Begun in Balsam in 1996 and modeled after similar performances at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, the Great Balsam Nashville Songwriters in the Round Series, now hosted at the Folkmoot Center at Historic Hazelwood School, presents signature in-the-round shows featuring Nashville area songwriters who pen the lyrics performed by country’s biggest stars. Many performances feature Grammy and CMA award winners, and all include writers of many top-ranked songs.
“Anytime anyone asks me who my favorite music writers are, I say Mozart, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Bob Dylan, and Dave Olney. Dave Olney is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard — and that’s true. I mean that from my heart.” – Townes Van Zandt
Master craftsman, acclaimed singer/songwriter and globe-trotting performer David Olney is well-known worldwide for his indelible songs and powerful live performances. Olney has released more than 20 albums over four decades, including six live recordings. His music has been prominently featured in ABC-TV’s “Nashville” and his stellar songs have been recorded by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury, Tim O’Brien, The Wailin’ Jennys, Steve Young, Slaid Cleaves and many others.
“Peter Cooper looks at the world with an artist’s eye and a human heart and soul. His songs are the work of an original, creative imagination, alive with humor and heartbreak and irony and intelligence, with truth and beauty in the details. Deep stuff. And they get better every time you listen.” – Kris Kristofferson
For more than a decade, GRAMMY-Nominated Singer, Songwriter and Producer Peter Cooper was the senior music writer and columnist for Nashville’s daily paper, The Tennessean. He is currently working at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as Museum Editor. Named one of Nashville’s “10 Most Interesting People” by Nashville Arts & Entertainment magazine, Cooper is also a session player, a producer who has worked with Todd Snider, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Fayssoux Starling McLean, among others, and is professor of country music at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.
Born in Syracuse, N.Y., and raised in rural Ohio, Gwil Owen moved to Nashville as a songwriter in the eighties. His band, The Thieves, was signed to Bug/Capitol Records and put out one record, “Seduced By Money,” in 1988 and a number of singles thereafter. Toni Price was the first to record Gwil’s songs on her debut album “Swim Away”. Since 1994 she has recorded over 30 Gwil Owen songs, and “Tumbleweed” was honored as song of the year at the 1995 Austin Music Awards.
Owen went on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1999 for a song co-written with Allison Moorer called “A Softer Place to Fall,” which was featured in Robert Redford’s film “The Horse Whisperer.” The Gwil Owen/Kevin Gordon songwriting collaboration “Deuce and a Quarter” was recorded By Keith Richard and Levon Helm for the album “All The Kings Men,” which featured performances by Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana.
Gwil is also the co-owner of Howlin’ Books in Nashville and a noted visual collage artist.