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Variety on Main at the Franklin Theatre is a captivating blend of entertainment that transcends generations. This vaudeville-style show seamlessly weaves together performances from seasoned artists and up-and-coming talents. It's a celebration of talent, tradition, and the vibrant spirit of community, all under the historic charm of the Franklin Theatre.
THE PRESENTERS About Mandy Barnett: www.mandybarnett.com Mandy Barnett, a Nashville treasure and Grand Ole Opry member, has left an indelible mark on the country music scene. Renowned for her soulful voice and versatile talent, Mandy rose to prominence as the original star of "Always... Patsy Cline" at the Ryman Auditorium. A veteran performer, she has garnered critical acclaim for her performances and recordings. Hailing from Crossville, Mandy's roots run deep, she stands as a respected figure and a favorite among critics. Whether captivating audiences with her Opry performances or exploring diverse musical landscapes, Mandy Barnett continues to shine as a luminary in the world of country music. About Monica Ramey: www.monicaramey.com "Now that the trend of aging rockers cutting albums of show tunes and standards seems thankfully to have run its course, we're back to vocalists with a real feel for and understanding of the jazz tradition doing them justice. Nashville's Monica Ramey is a shining example. Her delivery offers resourceful, soaring and engaging interpretations of material from The Great American Songbook." -Ron Wynn, Nashville Scene Monica is a native of Francesville, one of Indiana’s smallest towns. She moved to Nashville in 2000 after college, studying under some of the nation’s finest jazz musicians. Ramey is best known for her longstanding musical relationship with jazz pianist Beegie Adair. Together, they appeared on and produced multiple recordings and played sold out jazz clubs across the US, most often Birdland Jazz Club in New York.
THE GUESTS About Larry Brown: Lawrence "Larry" Brown is a lyricist and composer from Newark, New Jersey. Brown began his songwriting career when he was sixteen with the R&B label Fury Records. Co-writing with Ray Bloodworth in the mid-1960s, and working for Bob Crewe,he wrote the hits "C'mon Marianne" and "Watch the Flowers Grow" for the Four Seasons. "C'mon Marianne" featured in Jersey Boys, the Broadway musical. With Crewe, Brown also wrote "Sock It to Me Baby!", a 1967 hit for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Brown started writing with Irwin Levine in 1970, and found success with several hits for the singing group Tony Orlando and Dawn, including "Knock Three Times", "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" - both songs reaching #1 in the US and UK – and "Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose". "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" appears in such films as Wallace and Gromitt, Fargo, and Forrest Gump, and has reputedly been recorded over one thousand times. One of Brown's later successes as a writer was "Use It Up and Wear It Out", co-written with Sandy Linzer, which was a #1 hit in the UK for Odyssey in 1980. Other musicians who have recorded his songs include Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Lesley Gore, Ray Conniff, Johnny Mathis, The Partridge Family and Donny Osmond. About Roger Cook: Roger Cook is an English singer, songwriter and record producer. He is best known for his collaborations with Roger Greenaway. Cook's co-compositions have included "You've Got Your Troubles", and the transatlantic million selling songs, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" and "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress".They were the first UK songwriting partnership to win an Ivor Novello Award as 'Songwriters of the Year' in two successive years. As a performer Cook is best remembered as a member of Blue Mink, featuring a wealth of top session musicians including Herbie Flowers (bassist), Alan Parker (guitarist), Roger Coulam (keyboardist) and Barry Morgan (drummer), who were simultaneously members of the jazz / rock / big band fusion outfit CCS, another mainly recording act. The group had several Top 20 entries, mostly co-written by Cook, the most successful being "Melting Pot" and "Banner Man". Cook also sang backing vocals on some of the earliest recordings by Elton John. Amongst hits he has co-written include "Good Times, Better Times" (Cliff Richard), "Softly Whispering I Love You" (The Congregation), "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" (Gene Pitney), "Home Lovin' Man" (Andy Williams), "Conversations" and "Something Tells Me (Something's Gonna Happen Tonight)" (Cilla Black), "I've Got You on My Mind", "My Baby Loves Lovin'" (White Plains), "Gasoline Alley Bred" and "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" (The Hollies); "Freedom Come, Freedom Go" (The Fortunes), "Like Sister and Brother" (The Drifters) and "Miracles" (Don Williams). Cook co-wrote "I Just Want to Dance with You" with John Prine. He has produced hits including "Talking in Your Sleep" (Crystal Gayle in 1978, first recorded by Marmalade) and "Love Is on a Roll" (Don Williams). Later, he turned to writing for the stage and he has worked on two musicals, Beautiful and Damned, based on the lives of Jazz Age author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, in collaboration with Les Reed; and Don't You Rock Me Daddio, set in 1957 at the height of the skiffle age, with Joe Brown. In 1997, Cook became the first (and so far only) British songwriter to enter the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. About Mike Farris: www.mikefarrismusic.com Mike Farris is an American musician and founder and lead singer of Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies. They released three major-label albums and had sustained success on the U.S. rock charts in the 1990s. After their breakup, Farris sang with SCW, Peaceful Knievel and for a time fronted Double Trouble, the backing band for Stevie Ray Vaughan. Since starting a solo career in 2001, he has put out four studio releases as well as a one live record as Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue, as well as a charity EP as Mike Farris and the Cumberland Saints. His music is diverse but tends to be rooted in early American gospel and blues. He released the album Silver & Stone (featuring such esteemed musicians as Dave Lancio, Paul Brown, Derrek Phillips, Gene Chrisman, Reese Wynans, and Joe Bonamassa) on September 7, 2018 to critical acclaim. In May 2010, after a flood in Nashville, Farris and a group of Nashville musicians recorded a charity EP entitled The Night the Cumberland Came Alive by Mike Farris and the Cumberland Saints, which included Sam Bush, Ketch Secor, and Gill Landry of Old Crow Medicine Show; Byron House, Kenny Vaughan, and members of the Roseland Rhythm Revue and the McCrary Sisters. On February 8, 2015, Farris won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Roots Gospel Album for Shine for All the People. Farris performed Deep Purple's version of "Hush" as the opening number at the 2019 Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum Concert and Induction Ceremony and in July 2022, Farris rejoinedhis band mates, the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies, for seven sold out shows, 3 of which were in Nashville, TN, their original home base. About Brennen Leigh: www.brennenleigh.net Brennen Leigh is an American songwriter, guitar player, mandolin player and singer whose tothe-point storytelling style has elevated her to cult icon status in Europe, Scandinavia, across the United States, South America and the United Kingdom. Her songs have been recorded by Lee Ann Womack, Rodney Crowell, Sunny Sweeney, Charley Crockett, and many others. As renowned for her musicianship as for her writing, it’s easy to see how Leigh caught the ear of greats like Guy Clark and David Olney, who described her writing as “tender, violent, sentimental, foolish and wise, she is always Brennen. Confident and at ease with herself, without being a jerk about it. About Rod McGaha: www.rodmcgaha.com In addition to being a gifted jazz trumpet player, the multi-talented Rod McGaha is a composer, vocalist, lyricist, producer and sought after photographer. McGaha was born and raised in Chicago, where his jazz-loving father would play Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong records constantly, perking up his son's interest in music. By the fourth grade, McGaha was learning both the guitar and trumpet, as he looked to such modern day funk/dance acts as Parliament Funkadelic, James Brown, and Kool & the Gang for inspiration. Straight out of high school, McGaha began his professional music career, touring with Gene Chandler, before attending Northeastern University in Chicago and then DePaul University on scholarship, during which time McGaha became interested in traditional jazz. McGaha caught a break when fellow trumpeter Clark Terry (who had performed with the likes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie) caught a performance by the up-and-coming player, and took him under his wing. His presence as a performing artist also garnered him respect from some of the best players in the industry, including the legendary drummer Max Roach. McGaha then landed numerous gigs as a sideman for Kenny Rogers, Bebe and Cece Winans, the O'Jays, Take 6, and Lou Rawls (visiting Egypt, Nigeria, Europe, and Japan in the process), and racked up such impressive awards as the Maynard Ferguson Award from the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for Outstanding Jazz Trumpeter, the Oak Lawn Jazz Festival All Star Award, and the Outstanding Trumpet Soloist Award from the National Association of Jazz Educators. He has appeared on BET and his song Wish I Knew was recorded by Shelby Lynne and is featured in the movie Two If By Sea. About Giada Valenti: www.giadavalenti.com Singer and songwriter Giada Valenti was born and raised in Venice, Italy. In her early years, she was signed as a budding vocalist by the renowned European record label, BMG. In 2005 she moved to the United States where she experienced her most prominent claim to fame, ”From Venice With Love," a national PBS production. Giada has performed across the country, notably her headlining debut in Las Vegas at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall in New York City. She She has performed live with many artists, including Andrea Bocelli at an event benefiting his foundation and Trace Adkins at the Grand Ole Opry. The year 2022 marked another milestone in Giada's career as she stepped into the role of television presenter, co-hosting the prestigious 3-hour live broadcast of the Columbus Day Parade on ABC7.
THE MAINSTAYS About Pat Coil: www.patcoil.com Pat is an accomplished pianist, composer, producer, arranger, teacher, and highly respected studio musician. His credits span the musical spectrum of jazz, R&B, pop, country and gospel. His touring and recording credits include Michael McDonald, Carmen McRae, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Woody Herman, Larry Carlton, Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson,Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, Peter Cetera, Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers, Travis Tritt and Olivia Newton John. Additionally, Pat has taught jazz piano, improvisation and combos at MTSU and served at Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the renowned University of North Texas. We’re honored to have Pat at our Musical Director for Variety on Main. The Mainstays include Brian Allen (bass), Larry Aberman (drums) and Sam Hunter (guitar). About Brian Allen: www.brianallenonbass.com Hailing from Columbus, Indiana, Brian started playing the bass at age eleven. His playing won him several awards throughout high school, including the prestigious Louis Armstrong Jazz award. Brian has toured and recorded with a diverse range of artists, including The Oak Ridge Boys, Brandi Carlisle, Lori Mckenna, Jason Isbell, Keb Mo, Christopher Cross, Miranda Lambert, Sturgill Simpson, Zac Brown, Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings, Dolly Parton, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Sara Bareilles, John Scofield, Natalie Cole, Four Tops and the Temptations. Brian has taught at the world famous Musicians Institute (MI) and private lessons and live playing workshops.He plays all types of basses, from a standard four string to a six string fretted and fretless. He also plays upright bass and cello. About Larry Aberman: www.larryaberman.com Larry Aberman is a drummer whose career has taken him from the stage of Avery Fisher Hall as a percussion soloist with the NY Philharmonic to the studios of Memphis to record the Grammy winning CD "Family Style" with Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan. A graduate of The Eastman School of Music, Larry has recorded and toured with artists like Wynton Marsalis, David Lee Roth, Lionel Richie, Dianne Reeves, John Hiatt, Ben Harper, Aaron Neville, Paul Williams, Joe Sample, Marcus Miller and Foreigner, just to name a few. Larry worked in Las Vegas with Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity” at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. He is an adjunct professor of applied drum set at UNLV as well as a sub percussionist for the Las Vegas Philharmonic. He continues to compose and record drums remotely via the web for numerous album, TV and film projects. About Sam Hunter: www.sammusicsongs.com Sam Hunter is a Nashville based singer, songwriter, session and producer. The multi-talented musician’s writing credits include hits for Ronnie Milsap and Willie Nelson and for TV shows for CMT and Fox. Additionally, Sam has written songs for movies like “Bad Roomies”, “The Confirmation” and “Dial a Prayer". His session credits include Willie Nelson, George Strait, Ronnie Milsap, Mandy Barnett, , Bob Babbitt, Amy Grant, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Hayden Panettiere, Jewel and many others