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.