Nashville Notes

  From the left: Dave Petrelli, Jenn Bostic, Nick Buda, Mike Puwall, Laura Matula, participated in a panel discussion during the annual Nashville spring break visit by Berklee students.

Recently, new-media expert and author Gerd Leonhard '87 visited Music City and gave Nashville alumni a rare treat. Dubbed "one of the leading Media Futurists in the World" by the Wall Street Journal, Leonhard presented his lecture "Monetizing Music in a Connected Society" and offered an eye-opening look into the future of the music business as well as ways musicians can make money in today's industry climate.

Shortly after Leonhard's departure, a busload of Berklee students from the Songwriting and MP&E departments rolled into town for five days. Once again, the annual pilgrimage organized by Berklee faculty professors Pat Pattison and Stephen Webber offered students an inside view of the Nashville music business.

Some of the biggest names in the biz-including Hall of Fame songwriter Gary Burr, ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Dave Berg, and celebrity performers Beth Nielsen Chapman and Vince Gill-shared their experience and knowledge with the awestruck students. Among the many tours, panels, and interviews offered throughout the week, the alumni panel-featuring Mike Puwal '88, Laura Matula '03, Jenn Bostic '08, Nick Buda '96, and Dave Petrelli '05-proved once again to be favorites with the students. Among the alumni who volunteered to help with this year's trip were Charlie Worsham '06, Emily Shackelton '07, Greg Becker '95, Steve Sinatra '06, Brett "Scoop" Blandon, Eric Masse '07.

In other local news, Mare Wakefield '04 released her fifth studio album, Meant to Be, featuring A-list Americana guitarist Will Kimbrough, Nashville and Austin Music Awards Instrumentalist of the Year nominee Fats Kaplin, and the mastering of Grammy Award-winning engineer Vance Powell. The disc was produced by Wakefield's husband, pianist and touring partner, Nomad Ovunc '05, and includes her song "About the War," which won the Great American Song Contest.

Gus Berry '10 is the assistant engineer on Rayland Baxter's new album, which was recorded at Idiot Dog Studios with producers Eric Masse and Jacquire King.

Drummer Nick Buda recently played on a track for Lionel Ritchie's upcoming duets record, and recorded with the new Warner Music Nashville band the Farm. He also accompanied Kenny Loggins at the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival as part of Loggins's new band, which includes Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman. Also appearing at the festival were Gabe Hizer '71 who played with Lisa Aschmann, and John Mattick '80 played piano for T. Graham Brown and Chris Carpenter. Additionally, Mattick produced Carpenter's latest album.

Robert Gillies '10 has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his new EP project.

"Journey of the Soul," a string quartet composed by Rich Adams '82, aired live on Nashville Public Radio's "Live in Studio C" program.

Songwriter Greg Becker has signed a publishing deal with BMG. Becker's song "Words I Couldn't Say" is sung by Leighton Meester in the movie Country Strong, and he contributed a song to the new Meat Loaf CD Hang Cool Teddy Bear.

Greg Bieck '95 is coproducing a solo record by music icon Daryl Hall for Verve Records. Bieck is also programming, engineering, and playing keyboards on the record.

James Harrington '06 recently became engaged to be married and started a new job at the Naxos record label. Congratulations to Harrington and all the Nashville-area alumni who continue to make the entire Berklee community proud.

Dave Petrelli '05
Nashville Berklee Alumni Chapter Leader