go to church ’cause your momma says to / Visit grandpa every chance that you can / It won’t be wasted time / Always stay humble and kind.”

“Hold the door, say please, say thank you / Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie / I know you got mountains to climb but / Always stay humble and kind / When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you / When the work you put in is realized / Let yourself feel the pride but / Always stay humble and kind.”

“Don’t expect a free ride from no one / Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why / Bitterness keeps you from flyin’ / Always stay humble and kind / Know the difference between sleeping with someone / And sleeping with someone you love / “I love you” ain’t no pick up line so / Always stay humble and kind.”

“When it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle / Shut off the AC and roll the windows down / Let that summer sun shine / Always stay humble and kind / Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you / When you get where you’re goin / Don’t forget turn back around / And help the next one in line / Always stay humble and kind.”



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