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More estrogen.... 

                                                              ANOTHER GREAT MISTAKE

My next Monday was another one of those "collisions" that I didn't see coming. My tour was with Shelly Duboise" another Canadian, from Edmonton. She is a wonderfully funny housewife and mother, who has wanted to come to Nashville for many years. She is a local artist who plays shows, up there and wants to expand her knowledge of songwriting. So she met Doak Turner in Montana at a songwriter's conference, and in turn, found
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The next song was a bit more somber. Stacy had a lot of more humerous, flirty, girl songs. Now was time to give her a bit more substance to her catalogue. Something was on her mind, and I knew by probing a bit I could bring it out. She has several kids now, and spending more time in Nashville is not as close as she would like to be. They are all more or less grown so it is not the "Mama missing the nest" syndrome as much as just feeling far away. Also she wanted to get closer to her own Father,. who again,Read more


                                          STACY YOUNG-SUGAR AND ESTROGEN

After several days of all male (and one woman spectator) tours, I was ready to back off on the testostorone. Time for the girl's to move in.

Stacy Young is a long term client I have been working with for about 8 years. She is a very attractive housewife, mother,(actually grandmother), and Sugar Broker, who lives in Kansas City Mo. Again, not a singer or performer, we have written many songs over the years and she is always a joy to
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Taking a break. Notes to NEW ARTISTS 

Thought I would break from the song diagramming to speak a moment to new (younger) artists. I constantly run into these people everywhere I go, their parents, grandparents, friends, co-writers, you name it. Everyone these days is trying to do music and many don't have any clue how to really proceed. So this blog is for some of you newcomers that might help you.

Being an artist.
In this day and age, almost everyone is an artist. They sing karaoke, they do talent shows, they have web sites, you tube, etc.

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Kiss and Make Up 

The last song we got into was something Bob had had for a while. I normally don't like to work on existing songs, as they are already done and I am trying to teach new processes. But when they keep mentioning it, I have to give it a shot. This song seemed to mean a lot to Bob and so I needed to do what I could. Plus, we had already written four songs and I felt like it was time to show another aspect of writing, the re-write. The idea, Hot Kisses and cool cool nights, took us back to high school.
He had
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Sometimes they let me write what I want to. LOL! While working with my cowboy Bob Marshall, his girlfriend Lori, said that what he needed was a “sexy song.” This is right up my alley because I have been doing this type of music for a long time. I call it “In your face, country soul” and is what has been embodied in today’s artists, like James Otto, Josh Turner, and Trace Adkins. They are slow to mid tempo, that groove along, and make your head bob up and down to the music. The messages are about theRead more


Continuing along with my break down of recent songs:

Working with my cowboy, Bob Marshall, we had started a cajun song that I entitled "Gator Bait." He had never worked on a Cajun song before and since I had a few I tried to come up with something interesting. I see these commercials for "SWAMP PEOPLE" (and have seen the show a few times to torture Julie Moriva) which is basically those people who live back in the swamps of Lousiana and hunt Aligators for a living. Kind of a quirky show but entertaining. I

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Day Two, Cowboy Bob Marshall.

Sometimes everything all happens at once or nothing happens at all. This was one of those days. Bob Marshall is a REAL Live cowboy from Michigan. He has been in rodeos, Ridden bulls, pretty much everything and now raises horses and cattle. I met him and his girlfriend, Lori, about three months ago on a songwriter's festival in town. Liked them very much from the beginning.

The thing with Big Bob (AND HE IS HUGE!) you have to be careful about how you tell him things. Don't

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Round II, Sal, Dave and Pat,

With the first song down, we looked around to other ideas the three guys had. This is where it gets hard. When you are working with three people, (and I also had two others who had booked me for the same day, but I messed up, so just let them sit in. Get to them in a minute) you have to give everyone a shot at throwing out ideas. In this day and age, you are likely to get three people into a song writing session. Doesn't mean that it takes that many people, it doesn't. But

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Sal, Dave and Pat, the New York clan 

                                                THE NEW YORKERS AND THE COWBOY

The first group was Sal, Dave and Pat. They are a trio from upstate New York who have known and played music with each other for over 20 years. Dave and Pat have been coming to Nashville for about 15 years, to perform, work with publishers, and soak in the Nashville experience. They came to me last year because they had reached a point where they weren't getting as much information as they needed. They would get told their songs

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In the  next few posts I am going to dissect a few of the latest songs I have written and explain about the people I wrote them with and how we arrived at what we did. You see, I am very big on trying to avoid the same old same old, cliched' tired worn out subject matter people seem to write all the time. The "Trucks, out on the farm, redneck, depressing, you name it, that just gets recycled over and over and it gets very tiring to listen to much less write.

There is a lot of subject matter out there. Life

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Since I just had several "Newbies" to the Nashville songwriting experience, I thought  I would mention a few things that might help someone finding their way to the Nashville experience themselves that can help them be prepared. People often simply don't understand the process so maybe I can offer a few thoughts.
Most Nashville writing sessions last between 2-3 hours, mostly during the day, work hours. Nashville writers, particularly the experienced or more professional writers, usually have two and

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Now, for some examples.
The first, is from my recent travels to New England to work with some wonderful people there.
The other writer, Maddy, a very cute, woman with a pretty good life. Husband, daughter, etc. She threw out the usual ideas about trucks, and country, things. Now Maddy doesn't have an extensive catalogue, and could actually used some of those type songs in it. But I really try to avoid all the cliche's everyone gets into. I try to head off cliche's at the beginning, to avoid it in the…Read more


It's the classic "Songwriter's delima 101." You get into a much anticipated writer's session, particularly with a more experienced writer, someone with hits, and artist, or someone with publishing or label contacts. You want to make a good impression, sit down and start pulling out your ideas that you thought were SO GREAT! Then, one by one, they are shot down like a skeet shooting tournament. The idea doesn't appeal to the other writer, they have written several just like it, or the biggest, "Man I have…Read more


Someone reading this (how can that be?) mentioned that I left out the "WHEN" in my "Who What When, How, Where, part. Sorry about this. I'm new to this blog thing.

The "WHEN" is one that is a really difficult thing to approach. I have a lot of people come up to me on workshops and when I talk about Nashville as a "Ten Year town", they willl go "I don't have TEN YEARS! What do I DO?" Well, the problem that you have to realize is that Nashville, the music business, or entertainment at all, doesn't work on…Read more



There are four principal elements of the music industry that anyone doing it HAS to be aware of. These are the building essentials:

There are a BILLION SONGS A MONTH uploaded onto the Internet. There are over THIRTY MILLION writers, artists, poets, college and high school students, part timers, people interested in songwriting, singing, entertaining. Want to find out? Sit next to anyone in a restaurant, on an airplane, coffee house, anywhere. Tell them you are a…Read more


In the past 25 years in Nashville, I have listened to thousands of songs. Spending hours and hours in writers nights, open mics, parties, shows, doing reviews, tours, workshops, critiques, you name it, it quite wears you out. I rarely even listen to music on the radio and listen to talk radio. I do check out new artists and songs coming out but most of the time I have heard them months or sometimes years before in my own shows, festivals, and relationships I have. Presently I am exposed to 200-300 songs a…Read more