BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
I guess everyone was in the mood for some kind of big, non-denominational bash.
And I do mean “big,” as well as “everyone.” Nearly 500 people RSVP’d for the Leadership Music 25th Anniversary party on Thursday (August 21).
And I do mean “non-denominational.” Attendees came from dozens of different show-biz duchies. Record label royals, publishing moguls, agency titans, media mavens, studio gurus, producing princelings, organization queens and folks from far-flung corners of the entertainment world gathered at what was easily the epic schmoozathon of the season.
The gala took place at Rosewall, a cavernous party space in the Gulch. Its brick-walled, warehouse corners were decorated with blow-ups of iconic Nashville logos such as those of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, The Bluebird Café and Robert’s Western Wear. One niche held a souvenir photo booth where attendees gathered for gag snapshots with their buddies. Another had a place where various class portraits were taken.
The graduating class with the most attendees was 2011’s. That would include such fabulons as Ron Cox, Ramon Cisneros, John Ingrassia, Jennifer Schott, Chip Petree and Jim Catino.
“We have graduated more than 1,000,” said LM exec Debbie Linn. No wonder the party was so packed. Debbie, Jeff Walker and Diane Pearson all attempted to address the throng. They could barely be heard over the din. Even the excellent, amped-up blues-rock of the Guthrie Trapp Trio was merely background sound.
The guest list included such singer-songwriters as Felix Cavaliere, Victoria Shaw, Robert Ellis Orrall, Jim Photoglo (who has a new CD), Trey Bruce, Dez Dickerson, Frank Myers (who was just on Letterman backing singer Robby Johnson on Tuesday), Byron Hill, Pat Alger, Bill Lloyd and Trent Summar.
Trent was there on the arm of new LM participant Casey Summar. Other “power couples” making the scene included David & Karen Conrad, Steve & Ree Guyer Buchanan, Roy Wunsch & Mary Ann McCready, Ken & Shelia Shipley Biddy, Wayne & Pat Halper, David & Melinda Gales, Doug & Linda Edell Howard, Byron & Missy Gallimore and Beverly Keel & Ronnie Steine.
My double-syllabic friends working the room included Billy Block, Butch Baker, Susan Stewart, Skip Stevens, Marshall Morgan, Mark Montgomery, Mark Mason, Mike Milom, Lisa Lee, Craig Campbell and Fletcher Foster. Then there were such “twins” as Vanessa Davis, Michael Davis, Dixie Carter, Joanna Carter, Becky Harris, Cheryl Harris, Craig Hayes, Dan Hays, Shelby Kennedy, Gene Kennedy, Janie West, Steve West, Charles Dorris, John Dorris, Jay Williams and Sally Williams.
Some of my favorite producers were there. In addition to Mr. Gallimore, you had your choice of Garth Fundis, Kyle Lehning, Mark Wright, Jim Ed Norman and Tony Brown. Visiting alumnus Roger Sovine said he was impressed with how many vets were still around, citing Mr. Brown, Mr. Norman and Mr. Wunsch, as well as Joe Galante, Bill Denny, Joe Moscheo and his former BMI confederate Joyce Rice.
Whitney Daane paid me one of the nicest compliments ever. “You are a Comforting Constant,” she said. I did feel like I was in the midst of several generations of the Nashville music business. So what I replied was, “I just stand in one place and let the industry swirl around me. I’ll never be rich, but I always have the same job.” Which is more than you can say for 90 percent of the others working the room. Bless them all.
I’ll just give you one rep from each letter of the alphabet to give you some idea of just how diverse the crowd was: Drew Alexander, Tom Baldrica, Todd Cassetty, Patti Donahoe, Pat Embry, Mark Ford, Tracy Gershon, Stan Hitchcock, Bill Ivey, Brian Jones, Andrew Kintz, Kevin Lamb, Scott McDaniel, Dave Nichols, John Ozier, Dave Pomeroy, okay there are no “Q’s,” Jonah Rabinowitz, Tamara Saviano, Sarah Trahern, sorry no “U’s,” Mike Vaden, Stacy Widelitz, there are also no “X’s,” Jonathan Yudkin and Jim Zumwalt.
We dined on mini ruben sandwiches, beef & blue cheese on toast, pork meatballs with spiced mustard in pretzel rolls, caprese crostini, shrimp & scallion cocktails and chicken endive cups, plus assorted fruits, crackers and cheeses. Full bars operated on opposite sides of the party warehouse.
I spotted an engineer vortex posing in the souvenir zone. “We can’t hear, but we can pose,” joked Gary Paczosa, who was in a scrim with Ben Fowler and Jeff Balding. I posed with Sherod Robertson in front of a Smokehouse backdrop. We looked splendid.
As the party wore on, the place heated up, as did the conversational pace. Chatting away as we headed into the bash’s second hour were such lovely ladies as Erika Wollam-Nichols, Danielle Lares-Bouharoun, Denise Stiff Sheehan, Debbie Fleischer-Robin, Debbie Carroll, Deb Varallo, Nancy Cardwell, Melanie Howard, Cyndi Forman, Phyllis Stark, Teresa George, Jenny Bohler, Holly Bell, Katie Gillon, Tinti Moffatt, Leslie Fram, Lynn Morrow, Paula Roberts, Cindy Wilson, Lisa Harless, Anita Hogin, Laurie Hughes, Suzanne Kessler, Liz Kiley, Alicia Warwick and Megan Barry (who is running for mayor next year).
The guys did their fair share of gabbing, too. Just ask John Lomax, John Beiter, John Shackelford, John Styll, Tim McFadden, Tim Wipperman, Tim Fink, Pat McMakin, Pat Finch, Tom Collins, Tom Roland, Al Bunetta, Al Moss, Charlie Monk, Charlie Lico, Chuck Aly, Bobby Cudd, Bobby Rymer, Rob Simbeck, Rod Essig, Harry Chapman and Barry Coburn.
Not to mention Sam Lorber, Craig Havighurst, Chris Parr, Larry Stessel, Jim Blumstein, Ken Paulson, Lon Helton, Dale Bobo, Ed Benson, Dwight Wiles, Rick Murray, Ted Hacker, Don Cusic, David Crow and Jeff Gregg plus such long-time faves as Arthur Buenahora, Bret Wolcott, Hank Adam Locklin, Aaron Hartley, Sherrill Blackman, Walter Campbell, Earle Simmons, Trip Aldridge, Chip Peay and Justin Levenson, kind fellows one and all.
I’m telling you, this party was big, big, big.
For more photos from the event read Industry Pics: Leadership Music’s 25th Anniversary Bash
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