DePaul finds harmony in Nashville

By John Benson

Less than a year after Jordan DePaul packed his bags and moved to Nashville, the 2008 Poland High School graduate is already making inroads in the Music City.

For most, such an achievement would be a blessing. For DePaul, it was expected.

“I knew I wanted to move to Nashville to be a songwriter when I was 19,” said DePaul, calling from his Tennessee home. “I was writing songs so fast that the band I was playing with at the time wasn’t quick enough. Early on, I felt like I had a knack for this. I was sitting in my room writing three songs a day. That’s when I thought, ‘This is something I want to do for the rest of my life.’”

To his surprise, DePaul said he found a warm welcome from the Music City crowd. While the original music scene in Northeast Ohio isn’t always supportive, the opposite is true in Nashville where DePaul said if songwriters respect your work, new doors of opportunity open all the time.

“The good thing is when you have good music, people don’t try to snub you,” DePaul said. “They want to get to know you and write with you. The other night I played four songs at a show, and I set up three [songwriting opportunities with other artists] that night. People come up after you play saying, ‘I really like your songs; I’d like to write with you.’

“So people don’t pick out your flaws. If they don’t think you’re good, they won’t say anything to you. And if they think you’re good, they’re going to root for you and want to be a part of what you’re doing.”

The picture DePaul paints is quite the contrast to the backstabbing and drama seen on the ABC-TV show “Nashville,” to which, coincidentally, DePaul is currently pitching his new song “Done.” The songwriter said the tune has a slower, folky feel that he thinks would be perfect for the program. He wrote it one day during a lunch break from his day job.

Up next for DePaul is a return home to Poland for the holidays that includes a show tonight at Cedars. The gig is a look back and forward at his songwriting, with members of his erstwhile band The Reputations joining in for a couple of sets. Also taking the stage is DePaul’s new group, The Steel Roots, which includes former Warren resident Dennis Drummond. Coincidentally, the guitarist moved to Nashville a few months before DePaul.

“The Steel Roots is more Americana,” DePaul said. “To me, it’s a lot more true to myself and a lot more rootsy. We get compared to The Civil Wars a lot.”

The Steel Roots will be releasing an EP in the new year that includes tunes such as the upbeat “Gun” and the elegant “Adeline, the Farmer’s Daughter.” Those songs will get stage time at the Cedars show.

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