May 11, 2016: Neil Thrasher Shoot
Today we had the opportunity to capture a live performance video of songwriter Neil Thrasher in a series our contracted video department is doing with Peermusic in Nashville, a division of one of the largest independent music publishers in the world. The folks at Peermusic have been such a pleasure to work with, and today was no exception to that.
We've been filming on location all this past week at an old barn in the outskirts of Nashville, just past Percy Warner Park toward Bellevue, Tennessee. The landscape out there is beautiful; winding roads took us through secluded wooded patches and past historic homes as we blasted Bob Dylan and David Ramirez out our open windows. Despite the half-hour-plus drive, it was well worth it for the views and the chance to get outside the bustle of city life.
The barn itself is a spot we came across on AirBnB last summer while in search of a location for another live performance session we were filming. A gravel driveway trails off the main road, and after braving my small Volvo sedan across a creek we're pulling up to the barn.
After parking and trying to spot the bullfrogs we can hear croaking from near the pond, we begin lugging cameras, audio gear, and lighting equipment up the dusty wooden stairs to the loft above the barn (watch out for that second step, one of the boards is still broken). This barn is a hidden treasure of sorts, and I love it whenever I have an excuse for us to film here. As a producer, one of my favorite parts about my job is finding locations that complement our artists' music. Being that we get to work with some incredible artists, the locations have to look incredible as well.
We're almost done setting up equipment when we hear a truck rumble to a stop outside the barn. Neil Thrasher pulls up in his Carter Family t-shirt, Yeti thermos in his right hand as he slings his camo gig bag across his left shoulder. Friendly and down-to-earth, we instantly get along with Neil and head back up to the loft for a quick sound check.
Neil finishes his first take and we're blown away. Not only is the song he's performing one that we all recognize immediately as a Jason Aldean hit, but he performed it in a way we had never heard before– stripped down, raw, and beautiful. We knew Neil had written songs for some huge artists but we weren't expecting him to select a song so familiar to us as his favorite. We wrap in two flawless takes and begin tearing down. Neil tells us he's been in the music industry as a songwriter for about thirty years now. He still sounds like a young man singing.
Just before leaving, we take a moment to dump footage and do a quick audio mix to show Neil a glimpse of what we captured. He doesn't want to see the whole video before it's done. Instead, he jokes with us and asks us to make him look good in post-production: "Make sure to take off that golfer's tan." We shake hands and part ways, humming Neil's song as we head back to our cars.