Showing posts with label songwriters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label songwriters. Show all posts

Monday, July 2, 2012

For My Songwriting Friends

Ronnie Milsap has sold over 35 million albums with 62 singles and 40 #1 Hits. For his upcoming studio album, he has enlisted the help of American Songwriter Magazine to find a great track to cut.

Not unlike the age-old Music Row process of publishing houses picthing their songs to recording artists, we're asking songwriters of every level to submit their songs for consideration.

If you wrote (or you're thinking about writing) a great song and you know it'd be a perfect fit for Ronnie, we want to hear it. It can be a worktape, demo, or fully produced.

A panel of country music taste-makers and industry professionals (listed below) will listen. We'll select the top 25 songs and present them to Ronnie and longtime producer Ron Galbraith. Ronnie will select the winning song, recorded it, and release it as a track on his next album.

The 25 finalists will notified by August 31st.

This is a chance to get your foot in the door. If you already have your foot in the door, then... this is a chance to increase your odds. So send us a song. We're excited to hear what you've got for Ronnie.

Just thought I would throw in some inspiration:

Good luck! 

If you submit a song, post the Songspace link in a comment.  I would love to hear the entries.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Songwriters are a delirious lot.

(By the way, thanks, John Candy, for the photo. I miss John Candy).

Why are songwriters delirious? Well, don't you have to be, to be a songwriter?

What prompted this post was me again, reading those songwriting forums (I'm a reader and a non-contributor).

On one of the boards, there's a whole big discussion about "expensive demos"; the pros and cons ("cons" being a good descriptive word).

Apparently, one has to pay upwards of $1000.00 to get a "good" demo. The "non-good" demos can be had for a bit less.

Do Regular Joes really do this? I'm not talking about the successful Nashville songwriters, like the old standbys that are always mentioned: Jeffrey Steele, Craig Wiseman, etc. (like I'm supposed to know and/or care who they are). They can obviously afford to get those "good" demos done, because they're writing hit songs; you know, the ones that you'd hear on the radio, if the thought of turning on the radio didn't make you nauseous.

No, I'm talking about the everyday garden-variety songwriters, who spend so much time on songwriting boards that one wonders when they have the time to actually write a song.

Most of the songs I've taken the time to listen to, on these boards, are so-so at best (as would mine be, if I chose to share them, which I don't).

Who's got that kind of money to spend to get one of the "good", or even "non-good" demos made? I think they all must be wealthy retirees, since they're hanging around songwriting forums about 18 hours a day. So, maybe they do have the money.

I just think it's such a pipe dream.

First of all, the established songwriters have the "in" with the producers or artists or whoever the heck it is that makes decisions.

Why in the world would they even listen to Mr. Wealthy Retiree's song?

A related point: Those internet sites that are advertising "Looking for songs for Kenny Chesney" (or whomever)...what?? I think it's just a scheme. Why does Kenny Chesney's producer or record label (or whoever makes those decisions) need to troll the internet for songs? They've got people breaking down their door to hand them songs.

Awhile back, I forked over $14.00 for a chance to submit a song to "_______, successful female country artist", (and $14.00 really is my top offer, which is why I will never have a good or non-good demo made).

You know, it's the excitement of reading the opportunity, and thinking, "Hey, wouldn't it be great if I could get my song recorded by Successful Female Country Artist?"

It was only later, when I got my detailed critique, which stated, in its entirety, "not quite what we're looking for", that the realization hit me: Are you an idiot?? Successful Female Country Artist doesn't need my songs.

Well, a day late and $14.00 short; that's me.

On the plus side, I didn't spend the money to get a good demo made of the song, or else it would have cost me $1014.00, rather than $14.00.

To be cynically honest, any piece of junk can be made to sound good, if one is willing to spend the money. Just listen to the radio, for pete's sake!

I'm just not into that game. Maybe if I was 20 (or 30) years younger. Maybe then I'd have the drive to write a song just like the ones that are played on the radio; just for that shot of possibly making some dough, and losing my self-respect (oops, did I say that?)

By the by, the consensus on that songwriting board is that, yes, you do need to spend the money. I'll have to check back to see if anyone bothers to mention that you're throwing your money away by doing so.

P.S. If anybody knows of a good songwriting forum, give me a holler. There are two that I view on a semi-regular basis, but they've both got their issues. One is a pat-on-the-back coffee klatch for any number of horrible to semi-horrible songs. The other is some kind of all-men's club, that features all manner of discussions regarding pretty much anything other than music. So, what I'm looking for is a board that is non-juvenile, and interesting.

P.P.S. Why is it that women so rarely become involved in discussions of the music industry, or basically of music in general, on these boards? Their contributions seem to consist of posting up their latest lyrics, and....I guess that's it. Am I the only female who's actually interested in the music biz? I can't believe that's the case. If it is, man, I'm sorely disappointed in my gender. Maybe they're all just too busy going shopping or something.

I leave you with the theme song of this post. As you may know, Prince is notoriously shy about sharing his videos, so here is a fan-generated one. (I like this song!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Musicians = Gullible

Oh, not all musicians, of course. Just us amateurs. You know, those of us who make our own music, at home, in our $1.99 studios.

Maybe I should have titled this, "Musicians = Naively Hopeful". Because without hope, where are we? (That's true of life in general, isn't it?)

My husband and I went away for a few days; a long weekend; just us and the dog and cat (yes, my husband insists that we also take the cat). This makes for an interesting stay at a resort. Thankfully, the resort we stay at does not have maid service. Otherwise, bringing a cat is really kind of a losing proposition.

When we returned, I checked my email, and found the usual.

One email was titled, "Great News!" Okay, what could the great news be? Could we have had one of our tracks licensed? Yippeeee! Oh wait. No, the great news was, one of the sites we use for licensing is recommending yet another website, where we can upload our music. For what reason? Well, just because!

Another email proclaimed, "Fast-Track Your Music!" How much will it cost us? Well, it's such a great deal that the email didn't include the price! But it did say, "It's not going to be cheap!" Cool! Frankly, if it costs more than $50.00, it's a no-go! (I thought I would use exclamation points as well, just to feel like part of the clique!)

Here's one: "Imagine 6,500 Radio Programmers Getting Your Music!" Imagine! Imagine that I have anywhere from $100.00 to $600.00 dollars!

Those were the highlights from my in-box. I also had the usual, you know, "#@@!)$ is now following you on Twitter". Nice. The problem is, I rarely (meaning three times a year, tops) post anything on Twitter, plus all #@@!}$ wants to do is sell me something; some seminar about how to get rich in the music business, or something else just as useful.

Overall, I'll have to say, I felt darn special! And honored, really, to have been chosen to receive these once-in-a-lifetime offers.

Oh wait; you got them, too? Oh, never mind, then.

So, fame, or non-fame, as the case may be, is fleeting. And expensive, apparently.


But on a serious note, and speaking of fame, I don't want to be remiss in not noting the passing of Jeff Conaway today.

I don't watch reality shows as a rule, but I happened, one time, to catch an episode of something called Celebrity Rehab. It was too sad for me to even consider watching any additional episodes. Sad in a few ways. Sad that these people were so desperate that they were willing to air their troubles on a cable TV show, but more sad in that, addiction is a mean, heartless demon; one that will strip you of your dignity and your soul and your humanity. Some people make it through; a lot of people don't. Jeff didn't.

I remember when I watched that episode thinking, he doesn't have long in this world. Well, Jeff had a few more years, but ultimately, I believe he gave up, and said, enough is enough.

I prefer to remember Jeff like this:

Addiction affected my family in an all-encompassing way. My dad, and others in my family, made it through, by the grace of God. It's so easy to say, I give up. It's too hard. My dad said, I give up, and I give my life to a higher power.

It ain't easy. In fact, it's damn hard (and I promised myself I'd curtail the cursing, but I think it's appropriate here).

I think about all the little gripes that I have, and while it makes me feel better to write about them, I know, and everybody else knows, that I'm just bitching, just to bitch.

I do know what's important in life, and it's not some silly song, or somebody liking some silly song. Or somebody trying to wring money from us for our songs.

This is one I wrote for my dad. I wrote it the best I could. And that's what it's really about, right? That's why we do it, isn't it? That's really what this whole music thing is about; truth. It's not some fa-la-la thing. Or the right beats. At least, for me. It's about life.

I'm glad my dad made it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Got This Songwriting Thing All Wrong

Allow me to paraphrase from a post on a songwriter's board:

"I've been studying how to write a hit song for a couple of years now, and I think I'm finally getting the formula down. Just moved to Nashville! I'm on my way! Just a matter of time!"

Hit Song Recipe

1/2 cup of attitude
1 heaping tablespoon of pickup truck
2 cups of female empowerment, stirred briskly into mix
a generous dash of rock guitar riffs
1 foot-long list, divided into four portions
1/4 cup of "my daddy" (found in the canned foods aisle)
1 can of cold beer


This recipe makes a great last-minute supper, because the ingredients are ones that all hit songwriters should already have on hand.

It doesn't require any hard-to-find items, such as heart, love, or feelings.


Grab a co-writer; two, if available, to help with preparation. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Pour all ingredients into a large bowl, and, using an electric mixer (set on high), beat briskly until mixture forms a pale yellow mush. Quickly pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan, and bake for five minutes at 500 degrees.**

**Or 2 1/2 minutes if you prefer your song to be half-baked. Most hit songwriters choose to use this method.

It is not necessary to allow hit song to cool after removing from oven. It can be served immediately to program directors. They will be so delighted with this dish that they will want to share it with their listeners as often as possible.


You're welcome! Bon appetit!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hank Cochran

One thing that troubles me about amateur songwriting boards is that most of the people posting on them seem to have no knowledge of music history.

How do you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been? This goes for Nashville, too, and its so-called songs. You know, the ones that are tuneless and soulless.

I read the news about Hank Cochran this morning, and browsed on over to the two songwriting sites that I frequent, to read what others had to say. Someone on each of the sites had mentioned Hank's passing, but very few members even bothered to respond. One poster said, "Wow - he wrote, I Fall To Pieces? I didn't know that!"

Really? You didn't know that? And you profess to be a "country music writer"?

Anyway, enough complaining. Let's celebrate the songs of Hank Cochran, shall we?







UNDO THE RIGHT ~ WILLIE NELSON (The premiere recording was by Johnny Bush)

And my all-time favorite:


Rest in peace, Hank Cochran. Thanks for the songs.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Songwriter

My boss once asked me (feigning interest), "How do you write a song?"

This happened in the midst of an actual work-related conversation, so needless to say, I was taken by surprise.

So, there was a lot of stuttering and stammering, and I believe I said "you know" approximately 38 times. Meanwhile my boss was thinking, "I was just being polite".

I never did answer the question satisfactorily. And mercifully, we went back to discussing weekly production goals and overtime.

The problem, as I see it, is that songwriting is such a technically challenging vocation that it defies description.

Alas, if I'd only had this video to show her. It truly explains my songwriting process.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Frozen-Dog Days of January

Reading song lyrics lately just depresses me. They all seem so contrived. It's like it's a trick.

Maybe it's just the frozen-dog days of January that have me in a funk.

I just can't bear to read another "drinkin' Jack Daniels, scopin' out the ladies,", or "my tractor is big and ugly". Are there any other topics besides tractors and pick-ups (of the opposite sex kind)?

Any "heart" in anybody's songs anymore? Any soul?

All I can think of right now is:

Hello darkness my old friend
I've come to talk with you again

Seems like the writer had a little heart; a little introspection.

Ah, but that's not what the market wants, now, is it?

It's all just a trick.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Is Today's Music Missing the "Feel"?

Other people tend to articulate things way better than I can. I browse a couple of songwriting boards every day on my lunch break (when I get one!), and a writer I admire (who's actually grabbed the brass ring, and has had at least one number one hit song), wrote a couple of days ago, "I no longer like country music as a whole and especially as a pursuit from a writers perspective."

So simple, yet to the point.

I actually don't know who likes country music anymore. At least, not the country music on the radio. I bet I could query a few icons of country music, and if they were honest, they would admit that they don't like the country music that's played on the radio.

The songwriters don't like it. They're just trying to make a living. (I do a lot of stuff I don't like, too, because I have to make a living).

Another board (that's much more amateurish) gives writers a place to post their lyrics, and for the most part, they're just awful. I think it's because they're all trying too hard. Over-thinking stuff just never really worked for me. 99.9% of the songs that I've "over-thought" have never seen the light of day. I recognize crap when I hear it, especially my own.

Music is meant to be felt. Yea, technically, it's meant to be "heard", but a true music lover knows what I mean. If you're not feeling it, forget it.

My favorite songs aren't "technically" perfect. I don't like my music sterile. It makes me wonder why the four million, five hundred thousand, two hundred and fifty two songwriters out there are so worried about finding the perfect (yet clever!) rhyme for nights. (Me included).

Just feel it, and maybe the rest will take care of itself.

On a related note, my favorite blogger, Craig Bickhardt, posted A Blissful Surrender this week. Poetic, as always.

And so, so true.