Carol Grace Anderson

Carol-Grace-AndersonCarol Grace Anderson spent her early childhood years living with her family in a tiny, 18-foot trailer near New York City. “Here’s the fun part,” she says. “Our neighbors in the trailer park were mostly circus performers.  Can you imagine coming home from school and watching them practice daring tricks and stunts right before our eyes?”

When Carol was twelve, her family moved to Godeffroy, a small village in upstate New York; population 395.  “It was between Huguenot and Cuddebackville, if that rings a bell,” she said jokingly.  Her Dad, a minister, became the director of a non-profit camp there, Jubilee Ranch, for inner-city youth.  As a young adult, after flunking out of three colleges, Carol decided to buckle down and get serious about becoming a teacher with a stable future.  She earned her BA degree followed by a Masters from NYU, which led to a job teaching in a correctional facility for male felons.

Music was always a part of Carol’s life as both parents were talented musicians.  She sang with her sister Mary Beth and close friend Sharon Ferrara on weekends. They called themselves “Ladysmith” and played gigs all around the New York City area.  They played mostly country music.  She said, “It was common to see Les Paul listening to us from the bar at The Rainbow’s End, or novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. requesting “Jambalaya” at O’Lunney’s Pub in the middle of Manhattan!”

The group soon started performing their own songs with a country flavor.  They got the attention of a New York publisher at Chappell Music who invited them to record a demo.  Henry Hurt, who headed up the Nashville division, signed them immediately as staff writers.

Their dilemma became, “How can we work in Nashville and maintain our other ‘real’ jobs in New York?”  Not easy.  Sharon also had two small kids to consider.  But they all decided to take the plunge and moved to Music City in late 1974.  That move led them to sing backup for Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Alex Harvey, Marshall Chapman, and others.  They had songs recorded by Roy Clark, Gary Stewart, Crystal Gayle, Dorothy Moore, Dave & Sugar, Mickey Gilley, Terri Gibbs, and many more.  You can hear them (along with Vicki Hampton) singing on Terri’s mega hit, Somebody’s Knockin’.

Carol and Mary Beth had an offer to join Roy Clark as his backup singers.  They traveled all over the U.S., England, and Russia with him including performances on The Tonight Show, the Grand Ole Opry, and Hee Haw.  After ten years on the road, Carol and Mary Beth branched out into new directions.  Mary Beth enrolled at Watkins College of Art and Carol became a professional speaker.  Not wanting to leave her roots, she included inspiring music in her programs.

When Mary Beth crossed the final finish line after a brave battle with breast cancer, Carol began writing as a way to deal with her deep grief.  Her first book, Get Fired Up Without Burning Out!, was not only helpful to her, but thousands of others were inspired by it.

Carol’s next book, Some Angels Have Four Paws, was about her dog Cowgirl and life lessons we can learn from them.  It became a local best seller and will be reprinted soon in a revised format.

Carol has never regretted her courageous move to Nashville back in the ‘70’s.  Nine years ago, she met Coleman Murphy, the love of her life and an amazing guitarist.  He currently tours with John Anderson and does studio work.  Five years ago they got married and performed their original song, I Found You, during their wedding.  Watch it here.

These days, Carol still enjoys all the ways that Nashville has evolved and, along with public speaking, she’s expanding her creative talents by designing and writing greeting cards for Blue Mountain Arts.

More info:
Enjoy this selection of tunes Carol wrote and/or performed on.
Somebody’s Knockin’ (written by Jerry Wayne Gillespie and Joseph Penny / performed by Terri Gibbs with Carol Grace Anderson on background vocals)
Once or Twice (written by Carol Grace Anderson and Robert Shaw Parsons / performed by Dorothy Moore)
Million Dollar Memories (written by Carol Grace Anderson and David Allan Coe / performed by David Allan Coe)
Three Way Tie (written by Carol Grace Anderson, Mary Beth Anderson, and Lisa Miriam Silver / performed by Linda Davis)
Another Lonely Night With You (written by Carol Grace Anderson and Roy Clark / performed by Roy Clark)
Your Place or Mine (written by Carol Grace Anderson, Mary Beth Anderson, and Rory Michael Bourke / performed by Gary Stewart)
It’s True (written by Carol Grace Anderson, Mary Beth Anderson, and Gary Stewart / performed by Gary Stewart)
Make It Happen (written and performed by Carol Grace Anderson)
You Hold The Key (written and performed by Carol Grace Anderson)

Carol Grace Anderson, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Nashville, Signed with Chappell Music, Traveled all over US. England and Russia with Roy Clark

Stephanie Pruitt


Stephanie Pruitt never learned that you have to choose only one path.  The native Nashvillian is a poet, community catalyst, and creative strategist who earned an undergraduate degree in Marketing from MTSU and her MFA in creative writing from Vanderbilt.  She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, Sedberry Prize and Essence Magazine named her one of their “40 Favorite Poets.”  Stephanie has taught arts education and creative writing at Vanderbilt University, Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference, and as a visiting artist in over one hundred k-12 and community settings.  

The ARTrepreneur is founder of Poems & Pancakes and partners with businesses and special events, providing poetry vending machines as a marketing and communication tool.  The Cave Canem Fellow has been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. Stephanie has advanced the local creative community through work with the Nashville Arts Coalition, NashvilleNext Arts & Culture Team, Poetry In Motion, and numerous arts commission grant review panels.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville.  The 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Award Finalist operates Mind Your Creative Business Consulting where she equips businesses with arts-rich strategies & artists with business-rich strategies.  She is the author of I AM: A Poetic Journey Towards Self Definition, Life on Lay-a-Way, and has a spoken word CD, Choice Words. Stephanie’s poetry has been described as “high art with a hearty dose of biscuit sopping goodness.”  She was also editor of the historically inspired collection of poems by local high school students: Regarding Rule 99.  Her community service includes volunteering at Magdalene House as a creative writing teacher for the last 10 years.

Family is her greatest work of art.  Stephanie has a teen aged, musician daughter and two furry, tail wagging kiddos.  She co-chairs her home life and big bucket list with her husband, Al Gaines. Stephanie has lived in Donelson the majority of her life and recalls weekly stops at the Donelson Library and Two Rivers Park with her family as a kid while attending Pennington Elementary School.

Learn more about Stephanie at Donelson and all of Nashville are very fortunate to have such a wonderfully creative person like Stephanie as a neighbor.

Founder of Poems & Pancakes, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Nashville, Native Nashvillian Poet Community Catalyst, Recipient of Academy of American Poets Prize, Stephanie Pruitt

Jeff Syracuse For Metro Council District 15 November Update

Dear Friends,

My sincere thanks to everyone who came to my campaign kick-off at the historic Grand Ole Opry Studio A.  The turnout was incredible and I’m blessed with the strong show of support from so many already!  This year has been very successful in building a solid foundation for the campaign and I’m excited about fully launching it next year.

If you haven’t visited my website yet, I invite you to check it out.  I’ve expressed my thoughts in the About section regarding what the campaign is about and detailed what areas I will focus on as your next member of Metro Council for the 15th District in the Issues section.

I hope you enjoy the two blogs I created – Soul of a City and Hearts of the People.  It’s always a joy for me to share music with others and talk about the people of Donelson who are making a big difference in our community.  Stay tuned for the next editions coming soon.

Below will be the core sections of my newsletter that I will be sending out regularly.  My disclaimer – There is a great deal of wonderful things going on in the community and I’m sure I will miss highlighting something.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know about something going on in your neighborhood, our schools, non-profits, or business that I can feature.  I want everyone to know as much about our great community as I can fit in one newsletter!

An event that I encourage you to put on your calendars is at McGavock High School on Monday, November 10th at 6pm.  The “preferred future” that has been created through the NashvilleNext process of updating the Nashville General Plan is ready for the public to give final input and learn how it will impact our Community Plan for Donelson-Hermitage-Old Hickory.  I’ve been at the very heart of this process over the past couple of years and am excited for everyone to see how important Donelson is being recognized as part of Nashville and Davidson County’s next 25-years of growth, development, and preservation.


Jeff Syracuse

Hearts Of The People, Issues In Donelson Tennessee, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Nashville, November update from Jeff Syracuse, Soul Of A City Blog

Donelson Neighborhood News

Big thanks go to neighbors in Bluefields for all their efforts at landscaping and beautification this Fall and congrats on another successful Low Country Boil.

Thanks to the Lincoya Hills Neighborhood Association for hosting a candidate forum recently for the State Representative District 60 race.

Congrats to Maplecrest Neighborhood Association on their formation this year and two very successful block parties.  The one this past Spring was the largest neighborhood block party I had ever been to.

The Donelson Hills Neighborhood Association invites all neighbors across Donelson to their year-end meeting on Tuesday, November 11th at 6:30pm at Donelson Heights United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall.  The special guest speaker is Metro’s first Vice Mayor, George Cate!  Also in attendance will be our 2015 Mayoral candidates, so come learn about the fascinating history that created the first combination city/county government in the United States and those that are now working hard to lead us into the future. 

Bluefields landscaping and beautification, Donelson Hills Neighborhood Association, Donelson Neighborhood News, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Lincoya Hill Neighborhood Association, Nashville

Donelson School News

Beginning Monday, November 3rd, Metro Nashville Public Schools expands the school choice options for the 2015-16 school year.  The Optional Schools Application is now online.  For the first time, families with rising ninth and tenth graders have expanded options to choose their school and course of study as well.  In addition, the Nashville Metro Transit Authority StrIDe program allows 9th-12th grade students to ride MTA busses for free.  Visit each link for much more information.

At the beginning of this school year, the Nashville After Zone Alliance expanded to the McGavock cluster of middle schools.  Metro 3 created a great video, which talks about NAZA’s after school program activities.

Congratulations to the McGavock High School Band for making it to the finals in the 2014 Contest of Champions!  McGavock also did a great job of hosting the 36th Annual Music City Invitational Contest on Saturday, October 18th.  Ironically, that day was also my 20th High School Reunion in Marietta, GA.  Our class attended the homecoming game and as a former drum major, my band director (still there!) offered me the opportunity to conduct the fight song again.  I still remembered after 20 years!  It was a great time.  Music programs in our schools offer incredibly rewarding experiences for our kids and create memories for families that last a lifetime.

Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, McGavock High School Band, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville, Nashville After Zone Alliance, Nashville Metro Transit Authority StrIDe

Donelson Non-Profit News

The Donelson Gateway Project’s annual Fall Work Day will be on Saturday, November 8th at 9am.  Most of the help is needed at the Briley Parkway site, but we will be working at the Tollgate (Stewart’s Ferry) and Stones River Bridge sites as well.  We will be spreading pine straw and planting winter color.

The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion will host their annual Holiday Historical Tours on December 12th, 13th, and 14th.  This is an excellent opportunity to see the continued restoration progress and visit this unique historical treasure in Donelson decorated for the Holidays.

FiftyForward Donelson Station welcomed new a director, Angela Bryan, just over eight months ago and she is doing wonderful things at keeping our community center thriving and active.  The 28th Annual Donelson Fall Festival & BBQ fundraiser was a big success and included live music, children’s activities, a haunted theater, much more, and of course fantastic BBQ.  Congratulations to Angela and all involved in making it a success.  Coming up will be a Holiday Craft Fair on December 6th during the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce’s 30th Annual Christmas Parade.  Contact Angela at to reserve a booth.

Donelson-Hermitage Chamber 30th Annual Christmas Parade, Fifty Forward Donelson Station, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Nashville, The Donelson Gateway Project, The Friends of Two Rivers Mansion

Donelson Business News

Over the past couple of years, Donelson’s renewed economic development has shown promise and progress.  The redevelopment of The Crossings shopping center bringing new restaurants and businesses, to sidewalk infrastructure improvements, and new businesses in the community have been welcomed signs of an improving overall economy and renewed investment in Donelson.

The new life and vitality at the old Two Rivers Ford building when Ace Hardware moved in to the space along with Phat Bites, which became host for the weekly Hip Donelson Community Farmer’s Market, has been a real destination for both neighbors and visitors this summer.  The Market will return next May.  A wonderful addition to the Market has been the CedarStone Bank Entertainment Stage.  I’m thrilled to have been involved in helping book music and my thanks go to CedarStone for their sponsorship that has allowed us to make that happen.  You may have noticed that construction began recently for their new branch at the intersection of Donelson Pike and Lebanon Pike.  It is a welcome sight to see on a piece of land that has been empty for many years.  Just a few months prior, Wilson Bank & Trust opened their doors to a brand new branch on Donelson Pike next to JVI Secret Gardens.

CedarStone Bank in Donelson, Hip Donleson Community Farmers Market, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Nashville, The Redevelopment Of The Crossings Shopping Center, Wilson Bank In Donelson

Porter Wagoner


Porter Wagoner, who was known as “Mr. Grand Ole Opry”, lived in Pennington Bend in a modest brick ranch-style house typical of the kind seen in Donelson. Neighbors in Donelson often saw him in town at the grocery store or at local restaurants. After his death in 2007, The Tennessean’s Gail Kerr (who grew up in Donelson), wrote that “folks refer to Porter as a musical icon, the Thin Man from West Plains, or the Rhinestone Troubadour, but in 37214, he’s just called neighbor.”

Although well known for his many rhinestone suits and blond pompadour while performing on stage, Jeannette Rudy, whose family sold some of their farm in the Pennington Bend area in the 1960’s and 70’s where Opryland and the Grand Ole Opry were built, remembered all the times they had coffee together and the song he wrote for her, simply titled “My Neighbor”.

Porter Wagoner’s career spanned almost 60 years and he was an RCA Victor recording artist between 1951 and 1980, charting 81 records. The Porter Wagoner Show was a big hit for television and one of the first syndicated shows in Nashville, airing from 1960 to 1981. He earned three Grammy’s for his Gospel recordings with the Blackwood Brothers Quartet. Porter was also a fan of R&B, bringing James Brown to the Grand Ole Opry and produced an album for Grammy-award winning singer Joe Simon.

Some of the albums that Porter recorded in the 1970’s were considered “conceptual albums” in that they were built around a particular theme. Porter’s final album in 2007 called “Wagonmaster” was produced by Marty Stuart (also a Donelson neighbor at one time) and it too was thematic, written around an unrecorded Johnny Cash song called “Committed to Parkview”. The album received rave reviews and was considered a return to raw, classic country music.

I hope you enjoy this small selection of Porter’s recordings I chose. Some of the tunes he wrote were no doubt written right here at his home in Donelson.

Highway Headin’ South (written by Porter Wagoner)
Big Wind (written by George McCormick, Wayne Walker, and Alex Zanetis)
What Ain’t to Be, Just Might Happen (written by Porter Wagoner)
Indian Creek (written by Porter Wagoner)
Singing on the Mountain (written by Porter Wagoner)
Please Don’t Stop Loving Me (written and performed by Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton)
Raining Blues at Midnight (written by Porter Wagoner)
Be A Little Quieter (written by Porter Wagoner)

A Great Donelson Neighbor, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Lived in Pennington Bend, Mr. Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Porter Wagoner

Jenny White


Jenny White and her husband Kent have been residents of Lincoya Hills for over 17 years.  She is a graduate of Belmont University and originally from Evansville, IN.  Jenny is active in the Donelson community as the President of the Lincoya Hills Neighborhood Association and Community Chair for the Donelson-Hermitage Relay for Life.  Jenny and Kent enjoy biking on the Greenway, adventure dining with friends and just about anything that takes place in New York City.

When a life altering diagnosis came her way in October 2010, Jenny found her passion in creating awareness and advocating for lung cancer.  When she found no support for lung cancer, Jenny partnered with Lung Cancer Alliance to bring the first ever national chapter for lung cancer advocacy to Tennessee.  Jenny also volunteers with the Tennessee Cancer Coalition, American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.  She recently trained for a marathon and her story was featured as part of St. Thomas Health’s “Nothing Shall Be Impossible” initiative highlighting inspiring stories from those who beat cancer.  You may recall seeing Jenny on bulletin boards and on the side of MTA buses across the city advertising this initiative and proudly wearing her “Dear Cancer, You Lose!” shirt.  Check out the full story at:

Jenny is an inspiration to many and Donelson is lucky to have her as a neighbor.

Dear Cancer You Lose!, Jeff Syracuse, Metro Council District 15, Jenny White Cancer Survivor, Nashville, Nothing Shall Be Impossible, Tennessee Cancer Coalition