I Am here today still writing and singing songs because people believed in me. My Uncle Bob, more like a father than an uncle, he taught me and my best friend Ronnie, what he knew about guitar and taught me to love great songs. I really miss him. His children gave me his guitar when he passed away. It’s one of my most cherished posessions. My father, I didn’t know him well, he died when I was young. He was a great songwriter. Looking back at his time, he was right up there with Willie Nelson, Doodle Owens and Whitey Schaffer. He could have been great but he was an alcoholic. I think I inherited his musical/songwriting abilities, but I also inherited his alcoholism. While his problems kept him from going Nashville, mine drove me there. I was still young, crazy, out of college, and ready for adventure. My uncle Bob and I went to a NSAI convention in Oklahoma. We played a song we wrote called “The Top of Kite Hill”, about an over the hill singer who retreats to drugs and alcohol to keep his “high”. The song got the best reviews of any song there. The other attendees treated us like kings. One of the panelists there, Bob McCracken, liked the song a lot. I talked to him awhile, and he said I should move to Nashville. That’s all it took. I packed a trailer and headed to Tennessee. I had never even been there. I pulled into the west side of Nashville in the dead of winter.It was beautiful, ice cascading down the sides of the mountains that they had cut roads through, snow, I had hardley seen in Texas. I pulled into a Ho-Jo hotel outside of Nashville the first night for a rest. I cleaned up and went naturally, to the bar. That night, I met some of my first true friends in Nashville. There was a pretty girl singer, Debbie Galloway, and her boyfriend Danny Jacobs, a great singer himself. The main star was Jerry Barlow. He was fantastic. Great singer, wonderful songwriter, hilarious comedian. He told me later that he first thought, oh here we go, another drunk asshole, then he said he realized, that I was just having a great time. We later became good friends. We wrote my only hit record, You Lifted Me High Enough, recorded in Canada by “The Mercey Brothers”
I found Bob McCracken, and he re-wrote a melody to the Top of Kite Hill, and that became my first published song. I found a job at a hotel down on Music Row as a maintenance man. The Hall of Fame Hotel. I met some crazy folks there. Johnny Lee was hilarious, Faron Young was a drunk asshole, that was a great job. My friend Jerry Barlow, found me a job at a publishing company, as a tape copy boy. I kept my night job, bar backing at the Hall ofFame Hotel to pay the bills. I was only getting 75.00 per week at the publishing company. But, at the publishing company, owned by Republic Records, I met some great people. Dave Burgess was the director, he used to be in the Champs the band that did “Tequila”, among many others.
I also met a young songwriter named Roger Alan Wade, who we almost instantly formed a bond. I had been listening to his songs in the copy room, before. We were the same age, loved to drink, and loved Kris Kristofferson songs. We used to sit up late at night drinking and singing every Kristofferson song we knew. He became one of my best friends. He encouraged my writing. I like to say now. We was writing buddies, but we was better drinking buddies. There were a lot of people I would like to mention who helped and encouraged me back then. Jerry, and Roger, of course. But also Eddie Burton (Dancing Your Memory Away), Buck Moore, ” Paint Me a Birmingham”, Tom Grant, who had a country hit with, the Lionel Ritchie song “Sail On”
Poor Tom, he had so much talent and so muck bad luck. He had “Sail On” with Republic Records, then they went belly up. Then he got signed to Epic Records, and never had a release. Such a nice guy and a great entertainer, he spent years on the Ralph Emery show on the “Nashville Network”, one of the favorites. The rest of the songwriters pretty much dismissd me as, no one, even the publisher, Dave Burgess. I remember asking him if he had seen that my song had gone top ten in Canada. He said, oh yeah. Like it was nothing.
I showed Roger a song that Uncle Bob and I had been working on called “When George stops Loving Tammy, That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You”. He started reworking it, and they wound up cutting it on a session they were trying to get Roger a record deal. Which he deserved. Everyone told me, that song, was a smash. But he never got picked up by a label. I saw so much talent go to waste in Nashville, it was a crime.
Present day. I haven’t kept up with many people. Gene Vowell, an old roommate and co-worker at Merit Music. He is the first person who listened to me play a song and said “Brian, I will kick your ass if you don’t give me publishing on that song”. That song, “The Gone Side of Goodbye” is on the new EP “The Texas Side of Nashville” The EP Title is from a line in that song. And Roger Alan Wade,who has encouraged my writing all along, and really gave me belief in myself. Please check out his music, you will not be disappointed, I promise. Just google Roger Alan Wade.