Thursday, December 04, 2014

[231] MTSU songwriting stars take the stage Dec. 7 for Nashville benefit concert

MURFREESBORO MTSU alumnus Eric Paslay is headlining a special MTSU songwriting benefit concert Sunday, Dec. 7, at Nashville’s Listening Room Café that also will showcase fellow Grammy-nominated songwriter Dylan Altman and several current MTSU recording industry students.

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. concert, co-sponsored by ASCAP and Spirit Music Nashville, are $10 in advance via online purchase at and $15 at the door.

The Listening Room Café is located at 217 Second Ave. S. in downtown Nashville.

Paslay, a 2005 grad of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, has made regular appearances on country music airplay charts with this year’s self-titled debut release, which hit No. 4 on Billboard’s country albums listing and includes his top-10 single “Friday Night.”

The music business major’s songs have been winners for other artists too, including Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and Paslay’s Grammy-nominated “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” for the Eli Young Band. Both hit No. 1 on the charts.

Altman, who was nominated for a 2014 Grammy for co-writing Jason Aldean’s No. 1 “Take a Little Ride,” has also written for and with Paslay as well as for Will Hoge and Tim McGraw. Altman’s songs also have been featured on the ABC drama “Nashville.”

MTSU students will open the Dec. 7 concert. Nick Carpenter, Collin Baxter and Kyle Crownover, who are completing an Advanced Commercial Songwriting course this semester, will be joined by Commercial Songwriting students Caitlin Spencer, Zack Russell and Terreze Seiber.

Proceeds will help the Department of Recording Industry’s commercial songwriting concentration expand its curriculum.

"ASCAP’s LeAnn Phalen has been super supportive of MTSU’s songwriting program and we are so grateful for ASCAP’s sponsorship of this event,” said Odie Blackmon, a veteran songwriter and the program’s new coordinator.

"Spirit Music is also sponsoring the show, and that’s pretty special, considering that their Daniel Hill and Billy Lynn were instrumental in the careers of Eric Paslay, Dylan Altman and me.”

Blackmon is himself a Grammy-nominated songwriter for Lee Ann Womack’s “I May Hate Myself in the Morning,” which also won the 2005 Country Music Association Song of the Year. He co-wrote George Strait’s “She’ll Leave You with a Smile" and Gary Allan’s “Nothing On But the Radio,” both of which topped the country charts.

MTSU’s ongoing partnerships with the music industry have continued to expand the Department of Recording Industry into one of the top programs in the nation. The department was part of an international Top 25 list of acclaimed schools touted by The Hollywood Reporter in mid-November, and Billboard magazine has also touted MTSU’s program as one of the top five in the world.

More than a dozen MTSU alumni or former students and faculty from around the university have been nominated for Grammy Awards in the last four years. Seven have won Grammys, including a couple of repeat recipients, in categories from classical to gospel to bluegrass.

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