Singer-songwriter Greg Barnhill, of Slidell, is living the life in Nashville. His works have been recorded by a who’s who of musical stars, and he regularly sells music for movies, TV, commercials and what he calls “snippets” for musical libraries.
But when he thinks about having grown up in an area “where all the music comes from,” he wonders why he had to leave a place so musically rich to find success.
To help give local emerging artists tips on songwriting, today’s music market and how to make a living, Barnhill will be joined by songwriters Jim McCormick and Kris Bergsnes for a free Songwriting Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon June 28 at the Slidell Memorial Hospital Founders Building, 1150 Robert Blvd.
The event is sponsored by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.
Barnhill said the workshop will provide “a strong dose of what the business is about.” It’s intended for both songwriters who write for themselves and those who write for the market.
The format will be informal, so songwriters can ask questions that will help them map plans for their own success, he said.
And they aren’t here to recruit people to Nashville, one of the hubs of the nation’s music industry.
“We’re going to be showing people how to make it where they are,” and the need for self-promotion and what he calls “follow through.”
Barnhill is known locally for his “Bless You Boys” football anthem and the long-running “Spirit of Louisiana” theme on WWL. He has written hits such as Trisha Yearwood’s “Walkaway Joe” as well as songs for artists from Tony Bennett to Don Henley, Tim McGraw and Etta James.
Barnhill recently released his third solo CD, “City Southern,” full of new songs he kicked back and wrote on his own. Other CDs include “No Chaser” and the widely successful “Christmas Gumbo.”
He opens for Kim Carnes, of “Bette Davis Eyes” fame, this weekend in Chicago; and recently co-wrote for Gary Allen “It Ain’t the Whiskey,” which made the country music charts.
But his dream is to see the local music industry develop to where it can support and sustain musicians, and he thinks Nashville is a model for such development.
“I don’t see any reason why the music business can’t be right alongside the success of the film industry,” he said, and the talent is already here.
Follow Sharon Edwards, community news editor for The New Orleans Advocate, @sharon_edwards_.