Blue Sky Riders – a trio of talent to perform at Franklin Theatre
By Donna O’Neil, Managing Editor
What do you get when one half of a soft rock duo from the mid-1970s, a singer/songwriter from a popular 1980s country-rock band, and a singer/songwriter who sold her first recording on the playground, join forces?
Answer: Friday and Saturday night’s Franklin Theatre feature trio – Blue Sky Riders.
Individually they are talents in their own rights, but the trio to take the stage on Friday is expected to present one amazing show. Kenny Loggins formerly of Loggins and Messina, Gary Burr, who first took the stage with Pure Prairie League after Vince Gill departed, and Georgia Middleman, whose writing credits include songs for Keith Urban, Tracey Lawrence and with Radney Foster will present their cooperative efforts along with some of their individual creations. It promises to be one part storytelling, one part musical entertainment and all parts pure enjoyment.
Singularly the three can stand alone, combined their writing and performing talents are wowing audiences across the country. “Gary and Kenny are clear in their likes and dislikes,” said Middleman. “When we write, the egos are left at the door. We work together and respect the process. As accomplished writers, we want what is best for the song. We are like-minded people. This is where the creative juices flow. The songs kind of form themselves.”
Burr agrees. He said, “We all bring our strengths to the table.”
Loggins was not available during the recent phone interview, but his fellow band mates spoke highly of him as a co-writer, performer and individual. “Kenny hasn’t had to ask anyone their opinion in years,” said Burr, referring to Loggins’ songwriting efforts. “We are all learning the art of compromise.
The three joined forces in an interesting way. Loggins and Burr were writing songs for a new album and actually created so many they didn’t know what to do with them. Loggins had traveled to Nashville to experience “new blood” in the area’s songwriting community. With Burr’s resumé of credits, including being a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and songs for Carole King, Ringo Starr and others, it was a natural fit for he and Loggins to co-write. Enter Middleman – to give a woman’s touch, feel and sound.
“Gary can write, sing, play and do it all – everything,” she said.
“We’re in the cocktail hours of our lives,” said Burr. “Everything we fantasized doing we can do. We don’t do it for the glory. We ain’t out to prove anything. This is sheer enjoyment.
“I adore songwriting,” said Middleman. “I enjoy performing. It’s a constant giving and I enjoy that. I hope I never get too old to write a song.”
Middleman and Burr are comfortable in their careers and as such, success is more than just a royalty check or a gig payment. “I came to Nashville to get my foot in the door as a songwriter. The fame and fortune part of it didn’t come true, but I have had a really good run. I am just beginning to own my own time. I write songs. I travel and I am my own boss. That, to me is success. Plus, I really enjoy what I do.”
Burr joked. “Really, success is being able t say ‘no.’ It’s that feeling when you first come to Nashville and you write three to four songs a day. You aren’t able to say no to anyone. You can’t. Then you skip one day – one day. You take time off. And that day could have been the day that you said no to something really big. You have an opportunity to write with a new 14-year-old artist and you pass.” That day came several years ago for Burr – the artist he said “no” to was none other than Taylor Swift.
Blue Sky Riders are looking forward to their Friday night gig at the Franklin Theatre. The members have heard from many of their friends and colleagues in the business that it is “the place to play.”
Middlman admits to being a little nervous, however. But, she said, she gets that way before each show. This one will be a particular nail-biter as she and Burr both, expect that there will be friends in the audience. “It is easier to play for strangers,” she said.
A limited number of seats are still available for the shows, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16 and 17 at the Franklin Theatre. Doors open for both shows at 7 p.m. and the shows begin at 8 p.m.
For information, visit FranklinTheatre.com or call the box office at 615-538-2076.
Posted on: 11/14/2012