A Nashville Songwriter’s Survival Guide

[caption id="attachment_140775" align="aligncenter" width="600"] A writer's round at The Bluebird Cafe.[/caption] On ABC’s Nashville, a soapy, prime-time TV show that just wrapped up its second season, stars are literally made overnight. A waitress at the Bluebird Cafe gets pulled onstage, even though she’s never performed in public before, and winds up signing a record contract before she can book a follow-up gig. A shaggy-haired hipster plays a show at The 5 Spot and catches the eye of a manager, who helps him land a $100,000 production deal before his guitar amp can cool off. A young songwriter writes something new, gives the song to a Tim McGraw lookalike, watches it go to number one . . . and collects more than $400,000 with his first royalty check. In reality, things aren’t that easy. Onscreen and off, Nashville has battled misconceptions for decades, brought on by everything from the city’s Bible Belt roots to its longtime association with country music. This is a town built by guitars that twang and people who sang, a place whose forefathers include George Jones, Hank Williams, Sr., and men who wore rhinestones instead of powdered wigs. It’s the country capital of the world . .…

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