Five guys will sit down with their guitars to share some laughs, lyrics and the stories behind their songs Tuesday night when WUSY-FM hosts its annual Heartstrings for Hope fundraiser. Proceeds from the concert benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Four of the performers - Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Jerrod Niemann and Rodney Atkins - are established country artists, two of whom have hits on the radio now.
The fifth, Hixson High graduate Kelley Lovelace, is one of Nashville's most prolific and successful songwriters, with 14 No. 1 singles to his credit. He also has a hit single right now, "Camouflage," which he co-wrote for Brad Paisley with Chris DuBois.
"Each year is unique in talent. When we put this show together, we put one together we'd really like to see. I think this is over-the-top great," said Bill "Dex" Poindexter, US101 music director and afternoon show co-host.
"We want people who come to the show to see something they can't go out and buy a ticket for at any price."
Poindexter said what makes each Heartstrings concert so special is that it is totally spontaneous, never scripted or staged.
"People know there will be lots of surprises. This year, Lee, Randy and Jerrod are all good friends; Kelley and Rodney are good friends. You never know what you're going to get, and that is the beauty of the whole show," he said.
Poindexter notes that the stars are just as eager to be part of this songwriters showcase as are their fans.
"Every one of these people came to us and asked on numerous occasions if they could be part of the show. I saw Jerrod Niemann three times, and all three times he asked if he could do it," said Poindexter.
"The money we're raising is for an incredible cause," Lovelace said in a phone interview. "It's a different setting, not as much a concert as it is a relationship with the audience. They get a chance to connect with the songs and writers."
With such a stellar lineup, it is little surprise that the songwriters showcase has almost sold out. Only a few scattered single seats remain around the Tivoli floor, according to box-office attendants. Poindexter said radio listeners still have the opportunity to win tickets during morning and afternoon shows.