Monday, June 30, 2008

Ten Out of Tenn, New Pop Records and Country Gold

Songwriter and recording artist Trent Dabbs and his graphic designer wife Kristen have dashed off another round in their compilation series Ten Out of Tenn which highlights ten pop artists based in Nashville who share aesthetic similarities (and often band members and producers). The collection shines a deserving spotlight on what is arguably the most vibrant scene in Nashville right now - the crew of likeminded solo artist/songwriters who have all begun to get attention outside of town but whose creative competition have served to sharpen their skills locally over the past several years. Almost every artist featured on the disc have had songs show up in TV, film and commercials over the past year and most have also found slots on high profile tours. 

Leading off the set appropriately is Erin McCarley the talented and stunning San Diego transplant who recently signed to major label Universal Republic after a period of intense interest by just about every major entity in the music business. You can expect to see her name (and hear her songs) everywhere this fall. Also among the songs selected for the compilation is the first new tune from Interscope artist Butterfly Boucher since her well received debut Flutterby as well as standout cuts from TV soundtrack favorites Matthew Perryman Jones and Katie Herzig and songwriting stars-in-the-making Andy Davis and Jeremy Lister. There will be a Nashville CD release show on July 19 at the Cannery Ballroom featuring all Ten artists, who will not only be performing individually but will also be sitting in as "band" members during each others sets. 

It has also been a busy time for some of the other standout Nashville pop songwriter/artists not featured on the compilation. Both Mat Kearney (Columbia) and Landon Pigg (RCA) have been in the studio crafting the follow up discs to their respective major label bows. No word on release dates for either unfinished album but their fellow Nashville pop-rock neighbor Gabe Dixon has finally set a release for his long awaited sophomore set on the recently revived Fantasy records (after a protracted departure from his previous record deal that kept us waiting and waiting and...). The Gabe Dixon Band will release their self titled record on August 26 and we can unequivocally say it is one of the finest pop records in recent memory. It is an album steeped in the style of 70's singer songwriters but it never apes that era in any retro revivalist fashion. Dixon is just simply as good as many of the people who influenced his writing - Elton John, Jackson Browne, Dr. John - and with this release there is finally a fitting document of his tremendous talent. 

Now classic country is not usually an area covered in this portion of the program but the recent release of the Country Music Hall Of Fame® And Museum Archive Series DVD's is well worth mentioning no matter what type of music is dominating your iPod these days. The Country Hall and reissue CD/DVD specialists Shout! Factory have teamed up to deliver what has to be a eureka moment for musical goldminers who have always wanted to peek inside the Hall's famously expansive vaults. The two DVD's, Tammy Wynette: Legendary Performances and Marty Robbins: Legendary Performances, feature rare, career-spanning performances "culled from multiple broadcast and cable television shows archived in the Museum." The archivists at the Hall have loads more "Legendary Performances" by a number of other legendary performers sitting in storage. Here's hoping this series is a success so they can start sharing some more of those precious gems. 

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