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Americana Musician Chris Monteverde

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

On any given Monday night in Nashville, you’re likely to find Chris Monteverde at Belcourt Taps, where he hosts a weekly writers round with about 20 singer-songwriters from various genres of music. In addition to hosting East of the Row, Chris engages the audience with his Americana story-telling style of music. “I’m singing those songs from my soul; I’m not singing them from my head; they mean something to me.”

Before moving to Nashville seven years ago, Chris cut his teeth in Austin, Texas in the early 2000’s when that city was a hotbed for national talent. He played in bands in the “Live Music Capital of the World” for a decade, in the time frame that Chris says was “before LA took over Austin.”

L to R: Branden Martin, Ben Marshal, Chris Monteverde, Joel Jorgenson

His musical roots go deeper than Texas. Chris started playing guitar at the age of six. He was bored and lonely when all his friends were away at summer camp, and his mom suggested he take guitar lessons. Reluctant at first, he went to Memorial Music in Houston where Ron Hudson sent him home with instructions to learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for his first lesson. The guitar instructor, who had taught Clint Black years earlier, also gave Chris two tapes to listen to. Mesmerized by what he heard on those recordings, Chris was inspired to learn more and become Hudson’s apprentice. He studied classical and Spanish guitar for seven years until he got to high school and realized, “that shit wasn’t cool.”

Chris started putting together bands and writing his own music because he felt he had something to say. “Being the youngest of four kids, my voice wasn’t always heard.” After high school, his grandfather offered to pay for college, but there was one stipulation. “I wasn’t allowed to be a music major.” Chris was close to getting a degree when he got an offer to go on the road with Navasota – a rock band that had success in the 70’s opening for bands like Deep Purple. “It was the next step in my career and I took it.”

When that tour ended, Chris became disenchanted with the music scene in Austin. “In Austin, everybody was out for themselves; none of the bands really worked together.” He made up his mind to quit music altogether, and planned to tell his band about his decision after their next show. As he was packing up the instruments and cables after their late-night gig, a woman approached Chris and called out his name. As she hugged him, she introduced herself and told Chris a story about her recent deployment in the Middle East (at the time of the war in Iraq). Her unit lost 10 men after their first run. Back at the base, she got her computer out and was listening to Chris’s music. Her Commanding Officer came in, and plugged her computer into the barracks’ speakers for everyone to hear. She told Chris “I came here to tell you that for the next 2.5 hours we listened to your music on repeat (referring to the 5 or 6 songs on Chris’s Myspace page), and that’s what got all 250 of us through the worst night of our lives.”

Chris says, “I was going to get off the stage and quit music for the rest of my life, and instead this happened. It was the tipping point for me. She changed my life.” Chris still wonders if perhaps she was an angel.

Soon after, Chris moved to Nashville, where he has found camaraderie with other musicians. “It’s about creating a family, and that’s what exists here in Nashville that never existed in Austin.”

Unlike many other songwriters in Nashville, Chris is not interested in writing for radio. He does not want the commercial aspect of songwriting to influence his art form. “That’s probably detrimental to my career as a singer-songwriter, but maybe not?”

“There are people that make music to make music and to get what’s on their mind out, and they are good enough to poetically do it to where anybody can relate… and then there are people that write songs because that’s what they think people want to hear.”

Chris believes that people want to hear more variety than what is currently being played on country radio. “You cannot sustain the music industry with what’s on the radio now… people don’t want to hear another song about your truck in G, C, and D. Do you think Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard were down here at Tootsie’s playing cover songs? No.”

Chris frequents other venues around Music City to perform and to scout talent that he can book for writers rounds at Belcourt Taps. "This city is so saturated with amazing talent. I've been blessed by being surrounded by the greatest artists that no one's ever heard. Hopefully one day I'll change that."

To hear music by Chris Monteverde, download his self-titled debut album on iTunes or listen to the track Come Running Back. Catch him live any Monday night at Belcourt Taps. For more info, go to

Fun facts and trivia:

Best taco in Nashville: 5 Point Tacos food truck at Marathon Gas

Best album: “Mine, of course!”

Next best album: Sports by Huey Lewis and the News

Favorite current artists: Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell

Chris has shared the stage with Chris Stapleton, Jamey Johnson, and Charlie Daniels

Cover photo by Jody Domingue

Additional photography and video by Laurel Moore

Written by Laurel Moore for Live Laugh Love Nashville

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