Next BIG Nashville Spotlight: American Songwriter’s Thursday Showcase

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Lyndsey Lovelady and Katie Chow contributed to this report. Concert poster designed by Rachel Briggs.

American Songwriter is proud to announce our hand-picked showcases at this year’s Next BIG Nashville festival, Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, 2010.

The AS crew will be working with the fine folks at The Basement for each night of music. On Thursday night, we’ve got a few of our favorite local indie pop darlings, like Courtney Jaye, Keegan DeWitt, Madi Diaz and Roman Candle.  Friday night we’re excited to host three new songwriters we think are killing it right now – Jonny Corndawg, Andrew Combs, Dylan LeBlanc – with a not-to-be-missed headlining set by Glossary.

We’re saving the wildest Basement party for Saturday when we’ll host a handful of the South’s finest for a woozy blend of country and psychedlia. Co-hosted with L.A. tastemakers Aquarium Drunkard, this showcase brings Futurebirds, Sanders Bohlke, These United States, Gift Horse and more.

American Songwriter is also teaming up with CMT for three nights of music at downtown’s Hard Rock Café, with Nashville faves Buxton Hughes, Jypsi and The Jompson Brothers, plus Zac Brown’s Southern Ground artists Nic Cowan, Sonia Leigh and Levi Lowery.

And, to make the deal even sweeter, we’re offering a special American Songwriter reader discount on $36 Wristbands (normally priced at $50). Also save 20% on a VIP Badge ($200, normally $250) and hobnob with the industry at the NBN Digital Summit conference and get into all the VIP parties and events!

Plus, when you buy an AS-discounted Badge or Wristband you’ll automatically be entered to win one of the four Taylor Guitars we’ll be giving away at NBN, including a Taylor 314ce or 214e acoustic-electrics, or one of Taylor’s award-winning electric guitars: the T5 or SolidBody Classic.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the artists playing Thursday night’s showcase.

Courtney Jaye

At the age of 32, Jaye has laid an impressive foundation for her career. In 2005, she released her debut album, Traveling Light, on Island/Def Jam. This gave her widespread visibility, but she soon became disillusioned by the superficialities of the mainstream scene and decamped to northern California. Fully recovered, she moved to Nashville to hone her unique blend of traditional country and tropicalia, inspired by her new home and the time she had spent living in Hawaii.

Employing instruments like lap steel and ukulele, Jaye recorded her follow-up Queen of Sabotage with help from members of Band of Horses. Released on Jaye’s own Tropicali Records, her sophomore effort features sunny, retro-tinged tracks such as “Don’t Tell a Girl,” “Tiger’s Eye,” and “Box Wine.” Check out our 2009 Session with Courtney here.

Keegan DeWitt

Songwriter and composer Keegan DeWitt is quickly becoming a household name among those in the music and indie film industry.  DeWitt’s scores have been on HDNet, the Sundance Channel, as well as writer/director Aaron Katz’s film Cold Weather, whose inclusion in the 2010 SXSW film festival earned the praise of the Los Angeles Times, as well as the cover of Variety magazine.

DeWitt’s eclectic style of contemporary classical pop welcomes you in with a gentle invitation, complete with a string section serenade as you enter into his melodic domain.

Henry Wagons

Imagine what it would be like if the theoretical love child of The Doors and ZZ Top had inappropriate relations with the theoretical love child of Johnny Cash and The Bad Seeds. That’s Melbourne, Australia native singer-songwriter Henry Wagons’ style of melancholy melody. He somehow channels that haunting spirit of the Wild West, while simultaneously pointing a six-shooter in your face daring you to change the CD. Go ahead. Make his day.

Roman Candle

Indie pop/rock outfit Roman Candle began playing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1997, where the the Mathenys (brothers Skip and Logan Matheny, and Skip’s wife Timshel) attended the University of North Carolina. Not long after, they began writing and recording songs on weekends in their parents’ Wilkesboro basement (130 miles west of Chapel Hill). The band released Oh Tall Tree in the Ear in 2009 on Carnival Records. Check out our amazing Session with the band here.

Madi Diaz

Singer-songwriter Madi Diaz has been turning heads in Nashville since moving to the city after graduating from Berklee College of Music. Last year she did a stint on the Ten Out Of Tenn tour and has logged performances at Bonnaroo, as well as Next Big Nashville in 2009. Check out Madi’s Session from last year’s Next BIG Nashville.

Bryan Cates

Hailing from North Carolina, Bryan Cates is a lo-fi powerhouse. Putting his own grimy Southern edge onto 60s garage revival, Cates describes his music as sounding like “saying goodbye to no one” on his Myspace. This proves fitting as he juxtaposes jangly tunes with a somewhat mournful delivery on tracks such as “Black Cloud” and “Don’t Wanna Be a Lawman.”

This year, Band of Horses already hand-picked Cates to open for them on a number of July dates. He will be joining them again at Live on the Green on October 7.

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