“I slept my way to the top!” – Rory Lee Feek
The Historic Station Inn still survives in the rapid developing Gulch area just south of downtown and Tin Pan South kicked off with the late set on April 2nd featuring Joey + Rory aka Joey Martin Feek and Rory Lee Feek (“Cheater, Cheater”), Tonya Lynette Stout (“What The Devil Wants”), Erin Enderlin ( “Last Call”) and up and coming Chris Caminiti (“Better Than Me”) performing in the round while across town at 3rd & Lindsley the writers from the hit TV show Nashville were creating a lot of buzz.
Nashville has been through a long lonely winter and tonight was no exception with temps already dropping into the 40’s as everybody got their popcorn and a cold one and settled down at the long tables that The Station Inn is known for.
The crowd seemed to be from every corner of the globe from Canada to England and beyond. It seems like fans outside the United States value song craft and the creators more than those that live within the 48 contiguous states do.
Every round needs a leader and Tonya seemed to be the de facto go-to among giants. Joey + Rory were bookended by Chris and Erin which made for quite an interesting spread of influences ranging from Billy Joel to Bobbie Gentry.
Chris kicked it off on acoustic playing off the fact that he was from the northeast and he wasn’t quite Country but was definitely his own thing. Chris moved between guitar and keyboards like it was nothing.
Tonya brought things into focus and it seemed that the theme for the night began to build on cheatin’ and drinkin’ songs other than the song Chris said fit with his life raising a stepson and he definitely told a great story on that one. Chris wasn’t sure if the song would find a life since everybody in Nashville is trying to be 22 right now.
Tonya showed classic songwriting style well-developed with a strong voice calling up one of her co-writers, Paul and Rory gladly handed over his six string for Paul to sit in on the fun.
Rory was articulate on the guitar and comfortable in the catbird seat with his Harlan Howard pedigree. Writing music for Harlan Howard would be the equivalent of getting one of Chet Atkin’s CGP certificates or being Chuck Leavell in The Rolling Stones for all these years. The latter would be truer because in reality maybe The Stones were the lucky ones to get Chuck on keyboards. They know his pedigree better than 99.9% of Stones fans.
Joey + Rory have had some great success over the last couple of years and being out on the road with The Zac Brown Band doesn’t hurt either. They have their own “Honky Tonk Women” with “Cheater, Cheater” that was released on Sugarhill no less. I don’t think Sugarhill is used to having a Top 40 hit.
Between swapping stories about being on the road with Zac Brown that ended in a co-write there were stories of how songwriting sessions go in their household with Joey baking chocolate chip cookies and other delights. It sounds like the food starts in the kitchen when songwriting begins in their household.
Erin Enderlin said that when Joey was making BLT’s it kind of made you wanted to hurry up and finish writing so you could eat. It sounded like Erin was a regular at their house.
Erin was the last in line but really was more like the fourth at bat with the San Francisco Giants ready to clean up the plates hitting a home run every time. Luckily, she had her 2011 self-titled CD available to take home so I could put “Baby Sister” on cranked up on my way back home.
In a way this was really a contrast between the set at The Station Inn and what was going on over at 3rd & Lindsley where T-Bone Burnett had been putting his stamp on some very interesting up and coming writers. The set at The Station Inn basically showed that the spirit of traditional country still had a thread and importance and for many outside Nashville a definite relevance just as the TV show Nashville premiers Country with a twist of lime.
All four were great songwriters and were comfortable onstage as well. If I had to take something home, it would be that Rory Lee Feek is a deft guitarist with clean articulate lines and has a great long time duet team going on with Joey. While I was listening to the stories about food in the Feek household while guitars were strumming and words were being penned to paper it made me want to be in on one of those songwriting sessions with Erin and The Feeks or at least stop by the all-night diner down by the Cumberland for some late night breakfast.
The other takeaway was Erin; literally, I got the CD so I could rock out to “Baby Sister” on the way home. Erin has enough blues in her music and her voice to make it interesting for me. I also appreciate the fact that she brought along her own utility player laying down some great dobro slide.
If I had to make a pick, I was glad I was at The Station Inn last night.
– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN email@example.com