Singers and songwriters bring tour to MSU Riley Center next week


It’s one thing to hear world-class singers and songwriters perform their hits. It’s another altogether to also hear them discuss the meanings behind their hit songs.

“The Heart Behind the Music” tour will treat the audience to both, bringing some of the industry’s best to the MSU Riley Center in downtown Meridian as it showcases the talents of Kim Carnes, John Ford Coley, Gene Cotton, and Lenny LeBlanc, along with special guest Greg Barnhill.

The performance takes place July 16 at 7:30 pm.

If the names aren’t familiar, perhaps the songs they’ve penned or sung will jog your memory. Carnes won a Grammy for her 1982 song of the year “Bette Davis Eyes.” She has written for, recorded with, or sung backup for numerous renowned singers, including Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Reba McIntire, Vince Gill and Tim McGraw.

As half the Grammy-nominated duo with England Dan, Coley is heard in the 1976 hit song “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight.” Songwriter Cotton plays well in several genres, including folk, rock, and pop, but is probably best known for his 1978 hit “Before My Heart Finds Out.” His career got off to a fast start with the 1978 hit “Falling,” but LeBlanc is best known now for his popular contemporary Christian songs.

Special guest Barnhill, a distant relative of “Singing Brakeman” Jimmie Rodgers, has penned such hits as “House of Love” for Amy Grant and Vince Gill as well as “Walkaway Joe,” a duet by Trisha Yearwood and Don Henley.

Tickets are $35 and $29 at the MSU Riley Center box office, which is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 601-696-2200.

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