Published: 12:05 AM, Thu May, 2 2019
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Bob DiPiero’s annual shows at Ford hall are becoming a tradition.
The country music songwriting legend has brought his distinctive show to the intimate concert hall for the past half-dozen years. He’ll return Friday with a new group of songwriters but the same old charm.
In his Songwriters Series shows, DiPiero hand-picks a few other Nashville songwriters to share the stage with him, seated in a semi-circle. Acoustic guitars in hand, they take turns telling the stories behind the songs they wrote but were made famous by others.
“I’ve been doing this for quite some time now, and I always hear people say they love the stories as much as they love the songs,” said DiPiero in a phone interview this week. “It’s the only time the audience gets to hear where a song came from, and what was happening while it was coming together. Sometimes the story is funny, sometimes it’s serious, but it’s always tied to the song.”
DiPiero hails from Liberty but has lived in Nashville for four decades, where he’s racked up an astounding resume and a roomful full of awards.
What: American Made Country Music Songwriters Series, with Bob DiPiero, Corey Crowder, Sarah Buxton and Tom Bukovac
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Ford Family Recital Hall, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown
Tickets: $75, $50, $35 and $25 at youngstownsymphony.com, by phone at 330-744-0264 and at the DeYor box office
He has penned more than 1,000 songs that have been recorded by other artists, with well over a dozen hitting No. 1 by the likes of Reba McEntire, George Strait, Montgomery Gentry and Faith Hall.
DiPiero’s honors include induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007 and the prestigious BMI Icon Award in 2017.
More recently, he’s written with the likes of Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line and Midland.
All of this puts him in a unique position to show audiences the anatomy of a country music hit – from back to front.
Youngstown audiences have taken notice and keep returning.
“I am seeing the same faces in the audience, and they’re bringing new faces, which is awesome,” said DiPiero. “They like it enough to tell their friends and that’s why every year it maintains or grows.”
This trip, DiPiero is bringing some new blood. He’ll be joined by Corey Crowder, Sarah Buxton and her husband, Tom Bukovac.
“Corey is just hitting his stride as a writer and producer,” said DiPiero. “He has written for Florida Georgia Line and is known for producing Chris Young’s albums, and he wrote several of [Youngs’] hits. He’s also written for Jason Aldean. He’s capturing a lot of people’s imagination, and I figured he’d be a treat to bring up there.”
DiPiero is also very high on Buxton, who is a songwriter-singer.
“In my opinion, she has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard live,” he said. “It makes her songs come alive. She’s also a great songwriter and has written hits with Keith Urban, Dustin Lynch and Florida Georgia Line. You’re going to love to hear her tell stories and light the stage up.”
Buxton has the writing credit for Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy,” which also features her husband, Bukovac, on guitar.
“Tom makes that song more than what it is,” said DiPiero.
The Youngstown show will also be a bit of a homecoming for Bukovac, who grew up in the Ashtabula area.
Crowder, Buxton and Bukovac represent the future of country music, said DiPiero.
“That’s why I want to bring them out and let people hear them,” he said. “I just did a show with Sarah and Corey in New York City in February, and we brought the house down.”