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|Dave Petrelli '05|
They say March comes in like a lion; but in Nashville, it's actually more like a bus-two buses to be precise-bringing more than 120 Berklee students for the annual Nashville Spring Break pilgrimage to Music City.
Planned by Berklee faculty members Pat Pattison and Stephen Webber, the spring break trip offers students a glimpse into the Nashville music-business machine in ways that, quite simply, no other group has access to. For five days, wide-eyed songwriting and MP&E majors were treated to panels and performances by mega-stars Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell, Kathy Mattea, Vince Gill, and many more. With the help of Berklee alumni Kazuri Arai '04, Charlie Worsham '06, and Laura Matula '03, students who made the trip also took exclusive tours of some of Music City's best recording studios and performance halls. And of course, the always-popular alumni panel this year featured sage words of wisdom from the likes of Ben Strano '01, Joe Doyle '87, Josh Preston '99, and Maureen Murphy '99. Topping off the week a student-alumni reception gave students and faculty a chance to mingle with members of the community.
Our local alumni who are songwriters have some pretty amazing things going on. On February 16, Nashville native Amanda Williams '99 released her first single to radio. Lyric Street artist Tyler Dickerson released "Tell Your Sister I'm Single" which was cowritten by Williams, Isaac Rich, and Trevor Rosen. Joe Doyle '87 has penned Mallary Hope's new MCA single "Blossom in the Dust," which has climbed the country chart.
Greg Becker '95 wrote "That's Where It Is" for the Carrie Underwood album Some Hearts, which has just been certified seven-times platinum. His song "Let's Be in Love" appears on the new Meatloaf CD Hang Cool Teddy Bear, and "Words I Couldn't Say" will appear on the soundtrack to the film Love Don't Let Me Down starring Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Charlie Hutto '06 released the song "Drive" recorded by Golden Music artist Benton Blount. Hutto also has a cut by Canadian artist Misty Lee Olsen. His band Williams Riley released its first single, "Country Livin,'" which reached number 42 on the Billboard Country chart. The group followed up with a second single, "Sweet September," and will appear with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tim McGraw, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Lady Antebellum during their summer tour.
Renaissance man Josh Preston '99 is recording a new EP for his label Me and the Machine Records and will tour the Southeast this spring and summer. Visit www.joshpreston.com.
Kent Wells produced a recording by Andrea Grelle '06 that is available on CD Baby.
Eric Normand '89 is writing the book The Nashville Musician's Survival Manual, which will be released in the fall. It outlines music-related jobs in the Nashville recording, touring, and nightclub industries and details basic job requirements, pay scales, and networking paths for these jobs. It also offers perspectives on life on tour and several interviews with music-industry professionals. Visit www.survivenashville.com for excerpts from the book and other music industry-related resources.
Ron Miller '91 is working with the Latin-pop band Ingrid Salas & Black Shadow, which has opened for John Hiatt and was featured in the "Hot Bands" issue of Latino Future magazine.
I offer my congratulations to all our alumni for their accomplishments and a thank-you to everyone who helped to make this year's spring break such a great experience.
Dave Petrelli '05
Nashville Berklee Alumni Chapter Leader