Saturday, December 20, 2014

Singer songwriter lives in Bordeaux, rose to chart-topping fame overseas and cannot get love from Nashville

Atlanta journalist, Max Blau, has a first-class story out this week in The Bitter Southerner called "Doug Seegers' Nashville Skyline." Seegers is a formerly homeless street musician who struggled in music venues in Austin and in Music City before finally being discovered by Swedish television producers in an alley behind a West Nashville food pantry. According to Blau, Seegers eventually made a TV debut in Sweden after which his song "Going Down to the River" shot to number one.

Even so, Seegers still lives in modest digs here in North Nashville and takes the bus to busk on Lower Broad:

We’re headed northbound on Highway 155 to his house in Bordeaux, a quiet suburb north of the Cumberland River from downtown Nashville. He typically rides the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority’s No. 22 bus to get to and from Bordeaux. Because we’re in a car, he’s not entirely sure about our location until we approach Clarksville Pike. He eventually gets his bearings straight and directs us toward the dead end of a quiet residential street. The singer exits the car, walks down the gravel driveway, and swings open the front door of his one-story brick house.

In spite of his fame and concert tours overseas, Nashville does not seem to be able to fit Seegers into its brand:

Seegers’ biggest challenge remains in Nashville, a city that bills itself as the home of country music, but where writers of traditional country songs now struggle to reach a wider audience. Like many talented local songwriters, the 63-year-old artist faces a tough predicament: How do you land a traditional country song on mainstream country radio? In a perfect world, Seegers would contend for airtime. You’d be hard-pressed right now to find someone who writes with more authenticity than Seegers.

Even our mayor is more likely to hang out with Jack White or Connie Britton than with buskers on Lower Broad or a guy whose rise to international fame started in a back alley behind some garbage cans:

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