Guys And Guitars: Bluebird Cafe Edition

Let me just start off with this.. going on The Bluebird Cafe website and looking for shows is sometimes like Christmas morning. As a fan of country music, you always have a wish-list of artists you are hoping to catch live, and oh boy did The Bluebird Cafe’s schedule did a great job catching my eye.

It was the night before I found out one of my favorites, Ryan Griffin, was playing at The Bluebird Cafe. However, there were no tickets left. We had to go an extra two hours early to wait on the line for wait-listers. Finally we got in and sat in the pews all the way in the back. As long as I was there that’s what mattered to me.

The round included Josh London, Steven McMorran (who has now gained a new fan… me duh), Ryan Griffin, and Taylor Davis.

It started off with the guy I was initially coming for, Ryan Griffin. Ryan climbed the country charts with co-writing Kelsea Ballerini’s hit single “Dibs,” that he sang during the round yet also said he felt awkward because.. well.. just listen to “Dibs” and you’ll get the point. Ryan has also dropped his EP in March of 2017 and you bet every single song on there is a HIT. His recent single “I Would’ve Left Me Too” has almost 3 million plays on Spotify, and you could hear for yourself on why that is..

You’re welcome after hearing that beauty acoustic. Like he said, “It was kind of terrifying to release honestly, but It was cool because they said that viral chart is no manipulation.. it’s just people are connecting to the music..” This song sat on the Spotify charts for awhile, but finally took off like it was meant to.

One of my new favorites after the show was over was 100% Steven McMorran. I don’t know where he has been hiding from me all this time but I’m glad the wait is over. His voice just echoes throughout the room; he doesn’t even need a microphone. It’s a completely different and unique sound that you can’t compare much to. From growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, to taking his songwriting career to Los Angeles.. I’m glad he ended up in Nashville. Here’s just a little take on what Steven brought to the table..

Next up was Taylor Davis, and man did I get a Chris Young meets Zac Brown vibe. Magic Mustang Music signed Taylor to its publishing roster in 2015. Taylor recently just got his first cut on Big & Rich’s new album “Did It For the Party,” called “Long Way Home.” He said he’s been in Nashville for 10 years.. a 10 WHOLE years and this is his first cut. Well watch out Nashville, because this guy has an even more cuts coming. I have a snip of him singing one of my favorites “Make Her Change Her Mind”, it’s a classy-country-bop for sure. Give it a listen.

BBR Music Group signee, Jimmie Allen, who was supposed to play the round originally that night but cancelled, came and played a song with Josh London. It was honestly the most perfect collaboration i’ve ever heard. Jimmie Allen, who I met over one year ago at a round in Nashville, has one of the best up-coming voices in the music industry. Not only is he the sweetest human but he takes the time to make sure his fans feel like they’re friends, and that’s the most important part of trying to grow your fan-base. Here’s a little snip of “Best Shot” that Jimmie and Josh wrote together.

Josh London is a singer/songwriter from Kentucky who has been labeled as “up-and-coming-songwriter/artist” by Music Row magazine. He’s co-written a song with Sam Riggs called “Waiting For The Fall” that has over 50,000 plays on spotify and soon will be making its way up the charts.

This writers-round was one of the best ones i’ve been to since i’ve moved down here. There wasn’t one song I didn’t like. I’m pretty positive my phone storage is close to being full after seeing how many videos/audio I recorded. I don’t regret a thing. All five of these guys brought something different to the round and not surprisingly, it was music to my ears — sorry that was an awful pun. If you haven’t checked out The Bluebird Cafe’s schedule, let’s change that. If you haven’t been to a writers-round ever in Nashville, like, ever… what are you doing? No, but seriously, grab a group of friends and make a reservation or wait on the wait-list line. I think some of you would be surprised on how much you’d appreciate local songwriters/artists.

Which song was your favorite out of the four?

Who wouldn’t want “Life Changes” with Thomas Rhett by your side?

Even if you don’t like country music, you still like Thomas Rhett. If you don’t like Thomas Rhett, then you want his love life after hearing this album.. let’s be real.

I think we all know country music is changing. It’s been up for debate whether it’s a good or bad thing. Thomas Rhett has definitely not let critics stop him. His album includes a little bit of everything, from singing country with his dad, Rhett Akins, in “Drink A Little Beer,” to soul R&B in “Kiss Me Like A Stranger,” and finally to EDM in  “Leave Right Now.” Thomas Rhett for sure has a variety of genres on “Life Changes”, and the best part is that he’s written 10 out of 12 of the new songs.

If you haven’t listened to Life Changes yet, let me give you a quick summary before we get into detail….


Spotify Premium (I totally suggest it) Along with using ProCreate for iPad

Now that you get my quick synopsis on how obsessed I am, let’s get behind the scenes on some of the different country vibes..

“Leave Right Now,” written by Julian Bunetta, Ed Drewett, John Henry Ryan, and Thomas Rhett.

Right after hearing this song for the first time, I knew there were some Chainsmokers/Zedd vibes. Thomas says from The Boot “This song started out just three dudes and a guitar; there was no element of EDM in this song at all, until it got to be about two or three o’clock in the morning, and we all decided that everything was a better idea than it actually was.” Julian Bunetta, who has written many hits for One Direction over the years, was the one who came up with the built electronic post-chorus, or what we all like to call the “bass drop.” You don’t see the bass drop coming at all, and I think that’s what makes this song most unique. This song certainly stands out from the entire album, and is definitely one of my favorites.

“Drink A Little Beer” written by Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, and Ben Hayslip.

This song is probably the most old-school country mixed with new country that you’ll hear on the album. Thomas says, “My dad sent me this song in an email; his email said, I know you will never cut this, but I wanted you to hear it. I think when your dad tells you you will never do something, it makes you want to do it more.” I think this song definitely throws back to some of Thomas’ old stuff, like from his album It Goes Like This. Involving his dad in his album has been just a touch of what family means to him, which is a never ending theme in ‘Life Changes”.

“Kiss Me Like A Stranger” written by Dave Barnes, Jordan Reynolds, and Thomas Rhett.

Of course, what’s a Thomas Rhett album without a “feel good” song? This is an old school romantic ballad with a soul, R&B flare. If his goal was to bring back Barry White sounds, he nailed it. If you didn’t get a “You’re The first, My Last, My Everything” feel then you probably need to listen closer. Actually not probably, you just do. Thomas says from The Boot” I don’t know what to call it, but it’s my take on a Marvin Gaye-meets-Barry Manilow kind of thing.” He says his love for doo-wop comes from his grandparents; they influenced him on Carole King And The Drifters. Sometimes I think Thomas asks himself, “what kind of sound have I not yet tried?” and then somehow pulls nostalgic-feeling songs that make you wonder how he pulled that lyric out, or that beat.

“Life Changes” is as honest as it gets. Listening to these songs from “Sixteen” to “Unforgettable,” you feel as if you’re reliving his past as he’s trying to recapture as much as he can. Not going to lie, I was kind of nervous when he was putting out singles every other Friday for sneak peaks. Hearing the different kind of sounds he was exemplifying in “Sweetheart” and “Kiss Me Like A Stranger” took me a while to get used to the vibes, and I think that’s exactly what he was trying to do, give us a taste of each sound living in his past. A lot of this album is autobiographical and sentimental, and it has a little bit of everything that you want to hear when you’re looking for it.

Thomas Rhett achieved his No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, earned 123,000 identical album units in the ending week of Sept 14 making this his best sales week ever and the third largest sales week of 2017 for a country endeavor. So do yourself and I a favor, listen to this album, you won’t be disappointed.