The Revival Celebrates Two Years of Bringing Real Songs to Music Row
“Damn it, the fight isn’t in Austin and it isn’t in Los Angeles. It’s right here in Nashville, right here two blocks from Music Row, and if we winand if our winning is ever going to amount to anything in the long runwe’ve got to beat them on their own turf.” Tompall Glaser
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If you’re standing on the steps of the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and start walking towards Music Row, you’ll walk along a road called Deomonbreun. Right before you get to the naked Musica statue (where some say Hank Williams’ house used to be), and the road snakes into Music Row East and Music Row West, you come to a gaggle of business scrunched together. In that strip is an establishment called Tin Roof, and though it may look like a typical Fern Bar from the street, the bar boasts a stage where some of the best songwriters in town showcase their wares every Tuesday night in a showcase known as The Revival.
The brain child of songwriter Rob Snyder, The Revival is celebrating its two year anniversary next Tuesday, May 19th. A songwriter in-the-round setup with just acoustic guitars, The Revival is a place to not just be seen, but heard, and one of the few places you’ll find true songwriters still playing inspired songs mere steps from Music Row proper.
“Basically what we do is we have a church pew setup in the back of the Tin Roof. We book one guy and let him pick the other two guys that he’s in the round with. It’s pretty free form,” says Rob Snyder. “We ask them to play the songs they love, not necessarily the hits. We want to hear your best songs.”
Snyder says he started the Tuesday ritual both out of love for songs, and from a little frustration.
“There was a few of us like-minded people here in Nashville that were looking for a purpose to showcase songs that are really good songs. There are a lot of really good songs in Nashville, they’re just not getting heard. There’s rounds all around town, but ours is definitely different. We’ve had some big names come in there, and had some hit makers come in there, and we don’t discriminate against anybody by any means. We just ask that they play their best songs and their favorite songs.”
What kind of hit makers? “Brent Cobb, Hayes Carll, Jonathan Singleton,” Rob says, and The Revival is not just where songs get heard, but where deals can get struck and songwriters get noticed. “We had a guy play and someone heard his song, loved him, and gave him a ’68 Les Paul [guitar] the second time we ever had The Revival. We’ve had guys get publishing deals by playing a song. I played a song three weeks ago and I was closing my eyes, looked up, and Lee Brice was sitting there and he like, ‘Dude that is an awesome song.’ Things like that are just cool to happen there that don’t really happen anywhere else in town.”
Channing Wilson, another Nashville songwriter and organizer of The Revival was there for the first installment of the songwriter round, and will be there for the two year anniversary.
“I actually wasn’t helping to host it at the beginning of it, but Rob had asked me to play,” explains Channing. “The very first revival he had was me, Brett Cobb, and a guy named Leith Loftin on a church pew. Tyler Farr was in the front row, Jerrod Niemann and some of those big hit guys were there. Chase Rice was there, and Chris Young. You have to understand this is Tin Roof, where these guys hang out. So we’re kind of doing this, not for malicious reasons, but like right in the heart of what we love and hate about the town. It was just a really good show the first time. Brent and I just went into a 10-minute gospel medley of ‘I Saw The Light.’ It was a really magical moment, and we knew this thing was going to be pretty special. And over the last couple of years it’s just become the place to be if you’re a songwriter in the Music Row area of town.”
“We’re wanting to give a place for guys who are fighting to keep integrity,” continues Channing. “But also trying to find our way in a town that really … I don’t want to complain about the town because the town is actually really really good. But to be against the grain today, you have a lot of different avenues you can take, but obviously Nashville if you want to play country music is where you want to be if you want to make a difference.”
Something the frustrates songwriters like Channing Wilson and other participants of The Revival is the stereotype of Nashville as only harboring the mainstream country music industry when in truth there’s so much more.
“Guy Clark, he writes every single day, and he lives two miles from Music Row, Channing says. “Jason Isbell lives here, Sturgill Simpson lives here. I try to tell people that all the time when they start hating on Nashville. It’s not the town, it’s really just radio that represents the world of country music in an unfair way.”
Who can you expect to see at The Revival if you show up on a Tuesday night? Average Joe fans or industry types?
“It’s probably 50/50,” Channing says as Rob Snyder grunts in agreement. “The Revival itself has fans, and then there’s fans of the songwriters and artists who live in the town and aren’t in the industry. Then there’s people in the industry who their just is to find who’s hot and who’s good, so they come to these things all the time to watch. It’s really a big community here, and everyone likes good songs.”
But The Revival is not just about the songs and Tuesday nights. It’s about trying to make a difference on Music Row.
“We want everyone to feel welcome,” says Rob. “It’s not just a big party, it’s everything before and after the party. And if your heart’s in it, and I mean really in it, then you’re welcome to come play.”
Rob Snyder says his dream scenario is that someday some big artist will walk into Tin Roof, see a songwriter who blows his mind, and say, “That guy right there that doesn’t have a name and nobody knows who he is, I’m going to make a record on him and make him a household name.”
Channing Wilson adds, “What we hope is that somebody that writes ‘the formula’ as we call it, comes out to The Revial and it inspires him to go back to the room Monday morning and write something magical that ends up changing the game because he listened to someone like Adam Hood play, and then he went home and wanted to write a better song.”
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Along with Rob Snyder and Channing Wilson, The Revival’s two year anniversary show will feature Brent Cobb, Adam Hood, Jonathan Singleton, and many more.
May 15, 2015 @ 8:55 am
If Dallas Davidson has never played the revival, then I’m in!
May 15, 2015 @ 9:41 am
Charlie, I was there one night and saw him get kicked off the stage when he tried to butt in on someone’s round.
May 15, 2015 @ 10:17 am
I will have to check in to this.
Thanks for covering it, Trig.
May 15, 2015 @ 11:57 am
This sounds like an awesome place. Whats nice about places like this, the fans get to listen to songs and not hear loud drunks talking over the singer. I’m sure its one of those place you can hear a pin drop.
Not to highjack this article but I came across this insert from Randey Foster for a book that is being written about Kent Finaly, singer/songwriter and owner of Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Tx. This article reminds me of the Wednesday night Kent Finaly’s Songwriter Circle.
It wasn’t until after I’d started an independent career that I played at Cheatham Street Warehouse. The thing I love about Kent is how many young writers and musicians he’s mentored over the years. It’s a staggering list.
I think the first time I played there I was working with Randy Rogers Band. Randy and [fiddler] Brady [Black] still had their Tuesday night gig. They were playing every Tuesday when we were making [Rogers’ 2004 album] Rollercoaster. Randy said, “Hey, man, do you know about Cheatham Street Warehouse?” I said, “Yes, I do, but I’ve never played there.” He said, “Will you come be my surprise guest?” I was coming down on a Tuesday to write on that Tuesday and Wednesday and was going to play Thursday, Friday, Saturday. I said, “Yeah, sure.” So, the first time I played there was ten years ago. I met Kent that night. I said, “I’ll come back here and play anytime, Kent. This is awesome.”
Cheatham Street’s the Bluebird CafÃ© of Texas. It’s a place where you can call Kent and say, “Hey, I have a bunch of new stuff I want to try out. Can I come on a Wednesday night?” He’ll say, “Well, you can sell out a Friday night.” “Yeah, but I want to come in with my guitar on Wednesday night and try stuff out, new songs.” He’s like, “Absolutely. You can do it.” It is the one place that I go that feels like and looks like and walks like and talks like a honkytonk bar but when you’re playing a song even with a full band you don’t hear the din of cocktail parties like there are at a lot of other bars in Texas.
There are places down here where you can play with you and your guitar and it’s fine, but there are always gonna be a level of conversation. It’s the thing to do. Also, they really want to hear the hits. The other places where you can hear a pin drop usually are much smaller than Cheatham Street. They’re folkie listening rooms by their very nature like the Mucky Duck in Houston. Cheatham Street’s a honkytonk bar where everybody listens. People get pissed because they can’t hear the lyrics. It’s like, “Nope, you can’t do that in here. Hey, take it outside.”
Link to Full Article, Trig feel free to remove or edit this post if its to much.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
May 15, 2015 @ 12:09 pm
FWIW I found it interesting. Possibly because I’m a newbie songwriter who’s starting to haunt open mic nights and such.
May 15, 2015 @ 6:31 pm
Check it out, you wont be disappointed. Todd Snider did a week long residency there two weeks ago and hosted the songwriting circle three nights in a row. Hayes Carll, Jack Ingram, Kevin Welch, Dustin Welch and many others showed up. Look it up and you will find some really cool stories about the place. Good luck on your songwriting.
May 15, 2015 @ 3:11 pm
Chase Rice was there!! Tyler Farr!! Lee Brice was there!!! Wow,OMG!!
May 15, 2015 @ 10:05 pm
I don’t think anyone was name dropping. I think they were trying to explain that this place is right on Music Row (Google it if you wish), and when these folks are in the studio, in songwriting sessions, etc., it’s literally the closet place to go get something to eat, grab a beer, and listen to someone sing. One of the reasons something like The Revival could make a difference is because folks like that pass through its doors.
May 16, 2015 @ 8:31 am
I’ve been to the Tin Roof many times, and trust me,these guys and their mediocre songs are not going to “make a difference”. And the fact that they respect these bro-clowns ensures it
May 16, 2015 @ 5:20 pm
What do you want them to do, spit on Chase Rice and Jerrod Niemann when they walk in the door? That doesn’t seem like the regular protocol for the entertainment of an establishment. It’s a bar on Music Row. Those guys are going to go there. It’s like I always tell folks, I hate Sam Hunt’s music, but if I saw him at a gas station with his hood up and a pair of jumper cables in his hand, I’d pull up beside and give him a jump. That’s what you call “respect.”
As for their songs being “mediocre,” hey, that’s your opinion. With open mic’s and songwriting rounds, you’re not always going to get the greatest material. That’s part of the fun. It may be amateur hour, or it may be something magical. If you’ve been there multiple times, you probably didn’t hate it too much. But even if you think Rob Snyder and Channing Wilson are lightweights, Hayes Carll, Brent Cobb, Adam Hood—these are some of the most respected songwriters in the business. Screw me for trying to shine a spotlight on a few folks trying to do something cool.
May 15, 2015 @ 4:54 pm
I know both Rob and Channing personally. They’re hardworking, talented and completely dedicated to bringing songwriting back to country music. I encourage anyone in Nashville to definitely check out the revival at some point! I’ll be there on Tuesday for this killer lineup.
May 15, 2015 @ 5:30 pm
Wow. I’ve only lived here for about 4 months, or so. I’ve found some pretty cool off-the-beaten-path places for great music, but I’ve been itching for a new place to check out. This sounds right up my alley. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Trigger!
May 16, 2015 @ 9:37 am
VERY, VERY Encouraging . I’ve been in the business many years , as have so many of my musical friends , acquaintances , writing partners etc.We just don’t want to have to write what radio wants now …no-substance, pandering pop country for teenage girls . We discuss how meaningless and stifling that avenue would be to have to rely on for a livelihood and the relatively short shelf life it sentences an otherwise good writer of integrity and talent to . The REVIVAL seems to be offering the right options ….an alternative which ENCOURAGES myself and like-minded writers to follow their instincts and creative muses .Many of us , myself included , have had songs win or acknowledged with mentions at major writing contests and yet are consistently rejected by Nashville because they aren’t ‘radio-friendly’ . They never garner interest and yet we are subjected to the ongoing stream of mainstream radio pap day in and day out . It would be pretty wonderful to see the REVIVAL movement take hold and not only improve what we are fed commercially but allow some terrific writers an opportunity to be recognized and grow and yes ..make a few $$$ along the way . The REVIVAL is another necessary part of saving country music …mucho kudos .
May 17, 2015 @ 9:01 pm
I’m kinda surprised you didn’t cover the ACM Superstar Duets special, Trigger…
May 17, 2015 @ 10:38 pm
1) I said my peace and didn’t want to inadvertently promote it any more than I did. In the end the ACM’s as an organization have some serious ethical issues beyond the music, and I only cover the actual awards show begrudgingly.
2) I was busy that night with more pressing matters.
May 18, 2015 @ 7:24 pm
Well, it wasn’t God-awful, surprisingly. Some of the performances were predictably kitschy, but others weren’t too bad. But that’s just me. I didn’t so much think it would have been worth your time as I was just curious why you didn’t cover it after all of the hubbub about the duet partners.
May 19, 2015 @ 5:00 am
I would love to Jonathan Singleton again. One of my favorite songwriters out there, and his voice is better than most of the people singing his songs.
February 11, 2021 @ 1:16 am
Cody Walden isn’t mentioned a single time in this article. smh