"This remind me of the days, and nights, when we'd be sitting there trying to knock each other out with songs and pass the guitar around," the veteran said of an era, more than 40 years ago, when he'd share new tunes with friends like Harlan Howard and Mickey Newbury. "That's some of the best times I've ever had in my life."
That's the aspect of Nashville that Legend & Lyrics wants to show the world. Airing on PBS stations nationwide, the series is produced locally by the company Songwriters-in-the-Round. It debuts on WNPT on Saturday, May 9, at 10 p.m.
The first program sets the pattern: Three significant, widely varied songwriters perform solo while onstage together; the performance are interspersed with an interview with a "legend," in this case Ray Stevens, and another with a "rising star," this one being Jonathan Singleton. The three primary performers also share insights in separate interviews.
Other first-season performers include Charlie Daniels, John Hiatt, Leigh Nash, Ron Sexsmith, Mindy Smith, Jeffrey Steele, Pam Tillis, Jimmy Webb and Kip Winger, to name a few.
Legends & Lyrics does a good job of capturing Nashville's in-the-round process and representing the city's role as a center for musicians from various genres who live here or visit here to write.
But the production at times detracts from the show's strengths. The spoken introduction oversells what follows: The powerful performances don't require an overly folksy announcer intoning that songwriters have, "even before recorded history...been the voice of all societies," or that the program offers "a phenomenal musical experience like no other."
The program should take cues from successful musical shows like Austin City Limits and Sessions at West 54th, where low-key introductions set an appropriate tone for what follows.
But in exposing the rest of America to an intrinsically special part of Nashville, Legends & Lyrics succeeds. As Griffin says at one point, "I've been learning some things up here." Anyone who watches will feel the same way.
Don't worry son, your Mom will be back as soon as the school bus drops…
The second woe is past; and behold, the third woe cometh quickly
Ok, Daddy, if I promise to go on the potty; can I have my gun…
8-8:15 third kind
8:30-8:45 the shapschenk restagtion
9-9:15 lazer slut
9:15-9:30 tim carey
This here's mah boy Charlie