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Tully Kennedy was 21 years old when he left upstate New York for Los Angeles in 1996. Growing up in Redford, population 600, he had spent his teens playing bass in cover bands and was ready for the next chapter in his career.


On his way to the West Coast, he detoured in Nashville to visit his uncle, a staff songwriter at Warner-Chappell Publishing. The plan was to spend a few months there and move on. Growing up on rock music, with an affinity for The Police, U2, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kennedy admittedly knew and cared little about country music, other than the “badass and edgy” outliers Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam.


Within a week of his arrival, he met Michael Knox, who was running Warner-Chappell and working with a new artist named Jason Aldean. Kennedy soon found himself in the company of studio veterans like Michael Rhodes and Mike Brignardello, and discovered that the Nashville recording scene was, in fact, eye opening.


“I realised there was a lot of stuff going on,” he says. “I wanted to work in the studio, and Michael Knox got me started right away. I learned quickly how incredible it is to be able to do that here. Nashville does things very fast, and being a studio musician here is challenging. You don’t spend two days on a song; you’ve got a half-hour. You’ve got to be able to go in and come out with a great rhythm section in two or three takes.”


Kennedy recently received his first CMA Triple Play Award, for the Jason Aldean smashes reaching #1 in a 12-month span: “Blame It On You”, “Trouble With A Heartbreak”, and “If I Didn’t Love You” (with Carrie Underwood).

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