Way back in the Paleolithic, when I still fancied myself a recording artist/label owner, I spent some time in Nashville writing songs for one of my albums. It wasn’t my first visit to the city, but it was the first time I’d spent more than a few hours hanging around there — and the first time I’d been there as a “songwriter.” Out for dinner with a writing partner one night, I had my first defining Nashville experience — being waited on by a guy who, when he found out why I was in town, tried to get me to take his demo tape with the check.
A few years later, I had my second defining Nashville experience during a night that started at dinner alongside an early ’90s one-hit wonder and the publishing magnate ex-husband of a country megastar, and culminated with a concert featuring David Mead, Joe Pisapia, and Daniel Tashian. My point is that you can’t break wind in Nashville without reaching the nostrils of a songwriter, and even if releasing a 10-track compilation of songs from the city’s unsigned artists is a bit like using a butterfly net to try and catch your favorite raindrops in a hurricane, that compilation is still bound to contain a fair bit of worthwhile music.
Such is the case with Ten Out of Tenn, Volume 2, which follows up on 2005’s Volume 1 — and is actually more than a CD; it’s a tour, one that kicked off in (duh) Nashville over the weekend. It’s a great idea, and one that should be particularly appealing to fans of the Awarestore-flavored singer/songwriter fare that the city has become known for over the last decade or so. This is another way of saying that yes, there is no pedal steel anywhere on this record — but there are plenty of artists whose work has been featured on shows such as One Tree Hill, October Road, The Hills, and Grey’s Anatomy. If you’re into Josh Rouse and/or Colbie Caillat, in other words, these songs should float your boat nicely.
A number of them are previously released — Griffin House’s “The Guy That Says Goodbye” has been around for at least a year — but unless you’re a hardcore fan of the genre, odds are you haven’t heard most of it. And the new material, such as Erin McCarley’s “Pony (Go On)” (download), is pretty great.
I’m unable to find purchase information for this CD, but that shouldn’t stop you from heading over to the Ten Out of Tenn MySpace page, or catching them on tour if you’re lucky enough to live between Indianapolis and New York.