Monday, December 2, 2013

Out Of Control and Songwriting and Baseball (Excerpts)

This is an excerpt from Chapter 22 called Out of Control...Things were at an all time mess during this time in my life...

I would often look at my family and think the best thing would be for me to just leave.  I was thinking that if I was out of the picture things would be ok for them.  However that is not what was needed.  What was needed was for me to man up, face the demons, go to rehab for real, regardless of how long it took and get well.  Then and only then could I be the man of the house, husband and father that this family needed, deserved and wanted.  Because I am a Christian, this lifestyle I was living could be categorized in one small word: sin.   I was living life the complete opposite of anything God had ever intended for me.  I had become a fool and every ounce of common sense and maturity was lying somewhere in the rear view.  I was the prodigal son in many ways.  If I ever did pick up a Bible and attempt to read many of the verses cut right through me with truth.  I would just put it down and pretend I didn’t read it.  I was headed for places that were the absolute opposite of anything abundant Jesus promised.  Not only was this a reality, I also knew in my deepest heart exactly what I had become and was becoming. 
It was during this time of the year that I originally released the first edition of this book you are reading, “I Wish It Would Rain.   While everything in the original is true and honest, I read back over sections and cringe, because I know what was really going on in my life then. I had become a recluse for the most part, wallowing in my addiction.  Only a couple people that I was close to knew about my addiction.  My parents, Angie, and Dwayne Burks, who helped me write the original version of this book, were the only few. I’m sure other people knew something was wrong, but just not what it was.  Then there were probably those that knew exactly what was going on but they kept it to themselves.  I was still very involved in my kids’ lives, mostly sports.  I was coaching basketball at the middle school as well as helping coach my son’s baseball teams.  I was there, but mainly physically.  My mind was elsewhere.

This is from Chapter 29..Songwriting and Baseball..I was having a conversation at a  Steak and Shake with my good friend and songwriting partner Brian White..I had just shared with him what I had been going through..

You have to understand why I asked him that.  The songwriter circles in Nashville are very guarded.  These guys work day in and day out perfecting their craft, writing amazing songs, and then pitching them to artists to see if they will record their songs.  It is a very competitive and political business.  It is also a very tight fraternity/sorority of brothers and sisters.  No one just walks up to major hit writers and tries to get in on their game.  If one does, they will most likely be shunned and not welcomed!  You kind of have to be invited in or know someone in a sense.  You have to pay your dues and prove yourself.  I was a proven writer and Brian knew that.  However I had been gone a long time and I did not want to just show up and all of a sudden think I could waltz right back into the fold.  I felt I needed to earn it.  I simply asked for a chance again. “Man, you know the door is open and it always has been,” were Brian’s words to me.   To hear that meant the world to me.  We scheduled a date for me to come back out in about two months to write together along with a friend of his. Then he said “Come out to the car, I want you to hear something.”
When we sat down Brian stuck a CD in the CD player and played some absolutely amazing songs that were just being pitched out to artists.  Then he popped another one in and said, “This is a song I have on this new artists’ record. His name is Rodney Atkins.” The song was “Watching You.”   The happy tune about the influence of a father developed into Billboard Magazine’s most played country song of 2007.  It also earned the SESAC (Society of European Songwriters, Actors, and Composers) Country music Song of the Year award.  “Watching You” eventually positioned itself on the charts for thirty-nine weeks, five of those at the number one spot.  As if that was not rewarding enough, it became a number one video on Country Music Television (CMT).   The icing on the cake was a nomination for song of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards the following year.   The award though went to Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland for the song “Stay.”  It mattered little.  The song placed Brian in a completely different playing field as far as songwriting goes.  He’d had many #1 songs in the Christian market as well as songs in the country market recorded by Trace Adkins, Gary Allan, Neil McCoy, and Blackhawk.  While each was a great achievement, none of them changed his life like “Watching You.”  

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