Nashville Stars Help Mayor

Who better to give advice to Nashville’s Music Business Council than some of Music City’s local royalty? Emmylou Harris, Jack White of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and every other band in the world, and Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn are stepping up to give their two cents to the mayor.

“There’s so much going on here, musically, and we’re trying to put a spotlight on. There are a lot of good people in this community, with lots of good ideas,” Harris said, according to the Tennessean. “I’m just saying to the mayor, ‘Put me in, coach.’”

Photo: Doug Seymour
Keswick Theatre, Glenside, Pa.

The other 46 members of the Music Business Council include other singers and songwriters as well as producers, professors, agents, publishers, people who run record labels and people who run tour bus companies.

The council is putting its heads together with Mayor Karl Dean on issues including the construction of a downtown amphitheater, the expansion of the CMA Music Festival, the creation of a new, non-country festival and the enhancement of music education.

Committee member Rod Essig, of Creative Artists Agency, recommended that the proposed amphitheatre seat between 8,000 and 10,000 fans. He pointed out that the Can’t Stop Rockin’ tour, with 38 Special, REO Speedwagon and Styx, didn’t make a stop in Nashville because the 2,362-capacity Ryman Auditorium was too small and the 20,000-capacity Sommet Center was too big.

Photo: AP Photo
Siren Studios, Los Angeles.

Another idea discussed was helping out with housing for struggling musicians trying to make it in the biz.

“When I first came to Nashville, I stayed in some rough motels, and I even slept in my car in Centennial Park,” songwriter Rivers Rutherford, who attended the first council meeting, said, according to the Tennessean. “I had no clue about where to go or who to talk to. One objective the mayor has is to find a way to have a songwriters’ hostel. I would really like to see that happen.”

Dean said it’s important to protect the city’s brand and position as “Music City,” and to “keep creative people here and attract people to the city and help our tax base.”

He added that, “The key message I’m trying to get across to the music industry is, ‘We care, we want you here, and you are what gives the city its edge.’”

The paper noted that the music industry has a $6.38 billion impact on the city’s economy with roughly 20,000 jobs directly tied to music production and 15,000 jobs linked to music-related tourism, according to a 2006 study commissioned by Belmont University and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Read the Tennessean article here.