Garth Wows at ‘Secret’ Nashville Show

musings 250_edited-1Occasionally a chance comes along to be a part of something really cool.  Sometimes you know it before it happens and others – it comes as a surprise.  Seldom is it both.

I had an opportunity to attend one of the worst kept secrets in Nashville – Garth’s “secret” show during Country Radio Seminar (CRS) week.  The “how” will be kept secret, but what matters is the “why”.  I blogged about Garth a little over a year ago and how I was thoroughly surprised by his TV special.  Even more recently, I received his box set (Blame It All on My Roots) for Christmas – which is an incredible catalog of music. Anyway, the “why” is that I realize a great opportunity when I see it.

garth brooks, zach clayton,

Garth Brooks plays an invitation-only show in Nashville on Feb. 25, 2015. (Photo: Zach Clayton) Click to enlarge.

Back to the secret show – a local country station (WSIX) gave away approximately 700 passes to the show in addition to the same amount for CRS attendees.  The show was held at Marathon Music Works which is a refurbished warehouse/factory.  Upon arriving, I realized we weren’t Bob Uecker – we were VIP’s.  This enabled us access to a special area of the club which included high-top tables with chairs (others had to stand), open bar, and your own VIP bathroom.  Additionally, a swag bag containing a wristband, t-shirt and towel was given to VIP’s:

garth brooks, zach clayton, music musings, beaverdamusa.comGarth came out and proceeded to hold court for the next hour.  The show was billed as a taste of his world tour which is selling a crazy number of tickets as he plays multiple shows in each scheduled city.  Simply stated – the man knows how to command a room.  He had the crowd singing and hanging on every word and note.  While the stage was obviously smaller than the normal one, he found room for every band member on stage.  At the end, he introduced each member and noted how long they had been with him.

There were a couple of original members dating back to 1988 – a rarity in today’s world.  He played two new songs of the Man Against Machine album and the rest of the set was a greatest hits  The highlight for me was finally hearing “The Dance” live.  I have loved that song since the first time I heard it.  One cool thing was that he brought members of the military on stage for one of the new songs – All American Kid which prompted the crowd to chant “USA! USA!”

Throughout the evening, it was obvious that he was thrilled with the reception he received and was very appreciative of the crowd.  He thanked the radio people for playing his songs and the crowd for buying the songs and coming out to see him.

I realize that I was fortunate to catch this show – and it worked.  It served to whet my appetite for the full show.  Now we will have to wait and see when he plays Nashville again.  I just hope he can maybe get a little bigger venue!

Here is the setlist:

  • Cold Like That
  • Rodeo
  • Poppa Loved Mama
  • Two Piña Coladas
  • The Thunder Rolls
  • Callin’ Baton Rouge (G indicated this would always be in his set list)
  • All American Kid
  • Friends in Low Places
  • The Dance
  • Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)
  • Two of a Kind, Working on A Full House
  • The River
  • Standing  Outside the Fire

Feeling Blessed


Tayler Lynch Jumps From TV to Your Radio

tayler coverSometimes, the simplest of things make the biggest change.

Tayler Lynch was a teenager with a budding television acting career already under his belt when he heard a song that inspired him enough to change career paths.

“I heard Brad Paisley’s ‘Letter to Me’ on the radio one day,” he said. “And, it hit me right then, and I was like, ‘I want to do this. I want to affect people the way that song just affected me.’”

edited for blog interview2Three album releases later, the young songwriter and vocalist from Louisville, Ky., is making noise in Music City and beyond. He sat down and talked to us recently about his career, including “Pieces of Me,” his latest album project.

“Pieces of Me” features 10 songs, the majority of which Tayler wrote solo, bucking the Nashville trend of co-writing. “I kind of knew what I wanted to do (on the album), and I really didn’t know how to explain what I wanted to do,” he said. “So I thought, ‘you know what I’ll just do it. I’ll do it myself to see what happens.’ And, I also wanted to see if I could do it myself. I’d done a lot of co-writing and I wanted to give it a shot I wanted to see how good of a writer I really was on my own right and see if I could really do this on my own.”

He added, “I think there’s probably 2 or 3 songs I did a co-write on. The rest of them I wrote by myself, so a lot of the influences and the ideas and things like that came from different artists that I listen to, and really just what sounded good to me, what felt right to me.

“A lot of the songs came from me sitting around playing my guitar and experimenting with chord structure and things like that,” Tayler said. “I would play a couple of chords, and they sounded really good together, and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to build a song around that,’ and then the idea for the actual lyric would hit me and it just kind of went together really well.”

If you haven’t heard Tayler’s music yet, you certainly will. And chances are good you have seen him on television. Even before he was in high school, Tayler had built a solid acting resume, including appearances on Grey’s AnatomyEverybody Hates ChrisDesperate Housewives and ER.

edited for blog interview3“I actually started out in the entertainment business as an actor, probably from the time I was in the third grade until right before my freshman year in high school,” Tayler said. “I would travel – my mom and I – back and forth to LA.”

His acting career, however, took a backseat when Tayler entered high school. “Before I started high school, I was told by the school that I needed to make a decision,” he explained. “Did I want to go to school, or did I want to travel back and forth to LA? Because they weren’t willing to work with me the same way my elementary school and middle school did.”

He said, “I decided that I wanted to have the normal high school career and experience all the things that come along with that. In doing so, I realized I really have a love and a passion for music that I hadn’t fully vetted out, because I had been doing acting; and, so I guess it kind of worked out in the long run.”

Acting’s loss became music’s gain. “Without being able to travel, I had to find something else to occupy my time with. And, I was like ‘I can do this music thing, and I’m actually passionate about this’ – and passionate in a way I really didn’t think I was at first.”

Tayler said he would give himself an A-minus for his writing on the “Pieces of Me” record. “While I am proud of it, and I do think I did really good work – and other people think I did really good work – I don’t want to give myself a perfect grade because there’s always room for improvement,” he said.

His favorite song on the album is “When He Gave Me You,” Tayler said. “I wrote that song for my parents, so it’s kind of got a special place in my heart, and between the three of us.”

Tayler on twitter | Facebook | ReverbNation | iTunes
Visit his Web site:

The Nashville music industry is taking note of Tayler, as well. For the past 2 years, he has been named an Emerging Artist at CMA Music Fest. And, he was recently the featured Artist of the Month at the “Welcome to Nashville” showcase at the legendary Silver Dollar Saloon. Back in his hometown, he has performed the National Anthem at several events at The University of Louisville, the latest being at the KFC Yum Center to more than 10,000 people. 

Tayler has also sung at  several breast cancer awareness events for the university. His grandmother is a 2-year survivor, and he lost two other grandparents to cancer. He said singing at events like these is him doing his part to help find a cure.

When he is touring, Tayler said playing clubs and festivals are his favorite venues, “just because people who are there, especially clubs, they’re there because there’s music. They’re there to hear somebody play.

“It’s a struggle sometimes when you go someplace where people aren’t necessarily expecting for there to be a band or there be music, and then you spend part of the time playing trying to get people warmed up to you, but if you’re at a club but you’re at a festival it’s kind of a given. You can jump right in,” he said.

Though he occasionally performs solo, he mostly fronts the Tayler Lynch Band. About his show, he quipped, “Think vintage Garth Brooks type of energy, and the hip shaking of Luke Bryan.”

He called Brooks, “a huge influence. He and George Strait are two of my biggest influences. In 5 years, I’m hoping to be signed to a label. I’m hoping to either probably to be an opening act for somebody. Hopefully now that Garth’s back on the road he might need me,” Tayler laughed.

Tayler hits Nashville at least once a month, usually to perform. He is studying music business online at the Berklee College of Music. ” I want to know as much about the business as I can,” he said. “For one it interests me. And, two, I don’t want to get screwed. I want to know what some record exec is telling me is the right thing.”

Garth Anonymous

Admitting You Watched
his TV Special is the

First Step in Joining
“Garth Brooks Anonymous”

Garth Brooks at We Are One (edit)Hi, my name is Zach, and I watched the Garth Brooks TV special; and I did it voluntarily.  Honest.  No lying.  Several years ago, I wouldn’t have admitted that even under torture measures as bad as being in charge of Derek Dooley’s hair or feet care.

When I was growing up (assumes I have), country music consisted of Merle Haggard, Lynn Anderson, Charley Pride, and the cast of Hee Haw.  I never was a fan. The closest I got was attending the Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam and buying a cowboy hat after Urban Cowboy came out.  You’ve never heard of Urban Cowboy?  Try Google.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Then during the mid to late ‘80’s, some country music started becoming popular with younger folks.  Names like Randy Travis and Travis Tritt started popping up.  CMT came around and the country singer had to clean up and not look/smell like the aftermath of the bender they were on the night before.  Then folks started going nuts over a singer from Oklahoma named Garth Brooks who quickly became just Garth.  When people mentioned “Garth” now, it wasn’t following the phrase “party on”.

I noticed that country music started sounding more and more like some of the early “rock” music I liked such as the Eagles, Bob Seger, etc.

Since I have never bought Thriller, watched Gone with the Wind or Titanic, I didn’t jump on the Garth bandwagon, and I wore that badge with pride.  I never really became a country music fan.  I would occasionally switch to CMT hoping that the Lorrie Morgan video would be running.  Mainly, I kept up with country music because 1) I lived in Nashville and 2) females liked country and I needed something to talk about.  As I grew older, I noticed that country music started sounding more and more like some of the early “rock” music I liked such as the Eagles, Bob Seger, etc.  Yes, I am rationalizing why I started listening to some country music.

Back to the Garth special.  So Garth walked away a few years ago while he was king of the country and pop mountain to be a Dad and a husband.  Then about three years ago he signed a monster deal with the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas to basically be flown on a private jet from Oklahoma to Vegas for a one-night-a-week show that was just him and his guitar.  Oh, yeah and he got paid a pile of money.  Not a bad gig if you can get it.  So for his last gig at the Wynn, Garth played it live (7 second delay, thank goodness) for America.  It was billed as an evening with Garth as he explored his musical roots.

The show started with Garth and just his guitar. He spent the first hour and a half talking his way through his personal history and his influences.  He talks about his musical influences coming from his mother and father until he heard folk/pop music.  He would then play a snippet of a song from a particular artist and occasionally morph the song into one of his one popular songs to demonstrate how the song influenced his writing.  His running back and forth all over the stage got a little tiresome, but I imagine that comes off better with a full band, lights, and special effects.  Speaking of a full blown concert, I understand Garth is a huge KISS fan (mentions them in the show).  From what I have seen of his concert footage, he “borrows” some of their antics – such as flying out over the crowd, spitting water (instead of flames).  There is no question that the guy is an entertainer.  He brought his wife out (Trisha Yearwood) to sing one of her songs and a duet.  He finished the show with his own hits.  I assume “Friends in Low Places” was the last song – the DVR quit after the first verse.

This special coincided with the release of a box set labeled “Blame It All on My Roots” in which Garth performs songs which influenced his musical tastes, including the requisite DVD and photo booklet.  The song count is at 81 songs, including his own hits.  The timing is perfect to coincide with the rumored re-emergence of Brooks on the concert scene in 2014.  I would bet the ranch on that happening.  Trust me.  Songwriters all over Nashville with cuts on this box set are rejoicing.

To bring this thing home, I watched it.  I liked it.  I even liked it enough that I may slide by Wal-Mart and pick up the box set.  Not solely for the music. You see, Garth stepped up to the plate in 2010 after Nashville and the surrounding area was flooded.  We take care of our own.  He announced a flood relief concert with tickets at $25.  What?  That’s cheap (and means not much money).  But they kept adding shows as each would sell out.  They stopped at nine shows.  That’s right, nine shows and $5 million.  He also did a huge favor for a sick friend of mine at one of those shows.  Because of these last two things – I can now say out loud that I am a Garth fan.  Meet you at Wally World. Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner