Celebrating Cookeville Area Songwriters During Tennessee Songwriters' Week: Feb. 17-23,2019
The great state of Tennessee is a collection of stories, stories shared through song. With seven genres of music born in Tennessee (can you name them...?), it's easy to see why it has become known as The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.
We want to share the songwriters of that soundtrack that have been busy composing, pickin' and serenading on our front porches, in our local breweries and restaurants, and on the stages of our downtown festivals. Some have made it big. Some are still on the journey.
See below for interesting local music history connections, and keep an eye on this page for special events, songwriter showcases, open mic nights and more to take place throughout the week in honor of local Tennessee songwriters.
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Garth Brooks (yes, THE Garth Brooks!) has strong musical ties to Cookeville. While celebrating his 7-diamond album accolade, Brooks named Cookeville as 1 of 7 most influential cities in Tennessee to impact his career, after signing with Capital Records following a 1990 concert at Tennessee Tech’s Hooper Eblen Center.
Genre-bending band Judah & the Lion are now mixing melodies, banjoes, and more to create "Folk Hop 'n' Roll," recording in nearby Nashville aka Music City. Lead vocalist and songwriter Judah Akers grew up in Cookeville, and sees no boundaries when it comes to music. The native represents Cookeville wherever he goes, and even donned his old Cookeville Cavalier baseball uniform during a recent concert in his hometown.
Benny Martin of White County, just south of Cookeville, was an Opry member, singer, songwriter and Bluegrass Hall of Fame fiddle player. *
Lester Flatt, also of White County, was a pioneering bluegrass musician, guitarist and vocalist who was part of the famous Flatt and Scruggs duo that sang the iconic theme song for “The Beverly Hillbillies.” He was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor. *
Born in nearby Warren County, former Tennessee Tech music student Dottie West’s successful singing and songwriting career earned her numerous awards and honors, including a Grammy, two CMAs for her duos with Kenny Rogers, four BMIs for songwriting and membership in the Grand Ole Opry. *
Bluegrass prodigy Sierra Hull of nearby Byrdstown is an internationally acclaimed musician, singer, songwriter and recording artist. Hull began playing the mandolin at the age of 8 and at 15 recorded her first album. Boston’s Berklee College of Music gave her the school’s most prestigious award, the Presidential Scholarship, a first for a bluegrass musician. *
Jamie Dailey from Gainesboro, near local natural attraction Cummins Falls, has sung back up with Dolly Parton, Ricky Skaggs and others as well as being lead singer and guitarist with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. His duo partnership with Darrin Vincent has earned the pair numerous International Bluegrass Music Awards and several Dove Awards as well as multiple Grammy nominations. *
Crossville native and Cookeville neighbor Mandy Barnett held the titular role in the musical “Always… Patsy Cline,” a musical based on the life of Patsy Cline. Her album, “I’ve Got a Right to Cry,” was a huge critical success, named by Rolling Stone magazine as 1999’s top country album. She appeared on David Letterman and The Tonight Show after raving reviews in People, Newsweek, Interview and other national publications. *
Rodney Atkins, who attended Tennessee Tech and owns property in Putnam County, has received six nominations from the Academy of Country Music and two from the Country Music Association, winning Top New Male Vocalist from the former in 2006. His album, “If You’re Going Through Hell,” produced four number one singles and was certified platinum, selling more than one million copies. *
Some songwriters who have made the area their home while they continue to perform worldwide. Country singers Aaron and Thea Tippin and John Anderson relocated to the area, where each of them has invested in the community by opening businesses and participating in philanthropic efforts. *
Award winning songwriter and multi-instrument performer Darrell Scott, who has written some of country’s best known hits and recently toured with Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, owns a home and farm in Cookeville's neighboring community of Overton County. *
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TENNSSEE SONGWRITERS' WEEK: LOCAL EVENT SCHEDULE
Note: All listings are Central Time Zone.
* FRI. FEB 22
* 6-8 p.m. Jake Hoot at THE BROASTERY
* 8 p.m. Chuck Elliott Band at RED SILO BREWING CO.
* 8 p.m. The Smoky Nights at CHAR
* SAT. FEB 23
* 8 p.m. Day Tripper at RED SILO BREWING CO.
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ATTENTION: LOCAL BUSINESSES, RESTAURANTS, BREWERIES, VENUES + MORE!
How are YOU celebrating Tennessee Songwriters’ Week?
Here are some ideas on how you + your business can participate:
1 - Host an open mic night for local songwriters
2 - Serve as a venue for a songwriters’ showcase
3 - Create a special drink or food menu that week with song/music inspired names
4 - Host a music trivia night with songwriter-themed questions
5 - Share fun facts about local songwriters on your social media
6 - Get creative! Find ways to highlight one or all of the 7 genres of music born in Tennessee (blues, bluegrass, country, southern gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, rock-a-billy, and soul).
7 - And … MOST IMPORTANTLY, share what you are doing with the Visit Cookeville-Putnam County team.
Share at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can spread the word!