Favorite Music of 2017


I have to admit I wasn’t on top of my discovery game this year, but decent enough to compile an end of year list. There seems to be an unintentional common thread in my favorite music from 2017 and it is that a good portion of the artists are female and from the south. That’s a great thing, y’all! And another take away is that there is still hope for country and rock and roll. These were my favorites from 2017 that were excellent and stood out from the rest, in my personal opinion. 



  • Chris Stapleton “From A Room: Vol 1”
  • Greta Van Fleet “From the Fires”
  • Valerie June “The Order of Time”
  • Natalie Hemby “Puxico”
  • Imagine Dragons “Evolve”
  • Sunny Sweeney “Trophy”
  • Alison Krauss “Windy City”
  • Tyler Childers “Purgatory”
  • U2 “Songs Of Experience”
  • Lee Ann Womack “The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone”
  • Charlie Worsham “Beginning Of Things”
  • Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit “Nashville Sound”
  • Midland “On The Rocks”
  • Larkin Poe “Peach”
  • Khalid “American Teen”
  • Halsey “hopeless fountain kingdom”
  • Angeleena Presley “Wrangled”
  • NF “Perception”
  • Portugal, The Man “Woodstock”
  • Lorde “Melodrama”



  • Valerie June
  • Natalie Hemby
  • Sunny Sweeney
  • Alison Krauss
  • Taylor Swift
  • Rhiannon Giddens
  • Angeleena Presley
  • Halsey
  • Camila Cabello
  • Lorde
  • Ellie Holcomb



  • Charlie Worsham
  • Tyler Childers
  • Jason Isbell
  • Keith Urban
  • Luke Combs
  • Khalid
  • Colter Wall
  • Drew Womack
  • NF
  • Aaron Watson


10 BEST DUOS or GROUPS of 2017

  • Greta Van Fleet
  • Imagine Dragons
  • U2
  • Larkin Poe
  • Little Big Town
  • Jule Vera
  • The War On Drugs
  • The Mavericks
  • Turnpike Troubadors
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band



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Featured Songwriter: Jessi Alexander

Jessi Alexander

In 2001, after a friend submitted a demo tape to the NARAS Grammy Showcase, Jessi Alexander — who had no prior knowledge of the submission — found herself a very surprised winner, an achievement that helped the young singer get signed to Columbia Records in 2003. Despite being one of the finest female vocalists in Nashville, the record deal didn’t work out, proving that the best artists don’t always get the attention, airplay, and notoriety they deserve. 

Alexander turned the focus to songwriting and her career skyrocketed with her worldwide #1 hit “The Climb”. Miley Cyrus recorded the song and it soon became the anthem for her box office hit “The Hannah Montana Movie” and won the 2009 MTV Movie Awards ‘Best Song From A Movie’. Since then Jessi has penned three other number one’s including “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. Additional #1’s include Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You” and “Drink On It.” 

Other artists who have recorded Jessi’s songs inlcude Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Little Big Town, High Valley, Ashley Monroe, Patty Loveless, Eric Paslay, Trisha Yearwood, Celine Dion, Darius Rucker, Will Hoge, and more. She currently has the debut single “The Way I Talk” from Morgan Wallen which is climbing the charts.

There are many more hits and great things coming for Jessi and we are proud to have her as a Songwriter City partner!


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Celebrating Songwriters

Having been in Nashville for over 20 years now, I’ve had the opportunity to attend many Tin Pan South Songwriters Festivals, which just concluded their 25th annual event last week. The packed five nights of over 300 writers, at ten different venues, allow songwriters to share their compelling stories of inspiration and heartbreak behind their songs and give the audience a unique look behind the creative curtain. It’s a community celebration of songwriters everywhere and of the Songwriting Capital of the World – Nashville.

Over the years I’ve witnessed countless Tin Pan South songwriter rounds of top names with the biggest hits and also talented emerging songwriters who are searching for their first big break. I recall conversations at past shows with songwriters who were relatively new to town and didn’t have a performance slot, who are now some of the biggest names in the songwriting world. I’ve seen multi-genre songwriters deliver incredible performances and tell fascinating stories behind their songs and about their songwriting journey.

It was no different this year. The level of talent was exceptional and a spirit of songwriter celebration was thick in the air. And that’s what I love the most – the celebration of the heart and soul of music – the lifeblood of our entire existence as an art form and a business. The songwriters who come to town with a gift and a dream, to the city of songwriter dreams.

I’m proud to be a small part of this special community and do whatever is in my ability to shine the deserving spotlight on their immense talent. To increase their value and to bring more awareness to the masses. Songwriter City was born to celebrate the songwriter and it’s never been more apparent to me than last week at Tin Pan South.

Thanks to the Nashville Songwriters Association International for everything they do for songwriters around the world and for being the catalyst behind Tin Pan South. To all the sponsors who help put the festival on as well. It was yet another magical week of memories and I’m already looking forward to next year.

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Featured Songwriter: Lee Thomas Miller


The Songwriter City Featured Songwriter of the Month is Lee Thomas Miller. 

Lee has seven #1 singles including:

“The Impossible” – Joe Nichols
“I Just Wanna Be Mad” – Terri Clark
“The World” – Brad Paisley
“You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins
“I’m Still A Guy” – Brad Paisley
“Southern Girl” – Tim McGraw
“Perfect Storm” – Brad Paisley

Top 10 singles:

“In Color” – Jamey Johnson
     • 2009 ACM awards for Song of the Year
     • 2009 CMA award for Song of the Year
     • 2009 Music Row Song of the Year
“Nothin’ To Die For” – Tim McGraw
“Jesus In Disguise” – Brandon Heath
“Just A Girl” – Brandon Heath
“Crushin’ It” – Brad Paisley

Miller also has the current Brothers Osborne single “It Ain’t My Fault” which is currently climbing the charts.

Other cuts by: George Strait, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Scotty McCreery, Josh Turner, David Nail, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, John Michael Montgomery, Sammy Kershaw, Tracy Byrd, Tracy Lawrence, Randy Travis, Rhett Akins, Billy Currington, Craig Morgan, The Wreckers, Chris Young, and more!

Lee is an amazing songwriter performer, whether it’s in-the-round or a solo show, he delivers hit songs, fascinating stories, and is one of the best at engaging a crowd and making them part of the experience.

Lee currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International (NSAI), which takes him to Washington DC often to advocate in congress on behalf of composers. He is an incredible advocate and voice for songwriters everywhere.

We’re proud to have Lee as a Songwriter City partner!

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Featured Songwriter: 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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