CMA Songwriters Series Begins Tenth Year at Sundance Film Festival
Brandy Clark, Brett James, Chris Stapleton, and Lee Ann Womack Share the Stories Behind Their Hit Songs
NASHVILLE – The CMA Songwriters Series returns for its tenth season with the announcement that the first shows of 2014 will be at the world famous Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 22 and 23.
For a decade, the CMA Songwriters Series has been exposing fans across the country and the globe to the artisans who, through their craft, pen hits that touch the lives of millions of music fans. The January performances of the Sundance ASCAP Music Café’s CMA Songwriters Spotlight will feature special guests Brandy Clark, Brett James, Chris Stapleton, and Lee Ann Womack.
“We are honored that the CMA Songwriters Spotlight will be a highlight of the Sundance ASCAP Music Café, an official part of the Sundance Film Festival calendar,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Nashville’s songwriters are among the most talented storytellers in the world and with the Sundance Film Festival being the world’s premier stage for storytellers, I cannot think of a more appropriate setting to launch the tenth year of this series.”
In its 10-year history, the CMA Songwriter Series has presented more than 75 shows in 13 cities, including Austin, Belfast, Chicago, Dublin, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. at the renowned Library of Congress.
The series has featured hundreds of music’s most gifted storytellers. CMA Triple Play Award winner, CMA Board member, and Songwriters Hall of Fame member Bob DiPiero has championed and hosted the series since its launch in 2005 at Joe’s Pub in New York City.
“CMA Songwriters Series has become the premier event to showcase the Nashville songwriting community,” said DiPiero. “We have reached a tipping point, in that fans are starting to understand the role of the songwriter in the success of their favorite artists. We are grateful to all of the artists that have performed on the series through the past 10 years, but it is the songwriter, the ‘invisible star,’ the storytellers and song makers that the CMA Songwriters Series celebrates. We have become musical ambassadors, spreading the hillbilly Gospel.”
Some of the artists that have been part of the series over the decade-long run include Dierks Bentley, Clint Black, Kix Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington, Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Patty Loveless, Ronnie Milsap, Kip Moore, David Lee Murphy, Gretchen Peters, Kellie Pickler, The Band Perry, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Phil Vassar, and Chris Young.
Through CMA’s partnership with ASCAP, some of Country Music’s premier storytelling talent will present two feature performances as part of the official Sundance Festival calendar at the Sundance ASCAP Music Café’s CMA Songwriters Spotlight. Both shows will feature Clark, James, Stapleton, and Womack. The shows will be on Jan. 22 and 23 at 4:00 PM/MT each day at the Sundance ASCAP Music Café.
Clark epitomizes the artistry of the Country Music songwriter. Her debut record 12 Stories made a big impact on the year-end “Best Of” lists. Spin Magazine included “Take A Little Pill” on their Top 50 Songs of 2013, and also included “Follow Your Arrow,” which Clark wrote with Kacey Musgraves and Shane McAnally. “Just Like Him” was featured in NPR’s Favorite Song of 2013 and 12 Stories came in at No. 27 on American Songwriter’s Top Albums of 2013. Rolling Stone describes it as “airtight craftsmanship, sly wit and precise detailing.” She was nominated for a CMA Song of the Year Award in 2013 for Lambert’s hit “Mama’s Broken Heart.”
An esteemed member of the CMA Board, James has had numerous chart successes including “When the Sun Goes Down” recorded by Chesney and Uncle Kracker, and “Jesus Take the Wheel” recorded by Underwood, which also won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. “It’s America” recorded by Rodney Atkins, “Out Last Night” recorded by Chesney, and “Cowboy Casanova” recorded by Underwood, all co-written by James, also topped the Country charts as well as “The Truth” recorded by Jason Aldean and “The Man I Want to Be” recorded by Young. ASCAP named James their Country songwriter of the year in 2006 and again in 2010. Other artists who have recorded his works include Kelly Clarkson, Backstreet Boys, Bon Jovi, and Paulina Rubio.
Stapleton has written four No. 1 songs including the five-week smash “Never Wanted Nothing More” recorded by Chesney, “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” recorded by Strait, and “Come Back Song” recorded by Darius Rucker. More than 150 of Stapleton’s songs have appeared on albums by such artists as Adele, Bentley, Tim McGraw, and Brad Paisley, and he has several notable co-writers including Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton, and Vince Gill. As a member of The SteelDrivers, Stapleton earned three Grammy Award nominations including Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for the song “Where Rainbows Never Die” and Best Bluegrass Album. He won the International Bluegrass Music Association Award for Emerging Artist of the Year in 2009, as well as six ASCAP Awards.
Womack is a six-time CMA Award winner who has sold more than five million albums and recorded numerous hits including “A Little Past Little Rock,” “The Fool,” “I May Hate Myself in the Morning,” and “I Hope You Dance,” which won CMA Song and Single of the Year Awards in 2000. Aside from being a hit singer, Womack also is an accomplished songwriter, having penned, most notably, “Good News, Bad News,” a duet with fellow Texan George Strait that won the CMA Musical Event of the Year Award in 2005.
Following an auspicious launch at the Sundance ASCAP Music Café, the CMA Songwriters Series will return on Feb. 11 and 12 to Joe’s Pub in New York City, the sight of its first concerts in 2005. Additional shows in 2014 will tentatively include Austin, Chicago, Nashville, and New York with talent and show dates to be announced at a later time. For more information on the CMA Songwriters Series, visit CMAsongwritersseries.com.