CCMF takes a deeper look in to the intimate moments that inspired your favorite songs topping the country music charts. Whether it was a moment of clarity, heartbreak, or pure joy… songwriters Wyatt Durrette, Levi Lowrey, Channing Wilson, and Dave Kennedy take turns explaining the creative process behind creating #1 hits.
Come by and hear the stories behind the songs.
Wyatt Durrette is an acclaimed singer/songwriter from Richmond, VA. Best known for his work with Zac Brown Band, Wyatt’s songs have garnered a record-setting collection of hits. Forty total song collaborations have led to 22 MILLION singles sold, 8 MILLION albums sold and 12 #1 hits, to be exact. His songs have secured 8 GRAMMY Awards and countless nominations. Wyatt has been presented with the incredible honor of the CMA Triple Play Award not once, but twice, as “Chicken Fried,” “Whatever It Is,” and “Toes” were all chart-topping hits within a twelve-month period, followed by “Highway 20 Ride,” “As She’s Walking Away,” and “Colder Weather.” Wyatt also received GRAMMY and Academy Award nominations in 2010 for “Where the River Goes”, a
song written for the motion Picture Footloose . Furthermore, the song “Homegrown” co-written by Wyatt, was named Song of the Year by SESAC in 2015.
Levi Lowrey is a singer-songwriter from Dacula, Georgia. He has performed extensively as a solo artist, headliner, and as the supporting act for well known names including Mumford and Sons, Kid Rock, Alabama, Blackberry Smoke and Zac Brown Band. He is a great, great-grandson of Gid Tanner. Lowrey is one of the co-writers of the ‘Colder Weather’ performed by Zac Brown Band that went #1 for two weeks. Lowrey is also the co- writer of Zac Brown Band single ‘The Wind” from their #1 Billboard album Uncaged. He is a CMA nominee for “Colder Weather” 2012 BMI Country Award Winner Top 50 songs of the year Colder Weather. 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 voted Best Local Songwriter- Creative Loafing. Roughstock named Levi 13 of 13: Ones to watch in 2013.
In a career that has spanned fifteen years, country music hit maker Tyler Reeve has gone through an array of life-altering moments in which the Alabama native was rocked by the intricacies of life and knew instinctively that it was time to change direction. Or at the very least, it was time to write a song. And he has done just that, having a hand in writing not only some of country music’s most thought-provoking songs, but truly authentic songs that have seen massive success on the charts. Yet now, Reeve finds himself at a moment in which he is ready to take his turn in the spotlight. Growing up watching his uncle play guitar and singing at the family’s beach house, Reeve’s love of lyrics began at an early age. “I was just enthralled by it all when it came to music.” Reeve would soon begin doing cover gigs at bars while attending college in Florida, working four hours a night and five nights a week to earn some money. “I started writing and playing some original music, but I still couldn’t get out of that habit of doing cover gigs,” he says. “There was one night that I was playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at 2am and I realized that while the people were all having a blast, they didn’t give a shit about who was singing. They cared about the song. I knew from that point on that I wanted to be the person to write the songs that people sing along to.” And that’s exactly what he did. Reeve would end up recording his first record in a lightening span of two weeks, while living in Atlanta, GA. He quickly gained a loyal following while touring with his band. But then he got a call that would change everything. “The Country Throwdown people called asking if we would be interested in pulling a BBQ trailer across the country,” Reeve recalls. It was on that tour that fans began noticing the undeniable talents of the budding songwriter, and it became evident that Reeve belonged in Nashville. He signed his lease on Valentine’s Day in 2012. “I would be out on the road from Thursday through Sunday and then would write in Nashville during the remainder of the week with people like Eric Paslay and Jonathan Singleton,” said Reeve, whose country music journey was featured on ABC’s Emmy nominated series “Hitting the Right Note”. Those co-writes would eventually turn into unforgettable songs such as “Whiskey on my Breath” (Love & Theft), “I Got Away with You” (Luke Combs) and “In Case You Didn’t Know” (Brett Young.) And while the lover of lyrics plans to continue enjoying the fruits of his songwriting labors, Reeve is now setting his sights on the days and nights ahead where he will focus on playing his own music in his own way. “I like taking my fans on a ride, both through my songs and through my live shows,” he says. “I like to have them laughing at the next song while still wiping their eyes from the last song. But most of all, Reeve wants to be real. “I say whatever the hell I’m thinking, and I think my fans appreciate that,” laughs Reeve, who now lives in a home overlooking the skyline of the city that has made superstars out of so many talented writers. “People are craving authenticity and they want the truth…and that’s what I’m ready to give them.”
“God could you throw this dog a bone. Let me turn the corner and be home. I’m tired of being on this road alone.” Real lyrics are what Channing Wilson is all about.
From a small town in Northwest Georgia, Channing learned about real life American good times and hardships. He’s not afraid to tell you about it either. From his songs like “Poor Man’s Cocaine” referring to methamphetamines taking over rural America, to songs like “Black Jesus” which is a story of two men, one young, and one older, finding friendship in spite of the racial stereotypes of the times. Channing’s voice and songwriting is widely considered in the top echelon of the “who’s who” in the Nashville community. Channing’s songs have been recorded by artists like Tyler Farr, Luke Combs, Jason Eady, and more. He has shared bills with so many of his heroes such as Billy Joe Shaver, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen, Tony Joe White, Chris Knight, Dale Watson, and many more including going out on the 2012 Country Throwdown Tour. He has just recently signed a artist/publishing agreement with Warner Chappell and Low Country Sound (Grammy award winning producer Dave Cobb)
D. Vincent Williams songs have been on more than 35 million records by artist such as: Jason Aldean, John Michael Montgomery, Neal McCoy, Mark Wills, Kenny Rogers, Craig Morgan, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Michael Bolton, Ronnie Milsap to name a few
Winner of the 2002 ACM Song Of The Year award for “I’m Movin’ On”, recorded by Rascal Flatts
Winner of 2008 Billboard Most Played Song Of The Year and multi-week #1 in all three country radio charts with James Otto’s “Just Got Started Loving You”
D. Vincent is now a proud partner of Thrive Music Group, publishing and artist development company, and MirriM Entertainment, customizing variety entertainment for private and corporate events.
Chris Gelbuda is a music maker, in all forms. As a kid, he was a Suzuki trained concert pianist. As an adolescent, he fronted blues and classic rock cover bands. In college, he fronted jam bands. After college, he became a solo performer as well as a session musician. Currently, Chris is in demand as one of Nashville’s brightest young writers. Chris has written songs with:
After years of paying dues everywhere from dives to theaters, Dave Kennedy has descended on Nashville like whirlwind. With a voice big enough to grab your attention and songs great enough to hold it, the singer-songwriter and East Tennessee native has spent years developing his craft both as a performer and prolific writer all around the Southeast, and is determined to take his place among the new wave of Americana and more traditional country music artists. His songs are equal parts heartbreak, redemption, whiskey and truth, which is why he’s quickly becoming a favorite of music fans, songwriters, and artists alike. Dave has spent the last 10 years tirelessly playing and writing in search of the voice and statement he wants to bring to the music he loves. With ear and heart ever faithful to the country traditions and journeys of those who came before him, his ability to connect with an audience through both his words and performance is a testament to both his traditional roots and his soulful voice, which resonates with or without a microphone. He spent much of 2017 touring nationally as opening support for his good friend, Drake White, and is looking forward to recording his first full length solo album this year. No doubt there are great things in store for this talented artist.
Before a single note leaves his lips or one chord is strummed from his acoustic guitar, Kevin Mac convinces you to love him. His style is refreshing and honest. His words speak of love, heartache, happiness, and appreciating the small things while his fingers confirm that each song tells a story of the life he’s lived by way of his guitar.
Kevin’s opened for industry heavy hitters Martina McBride, Phil Vassar, Darryl Worley and has gotten a nod from Kenney Chesney, who he also opened up for in some 2008 concerts.
Born in King George County, VA, Mac was bred on country/bluegrass music and raised in the church. He began his career as a radio personality and deejay in Virginia, which led to opportunities for him to perform.
The formula is far from complex, Kevin Mac just needs his guitar and an audience—be it two or two thousand. “I’m a simple guy. I feed off of the energy from the crowd and I love to tell a story,” said Mac. “There’s nothing that makes me happier; I just try to be a good man, be kind and not take the gift I’ve been given for granted. If I can make one person smile and forget about their problems then I’ve done something great.”