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Not Polka Day...Collectors...Righteous Song

Feb 6 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Thursday and the rain is falling big time and it’s lasted all night long. High water in Nashville today…but hey…not a fleck of that white stuff.  I’m thinking we may escape the entire winter with no snow and that won’t make me a tad sad either if that happens.



My songwriting appointment was with the Hall of Fame Polka Queen Lynn Marie and her husband and musician Eddie Rodick.  The day did not go down the road I thought it would.  A road that would have us writing a fun polka song for her next album.  We took a big fork in that road.


It looks like those two may put together a residency show here in a room that would run maybe once a week.  Part of it will be about Lynn’s music life, the life of raising an autistic child, a failed marriage and finding a great new guy in her life Eddie.  I had no idea that Eddie had to beat the old alcohol bug but thankfully is going on three years sober.  And that’s what they wanted me to help write.  A song about Eddie’s life that might be included in this type of show that Eddie could sing and maybe pass along a message of hope and help to others who have ever been addicted.  I so respect him for wanting to do that.


For me…these are the hardest songs to write.  A song so personal about someone else’s life.  But I’ve done it a few times now and know just to be quiet and let that person tell their story and try to capture in in song and then hoping they will love it.  That happened with “Safe Haven” the song the relationship between Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and her late Grandfather that she lost to cancer.


It’s now happened three different times writing songs with Veterans.  Listening to their incredible stories and creating a song from that.


And I’m glad to say it happened again yesterday as I sincerely think Eddie was touched and love what was written in the room.  It’s just an honor every time to have someone entrust you with something so deep and personal and allowing you to help write that into music and lyrics. (FYI...do click on the link up above in this story...it's a "live" version of "Celebrate" that I wrote with Lyn and Eddie from a performance recently on the NBC morning show here in Nashville.)  Pretty cool.


I’m also looking forward to writing with another veteran in just a few weeks as the group “Freedom Sings” will go back to Little Rock where myself and some other songwriters will be assigned a veteran from the VA Hospital there to once again turn their stories into songs.



“Gosh, I miss the impeachment hearings.  I just wish it would go on and on and on”.



Don’t know bout where you live but the price of gas here is below 2 dollars a gallon now at some pumps. And with road trips to Huntsville, Alabama, South Pittsburgh, TN, Gulf Shores AL and Little Rock all coming over the next few weeks it’s a welcome sight.



Kirk Douglas lived to be 103.  Wow.  What a long productive creative life he had.  One can’t think “Spartacus” without thinking of Kirk Douglas.  I would think he would be honored a bit at this year’s Oscar Ceremony coming up this weekend in Hollywood.



I don’t know how I missed this when I was in Lancaster, PA last year for an “Evening In The Round” concert with Linda Davis & Lang Scott when we opened a show for Gene Watson.  Lancaster is home to a Cartoon Network Hotel.  It looks like something you see in Disney World and not in the heart of Amish country.  If we go back, I’m going to have to check that out.



Now Apple is working on an App for our smart aleck phone that will allow us to start our cars remotely…unlock the doors and maybe turn on the heated seats so it’s toasty when you climb in.  There is an app for everything.


If I were still doing morning radio a great phone topic would be “If you could invent an app…what would it be…what would it do”?


Mine?  I’d invent an app that let me send an electric volt through the phone to every robo-call sender on the other end. 



People collect EVERYTHING.  My great friend and co-writer Steve Dean collects Beatles memorabilia, lava lamps, Three Stooges stuff, guitars and old radios.  I only have a collection of baseball caps and bobblehead dolls that will surely make me rich one day…right?  But how about the guy in New York who collects different kinds of Pizza boxes.  He’s got over 1,500 different ones from all around the world.  And yes there’s a Guinness Record for that and he owns it.  I won’t mention his name here but you’ll know him if you’re ever near him as he weighs 2,000 pounds and will have a slice in his mouth.



Turns out that the most played song on the radio and TV in the 20th Century is “Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers.  Love that song.  There’s a cool back-story on the tune as Phil Spector produced this classic but listed the running time at only 3 minutes and 2 seconds on the record.  Why?  Because radio pays attention to how long a record is.  The actual time on this song is like 3:45 but Phil was taking no chances with radio.  It worked…big time.


Songwriters are conscious about this too when we write.  We always check the time of a song.  If it’s over 3 and a half minutes?  It’s probably too long.  Again…it’s a radio thing.  The commercial breaks can be over 3 minutes…but not the content.



And then there’s this woman who owns the world speed eating of a Burrito record.  Yes…they keep track of that too apparently.  Her name is Leah Shutkever.  Single guys…if you don’t like sitting in a restaurant with a date that chews slowly…think about dating Leah.  She can wolf it down.



I’m gospel songwriting today with Lee Black…our second time writing.  Lee has had a ton of gospel hits…especially in the southern gospel world.  He’s part of a gospel quartet that’s all over the country singing some of those songs. Yesterday I would have sworn I’d be writing a polka tune and we wrote a serious song.  So if we write a Cajun song today?  I won’t be surprised.


Have a great Thursday.





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