This is a past event.

Songwriters Night: Ben Hayslip, Jimmy Yeary, Tim Nichols, Deric Ruttan, Wynn Varble, David Lee Murphy & Jeff Outlaw 

When: Thu., Dec. 5, 7 p.m. 2013
Price: $15

It's no secret that many of the hits you hear on the radio—whether the dial is set to Top 40, modern country or adult contemporary—aren't written by the singer animating the words. But unless you're a liner notes sleuth or pay special attention to all the names listed when a favorite vocalist walks off stage while beaming and toting a Grammy, the identity of those who write the songs might actually be a mystery. Songwriters Night, a fundraiser for Durham elementary, middle and high school Voyager Academy, pulls back the curtain on seven such tunesmiths, each of whom have landed songs on some of the biggest records to come out of the Nashville Musical Industrial Complex in recent years. Chief among them is Tim Nichols, the writer behind Sammy Kershaw's 1996 comical tearjerker "Vidalia" and "Heads Carolina, Tails California," Jo Dee Messina's grass-is-always-greener hit from the same year. Many of these writers have had previous or parallel lives as performers in their own right, and that's particularly true of David Lee Murphy, who shot to fame with "Dust on the Bottle," a snappy tune about moonshine and seduction. Murphy's cachet soon faded and his albums slid down the charts, despite work with Waylon Jennings and several attempts to resuscitate his career. His cache of tunes apparently has not ended, however; in the past decade, he has landed songs with Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton, quite a dust-less triumvirate of current hitmakers. —Grayson Haver Currin

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