NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There's a new band taking a shot at fame in Nashville. That may not sound surprising, but when you meet the members of this musical trio, you'll see they're not a group of unknown youngsters.
They're three veterans who decided to take a chance, and start from scratch. NewsChannel 5's Rhori Johnston introduces us to the Blue Sky riders.
Music City USA is the place where dreams can come true for aspiring artists. Downtown Honky Tonks are filled with young talent waiting for a chance in the spotlight.
Some are solo -- others are groups. Every now and then they get a break, and find stardom.
Just a few years ago, Lady Antebellum played Nashville's venues. Taylor Swift started out as a high school kid with a guitar and plenty of ambition.
Blue Sky Riders is one of the newest groups to try its hand at Nashville fame, but these are not your typical newcomers.
Married songwriters Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman are well-known to the Nashville music scene.
"We're going to start with a small fire and hope people notice it and bring some more brush to it, you know, and get it to be a bigger fire," Burr says.
Burr has written 14 number one hits and is a member of the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
Middleman just co-wrote a number one hit for Keith Urban and has also penned songs for Faith Hill and Martina McBride.
The couple has joined forces with a very familiar face to the world of music, but not necessarily Nashville - Kenny Loggins, the man best known for a string of huge movie soundtrack smashes in the 80s. He has returned to his acoustic guitar and his musical roots. Loggins says he's found them in Nashville.
"When I was 20-something, you'd go to a party and all the local players would be at the party. Instead of at the bar, they'd be sitting in the living room trading tunes. I discovered that was sort of the reality here in Nashville, too," says Loggins. "You go to a party and there's bound to be a few people with guitars and they say, 'Oh, I just wrote this one. What do you think?' You know, it's like the old days."
Before his solo success, Loggins was a chart-topper with the folk-rock and country-tinged 1970s duo Loggins and Messina.
After a 30-year break, Loggins rejoined Messina for a reunion tour in 2006, and another a few years later.
"Getting back in touch with the Loggins and Messina roots and the kind of stuff we were writing back then was a breath of fresh air for me. That's when I started thinking the How About Now record should be – you know, made in Nashville," Loggins says.
Loggins came to Nashville to record a country-tinged solo record. That's when he met up with Gary Burr.
"I didn't realize what a good singer he was, and when we sang together we sounded like brothers. I said, ‘You know, if this was 20-years ago, we'd start a band,'" says Loggins.
But it wasn't that easy. One of Loggin's friends in the music business told him it wasn't realistic.
"When I called him and told him I was starting a band, he said, 'Don't do it.' He said, 'You're too old to start over and a band nowadays is suicidal. Don't go there.' So, the general attitude was, ‘You're too old,'" Loggins says.
He, Burr and Middleman weren't deterred. They began writing, performing, and then recording.
"It's kind of a fun record, because it's got a little bit of everything on there," says Middleman.
During the process, the trio agreed to one important rule.
"Let's not find a genre to join. Let's create our own," says Burr. "We wanted the songs that we write to be 'Blue Sky Riders' songs. We didn't want them to be 'Georgia' songs, we didn't want them to be 'my' songs, We didn't want them to be 'Kenny.'"
So what kind of album is it?
"We're hoping that, with any luck at all, we get some notice and we'll sell the record grassroots," says Loggins.
Blue Sky Riders' debut album is out now. It's called Finally Home.
For more information on the band and the CD, visit blueskyridersband.com. Also online, a special "web extra" - acoustic versions of three songs the band performed in our studios. The videos can be found at the top of our story.