Nashville Unplugged is the brainchild of Empire Productions LLC.  Empire Productions is owned by Aaron Benward and Brian McComas.  Both artists have had significant success in the music industry with combined album sales over 1,000,000 copies, multiple Billboard #1 hits, toured extensively in the United States, and have been writing songs for many years.  It was their desire to create and sell products through their production company that shed light on the parts of music that most people never get the chance to see.

   

That was the heart behind the creation of Nashville Unplugged: The Story Behind The Song, a show that brings successful artists, singer/songwriters, and live audiences together for a night of story telling and entertainment.  The show is not only a time for the entertainers to sing their hits, but also a time for them to give the audience a look behind the scenes at the emotions that inspired the music and how a song finds its way to the top of the charts.

Already the cream of the creative crop have been guests of the Nashville Unplugged experience.  Writers like Paul Overstreet, Bob Dipiero, Chris Wallin, Allen Shamblin, Dennis Matkosky, Keith Anderson, Tim Nichols, Harley Allen, Danny Myrick, and this year’s BMI songwriter of the year, Bobby Pinson.  Because music lovers want to see a sneak peek behind the song-writing curtain, Nashville Unplugged has sold out numerous shows in Las Vegas, California, and other theaters around the U.S.

McComas adds, "We have been on affiliates of ABC, FOX, CBS, and NBC in some of the largest markets in the U.S because they have asked us to be there.  In addition, Country Weekly (the most noted country music news magazine) featured a two page article on Nashville Unplugged and its rapid growth. It feels good to know that people are interested in songwriting."

   

As Nashville Unplugged continues to go back to the cities that they have taken the show to before, they have seen crowds double after the first show and continue in growth in following months.  So what is it about the format that people are grabbing onto?

Benward explains, "We take for granted what we can see here every night in Nashville. It's a rarity around the rest of the country and the world.  Any given night we can drive five minutes from our house and see the best songwriters in the world perform their hits at a writers’ night in a small bar or cafe here in Nashville.  The people in the markets we are taking Unplugged to can't do the same.  That is why we think the series concept has worked so well. Once a month people get a taste of what it's like to be in Nashville and have these talented people in their back yard for a night."

McComas sheds more light saying, "We also add an element of entertainment that is even a little different than the basic Nashville songwriters’ nights.  We have "songs from the hat" where each audience member gets a chance to drop an original song title into a hat at the edge of the stage before the show starts.  We pick one song out of the hat and during the show at some point we write the song right there on the spot.  We don't cheat or pre-plan it.  It just comes out like it is right then.  It's a fun drill for us and the audience always gets a big kick out of it."


Through the course of the night jokes and jabs are exchanged with an element of down home comfort that sets the audience at ease.  One minute, they are laughing at story a writer is telling about the hard knocks of the music business; and the next, they are still and moved by a story shared about the hard knocks of life.  Both emotions are usually followed with a song that came from that experience and the audience forms an entire new appreciation for a song they already knew and loved.  Add that to the "songs from the hat" portion of the show, and the fact that you are seeing professionals do their job effortlessly, and you have a winning combination.  Any way you cut it, people are plugging in to Nashville Unplugged.

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