15 Songwriters You Must See at 2015 Tin Pan South

Facebook/Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark Wikimedia Commons/Kara DioGuardi

Here are 15 artists you don't want to miss at the 2015 Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival. 

2015 Tin Pan South is fast approaching. The songwriting festival invites more than 330 songwriters to perform over five nights at venues all over Nashville, Tenn.

But with so many songwriters playing at the same time, it's hard to know who to go see. To help narrow it down, Wide Open Country has selected our pick for 15 of the must-see writers during Tin Pan South.

15. Kara DioGuardi

Kara DioGuardi remained mostly behind-the-scenes, until she appeared on the eighth and ninth season of American Idol. In addition to serving as the Executive Vice-President of Talent Development at Warner Brothers Records, as well as running a successful publishing company, DioGuardi has also co-written some of the biggest hits of the last 15 years, including Kelly Clarkson's "Heartbeat Song," "Undo It" by Carrie Underwood, and "Sober" by Pink. And, as if those aren't enough reasons, she has killer vocal chops.

14. Larry Gatlin

Take a trip down memory lane by taking time to hear Larry Gatlin perform some of his hits, both as a solo artist and with the Gatlin Brothers. Since 1973, Gatlin has released more than 50 singles, including the number one singles, "All the Gold in California" and "I Just Wish You Were Someone I Loved."

13. Sam Palladio

Best known as Gunnar Scott on the hit ABC drama, Nashville, Sam Palladio is actually an accomplished musician. Now that he's living in Nashville, he's also been writing his own music, and plans to release an album later this year.

12. Jim Peterik

Jim Peterik's name might be unfamiliar, but his voice certainly isn't. Peterik started the band Survivor, in 1978, and co-wrote many of their biggest hits, including "The Search is Over" and "Eye of the Tiger," which was included in the movie Rocky III.

11. Hillary Scott

Hillary Scott not only sings Lady Antebellum songs, but she also wrote some of them. Scott has helped pen several of the trio's chart-topping singles, including "Bartender," "Just a Kiss," and their mega-hit, "Need You Now."

10. Kelley Lovelace

Kelley Lovelace met an aspiring singer-songwriter Brad Paisley, in the mid-nineties, and quickly became a close friend, and songwriting partner. Together, they have penned several of Paisley's hit singles, including "Water," "Remind Me" and "He Didn't Have to Be," which was based on Lovelace's stepson, McCain. Not limited just to Paisley, Lovelace's other cuts include Joe Nichols' "The Impossible," Carrie Underwood's "All-American Girl" and Randy Houser's "Runnin' Outta Moonlight."

9. Shane McAnally

Shane McAnally is quickly becoming known as one of the most sought-after songwriters and producers in Music City.  As a producer, his credits include Kacey Musgraves' "Same Trailer Different Park" and Sam Hunt's Montevallo. But as a songwriter, McAnally is quickly earning a spot in a league all by himself. His numerous credits over the last few years include Lee Ann Womack's "Last Call," "Mama's Broken Heart" by Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney's "Come Over," Musgraves' "Follow Your Arrow" and "Merry Go Round" and the Band Perry's "Better Dig Two."

8. Angaleena Presley

Angaleena Presley may have gotten her start in Pistol Annies, but she has already proved she can stand quite well on her own. After releasing her debut American Middle Class album last year, Presley has been making waves for her brave songwriting and unique storytelling. In addition to writing all 12 tracks on American Middle Class, she's also written hits for other artists, including Ashton Shepherd's "Look It Up" and Miranda Lambert's "Fastest Girl in Town."

7. John Oates

His name should be enough to draw a crowd, but for those unaware, he was one-half of the hot '80s duo Hall & Oates. In addition to his flawless vocals, Oates co-wrote many of their biggest hits, including "Sara Smile," "She's Gone," "Maneater" and "Out of Touch."

6. Gordon Kennedy

Gordon Kennedy's list of songwriting credits proves his versatility. He has co-written some of the most notable hits of the last few decades, with songs recorded by Peter Frampton, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill and Alison Krauss, among others. He also penned the Garth Brooks single, "You Move Me," and had several cuts on his Chris Gaines album. Kennedy's music has been in movies such as "The Fox and the Hound" and "Almost Famous." Most notable, Kennedy co-wrote Eric Clapton's "Change the World," for the soundtrack for the movie Phenomenon, which remains on of Clapton's biggest hits to date.

5. Natalie Hemby

Natalie Hemby has become known as one of the most versatile, and sought out, songwriters in Nashville.  Her many, many credits include Miranda Lambert's "Only Prettier" and "White Liar," Toby Keith's "Drinks After Work" and "Downtown" by Lady Antebellum. Hemby also co-wrote "Pontoon" and "Tornado" for Little Big Town, the former which earned her the trio their first and only Grammy so far.

4. Tom Douglas

If it's a heart-wrenching country single, chances are Tom Douglas' name is on it. Douglas co-wrote Tim McGraw's "Grown Men Don't Cry" and "My Little Girl," Collin Raye's "Little Rock," "Something Worth Leaving Behind" by Lee Ann Womack. Douglas also helped pen Lambert's biggest hit, "The House That Built Me."

3. Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson was part of the Nashville music scene when it was just a few buildings dotting 16th and 17th street. In addition to his own successful career, Anderson has written some of country music's most-beloved hits, including Steve Wariner's "Two Teardrops," Ray Price's "City Lights," Kenny Chesney's "A Lot of Things Different" and Brad Paisley's "Whiskey Lullaby." Songwriting aside, listening to Anderson's story-telling is worth far more than the price of admission.

2. Brandy Clark

Brandy Clark spent years writing songs for others, before releasing her own critically-acclaimed 12 Stories album in 2013. A frequent collaborator with McAnally, Clark's cuts include Musgraves' "Follow Your Arrow," Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," LeAnn Rimes' "Crazy Woman," and Keith's "Drunk Americans." The lengthy list of artists who have recorded her songs includes Sheryl Crow, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and Reba McEntire. Her performances feel more like a conversation than a show. If there's a show to see, Clark's would be it.

1. Vince Gill

Vine Gill is both a storyteller and a masterful musician. The singer has written all of his biggest hits, including "When I Call Your Name," "One More Last Chance," "When Love Finds You" and "I Still Believe in You." But if you're fortunate enough to hear him sing "Go Rest High on That Mountain," which he wrote in response to the death of his own brother and Keith Whitley, it's a moment that will forever stay etched in your mind. Regardless of the songs he sings, Gill's guitar playing, velvet voice and numerous hits easily make him a top pick for Tin Pan South.

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15 Songwriters You Must See at 2015 Tin Pan South