Buzz Worthy

Successful songwriters stage class

Rob Gorley teaches fifth-graders by day and writes songs by night.

Like any teacher, the Bradenton resident knows that practice makes perfect, which is why he’s bringing a songwriting workshop dubbed Nashville Songbirds to town March 20. The event, held at Woodland Community Church, 9607 State Road 70 E., features four top country music lyricists.

They are Bridgette Tatum, whose penned songs such as Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country” and her latest hit “(I Like My) Cowboys Dirty”; Kirstl Manna, known for Blake Shelton’s popular tune “Austin,” and Britain’s answer to country, Lorna Flowers, who has written melodies that include hits for UK’s John McCane. Then there’s Julie Forester, a singer/songwriter who writes for Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Publishing.

During the workshop, this songwriting panel will critique songs, give tips on how to get music published and how to pitch songs to the movers and shakers in the industry and, of course, how to write killer lyrics — all to the tune of $100 per person. Gorley said their expertise goes beyond country to even hip-hop and pop.

The workshop sounds like an appealing offer for an area that’s brimming with music artists — Gorley being one of them.

The 48-year-old Braden Elementary School teacher writes country music, adult contemporary and Southern rock. Some of his songs have been featured on the popular Web site.

Gorley’s goal is to have one of his songs picked up by a talented artist in the music industry. Part of the fun of songwriting, he said, is not knowing whose hands your music will land in. Of course, getting music in Nashville’s hands is quite the challenge.

“It’s difficult to get a song cut in Nashville,” Gorley said. “It’s all about who you know.”

If you’re not into writing the next big music hit, you might enjoy a couple of concerts the Nashville Songbirds will perform around town. The first one is a free concert at 7 p.m. March 18 at Lov A-Da Coffee, 2127 Cortez Road, Bradenton. A second concert will be held at 7 p.m. March 19 at Honda Cars of Bradenton, 5515 14th St. W. Tickets are $10-$15.

For more information, call (615) 323-2915. Registration for the event is at 8:30 a.m. March 20.

If you’ve had success in the songwriting arena, drop me an e-mail or post a comment on my blog at

January Holmes, features writer, can be reached at 745-7057. Follow her on Twitter at @accentbradenton.