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Music is popular in Tennessee and is a tourist attraction that continues to grow even in rural communities.

Asa Reese, who owns Grinder House Coffee Shop with Angela Chastain, said, “The talent in Crossville and the areas around here is incredible.”

Grinder House Coffee is an official “Qualifying Round” site for the second annual Made in Tennessee Songwriter Week.

Music professionals and special Songwriter Hall of Fame artists Jerry Foster of the famed Foster and Rice songwriting team will lead the judged competition this Saturday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 10 p.m. 

Along with Foster, Gerald Smith, of Hee Haw fame, and Sean Gasaway, hit songwriter and producer will also judge the competition.

“I’m really honored that we were chosen as one of the sites by the state. There are a lot of requirements for the state to promote your business. It’s just another feather in Crossville and Cumberland County’s hat for us to be a hosting venue,” Reese said. “We’ve got 28 confirmed contestants who are signed up for the competition. We’re going to have an in-the-round type performance where we’re going to bring them up four at a time and each one will have six minutes to tell a little about themselves and perform a song.”

Tickets have already sold out for the event, but those who are interested can view the event on the internet.

“WCTE is going to film it and livestream the event on Vimeo,” Reese said. “They’re also going to make four different episodes for future TV broadcasts.”

Winning songwriters from each of the qualifying rounds across the state will then perform at one of the Tennessee Songwriters Week Showcase events happening in the following cities:

•Puckett’s, Franklin, Feb. 23

•Lafayette’s Music Room, Memphis, Feb. 25

•The Bijou, Knoxville, Feb. 26

•Bessie Smith Cultural Center, Chattanooga, Feb. 27

•Ole Red, Gatlinburg, Feb. 28

•The Down Home, Johnson City, Feb. 29

Six winners, one from each showcase event, will then perform during the finale at The Bluebird Cafe Sunday, March 29.

Reese said Grinder House is a family-oriented restaurant and live music venue and is also an official location along the Tennessee Music Pathways.

Cumberland County has three Tennessee Music Pathways sites: The Palace Theatre, the Playhouse and Grinder House Coffee.

Reese sees offering live music as a way to bring the community together and visitors to Crossville and Cumberland County.

Part of the business’ draw is its weekly singer-songwriter showcases, “In the House.” Grinder House has a reputation for hosting up-and-coming artists, as well as professional songwriters. Thanks to a weekly internet broadcast at www.wfmcjams.com, listeners around the world listen in on a Friday night in Crossville.

These showcases and the intimate listening room vibe helped Grinder House make the cut for the first round of the Tennessee Music Pathway designation.

Prior to Saturday night’s event, the Grinder House will host Travis Bigwood and the Lonesome Doves for it’s In the House live music performance Friday, Feb. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Travis Bigwood and the Lonesome Doves were the winners of the first Tennessee Songwriter Week last year. They performed at the Bluebird Cafe,” Reese said.

He said they also performed at the Grinder House last year just prior to the songwriting event.

“We’re happy to have them back to our stage,” Reese said.

Other In the House Friday night live music performances scheduled for February include Carrie Hassler, Feb. 14; Les Kerr, Feb. 21; and Eric Coomer, Feb. 28.

Grinder House Coffee Shop LLC is at 73 N. Main St. in downtown Crossville. For more information or reservations, call 707-0440, or visit www.grinderhousecoffeeshop.com.

Gary Nelson may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com

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