You hook up with an independent producer and veteran of the rock/punk scene, write some songs that are part Loretta Lynn, part Cheap Trick, and form the Raelyn Nelson Band.
"I've been told by more than one person in the 'biz' that I'm stubborn like my grandpa. I kind of like that" -Raelyn Nelson.
Raelyn Nelson has been singing since she can remember. Having been raised on a steady diet of traditional country and gospel music, a gift from her grandpa in the form of a guitar during her teenage years was the inspiration she needed to begin writing her own country and folk songs.
Looking for a place to record these songs, a chance meeting through a mutual friend would provide the backdrop for the next step on her non-traditional career path.
Jonathan Bright, veteran of the underground rock scene and independent producer recorded some of these early songs, and they decided to try to write some things together to see what happened.
The result? A completely fresh and original sound, a true hybrid and referred to by some critics as "the first installment in what is surely to be the next hip genre in music: Country/Garage Rock."
With songs written and sound and sound discovered, Jonathan recruited his bandmates (Paulie Simmons and Preach Rutherford) from hard rockers, Defense Wins Championships, and and a rarity in Nashville materialized: A true, honest to goodness BAND, and not a Music Row creation.
"I don't really have any desire to be a 'solo-artist'. Everyone in my family who plays music has always placed a lot of importance on band chemistry, on stage, off stage and in the studio. Our band can almost read each other's minds. Why would I mess with that?"
The Raelyn Nelson Band is currently out supporting their debut EP, available at raelynnelson.com and all digital distributors.
Follow the RNB on Twitter @raelynnelson
I live by the words I sing. Whether it's being "Brave," laid back or loving someone completely, the album shows the many sides of my outgoing personality. For myself being an honest and positive role model is important.
“My Grandaddy was always playing bluegrass music on his accordion in his living room. He inspired me to pursue my dreams in music and told me to always keep going. He was named Knoxville’s Man of the Year in 2006 and shared the stage with Dolly Parton years ago, so he was the perfect role model.” Sarah wrote a song titled “Granddad” on her debut EP and played his accordion on the recording. He still inspires Sarah to keep writing and recording.
Sarah started songwriting at such an early age after her parents were separated and she moved with her mother from Alabama to East Tennessee. “I was such a quiet child. I was always afraid to share my emotions and feelings with others so songwriting was and still is my gateway to let my emotions out whether it’s happy or sad. I always encourage young children that are shy to try to translate their feelings into art, because the result is beautiful. I have always been the youngest in my family with a huge age gap, so I have experienced a lot that people my age have never experienced before. I think this is what sets me apart, and I am grateful for that, because it has allowed my music to mature faster and although it’s hard to deal with emotions sometimes, I want to keep experiencing things so I can write about it.”
After her grandfather passed in 2011, Sarah decided she would move to Nashville two years later to pursue music at Belmont University. A year after releasing her debut EP in 2014, she was discovered by Scotty Schultz, drummer of Shooter Jennings (Waylon Jennings’s son). Scotty opened up his publishing company, Raindrop Music LLC, in 2015 and after hearing Sarah’s original song “Watered Down Whiskey”, he knew he wanted to sign her right away. This would be Sarah’s first publishing deal with Scotty signing three of her songs: “Watered Down Whiskey”, “Round and Around”, and a song off her debut EP, “Never Be the Same”. Also signed under Raindrop Music is Slim Gambill (lead guitar for Lady Antebellum).
“‘Watered Down Whiskey’ is probably one of my favorite songs I have ever written. I knew it was special from the reaction I have received from it. I wrote in my apartment one night after a breakup and knew I wanted to write a song about the guy who broke up with me. I had forgotten all about my glass of whiskey on the table, and when I went to drink it, it was already watered down. Then I had the idea of relating going on dates with other guys after you’ve been broken up with as watered down.”
Sarah played the song for a group of people in Mississippi and one lady began to cry, stating that it described her divorce perfectly. Sarah knew that she had to make her own personal recording of the song, and after speaking with publisher Scotty Schultz, he decided he would produce her first country release of all original songs that Sarah has either written or co-written.
One of the tracks on the new EP includes a song called, “Radio Static” that was co-written with Johnny Garcia (lead guitar for Garth Brooks). “This song is about a relationship that sort of goes silent all of a sudden, it’s like radio static, where you wonder what happened. I accidentally was able to get in the writing room with Johnny and we wrote this song with Brian Carper and Justin Lilley and it turned out great, especially the guitar on it.”
Another one of Sarah’s favorite songs on the EP is a track titled, “County Time.” Following her trip to Mississippi in 2016, she came back to Nashville with a notebook full of ideas and knew she wanted to write a driving, small town song. Shortly after, Sarah and her co-writer came up with the hook “we’re serving county time” and although it might offend some of the people in that small town, she thinks it’s too relatable not to put out.
Sarah’s country influences range from The Dixie Chicks to Brandy Clark to Johnny Cash, which comes across on her second EP, Watered Down Whiskey, which features story songs including unapologetic lyrics, relationships, having fun, and also the struggles in life. Scotty Schultz of Raindrop Music, LLC stated that, “she is a driven woman who deserves to be heard,” and the stories will definitely be heard. “When people tell me I’m not good enough or I can do better, it drives me to keep pushing and pursuing my dreams. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. God gave me this talent and I plan to use it to share it with others.”
"This EP will help many people and hopefully some will have their heart healed by her emotional lyrics," stated Music Update Central after hearing the release of her second EP, Watered Down Whiskey, in February 2018. Other than Scotty's production and drums on the EP, you can hear his brother, Josh Schultz (Cole Swindell) playing some catchy piano riffs on the EP.
Sarah is currently working and writing with guitarist, producer, and publisher Johnny Garcia (Garth Brooks; Busy at Play Publishing).
You can find her in Nashville playing at local writer rounds and co-writing during the week when she’s not recording. She is a member of NSAI, CMA EDU, BMI, and also plays at hospitals once a month for Musicians On Call. Sarah hopes that her music will help people in some way across the world. She is a big believer that music heals.
He’s shared album credits with Garth Brooks and Tom Petty and his songs have been heard everywhere from the Tony Kornheiser Show to the Bluebird Café. Nashville native Randy Finchum is an award-winning songwriter and radio personality who has had over sixty songs recorded by various artists, among them country music great multi-platinum artist Sammy Kershaw. In the Christian Country genre, Randy has been blessed with four #1 songs as a writer and an artist, among them “Jesus Was a Rebel”, which was named 95.5 WTVY’s SON Country Countdown “Song Of The Year” for 2014. In May of 2016 Irish country music star Mary Duff released her CD “Changing Lanes” (ISG/Sony Music Australia) which included two of Randy’s songs, including her single and video for “What Heart Can Do”, which currently has over 350,000 views. In 2018 Irish band Hurricane Highway's cut of Randy's song "I Learned From You" was considered for a Grammy nomination.
On the radio side, Randy hosts the weekly “New Music Showcase” segment on the syndicated radio show “The HLE Christian Country Countdown with Steve Roberson” and previously hosted the "Music City Magic" segment on 106.5 WOCY as well as the “Nashville Night” radio show on the Nashville Songwriters Radio Network. Randy also has written theme songs for the nationally syndicated radio talk show “The Long Version with Fletcher Long” and the HLE Radio morning show, and has recently performed on the “Nashville Today” show and “The Music Row Show” on Nashville’s legendary radio station 650 WSM.
Randy has given his testimony of how God saved him in churches from Michigan to Alabama. His mission in music and in testimony is to let others know no matter where they are or what they’ve done, God is waiting for them to call on Him. “He is a great God, and I never knew just how great He was until He pulled me out of the darkness and into His light,” says Randy. “God’s got a miracle waiting on you!
Get to know Rachel better at www.RachelLipsky.com and follow her @RachelLipsky on TW & IG
A note from Allie Sealey regarding her journey to her first EP album:
"When my grandpa asked me to call Hospice, we made sure this was the best decision for him and I knew he was truly ready. When the Hospice nurse came into our house, she asked my grandpa who his favorite singer was. He looked right up at me and said, “Well, you’re looking at her.” I thought the next weeks were the hardest part of my life leading up to his final day with me. That night I asked him if he wanted me to play for him and he reached to the remote and turned off the television. I played him what was to be the last three songs I would play for him in our home and they were, “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra, “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion, and “Stars” by Grace Potter. The last thing that went through my mind was, “Who am I going to play for now?”
We continue to walk with purpose as we write, record, and perform original music. It is with each other we get to continue to make this music journey so bright.
To learn more visit: www.alliesealey.com and subscribe to her newsletter.
Kent’s music has been performed on international radio and TV and he has won multiple industry awards, including an RIAA Gold Record for his hit single, “From Where I’m Sitting,” as recorded by Gary Allan. He currently has three of his songs on the newest CD by Irish singer Mary Duff, including the first single, "Mr Noble," a song that he co-wrote with Garth Brooks.
Kent Maxson, “Max” to his friends, was raised in West Texas and graduated with a degree in music from Texas Tech University. While living in Lubbock, he recorded three solo albums and worked with legendary Texas music producer and steel guitar player, Lloyd Maines. Kent spent the early part of his career playing and singing in clubs through out the southwest before relocating to Nashville.
Once in Nashville Kent began to play in writer’s venues through out the city, honing and developing his songwriting skills. Soon he was writing with country superstar Garth Brooks and a list of Nashville’s finest songwriters, among them, Kent Blazy, Kim Williams, Tommy Lee James, Kin Vassy, Red Lane, David MacKechnie, Billy Lee and Buddy Mondlock. Learn more about Kent at www.kentmaxson.com Be sure to check out his newest CD's, "Nothin' Better To Do" and "Kent Maxson In The House", at www.kentmaxson.com or contact him about playing a house concert when he is in your neck of the woods.