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.