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Original Songwriter Demos


Original Songwriter Demos

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This is the heart of Music City.

Yes, famous records are made in Nashville. Yes, famous music stars live in Nashville. Yes, great concert tours are launched from Nashville. The city produces wildly popular video and television shows. But at its core, Nashville is really about songwriting and song publishing. These are the engines that drive the town’s entire music community.

And unlike most music centers, song craftsmanship is paramount in Tennessee’s capital city. Singing “Oh, baby” to a repeated guitar lick or a catchy production gimmick is simply not sufficient. Rapping over a sampled sound that someone else produced isn’t enough, either. In Nashville, you are expected to craft a lyric that says something and a melody with structure.

Then you record a “demo” (demonstration record) of that bit of craftsmanship. That demo is then pitched to artists or record producers in the hope that the song will then be recorded, played on the radio and turned into a hit.

Visitors to Nashville are often surprised that the city’s nightlife scene centers on small clubs that showcase the community’s songwriters, rather than big-name entertainers. Then visitors are invariably delighted when they hear those songwriters performing their original versions of the hits they have provided to others.

This album of demo performances shows the original intent that each creator had. Long before they became nationally famous, these are the ways these songs were first heard. This is a “peek behind the curtain” of Music Row. Sometimes the demo is virtually a template for how the hit record will eventually sound. At other times, it might be a simple, straightforward performance of a singer accompanied by a sole guitar or a piano.

“These are the original visions of these songwriters,” explains the CD’s executive producer, Scott Hendricks. “I’ve always wondered why we couldn’t do something with these great demo performances.” So now he has.

There are “stars” on this record, but they don’t go on concert tours, make videos or sell souvenir t-shirts. The “stars” of this record are some of the most famous songs of the past 20 years, the songwriters who created them, the stories behind them and the demo recordings that gave them birth.


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Warner Music Nashville was created in 2009 to expand the presence of WMG and its family of labels in Nashville. The division is home to Atlantic Records, Warner Bros. Records, Elektra Nashville and Word Entertainment.