Tin Pan South Festival: Jimmy Webb, Jack Tempchin and Felix Cavaliere

Jimmy Webb

By Ken Paulson

–Tin Pan South is a weeklong festival in Nashville featuring fine songwriters and engaging songs, but there was no question that the event’s epicenter was at 3rd and Lindsley tonight, as pop and rock songwriting royalty performed.

Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals took the stage first, and he remains in astonishingly fine voice. He began with “It’s A Beautiful Morning” and closed with a rousing “People Got to Be Free,” filling his set with radio classics and a fine new song that inspired an audience sing-along.
Jack Tempchin’s hit list is not as deep, but he was very entertaining, reminiscing about the best year of the ‘60s (1972) and playing his Eagles cuts “Already Gone” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” plus the Johnny Rivers hit “Slow Dancin’”

The finale – and maybe the festival – belonged to Jimmy Webb. He began his set with “Highwayman” and closed with “McArthur Park,” told a very funny story about the inspiration for “The Worst That Could Happen,” saluted Vince Gill with “Oklahoma Nights,” and recalled praying as a 14-year-old that Glen Campbell would one day record one of his songs before launching into “Wichita Lineman.” Webb is certainly one of the top ten composers in pop music history, along with Goffin and King, Lennon and McCartney, Mann and Weil and Bacharach and David. Tonight’s performance was a reminder of Jimmy Webb’s singular talent.

Larry Weiss on “Rhinestone Cowboy” and songwriting

Larry Weiss, the songwriter behind “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Bend Me, Shape Me” appeared at this year’s Tin Pan South Festival along with Roger Cook and Peter Yarrow. In this interivew, he talks about writing his biggest hits.

Glen Campbell’s return to the Ryman

We reported here about Glen Campbell’s November 30 show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, but a return performance on Dec. 5 was postponed due to illness.
Campbell made up that date this week.
Here’s what Dave Paulson of the Tennessean said about the show:

“Little appeared to be impeding his performance Tuesday night. Teleprompters set up at the edge of the stage were glanced at for lyrical cues – almost a necessity for anyone tackling the songs of wordy popsmith Jimmy Webb – but Campbell remained in fine voice and proved to still be a staggeringly sharp and fluid guitarist, wowing the crowd early on with an explosive solo on “Gentle” and muscular melodic licks on his classic “Galveston.””

Read the Tennesean’s full review here.

Glen Campbell Ryman show cancelled, Jan. 3 date set

Glen Campbell, who delivered an inspiring set at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville last Wednesday, had to cancel a return trip to the fabled hall tonight. The statement from the Ryman:

Glen Campbell has been forced to postpone his December 5 performance at the Ryman this evening due to a case of laryngitis. He will perform a make up date on Tuesday, January, 3 at 7:30 pm. Tickets for the December 5 show will be honored at the January 3 date. If ticket holders are unable to attend the rescheduled date, refunds are available at the point of purchase.”

The show was essentially sold out, so there’s a sliver of a silver lining here for those who didn’t want to miss Campbell’s final Nashville show.

Concert review: Glen Campbell at the Ryman in Nashville

It was a sad and exhilarating evening at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville tonight.

It’s wasn’t sad because Glen Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer’s or that his performance was part of his “Goodbye Tour.” He’s 75 and ailments strike us all.

It was sad because this is the last tour of one of America’s great pop singers, interpreters and guitarists, and it’s not realistic to expect anyone else to ever perform the work of Jimmy Webb with as much passion and joy.

Campbell had some challenges tonight, forgetting the lyrics to set opener “Gentle on My Mind” when a prompter malfunctioned and stumbling through some stage patter. But his guitar
playing was solid, and his solo on “Wichita Lineman” was stirring.

In full stride, singing the songs that dominated America’s pop and country charts from 1967 through 1977,he was impressive. He played his biggest hits, including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston,” but also lesser and still memorable hits, notably “Where’s The Playground Susie?” and “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife.” Haunting and beautiful stuff.

It was inspiring to see Campbell pepper the show with tracks from his outstanding final album Ghost on the Canvas. He’s been an artist all his life and he’s going to leave the stage playing new songs. That’s what artists – as opposed to oldies acts – do.

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