The Hollywood to Nashville Event Crew: Party founder, Donna Caldwell of Songs by Accident (seated far left on the couch), flanked by publicist Melanie Knupp (to her left); on Caldwell's right: Brian Roquemore, publicist; Annie Marie Panthier; Hank Williamson, field producer for HotSpot. Standing from left: Sabrina Evans, Hannah Williams, Mario Coleman, Felicia Simms, Ware, publicist Donna Graham of Graham Entertainment, and singer/songwriter James Roquemore. (Photo: Vernell Hackett)
The LaBella Mansion in Nashville was a hotspot of activity Monday night as music and film industry from the West Coast and the Third Coast (Los Angeles and Nashville) mixed and mingled, hoping to stimulate business and collaboration between music, film, technology and art.
Donna Caldwell of Songs by Accident publishing started the event, 10 years ago. "When I worked for Paramount Films I always came to Nashville to look for songs for our movies," Caldwell explained. "I came during Fan Fair because I loved going to all the activities. When I would come to town, everyone wanted to meet with me, so someone suggested we have just a big party and invite everyone to come and meet everyone else."
Caldwell has since retired from Paramount and moved to Nashville. "I wanted to continue the tradition so the event continued," she said. She continues to place music in movies through Songs by Accident. Her most recent placement is music by the Red Carpet Rats and Lisa Aschmann the movie "Halloween Party," which premieres in Nashville on June 14.
From left: Joseph McLean Gregory, great grandson of Evalyn Walsh McLean of the Hope Diamond fame; actor Chuck Rapp; actor/singer and former rodeo cowboy Hollywood Yates; and singer/songwriter Vinny Hickerson. (Photo: Vernell Hackett)
Around the pool area where bands played, singer/actor and former rodeo cowboy Hollywood Yates spoke with Vinny Hickerson, formerly with the band Trailor Choir. "I'm from California but I sing country music so I've been coming here for a while," Yates said. "For a long time it seemed the two cities were at odds, but there are so many similarities between them. Both are communities of artists, and it helps when everyone comes together."
Yates, who just filmed the made-for-television movie "Changing Seasons" in Nashville, says the party is a very cool event that makes it easy for people to meet people in a setting like the mansion.
Even for new singer/songwriters like James Roquemore, Hollywood Meets Nashville was a good mixing and mingling opportunity. "I've been walking around meeting different people and having a great time," he said. "I'm more interested in the music side and dipping a little bit into acting here and there."
We caught up with Carlos Deford Bailey, grandson to Country Music Hall of Fame member Deford Bailey, moments before he was going onstage. "I'm just here to play," the singer said, adding with a laugh. "I would love to be an actor because I act all the time around the house!" Bailey has a new CD, "The Music City Shoe Shine Man," out now.
The Annie Moses Band was relaxing in the bath house next to the LaBella Mansion pool when we found them. They quickly agreed to a photo before taking the stage. (Photo: Vernell Hackett)
The Annie Moses Band were back home from touring and waiting to go on after Bailey. "We were just invited to play last week," said Annie, who describes the family group as "a pop string band." "It's a great chance to get to know some of the people here and from Los Angeles." The group has a new album, "Pilgrims and Prodigals," due out Sept.18.
The party lasted past its posted time of midnight, with the last person lingering until the final note wafted from the stages. Caldwell was pleased with the turnout and already looking forward to next year's event.