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Hard Redemption Presents a Songwriter's Showcase with Many Redeeming Qualities at The Paper Mill in Mt. Juliet

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Nashville and its surrounding areas are well known for writer's rounds in which a group of rotating musicians play their originals to a live audience. These events such as "Hard Redemption Present Songwriter Showcase" are often organized by established artists. This one was held at The Paper Mill located at 4066 N. Mt Juliet Road in Mt Juliet, Tennessee on July 29, 2023.


Songwriting legend Michael Anderson in Mt. Juliet.

Michael Anderson and his wife Soraiya Campbell were the hosts holding their inaugural event at the popular city restaurant. Michael broke out on the scene in 1988 with Sound Alarm an impressive solo album. However, it was the song "Maybe It Was Memphis" made famous by country music artist Pam Tillis on two occasions that established him as a well-respected composer.

Since then, Anderson has penned plenty of songs including several #1 CCM singles and he won a Dove Award for "Hard Rock Song of the Year." Michael and Soraiya are currently fronting the band Hard Redemption along with writer rounds.

It was a night to celebrate local businesses and artists. Soraiya and Michael did a sound check that included a powerful ballad based on a letter written by a solider the night before a major battle. It was a poignant piece followed by the insightful "Don't Blame It On Love" from the self-titled Hard Redemption album. This showcase was organized so that each artist would play two originals in a round. Afterwards, they would run through the whole group of players again. The music officially started at 6 pm.


MCN's Rockin' Rich Lynch protests the high cost of parking in Nashville.

Raihanna Estrada currently calls Nashville home. She performers locally and internationally. Her compositions at The Paper Mill were packed with imagery. First, we found ourselves at an abandoned hotel with its "Ghost Stories" paired with "Photographs" that looked back on Estrada's family history. Later, "June" reflected on a happy time in her past. We could certainly see why Raihanna is an in-demand artist.

Amy Westney who hails from London said she came here about four years ago. She impressed us with the sad "Instead of Flowers" written for a lost friend which was followed by an entertaining song about coping that name checked some alcoholic beverages. Amy's second set included a tribute to a friend's parents who had always been supportive of her music. It considered the small things in a shared life that shows true love.

JP Evans is the drummer for Hard Redemption. On this occasion he was armed with an acoustic. JP presented a witty waltz about donkeys and love followed by "Small Pastures" a pretty piece about finding what one wants in life. He would return with an observation of a land's history which he composed while digging a ditch over five days because he did not want to pay $150.00 to rent a Ditch Witch.


JP Evans, Raihanna Estrada, Jenny Johnson and Amy Westney in Mt. Juliet.

Next, Jenny Johnson from right here in Mt Juliet also had a song about Texas and pursuing one's dreams. "Whispering In The Wind" was a stirring story of finding God in nature. Jenny would be back with two moving yet personal looks at life.

Soraiya Campbell soared on songs of faith utilizing creative vocalizations that added to her vibrant presentation and we really felt her prayer of "Don't Let Me Go". Later, she would share the first song that she wrote with Michael. It too was a powerful piece of praise. Michael kicked off his segment with "Maybe It Was Memphis" while reminding us that in his case it was not a cover. He also treated us to "Sound Alarm" in honor of MCN's Rockin' Rich who had revealed to Anderson that he had been listening to that classic album on the way to Mt Juliet.

Rich Lynch thanked Michael for playing the tune. He told the crowd how that record impacted him in a very positive way back in the late 1980's. Keeping with the theme of faith Lynch performed "Jesus Rock" countered by a protest song called the "Streets of Nashville' expressing his disappointment in Music City eliminating free evening and Sunday parking. He would be back with "You Might Hear a Heart" to close out the night.


Hard Redemption is Michael Anderson and Soraiya Campbell.

During his second set Michael Anderson sung songs of devotion reminding listeners that God is on your side followed by a joyful tribute to Jesus. Michael Anderson and his wife Soraiya Campbell were inspiring. "Hard Redemption Present Songwriter Showcase" ran smoothly and featured a lot of great local talent many of whom had songs of hope to share. The event also emphasized community.

For example, The Paper Mill is mainly a breakfast and lunch spot however they took a chance staying open on Saturday night. Faith was rewarded as not only did the performers come out but quite a few music fans who had heard about the event. The Paper Mill has two main rooms and the other one ended up filling in with patrons who stopped in for dinner.

The PA system was provided by The Paper Mill's next door neighbor Shiloh Music. Since 1974, Shiloh Music has been operated by the Hedges family. Their store is inviting and well organized with a number of lesson rooms. It is well worth a visit especially if you are going to The Paper Mill for a tasty meal.


The event was held at The Paper Mill on Mt. Juliet Road.

Related Links: For more information on HARD REDEMPTION and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Hard Redemption | Michael Anderson | Soraiya Campbell | Rockin' Rich Lynch | Raihanna Estrada | Amy Westney | JP Evans | Jenny Johnson | The Paper Mill | Shiloh Music Center


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