John Scott Sherrill
It all started about two years ago.
For hit songwriter and new Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame InducteeJohn Scott Sherrill it began with the loss of his favorite honky tonk, Bobby’s Idle Hour. The famed Music Row songwriters’ haven was sold to a developer who promptly demolished the landmark in favor of a modern, multi-story office building.
“That seemed to set the tone for what was to follow,” Sherrill says. “It was a huge loss to Music Row and everything went downhill from there.”
Sherrill, like other Americans, has spent the time since dealing with societal problems and divisions caused by politics and a world-wide pandemic.
Being a keen observer, Sherrill dealt with the stress the only way a songwriter can – he created an EP, Copper Tears, that speaks to the times we’re living in.
"We are experiencing a number of big changes in our world, and the songs on this project reflect how I've been feeling lately," he observes. “Some old songs and some new…. They all feel relevant to our times. I hope they speak to others like they do me."
Copper Tears covers the range of his (and our) experience and struggle to make sense of the world. The first single, “You Are Still Great,” offers a unifying message. Released with a video prior to the November 2020 election, it calls for us to find our common ground.
“You are still great / You don’t need to be made great again / Don’t you know you are the land / Of the free and the home of the brave / Let the bitterness go / Hold each other close / Oh, don’t you know you are still great?”
"The message is that there is still so much that unites rather than tears us apart," wrote Music Row's Robert K. Oermann. "The sentiment is all the more potent because he's such a wonderful honky-tonk singer and because the harmonies are bluegrass inspired. In case you don't know, Sherrill is one of the greatest country songwriters in history."
On the title track, he calls us to see ourselves through the eyes of Lady Liberty. He reflects on the loss of family farms and historic sites like Music Row on “Five Generations of Rock County Wilsons” and “Boomtown.” He touches on the longing of separation on“Far Away Angel” and the passing of time on “Shot From A Cannon.”
Produced by Sherrill with Ronnie Bowman and Scott Paschall, Copper Tears features the same acoustic instrumentation and country charm as his 2018 acclaimed release, Mr. Honky Tonk. The songs deliver Sherrill's trademark clear-eyed lyrics and memorable melodies.
Over the years, Sherrill has written 11 #1 hits and countless covers for the likes of Patty Loveless, John Anderson, Josh Turner, Peter Wolf & Mick Jagger, Steve Wariner, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, Jimmy Buffett, and Alison Krauss, among others. His co-writes include such legends as Michael McDonald, Steve Cropper, Peter Frampton and Dave Loggins.
Top shelf musicians enlisted for the project include Rod McCormack (guitars), Josh Matheny (dobro), Dave Pomeroy (bass), Michael Spriggs (acoustic guitar), Eddie Bayers (drums) and Patrick McAvinue (fiddle).
Sherrill is optimistic about where things are heading. Heck, even Bobby’s Idle Hour has recently reopened just down the street from its previous location. Sherrill’s had his COVID vaccinations, and is once again singing and drinking beer at this favorite honky tonk with some of his favorite people.