Thom Schuyler

Thom Schuyler has been an integral part of the music community since arriving in Nashville in 1978. His immediate and significant success in the field of songwriting afforded him further opportunities as a recording artist, music publisher, record label executive and community leader.

Thom’s career-long affiliation with BMI has rewarded him with an impressive list of recognitions including Millionaire Certifications for his compositions 16th Avenue, I Don’t Know Where to Start, A Long Line of Love, Life Gets Away, I Fell in Love Again Last Night, Love Out Loud and Point of Light.  He also received a Two Million Play award for Love Will Turn You Around. Thom has received 3 Songwriter of the Year nominations from The Nashville Songwriters Association and was inducted into The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October 2011. From 1992 through 1998 Thom served as both VP/Director of Operations and Sr. VP/A&R of The RCA Label Group.  During his tenure with RCA he signed Kenny Chesney, Lonestar, Sarah Evans and Mindy McCready and was also responsible for the on-going careers of Alabama, Clint Black, Martina McBride and Lorrie Morgan.

Along with friends J. Fred Knobloch and Don Schlitz, Thom created the In-the-Round format of songwriter shows at the world-famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. With harmonica virtuoso Jellyroll Johnson the trio has continued these performances on a monthly basis, uninterrupted since 1985 – each show a sellout.  

Thom was a multi-year President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, multi-year chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Foundation, both President and Chairman of the Country Music Association, served as governor of NARAS and as Chairman of the board of Hope Clinic for Women. Thom recently completed a 5-year stint as adjunct instructor of Songwriting at Belmont University and continues to serve as associate minister at Woodmont Christian Church. He is also a December 2013 graduate of Lancaster Bible College (PA) having earned a degree in Biblical Studies. Thom and his wife, Sarah, have 3 children Tallu, Roy and Luke and grandchildren, Tallulah and Thomas.

J. FRED KNOBLOCH

J. Fred Knobloch, a Jackson, Mississippi native, has been performing since the age of thirteen when he and some friends formed a band to play at school "sock hops." In 1973, J. Fred left school to play music full-time; he began performing solo at night clubs across the south and landed a few dates as a session guitarist at MALACO Studios in Jackson.

While working for such R&B notables as Dorothy Moore, Eddie Floyd and Anita Ward, he met drummer James Stroud and pianist Carson Whitsett;  it was Whitsett who encouraged his writing and performing and in 1980 it all paid off with "WHY NOT ME". Co-written with Whitsett and produced by James Stroud, Fred reached #1 on the Billboard AC chart and # 18 on HOT 100. On the heels of that success, Fred moved to Los Angeles and over the next two years had two Top Ten country singles with "Killin' Time", a duet with Susan Anton, and a re-make of the Chuck Berry classic, "Memphis".  But it wasn't long before the South started calling him home and he relocated to Nashville in January of 1983.

Since moving to Nashville, Music Row has allowed him to make lots of "noise with the boys" as an artist, session musician and songwriter. With his good friends Thom Schuyler and Craig Bickhardt, who formed the group SKB, he recorded two albums for MTM including the hits "No Easy Horses" and  yet another #1 Country record with "Baby's Got A New Baby", co-written by J. Fred with fellow Mississippian Dan Tyler.  

His list of cuts include artists such as Faith Hill, George Strait, Delbert McClinton, Etta James, Ray Charles, The Wilkinsons, Lorrie Morgan, John Anderson, Trisha Yearwood,  Larry Stewart, Neal McCoy, Confederate Railroad, Sawyer Brown, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and  Kenny Rogers.   J. Fred has also composed for TV and movies with songs appearing on Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210, as well as the feature films "Next of Kin" and "In Country".  

Married for the first time in 1989 to Kathryn Evans, the Knoblochs have two children, James David and Julia Louise, and live happily in Nashville 'til ever after comes....

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TONY ARATA

Tony Arata was born in Savannah, Georgia and grew up on nearby Tybee Island. While studying for a journalism degree from Georgia Southern University, he began performing his original songs in local bands. In 1986, he and wife Jaymi moved to Nashville where his unique, soulful style began to get the attention of people like Allen Reynolds and Garth Brooks. Garth to date has recorded seven of Tony’s songs, and “The Dance” won song of the year at The Academy of Country Music and received both a Country Music Association and a Grammy nomination, as well as a most performed song in Radio and Records Magazine. He has also had No. 1 records with “Here I Am” for Patty Loveless, “I’m Holding My Own” for Lee Roy Parnell, and “Dreaming With My Eyes Open” for Clay Walker. Other artists who have recorded his songs include Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Delbert McClinton, Don Williams, Reba McEntire, Suzy Bogguss, and Hal Ketchum.

Tony has also done three solo albums featuring new songs, covers, and guest appearances by many of Nashville’s finest musicians as well as folks who have recorded his songs, including Garth, Patty, and Lee Roy. Brooks himself has said the following about Arata:

One of my favorite songwriters has to be Tony Arata. He’s a cat who doesn’t care about appearances. He doesn’t care about money. He cares about his children, his wife, and his music. That’s neat.

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JELLY ROLL JOHNSON

Kirk "Jelly Roll" Johnson's distinctive, soulful style of harmonica has earned him critical acclaim, numerous awards, and a place among Nashville's top session musicians.

A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jelly Roll's career has spanned 39 years. He began playing harmonica at age 19 in Cleveland, Tennessee. After touring with several rock, blues and country groups, he settled in Knoxville to work with the Tommy Cole Band. From 1979 to 1989, Jelly Roll played concerts and club dates all across America with Warner Brothers recording artist Con Hunley. The group opened for acts such as Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris.

Since moving to Nashville in 1984, he has recorded with Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Rogers, Etta James, Guy Clark, Lee Ann Womack, Travis Tritt, Shania Twain, The Judds, Alan Jackson and many others. His unique sound has been heard on over 60 gold and platinum albums, including three Grammy winning albums by Randy Travis.

Jelly Roll has made numerous television appearances with various artists, including Faith Hill on "Late Show with David Letterman," Alan Jackson and Jamie O'Neal on "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Trisha Yearwood and the Judds on the "Country Music Association Awards Show," and Con Hunley on "Austin City Limits" and "Soundstage."

In 1998, Jelly Roll won the Nashville Music Award for Best Wind Instrumentalist. After receiving nominations for 1998 and 2000, he won the best Specialty Instrument Award for 2003 and 2008 from the Academy of Country Music.

Jelly regularly performs at Nashville's world-famous Bluebird Cafe with hit songwriters Fred Knobloch, Thom Schuyler, and Tony Arata.