Nashville Notes

  From the left: Alyssa Canino, Erika Cole '10, Alex Wright '10, and Mitch White '10 enjoy the Nashville holiday party at Flyte in December 2011.
  Peter Loomis


The calendar has turned to a new year, and the holidays are now behind us. But a few months ago, Christmas came early for some young Berklee alumni who are new to Nashville. On November 7, 2011, Nashville's famous Music Mill Entertainment (now home to the Nashville Songwriters Association International) hosted a workshop for recent Berklee transplants on the do's and don'ts of moving to Nashville.

Eric Normand '89 shared excerpts from his new book, The Nashville Musicians Survival Guide, which chronicles his experiences working his way up in the industry. Normand plays guitar for country music star Rhett Akins, who was the event's featured speaker. Akins entertained and educated an eager audience with his stories of the road; descriptions of the songwriting process; and a reality check on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the business. While intended for alumni new to Nashville and the music business, this night had something to offer all who attended.

A month later, alumni gathered to celebrate the season with holiday party at Flyte, a local wine bar and restaurant that is near the trendy 12th South district of Nashville. About 70 local alumni gathered to eat, drink, and be merry while catching up with friends and hearing about one another's projects.

Throughout 2012, local alumni can look forward to regular networking and jam sessions on the first Tuesday of every month, as well as the launch of an alumni mentoring program that will enable the Berklee community in Nashville to support one another in new ways. So while 2012 might not promise the best of omens for those of Mayan descent, the future looks bright for Berklee alumni. For more proof, read the updates below.

R&B and soul recording artist Kira Small '93 and her husband, bassist Bryan Beller '92, released a 60-minute CD titled Live at the White House on Small's new Mermaid Holler Records label. The recording is the fruit of two solid years of cross-country touring.

On December 23, 2011, the Winter Sounds, featuring alumnae Ellen Angelico '10 and Renee Izzi '10 wrapped up an extensive nationwide tour.

Gabriel Heiser '71 is working with Nashville producer Shay Watson on a recording of Heiser's new songs that will be pitched to the TV and film market.

Luis Espaillat '94, worked with country star Sunny Sweeney as the musical director and bass player during the last Brad Paisley tour. Espaillat has gone back out on the road with platinum-selling rock kings Tantric. He is also an in-demand session player in Nashville and elsewhere.

Singer-songwriter Jenn Bostic '08 released a new EP in November featuring production work by fellow alumnus Charlie Hutto '06 and Barrett Yeretsian.

Amanda Williams '99 has completed an album that she recorded with her father, hit songwriter Kim Williams. Titled Three Wooden Crosses, the disc features original inspirational songs. Amanda's company, Hillbilly Culture, hosted a benefit for the Salvation Army Nashville Area Command called "Scrooge Review: A Gathering of Angels," featuring ASCAP VP Ralph Murphy and songwriters Pat Alger, Pat McManus, and Peter McCann.

That's the news from Music City.
-David Petrelli '05