Austin Songwriting Symposium – 2011
Jan 6 2012

I haven’t blogged too much about music or songwriting recently, but I signed up to attend the Austin Songwriters Group 8th Annual Songwriting Symposium this weekend and tonight was the first night…well it’s now past midnight as I’m writing this post.  My voice teacher, Gene Raymond at Octave Higher, forwarded me a notice about it only a week ago and I figured ‘what the heck, I should go.’ So far so good.  They had songwriters from Texas and Nashville singing their original music tonight.  It was like having a semi-private concert given by very talented song writers in a smoke-free room where everyone was really interested in listening to the singers.  In other words, people were focused on them and not talking to each other, trying to pick up dates, or drinking to excess.  They were all so good and all of them said that no one goes into songwriting for the money.  A guy named  Jim Photoglo made a funny joke about marriage, sex, money, and songwriting but it’s probably not appropriate to write here.  I’m looking forward to a guy named Sonny Throckmorton and a gal named Kimmie Rhodes talk about co-writing songs tomorrow (or shall I say later this morning).

Congressman Lloyd Doggett showed up since he’s a big supporter of the Austin music scene and gave a little speech.  There were many references to some great country singers like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, etc. because most of the music the singer/songwriters played this evening was country music.  Whenever I hear country music, I remember a guy I worked with at Mr. Gatti’s pizza in high school who told me when I told him that I hated country music that it was because my heart hadn’t been really broken yet…and he was right.  I get teary eyed when I hear good country music now.

I signed up to pitch my songs to one of three publishers who will be there on Sunday morning.  We get 15 minutes with a publisher.  I hope I’m brave enough to hum a few bars when it’s my turn because our songs are still in varying degrees of completion.  I wish my songwriting partner could be there, but he’s too busy playing live gigs!  We are hoping our schedules will allow us to finally record some of our stuff this year.  I mean…come on…we have a facebook page for our two person band, so we have to accomplish something, right?  Please go like our page:  METAPHOR MANIA.  I think we need 25 people to like it to remove the numbers from the URL so…do the right thing and wish me luck in pitching…I could use some positive affirmation right about now.

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Country Music and Broken Hearts
Jul 14 2009

When I was in high school in Lubbock, Texas, I took a part time job at Mr. Gatti’s Pizza because one of my friend’s worked there and I wanted to earn some extra money.  I even worked there on my 18th birthday and served my very first beer.  I remember the thrill of pulling the tap and angling the plastic, chilled mug to get the right amount of beer and foam top.

I also remember a few other things from that time and one was one of my co-worker’s statements about country music.  I can’t remember his name, but I remember how he looked when we had the conversation.  He was short to medium height, average looking, with curly light brown hair and was wearing the Mr. Gatti’s uniform (tan pants, white buttoned shirt, and apron).  I think he was in his early 20’s.  We were standing in the front area by the register.  At the time, I couldn’t stand country music.  I told him how lame, annoying, and stupid it was.  He looked at me and said something like “You obviously haven’t had your heart broken.  Come talk to me about country music after you have had your heart broken.”  I looked at him and thought to myself “Well, I better not let anyone break my heart then.”

Well for me Happiness was Lubbock, Texas in my Rear View Mirror (Mac Davis) and I have no interest in being buried there in my jeans. 🙂

As I grew older and had my heart broken, I did come to appreciate country music.  I’m still not an avid fan of the entire genre (broken trucks, everyone leaves, the dog dies, somebody kills themselves, etc.) but artists like George Strait, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain really know how to sing to a broken heart.

Broken hearts come in many forms but the kind involving personal relationships hurts the most.  I’ve had my heart broken a few times in my career, two of which have partially happened while I’ve been blogging (2 years now) and you, my readers, have been along for the ride.  Once when I learned about my first company’s/baby’s death and wrote a post called The Entrepreneurial Ledge.   My heart broke when I left the company back in 2001 and it broke some more when I found out it was gone in late 2008.  The other is of course having to find a home for Babble Soft, but I’m still optimistic that there will be a good outcome and it will live on in some form or fashion.

So if you want to shed some tears, relieve some tension, and appreciate the learning/yearning from some of your broken hearts check out some of these country songs on You Tube:

You Look So Good In Love – George Strait

Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue – Crystal Gayle (quasi-country)

Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash

Walk the Line – Johnny Cash

Landslide – Dixie Chicks (via Fleetwood Mac)

Always On My Mind – Willie Nelson

Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain – Shania Twain and Willie Nelson

As they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”  My heart will hopefully be stronger (with some duct tape, stitches, and super glue) on the other side.

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