If you were one of the approximately 350 fortunate ones to attend Summer Songwriters Night last Saturday evening, you were treated to first-rate entertainment by the Andy Childs Band, and songwriters Kelley Lovelace and Rivers Rutherford. All the more, you can tell your friends that you saw them perform live and perhaps even met them at the “backstage pre-party.”
That would put you in the company of the likes of Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Faith Hill, Clint Black, the Charlie Daniels Band, Tricia Yearwood and Jason Aldean. These are just a few of the superstars who Childs, Lovelace and Rutherford have performed with or written songs for, including many number-one hits.
Nashville singer and veteran performer Andy Childs is obviously a crowd favorite, as it was his fifth year of headlining the event and, at the end of his performance, the crowd called for more – to which he and his band obliged. His seamless performance and smooth voice ranged from Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” to Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds” to Mark Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis,” which he dedicated to the many Memphians in the audience.
Of the event, Childs told us, "What a fantastic night, with perfect weather, great food and music from two of my favorite Nashville songwriters. I'm amazed how we are consistently able to feature Nashville's finest hit-makers year after year, and this was my favorite so far. I'm always honored to be a part of this event in Columbia, not only to raise money, but also to get to spend time with the people who live around this wonderful historic town!"
The second act, Lovelace and Rutherford, brought a lot of laughter to the evening as they regaled the crowd with tales about the songs they have written, including “I’m Still a Guy,” which Lovelace cowrote with Brad Paisley. Rutherford performed Brooks and Dunn’s number-one song he wrote, “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You.”
Local favorite singer/musician Dr. Bob Thompson opened the event, playing with Tammy Stokes, a nurse at Maury Regional Medical Center, and her husband Doug Stokes, who was the lead singer of the popular band Shenandoah.
This year marked the 10th year for Summer Songwriters Night, which also signified a slight location shift from the previous years to “Peggy’s Field” in the upper area of Antrim where a new barn was recently built by co-owners the Flemings and Hewgleys. The Flemings and Hewgleys graciously donate the beautiful venue for the event every year, which generally raises around $10,000 for Maury County’s CASA organization.
No detail or expense was missed in the event production. The “backstage pre-party,” gave guests an opportunity to meet the songwriter and performers, while enjoying cocktails and hors d’euvres by the pool. The pre-party was organized by local couples Reams and Carey Powers and Doug and Nunie Rodman, with help from Andy and Katherine Lewis.
At the main event, an elaborate country supper buffet was prepared and cooked by the staff at NHC Hillview. The wagon centerpiece was artfully arranged by Anne Cain, Connie Hardin and Eunice Colmore. Mrs. Colmore and Edward Moore are the chief organizers of the event. As Moore likes to joke, “We are amateurs putting on a professional event.”
Professional and a whole lot of fun is how the evening came off. In fact, we at Off the Duck are already looking forward to next year’s Summer Songwriters Night … as we’re sure the rest of you are!
Above left: Bob Doyle, Eunice Colemore, Peggy Fleming & Anne Cain. Upper right: Sheena & Shawn Gentry. 2nd on right: Betsy & Rhodes Scott. 3rd on right: Andy & Katherine Lewis.
Bottom right: Leigh & Brooks Jones.
Above left: John & Elizabeth Colley. Upper right: Welcome sign created by Andy Moore. 2nd right: Patrons enjoy the country buffet. 3rd right: Bob Thompson, Tammy and Doug Stokes perform. Bottom right: Guests mingle by the new barn at Antrim.