Making it in Music City

All things related to Nashville & The music industry: singing, songwriting, managing, booking, touring, publishing.

The Land of Lincoln

So I remembered that I have a blog… :-p

I figured in honor of re-launching my website and new things to come, I would dive back into blogging, and a great starting point seemed like it would be a re-cap of last weekend’s mini-tour to Illinois.

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First up was a stop in my college-days hometown of DECATUR, IL for a show at Timbuktu Saloon. My good friend Chance Phebus and I played a show together and had a great time playing country covers and originals for an AWESOME crowd of fans and friends. I brought my guitar player Tony Merz with me this time around to spice things up a little bit on stage, and we definitely had our fair share of adventures. We made a pre-show stop at one of my favorite little restaurants, La Gondola, for a Torpedo sandwich… I had forgotten that these things are like 18 INCHES long! I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the monstrosity before we devoured it, but it was definitely a delicious trip down memory lane from the ol’ Millikin days.

Here are a few pictures from that performance:

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The next day we drove up to the Chicago area and played at an Irish Pub in Villa Park, close to where I grew up. This was probably my favorite performance because I got to see SO many family members and old friends, including friends I hadn’t since high school and elementary school! It was amazing to feel so much support in my home city, and I had a great time playing some new songs and old favorites. I even got Tony to play a song that we wrote together, and he rocked the house. You can check that song out here:

“If Things Were Different” by Tony Merz

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Our last stop to end the weekend was back in the Decatur area, opening for my good friends Day 40 at their EP Release Concert at the Mt. Zion Convention Center. It was great to get to warm up the crowd for this talented band as they premiered songs from their brand new release “Enemies.” It was pretty great to get to play in a bigger venue with lights, big sound, and even some fog effects! Thanks again to Jim and all the guys in Day 40 for inviting us, we had a great time.

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It was a short trip, but definitely a great experience. It felt so good to be back on the road and playing for fans in my home state. Can’t wait to get back out again soon!

As I mentioned up top, I’ve just re-launcehd my website! Check it out at www.anniekennedycountry.com. From there you can link to all my other social media to keep up with the latest news, music, and tour dates!

-Annie

Four Years

This weekend marks my 4 year Nash-iversary; 4 years since I graduated college, packed my bags, and started my life as a singer/songwriter in Music City. In some ways I can’t believe that it’s only been 4 years, and then I take a breath and can’t believe that it’s already been 4 years.

I am so thankful to be in a city I love, making music and learning more about the creative process and my own voice every day. You all know I love an excuse to make a good list, so I figured this was as good a chance as any to reflect on the 4 biggest lessons I’ve learned, and the 4 biggest goals I have for the next year. Ready?

Four Lessons

1. Do what you love.

2. Work hard.

3. Find the right path… the end destination is likely to change and isn’t always clear, but finding the right road makes the hard work more worthwhile.

4. Know your strengths and recognize your weaknesses. Then, find people that are better than you at both and learn everything you can from them.

Four Goals: 

1. Record a NEW ALBUM with NEW Music. Pretty excited about this one 🙂

2. Make sure a few more publishers in town know who I am… time to start knocking on some doors on Music Row!

3. Keep writing with as many people as possible and learn as much from them all as possible.

4. Don’t lose sight of how much I love making music.

So there it is! A quick retrospective of my first four years in Nashville. Here’s to the next four and beyond. Thanks for sticking with me, I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us!

Annie

p.s. Check out my latest YouTube video! This one’s a song I wrote with Kristen Kuiper, one of my ridiculously talented friends 🙂

The View From Today

The view from today (ok, technically it was yesterday! )

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Ashley Monroe had her cd release show at 3rd and lindsley last night. It was an amazing show! She’s one of my favorite writers and artists, and a great new group Striking Matches opened the show. This pic is Ashley and her Pistol Annies band mate Angelina Presley. Great night of inspiration!

The View From Today

I played one of my favorite writers’ nights tonight. My friend John Nemeth hosts this one at Back Alley Diner. Tonight I sang my original song “Ain’t Caught Nothin’ Yet” with Tony Merz on guitar and Nick Diomedes on cajon! Thanks to my guys for helping bring this song to life.

The view from today

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The view from today: playing at Honky Tonk central in Nashville. A couple requested a slow song and said they came all the way from Ohio to dance together, so we had to oblige!

Check out my Saturday partner in crime at http://www.reverbnation.com/nealguinanemusic !

2013- The Year of the anti-Resolution

Has it really been 7 months since my last blog post? So much for last year’s resolution of writing regular blogs, huh?

…Which brings me to this year’s resolution: to STOP making New Year’s Resolutions. Are there goals to accomplish this year, places to see, songs to write, and people to meet? Of course! I just decided that this year, I’m going to take some of the pressure off keeping up with resolutions away, and instead focus on enjoying the journey.

So this year, I’m looking forward to writing a lot more music, playing shows in different corners of the US, and recording some new music. I can’t wait to share the adventures with you guys!

In the meantime, check out my newest Free Download of a song that is one of my personal favorites from my catalog. I hope you enjoy “Flowers Will Grow”!

Download Flowers Will Grow Here!

*Or, grab it from the home page at http://www.anniekennedycountry.com!

On the road again…

Well, it’s been a busy, exciting, and extremely fulfilling month, to say the least. I went on a solo tour from Nashville to Washington, D.C., met some amazing people, wrote some new songs, played some cool shows… and then caught up on my sleep 🙂

I wanted to do a quick recap of my tour, along with some lessons learned along the way, because 6 days on the road taught me as much as I’ve learned in the last year!

Day 1:

Packing. Advice for any future trips I or anyone reading this may take: Pack the day before. I mean, I had the whole day to pack and I still felt like I was forgetting things. Luckily, I am a compulsive list maker so I think I have everything I need!

I’m also pretty sure I should win an award for my  mad car-packing skills. I drive a little 2-door Chevy Cavalier with a trunk that, although it is bigger than it appears, is still pretty small. However, I managed to fit into my car an entire PA system, including 2 speakers, stands, mic stand, mics, cables, and mixing board; boxes of CDs, a suitcase, a travel bag, a guitar, blanket, pillow, cooler, and bag full of snacks… and still managed to fit me! I may be exaggerating a little as it really wasn’t that hard once I did a little rearranging… but still. Advice: take up puzzle-putting-together if you have a small car and plan to travel with a lot of stuff 🙂

I got to the venue in Knoxville, The Well, which I have to say is owned and staffed by some of the friendliest, coolest people I’ve encountered at a new venue in a long time! I had arrived pretty early because I wasn’t sure what to expect from the traffic in Knoxville, and had planned to wander around town a little bit, but I ended up just hanging out at the venue until the show. If you are a band with any kind of following in that area, you should definitely check this place out. Great sound, great food, and great service!

I split the show with a new friend, country singer Leon Thomas. He brought quite a crowd with him and we rocked the joint for a couple of hours. I think everyone had a great time, and I really appreciated getting to play for and talk to everyone there!

Line up at the Well in Knoxville!

Day 2:

I left Knoxville this morning and got on the road to Roanoke. I took my time and made a few stops along the way… First stop was Bristol, home of the Bristol Motor Speedway AND the location of Ralph Peer’s historic Bristol Recordings. If you are not a super giant music history nerd like I am (and I suspect most of you are not, lol), the Bristol Sessions were where The Carter family and Jimmie Rodgers had a lot of their songs recorded for the first time. Pretty cool stuff!

Historic Site of the Bristol Recording Sessions

Bristol Motor Speedway

That night I had a really fun show at Froth Coffee Shop in Roanoke. This was a really cool little coffee shop that is still fairly new, and is run by a brother and sister! The food, coffee, and people were all wonderful, and I had a great time playing to fun crowd!

Lesson learned: There are nice people willing to help you out everywhere you go! Case in point- the only part of my PA system that I was nervous about dealing with while on the road by myself was the fact that the speakers are a little heavy, the stands are kind of tall, and I’m pretty short… luckily, one of the owners was nice enough to help me get them set up! I know it sounds simple, but it was just a really nice gesture that I definitely appreciated!

Day 3:

I had planned to spend a little time in downtown Roanoke exploring in the morning, but the universe had other plans for me. In the 5 miles from my hotel to downtown, I ran over a big wooden something in the middle of the road that I couldn’t avoid, and ended up taking my car to get inspected just to make sure nothing was wrong with it as I still had a lot of miles to cover on my trip. While my car was getting checked out, I did get to walk around the square, where they were setting up for a farmer’s market and a lot of restaurants and shops were located. I stopped for lunch at a great little Italian place, and by the time I was done with my pizza, I had a call from the mechanic that my car was done and everything was fine! I absolutely love my little car, and this just made me love here even more 🙂

Lesson learned: Even if things seem like they are about to completely fall apart, there is always a solution. Stay calm, take a breath, and find a solution. Also, smart phones really are great when you need to find a repair shop in a city you’ve never been to before!

Once that debacle was over with, I got back on the road. I think this was my favorite day of driving, and I got to see a lot of beautiful scenery.

Mountains!

I got into Washington DC right around rush hour, and boy was I glad that I was heading into the city and not out- the traffic was insane!! Luckily I didn’t have much to deal with until I got into Alexandria, where the venue was located, and the only challenge there was navigating the street-parking.

There was a great turn-out at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Alexandra, and the barista told me that a lot more people stuck around for this show than usually stuck around for an entire set, which really made me happy! I met some really great people and had some great conversations about music in between sets. I also had an amazing coconut mocha drink… I definitely recommend stopping into this coffee shop if you are ever in the DC Area!

Day 4: 

I took Day 4 off and spent it with one of my closes friends, who lives in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.  Yay!

Day 5: 

As sad as I was to leave my bff behind, I was excited to get on the road for the last show of my little mini-tour! I only had a couple of hours to drive today, which was good because this was the worst day weather-wise. The NorEaster blowing through the East coast was causing a lot of rain and really cold weather, so it was a pretty dreary drive. (And I swear I saw some snowflakes! yuck.)

I got to the venue in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Artful Dodger. This was a very cool little coffee shop lounge. I had a lot of fun playing to a small but enthusiastic crowd with Jeremiah Prophett, the host for the day. After we got a chance to talk and trade stories about life in music and all of the adventures that go with it.

Lesson learned: Even if the crowd is small, play your heart out! The people there were so appreciative to hear the music, and you never know who in the room needed to hear something you had to sing that day!

Day 6: 

I got up and on the road pretty early to get back to Nashville. It was still rainy for the first part of the drive, but as I got closer to Tennessee, the sun came out and it warmed up outside. I had a lot of time to reflect as that day was by far the longest drive yet, and I was so happy with the experiences I’d had on the road! I’d been apprehensive before I left since I wasn’t sure what kind of people I’d meet, how the shows would go, or if I would have fun being on the road by myself. It turns out I had nothing to be worried about though! Big lessons learned: There are great people to meet everywhere you go… yes, you have to be careful and smart and have your wits about you when you are by yourself, but this trip really reaffirmed my faith that people are generally good, and there are friends to meet everywhere you go! I also learned (or re-learned, as I had already known this about myself) that I can definitely do things by myself (although it is definitely nice to have help!).

 

 

Thanks for reliving my journey with me on this blog, I know it was longer than I usually write! Stay tuned for lots of exciting things coming up. First, a showcase at the Listening Room here in Nashville this Friday at 5:30 PM! If you are in the area, I’d love to see you there 🙂