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    Music Review

    Country’s royalty tell stories behind lyrics

    Carrie Underwood and a group of country-song hitmakers took turns performing and discussing songwriting at Royale on Tuesday.
    Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe
    Carrie Underwood and a group of country-song hitmakers took turns performing and discussing songwriting at Royale on Tuesday.

    The writers behind some of country music’s greatest hits got a chance to sing their own lyrics for a change.

    Songwriters Bob DiPiero, Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey, Brett James, and the evident star of the show, Carrie Underwood, brought their Southern accents and guitars to the Royale nightclub Tuesday night for the Country Music Association Songwriters Series stop in Boston.

    The writers, along with Underwood and Lindsey’s accompanying guitarists, sat in a row of chairs on stage as they took turns performing and letting the crowd in on the inspiration for their songs.


    DiPiero, who’s written 15 No. 1 hits for country stars like Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, and Montgomery Gentry, hosted the show and got the crowd bobbing with “Daddy’s Money” and “Gone,” but Laird’s recent chart-toppers “Take a Back Road” and “Drink in My Hand” got everyone hoisting their drinks and singing.

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    Underwood, sitting in the middle of the seven performers, was third in the round-robin. She belted “So Small” as her opener and put the rest of the songwriters to shame. “Thank you very much, good night,” James joked. “We will not be following that!”

    James sang his singles “The Truth” and “Mr. Know It All,” which was odd coming from a raspy male voice instead of Kelly Clarkson. He also apologized for “sounding like Kings of Leon” before diving into his version of “Cowboy Casanova.”

    When it came time for Lindsey to sing “Jesus Take the Wheel,” which she wrote for Underwood, the songwriter’s excitement was apparent: “I am almost peeing in my pants right now because I have to sing this in front of her, which is really weird,” she said, glancing at Underwood.

    The songwriters harmonized and strummed along with each other — clearly appreciating their colleagues’ songs. Underwood related how she and Laird wrote “Undo It” in an LA basement drinking coffee after coffee, while James said “When the Sun Goes Down” popped in his head as he drove his ’92 Ford pickup in Nashville. Given the format, more back stories would have been welcome; no one, for instance, divulged who the “Good Girl” was in Underwood’s closing number.

    Stephanie Steinberg can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @steph_steinberg.