July 24th – July 29th of this year was a special time. I signed up for NSAI’s Song Camp (Nashville Songwriters Association, Inc) where I would be in the midst of many very popular song writers for some of the best Country Songs. They would be the instructors for the week, teaching a class of things that they have experienced over the years.
The instructors were Rick Beresford, Ralph Murphy, Angela Kaset, James Dean Hicks, Don Henry, Jason Blume, Steve Leslie, and Liz Hengber.
Attending every event, I was most taken back by only two people…Steve Leslie and Don Henry.
Steve Leslie (www.steveleslie.com) has a type of old country in his soul and best describes every facet of life in his songs. He paints a perfect picture that you can envision and puts it to music unlike what you would normally hear. It is kind of that Blues thing meeting Country. He uses some great chords in his songs that would normally be unexpected which makes you want to hear it again. In my talks with Steve Leslie, I found him to be a huge inspiration for my music.
Don Henry (www.donhenry.com) has a type of old country too, but it can also be redone for new country. A good example of this would be his song “All Kinds Of Kinds” that Miranda Lambert has recorded. Don’s version is not like Miranda’s version…but it works well. Don Henry is also famous for Kathy Matteas song “Where Have You Been”. He gave the whole story of how the song came to be and wrote it with Kathy Matteas husband about his grand-parents. It is a touching story and when you hear him tell it, you get all choked up inside.
While in Nashville, I had the pleasure to be with my previous girlfriend Lisa. (now current girlfriend again after 24 years). We drove around to where Larry Lee used to have his offices on Music Row. I hired Larry Lee back in the 90′s to represent me as a Song Plugger to the various artists at that time. Larry passed away in 2001. Just seeing Larry Lee’s old offices and the BMI building were such an inspiration to me. It kept me in the right frame of mind to make this songwriting thing work this time. It wasn’t going to be easy, but I would have the time of my life trying.
There are so many stories from that week…that I cannot possibly write all of them down here. In future posts, I may make reference back to this week and tell a little more.