Don’t Be Intimidated Just Because it’s Nashville

By: Bruce Wawrzyniak

Hats boots neon sign in NashvilleIt’s ironic that as I sit here and write this in the final hours of the time I’ve spent in San Diego, it’s one week since I was also getting ready to fly back to Tampa, that blog having been written in Nashville.  And it’s amazing that aspiring songwriters and singers hear Nashville and pause with a, “Ohhhh.”  Saying it out of admiration of Music City is fine, but so many of them thinking of it with a gulp and nervousness is really not necessary.

Yes, as has been discussed on several episodes of “Now Hear This Entertainment” and reported on in this article about my travels last week, next month, and in September, Nashville is one of ‘the big three.’  And of course, you certainly want to bring your A game if you’re heading there to show what you’ve got.  However, you should already be bringing your A game in your own home city and everywhere else you play.  After all, isn’t there always a sense of “You never know who might be in the audience” regardless of the location?  And on a similar note, the factors are the same from place to place; you still need instruments, you still need your voice, you still need good lyrics, and so on.

Take comfort in that view.  I observed a handful of scenarios when I was in Nashville that are the same that you run into in your own home city or any other.

My first full night there I went to see someone that I know perform.  I waited with a smile and excitement to get to see and hear someone who I hadn’t seen since my last time up in Nashville.  Unfortunately, this individual had to wait with frustration to actually start because of equipment problems.  It seemed to be particularly challenging because it was the venue that appeared to be tasked with rectifying whatever was holding up the show from starting.  Whether you’re the performer or an audience member, it’s tough to wait what might’ve been close to an hour later than the scheduled start time for things to finally get underway.  But, been there done that, right?

The second night I ventured out to a popular spot that’s known for always having (good) writers’ rounds.  I have been to this location before on multiple occasions and was happy to be going back.  What made it sweeter was that someone I know was going to be featured there (meaning, getting the whole hour instead of having to share it with other writers).  Unfortunately, illness was rampant and really was getting the best of this person’s voice.  The silver lining was having another singer on-stage who could help with the vocals, but, whether in Nashville or elsewhere, it happens, right?

It was also challenging to be in there and it not be treated as a listening room.  The loudest table easily was the one – yup, you guessed it – right up front, closest to the stage.  But it shows you that this even happens in a ‘big three’ market.

Lastly, on my final night I visited a spot that I’d always heard of but hadn’t gotten to before.  I knew none of the names on the bill that night and by the time it was done I wasn't going to remember any of them.  While yes, in Nashville you listen much more for the makeup of the song than you do the singing voice, there was just nothing memorable about what I saw/heard – again, even though it was Nashville.

So take solace, know that the same scenarios you navigate on a daily basis in your city are even happening in Nashville.  Go there and know that you can exhale.

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