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Kenny Loggins is “a Rider” & Blue Sky Riders are Finally Home (Playing in Franklin, Tennessee).

“We wrote our first song and were singing with a three-part blend that comes once in a lifetime.” said Loggins about the new trio Blue Sky Riders.

For Loggins, Blue Sky Riders is a new creative step forward in a career filled with magic moments. His hits, early on as half of Loggins and Messina and then as a solo artist, include “Danny’s Song,” “House at Pooh Corner,” “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” “Angry Eyes,” “Whenever I Call You Friend” (with Stevie Nicks) and “This Is It,” a series of movie theme songs, including “I’m Alright” (Caddyshack), “Footloose” (Footloose), “Danger Zone” (Top Gun), and “Nobody’s Fool” (Caddyshack II), and later AC smashes including “Conviction of the Heart,” “The Real Thing,” “If You Believe” and “For the First Time.” His songs have been covered by artists including Barbra Streisand, Lynn Anderson, Anne Murray and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Loggins and Michael McDonald co-wrote “What A Fool Believes,” which received a Grammy for Song of the Year, and “This Is It,” which earned Loggins a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal.

“The best part,” says Kenny Loggins of that meeting with Gary Burr as he wrote for “How About Now,” his well-received 2008 release, “was that when we sang together, we sounded like brothers. The last time I experienced that kind of blend was with Jimmy Messina in 1971.”

Loggins, one of the premiere voices in modern popular music, called Burr, one of Nashville’s most accomplished writers, afterward and asked if he’d like to form a band. Then he suggested they look for a third, female voice. “I’ve got the perfect person,” said Burr. “Georgia Middleman. She’s the best I’ve ever worked with.” Loggins flew to Nashville and the three sat down to write.

“What a meeting!” says Loggins. “We wrote our first song and were singing with a three-part blend that comes once in lifetime.” With that, Blue Sky Riders was a reality.

Middleman, a renowned singer/songwriter, says the experience has reminded her of the Joseph Campbell line, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls”. “I’m definitely looking bliss in the eye right now,” she says. All three sing lead amid the three-part harmonies that told each of them from the beginning that they had something special.

Burr is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and has been named Songwriter of the Year by ASCAP, Billboard and NSAI with 13 #1 hits under his belt. His hits include Juice Newton’s “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me,” Conway Twitty’s “That’s My Job” and Wynonna’s “To Be Loved By You,” and his songs have been covered by LeAnn Rimes, Faith Hill, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, George Jones, Garth Brooks, RIcky Skaggs and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among many others. He has written and performed with Ringo Starr, had a worldwide hit with the Ricky Martin/Christina Aguilera smash “Nobody Wants to be Lonely,” and topped the charts with Kelly Clarkson’s “Before Your Love” and Clay Aiken’s “This is the Night.” He has toured with Carole King and produced Olivia Newton John, and early in his career spent three years as lead singer of Pure Prairie League.

Middleman was still a teenager when she began opening for artists like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Drawn to Nashville’s creative energy, she quickly landed a publishing deal with Polygram and released the well-received Endless Possibiities on Giant Records. She wrote Keith Urban’s 2010 chart-topper “I’m In,” and singles including Tracy Lawrence’s “It’s All How You Look At It” and Sarah Buxton’s “Innocence.” Her songs have been recorded by Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Terri Clark, Mark Chesnutt and Joe Nichols, among many others. She has toured with Radney Foster and sung backup for Jack Ingram, Marty Raybon, the Warren Brothers and many other Nashville artists.

Tickets still available for their November 16 & 17 performances!

Inspiration Sparked by Franklin’s Effort to Restore The Franklin Theatre

The following is a note from a woman named Heather Lea Gerdes, who was introduced to the Franklin Theatre during a visit to Franklin four years ago. At that time Heather found herself inspired by Franklin’s valiant efforts to restore the Franklin Theatre – so much so that she chose a picture of the theatre as the foundation for a design she submitted for a Keith Urban t-shirt contest.

Heather writes:

I’m a Keith Urban fan. Let’s just say that his music opened my musical tastes to Country and inspired me to launch my special dance exercise program, Country Cardio. But this is not about that.

Four years ago over the July 4th holiday, I took my first trip to Nashville. Urban was also playing in a concert that weekend. Urban fans know he lives in Franklin, so of course, it was on my “To-Do” list. As I walked along lovely Main Street taking pictures, I came upon The Franklin Theatre. It was shut tight, covered with poster pleas for help. Even the marquee was reaching out: Save the Franklin Theatre.org, and I was really drawn to the place. I had studied film in college and made a documentary about a group of people trying to save the last drive-in in a small town in Florida, near where I grew up. Naturally, the Franklin effort filled my heart with a feeling of solidarity.

Earlier this week, I learned of a fun contest to design a t-shirt for Keith. As I was looking at photos from my Nashville trip, I came across the one I’d snapped of the theatre. It was the inspiration I was hoping for! Using a combination of pencil tracing, freehand, and one software effect, I came up with a simple design that I hope pays homage to the history of that crucial turning point for the Franklin Theatre and gives a nod to the town Urban also calls home.
I wanted to share my story with the folks at the now thriving Franklin Theatre and they have been kind enough to share it with you!

You can view and vote for Heather’s design along with many other wonderful designs in Keith Urban’s t-shirt contest by visiting:

http://creativeallies.com/creations/c722/contests/707/design-a-vintage-t-shirt-for-keith-urban

BELLA BASH – A NIGHT OF LIVE MUSIC FOR THE “ANGELS” (proceeds go to supporting children with Angelman Syndrom)

The Franklin Theatre will be hosting the fifth annual Bella Bash this Thursday night (October 11). The Bella Bash is an evening of awareness and fundraising, but mostly music, laughter and love. It is quickly becoming a Nashville tradition. This year’s guests include the spectacular multi-award winning Jason Crabb, multi-Dove winner, Clay Crosse, American Idol alum, Melinda Doolittle, and critically acclaimed vocal group, The Martins. The Smoking Section will be the house band and heartbeat of the evening.

The Bella Bash is a yearly event put together by singer/songwriter, and Nashville native, Regie Hamm and his wife Yolanda. The event is named after their daughter Isabella (or Bella) who suffers from the rare genetic disorder known as Angelman Syndrome – a partial deletion of the 15th chromosome. This rare disorder causes severe gross motor skill delays and renders individuals unable to speak. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Angel Wings Foundation, a 501c3 formed by the Hamms to raise awareness for Angelman Syndrome as well as providing services and therapies to low functioning special needs children.

On the night of the event, the Hamms will premiere a new awareness video that they intend to distribute to pediatricians through their Angel Wings Foundation (www.angelwingsfoundation.info).

There will be red carpet and press photos at 6:30 pm, with doors opening at 7. Tickets are $50.00 online or $55.00 at the door. Tickets available at www.FranklinTheatre.com and at the Franklin Theatre Box Office, (615) 538-2076.

Melinda Doolittle, JOHNNYSWIM and More Star in Studio Tenn’s “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”

Grammy Award-Winning Musical Revue Runs Sept 20-Oct 7

American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle will lead a standout cast of powerhouse vocalists in Studio Tenn Theatre Company’s first musical production of its 2012-2013 season, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”, opening September 20 at the historic Franklin Theatre. Individual and Season Tickets are now on sale at FranklinTheatre.com and at the Franklin Theatre Box Office, (615) 538-2076.

“I could not be more excited to be a part of Studio Tenn’s ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’ with such an amazing cast from all over the country,” said Doolittle, who was launched to international fame as a season six contestant of American Idol. “Studio Tenn is best known in this region for putting on flawless and exciting professional theater, and this show in particular has the musical and historical significance to further that trend.”

A Grammy Award-winning rock-and-roll revue, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” celebrates songwriters Leiber and Stoller’s beloved catalog of classics from the 1950s and ’60s, including hits made famous by Elvis Presley, Peggy Lee, Tom Jones, Bobby Darin and more.

Starring with Doolittle in Studio Tenn’s production are husband and wife pop duo Abner and Amanda Ramirez, known together as JOHNNYSWIM. Amanda is the daughter of the late great first lady of disco, Donna Summer. While the duo is based in Los Angeles, they have roots in Nashville.

The cast also includes top-notch local performers Libby Hodges, Ryan Greenawalt and Laura Matula (whom Studio Tenn fans will recognize for her unforgettable performance as the flamboyant Miss Adelaide in last year’s debut musical “Guys and Dolls”). Joining Nashville’s finest are Kansas City’s Harvey Hubert and Birmingham’s John-Mark McGaha.

“This cast of singers is, in a word, ‘unreal’,” said Jake Speck, Managing Director of Studio Tenn and a veteran Broadway performer. “I know this may sound blasphemous, but vocally, this cast blows the original Broadway cast out of the water. These are eight of the best singers I’ve ever heard–period. We are just beside ourselves to have landed such an extraordinary concentration of vocal talent for this show,” which Speck describes as “a nonstop avalanche” of 39 rock and roll and R&B standards, including “Jailhouse Rock”, “Hound Dog”, “Stand By Me”, “Kansas City”, “I’m a Woman”, and many more.

“Our concept and take on the show is to strip away a lot of the Broadway and Vegas feel of it and focus more on the unbelievable Leiber & Stoller music catalog,” said Speck. “For inspiration, we went back to the original recordings of all these great songs. We are taking the show back to its roots.”

Speck will serve as Executive Producer for “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and Studio Tenn’s other principle Matt Logan is Director and Designer. Joining them are Choreographer Emily Tello and Musical Director and Conductor Steve Kummer.

Tickets for “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” are available now at FranklinTheatre.com or at the Box Office, (615) 538-2076. Season tickets are also still available for a limited time. Season Ticket holders receive a 20% discount on admission to each of the five shows in Studio Tenn’s expanded 2012-2013 season: “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”, “Twelve Angry Men” (staged at the historic Williamson County Courthouse), Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, “Big River”, and “My Fair Lady”. For more information, visit StudioTenn.com.

FRIDAY’S DOG DAYS OF SUMMER PROMOTION GIVES BACK

Twenty-six Businesses Open Until 9 p.m.; Donate Proceeds

THIS JUST IN! The Franklin Theatre is offering a $25 ticket for the Paula Cole performance this Saturday night AND will donate 15% of those tickets sold to the World Wildlife Fund, a charity the Grammy-award winning artist supports!

The Dog Days promo code: dogdays2012

Instructions on how to redeem promo code:

1. Go to FranklinTheatre.com and click on the “Paula Cole” event (under “Music”)

2. On the Event page, click on the button that says: “Know a promotion code?”

3. In the popup box, enter the promo code “dogdays2012″ (not case-sensitive) and click “submit.”  A new discounted ticket option will be revealed (it is labeled “classic dog days promotion”). They are $25 classic section tickets.

4. Select tickets as usual and proceed to checkout

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FRANKLIN, Tenn.—A group of downtown Franklin merchants will support local charities on Friday, July 20 through their sales as part of a “Dog Days of Summer” promotion coordinated by the Downtown Franklin Association.

The 26 participating businesses will leave their doors open later and donate 15 percent of sales between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. to a non-profit organization of their choice. For many of the downtown Franklin merchants, this is an opportunity to support a cause that is near and dear to both their customers’ and their own hearts.

The Registry, a high-end shop for fine tableware, gifts and bridal registry on Main Street, chose to donate its “Dog Days of Summer” proceeds to Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center because of a recent personal tragedy that has connected the business to the treatment center.

“We chose Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center because co-founder Barbara Harlin is waging a battle with colon cancer and being treated there,” said The Registry Co-owner Carla Myers. “We love her and want to do everything possible to support her in her fight.”

Four businesses have chosen to rally around Williamson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization devoted to the best interests of abused or neglected children. City Farmhouse, McCreary’s Irish Pub, Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant and Puckett’s Boat House will all donate 15 percent of the night’s proceeds to the Franklin non-profit. City Farmhouse will offer a special gift certificate opportunity for customers who donate to the cause.

“We are extremely excited to be involved in this event because one of our biggest needs is community awareness and involvement,” said Williamson County CASA Director of Development and Public Relations Danielle McMorran. “I have no doubt these partnerships will be instrumental in spreading awareness towards our mission to serve abused and neglected children. We appreciate this so much.”

DFA Director Nancy Williams said the promotion is designed to show support for community organizations through a collaborative effort among local downtown merchants. She encourages the public to “shop for a cause” with the businesses.

Merchants have chosen non-profits ranging from animal welfare organizations and domestic violence centers to home restoration associations. With the exception of Chick-fil-A South Franklin on Columbia Avenue and Olivia Olive Oil in Cool Springs, the participating merchants are all located within a four-block walking distance.

The DFA’s merchant members are dedicated to the continued revitalization and promotion of Historic Downtown Franklin. To learn more about the event, visit www.downtownfranklintn.com/dogdays.

Participating merchants include:

  • Avec Moi
  • Boutique MMM
  • Chik-fil-A South Franklin
  • The Cellar
  • City Farmhouse
  • For Every Child
  • Good Findings, Inc.
  • Heart & Hands
  • The Heirloom Shop
  • Johnnie Q
  • JONDIE Boutique
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Kelly Spalding Designs
  • LuLu’s Clothing Co.
  • McCreary’s Irish Pub
  • Olivia Olive Oil
  • Philanthropy
  • Puckett’s Boat House
  • Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant
  • ReDo Home & Design
  • The Registry
  • Serendipity Skincare & Cosmetics
  • The Shoppes on Main
  • Sweet CeCe’s Franklin
  • Thomas Kinkeade Gallery
  • Yarrow Acres

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Macey Baird
Sheridan Public Relations, LLC
1143 Columbia Avenue
Franklin, TN 37064
615.472.8879 (office)