This is long overdue, but I did want to write a short synopsis of my two weeks in Nashville last month. It was my first time in the city and I had an amazing time. I met a lot of great people and made a lot of new friends. Here goes...
After a 9+ hour drive in 90+ degree weather with no AC, I arrived at the apartment of my friend Amy Meeko. She not only graciously invited me to stay in her home, but allowed the 5 members of Shapes & Colors (plus Manager) to take over her living room for the two weeks they were there recording with Aaron Sprinkle. It wasn't an hour after I sat down there that the band showed up and chaos ensued.
Also staying with Amy were Bradley Walden, a long-time friend of mine and her boyfriend, and their new puppy Jazz. Jazz was a foster puppy we all fell in love with and I reluctantly could not adopt. It's my understanding that they since have and she's sticking around to play with on future visits.
On day one of our stay, the band and I trekked downtown to see the sights. We experienced Broadway in full. We ate BBQ for lunch, visited all of the bars, and drank quite a bit. We spent some time on the bridge, around the stadiums, and in a tattoo shop where nobody had the guts or money to get anything done.
The following two weeks were spent in the studio with Aaron Sprinkle. As fans of bands like Anberlin, The Almost, Acceptance, Relient K, and more, we were all pleased to have met the man behind so many of our favorite records. Spending so much time with him was more than worth the money the band spent on his production services.
Aaron did some amazing things with this band. He told me on several occasions that Shapes & Colors is one of the best groups of musicians he's worked with in years and his favorite project in at least the past three. His confidence in the group went beyond the boards too. He took $2,000 of his payment and allocated it to JR McNeely to mix the four song EP he recorded. JR is also behind records like Acceptance's Phantoms, a fact that had the entire group completely geeked.
When I wasn't hanging around the studio, I was meeting up with friends and colleauges I've made in my years as a music industry professional, but had never personally met. I had lunch with Sam Callahan from Warner Music Group (she also put up the band for their last 3 nights), another lunch with former classmate Annie Gullo who now works at Provident Label Group, a Christian subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, and Punchline singer, BADBOXES manager, and overall awesome person Steve Soboslai.
Steve introduced me to Alex Mohler, who is the Manager of Dinner and A Suit and also behind the scenes at AltarTV, an amazing live performance video production company out of Pittsburgh who I have worked with several times. He also invited me out to a party which happened to celebrate the birthday of a member of celebrated a capella group Streetcorner Symphony.
Sam took me to the Frothy Monkey, a Nashville hotspot for the hungry and famous. I did not see Ben Folds the 2 times I went there for grub, but that's ok. He did some important things that week. After that, we visited Music Row which is comprised of two streets of homes converted into the headquarters of some of the music industries most lucrative management businesses and labels. There we went to a rooftop patio party at Warner Music Group's HQ. I didn't care much for the music, but the atmosphere was really quite cool.
On July 4th, we went back to Broadway to watch the Nation's second largest fireworks show. An orchestra played on the sectioned-off street and I got ash in my eyes. It was cool.
There are a lot of other people I would have liked to meet up with, but two weeks is only so long. I spent a lot of time listening to Shapes & Colors crafting their best songs yet and I got to spend some quality time with some good friends in the process. It was a great trip and I'd love to return very soon.