If you know me, you know my boyfriend is a very talented local Duluth, MN singer/songwriter. (Jake Birdseye everybody) If you don’t know me, well you will! Being the spouse of a musician, the burn out from being a cover artist is real and limiting! While cover songs may be the avenue some artists take (no judgment here), most of the time, musicians want to create their own sound and style and share that with the world. So, what happens when you are in the rut, you are a musician; burnt out from doing your same old Friday/Saturday gigs, the venue you’re playing only lets you do an original song or two of your own music. You’re losing that passion and fire you once had for playing and entertaining. You want to be creative; you want to engage with your audience, and you want people to hear and see YOU as a musician. Not just a human jukebox taking requests all night long. As most local live music is about 80% covers, or all covers depending on the venue.

enter stage right….WRITERS ROUNDS

Original Acoustic Music.  Multiple Artists. Crowd Engagement. Raw Talent.

The format of a writer’s round is pretty simplistic. Each round typically has 3-4 songwriters on stage, each taking turns performing their original songs acoustically, sharing a story behind the lyrics, the writing process or just engaging with the crowd. The musicians can join in with one another, adding harmonies, a guitar riff or just listen. With different talent on stage at each round, you really never know what you might get. Not only is this a fun listening experience for the audience, but from the artist perspective you get the opportunity to collaborate with so many different musicians and meet incredible people in the industry that you normally wouldn’t otherwise.

Here is a brief snippet captured by BoPro Video – of a Midwest CMO Writers round hosted by Jake Birdseye – with friend and fellow artist Mike Villalva of UpSouth and independent artist out of Grand Rapids, MN – Waylon Glienke


I talked briefly with two Midwest artists, Zakk Grandahl and Tyler Deaver on what it means to be a part of a writers round and how these particular events impact their musical careers. Both artists have spent significant time in the Nashville scene, making music and performing over the years, but always seem to have time for their local talent and to join in on a writers rounds with fellow musicians.

Here is what local Duluthian and Nashville recording artist Zakk Grandahl had to say,

Image by Bo Allen
(Zakk Grandahl – Nashville Recording Artist

“I think it’s important for things like writers rounds to happen, a lot of people probably aren’t even aware of local artists in the area, that are putting out original material. It’s a good avenue for artists to show off their own original music, when ordinarily, they may not have that opportunity”   

Tyler Deaver, Wisconsin native and avid Nashville performer, shared his take on writers rounds and how they can truly help shape an artist.

Tyler Deaver- Nashville singer/songwriter

“Writers rounds have the potential to be truly special no matter where they take place or who participates. They’re one of the few events left where the power of a great song can truly be felt. Writers’ rounds are also a great place to meet a new co-writer or someone within the music industry. I feel, from attending many over the years they’ve also made my songwriting so much better. You can pick up tricks and ideas on how to phrase words with a new spin. I’ll go to as many as I can!”


Amazing insight from two artists who realize the importance of collaboration and community on their musical journeys. If you are an artist, looking for something a little different to promote your original music, I highly recommend hosting a writers’ round, or finding one in the region to participate in! Not only will you get to share your own original material, but you get to meet some really freakin’ talented humans along the way. It opens up so many new opportunities for friendship, collaboration and just sharing in the rollercoaster that is being a musician.

For help finding local or regional Midwest writers rounds – check our North of Nashville page, or you can reach out to the Midwest Country Music Organization by following this link- Midwest CMO




Written by: Stacy Anderson

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *