Tin Pan Wow

Tuesday, April 10, 2001 at 1:00am

If Nashville is the "songwriting Mecca" as legendary songwriter Gordon Lightfoot declared last Wednesday, then Tin Pan South is the holy week.

Backstage at the historic Ryman Auditorium prior to his soundcheck for Tin Pan South's Legendary Songwriters Acoustic Concert, Lightfoot held a mini-press conference in the "Minnie Pearl" dressing room. Once the session with select members of the media was officially underway, the first thing the Canadian troubadour said was, "Nashville is the songwriting Mecca of the whole world."

The concert later that evening, and the songwriter showcases staged throughout the city over the following four days reinforced Lightfoot's proclamation.

"It's a Mecca, that's for sure," R.B. Morris, one of Tin Pan South's many songwriting pilgrims, said. "I guess I'd say Gordon Lightfoot was right."

ASCAP's John Briggs used a different metaphor, but also agreed with Lightfoot, saying, "There's no doubt [Nashville] is the center of the universe for songs."

Koch recording artist Morris appeared on a rock-leaning show Wednesday night at The Sutler with two fellow East Tennesseans, Scott Miller and Mick Harrison, along with R.S. Field and Billy Ray Reynolds.

"[The show] was great because of the people who were doing it," he said. "Great audience, really locked in, and a great variety of songs."

MCA recording artist Allison Moorer, who performed on Saturday night at 12th & Porter, was one of those in attendance at Morris' show.

"I thought that was a great show," Moorer enthused in agreement. "I love R.B. Morris. I'm really a fan of Scott Miller's new record. I love R.S. ... Those were five really strong songwriters."

Most of the event's shows were performed in-the-round and Moorer's show was no exception. She shared the stage with friend and collaborator Lonesome Bob, Mike Ireland of Holler fame and Hayseed. Surprisingly, it was her first time to perform in-the-round.

"I'd never done one before," she said. "I still think of myself as a singer first ... even though I've written all the songs on my two records. My first [in-the-round] and it was a really good experience."

Field, who is best known as one of the city's top rock producers, returned the favor and attended Moorer's show.

Highlights of the week's shows included:

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