Sunday, June 13, 2010

I've Got Ramblin' Fever, Part II

Mrs. Troubadour and I have "living in France for a year" on our bucket list. Not that either of us is anywhere near the age where we have to be concerned with kicking that bucket, but we do plan on making the France thing happen within the next couple of years. If you added up the hours I've spent dreaming about this when I should be writing you'd see that I could have completed a few "War and Peace" sized manuscripts by now.

In regards to making that move, I just finished reading this excellent post from David Lebovitz. Have you ever been in a relationship with an extremely hot but certifiably crazy person? Most of your friends wanted you to end it, but a few understood. You'd defend your romantic choice, of course. "But look how beautiful (let's call this person 'Francis') is!" Or, "You don't know Francis like I do!" I suppose any culture can be infuriating at times, but the French do it with such style that I've no choice but to forgive them.


Paris is so beautiful it's ridiculous. After the initial sensory overload subsides a bit, you begin to notice the little details: the fleurs-de-lis worked into the wrought iron, the artful arrangements of the goods displayed in shop windows, the architectural details of the Haussmannian buildings. Go beyond Paris and venture into some of the smaller towns and villages and you'll still see beauty at every turn. If Paris is the flashy showgirl of France, many of the less populated cities are quiet beauties like the girl next door.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm So Excited, and I Just Can't Hide It...

George Strait has a song I co-wrote. My friend Shake Russell dropped by one afternoon last year, and we hung out for an hour or so fleshing out some lyrics he'd been holding onto for a while. As so often happens when I have the privilege of writing with Shake, we wound up with a good song. Shake included it on his latest CD, and now George is thinking about recording it, too.

I'm hopeful, especially since Shake has such a great track record as a successful songwriter. He's written several hit songs, and has had his tunes covered by Ricky Skaggs, Waylon Jennings, Clint Black, Michael Martin Murphy, and John Denver, to name just a few. So like I said, I'm hopeful, although I'm not spending the royalty money just yet.

Mrs. Troubadour wondered aloud why I'm not leaping for joy, so I told her this story:

Back in the pre-Mrs. Troubadour days when I lived in Nashville, a friend slipped a cassette tape with some of my songs to a big-time record producer that he knew. The producer was getting ready to record a CD with one of the more popular country acts at the time. A few weeks later, at about 2am my phone rang (I'm generally up at that hour, so no big deal) and it was the record producer, calling to introduce himself and let me know that they'd just cut one of my songs.

"We're really liking the way it sounds, but we've got a few more songs to cut so it'll be a few weeks before we decide what makes it on the CD. Anyway, as of now yours stands a pretty good chance of making it. Just thought you'd like to know."

Well hell yes! Oh, I was a happy troubadour! No more struggling musician for me! I'd only been in town for about a month, and I was thinking that boy, it really is just like in the movies!

A few weeks later, the phone rang, again at about 2am. It was the big-time record producer.

"Well, it was between your song and one that my wife's brother wrote, and well, you know..."

Apparently he didn't want to sleep on the sofa for a few weeks, so that was that. I never heard from him again, and found out later that our mutual friend positioned himself as my manager/music publisher, without my knowledge. The producer had offered to buy my catalog (in other words, hire me as a songwriter) but our mutual friend declined. "I'm negotiating to get you a better deal", he said. The better deal never materialized, and as far as I know, that's the closest I've ever come to having one of my songs on a major label.

So now George Strait is considering recording a tune that my friend Shake was generous enough to let me pitch in on, and I'm back in familiar territory, playing the waiting game again.

And if I'm totally honest, I am just a little excited.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This is My Guitar



This is my guitar. I bought it at a music store in El Centro, California back in the mid-eighties, when everyone else was buying axe shaped electric guitars and trying to start hair bands. It's a mahogany Fender acoustic with a sunburst top, and it has accompanied me all over the world. Coffee houses from California to Florida, dive bars and road houses in Texas and Tennessee, mountain campfires and beach party singalongs. It's made countless appearances with me at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee, and had the hell played out of it five hours a night, six nights a week, for an entire month at the Casino de Montreux in Montreux, Switzerland. It was my therapist during many a lonely night as I tried to heal a broken heart, and for all I know it may have even helped me to break a few hearts. It's been my trusted songwriting partner hundreds and hundreds of times, in several states, quite a few countries, and at least two continents. It even helped me write the song I used to propose to my girlfriend, who is now my wife of seven years.

I almost felt guilty a few years ago when I got a new guitar, but my voice has deepened as I've gotten older, and I need the rosewood construction of the Martin to help my voice blend with an instrument once again. I've had a few adventures with the Martin and will hopefully have many more, but I still grab the Fender when I get inspired to write another song, or if I'm just feeling a little nostalgic. This is my guitar.