In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with singer-songwriter Shelly Fairchild.

We talk about how her career began, how leaving her label for another was the best thing for her career, how being true to yourself is the only way to be… and of course, Dolly Parton.

More on Shelly

Website: https://shellyfairchild.com

Instagram: http://instagram.com/shellyfairchild

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shellyfairchild

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shellyfairchild

Shelly Fairchild Radio: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1E4y4rz1FlHY0B

Apple Music: https://t.co/xcXLf9bWbH

Amazon Music: https://t.co/KJvcqg6WCY

Shelly Fairchild isn’t new to the industry – but she’s far from old news.

A staple in the Nashville music community, Fairchild hit the scene to much acclaim with her Columbia Records debut album Ride. The project introduced the young artist’s soulful, gospel-tinged brand of alternative country and spawned a Top 40 hit with “You Don’t Lie Here Anymore.” She toured with some of the biggest names in the format, including Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw, and began to dig her roots in the industry. She again found success in her second release, Ruby’s Money, which came steeped in a thick groove with elements of funk – but it was Buffalo, her crowd-funded 2017 release, that marks a milestone in her life and career. 

“I’m sincerely grateful for both the good and bad things that have happened in my life. Everyone that I’ve met and worked with over the 20 years that I’ve lived in Nashville has made me who I am, and I will always carry that in my soul,” says Fairchild. 

The Jackson, Miss. native started the project in May 2014, launching a PledgeMusic campaign in the hopes that she would find support of her endeavor – and after reaching her goal in just two days, she realized she had. Fairchild’s 3rd full length studio record was fully funded and buoyed by the faith of her friends, family and fans.  

The next two years saw Fairchild working with some of her most inspirational industry co-writers. “House on Fire,” an aching ballad reflecting on the weight of one’s past, was the first song that she remembers finishing and feeling confident that it deserved a spot on her record. Co-written by Fairchild along with Lisa Carver and Travis Meadows, the track features subtle but classic country instrumentation and the soft harmonies of one of her favorite bands, the Fairground Saints. 

From there the singer/songwriter continued to pen songs that she felt carried an important message to either herself or the world around her.  Guided by Jeremy Lister and Carey Ott, Fairchild recorded eight of her co-written tracks for the record that would become known to her fans as ‘Buffalo‘.  Though she tackled some serious topics in her writing, Fairchild felt extremely uplifted by her own work and that of others. 

“I love singers and songwriters,” she smiles.  I love to have camaraderie and deep friendships with great singers and musicians. I feel like our community in Nashville is so rich and some of my favorite voices are my friends. I am so fortunate to have worked with so many great artists on Buffalo like Wendy Moten, Lucie Silvas, K.S. Rhoads, Fairground Saints, and of course Carey & Jeremy. My heart felt like it was going to explode by the end of the recording process.”

Not only does Buffalo emphasize its diversity by featuring guest vocalists, but it also highlights a wide array of musical styles and influences. 

“There are a lot of different elements to the music that I make,” says Fairchild. “How do you describe some of the best bands that you know? They ended up on pop radio or on country radio, but are they really that kind of act? I have so many influences and I love having them show up in my songs. It feels like that kind of music lasts longer, because it feels real.” 

As for the name of her last full length album to date, Fairchild says, “In many Native American cultures, the buffalo is a symbol of gratitude and abundance. I am from Choctaw ancestry and I completely connect with the idea that though buffalo carry a lot on their shoulders, their horns are always pointing up to the sky. There’s always this hope that the weight will be lifted.”

A longtime hidden gem in the trove of Nashville musicians, Fairchild continues to keep her head and her heart pointing up to the sky. Between singing background vocals for the likes of Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Martina McBride, Crystal Gayle (to name a few), appearing as a regular on The Grand Ole Opry, writing songs for film and television, touring across the country and continuously working on future projects, it is clear she is just getting started. 

“At times I’ve gotten down about my own path, but when I really take a good look at it – it’s not just full of detours and dead ends,” she said. “It’s a wide path, and it’s full of so many spontaneous and amazing things.”

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with two of the most well-known songwriters in Nashville; Craig Wisman and Lee Thomas Miller.

If you are an aspiring songwriter or musician, this episode is filled with so much wisdom, that it’s a can’t miss.

We discuss their writing process and how they pump out over 100 songs per year… year after year.

Between them, they have 33 # 1 songs, winning a number of industry awards, and have written songs for some of country music’s top artists like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Brian Kelley, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Terri Clark, Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton… the list goes on and on!

Be on the listen for a little jam session by Craig Wiseman on the guitar after the closing music… ENJOY!

Reach out to Craig here:

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/thebigloud

Big Loud Publishing

Website: http://bigloudpublishing.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bigloud

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bigloud

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigloud

Reach out to Lee here: 

Website: http://www.leethomasmiller.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leethomasmiller

More on Craig Wiseman

Craig Wiseman is one of country music’s most renowned, talented and distinguished writers. From his early days of writing and drumming in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to being crowned Songwriter of the Century by ASCAP, he has indeed created for himself a monumental platform in the history of country music. As the writer of songs including Brooks and Dunn’s “Believe” to Blake Shelton’s “Boys ‘Round Here”, Wiseman has amassed over 350 cuts, 125 singles, and 27 #1’s.

After moving to Nashville in 1985 to pursue a career in songwriting, he received his first chart success after having co-written “The Only One” from Roy Orbison’s album, Mystery Girl. In 1990, Wiseman signed his first publishing deal with Almo/Irving Music, and ten years later, he signed with BMG Music Publishing. In 2003, Wiseman opened his own publishing company, and within the first year of the independent company’s operation, Wiseman experienced the first single of the catalog; “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw not only peaked at the top of the charts for ten weeks, but it also was named NSAI Song of the Year, CMA Song of the Year, ACM Song of the Year and won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song. In 2012, Wiseman co-founded Big Loud’s management division, the launchpad of Florida Georgia Line, followed by Big Loud Records in 2015.

Wiseman’s success has continued to escalate at exponential levels throughout the years. He was proclaimed ASCAP’s “Songwriter of the Year” in 2003, 2005, and 2007 in addition to being named “Writer of the Year” by NSAI and Music Row in 1997. In 2009, he received the impressive honor of NSAI’s “Songwriter of the Decade” and won the 2014 Heritage Award from ASCAP as the most performed country songwriter of the century. Following those years of success, hard work & accomplishments, Wiseman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October of 2015. In 2017, Wiseman was honored with a CMA Triple Play Award for FGL’s “Anything Goes” & Blake Shelton’s “Gonna” & “Came Here To Forget.”

Although his accomplishments are nothing less than extraordinary, Wiseman’s talents and endeavors extend far beyond the field of songwriting. As a complement to Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”, Wiseman co-wrote a book with the same title, which topped the New York Times Best Seller list in 2004. Additionally, he co-wrote the book A Baby Changes Everything in 2008, in conjunction with Faith Hill’s #1 single. The following year, Wiseman starred in a reality TV show, The Hitmen of Music Row, which aired on GAC.

For the past 15 years, Wiseman has hosted The Stars of Second Harvest Show at the Ryman, showing his philanthropic heart and giving all proceeds to the Second Harvest Food Bank Of Middle Tennessee. To date, this musical event has raised more than $1.5 million for the food bank.

Craig’s Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/thebigloud

Big Loud Publishing

Website: http://bigloudpublishing.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bigloud

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bigloud

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bigloud

More on Lee Thomas Miller

FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NASHVILLE SONGWRITER’S ASSOCIATION (NSAI)

3 Time Grammy Award Nominee:

2003 Grammy nomination: 

“The Impossible” (Joe Nichols) Country Song of the Year:

2009 Double Grammy nomination:

“You’re Gonna Miss This”(Trace Adkins)-  Country Song of the Year

“In Color” (Jamey Johnson)- Country Song of the Year

Music Row Magazine: Breakthrough Songwriter of the year 2003

Awarded one of NSAI’s  ‘Ten Songs I Wish I Had Written’ 2003: “The Impossible”

Awarded one of NSAI’s  ‘Ten Songs I Wish I Had Written’ 2008: “You’re Gonna Miss This”

Won Song of the Year at the 2008 NSAI awards for “You’re Gonna Miss This”

Nominated for Song of the Year at 2008 CMA awards for “You’re Gonna Miss This”

2009 Double ACM Nominee: “You’re Gonna Miss This” and “In Color” for Song of the Year.

Won Song of the Year at the 2009 ACM awards for “In Color”

Won Music Row Magazine’s 2009 Song of the Year  for  “In Color”

Awarded one of NSAI’s  ‘Ten Songs I Wish I Had Written’ 2009: “In Color”

Won Song of the Year at the 2009 CMA awards for “In Color”

Awarded BMI’s inaugural “Champion’s Award” 2015

Nominated for Song of the Year at the 2018 ACM awards for “Whiskey and You”

#1 Country Singles:

“The Impossible” (Joe Nichols)**
“I Just Wanna Be Mad” 
(Terri Clark)**
“The World” 
(Brad Paisley)**
“You’re Gonna Miss This” 
(Trace Adkins)*
“I’m Still A Guy” (Brad Paisley)
“Southern Girl” (Tim McGraw)
“Perfect Storm” 
(Brad Paisley)

(*received BMI Million Play Award)
(**received BMI 2 Million Play Award)
                               
Other top 10 singles:

“It Aint My Fault” (Brothers Osborne) #9
Crushin’ It” (Brad Paisley) #7
“In Color”  (Jamey Johnson) #7
“Nothing To Die For” (Tim McGraw)  #5
“Jesus In Disguise” (Brandon Heath)  #8
Just A Girl” (Brandon Heath) #8

Other top 20 singles:

“Something To Do With My Hands” (Thomas Rhett) #15
“Crying On A Suitcase” (Casey James) #14
“Leaving Eden” (Brandon Heath) #17

Cuts include:

Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Brad Paisley, Joe Nichols, Terri Clark, John Michael Montgomery, Sammy Kershaw, Andy Griggs, Tracy Byrd, Tracy Lawrence, Randy Travis, Rhett Akins, Blue County, Billy Currington, Craig Morgan, The Wreckers, Chris Young, Blackhawk, Mark Wills

Production credits include  Curb recording artist Steve Holy including the 2006 #1 single: “Brand New Girlfriend” and 2010 top 20 single “Love Don’t Run”

Website: http://www.leethomasmiller.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leethomasmiller

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter James T. Slater to talk about how he got started, and where he is headed in his amazing career.

More on James T. Slater

James is a two time, grammy nominated, piano-playing, bilingual singer-songwriter of Bolivian American descent signed to BMG Music Publishing/Nashville with songs recorded by everyone from Carrie Underwood to Tim McGraw to Willie Nelson and Kenny Chesney.

Website: https://www.jamestslatermusic.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamestslatermusic/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesTSlaterMusic/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXJS8pWNTUt6z_E-dJcW-3g

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_T._Slater

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with the musically talented husband and wife dynamic duo, Cole Michael Porter and Kendra Porter.

We talk about how they got started in the business, how they met, and how they are able to separate music and their career from everyday life.

More on the Porter Union Band

Porter Union, led by husband and wife, Cole Michael Porter and Kendra Porter, is the result of the two old souls spending the better part of the last decade traveling the country together to play their music everywhere from the dive bars and honky-tonks to festivals and theaters. When you hear the story of Cole and Kendra meeting in a hometown bar, falling in love while writing and playing together, it sounds like a fairy tale built by corporate music row. Luckily, that’s where the comparison stops – you won’t find overproduced, cliche-filled songs here. Their honest approach to songwriting combines raw emotional themes with a traditional country sound to bring the listener into the story. It’s no surprise they’ve shared a stage with a variety of notable artists including many of their own heroes.

Porter Union was recently selected by Travis Tritt as a contestant on REAL COUNTRY on USA Network. 

Website: https://www.theporterunion.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/porterunion/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/porterunion

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PorterUnion

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Singer, songwriter, and all-around cool guy, Arlis Albritton.

We talked about his journey and how he got started in music (hint, it was the mailroom), navigating the Nashville writing scene, and how he is expanding his talent into the festival arena, with the St. Augustine Songwriters Festival:  http://staugustinesongwritersfestival.com

More on Arlis

Arlis started writing full time, getting numerous cuts on acts like Julie Roberts, Keith Anderson, Jeff Bates, Halfway To Hazard and John Michael Montgomery to name a few. More recently Luke Bryan cut “Too Damn Young” on Luke’s triple-platinum album Tailgates and Tanlines. Arlis also had the honor of co-producing his song “Good Morning Sunrise” on Jamey Johnson’s Grammy and ACM nominated album. Arlis saw some chart success with “Won’t Be Lonely Long” by Josh Thompson, reaching number 25 on the Billboard charts. Arlis’s songs have been placed in Nissan commercials as well as the television show “The Voice”

Websitehttp://arlisalbritton.com

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/arlisalbritton

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/arlis.albritton

New Music: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1psqQliDkawXBWBTnoB6wi

**NOTE** This episode was recorded in November 2019 and published on my other podcast, The Songwriters Podcast.

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with singer, songwriter, guitarists, storyteller, sailor and road warrior, Scott Kirby.

We talk about his long career as a musician, and where he goes for writing inspiration, and how a little bit of luck took him a long way.

More on Scott

Website: https://www.scottkirby.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scottkirbykeywest/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scottkirby.keywest

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, storyteller, sailor and road warrior are all words that aptly describe Scott Kirby. Writing songs for a new CD, performing 150 live shows a year throughout the US and Canada, and holding down the stage at his own club—Key West’s Smokin’ Tuna Saloon—keep the barnacles off this modern-day troubadour.

A creative lyricist and accomplished finger-style acoustic guitarist with an expressive voice, Kirby describes himself as a direct descendant of the ’70s singer/songwriter movement. His very first 45 was a Beatles record, and he came of musical age listening to James Taylor and other great songwriters of that era. He has never received any formal musical training but often credits Taylor with teaching him how to play the acoustic guitar. “If it weren’t for the hundreds of solitary hours in my room in Concord, New Hampshire, with a guitar and a James Taylor book, I never would have learned to play,” says Kirby. Speaking of New Hampshire and musical influences, let’s not forget fellow New Hampshire native Tom Rush who was taking the folk scene by storm in Kirby’s formative years. Coincidentally, Kirby connected with both of these artists in Key West 30 years later, which is a whole other story.

After a few years in high school bands and a stint in his early 20s as a bass guitarist with a group, Kirby drifted away from music and became immersed in a career in politics: managing campaigns, writing and producing radio and TV ads, and overseeing the office of a leader in the New Hampshire legislature. He was also guitarless for eight years! In 1988, however, after tiring of the political rat race and the length and severity of New England winters, he bought a new guitar, relentlessly practiced his chops, and planned his escape. Six months later Kirby was living in Key West and performing five nights a week on a balmy beach facing the Gulf of Mexico.

Kirby started writing songs after some inspirational late-night words from legendary songwriter Shel Silverstein and further encouragement from Peter Mayer, who had just joined the Coral Reefer Band. A year later he found himself recording his first CD, Too Damn Yankee, in Jimmy Buffett’s Shrimpboat Sound Studio with Peter and Jim Mayer and Roger Guth. “This was a very lucky break for me, but I was in a bit over my head,” says Kirby. “Peter, Jim and Roger were incredibly patient with me and it was a fantastic learning experience.”

Between 1993 and 2006, Kirby continued to write new material and recorded four more CDs with Key West producer/engineer Dan Simpson. In 2008 luck struck again when famed drummer/producer Russ Kunkel offered to produce Kirby’s Row Me Home CD at his studio in Los Angeles. “Next thing I know I’m cutting my songs in the Hollywood Hills with Russ, bassist Leland Sklar and guitarist Dean Parks and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world.”

Speaking of luck, Kirby’s wistful ballad “Lucky Enough” struck a chord with listeners on Sirius/XM Radio Margaritaville, which exposed his music to more markets around the country and led to his current touring schedule through 35 states each year. He continues to receive regular airplay on the station.

Kirby joined a group of friends in 2011 to open the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, a 200-seat bar and music venue in Key West where Kirby performs often in winter months. The Tuna is also host to the Key West Songwriter’s Festival. The festival is in its 20th year and has exploded into the largest event of its kind in the country, featuring more than 150 songwriters every year.

In 2013 Kirby released his seventh CD, Sol Searching, a collaboration with producer/engineer/musician Lew London. “Lew was great to work with as he’s so multi-talented,” says Kirby. “He performed for years with Steve Goodman and is such a fine songwriter in his own right that he really understands how to build a sound around acoustically based songs.”

Scott  Kirby’s latest CD, Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost, was recorded with and produced by Matt and Andy Thompson in their studio in Nashville and released in 2017.

When it comes to songwriting, Kirby respects authenticity and counts on everyday life and his coastal roots for much of his inspiration. “I don’t wake up every day thinking about writing the next commercial hit,” says Kirby. “Songwriting for me is about telling stories, expressing emotions, and commentary on things I may find funny or absurd.”

Over the years Kirby has shared the stage with some of his favorite artists: Carole King, Jimmy Buffett, Livingston Taylor, Tom Rush, Mac McAnally, Peter Mayer and others. When not on the road or performing in Key West, Kirby splits his time between Livingston, Montana, and the coast of New Hampshire where he can often be found sailing, a lifelong passion of this descendant of Newfoundland fishermen.

Yes, Scott Kirby is—as he readily admits—lucky enough.

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Key West local Nick Norman to talk about where he started, and where he is going.

We find out how he got started with music and how he is constantly working to “sharpen the sword” of his craft.

This is one of my favorite interviews so far because Nick is so easy to talk to and talks about his career as an open book. 

More on Nick Norman

Immediately recognizable, Nick is known for two distinctive gifts: his soulful voice and infectious smile. It’s hard to imagine that as a young boy he was told he would never be good enough to sing in the church’s youth ensemble in Columbia, South Carolina where he grew up. Today he is truly the man with a golden voice; a talented singer/songwriter who delights his audiences with soulful and inspirational performances. 

It was during his childhood when Nick first acquired his passion for music; his father played guitar, while his mother encouraged him to write. Attending Baptist church exposed him to the awe-inspiring power of the choir. “It was how I first learned that you can truly make people feel what you feel, by believing in what you are singing. They sang from their hearts and that is something I believe that cannot be faked.”

As a young man listening to South Carolina’s emerging musicians of the time, such as Edwin McCain and Hootie and the Blowfish, he was also drawing from the styles of legendary artists including Stevie Wonder and The Band. Inspired by an eclectic array of influences Nick created a sound all his own.

Branching out from his home state he performed on stages all over the southeast, eventually finding his way to the Southernmost City of Key West in 2006. As his solo acoustic shows were drawing crowds, Nick’s songwriting was steadily being fueled by the artistic vibe of the island blending with his native southern roots.  

In 2010,  Nick collaborated with longtime friends Jon Stone & Lee Brice resulting in the recording of his first studio album Hey Cheater. This heartfelt album gave fans a raw look into the personal hardships of Nick’s life by putting his heart on his sleeve in songs such as  “Libba Don’t Call” and “Varela St”. Quickly becoming a Key West anthem, “Good Whiskey” can be heard by local musicians throughout Key West on any given evening. 

He has performed his original music on stages across the country that include City Winery, The Filmore, Listening Room Nashville, Key West Theater, Rams Head, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Melody Tent and Island Time Music Festival. He has opened for acts such as Lee Brice, Lee Ann Womack, Edwin McCain, The Wailers, and The Doobie Brothers and founded the highly sought after “Sunday Ramble” concert that features local Key West musicians.

Website: https://www.nicknormanmusic.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicknormanmusic

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicknormanmusic