And tonight, my friends, is exactly why I moved to Nashville. Because only in Nashville do you see eleven, yes eleven, spectacular songwriters on stage, performing hit and/or hidden songs for a room full of people who respect and appreciate everything about music.
Tonight, at City Winery in Nashville, eleven female songwriters took the stage as a part of the Girls of Nashville series (benefitting Safe Haven), each performing two songs — some that we have never heard and some that have become tremendous hits in country music. The artists present were: Meghan Kabir, Ashley Ray, Emily Weisband, Maggie Chapman, Emily West, Maren Morris, Heather Morgan, Sara Haze, Cassadee Pope, Caitlyn Smith, and Lucie Silvas. Each lady had a different story to tell, a different talent to bring to the table, and a different vibe, creating an eclectic evening in Music City. However, what they all had in common was an unfathomable amount of girl power that burst through the seams of the City Winery doors.
Of particular note were Meghan Kabir and Maren Morris, both of whom have amazing credits to their names, and, more importantly, incomparable voices of their own. Meghan blew the crowd away with her acoustic version of Kelly Clarkson’s heavy-hitting “People Like Us,” while Maren dazzled the audience with a sneak peek at a new song off the deluxe version of Kelly’s upcoming album, Piece By Piece, entitled “Second Wind.” The fact that each of these gifted gals have songwriting credits on Kelly records should speak for itself — then their voices escaped and they proved they are truly vocalists in their own rights.
The double dose of Emily W. — Weisband and West — wow’ed the crowd with their unique sounds and expressiveness. Emily Weisband was in the first round and won fans over when she performed the only song she has ever written by herself, sharing that she is feeling very vulnerable. Showing off her powerhouse vocal abilities, the audience shut down and simply watched as Emily poured her soul into her craft. On the flip side, Emily West provided the most humor of the evening, specifically with her duet “Playing Games” that is back and forth banter between a guy and girl, neither of whom is ready to make the move. Being a true show(wo)man, Emily and her duet partner flubbed the lyrics, but immediately turned the scene into a comedy routine, making fun of themselves. Emily chalked the mistake up to her activities as of late: “I’ve been watching Netflix for like seven days straight.”
Heather Morgan and Sara Haze each impressed onlookers with their renditions of hit songs “Beat of the Music” (Brett Eldredge) and “Riot” (Rascal Flatts). Heather, who is partially responsible for the American Country Countdown Awards Song of the Year, took Brett’s chart-topping hit, put a twist on it that only a strong female can, and brought the house down. Sara, a singer-songwriter with vocals that deserve to be heard across radio stations, performed “Hey Heartbreak” and “Riot,” both of which were done with undeniable passion and precision, proving to be one of the most talked about performers of the evening.
Maggie Chapman, Ashley Ray, and Lucie Silvas each brought distinct sounds and abilities to the table, showcasing their array of talents to City Winery patrons. Maggie delivered two somewhat haunting performances, contrarily displaying the voice of an angel with a dark side; Ashley shared a couple of songs from her new EP, spotlighting her stellar range; and Lucie shined as she played keyboard and sang two songs, emitting a sultry vibe and gorgeous vocals.
Perhaps the most prominent standouts of the night were Cassadee Pope and Caitlyn Smith, artists who were in the final round of the event. Cassadee sang her platinum-selling hit “Wasting All These Tears,” which was written by Caitlyn, who provided harmonies on the song during the show. A once in a lifetime opportunity it was indeed to witness these two female forces combine efforts, the result of which was one of the best live versions of “Wasting All These Tears” I have heard. Caitlyn also sang “Carry You Home” from ABC’s Nashville, a performance that caused the audience to erupt in cheers after hearing the immeasurable talent explode from the young artist.
Cassadee Pope also chose the Girls of Nashville show to introduce a new song “Let Me Go,” which she explained that she wrote at a time in life when someone who previously believed in her stopped doing so without a warning. Bringing her co-writer, Tina Parol, on stage to provide supplemental vocals, Cassadee let go of the frustrations she was feeling over her experience and gave the performance of the evening.
The Girls of Nashville show proved how viable and valuable the females of Music City are and just how much they have to offer. And what they have to offer is a variety of capabilities that are indescribably necessary to the future of country music … and the successes of their songs alone should speak volumes in favor of that statement.