Never Had a REAL Job
Now that I’m an “ex officio” songwriter advocate, I’ve been reflecting on the amazing journeyman’s journey I’ve had in this business. The people whose lives I’ve touched and those who’ve touched mine seemed so ordinary at the time, but when I look back or tell a story to a younger co-writers (only if they ask, I’m not “that guy” yet,) I’m beginning to see how remarkable the trip has been and still is. Of late, I’ve been asked by music and songwriting programs at Vanderbilt, Belmont, Loyola, and University of Miami to come talk about the Copyright Laws and how they affect the Business and how that in turn affects the Art and Craft of Songwriting. It’s not a tough connection for me, since I’ve written hundreds of songs that have been recorded from the time I was a teenager to (thank God the cuts are still coming) now. Music is all I’ve ever done, so when my friends tell their tales of working construction and baling hay I have to keep quiet because I was always playing in bands, singing in clubs and writing music.
But I don’t take that for granted, so I’m embarking on a new avocation to speak to groups, especially young folks who aspire to a music career, about the past, present and future of the business I love from my perspective – in the trenches. From my first record deal with my home town Tampa Florida band, to playing with Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis in Memphis, to working at Criteria in Miami with Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler during the “Layla” days, all the way through my three plus decades in Nashville working for twenty-two years with Warner Chappell and up to my current BBR / Magic Mustang family, so many things have changed while so many important lessons have remained.
I think that today it’s more important than ever for a young person to know where Songwriting fits into his or her career path and to make informed decisions. And I think it’s vital to American culture that we keep the great songs coming. So I want to share some of my experiences. With a little help from my friends, I put together a little teaser video demo and the link is below if you want to check it out. It’s been a lot like writing a song, you never know if it’s going to be of real value to anyone, but there’s a chance it might, and it’s always a labor of love.