The Hardway

by J Raleigh Jones

Behind the Seens

            Nashville is a city full of great talent. Tourists and new comers tend to focus on Lower Broadway and the side streets where so many honky tonks and other venues are located. Huge crowds are drawn by the many events held here each year. Bridgestone arena is host to so many sporting events, concerts and a variety of commercial uses. Talent is drawn to this Nashville stage to be seen and heard. A few lucky ones get discovered by the industry and become one of those whose songs are heard on the radio, television and other media. These are the SEENS.

            Behind the SEENS is a huge pool of talent, not just in the Lower Broadway area but all over Nashville and Davidson County. These artists, songwriters, entertainers and musicians are practicing their craft individually and in organizations. They dream to find their place in the entertainment world. They work hard, network, promote and market their crafts in various ways.  Sometimes years even decades pass with little or no noteworthy success. Yet, they are the very fabric of Nashville. They are a very real and important  part of the Nashville Scene.

            Throughout the Nashville metropolitan area, including surrounding counties, there are many bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes and other venues where artists, songwriters and musicians perform. Writers showcases are everywhere and every night of the week. In these venues you will find hit songwriters, aspiring writers and artists practicing and showcasing their crafts. Most of them will live out their dreams on these small stages. Sometimes the only pay they receive is in the form of applause and appreciation for their performance. But they keep on keeping on, helping to make Nashville "Music City".

            The driving force for pressing on is their passion for music. It is who they are. It is their life. Most, but not all, have taken jobs to survive. Unfortunately some are homeless. They have succumbed to drug and alcohol abuse. Just this week a friend of mine told me of two of his friends who have been walking the streets of Nashville, sleeping under bridges, walking in the rain and going hungry. The only things they have left are their guitars, their songs, broken dreams and despair. A kind soul comes into their lives from time to time to help but the addictions often win. It is more than sad to see such great talents so wasted.


However, there are personal friends of mine who have been in the same situation and literally rescued by finding Jesus. They are not shy to share their stories of how Jesus has taken their broken lives, given them new roads to travel and the strength to endure the journey. They are living proof that there is a way out.

            I have the privilege of working with the Tennessee Songwriters Association International and the United States Gospel Entertainers and Musicians organizations. I showcase their awesome artists on my television shows here in Nashville on Comcast Cable and AT&T U Verse. Showcasing them has been a great help to some by giving them a bigger stage on which to be seen. I cannot describe the depth and quality of talent that very few outside of Nashville get to see. Their talent  is often greater than the stars in the spotlight. Many are part of the traditional Nashville sound that visitors coming to Nashville want to see.

             For the past 6 years I have given some of these great artists access to Television and shared with them what I have learned on my own journey. Now I want to share with you a new and exciting venture to bring much of this great talent into your home. Myself and associates are launching a new television network to bring some of this talent to your homes via smart TVs and other devices. We are now programming this new  Television channel. It is a network of traditional country music and country related shows featuring undiscovered talent as well as some traditional country artists who are still active entertainers.

            We will take you on the journey of the songwriters of the Tennessee Songwriters Association International. You will be see them in their showcases, in their promotional efforts, and in co-writing songs.  You will see the great efforts they make trying to create and market their music. Paul Castoe, Executive Director of TSAI, is doing so much for songwriters through the programs he has developed. The TSAI now has a new program "Real Country Music On The Radio" which is promoting split charts on radio. This means that current country and traditional country genres would both be played on the radio and have individual charts.

            Our new channel will also have the USAGEM gospel shows with some of the greatest talent and songs you have never heard. Bobby Hayden comes to mind with his Cardboard Box Ministry. Bobby was a heroin addict. He lived in a cardboard box on the streets of Los Angeles California. When there was no hope left, he prayed for hope, and a man named  hope stopped by his cardboard box home and led him out of his hell on earth. Then Bobby met  Jesus. Now, Bobby has a new life, living for Jesus. Bobby is an awesome talent. I will feature him sometime in this article because he definitely has experienced "Nashville The Hard Way". I can hardly wait to bring you his music and the music of the talent in the USAGEM gospel organization. We are shooting some gospel jubilees for television and believe me these are awesome shows.

            In addition to the shows of the organizations of TSAI and USAGEM, I will continue to broadcast my show on the NECAT network here in Nashville as well as our new channel. I will continue featuring the songs of the Music City Slickers, my TV show band, as well as myself and other artists. In our network of shows you will see comedy, reality type shows, traditional artists you know and love, and the talents of "Those  Who Serve" from our military, law enforcement and first responders.  Although the channel is now active, we are not promoting it since we are still filming shows and creating our programming. We are scheduling a launch in the spring of 2020 or sooner. I will post more here and online as developments occur.

            This is a great undertaking for me and my associates. I will need your support to accomplish this. I will post on social media sites how you can help me for this worldwide venture.  So many traditional country music fans and artists have been wanting our genre of music back in their lives . I am no longer a dreamchaser. I am a dream maker. I will not stop, I will not compromise values and I will not make promises that I know I cannot keep. I will keep going because I am just another artist doing "Nashville The Hard Way".

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