My Uncle Bob was a big influence with me. He was friends with my dad years ago, before he died. and he was friends with Henry Jackson, as well. He was always more like a father than and uncle, after my dad died. He liked what I was writing, so we started writing together, and learning the ends and outs of the music business. We started a company called “The Song Mechanics” and started mailing our songs out to publishers. A thousand and one rejects later, we were still trying. The NSAI was having a workshop in Oklahoma, So. we signed up to go. It was exciting flying out with Uncle Bob to an unknown destination. We got there and signed in, and found our room. We took a song we had written to present called “The Top of Kite Hill. About an old singer on the way down, and how he had to retreat to alcohol and drugs to feel like he was at the top again. Somehow, It was the best song presented at the workshop. The other writer’s there treated us like kings. It was a great feeling.
Bob McKracken, was one of the judges there from Nashville office of the NSAI. I got the chance to talk to him (I chased him down, lol). I asked him what he thought I should do. He said,” If you wrote those lyrics, you should move to Nashville”. I was a crazy kid, fresh out of A&M with a science degree, that was all it took. With-in a couple of months, I packed a trailer and too off. Uncle Bob wouldn”t come with me, that would have been the icing on the cake.
So, I arrived in Nashville in the dead of winter. I highways in Nashville, are cut through the mountainous rocks. The water seeps through the rocks and freezes on the wall. It is a beautiful sight. I had never even been to Nashville, this was my first glimpse. I was young and crazy and ready to learn how to write songs. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I was writing pretty good songs, but I also knew I had a lot to learn. Songwriting is a craft and a talent. I stopped at a Howard Johnson Hotel outside of Nashville, It had been a long day. I checked in and went to my room, and then headed for the bar. Who would think, that on my first night in Nashville, at an out of the way Hotel, that I would meet some of the best friends of my life.
In the lounge, they had a singer named Jerry Barlow, not just a singer, but a performer. I introduced myself to him and he introduced me to a couple of his friends. Debby Galloway, Danny Jacobs, Rusty Courtney. We would all become fast friends. If fact, Danny is in town right now, and I am praying that my flu gets better before he leaves. Jerry, later admitted that he thought, at first, that I was just another drunk asshole. Then he realized I was just having a great time. Jerry became my first co-writer in Nashville. We wrote a top ten Canadian hit called “You Lifted me High Enough”, Nominated for Canadian single of the year. I, in all of my years in the business, cannot understand why Jerry Barlow was not a start. I met a lot of friends along the way, I can say the same thing about.
Jerry gave up on country music, and went back to Colorado. He was one of the most talented songwriters I would meet. He started playing and studying Celtic Music, now is one of the foremost player and storyteller in the Genre. Please check him out at www. JerryBarlow.com
Bob McCracken, would go on to publish the first song of mine after coming to Nashville. The same song we brought to the Oklahoma conference “The Top Of Kite Hill”. He rewrote the melody, which Uncle Bob hated, but I liked it. I knew it needed help. I only wish Uncle Bob was still here with me now. I owe him a lot and I miss him all the time.