February 23, 2009 â€“ To those who didn't attend McClain Christian Academy's Music at the Mill on Saturday night missed a fabulously entertaining night of music and fun.
Wilson Countian Gretchen Wilson, whose eight year old daughter, Grace, attends MCA and the reason Wilson agreed to do the fundraiser, opened the show after spending an hour or better signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.
Appearing with only a guitar player and a back-up singer and occasionally using her own guitar, Wilson opened with her hit, "I'm Here for the Party." Then, telling about the studio she'd built on her farm and the new album she was recording, she then sang her new single coming out March 1, "The Earring Song."
There were a dozen or more top-notch songwriters to follow These were led off by Leslie Satcher who's penned songs for Reba McEntire and many others. She and her guitar did renditions of "For These Times," recorded by Martina McBride and "Troubadour," a hit for George Strait.
Next up were four writers who set up for an "in the round" session. Alternating after each song, one would do a number and then the next would do one until each had performed two or three songs, This set included Tommy Karlas singing "Roll with Me," a hit for Montgomery Gentry and "World Without Mirrors." Will Robinson, playing keyboard who wrote eight #1 songs including "I Know How He Feels" for Reba McEntire, "There's No Way" for Alabama and "Long As I Live" for John Michael Montgomery, did two of his numbers.
Richard Leigh performed two of his monster hits, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" with Crystal Gayle and "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" for Reba McEntire.
Wood Newton did his spine chilling version of "Riding with Private Malone" and a song newly cut by Billy Dean, "Wave On Old Glory."
Amy Dalley came up next in her red boots and blonde hair. She's penned songs for Martina McBriide and Reba McEntire and had a Curb Record deal of her own. She sang a couple of songs from her forthcoming album, including "Cupid Works for the Devil."
Rhean Boyer, lead singer with Carolina Rain, who wrote "Isn't She" and "Get Out of my Way," shared his spot by calling his wife, Tanya, who teaches at MCA, up on stage to sing a song he wrote for her.
The next "in-the-round" group to take the stage included Even Stevens who penned "Suspicions" for Tim McGraw, "I Love A Rainy Night" for Eddie Rabbit and "When You're In Love with a Beautiful Woman" for Dr. Hook, all of which he sang. In tribute to the 15 years he spent with Rabbit, Stevens also did "You Can't Run from Love," "Step By Step (You'll Win Her Love,)" and "Drivin' My Life Away."
Wilson County resident Paul Overstreet, who's responsible for 26 Top 10 hits to date, did his "Diggin' Up Bones" and then went into an imitation of B. B. King doing the number which brought the house down. Paul then introduced Mike Loudermilk, son of the great songwriter, John D. Loudermilk. He warned the audience that Mike's fingers moved so fast, you'd swear they left his hands. Loudermilk played "Sonara," which Chet Atkins recorded in his "Atlanta's Burning" instrumental album and then picked "June Bug," a new song he's written for his new album which features a song for each month of the year. Overstreet also sang his classic, "You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At all," and a not so classic, "It Takes a Whole Lotta Liquor to Like Her." which broke the audience up.
Scotty Emerick wrote "I Love this Bar" for Toby Keith and performed "Beer For My Horses" which he wrote for Keith and Willie Nelson. He then cracked everybody up with his "I Want You To Love Me Like My Dog" and "I'll Never Smoke Weed with Willie Again."
During this set, Randy McCormick, who's played on more than 400 album sessions, came up and played keyboard while he and Stevens performed their co-written " Crazy In Love." The big surprise of the evening was the introduction of Micky Dolenz of The Monkee's fame. He was urged to come up on stage and subsequently sang "Last Train To Clarksville."
Gretchen Wilson returned to the stage and sang her hit "Redneck Woman" and got the audience to join her.
Following the concert, a drawing was made for a diamond pendant. An auction came next with an Ovation guitar signed by all the artist appearing that night going for $2,000 and a framed version of the autographs going for $700.
The capacity crowd cheered as all the artists came back on stage and were presented with a "thank you gift" made by kids and staff at MCA.
Donna Shafler, MCA director of schools, said "We are so excited to bring this unique event to Lebanon and are so thankful to all the artists who dedicated their time and talents to this show."
M. J. Lucas of WANT Radio emceed the event. Richard Macon served as auctioneer. Two Fat Men catered the affair that offered a pre-show meet and greet with the artists for those buying the top priced seats.
MCA is committed to academic excellence in a Christian environment. It continually analyzes the curriculum so that advanced academic courses provide students with the best possible education. MCA is focused on individualized instruction within the small class sizes ensuring that each student excels academically and socially.
MCA currently enrolls students in Pre-K through 9th grade with plans to phase in 10th-12th grade by 2011. In the spring of 2008, MCA announced the unique educational partnership with Cumberland University. The new MCA high school course will be instructed on the campus of CU. The McClain Christian Academy classes along with the collaborative efforts of CU will have a direct emphasis on college preparatory academics for the high school students. MCA is a 501c(3) non-profit enterprise. For more information, call 444-2678 or visit their web site at www.mcclainchristian.org.