The closure of four Nashville-area Waffle House locations is set to rock the lowest tiers of the local music community, with the sudden loss of wages cutting off the sole source of income for at least 23 self-described professional songwriters.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said waitress Anna Crosley, a 23-year-old who moved here from Atoka, Oklahoma five years ago. “Billy Gilman cut one of my songs on his last album, but it turns out nobody buys Billy Gilman albums anymore. The royalties have amounted to, like, maybe a cup of coffee. And now I don’t have my day job. I don’t know how much longer I can get my parents to keep paying my rent here.”
“I feel terrible for these kids,” said local law enforcement officer Jeff McKellan, who made a habit of stopping by Crosley’s Waffle House for a plate of Papa Joe’s Pork Chops every day on his way home from work. “They’re all good people, though – I’ve cowritten with a handful of them – so I know they’ll land on their feet. It’s just sad to see it happen. You wonder how these kids are going to make enough money to survive until they get their big break, like happened to me when BOMSHEL climbed the charts with my song ‘Sweet Sixteen’ [a #53 hit in 2006].”
At a Kroger down the road from one of the other affected Waffle House locations, 37-year-old bag boy Dean Ward expressed surprise at the restaurant’s closure. “That’s terrible… never saw it coming. Hey, did you say you write for a country music news site? Do you have any contact with artists or managers or anything like that? I have this song I’d like to get to Jason Aldean…”