Left Of Nashville: A Music Documentary |DIY| Songwriting| Indie Music

Documentary where a struggling songwriter learns from hit writers for Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney and entrepreneurs (Seth Godin). Follow this roller coaster journey of one man's attempt to make a living with his music. Hosted by Brandon Barnett.
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Left Of Nashville: A Music Documentary |DIY| Songwriting| Indie Music




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Jan 28, 2017

The new intro for Season 3 of LON.

New Sound, New Stories, Same Struggle

Oct 19, 2016

Sometimes, we have to do other things to pay the bills until our dreams become a reality. If we have enough self-awareness, we might be able to make some "get by" money implementing the skills we have learned as we move toward our end goal.


Here is my first (paid) voice over project that I did for a customer in Luxembourg!

I created the music as well as doing the voice work. 

Even though this wasn't my intention, I was growing my skill set when I started Left Of Nashville. 

The moral of this story is to keep working hard. You just never know what opportunities will show up at your door.


Oh, and by the way, if you need anything like this done, hit me up at


Sep 26, 2016

From the creator of Left Of Nashville: Teaser from the upcoming podcast Searching For Ghosts: The Disappearance Of Cayce Lynn McDaniel.

Milan, Tennessee is a town of about 8,000 people. It is located in the Western part of the state, about halfway between Memphis and Nashville. And It’s 25 miles north of where I grew up. In 1996, West Tennessee was shaken to its core, when fourteen year-old Cayce Lynn McDaniel disappeared from her home. She hasn’t been heard from since.
According to reports, Cayce’s mother came home to find the clothes her daughter had worn to a church social earlier in the night, laid out on the bed. There was a bowl of cookies and milk on the floor, illuminated by the glow of Cayce's television,  as the back door of the house stood wide open.
The first call by Cayce’s mother to find her daughter was made some ten hours later.
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of her mysterious disappearance, and while network television is airing special after special about another case from that year in Colorado, the disappearance of Cayce Lynn McDaniel, seems all but forgotten.
National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
WBBJ-TV 7 Twentieth Anniversary Report
Milan Mirror Exchange Interview With Amber Hansen (Cayce's Best Friend)
Milan Police Department: 731-686-3309
Sep 15, 2016

Aubrey Preston is a musician,philanthropist, business man and developer from Leiper's Fork. You may know him best as the man who saved RCA Studio A in the eleventh hour. He has brought back the town of Leiper's Fork and made it a destination for musicians and music lovers. He also played a vital role in saving the Franklin Theater.

But his latest endeavor is why he was the keynote speaker in Downtown Jackson for the monthly First Friday Forum. This latest project is the Americana Music Triangle.

The Triangle is a website that maps out the points of interest in the American South where the best music in the world was created. Nine genres got their start in this patch of land that forms a nice little triangle on the map. 

Jackson, TN (home of Left Of Nashville) is a destination on the triangle, and Preston was in town to impress on the city that it is up to us to capitalize on our rich musical heritage.

USA Today Article on AMT

Nashville Scene Article on AMT

Deep South Magazine Article on AMT


Carl Perkins

Sonny Boy Williamson

Eddy Arnold

Tina Turner

Jackson, Tn

Aug 7, 2016
In this episode, we hear from Bart Herbison, the Executive Director of Nashville Songwriters Association International or (NSAI). NSAI is a not-for-profit trade organization for songwriters with chapters all over the world.
Bart talks about the recent DOJ ruling concerning PROs and what this will mean for the music industry.
I start by asking Bart about the 100% licensing ruling and what spawned it.
It’s quite obvious who this ruling hurts, but I wanted to know who it helps. Logic would dictate that this has to help someone. There is talk that Google has the most to gain by this ruling, (we intend to address this in a future episode) but Bart has a different take on the matter.
So why make this ruling now? This seemingly caught everyone by surprise, so what was the rationale of adding this ruling on top of refusing to update the consent decrees?
The official written ruling was made on August 4th, a week after this interview. I asked Bart what was next on the agenda to fight it.
What’s mind boggling to everyone I’ve spoken to is what was the logic in this 100% licensing ruling that essentially transfers the burden of distributing royalty money from the PROs to the songwriters.
Being two hours away from Nashville, I was curious as to the feeling of songwriters on the ground in and around Music Row after this ruling.
As mentioned earlier, the official ruling came down on August 4th.  NSAI Board President Lee Thomas Miller immediately issued a scathing statement to the DOJ. 
BMI and ASCAP also released statements explaining they were joining forces to fight this ruling, with BMI challenging the ruling in Federal Court, while ASCAP is leading the charge with legislative reform.
But now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. As songwriters we need to support this effort and make our voices heard.
As I mentioned last episode, I can’t stress how important it is that you share this podcast series and leave a review in iTunes. Reviews affect the search engine algorithm immensely. The more reviews that we get, the more people can find the show.
So in the immortal words of Karen Carpenter, “We’ve only just begun."
NSAI Board President Lee Thomas Miller's Response To Ruling
ASCAP and BMI Join Forces To Fight DOJ Ruling
US Copyright Office Director Maria Pallante
Music in this episode: Brandon Barnett-Man Who Tries
Jul 28, 2016
Sarah Schuberth, Esq. (Music Law Chick)
Jonathan Singleton-The Getaway
Brandon Barnett-Your Everloving Arms
Department Of Justice Contact Page
Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution reads as follows:
“To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."
I’ve decided to fire up the podcast in between seasons. You know why? Because I can. See, that’s what’s so liberating about creating something yourself. You can do with it whatever you want. There are no special committees or board members to vote on whether or not you can move forward. If I want to walk away from this podcast thing right now, I can. If I want to put out two episodes a day, that’s my prerogative.
Creative control is a beautiful thing. And the concept of intellectual property rights is just downright gorgeous. I can create something out of thin air and own it just like you own your automobile or your puppy dog. No one person or government can just come in and take that away from me, legally. That’s what the framers of the U.S. Constitution thought anyway.
But on June 30th, just two days before the Independence Day weekend, the United States Department Of Justice not only refused to change outdated consent decrees concerning Performing Rights Organizations (or PROs) that have been in place since the second world war, it also issued new regulations that would make 100% licensing with one PRO mandatory on co-written songs.
So what the hell does all this mean? Well, by refusing to update the existing consent decrees, songwriters do not have the right to pull their songs from streaming services if they so choose. The government sets the rate and songwriters have to live with it. And that rate is fractions of a penny on the dollar.
But evidently that wasn’t enough for the DOJ. The new ruling concerning 100% licensing is an entirely different can of worms, that evidently, no one saw coming.  
Long-time listeners of Left Of Nashville will be familiar with Jonathan Singleton.  Jonathan is a hit songwriter out of Nashville. Some of his hits include “Watching Airplanes” by Gary Allan, “Red Light and Let It Rain” both by David Nail, “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” by Tyler Farr and the GRAMMY nominated “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” by Tim McGraw. Here’s his explanation of the new ruling:
Speaking of lawyers, Sarah Ruth Schuberth, esq. is an attorney as well as a songwriter. Why you slacking Sarah? Why not a doctor too? Oh yeah, that’s what she was studying before music law caught her eye. Sarah is going to serve as Left Of Nashville’s in house counsel for this series. You can see what she’s about at I’ll have it linked up in the show notes.
I must admit, I’m somewhat surprised at the lack of outrage coming from the music community about this ruling. I believe that one reason many are not speaking out is because of a lack of empathy for those “millionaire” songwriters whining about their gravy train being derailed.  
But I believe by and large the reason more are not speaking out is because they are artists. It’s the nature of the beast. Either they don’t know what is happening or they don’t want to know. Most figure that someone else will take care of this. And because we have an artist’s heart, we are easy pickings. Sarah Schuberth esq  
And the ones who do know what is going on are having trouble concentrating on anything else.  
We have one year before this new ruling goes into effect. And this podcast series isn’t just going to ring the bell on the problems. We are going to look for solutions. 
Like I said earlier, we have a year before this ruling takes effect. But we can’t rely on others to fight this. We as songwriters, musicians, podcasters, bloggers and anyone who cares about music and the rule of law must unite.
You might think that this doesn’t  even affect you. Hell, the two licensing deals I currently have in L.A. are solo writes. I wrote the State I’m In with Jonathan and we are both ASCAP writers. So technically, this doesn’t even affect me…YET. Well, not that I know of. But this decision will have a ripple effect that will impact everyone. It is my feeling that even if you could get every songwriter to move to the same PRO to bypass this logistical nightmare, there will be even more anti-trust legislation put in place. That was the whole reason for the consent decrees in the first place back when ASCAP was the only game in town. 
This will impact the entire music industry and then spread to others. What do you think will happen to Nashville’s booming real estate and tourism markets over the long term? What will happen to the quality and quantity of songs when writers who have that magic are no longer able to write together because of junk regulations?
So I’m asking you to join the fight. Share this podcast series with anyone who will listen. Leave a review in iTunes to help make it more visible. I want to have people in the industry on this show who have the power to stop this thing dead in its tracks and reverse the regulations put in place over seventy years ago. 
Jun 24, 2016

Special episode with outtakes of the birth of Left Of Nashville. Including never heard footage of the co-write with Jonathan Singleton where we almost made the chorus the verse.


Left Of Nashville

Jun 13, 2016

Here's a bonus episode featuring my latest recording, 'Make Believe.' Enjoy!


Left Of Nashville

May 9, 2016
As creative entrepreneurs, we are blessed with many ideas. We have project ideas pop into our heads while we are in the shower or mowing the yard. This can be a beautiful thing. But it is also a double edged sword.
Sometimes, we get “shiny object syndrome” and start chasing so many things that we don’t get anything accomplished. Or we at least don’t live up to our full potential in one area. Our blessing then becomes a curse.
I still completely stand by my theory of trying to have multiple income streams and not putting all of my eggs in one basket. But I realize where I’ve gone wrong with this. While it is necessary to have a backup for my backup, i need to focus on one thing at a time and reach minimum viable income before moving on to the next thing. Minimum viable income is simply the amount of money one needs   to make in order to support yourself.—emphasis on minimum.
And it’s quite possible that I would be at my minimum viable income level with my music if one or both of the two publishing companies that I've signed with had gotten my songs placed. But that hasn’t happened. Not yet anyway.
So let me tell you what I WAS going to announce in this season finale episode. I was planning on starting a podcast network. I was going to launch another podcast this summer that was to be a documentary on music that was birthed in and around my hometown. For those of you who are not familiar with all of the game changers that were spawned from this patch of land between Memphis and Nashville, the names would astound you. 
But this thing was going to be a money pit if I couldn’t secure funding for it. The music licensing alone was going to wear me out. I mean, Paul McCartney has the publishing on some of the music that I needed to use, for crying out loud. But for a couple of weeks, I had convinced myself that I could pull this thing off and still work on my music career.
But then, one morning I woke up and asked myself, “What the hell am I doing?” This is the same damn thing that I did at the end of Season One. Why do I keep chasing all these things?
And after a couple of days of real soul searching, it hit me: I don’t have enough faith. I still don’t think that I’m good enough to make music for a living. I mean, I say that I am but what else would explain me getting so close, then, jumping onto some new project. I think it’s fear of both failure and success.
So I’m getting back to basics. I’m going back to 2014 before I even thought about doing a podcast. Hell, I’m even going back further than that to when I wasn’t even considering Nashville as a possibility.
The writing is on the wall and it has been since I signed that first licensing deal last summer. My music is taylor made for sync licensing. That’s what I do naturally. Jonathan Singleton has even told me that. And I’ve got two legal documents with my signature on them that back him up. The writing has been on the wall for some time now and I've just refused to read it.
With sync, I can write and record my stripped down songs myself. And I already have an open door to submit my music anytime I want. There was a time that I would KILL  for that opportunity ALONE and I realize that I've been taking it for granted. I’m also going to reach out to music supervisors with my music. This is something that I should have been doing all along.
And there is no that wonder that nothing is happening for me in Nashville. I mean, I’ve only set foot in that town once in a year’s time. I’ve half-assed it the whole way. And to be honest, I could’ve found a way to make more happen there, even as broke as I’ve been. But my heart’s just not in it. Where my heart lies is in creating these quirky acoustic based songs from scratch and having total control of how they sound. I love the limitations that I have because of the lack of help and money. 
But I believe that everything happens for a reason. i have learned so much with all the dabbling that I’ve done. The biggest takeaway that I’ve received from my flirtations with Nashville is to be able to write, whether the muse shows up or not. I believe that this is essential. And the song a week experiment was a test to take that Nashville model of writing songs on a schedule and apply it to my singer-songwriter tunes. And for the most part, it worked. This experiment helped push me to the point where I realized that I need to have a Music Row writer’s work ethic then write and produce as many songs as possible for sync licensing.
So instead of trying to do both L.A. and Nashville, I am taking what I have learned from Nashville and going 100% in on sync. So, in one way, I’m glad that I was so scattered, because without doing this and spreading myself too thin, I wouldn’t have had this epiphany.
And if something happens in the meantime with “The State I’m In” that causes doors to open in Nashville, you can bet I will walk through them. And I do eventually want to develop a podcast network. But first things first. I need to walk through the doors that have been opened for me in L.A. with my music and double down on that.
So where does this leave Left Of Nashville? Well, there will be a Season 3. But we won’t be doing the season featuring LOLO as once planned. I have to put all my attention on my career at this point and season 3 will document what happens after attacking sync licensing with my full focus. I am not going to close the door behind me, I want to share everything that I learn that may help you guys. That was the promise I made when I started this thing to begin with.
Somewhere along the way, this thing got flipped on its head. I found myself in a position where I was writing songs in order to put out an episode of the podcast instead of making an episode to document all the music I was making. And that may sound like I am splitting hairs here, I mean, at least I was writing songs, right? Who cares about the motivation?
But I wasn’t being to true to who I really am. Look, I love making this podcast. This is so much fun. But I am a singer-songwriter first. Without the songs, I have no reason to make Left Of Nashville. We have to become what we are.
So, I want to thank you guys for coming along with me for this season, I’ve had a blast. And I hope you come back for Season 3.
There are a few thoughts that I want to leave you with:
The path to doing what we are meant to do isn’t going to be a straight line. There are going to be some dead ends along the way.
But the most important thing is to try things. Always be sending up trial balloons. But just as important as doing this, is being self-aware enough to realize what works  and what doesn’t.
The whole damn thing really is a learning experience and you will gain knowledge from these so called “failures” that will lead you to success. I truly believe this. So get out there and move things around. Then hone in and put a dent in the universe.
May 3, 2016
It’s been about four weeks since I last released an episode of Left Of Nashville. So What happened? Well, the short answer is Everything and nothing. I had to get my taxes done. I live on nine acres and it’s mowing season again. I finally got a phone with the internet at my fingertips. And I was writing an upbeat song, which for me, is a struggle. I guess you could say that life happened.
But I still could've found a way to make it all work. But I made excuses. It takes a full day to mow my yard, so there was a day off work that I didn’t spend writing. I got caught up with friends on my phone. I stayed on social media. Basically, I procrastinated.
Then I hit the resistance. This is what Steven Pressfield calls the thing that causes writers to procrastinate. Read his book “The War Of Art” for his brilliant take on the resistance.
And procrastination breeds more procrastination. And then self-doubt shows up. It didn't matter that I’ve churned out nineteen episodes, I suddenly lost faith in my ability to write songs and put out a compelling podcast. I was in another dip. 
I lost my mojo and felt like a failure. But a funny thing happened: I kept working. Little by little. I gave myself a little grace. I remembered what I read in a business book once about stretch goals. Setting stretch goals is a way to force yourself to get out of your comfort zone. If you set a lofty goal, such as writing and recording a song a week, say, you will achieve more than you would otherwise even if you do not meet your goal.
So I sat my ass down in the chair and wrote. A little here, and a little there. It was a slog. I hated it. But I was making progress. And after week seven of my experiment, I have three new songs. Granted it’s not seven new songs, but it isn’t zero new songs either. It’s three more songs than I had written in the PREVIOUS seven weeks before starting this experiment, so I’m satisfied. I didn’t fail. Not at all.
Hey guys, I am about to attempt another project that I will explain in detail in an upcoming episode of Left Of Nashville. So I need you guys to do me a favor. For those of you who listen on iTunes, would you be so kind as to leave a review? This is something that I have neglected to ask people to do, but it is very important.
It helps this podcast rise in the rankings, which makes it visible to more people. I need this to happen in order to help launch this other project. It would mean the world to me. Thanks guys!
Steven Pressfield-The War Of Art
Ben Rector
Ben Kweller
Maddy And The Groove Spots
Apr 7, 2016
This is the first time in 19 weeks that I have not made my deadline of releasing the podcast late Sunday night/early Monday morning. And I beat myself up about it for a couple of days. It put me in a foul mood and I immediately felt like a failure.
Then I decided to get over it. “It’s all about the song” as they say and while I wasn’t able to put this out in a week’s time, I got pretty damn close. And I felt like I was on to something with this one. So if it took a little longer to get it right, then so be it. A better song makes for a better episode and that was my focus instead of adhering to some self-imposed deadline.
I had the main skeleton of ‘Behind The Scenes” written two or three weeks ago. But I really didn’t start arranging it and whittling it down until last week.
In episode 5 of this season, I talked about Impostor Syndrome as it pertains to our career goals. But it creeps into our personal lives as well. We tend to look at others and their relationships and think that they have it all figured out, while we are over here floundering, hanging on by a thread.
I ran into this beautiful woman that I have known since we were kids. She was one of those girls growing up that was “out of my league” in my mind--unattainable. We were always friendly to one another but the thought of any romantic involvement was outside the realm of possibility. In fact, she scared the hell out of me to be honest.
I didn’t date in high school. I was a late bloomer and was always afraid of my own shadow growing up. It wasn’t until my late twenties and early thirties that I started taking risks.
So when I ran into this woman, who is even more gorgeous now, we started catching up. It turns out that she was going through a transition in her life. So I went out on a limb and took the chance that I had always been afraid to do for so many years.
And as we got to talking, it turns out that she had always had a crush on me too and even stated that I never noticed her in school but it was nice that I did now. 
Well, needless to say, you could’ve knocked me over with a feather.
It’s not like I intended to write a song about this but hey, you write what you know, right? And what I know is that sometimes you just never know. “You just never know” could be an alternate title for this one.
So this revelation coupled with my constant battle with ‘Impostor Syndrome’ became the impetus of my next song.
I was goofing around with this fingerpicking thing and I just really liked the feel of it. I  was messing with this A chord formation and then took it to a G then immediately to a D. This simple progression had this really nice release of tension to it.
Then I just started singing these nonsense lyrics over it to try to build a melody. I call these “scrambled egg” lyrics which comes from Paul McCartney when he was writing ‘Yesterday.’ As he was writing it, he would sing the words ‘scrambled eggs’ before he came up with the word “yesterday” to build the melody.
And just as with ‘Any Other Way,’ the words just came. I was thinking about how clueless I am sometimes when it comes to relationships and I just blurted out the lines “I watch what other people do to try to learn a thing or two, but I just can’t seem to get it right."
I’ve been called morose as both a person and a songwriter and maybe I am. I think I’m a pretty happy guy but I do gravitate toward sad songs. Patty Griffin, whose songs can make me literally sob, is the best at this and is one of my favorite songwriters on the planet. Check out her song, ‘When It Don’t Come Easy.’ If that song doesn’t move you, you had better check your pulse.
So I like songs with depth. For a song to hold my interest, there has to be some sort of conflict. That’s what makes for a compelling story. And even if the song doesn’t end with a nice little bow tied around it, I at least want a glimmer of hope at the end.  I am an optimist no matter how much I have been pegged over the years as a sad sack.
So that’s why the first verse ends with “But maybe tonight.” I knew immediately after throwing that in there that I would repeat the first verse at the end of the song. It is unresolved both musically and lyrically but there is that hope.
To be a good songwriter, we must be observant. Marty Dodson talks about being a sponge, taking note of everything. And this has made me careful about what I consume. I mean, garbage in, garbage out. I think that my songs are naturally a good fit for sync licensing due in large part to the number of independent art films that I have consumed over the years.
So without being pretentious about it, I try to take in a ton of media that inspires me. And for me, this usually isn’t summer blockbuster movies or mainstream music for that matter with one dimensional storylines and lackluster dialogue or lyrics.
I became obsessed with the first season of the podcast Serial, which is the true life story of a teenager who was quite possibly wrongly convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend. I know, talk about morose, right? Then I found the podcast “Undisclosed” which is hosted by a team of lawyers dissecting this case, trying to get the conviction overturned.
And that’s where I believe that the lyrics for the chorus came about. While trying to write the chorus, I went to a minor chord that walks up to the major. Then the lines, “I fall in love with lovers walking in the rain, there’s no sign of struggle, no evidence of pain.” just came out. Using sign of struggle and evidence peppered in a love song was the perfect counterbalance to the “lovers walking in the rain” line.
I didn’t intend to write a waltz but that’s what happened. And looking back, this gave the song a nice bounce to give the song a lighter feel. A waltz is not exactly a recipe for a hit song but I’m not writing for Nashville here. These songs are mine. I am in service of the song, nothing else. And besides, Elliott Smith wrote a ton of songs in 3/4 time and I love them.
So I laid down two acoustic guitar parts and hard panned them. And just like with “Any Other Way,” I searched for a nice bed to give a spacey feel. I found this preset that has this harmonica sound. I’m not the biggest fan of the harmonica as an instrument, but this gave the song both a spacey and a rootsy feel to it.
Then I messed around with a guitar part to put in the middle and found another tremolo setting. This wasn’t intentional but I noticed after playing the song in another position on the guitar, it sounded like the intro to Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lover You Should Have Come Over.’ I’m a huge fan of Buckley and this little happy accident had me overjoyed.
Then I laid down my lead and harmony vocals. I originally had an extra chorus come in after the first verse but decided to change that to two verses, then the chorus. So I just went in and cut out the extra chorus and pieced the song back together.
With this song being a waltz, I decided not to write a bridge but rather do a simple guitar solo. I just laid down one solo part this time and duplicated it instead of recording it twice. But I did hard pan them. The reason for not recording it twice is that I found an effect that would ping from left to right in the speakers. So I wanted the guitar parts to be exact. The notes were a little too piercing so I played around with another effect to use on one side that had a warmer tone to it. It turned out perfectly.
I really hate that I wasn’t able to release this episode on time, but I believe it was worth it.
Brandon Barnett: Left Of Nashville EP
How To Get Noticed In The Music Industry When You're A Nobody (Like Me) An Ebook
Patty Griffin--'When It Don't Come Easy'
Jeff Buckley-'Lover, You Should've Come Over'
Mar 27, 2016
For my next collection of songs, I wanted them to be even more stripped down than the Left Of Nashville EP if that’s even possible. Simplicity is beautiful. And honesty is simple. But that doesn’t mean that honesty is easy. Boiling a point down to its bare essentials isn’t easy, whether that’s musically or lyrically. 
I envision this next batch of songs as early Elliott Smith in outer space. I want to blend acoustic music with dreamy soundscapes. I want a desert night drive kind of feel to these songs. And in order to do that, less is more.
'Any Other Way’ was written in July in almost one sitting. My girlfriend had just broken up with me and this was an open letter to her. This was one of those rare occasions where it just fell out of the sky. The guitar part, lyrics and melody happened simultaneously. The sentence, “I can’t do it any other way” just came out. And it just went on from there. I wasn’t thinking about song craft at all. 
As much as I love clever wordsmiths such as Conor Oberst or Adam Duritz, that’s not where I am. Dabbling in country music has effected the way I write my personal songs. And I have an affinity for conversational lyrics. 
I knew this was going to be a short and simple song. Like I said, this was an open letter, so this was no time to use flowery words and imagery. I just wanted to get my point across.
“I can’t do it any other way” was my way of saying that “this is who I am.” "Music is what I do.” To have someone go from being my biggest cheerleader to turning on a dime and basically saying that they didn’t believe in me, left me more shocked than angry. So this isn’t an angry song. And I think it does a good job of expressing both my confusion as well as my resolve to seeing this thing music thing through.  
This is probably one of the most honest and vulnerable songs I have ever written. And it almost wrote itself. The chorus was the only thing that I really had to work on. Initially, it didn’t hook enough. But I had enough of the song that I liked to record a rough video on my computer and throw it on Facebook. I just had to get it off my chest and put it out there, somewhere, anywhere.
A little hack that I have learned to make simple lyrics not boring is to use internal rhymes. Not only will they make a lyric more interesting, they also make for writing better melodies.


Mar 20, 2016
Let me start out this one by giving you a little bit of an inside look at the production side of Left Of Nashville. 
When I begin a season, I try to have some episodes banked to relieve some of the pressure of only having a week to produce an episode. In the first season, I only had three episodes in the can before I launched. This season, I had six.
But it always catches up with me. As you know, trying to have a career in music is ever fluctuating. There are times when so much is going on, that I have trouble keeping up with everything that is happening. I have more than enough content to last me for weeks of episodes. Then, it’s like a ghost town. I find myself waiting on a song to get placed or hoping that something happens in Nashville.
That’s when I cover tactical subjects. And it works out, because it adds variety to the show while still having the main thread of the show in tact. 
So when I start a season, I know how it is going to begin, but I have no clue how it is going to end. It can be pretty stressful. In the first season, this was another reason  I ended it when I did. But this season, I’ve learned to trust myself a little more, knowing that I will find a way to get an episode out without missing a week. I’ve finally found my groove with this thing.
And I think that an unforeseen benefit for you as a listener when I run through the runway that I’ve given myself with banked episodes is that the shows are more current. Starting with episode 8 of this season, I would produce it the same week it aired.
My original plan with Season 2 was to have twenty episodes, then take a month off at most before launching the third season featuring LOLO. Well, here we are at 17. After ep.16, I didn’t know what I was going to do for the final four episodes. I was hoping that I would have a song placed by now. I mean, I really wanted to go out with a bang. And I’m also having so much fun this season that I’m not ready to end it yet.
I realize that I’ve been resting on my laurels. I’m waiting to be picked. I’m waiting on Any Day to get placed or ’The State I’m In’ to take off. I’m talking a lot about making music in the podcast but I’m not making any. I need to get back to the ‘doing things’ side of the ‘do things and tell people’ equation.
So I’ve decided for the third act of this season of Left Of Nashville, to write and record a collection of new songs and take you along with me for the ride. I have a handful songs of various stages of completion that you’ve heard bits and pieces of already.
So taking a page out of Jordan Woods-Robinson book of his ‘Songs On Sunday’ project, I am going to write and record a song a week. I won’t have the final mix done in that time but I think I can have a mix good enough to release for the podcast.
This will allow me to build my body of work and have you keep me accountable. By announcing this on the podcast and having you with me week to week, it puts a ton of pressure on me to get it done. One of the fears that I’ve always had of writing for Nashville was whether or not I could write multiple songs on a schedule. So this will be a nice exercise to test out whether or not I can write under pressure. 
Left Of Nashville
Brandon Barnett-Left Of Nashville EP


Mar 13, 2016


This topic will tie a nice little bow on some of the things I have covered in previous episodes such as networking, finding our tribe, having multiple things going, doing things/telling people and picking yourself.
In order to be able to live our dream and make music for a living, we will have to get out of our warm and cozy confines and go out into the big bad world with our art. And this is scary. Whether it’s talking to decision makers at publishing companies, self-releasing our music or even just admitting to others that "yeah, I’m a songwriter." We have to stick our necks out.
And we often forget that the world isn’t waiting with baited breath for us to release our latest masterpiece. Most people don’t care. I don’t think that we realize how much convincing that we are going to have to do for others to take us seriously.
People can be flaky. And people in the music industry…even flakier. A lot of people don’t have follow-through. People say one thing and do another. Or don’t do anything at all.
We know that we have to put in the work and build things. Then, we have to tell people about it. But no one is going to give you a gold star because you tried something, because you wrote some songs and put them into the world. A lot of people write songs and put them into the world. And a lot of them are terrible or mediocre. First, we have to get good. We have to hone our craft.
Okay, let’s assume that we’ve done that. Then, we start telling people about our work. Some people will get behind us, others will not. Not everyone likes Left Of Nashville. Not everyone likes “Your Everloving Arms.” And that’s okay. If enough people start to give us positive feedback and after a period of time, we still like what we’ve produced, then we can assume that it’s pretty much up to snuff. Or at least close.
So then we start looking for channels through which to promote. It might be calling on publishers or getting friends in the industry to introduce us to people. It might be blogging about it, starting a podcast, or using social media. We go to meet ups or writer’s nights to get the word out.
Okay, so now we’ve got our craft down and we are promoting it. This is when we start meeting people and building our network. We are looking for ways to add value to the people we come in contact with and things are starting to roll. With all these new connections, opportunities start to become available. Revisit the episodes of this season with Lauren Pritchard and Jordan Woods-Robinson in particular to watch these relationships evolve. I mention these two specifically because the podcast documents these relationships in their beginning stages.
So now, we have a small body of work that we can be proud of, people are starting to become aware of us and we are building relationships through which opportunities arise.
But here’s the thing. On Left Of Nashville, you are only aware of the people who said “yes.” I only showcase the people with whom I’ve built relationships. But there are just as many or more people that I have reached out to that either didn’t respond or told me that they would do certain things and then didn’t follow through.




And it’s the same thing with songwriting. I’ve been turned down or ignored numerous times when I would reach out to write with people. The key to handling rejection with grace (at least in my situation) is to be able to pivot when things don’t go your way. My publisher at one of the newspapers I worked for used to tell us reporters, “Have a backup for your backup."
Remember what Brent Baxter said about how to get a good publishing deal? “Insert Quote” 
Having options is a beautiful thing in this business. And you are going to have to get creative with it. Think about what you will do if one thing falls through. What are you doing to do next? Because believe me, things are going to fall through. But if you have other options, you will not waste valuable time getting upset when someone inevitably fails to follow through on a promise. And if you keep your cool, sometimes those people come back around and want to help.
Sometimes, they just didn’t manage their time properly and it fell through the cracks. But the main thing is for you to have a backup so that you don’t run the risk of burning a bridge. Just don’t take it personally. It’s easier said than done, but that’s why I suggest having many options. It is a terrific hack that I have discovered to keep my emotions in check. I’m so busy executing on my plan B that I’m not even studying those people anymore.
But as our body of work grows, our reputation will start to precede us. And that’s when the tide will start to turn. We will get more yes’s than no’s. People will want to work with us.
So I hope this episode illustrates how the many tactics we have talked about throughout Left Of Nashville culminates into a hack to keep our emotions in check when dealing with rejection.
So to recap:
1)Put in the work-hone your craft. Get good.
2)Get the word out about it-Tell people
3)Build relationships-Opportunites will come out of that
4)Have many things going on to give yourself options
If a thing falls through-don’t get upset and burn bridges…pivot and work your plan b or c.
Left Of Nashville
Brandon Barnett: Left Of Nashville EP
Jordan Woods-Robinson
LOLO (Lauren Pritchard)
Man Vs. Row (Brent Baxter)
Mar 6, 2016

In this episode of Left Of Nashville, I talk about the struggles of dating when you're a musician on the come up. 

I’m six months out of my previous relationship and I’ve been out and about. And I’ve met some women in this time…women who seemed genuinely interested…that is until they find out about my financial situation. 
And look I get it, you can’t expect to attract a quality woman when you’re in the doldrums, when you’re at rock bottom. But my situation has improved markedly since Episode One of this season. I’m no Rockefeller here, but I’m getting back on my feet with my current financial situation and my dreams are becoming even closer to being a reality: The podcast is taking off, things are moving with my music in L.A. and Nashville, not to mention all the people that I have been working with of late. Life is starting to get good on the planet for me. BUT, I’m still in this weird limbo place with everything.
But being a broke musician on the come up still doesn’t carry the same weight as say, a broke pre-med student. The broke musician thing is the kiss of death. It doesn’t seem to matter how much you are hustling, or how much progress you are making, it’s not enough.
So if I were a 40 year-old wanna be musician with no hustle, with no progress being made, no licensing deals in the queue who was just bumming around getting stoned and drunk all the time, I wouldn’t date me either. I’ve already mentioned in the Crabs In The Bucket episode that I won’t even associate with THOSE dudes. 
I’m not that guy. I’m building a business here. But you’ve got to scratch the surface to find out those things about me. I’m not going to bend over backwards to try to assure every woman that I meet, that I’m not THAT guy. I’m not going to start blabbing about all the things that I have going on. Because that comes off as bragging.
I stumbled upon an article in Digital Music News written by Gaetano, a singer, songwriter, producer and guitarist based in New York, who oddly enough, has been documenting his music industry experiences in his blog. Sound familiar? I’ll link it up in the show notes. The article was entitled:
So I have recently come to some conclusions about my situation.  I talk a lot about not raising your hand asking for people to pick you in your music career. I rail against the idea that I can’t make a living from my music unless some suit picks me. But no man is an island. The reality is that whether we are after a publishing deal, trying to gain 1,000 True Fans, or building an audience for our podcast, we DO need people to PICK US. But there is a mindset shift when we “PICK OURSELVES.” We put our art into the world and the rest be damned. Sure, we want an audience, but when we come from an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset, everything changes. We have a confidence that is attractive. And while this is something that I have been working on professionally, I realized that in my personal life, that I am still looking for someone to pick me.
Being a struggling musician on the come up may actually be a blessing in disguise. Being broke is actually a great litmus test to see who I want to invest my time in.
When the topic eventually comes up about what I do and my financial situation with women that I meet, I immediately bring up the podcast. I tell them that if they really want to know what I’m about—and all the things that I’m doing to better myself, that they should listen to the podcast. I give them a certain episode to start with. I’ve even subscribed them to the podcast on their phones.
Because I know that if I were really interested in a woman, and she had her life documented online, I would jump at the chance to get to know her better without investing a ton of time. Hell, I wish all the women I meet had a documentary podcast. That would be way better than investing a year’s worth of my life before finding out someone isn’t right for me.
So if a woman can’t at least invest twenty minutes to listen to one episode, then I know that I’m not willing to spend my valuable time getting to know her. So Left Of Nashville has become this dating tool for me to weed out the undesirables.
So I’ve decided to “PICK ME” in my personal life as well. I won’t always be broke and as hard as the last two years have been, I’ve got a pretty fun and interesting life. I’ve achieved a lot of things and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. And I need to respect myself enough to not just let anyone into my weird little world.
Feb 28, 2016
In the last episode of Left Of Nashville, I talked about Kevin Kelly’s blog '1,000 True Fans.’ It’s basically the theory that an artist can make a pretty nice living from 1,000 fans who will purchase everything that they produce.
But how do we go about this? Well for starters, we should do things and tell people. This will not only help you to reach 1,000 true fans, it will also increase your chances of bringing serendipity or luck into your life. 
If you remember Episode 6 from the first season of LON, I talked about connecting the dots and how seemingly meaningless things would later connect to game changing events. It’s all about putting pins on the map. Do things, tell people.
Aaron Francis has done things and told people. He is the creator of the Music Makers Podcast. I featured an episode of The Music Makers in the Crabs In A Bucket episode.
I found Aaron’s podcast when it was on New and Noteworthy in iTunes and I became a fan. After the 1,000 True Fans episode, it became evident that I needed to talk about how one might acquire true fans as well as get noticed by movers and shakers. Then I remembered two episodes of The Music Makers, episode 1, entitled “Do Things, Tell People” and a companion episode called Luck Surface Area.
And this is where things get really meta, I mean talk about serendipity. I reached out to Aaron about featuring these two episodes in this episode. I just think that it helps if you hear other people besides me having these theories. Later that day, I listened to the newest episode of The Music Makers, where Aaron announced that that day’s episode would be his final one, at least for now. 
So I decided that I would use this occasion to pay tribute to one of my favorite podcasts, while explaining how to increase your fanbase and your luck. These episodes stuck in my mind after all these months, and I decided to reference them here, all because Aaron did things and told people. This is the perfect example of how to get your art to make an impression on people. Like I said, this is pretty meta and trippy.
Not to mention the irony of using a podcast called The Music Makers (which isn’t about music at all) in my MUSIC DOCUMENTARY podcast to help me make a point.
The Music Makers
Left Of Nashville
Brandon Barnett--Left Of Nashville EP
How To Get Noticed In The Music Industry When You're A Nobody (Like Me): An Ebook
Feb 21, 2016

In the last episode of Left Of Nashville, Brent Baxter talked about how everything has changed in this age of Spotify as it pertains to publishing deals in Nashville. Songwriters are either hugely successful or they don’t make enough to live on. There is no middle ground.

The internet has fragmented everything. It is easier than ever to get our music produced and out to the world. And that means there is more music than ever available for consumption. AND that means people’s attention spans are even shorter. This is an on-demand economy. If people want psychedelic polka music in today’s world, they can find it. 
The market has changed. It just has. And outside of getting hits on country artists or having a slash in your title, I don’t have a solution for the Nashville-only songwriter. So this episode is for the independent artists who want to put their music out themselves.
In 2008, Kevin Kelly of Wired Magazine posted a blog entitled ‘1,000 True Fans’ that went viral. It is still quoted today and in my opinion was the catalyst that empowered tons of people (myself included) to become creative entrepreneurs.
A True Fan is a fan who will purchase everything you produce. If you could get 1,000 fans who would spend $100.00 per year with you, that's a $100,000 yearly income.
So here are some things to consider if you want to go this route:
1) Aloof, brooding, pretentious singer-songwriters need not apply. You must interact with your fans. Be a human being. I know that there has been a marketing strategy for years from record labels that artists should distance themselves from their fans to add mystique, but I believe those days are over. People want to connect. And now that connecting is just a “reply” button away, ignoring your supporters is the fastest way to become a douche nozzle in their eyes. Authenticity is the name of the game.
2) You are going to have to put out content for your audience to spend $100.00 a year with you. You are going to have to produce music and merchandise to make this work. This is what I have been working on starting with the Left Of Nashville EP. But I’m going to have to produce more than four songs to get to 100.00. I want T-shirts for the podcasts, stickers, music. But this takes time and work. Lots of work.
3) You have to build a fanbase in the first place. And this will take time. And again, you will have to release content to start building a fanbase. So, put stuff out as often as you can. You can’t wait until you have a $100.00 worth of product to deliver if you have no one to deliver it to. So this will be a slow build of releasing content and getting the word out. Then do it again. And again. Eventually, the snowball will grow and you will have both an impressive body of work and enough people that will want to consume it. That’s my theory anyway. And that’s exactly what I’m in the middle of doing right now. 
Feb 14, 2016

Brent Baxter is a Nashville songwriter with cuts by Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Ray Stevens and most notably, the top five hit 'Monday Morning Church' for Alan Jackson. He is also a songwriting coach and his blog “Man Vs. Row,” helps amateur songwriters turn pro.

Brent drops some truth bombs about "making it" in Nashville as a commercial songwriter. He talks about the importance of having a "dash" in your title, such as songwriter-singer, songwriter-producer, songwriter-barista, etc.

He wants to give dreamers some reality so that we can dream but also plan our careers so that we can have longevity in the game.

He also talks about the going rate given to new songwriters with publishing deals. 18 for 18: $18,000 for an 18 month contract. According to Baxter, the way to get the best publishing deal possible is to not need one...that is to do a lot yourself. We need to have a lot going on already in order to demand a higher rate from a publisher.

Brent moved from Arkansas to Nashville as a lyrics only songwriter. He also got the 'Monday Morning Church' cut before he landed a publishing deal.

Man Vs. Row

Alan Jackson with Patty Loveless performing Monday Morning Church

Left Of Nashville

Brandon Barnett Left Of Nashville EP

Feb 8, 2016

In this episode, Brandon talks about the balance of having enough time and money to pursue one's dream. An unexpected job offer causes him to reflect on the past two years. 

Brandon talks about he left his career two years ago to allow for more time to pursue music. The one year of focused intensity led to more progress than the "nibbling around the edges" he had done in the six years prior. 

But it came at a cost. Forward movement is essential. He realized that it is going to take twice as long and be twice as difficult as originally thought.

So we must start immediately. Whether we are working full-time or go all in, we have to find a way to build momentum.

The job offer caused some reflection on whether or not he would do it the same way if he had it to do over.

Brandon Barnett: Left Of Nashville EP


Left Of Nashville


How To Get Noticed In The Music Industry When You're A Nobody Like Me: An Ebook

Jan 31, 2016

In this episode, Jordan Woods-Robinson discusses the various services offered by SOSstudio. He explains how his recording service began as a personal project to write, record and release one song per week. 

He covers how the recording process works as well as the nuts and bolts of the fees for indie artists looking to self-release their material as well as SOSstudio's recent foray (thanks to yours truly and 'L.A. Time') into demo recording.

And we end the episode with the finished demo of 'L.A. Time.'



SOSstudio Sessions (A Podcast)

Brandon Barnett Left Of Nashville EP

Left Of Nashville

Jan 24, 2016

In this episode, Brandon takes Jordan Woods-Robinson, head of SOSstudio, up on his offer to record one of his songs. 

Brandon picks 'L.A. Time' which is a mainstream country song that he has been wanting to demo for some time.

Brandon talks a little about how the song came to be. Written shortly after 'The State I'm In,' this was an attempt to write a song by himself that was of the caliber of 'State.'

The song is based on a crush that Brandon had on a singer-songwriter he knew in Nashville, who is also an actress in Los Angeles.

Go through the step-by-step process of recording 'L.A. Time' with the drums being tracked in Austin and fiddle in Florida.

The SOSstudio recording process utilizes various players from all over the country, using the internet to connect and discuss production ideas.


Brandon Barnett-Left Of Nashville EP

Left Of Nashville website

How To Get Noticed In The Music Industry When You're A Nobody Like Me (An Ebook)

Jan 17, 2016

In this episode, Brandon discusses the difference between networking and using people. Thanks to this internet age of instant connectivity, the culture of networking has changed.

With it being easier to contact complete and total strangers, successful people have their guards up now more than ever.

So how do we get the opportunity to move up the ladder and still be a decent human being?

Jordan Woods-Robinson is the "Founder & Head Honcho" of SOSstudio, which provides a community for songwriters, a recording and music distribution service for indie artists and SOSstudio Sessions, a podcast that is a great resource for blending music and business.

SOSstudio is putting together a demo for Brandon and will be featured in an upcoming episode of LON.

Jordan equates networking to being in a marriage, where ideally you put the other person first and they, in turn, do the same thing for you.

Brandon then lays out four steps that he has found that will help you do networking the right way and not fall prey to being a user.


The Art Of CharmA podcast that helps you become a better person. Search for networking in the archives. This is an invaluable resource on how to network.

The Music MakersThe podcast that I featured in Episode 6 (Crabs In A Bucket) of Left Of Nashville. A brilliant podcast that will inspire, entertain and inform.

Left Of Nashville: My junt.

Brandon Barnett-Left Of Nashville EP


Jan 10, 2016

In probably one of the most revealing episodes of Left Of Nashville to date, Brandon talks with Lauren Pritchard (LOLO) about users and trash talkers. 

After word got out that Lauren was going to be featured in Season 3 of LON, trash talk ing around Jackson, Tn became a hobby.

As Lauren left town to work on her Off Broadway musical, Songbird, and to go on a national tour, Brandon was left to field a number of assaults on the two of them.

As he struggled with telling Lauren, he finally caved after losing an eight year friendship because of his new "successful" friends.

He finally confided in Lauren to get advice.

This episode is full of warts and real-world talk. 

It also has some real pearls of wisdom from Lauren, who has been dealing with this for years. 


LOLO Wikipedia page

LOLO Website

LOLO Comeback Queen

Left Of Nashville EP

Left Of Nashville

How To Get Noticed In The Music Industry When You're A Nobody (LIke Me) An Ebook

Jan 3, 2016

With the new year upon us, it is important to evaluate where we are versus where we want to be. This episode expounds on the Jim Rohn quote that states that "We are the average of the five people we associate with."

If it really does "take a damn village" as Lauren Pritchard (LOLO) says, then isn't it important to find the right village?

Brandon plays clips from one of his favorite podcasts, The Music Makers, specifically the episode "Hang Around With People Who Get Sh*t Done" and riffs off that episode about how important it is to surround yourself with people who cause you to improve.

LOLO makes another appearance in this episode, adding her knowledge and experience as well.



Jim Rohn


The Music Makers-Articles That Influenced My Life




LOLO-Comeback Queen EP


Brandon Barnett: Left Of Nashville EP


How To Get Noticed In The Music Industry When You're A Nobody (Like Me): An Ebook

Dec 27, 2015

In this episode, Brandon talks about "Impostor Syndrome," the belief that we all have that we are not worthy when it comes to actualizing our dreams.

He asks friends of his (Jonathan Singleton, Marty Dodson and Lauren Pritchard) who have achieved success if they deal with this and if it ever goes away.

Brandon talks about how Impostor Syndrome is what kept him from pursuing his music dreams for so long, and how it stole his joy after finally signing that licensing deal in L.A.

There are some good take aways in this episode about how to deal with Impostor Syndrome and how everyone is 'faking it until they make it."


Marty Dodson is a hit songwriter for artists such as Billy Currington, Kenny Chesney and Joe Cocker. He is the co-creator of, a community for aspiring commercial songwriters that offers a ton of pro tips.


Jonathan Singleton is a hit songwriter for artists such as Tim McGraw, Gary Allan and David Nail. At the time of this podcast, Jonathan was nominated for a GRAMMY for the Tim McGraw hit, "Diamond Rings and Old Barstools." Jonathan Singleton-The Getaway on iTunes


Lauren Pritchard (LOLO)has acted in a Tony Award winning Broadway musical, co-written an Off-Broadway musical (Songbird) and is a songwriter and recording artist that is touring in support of her latest release, Comeback Queen.

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