Trace Adkins, Kenny Beard, Jeff Bates & Sherrie Austin at Tin Pan South

Pierce Greenberg | March 31st, 2010


When the Tin Pan South schedule rolled out earlier this month, a few people had to have been scratching their heads over the round including Trace Adkins, Jeff Bates, Kenny Beard, and Sherrie Austin at 3rd and Lindsley.

For one, you have a consistent hit-maker but non existent hit-writer in Adkins. Then, you have two former artists that could appear in our “Where Are They Now?” feature (Bates and Austin). Finally, there was a good ole veteran songwriter in Beard.

But as the show went on, the connection became clear–all four artists have written together and have released (or will release) their handiwork in the form of co-writes. Here’s a breakdown of what each participant had to offer.

Trace Adkins

The two extended lines out the door and the middle-aged women with professional cameras can be blamed on Adkins. However, Trace didn’t receive any special treatment. He entered and exited with the other artists and held his own quite well.

For starters, he dug into the archives and pulled out “Rest of Mine”—a nice traditional ballad that he co-wrote with Beard. While the other writers bragged about their cuts for other artists, Adkins quipped: “I never had a cut I didn’t record…and I don’t give a shit.” Sure, Adkins isn’t a premiere writer/artist like Alan Jackson, but his material held its own.

This appearance may have been more of a “coming out” for the writer-side in Adkins. Of his three songs, two of them were co-writes that have yet to be released. The first, “Cowboy’s Back In Town,” (co-written with Bates and Beard) is the working title of Adkins’ next album. The song tells of a city girl longing for her cowboy—and luckily, he’s back in town. It’s not a departure from Adkins’ key material—and anything sung by him that doesn’t use “Badonkadonk” or “Freakin’” is going to be pretty good.

The second new song, which was co-written by all four artists, is called “If I Was A Woman” and will be a duet with fellow big man Toby Keith. Bates filled in for Keith and joined Adkins on a self-indulgent journey of “if’s” that comes off as slightly cocky, but all in good fun.

Sherrie Austin

Austin admittedly “came to Nashville to be a female country singer, and ended becoming a male country songwriter.” Recently, she’s written songs for Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, and George Strait but has struggled to gain any traction as the recording artist. “He Thought He Was God (I Didn’t)” had the sassy spunk that contemporary female artists yearn for while “Friday Night Girls” was standard “girls’ night out music.” Her best performance of the night was on her Strait cut, “Where Have I Been All My Life,” which suggests that perhaps she is best suited for writing male songs.

Jeff Bates

Bates’ low baritone caught on to radio in the early 00s, but slowly submerged into oblivion. That’s unfortunate, because Bates is an excellent vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist. He and Adkins traded verses on “I Will Still Love You”—a simple ballad that is also slated for release on Cowboy’s Back In Town. But the standout song of his—and perhaps the night—was “One Day Closer,” an emotional pondering of life. If this guy never gets back on the radio, hopefully his songs find a way.

Kenny Beard

Guys like Beard are sprinkled throughout Tin Pan South and they are all awesome and all have a great sense of humor. For instance, before playing “Doghouse”—a hilarious John Conlee cut—Beard said, “Next to that last song Trace recorded, this is the second most stupid song ever.” Joking aside, Beard performed excellent readings of hits like “If The World Had a Front Porch” and “Stars and Stripes.” And given his recent work with Adkins, it doesn’t seem like Beard will go hungry any time soon.

3 Pings

  1. [...] Read more about Trace Adkins’ performance at Tin Pan South  [...]
  2. [...] Trace Adkins, Kenny Beard, Jeff Bates & Sherrie Austin at Tin Pan South ( [...]
  3. [...] here. If it wasn’t for Jeff singing strong country songs about real life then where would we be. ● - – Commenter overestimates importance of Jeff Bates to an absurd [...]
  1. Vicki
    March 31, 2010 at 6:12 am

    I laughed all the way through this! What a song and just right for Toby and Trace. I didn’t know Jeff could play guitar like that. What a great wake me up song for this lazy morning!

  2. PaulaW
    March 31, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I’m not in town for Tin Pan this year, for the first time since I literally stumbled in to a Tin Pan show eight years ago. I was depressed enough already about not being there this year before I read this review, now I’m really missing it!


  3. Jeff
    March 31, 2010 at 9:33 am

    The George Strait cut is Where Have I Been All My Life.

  4. Pierce Greenberg
    March 31, 2010 at 9:40 am

    That’s what you get for midnight article-writing. Thanks Jeff! Change has been made. :)

    Paula – It sure is an awesome event. Unfortunately, I’m only able to make it for three nights this year!

  5. PaulaW
    March 31, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I’ll be looking for your articles the rest of the week Pierce. This year I will just have to experience it through your vivid descriptions.

  6. Occasional Hope
    March 31, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Trick Pony recorded Sherrie Austin’s ‘I Didn’t’ on their 2005 album Ride.

  7. Noeller
    March 31, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Man I would kill to check out an event like this. Ahhh – I have gotta visit Nashville sometime soon!!

  8. Pierce
    March 31, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Noeller: It was a lot cooler than I thought it would be. I was wondering how they’d handle the “power” of Trace, but I liked that he was up there the whole time and was as equal a participant as anybody else. Some very cool things happening in Nashvegas this week and not nearly enough time to cover them all!

  9. Noeller
    March 31, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    damn nation! I have no doubt, Pierce. One day I’m going to make that massive trip south and visit the town. I’m a huge mark for songwriter nights, and my understanding is that there’s songwriter nights pretty much all the time in Nash. I will get there soon!!

  10. Rick
    March 31, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Pierce, where are the pictures of Sherrie Austin? Does she still look as good as she did in the “Streets of Heaven” video? Whoa Nelly….

    Jeff Bates is kind of like a current day Conway Twitty, and we all know how actively Top 40 AirHead Country Radio is searching for the next Conway Twitty! (Or next Merle Haggard, or next Johnny Cash, or next Willie Nelson for that matter…)

    Sounds like a fun evening. I’d love to experience a songwriters round including Sarah Buxton, Sunny Sweeney, Elizabeth Cook, and Shannon Wright! I’d be in hillbilly hog heaven! (lol)

  11. CheleMarie
    April 2, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Well, I for one, just love Jeff Bates. In my opinion he is one of the most underrated artist out there. Jeff IS as country as you can get. IF only there was a way to get country radio to wake up and HEAR THE MUSIC & drop all this top 40 crap.

  12. PamlovJeff Bates
    April 2, 2010 at 6:48 am

    I think that JEFF BATES is wonderful!He should get an award for all the hard work he does!way to go Jeff!!

  13. Rockerbillie
    April 2, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Kick Azzz song! Way to go Trace and will love to hear this cut with Trace and Toby!!

  14. Shades
    April 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Im sure lots of those women were there for Jeff Bates not just for Trace,& the where r they now,& former artist comments about Jeff & Sherri wasnt necessary.Jeff Bates is a top notch artist they dont come any better,& hes a super nice person too,Ive stood in many a line,with camera in hand just to say hey to Jeff Bates & hes got more talent in his little finger than most of the so called country artists they r playing on radio today.My radio stations djs do play Jeff & really like him.My daughter was at a dance club the other nite & the dj was playing Jeff.Its the country fans loss if radio doesnt play artists like Jeff & Sherri!

  15. Sarah
    April 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    ” If this guy never gets back on the radio, hopefully his songs find a way.”
    Just to set the record straight, Jeff Bates is still burning up the radio. Guess you are just not up to date on how talented main stream country listeners think he is. We know how awesome Jeff is not only as a super song writer but one of the best voices to come out of Nashville in YEARS……..
    A Proud W.O.A.M :)
    Keep Up the amazing Job , We Love what you are doing….

  16. Stormy
    April 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    If he stopped burning radios maybe they would play him.

  17. Sarah
    April 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Stormy….You are so funny!
    ( I have already heard the radio station pay four of Jeff Bates songs this morning and it is only a little after 10:00 a.m. here….)
    So maybe it is just the radio stations you are listening to that need to wake up and start playing his songs more often.

  18. Robin
    April 6, 2010 at 11:22 am


  19. Steve M.
    April 6, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Could you not shout?

  20. Robin
    April 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Oh sorry…
    not meaning to SHOUT….
    caps lock was on! lol

  21. Robin
    April 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    ..but just go and see a Jeff Bates show….
    and you will have something to SHOUT about!

  22. amanda
    April 14, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    How can you say Sherrie Austin struggled to gain any success as an artist? She’s been singing her whole life and has had success as a singer and songwriter. Maybe you should do a bit of research on people before you write about them.

  23. Stephen H.
    April 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    He said she had failed to gain any traction as a recording artist. She’s released five total albums (on four different labels), had one top-20 single, and has not released a single since 2004. That seems like failing to gain any traction as a recording artist (note this makes no comment on her abilities as a singer or songwriter).

  24. amanda
    April 15, 2010 at 12:24 am

    If an artist isn’t gaining at least some traction would they have been able to releas 5 albums?

    Anyway, this article is written very bias. I’m not sure if the writer intended on being that way but I know I’m not a fan of his review. And yes I was there.

  25. Jody
    April 20, 2010 at 12:17 am

    I went and saw Jeff for the 2nd time this past Saturday and I dont think that he gets enough credit. Damn he is an awesome country singer. I dont know why he is not nominated for country music awards. Jeff is the real deal country music singer and he sings straight from the heart. We love you Jeff keep singing cause your great.

  26. lisa
    April 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Jeff Bates is the reason country music is here. If it wasn’t for Jeff singing strong country songs about real life then where would we be.
    I would H A T E to think that Taylor, Carrie, Miranda,& the rest of them would know how to sing about true life expereinces. It’s not a country song uless you lived it.

    Jeff Bates and a couple other artist( Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, Waylon Jennings) has proven to have had the real life experiences to be able to share with the rest of us. There needs to be another era of country music for the rest of us who like real country not hip-hop country. I can’t believe that noone hasn’t started a new country tradition that most of us like.

    So if you think Jeff Bates is just another has been then you can kiss my white country ass

  27. CheleMarie
    May 13, 2010 at 10:52 am

    AMEN LISA!!!!!!!

    that goes double for me.

  28. Stormy
    May 13, 2010 at 11:03 am

    But if I think that Bates is country, then I have to kiss David Allen Coe’s ass…..

  29. meli
    May 16, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I agree with Lisa and Chelemarie. Jeff has fought to get to where he is and he has so much talent. Just like many others that have walked the hard road and come through …they sing their songs from experience and the heart!! Why would someone want to beat a man down. I am the mom of a son that went through what Jeff has been through. I am SO VERY proud of Jeff’s work visiting with many youth to helping them. God bless you Jeff!!

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