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Marc-Alan Barnette is an original. A self-proclaimed “square peg in a round hole,” Barnette has emerged with a unique musical sound that is in his own words, “not totally country and not totally blues…too blues for country and too country for blues!” Aptly classified as “In-Your-Face-Country-Soul,” Marc-Alan’s music and Marc-Alan himself have created a huge buzz on the music scene. Barnette is the king of reinventing himself- a dichotomy of heartfelt and hilarious, crazy and down-to-earth. Because of the variety of hats Barnette dons for each of his shows, he certainly keeps every audience on its toes, thoroughly entertained and wanting more. Marc-Alan Barnette was born and raised in Birmingham. As part of a musical family (distant cousin was Jimmie Rogers, one of the founders of country music...and his father, Grady, was a gospel quartet singer), Marc-Alan grew up singing in church and in various bands and taught himself how to play the guitar. Since his first moment on stage, Marc-Alan knew that getting people fired up and performing was his natural calling. His band, 24 Karat, was chosen as the top band in the country in the 1984 Miller High Life battle of the bands out of 30,000 applicants. After a move to Nashville in 1988, Marc-Alan scored a cut with Shelby Lynne his first night in town. He has had success in Nashville as a writer, several publishing deals, and cuts by John Berry and David Ball, including the current single “Too Much Blood in My Alcohol Level” on the Ball “Freewheeler” album. He has co-written with the best and along with his former back-up singers “The Kinleys,” he has opened shows for Charlie Daniels, Garth Brooks, Ricochet, and Patty Loveless. Besides writing and performing, Marc-Alan also has a passion for mentoring and coaching writers through workshops and seminar programs that he has created all over the US. Through his efforts with NSAI, SGA and Songwriters of Canada and other organizations, he has helped further the goals of many writers, leading to publishing and representation deals, and greater awareness of the intricacies of the music business. Marc-Alan’s smoky whiskey voice has brought comparisons to Ray Charles, Otis Redding, and other great soul and country greats. From his warm, haunting ballad of lost love, “Old Memories,” to the driving rocker, the hilarious “Too Much Blood in My Alcohol Level” to his signature tune, “TABLES AND CHAIRS,” Marc-Alan has proven himself to be a prolific writer and a fantastic performer. Music critic Robert Orreman has said of Barnette: “If you see this guy’s name listed on a club, run, don’t walk to get there.”
Deanna Walker is the founder and director of the Blair Songwriting Program at Vanderbilt University where she teaches several songwriting classes per semester (college as well as continuing ed. classes for the community) along with private piano lessons. She brings in major hit songwriters each week for her adult songwriting seminar, which helps make it one of the most popular ongoing classes in town. She is a staff writer for Zavitson Music Group (ZMG). (Recent cuts by Kenny Rogers, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, Rissi Palmer, Elizabeth Eckert. Recent unreleased cuts by Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton.) Deanna was also the coordinator of the Blair Conversations Series. In that capacity, she interviewed exceptionally creative musicians (such as Mark Knopfler, Randy Newman, Ben Folds, Steve Earle, Wynonna, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Mike Reid, Raul Malo and others) for community and student audiences in one of Blair’s performance halls. She co-authored a series of composition books for children (Alfred’s Basic Piano Library, Composition Books, Levels 1-3). She has a M.M. in Composition from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (1988) and a B.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Eastern New Mexico University.
Victoria Shaw. If you’ve listened to music at all during the past two decades—and honestly, who hasn’t?—chances are Victoria’s talent has touched you. The Nashville-based, New York-born triple threat has either written or produced some of music’s most memorable tunes and performed on the world’s biggest stages. Whether you’re talking about Garth Brooks, Ricky Martin or Lady Antebellum, Victoria’s Midas touch has helped craft music that makes memories. Her compositions include six #1 hits for superstar Brooks (“The River" and "She’s Every Woman” among them), Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera’s multi-format smash “Nobody Wants to be Lonely” and John Michael Montgomery’s “I Love The Way You Love Me,” which won an Academy of Country Music Award as Song of the Year and went on to pop success with international group Boyzone. As a producer, Victoria co-produced Lady Antebellum’s platinum debut, which helped put them on the musical map and earned her a Country Music Association award for Single of the Year (“I Run To You”). Victoria’s other production credits include Jim Brickman, Richie McDonald, Canadian Country Music Association Award winner Jessie Farrell, HLN’s Robin Meade and television personality Carson Kressley. In addition, Victoria penned Jim Brickman's "Sending You A Little Christmas," Doug Stone’s “Too Busy Being In Love,” the Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood duet "Where Your Road Leads" and Eric Church’s breakthrough hit, “Two Pink Lines,” among others. The winner of numerous songwriting awards from performing rights organizations ASCAP and SESAC, Victoria has also scored two daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Original Song for the daytime dramas One Life to Live and As The World Turns. As an artist, she has released four albums—two on Reprise Records and two on her own Taffeta Records Label. In 1998, she collaborated with Garth Brooks, Billy Dean, Faith Hill, Olivia Newton-John, Neal McCoy, Michael McDonald and Bryan White for a charity single (written for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation) titled "One Heart at a Time.” The daughter of two musicians, Victoria Shaw grew up listening to the California country-rock of the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt. She began singing and writing songs as a child, performing with her sister around Los Angeles. Her outreach has expanded just a bit. Victoria has performed throughout the world, including opening for Garth Brooks during his infamous New York City Central Park concert, playing the London Palladium and most recently touring with her friend and frequent collaborator, Jim Brickman. Quite simply, Victoria Shaw is an important part of modern music.