The “Why” Behind Songwriter City

Friday, May 27th, 2016


 

After more than 20 years working at various companies in the music business, I have been getting asked the question in recent months, “Why did you decide to launch Songwriter City?” It sounds like an innocuous question, but it’s also profound.

Anyone in the process of starting a business should be asking themselves the question of “why?” Mine is wrapped up in my fundamental design and desires. It begins with the “why” I moved to Nashville, which was to be a part of the music industry because I had an intentional desire to work with talented artists and to help them be successful. It started in radio, went deeper with record labels, and then moved into other various forms of business. But my work with companies came to a point where it was more about the business and less about the artist. More about ego and power and less about the music. In an effort to get back on course, the opportunity  came to take the helm into my own hands. I’m a big believer in “do what you love.” So what was it I loved most about the music industry? Songwriters. The foundation of everything artistic and creative. The fabric of talent that holds it all together. And my favorite form of entertainment are songwriter rounds. Those events when gifted songwriters gather together on stage to tell their stories of how their songs came to life, and perform those original songs in an intimate setting. Songs that may have been huge hits for other recording artists. It’s an authentic time of music and storytelling, and with the right combination of songwriters, a profound experience that is unmatched in any form of entertainment.

Time and time again I’ve seen people walk away from those type of shows saying it was one of the best music experiences they have ever been a part of and how special it was getting a glimpse behind the scenes. Songwriter City was born to bring those magical songwriter shows to as many people as possible and provide songwriters more opportunities through private, corporate, and select public shows. That gets me fired up.

So the simpler answer? Because I’m passionate about it. Because songwriters need to be lifted up and celebrated. A new mission has formed from the original desire, but it’s not about me or a business. It’s about songs, music, and true artists. Again.   – Mike

Do you have a “why?”

The Warren Brothers

The Warren Brothers

#1 Songs

“Lights Come On” – Jason Aldean

“The Highway Don’t Care” – Tim McGraw (feat. Taylor Swift & Keith Urban)

“Little Bit Of Everything” – Keith Urban

“Drink To That All Night” – Jerrod Niemann

“If You’re Reading This” – Tim McGraw

“Felt Good On My Lips” – Tim McGraw

“Feel That Fire” – Dierks Bentley

“The Lucky One” – Faith Hill #5

“Anyway” – Martina McBride #5

“Red Solo Cup” – Toby Keith #9

“Wrong Baby Wrong” – Martina McBride #11

“Teenage Daughters” – Martina McBride #17

“Sober Saturday Night” – Current Top 20 Chris Young single featuring Vince Gill

Other cuts by: Steven Tyler, Frankie Ballard, Randy Houser, A Thousand Horses, Tyler Farr, Michael Ray, Joss Stone, Nickelback, Hinder, Gin Blossoms

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Rhett Atkins

#1 Songs
“Don’t Get Me Started” – Rhett Akins

“That Ain’t My Truck” – Rhett Akins

“Boys Round Here” – Blake Shelton

“Hey Girl” – Billy Currington

“Honey Bee” – Blake Shelton

“Give Me Some Of That” – Thomas Rhett

“Tonight Looks Good On You” – Jason Aldean

“I Know Somebody” – LoCash

“Young & Crazy” – Frankie Ballard

“Mind Reader” – Dustin Lynch

“Take A Back Road” – Rodney Atkins

“Just Getting’ Started” – Jason Aldean

“I Don’t Want This Night To End” – Luke Bryan

“It Goes Like This” – Thomas Rhett

“When She Says Baby” – Jason Aldean

“All About Tonight” – Blake Shelton

“All Over Me” – Josh Turner

“Gimmie That Girl” – Joe Nichols

“Huntin’, Fishin’, & Lovin’ Every Day” – Luke Bryan

“Put a Girl In It” – Brooks & Dunn

“Point At You” – Justin Moore

Top 5 Songs

“Farmer’s Daughter” – Rodney Atkins

“I Can Take It From There” – Chris Young

“Parking Lot Party” – Lee Brice

“Ready Set Roll” – Chase Rice

“Small Town Throwdown” – Brantley Gilbert #8

“That Don’t Sound Like You” – Lee Brice #10

“Star Of The Show” – Thomas Rhett #13

Current Jon Pardi single “Dirt On My Boots”

Other cuts by: Jack Ingram, Craig Morgan, Jerrod Niemann, Trent Willman, Reba McEntire, Tyler Farr

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JOSH KEAR

 

#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 
Top 5 Songs
“Drinking Class” – Lee Brice  #2
“(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, Eli Young Band, Martina McBride, Gloriana, Chris Young, Charlie Puth
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TIM NICHOLS

 

#1 Songs

“Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw (10 week #1)

2004 Grammy Award for Country Song of the Year
2004 ACM Award for Song of the Year
2004 CMA Award for Song of the Year
2004 Billboard Award for Country Song of the Year
2004 BMI Award for Country Song of the Year
2004 ASCAP Award for Country Song of the Year
2004 NSAI Award for Song of the Year

“(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing” – Trace Adkins
“The Man I Want to Be” – Chris Young
“Girls Lie Too” – Terri Clark
“A Baby Changes Everything” – Faith Hill (#1 AC chart)
“I’ll Think of a Reason Later” – Lee Ann Womack
“Brotherly Love” – Keith Whitley (duet with Earl Thomas Conley)

Top 5 Songs

“Heads Carolina, Tails California” – Jo Dee Messina
“I’d Rather Ride Around with You” – Reba McEntire
“I Wanna Do It All” – Terri Clark
“That’d Be Alright” – Alan Jackson
“I Got the Boy” – Jana Kramer
“Cowboys and Angels” – Dustin Lynch
“I’m Over You” – Keith Whitley
“I Still Miss You” – Keith Anderson

“Trying To Hide A Fire In The Dark” – Billy Dean #7
“You’re Not In Kansas Anymore” – Jo Dee Messina #8
“Vidalia” – Sammy Kershaw #10
“All Is Fair In Love & War” – Ronnie Milsap #11
“That’s the Kind of Mood I’m In” – Patty Loveless #13
“She Cranks My Tractor” – Dustin Lynch #16
“She Only Smokes When She Drinks” – Joe Nichols #17
“I Only Want You For Christmas” – Alan Jackson

Other cuts by: Turner Nichols, Tracy Byrd, Michael Peterson, John Corbett, David Kersh, Jamie O’Neal, James Otto, Blackhawk, Aaron Tippin, Van Zant

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CHRIS DeSTEFANO

 

#1 Songs
“Something In The Water” – Carrie Underwood (7 week #1)
  • 2015 Best Country Solo Performance
“Don’t Ya”  – Brett Eldredge
“Little Toy Guns” – Carrie Underwood
“From The Ground Up” – Dan + Shay
“Good Girl” – Carrie Underwood
“Hey Girl” – Billy Carrington
“Just Getting’ Started” – Jason Aldean
“Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood
“Kick The Dust Up” – Luke Bryan
“Nothin’ Like You” – Dan + Shay
“That’s My Kind Of Night” – Luke Bryan
 
Top 5 Songs
“Aw Naw” – Chris Young
 “Ready Set Roll” – Chase Rice
“Rewind” – Rascal Flatts
“Smoke Break” – Carrie Underwood
 “Why Ya Wanna” – Jana Kramer
 
Other cuts by: Bon Jovi, Thomas Rhett, Jake Owen, Florida Georgia Line, Kelly Clarkson, Cole Swindell, Scotty McReery, Lauren Alaina, Lucy Hale, David Archuleta, Rachel Platten, Eli Young Band, Connie Britton, Big Time Rush
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RADNEY FOSTER

 

#1 Songs
“Nobody Wins” – Radney Foster
“Texas in 1880” – Radney Foster
“Real Fine Place To Start” – Sara Evans
“Raining On Sunday” – Keith Urban
“Love Someone Like Me” – Holly Dunn
“Anyone Else” – Collin Raye
“Tonight’s Not The Night” – Randy Rogers Band (Texas Music chart)
“Three Days” – Pat Green (Texas Music chart)
• Nominated for a 2003 Grammy for Country Song of the Year
• Song of the Year, Texas Music chart

Top 10 Songs
“I’m In” – Keith Urban #2
“Just Call Me Lonesome” – Radney Foster
“Easier Said Than Done” – Radney Foster
“Don’t Go Out With Him” – T. Graham Brown/Tanya Tucker
“Since I Found You” – Sweethearts of the Rodeo
“Everyday Angel” – Radney Foster Top 40
“I Knew You That Way” – Luke Bryan
“If I Had Another Heart” – Randy Rogers Band

Other cuts by: Darius Rucker, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Dierks Bentley, Jack Ingram, Gary Allan, Sunny Sweeney, Los Lonely Boys, George Benson, Dixie Chicks, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jace Everett, Carlene Carter, The Kinleys, Marc Broussard, Hootie & the Blowfish

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CASEY BEATHARD

 

#1 Songs
“The Boys of Fall” – Kenny Chesney
“Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)” – Rodney Atkins
“Come Back Song” – Darius Rucker
“Find Out Who Your Friends Are” – Tracy Lawrence
“Don’t Blink” – Kenny Chesney
“No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” – Kenny Chesney
“Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo” – Tracy Byrd
“Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” – Aaron Tippin

Top 10 Songs
“Do You Want Fries with That” – Tim McGraw
“Homeboy” – Eric Church
“How ’bout Them Cowgirls” – George Strait
“I Got A Feelin’” – Billy Currington
“Just Fishin’” – Trace Adkins
“Like a Wrecking Ball” – Eric Church
“Like Jesus Does” – Eric Church
“Right Where I Need to Be” – Gary Allan
“The Outsiders” – Eric Church
“Walk a Little Straighter” – Billy Currington

Other cuts by: George Strait, Jake Owen, Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, Clay Walker, Clay Davidson, Jeff Bates, Josh Thompson, Terri Clark, Montgomery Gentry

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ALLEN SHAMBLIN

 

#1 Songs
“Walk On Faith” – Mike Reid
“Don’t’ Laugh At Me” – Mark Wills
“He Walked On Water” – Randy Travis
“The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert • 2011 Grammy award for Best Female Country Performance
“Where The Blacktop Ends” – Keith Urban
“In This Life” – Collin Raye
“We Were In Love” – Toby Keith
“Thinkin’ Problem” – David Ball

Top 10 Songs
“I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt • Ranked one of the greatest songs of all time
“Life’s A Dance” – John Michael Montgomery

Other cuts by: The Judds, Patty Loveless, Anointed, Steve Wariner, Rascal Flatts, Garth Brooks, Ricky Van Shelton, Ashley Monroe, Mike Reid, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Chesney, Neal McCoy, Dan Seals

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JESSI ALEXANDER

 

“The Climb” – Miley Cyrus #1
    • Top worldwide hit
“I Drive Your Truck” – Lee Brice #1
    • 2013 CMA award for Song of the Year
    • 2013 ACM award for Song of the Year
“Drink On It” – Blake Shelton #1
“When Love Gets A Hold Of You” – Reba McEntire
“Mine Would Be You” – Blake Shelton #1
“Song About A Girl” – Eric Paslay #12
“Pray For You” – Swon Brothers
“Damn Country Music” – Tim McGraw

Other cuts by: Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Ashley Monroe, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Celine Dion, Darius Rucker, Will Hoge, Sheryl Crow, Jana Kramer

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AARON BARKER

 

#1 Songs

“Baby Blue” – George Strait

“Love Without End, Amen”–- George Strait 5 week #1

“Easy Come, Easy Go” – George Strait

“Love Happens Like That” – Neal McCoy

“What About Now” – Lonestar 5 week #1

Top 5 Songs

“You’re Beginning To Get To Me” – Clay Walker #2

“I’d Like To Have That One Back” – George Strait #3

“Not Enough Hours In The Night” – Doug Supernaw #3

“I Know She Still Loves Me” – George Strait #5

“I Can Still Make Cheyenne” – George Strait #4

“Watch This” – Clay Walker #4

Other cuts for Tyler Farr, Willie Nelson, Aaron Tippin, Lisa Brokop, Ty England, Trent Tomlinson, Tracy Lawrence, Trace Adkins

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LEE THOMAS MILLER

 

#1 Songs
“The Impossible” – Joe Nichols
“I Just Wanna Be Mad” – Terri Clark
“The World” – Brad Paisley
“You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins
• 2008 NSAI award for Song of the Year
• 2009 ASCAP Song of the Year
“I’m Still A Guy” – Brad Paisley
“Southern Girl” – Tim McGraw
“Perfect Storm” – Brad Paisley

Top 10 Songs
“Crushin’ It” – Brad Paisley
“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
“Nothing To Die For” – Tim McGraw
“Jesus In Disguise” – Brandon Heath
“Just A Girl” – Brandon Heath

Newest single for Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato “Without A Fight” (Currently Top 15)

Other cuts by: Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Scotty McCreery, Josh Turner, Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols, David Nail, Thomas Rhett, Casey James, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Joe Nichols, Terri Clark, John Michael Montgomery, Sammy Kershaw, Tracy Byrd, Tracy Lawrence, Randy Travis, Rhett Akins, Billy Currington, Craig Morgan, The Wreckers, Chris Young, Blackhawk, Mark Wills

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KAREN STALEY

 

#1 Songs
“Keeper Of The Stars” – Tracy Byrd
• ACM award for Song Of The Year
• CMT’s Greatest Country Love Songs Of All Time
“Take Me As I Am” – Faith Hill
“A Face In The Crowd” – Michael Martin Murphy & Holly Dunn
“Across The Miles” – 3rd Tyme Out
• IBMA International Bluegrass Song Of The Year

Top 10 Songs
“Let’s Go To Vegas” – Faith Hill
“On A Night Like This” – Trick Pony
“Everytime I Cry” – Terri Clark

Other cuts by: Reba, Dolly Parton, Kathy Mattea, Rick Trevino, Michelle Wright, Confederate Railroad, Patti Loveless, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Daniel O’Donnell

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WYNN VARBLE

 

“Have You Forgotten?” – Darryl Worley #1
“Waitin’ on a Woman” – Brad Paisley #1
“A Little More Country Than That” – Easton Corbin #1
“Sounds Like Life To Me” – Darryl Worley #11
“When You Need My Love” – Darryl Worley #15
“Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind” – Kellie Pickler #16
“Mom” – Garth Brooks

Other cuts by: Garth Brooks, Lee Ann Womack, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Easton Corbin Montgomery Gentry, Gary Allan, Trace Adkins, Tracy Byrd, The Kinleys, Chris LeDoux, Mark Chesnutt and Sammy Kershaw

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KELLEY LOVELACE

 

#1 Songs
“He Didn’t Have To Be” – Brad Paisley

“The Impossible” – Joe Nichols

“I Just Wanna Be Mad” – Terri Clark

“The World” – Brad Paisley

“Don’t Forget To Remember Me” – Carrie Underwood

“Start A Band” – Brad Paisley & Keith Urban

“I’m Still A Guy” – Brad Paisley

“Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” – Randy Houser

“All-American Girl” – Carrie Underwood

“Water” – Brad Paisley

“Remind Me” – Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood

“Girls Lie Too” – Terri Clark

“Ticks” – Brad Paisley

“Online” – Brad Paisley

“American Saturday Night” – Brad Paisley

Top 5 Songs
“Wrapped Around” – Brad Paisley #2

“Two People Fell In Love” – Brad Paisley #4

“What’s A Guy Gotta Do” – Joe Nichols #3

“Riverbank” – Brad Paisley #2

“Laughed Until We Cried” – Jason Aldean

Other cuts by:
Sheryl Crow, Hunter Hayes, Jana Kramer, Lauren Alaina, Buddy Jewell

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BOB DIPIERO

 

#1 Songs

“American Made”- The Oak Ridge Boys
“Wink”- Neal McCoy
“Blue Clear Sky”- George Strait
“Daddy’s Money”- Ricochet
“Worlds Apart”- Recorded by Vince Gill
“That Rock Won’t Roll”- Restless Heart
“Little Rock”- Reba McEntire
“(Do You Love Me) Just Say Yes”- Highway 101
“The Church On Cumberland Road”- Shenandoah
“Money In The Bank”- John Anderson
“Take Me As I Am”- Faith Hill
“Till You Love Me”- Reba McEntire
“They’re Playin’ Our Song”- Neal McCoy
“If You Ever Stop Loving Me”- Montgomery Gentry
“Southern Voice”- Tim McGraw

Top 10 Songs

“Cowboys Like Us”- George Strait
“Gone”- Montgomery Gentry
“You Can’t Take The Honky Tonk Out Of The Girl”- Brooks & Dunn
“Walking Away A Winner”- Kathy Mattea
“Should’ve Asked Her Faster”- Ty England
“Sentimental Ol’ You”- Charly McClain
“Mirror, Mirror”- Diamond Rio
“She Don’t Tell Me To”- Montgomery Gentry
“Lovin’ You Is Fun”- Easton Corbin
“Anywhere But Here”- Sammy Kershaw
“There You Are”- Martina McBride
“From A Table Away”- Sunny Sweeney

Other cuts by: Neal McCoy, Pam Tillis, Rhett Akins, Rick Trevino, Bryan White, Joe Diffie, Mindy McCready, Billy Ray Cyrus, Reba McEntire, Aaron Tippin, Brooks & Dunn, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt, Gretchen Wilson, The Mavericks, Tracy Byrd

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CHRIS WALLIN

 

“Love Me If You Can” – Toby Keith #1

“Don’t Blink” – Kenny Chesney 6 week #1

“Something To Be Proud Of” – Montgomery Gentry 2 week #1

“I’m Tryin” – Trace Adkins #5

“Speed” – Montgomery Gentry #5

“People Loving People” – Garth Brooks #19

Other cuts by: Lorrie Morgan, Montgomery Gentry, Sammy Kershaw, Trace Adkins, Michael Peterson, Confederate Railroad, Neal McCoy, Brad Paisley, Joe Diffie, Diamond Rio, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith

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© 2016 Songwriter City