Nashville Notes

By 
David Petrelli

For so many local alumni in Music City, the year 2012 was successful, inspiring, exciting, scary, and entertaining. As we look forward to all the promise of 2013, let’s recap what some alumni have been up to.

With the new year, drummer Joe Smyth ’75 is entering year 31 with his band Sawyer Brown. He occupies, arguably, the longest-held drum chair in Nashville and country music. Joe’s Matrix Percussion Trio also just completed presentations of its “We Are the World: Percussion Around the Globe” program to some 11,000 public-school students in Nashville and surrounding counties.

Sarah Tollerson ’08 announced the release of her new record Wherever We Go with a killer show at 12th & Porter Nashville on November 17.

Caleb James ’07, whose company Old Soul Management LLC has managed Matthew Perryman Jones, the Grascals, and Waterdeep, has just landed the position of tour manager for the new hip-hop/country band Jesta James.

Songwriter and piano genius, Rachel Solomon ’06 just completed her debut solo project, Love Ourselves, which is available on her new website www.rachelsolo.com. Players on the seven-song mini-album include George Marinelli, (Bruce Hornsby, Bonnie Raitt), as well as violinist Sarah Wilfong ’03.

Gabriel Heiser ’71 has started a band called Zen Poets with vocalist Margaret Cunningham, featuring his original material. Visit www.zenpoets. com.

Singer/songwriter Jenn Bostic ’08 toured the United Kingdom in November, opening for Christian Kane. While overseas, she performed on BBC Breakfast, which led to her single “Jealous of the Angels” reaching number one on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart UK. Upon returning, Bostic made her Ryman Auditorium debut, performing the song on December 29 for the Opry at the Ryman concert.

Kira (McConaghy) Small ’93 spent the 2012 holiday season as a background vocalist on Martina McBride’s Joy of Christmas Tour.

Katie Miner Eckardt ’99 released the Christmas album O Come, All Ye Faithful and is donating half the CD’s proceeds to facilitate the adoption of a young Russian girl. Visit www. katieminereckardt.bandcamp.com.

Drummer Jeffrey Lien ’03 was featured in the November 2012 issue of Down Beat magazine. Lien, a recent transplant to Nashville from Chicago, is performing for the winter production of Glad Tidings at Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre in Bellevue, TN.

Songwriter Greg Becker ’95 recently scored cuts with Tim McGraw and Mackenzie Porter. The single “I Wish I’d Known” by Porter started its ascent up the Billboard charts during the first week of December.

The Balsam Range Band reached number one on the Singing News Bluegrass Gospel chart with the song “Row by Row” penned by Ashleigh Caudill ’07.

Finally, December 10 marked the annual Berklee Alumni Holiday Party, hosted by Justine Taormino ’06 and Arielle Schwalm ’10 of Berklee’s Office of Alumni Affairs, and yours truly. The event was once again held at Flyte, a local wine bar and restaurant and drew more than 100 festive alumni. As we look forward, here’s to a lucky ’13.

—David Petrelli ’05