With the Americana Music Festival taking place in Nashville this week, Fender and Girl Rock Nation hosted Girls Night Out at Fanny’s House of Music in Nashville on Monday night.
Girl Rock Nation ambassador Annie Clements, who is playing Americana showcases this week with Holly Williams and Lera Lynn, recruited a few of her Music City friends and musicians to partake in the festivities.
“I was drawn to the bass because what I most wanted to do in all the world was play songs with people,” Clements told the audience. “With the bass, that’s kind of your only option unless you want to get really crazy, which I don’t. I like to play with my friends, and that’s what makes the bass so much fun for me.”
And so she did.
Each artist also took part in a Q&A session, designed to impart wisdom and advice to the young girls in attendance.
Holley Maher, who writes regularly for television and film, revealed one of her biggest challenges as an artist and how she overcomes it.
“Writing when I don’t really feel like it – that’s a big challenge,” said Maher. “It’s hard to sit down and know you have to work and be creative even when you are not quite feeling it. Getting past that roadblock can be difficult.
“The thing that helps to get me most inspired is listening to music – so going to a live show will get me really excited to write,” she continued. “Also, if I’m having terrible writer’s block, sometimes I’ll turn on a movie and watch the scene play out, but mute it and write my own story to what’s going on in the scene.”
Hailey Steele, who moved to Nashville from South Dakota, admitted that being a woman in the music business can work both for and against you.
“I think a lot of times being a friendly, bubbly girl will get you very far,” shared Steele. “But also, I’ve been here for six years and have been co-writing for five of that. When you step into a room with two older guys and they think you are this dumb blond chick and that you don’t have any musical knowledge… It’s not always like that, but that’s one of my insecurities. When I step into a writing room, I’m assuming that these guys are assuming that I have no talent and that I don’t know anything. That’s been a challenge for me. The only way I know how to muffle that is to start playing and share my idea, and then they are usually like ‘Oh, she’s decent.’ So, it’s a battle some days.”
Crashing the all-girl party was one half of Native Run, guitarist Bryan Dawley, who gets big props for encouraging his bandmate and vocalist Rachel Beauregard to learn guitar.
“I do get frustrated sometimes, especially because it hurts your hands if you practice a lot,” said Beauregard. “What I found especially with having Bryan teach me, it makes so much a difference to show up prepared. So, even if I don’t really feel like practicing or taking the time, you just have to push through.”
And when she doesn’t, Dawley admitted that he gives her a lot of grief.
“I taught lessons for four years before we moved here, so it’s something that is very near and dear to my heart,” he offered. “If this is something you really love to do, do it like there’s nothing else in the world that is as important. Work, work, work as hard as you can, and you’ll get there.”
As the night went on, the crowd grew as residents of the trendy East Nashville area who were out walking their dogs or taking a stroll stopped to observe the happenings.
To close out the festivities, the artists invited the girls to come up onstage for some hands-on time with the guitar or bass and to receive Girl Rock Nation T-shirts.
And Fanny’s, sporting its vintage instruments, vintage clothes and photos of artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Loretta Lynn and Chrissie Hynde, couldn’t have been a more welcoming or inspiring location to host this special evening.
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