This week, Tennessee welcomes tens of thousands of music fans for two very successful and very different music festivals. The 2012 CMA festival kicked off in Nashville on Thursday night, featuring performances from some of country music’s biggest stars, including acts like Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and David Nail. Meanwhile, an hour south of Nashville, the city of Manchester, TN is hosting its own four-day music festival with Bonnaroo. Bonnaroo is a much different musical landscape than the CMA fest, with artists like Radiohead, Ludacris, Foster the People, The Civil Wars and Phish entertaining thousands of concertgoers on over 10 different stages.
The fact that two large music festivals can be held simultaneously in middle Tennessee shows the musical diversity that Nashville continues to embrace and share with music fans from every genre and throughout the United States. There is no better representation of this than ASCAP artist/songwriter Jaren Johnston. Jaren is a celebrated songwriter on the streets of music row for penning songs for country artists like Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and Sara Evans. He’s also the front man for the southern rock trio, The Cadillac Black, which played the ASCAP showcase at the 2012 SXSW Festival.
I want to celebrate this kind of musical diversity by outlining what Jaren does as a songwriter and as an artist.
JAREN JOHNSTON - THE SONY/ATV SONGWRITER
Kenny Chesney is set to release a new record with one of Jaren‘s songs called “Sing ‘Em Good My Friend.” I heard Jaren play this song at a writers round at 3rd & Linsley in Nashville a few months back. It was one of those rare and special moments when a song captures every ounce of your attention. I found myself hanging on every line of the song, about a young man buying a guitar from an elderly man who is selling off everything he owns to care for his ailing wife. I promise I haven’t wrecked the plot or any song twist. I tell you this as an ode to my favorite line from the song: “Honestly honesty never goes out of style so sing the pain my friend.” No surprise that Jaren recently received a nomination as one of finalists for 2012 Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year by Music Row Magazine.
One of the unique events we hold in Nashville is the #1 party for songwriters who have achieved the milestone of penning a #1 song. Jaren recently celebrated his first #1 with “You Gonna Fly,” recorded by Capitol artist Keith Urban. It was one of the funniest #1 parties I’ve ever witnessed. Stories were shared about the song’s creation, the process of it getting recorded, and the writers’ reactions to receiving a congratulatory call from Keith Urban himself. Thankfully, we have some of the party recorded...enjoy!
JAREN JOHNSTON & THE CADILLAC BLACK
The Cadillac Black, or TCB as they are often referred to, comprises three native Nashvillians. Jaren is the lead singer/guitarist, with Kelby Ray on lap steel and Neil Mason on drums. The three guys self-produced the band’s self-titled debut album, released on 4-20-12. In a strong twist of irony, the band released the album digitally on Nobody Buys Records.
The Cadillac Black just wrapped the last leg of the Cold Cans Tour opening for the Eli Young Band and Dierks Bentley. On stops in between, they opened for the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band. The hot new trio was also tapped as an opener for Eric Church’s Blood, Sweat and Beers Tour and for music legends ZZ Top.
The band has gained legions of fans for its loud & rocking live shows as well as turning the heads of music supervisors in the film & TV world. TCB has had songs on hit TV shows House, The Vampire Diaries, Greek, Hart of Dixie and numerous shows on MTV.
JAREN JOHNSTON - NASHVILLIAN
Jaren’s talent, love and passion for authentic music transcend genres and proves why Nashville has earned its moniker: “Music City USA.”
Jaren Johnston on the Web:
Bonus Party Game: Take a drink every time Jaren’s hat falls off while performing!