Blog Archives

Dierks Bentley Dedicates a Day to CMA

Through the CMA Songwriters Series, fans around the United States and abroad continue to experience first-hand the creativity of those behind-the-scenes Nashville pros who write hits for the stars. At most of these shows, they benefit as well from hearing one participant who straddles both sides of the line between writing and performing.

That honor went to Dierks Bentley when he performed in a Songwriters Series show Sept. 6 at New York’s Joe’s Pub. But he also devoted that morning to a visit to PS 103, the Hector Fontanez School, in the Bronx, where a CMA donation of $20,000 enabled the school to open a music program for students for the first time. To commemorate this first outreach beyond the Nashville area of CMA’s Keep the Music Playing program, the artist shared his thoughts with an assembly of fourth-graders about the value of learning about music – and was delighted when they started singing along as he performed “5-1-5-0,” which they had rehearsed prior to his arrival.  Read the rest of this entry

Dierks Bentley Returns to CMA Songwriters Series in New York

On Sept. 6, former CMA intern Dierks Bentley renewed his ties to the organization during a visit to New York City. Midday was devoted to a visit to PS 103, the Hector Fontanez School, in the Bronx, where a CMA donation of $20,000 enabled the school to open a music program for students for the first time.

To commemorate this first outreach beyond the Nashville area of CMA’s Keep the Music Playing program, the artist shared his thoughts with an assembly of fourth-graders about the value of learning about music – and was delighted when they started singing along as he performed “5-1-5-0,” which they had rehearsed prior to his arrival.

“It’s a great honor to be a part of this, to get a bunch of musical instruments to the classroom so teachers for the first time can have music as an option for their curriculum,” he reflected while on his way out from Manhattan for this event. “I’m really excited to see how all the money that’s been raised through CMA is being used here.”  Read the rest of this entry

Rodney Atkins Joins Pittsburgh Premiere of CMA Songwriters Series

Millions have come to know and appreciate Rodney Atkins as an entertainer. He connects with his audiences personally and directly; they are, to paraphrase one of his hit songs, his people, cut from the same cloth and guided by the values he celebrates in song.

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CMA Songwriters Series Targets New Markets

On a crisp night in March, close to 200 Country Music fans sat quietly and respectfully as Victoria Shaw, sitting at the keyboard, sang, “The River.” Within a few notes, the fans recognized the tune from its days as a No. 1 hit, the fifth and final single from Garth Brooks’ 1991 album Ropin’ the Wind. What many in the audience may not have known about until that moment was Shaw’s participation with Brooks as co-writer of the song.

A similar epiphany followed, as Bob DiPiero, guitar in hard, strummed and sang the words to the George Strait hit “Blue Clear Sky.”

This scene is familiar to veterans of Nashville’s music scene. “In the round” is the usual term indicating a group of maybe four or five songwriters sitting in a circle, playing acoustic instruments and singing songs known primarily from their days as radio hits. In fact, this format got its start in Nashville, where the importance of the songwriter is well-known and appreciated throughout the music community. In these intimate settings, the songwriters pay homage to songs they created and, usually, others made famous. Often, before their “unplugged” performances, the songwriter tells the audience about the song’s origin and what inspired it, shares the story behind its lyrics and otherwise reveals details that are often left untold.

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