Ten years ago, Nashville songwriter Bob DiPiero had an idea to let country’s songwriters sing their own songs. It had been going on for years in Nashville, of course, but nobody had ever taken the show on the road.
He hoped the idea would catch on with the Country Music Association and fans. And, man, did it catch on.
The CMA Songwriters Series has put on 75 shows in 15 cities, here and abroad. And more than 130 songwriters have played a part in the series’ success.
The CMA talked to four of the songwriters involved, and here’s what they had to say about the shows.
(“Southern Voice,” “Blue Clear Sky,” “The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Take Me as I Am”)
“Early on, I think not everyone on the CMA board may have seen the value. And songwriters are such lone wolves, at first even they were like, ’What’s in this for me?'”
(“Ain’t Nothing ’Bout You”, “Real Good Man”, “When I Get Where I’m Going,” “Smoke Rings in the Dark,” “Homewrecker”)
“I like having the opportunity to get up and show people what I do, as opposed to having somebody else show them. I get to share a side of me that, as an artist, I wouldn’t normally get to. It’s not rehearsed, and most of the time, it sounds like it. It’s a couple of guys sitting around playing in their living room. It just happens that there’s an audience watching.”
(“Follow Your Arrow,” “Mama’s Broken Heart”, “Better Dig Two” and her own “Stripes”)
“A lot of songwriters are performers at heart. So this gives us all the chance to satisfy that side of ourselves. It’s easy to be locked inside of a room all the time, just writing songs, and not really stay in touch with why you’re doing it, with the people who are buying it and whose lives it’s affecting.”
(“Baby Girl,” “Already Gone”, “All I Want to Do”, “Something More”)
“Honestly, I can’t believe the set list whenever we get to the end of one of these gigs. I’m humbled to be in the lineup every time, and I’m in awe of these writers who have shaped the soundtrack to our lives.”