Friday, January 30, 2009

Here Comes the Charts!


Hot Shot Debut, most increased plays and most added!


62 adds!


Gained over 46k plays!


This is not even a full week of plays people! I think radio likes this song!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Story behind the music: "Here Comes Goodbye"

Clint Lagerberg is literally the smartest, most incredible writer I've ever had the chance to write with - and over the last year, I've gotten to write with a lot of really, really great writers. And, no, I'm not just saying that because Clint cowrote the song that just got cut by Rascal Flatts. I was saying that long before Flatts ever put our song on hold and even longer before Flatts released the song as their first single for their upcoming album Unstoppable (due April 7).  

Clint was my cowriter on Empty Me the first single from my record Running Back to You that came out almost a year ago now.  When we wrote together the first time, I was blown away by his discipline and his attention, not to every detail but every detail that mattered.  

In April of last year, Clint and I had a writing session on the books.  When I got to his house in Spring Hill, he told me about this new program he had devised to try and get a cut on the Rascal Flatts album, which he knew was looking for songs at the time.  He had gone through every Flatts song and come up with an entire album's worth of titles.  With each title, he had a basic idea for the song, a line or two for each one, and a feel (up-tempo, ballad, etc.) for each one.  Genius.

The one that I gravitated toward was a title "Here Comes Goodbye".  Clint had the idea that a guy hears his lover coming up the driveway and slowly figures out that she's saying goodbye.  The line he had written down was "here comes goodbye."

With those elements as a GREAT starting point, we sat down and spent the next couple of hours trying to figure out how to word it.  Clint had the first line: "I can hear the truck tires coming up the gravel road".  For the next line we wanted to give the feeling that something was wrong.  It took us nearly an hour of throwing things around (and getting on rabbit trails talking about music) before we settled on "and it's not like her to drive that slow with nothing on the radio".  We thought maybe it should be about a sad song on the radio.  We threw out female artist's names with lines like "...with Loretta on the radio" and "...and Martina's on the radio".  Finally we settled on nothing being on the radio.

We then wanted to create the sense that with each footstep, with each sound, the dread is building up in the protagonist's mind.  We tossed around and tossed out several ideas before landing on "footsteps on the front porch, now I hear my doorbell; she usually comes right in, now I can tell".  How better to paint a picture of something being wrong than the fact that your girlfriend/significant other usually comes in but she's now ringing the door bell.  And suddenly our guy knows that he and her are through.

The line "Here comes goodbye" is a great line, but we struggled with where to go.  We spent close to an hour going back and forth with different approaches.  Once we know goodbye is here, how do we paint a picture of heartbreak?  After a while, I remember suggesting we treat goodbye like an animate object, and then treat other things that come with break up like animate objects.  It became " comes the last time, here comes the start of every sleepless night, the first of every tear I'm gonna comes the pain."  Those 4 lines took us forever, but once we had them we knew we had something special.

We ended the chorus with taking it almost into the future: "Here comes me wishing things hadn't ever changed and she was right here in my arms comes goodbye."  As we wrote it, I remember singing through what we had and getting chills, thinking that this song was approaching love lost in a way that I hadn't seen before.  Like I said, Clint is a genius.

Clint has a great project/demo studio in his house, with lots of toys (guitars, keys, etc.).  I was playing piano and he was playing acoustic.  And we had written an entire treatment of the verse music that was really good, but somehow wasn't kicking our butts like the chorus music was.  I mean, we would sing through the chorus and get chills...the verse didn't really do the same thing.

I had to leave because my parents were in town, and Clint was going to have me lay down the piano part to have so we didn't forget it.  His daughter, Abby, was downstairs and was being really quiet...with 5 year olds, when they're quiet it usually means trouble, so Clint went to go check on her.  As he went downstairs, I began messing around with a piano part that I had had in my bank for a while, just messing around.  Clint came back up (Abby is an angel, and was just playing quietly) and I remember telling him that next time we got together we should write a song to this piano riff.  He listened for a little bit, then told me to try it with the verse lyric.  And boom!  It fit like a glove.  We threw out the old verse music and I laid down what is now the opening haunting piano riff at the beginning of the song.

After I laid down the part, I left and hung out with my parents.  The next morning, Clint called me and said, "Man, I think I just wrote the 2nd verse last night without you."  I was a little disappointed at first, 'cause I LOVE the chase of finding the right thing to say in the second verse.  But my disappointment soon turned to elation, when he read me this lyric:

"I can hear her say I love you like it was yesterday
And I could see it written on her face that she had never felt this way
One day I thought I'd see her with her daddy by her side
And violins would play 'Here Comes the Bride' comes goodbye..."

We were both silent for a second and then I cleared the lump from my throat and said, "Dude, we just wrote our first big hit, didn't we?"

The next day, we got together and wrote the bridge.  The day after that Sean McConnell (a good friend of Clint's and another amazing singer/songwriter - google him NOW) came into Clint's studio and sang the demo.  The morning after that, Clint and I turned it into our publishers.  And later that day I got a call from my publisher saying that Joe Don Rooney (Flatts' guitar player) had heard the song, loved it and put it on hold!  I flipped out...once I figured out what it meant to have a song on hold.

Then, came the long, long wait.  Finally at the beginning of November, my publisher called me and told me that Dann Huff (the producer) had called saying, "We just cut the crap out of your song!"  I knew what that meant!  And I was elated!

Now, lots of songs get cut for huge projects like this.  But not all of them make the record.  So, we weren't in the clear yet.  Last week, my publisher called me and said, "I just talked to Dann Huff and asked him if our song had made the record."  At this point, my heart started to pound, because my publisher sounded very sad.  She sighed.  "He said that he wasn't sure if it was gonna make the record."  She paused and my heart sank.  Then she continued, "But he said we'll know by Thursday if it's the first or second single!!!"  And I was in shock.

Then on Wednesday, I was driving to Atlanta for a show and got the phone call from my publisher again..."It's the first single!"  And I almost drove off the road.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hear the song here

Click Here

You can hear Rascal Flatts' song "Here Comes Goodbye" that I wrote with my good friend Clint Lagerberg.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Life Moves On...

Well, as exciting as last week was, it's time for life to move on. The Flatts' single comes out this week and officially goes for adds next week, so it will be cool to hear the song on the radio. I've got a few shows coming up this month, but for the most part am free.

I finish up with Rough Draft tomorrow (hopefully - the guys have been sitting around for a while waiting to be done). We're done with vocals and all tracking, now it's just adding weird sound effects and guitar stuff. This project is gonna be cool.

Still writing for the next album, too. I think I've found the person who is going to coproduce the album with me...more on that once all the deals are in place. But I'm excited about the follow up to RBTY.

Anyway, the show with Risa went awesome. Thanks to her for thinking of me. I think we're gonna make this an annual thing...kinda like the picnic...which we WILL be having again this year. So plan on coming!

Friday, January 16, 2009

NOW, it's official

Well, I made a little boo boo by announcing this 2 days too early...apparently everyone is superstitious and until the label announces the single, so my announcing preceding the label announcement is poo pood. But anyway here it is...

Rascal Flatts has recorded "Here Comes Goodbye", a song I wrote with my good friend Clint Lagerberg (who cowrote "Empty Me" with Tony Wood and me).

We finished the song in April last year on a Monday. The demo was recorded on Tuesday and Rascal Flatt's label heard it and put it on hold on Wednesday. Since then we've been waiting around to find out what was happening.

It was the last song they decided to record and from what we've heard, the producer and label (and the band themselves) feels strongly that this song is going to be a good thing for Rascal Flatts. So good, in fact, that the song is officially the band's first single. It goes to radio outlets on Monday. The official add date is Jan 26, I believe. So, listen for my/their song on radios around the world very, very soon!

This is a huge deal! I can't believe this is happening!

Please buy the song when it hits iTunes and buy the record when it comes out April 7!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rough Draft

So, I've been working for the last couple of weeks with a band out of Colorado called Rough Draft. I'm really excited about this band. I met them out at the GMA Seminar in the Rockies and was impressed with their performance there. I talked with them a little bit back then, and asked to hear more music. Then, in September, we played a couple of shows with them out in Colorado and I was very impressed with their live show. So, I offered to produce them basically for free.

So, since the 5th, the band and their road manager Greg have been staying with Sarah and me, working on a 7-song EP that I think is going to be pretty incredible. The songs range from the rocking single "Calling Me Back to You" to the song the band wrote for their work with Compassion (simply called "Compassion Song") to one of the coolest songs I've ever had the chance to work on "Here I Am" (uses full band plus tympani, cymbal swells, tambourine, a HUGE bass drum, shakers, and various percussion plus massive gang vocals to end the song).

I think that you guys are going to LOVE this band and this EP. I feel strongly that this band is going to be signed and is going to be a major player in Christian music in the next few years. I also think they have the chops to cross over to the mainstream, if the right record label is involved.

Anyway, just wanted to let you guys know about this band. You'll probably get to see them on the Back to School Tour part deux this fall.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Well, a while back, I told you guys that a successful country group had put my song "Here Comes Goodbye" on hold. That was in April of last year. 9 moths have come and gone. In October I found out that the song had in fact been recorded by said group (who will be left unnamed at this juncture). They recorded the song, but there were no guarantees that the song would make the album. Nashville is weird about overcutting and literally artists will not decide what songs go on their albums until the day that it is due at the manufacturers. So, I've tried to keep my hopes down just in case everything didn't go through.

However, I received word yesterday that not only will it be on the album of said artist, it will be a single, with a good probability of being the 1st single!

So, look to hear my song on country radio very very soon!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Empty Me: Video

I asked. You submitted. Time passed. You asked. Now I sumbit.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Arise: The Video

This is probably my most serious moment as an artist.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I wrote a twitter about this movie, but I wanted to expand a little more.

Sarah and I went and saw this film yesterday, and I don't think I've ever been affected like I was by this film.  I'm the type of person who is rarely moved by a movie or tv show.  My wife jokes that I have a stone heart.  I just am not an emotional person - competitive, yes; emotional - not so much, especially with film.  I've seen a lot of movies, both good and bad and the stories have been told - for the most part - many times before.  Some tell it better than others, but for the most part, it's rare a story takes you by surprise.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of those surprises.

Sure, we all know it's based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story about the life of a man who is born old and dies young.  Interesting...not too many stories like that.  My interest was piqued when I heard about the story.  Then I read an interview where Brad Pitt talked about Eric Roth's treatment of the story being summed up in "youth is wasted on the young".  Okay, my interest is even more piqued.

When I put together that David Fincher (director of 3 of my favorite films - Se7en, Fight Club and The Game) directed the film and Eric Roth (screenwriter of Forrest Gump) had written the screenplay, my excitement grew for the film.  It was looking like it could have the makings of a great film.  Plus Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett (as well as Julia Ormond) are not too shabby as actors.

But, we've all seen the films that looked like they had EVERYTHING going for them that fell flat on their face (Gigli anyone?)  Well, earlier in this post and with my twitter, I've probably given away how I thought it worked out.

First off,  David Fincher has created a beautiful film.  Every scene is perfectly lit and perfectly shot.  Each filter of light, each scene is perfectly staged and every piece of this film fits.  But plenty of films are beautiful to look at but fail in other ways.  

The actors are incredible.  I don't know that I've ever seen Brad Pitt act this well since maybe the mid-90s.  He is subtle, funny, overt when he needs to be and always seems to catch the motivation for each scene.  Cate Blanchett is, well, always great...I don't know that I've ever seen a film of hers that I didn't think she was fantastic in.  The film used a new brand of special effects with this film instead of makeup to make the actors look both young and old.  So when you see Cate Blanchett as an old lady, it is actually her, not an old lady playing Cate Blanchett.   When Brad Pitt is an old man stuck in the body of a child, it is actually Brad Pitt not a child playing Brad Pitt.  And it is convincing.

Ultimately, though all those other things are great, it's the script that wins here.  Eric Roth created a script that is reminiscent of Forrest Gump (the story is told from the present time, narrated by the main character and is split up into vignettes where sections of the story are told)  The script is filled with great characters, each one with a convincing backstory and enough time on screen to make a splash - from the tug boat captain that hires a young (stuck in an old body) Benjamin to his first job to the father that gives up Benjamin as a baby only to return to his life later on to the first real love of Benjamin's life (a woman he meets during his time in Russia).  

The story is well-told, the script is tight (even though the film is close to 3 hours) and it is entirely effective.  I had tears several times through the film and when I left the theater, it took a good 20 min for me to gain complete control of my emotions.  The movie is that good.   I've mulled over scenes again and again.  

I can tell you whole-heartedly to see this movie.  

4.9 out of 5 stars

Heart Broken

I've been a Colts fan since my sophomore year of college.  The moment Peyton Manning was drafted by the Colts, I finally had a reason to believe that one of my closest college friends - who was also a fan of Ball State University - wasn't completely crazy.  Peyton was a Tennessee boy, so when he went to Indianapolis, I had to believe that it was okay to move my allegiance from the 49ers of my childhood (Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, etc) to the Indy of my adulthood.

Sure they went 3-13 Peyton's first year and it was tough watching Peyton get his rear end handed to him Sunday after Sunday.  But it was something to build on.  He and Marvin Harrison seemed like a good team and Aaron Whisler and I were happy to cheer on the then hapless Colts.

Over the years, Peyton has proved that he is the best quarterback in the game.  Tom Brady is good, don't get me wrong - I hate him and the Pats, but he's a good QB.  Favre holds all the records, but the dude has played a bazillion years and to go along with all the good records, he also holds the record for most incompletions and most interceptions.  I'll take Peyton's 95 career passer rating over Favre's 4 interceptions week 17.  Some people says it's arguable; I say it's laughable to think anything else - Peyton is the best QB ever in the history of the NFL.

And he has a Super Bowl ring to go with the stats.

But dangit!  Why can't they ever just win a freaking easy playoff game?!!  It's the Chargers and they are freaking 8 and freaking 8.  They lost 8 games this year.  Granted all 8 losses were by a total of like 34 points, but still!  They LOST 8 GAMES!!!   I want to cheer my once hapless, now consistently playoff the Super Bowl.  I wanted a Manning-Manning Super Bowl and I wanted to watch those stinking Giants go down in a ball of fire as my boy passed for a Super Bowl record 17 touchdowns.  I know...that's more than 4 per quarter, but I could see it happen.  Peyton is the man.

So, I'm heart broken.  I'll still watch the playoffs.  I'll have to cheer for someone else.  Probably some crappy team like the Steelers or maybe the other, less talented Manning.  Maybe Tennessee, since I am a Nashville boy now.  Now that I think about it, yeah, I'll cheer the Titans on. 

But Peyton, I want you to know, I'm not angry with you.  I'm just disappointed with you.  I know, I was the defense that gave up stupid stupid long runs to Darren Sproles, a pygmy who somehow runs over guys 4 times his size...I get it.  But you shoulda thrown 17 touchdowns so that the pygmy didn't matter.