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Singer-Songwriters Are Thankful For Live Music Opportunities in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

No matter how you slice it, live music in Music City has been severely muzzled. But, it hasn't yet been completely silenced - thanks in large part to the work of Debi Champion and her multi-night weekly songwriter showcases held at the Commodore Grille. We returned on Monday, November 23, 2020 at the start of Thanksgiving week to find a large slate of performers thankful for the opportunity to still get out there and play some real live music in a nurturing environment.


The charismatic Javelyn got the ball rolling on a Monday night in Music City.

Up first was Javelyn - the captivating California native who was doing double duty on Cajon and ukulele to kick off her three-song spotlight with positive compositions about peace, love and kava. She was joined in her round by Aaron Charles - a true up and coming country boy - who had support from family during a special week that would also see his debut album What I Know make its official release.

The next round featured perhaps our favorite song of the night provided by Florida's Jack Mosley who presented the award-winning "When the Aliens Came" which was extra special for its extraterrestrial point of view on the human race. Eryc Ryan had a different take on things as his tracks documented his own personal battles with addiction and adventures in love as he marked two years of sobriety in a party town.


Clockwise from Top Left: Jack Mosely, Marc Alan Barnette, Ridge Banks and Micah Nortrup.

Friends Ridge Banks, Micah Nortrup and Greg Wilson shared the stage for the 7 p.m. slot with an engaging batch of acoustic takes on their more rocking songs. Ridge stated that he normally plays in a group - with Micah on drums - but the pandemic recently shut down their weekly home where "The Wall of Sound" would provide live backing for their own singer-songwriter nights. The three accompanied each other with percussion and leads for a near band-like experience.

They were followed by another trio that included Bob Spanburgh, Anna Sullivan and Danny Ziemba who often share the spotlight together at the Commodore Grille. They joked that since their names begin with the letters B, A and D that they should call themselves BAD - but, overall they were really quite good with Anna's jazzy takes being the memorable earworms of the segment.


Clockwise from Top Left: Bob Spanburgh, Anna Sullivan, Danny Ziemba, Steven Gary, Angie Jolyn Traughber and Joe Hynek.

The featured performer on this night was Marc-Alan Barnette - a singer/songwriter/teacher based in town who is known as "Mr. Nashville" in certain quarters due to the tours of the city he often gives to the many wide-eyed newcomers who still make their way here on a weekly basis. Barnette admitted to sometimes getting bored with himself - so for this occasion he brought out Angie Jolyn Traughber and together they jammed on several tracks from her new MAB produced album. Marc-Alan also debuted his humorous "Not So Merry Christmas (Here in the Trailer Park)" from a new Nashville-based Christmas compilation record.

The final grouping featured Eli Alger - a traditional country artist with a wide vocal range and great stage presence and personality. He struck us as the real deal and looked the part in a smart blue shirt and oversized black cowboy hat. We expect to hear more from him again soon. Rounding out the full night of music were equally impressive offerings from Joe Hynek, John J. Kennedy, Steven Gary and Jeff Dezern. Like a table full of a Thanksgiving feast we were thankful for the lavish lineup on a Monday night and we can't wait to do it all over again next time on West End Avenue!


Clockwise from Top Left: Eryc Ryan, Aaron Charles, Eli Alger, John J. Kennedy, Greg Wilson and Jeff Dezern.

Related Links: For more information on the COMMODORE GRILLE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Commodore Grille | Debi Champion | Javelyn | Aaron Charles | Steven Gary | Jeff Dezern | Jack Mosley | Eryc Ryan | Ridge Banks | Micah Nortrup | Greg Wilson | Bob Spanburgh | Anna Sullivan | Danny Ziemba | Marc Alan Barnette | Angie Jolyn Traughber | Joe Hynek | John J. Kennedy | Eli Alger | Live Music Carries On During Challenging Times at the Commodore Grille | Report from the Commodore Grille | Spotlight on Debi Champion


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