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|Nashville alumni who attended the December 14 holiday party|
The nostalgia associated with the Christmas season and the inevitable turning of the calendar invites us to pause and reflect. Five years ago, I set out from Boston for Nashville with everything I owned stuffed into my 1998 Nissan. At the time, I thought that my stay in Nashville would likely be limited to the six-month internship I was about to embark on. A half-decade later, I'm enjoying being fully entrenched in Music City.
The annual Nashville Berklee Alumni Holiday Party offered a chance to reflect on the past year with fellow Nashville musicians. On Tuesday, December 14, more than 60 Nashville alumni gathered at the SESAC building on Music Row to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Also in attendance were Berklee's Chief Alumni Affairs Officer Karen Bell and Vice President for Institutional Advancement David McKay. They filled the crowd in on many of the new developments at our alma mater and learned what many local alumni have been up to. Below are some highlights.
Drummer Nick Buda '96 played on Taylor Swift's new record-smashing album Speak Now and on Colbie Caillat's forthcoming CD. He has also opened up a new drum studio (visit www.theloftsound.com).
The Lunabelles, a country band, featuring Alex Kline '08, signed a demo and development deal with Sony Nashville.
Joe Smyth '79 received a Berklee alumni grant for his Matrix Percussion Trio, allowing the group to present their musical program at schools in Nashville and surrounding counties. Smyth also humbly notes that he is entering year 30 as a drummer for the legendary band Sawyer Brown.
Brian Lucas '96 has released the EP Get Something Started. The disc includes a cover of alum Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is" and can be heard at www.brianlucas.com.
Josh Preston '99 will release his Landmarks EP in February on his indie label Me and the Machine Records. The label will also release albums by Sleeveless Meeks and the Right to Bare Arms, the New Whole Usuals, Nathan Griffin, James David Wolf, Nick Shelton, and Adam Burrows later this year.
In October 2010, Monykah Dowling '09 was hired in the business affairs department of Broken Bow Records (BBR). In 2009, she interned at BBR and sister label Stoney Creek Records. The BBR artist roster includes Jason Aldean, Blake Wise, James Wesley, and Kristy Lee Cook and is owned by Benny and Paul Brown.
Finally, Berklee alum and Nashville mainstay Amanda Williams '99 has just launched Hillbilly Culture, a unique approach to the traditional publishing company umbrella. Hillbilly Culture currently oversees the catalogs of Amanda Williams and her father, renowned tunesmith Kim Williams, whose songs have been recorded by Joe Diffie and Garth Brooks, among others. Amanda's vision, however, takes the company a step further by creating educational opportunities and programs to aid songwriters. For more information, visit www.hillbillyculture.com.
Dave Petrelli '05
Nashville Berklee Alumni