Tag Archives: Ashley Gorley

ELI YOUNG BAND - TURN IT ON EP

EYB TAKES A GAMBLE ON NEW MUSIC AND COMES UP A WINNER

ELI YOUNG BAND - TURN IT ON EP COVER

AVAILABLE NOW THROUGH ITUNES: HERE

     If you walk into a casino hoping that lady luck is on your side, perhaps what you need to do is put EYB on your playlist. Originally a garage band from Texas, Mike Eli, James Young, Jon Jones, and Chris Thompson have been together for 15 years. Professionally, they’re the Eli Young Band. They have found unprecedented success in the music business, despite the odds being stacked against them. The hand they were dealt consisted of four unique musicians, each with different taste in music. First, they had to come up with a sound that would win over music fans in Texas. Beat the house there and they had to play again, taking on the house capable of dealing them a record deal. The Nashville music scene is stacked like a house of cards. You might be invited to sit in for a game, but staying in the game takes skill, and sometimes the luck of a lady……or at least one (#1) “Crazy Girl.”

     To understand the sound of a band, you have to follow the roots of each of its members. The guys from EYB met in college in Denton, Texas at North Texas State, just north of Dallas. They started hanging out, playing the music they liked for each other. For Chris (drummer) it was Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and grunge rock. The first country he got into was Dwight Yoakam. James (lead guitar) listened to more country, like Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson, but was tuned in to some rock music as well. Mike (lead vocals) was purely a country listener and liked the old school, Opry stuff. Jon (bass) added some jazz, big band, and funk to the mix. When they started writing and recording music, all of these sounds showed up at the table. Before Mike came along, James, Jon, and Chris were playing Weezer and Radiohead covers. When Mike entered the picture, he and James sat around playing country songs. Shortly thereafter, the two became an acoustic duo playing the Denton bars as Eli & Young. Within about a year, Jon and Chris joined them and the Eli Young Band was formed. They thought about changing the name to something less personal but Chris said they could never agree on anything that sounded cool enough. Once the merchandise started being made, EYB stuck.

     Many country bands start out with a dream of hitting it big and set their sights on Nashville. For EYB, that was never a planned destination. Chris said when they first started playing together, they did it just for fun and free beer. There was never a conversation about being a country band, moving to Nashville, and scoring a record deal. It may surprise you that they still don’t live in Nashville. When they decided they wanted to make a go of being a professional band, they cut their teeth in the Texas music scene. Texas has a vibrant music scene with a ton of venues that book live music. Once you start playing, the challenge is to have the songs that will attract a fan base. Soon, they were selling tickets and records at a rate better than a lot of their peers in the Texas market. To traditionalists in the Texas scene, Chris said EYB never fit that mold. It wasn’t until they’d achieved national success that Texas lauded their roots.

     Not wanting to pigeonhole themselves as a Texas band, EYB made a conscious effort to play the national scene. Gaining traction at that level was no easy task. It took years for them to get anyone’s attention in Nashville. Seen as outsiders living in Texas, it took some success for them to break through. They had to overcome being disregarded as a Texas band by Nashville insiders and country radio. Fans loved the music and bought tickets to their shows. Without any hits on the radio, EYB was selling 3,000 tickets to shows around the country. This herculean feat had record labels asking them how they were doing it. With little support from the industry, they’d achieved what few others had. No longer just a little Texas band, the Eli Young Band was commanding a Nashville audience and country radio was about to spin their hits like crazy.

     From the time they started recording, the sound of EYB has had people talking. With so much diversity in their roots, it’s not surprising that their music is a unique blend that’s not easy to put in a box. Chris says they never decided to be a country band. They’d put out two records and were well on their way to being an established band when their publicist asked how they wanted to be classified, rock or country? Their decision was based on Mike’s voice sounding undeniably country to them and their early sound being somewhat Americana. They felt they leaned more towards country so that’s the box that got checked. Through the years from about 2005 to the present, their sound has evolved as they’ve grown through the process. The early sound was more of a rock/blues fusion and through the first two or three albums, their sound was well defined. Chris felt that by 2011, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” was a defining change in that sound. By 2014 with 10,000 Towns, it changed further. It was still essentially EYB, but as Chris called it, “a different version of us.” On their upcoming EP, there are some early sounds and some elements of pop/rock in the mix.

     The process of writing and recording music for EYB has been an evolutionary one. They’ve always written music together, but in the early days, Chris said they would sit around and write together with their instruments and fill in the words later. Now it’s an opposite process that he says is much more efficient. In the crafting of an album, they work like a rock band. The guys play on the albums and write most of the songs. They do bring in other studio musicians to play instruments they don’t. For everything else, what you hear is EYB. Over the years, they’ve grown a lot as musicians in this process. The down side is that the process has been slow going, often putting two to three year gaps between releases. The new EP they’re about to release, Turn It On, marks a complete departure from the way they’ve made and released music in the past. The making of 10,000 Towns was a long and arduous process that Chris described as “chiseling something out of rock.” Alternately, he said the making of Turn It On was a shoot from the hip, trust your gut experience.

     Chris was excited to share with me the uncharacteristic way this new EP came together for them. Wanting to get away from the long periods between albums, they started writing new material as soon as they finished the last record. They had songwriters come out on the road with them, two of which were Ross Copperman and Jeremy Stover, who would end up producing the project. In one afternoon they wrote “Drink You Up.” Chris said they went and played a ELI YOUNG BAND - TURN IT ON EP COVERshow and when they came back, Ross had done a computer demo of the song and added sounds to it that were different than what they would normally do. Those who got to listen to it, liked it. A couple months later they were in the studio recording some music for no particular purpose and wound up with Ross and Jeremy again. In two days, they cut the four songs that ended up on the EP. When they recorded these, they brought in some earlier vocals Mike had done on the bus and a few other parts and put them all together. Chris said it was like making songs in reverse. Doing this with no particular project in mind, they didn’t tell anyone they were recording. When the label got wind they were in town and working on new music, they showed up at the studio the second night of recording. The sound of the new stuff was very different than what they’d done in the past and they were concerned the label wouldn’t like it. Republic Nashville president, Jimmy Harnen, sat on a couch and listened. Two songs in, he was sold. A week later they had a meeting. The label planned to release the four new songs immediately as an EP. Chris said that in just a three week period it turned into a new project. They’d had complete freedom to do things their way and the label loved it. Rarely does this happen.

     Turn It On has a spirit about it and that spirit may have come from the making of the record. Putting this together quickly, Chris described it as “capturing a moment instead of crafting something.” He feels that if there’s too much lag time between the writing and recording of a song, you can lose the spirit of it. The four songs that are on the new EP put the depth EYB has in neon lights. It’s the excitement of finding something new and encapsulating that spark in a recorded performance. The energy that sizzles in every song is a wellspring they can tap into when they play them live. Imagine a bar after closing time. The lights have been turned off and the jukebox is unplugged. Finishing your shift, you’re the last one to leave. You notice new music from EYB has been loaded into the jukebox. Wanting to be the first to hear it, you plug it in and “Turn It On.” What explodes from the speakers is a sound capable of lighting up the room and filling the place with excited fans ready to have a good time. Play through the songs just once and you’ll be hooked on the feeling.

     The title track and first single to be released from the EP, “Turn It On,” takes no time for small talk. From the first few notes, you’ll be tapping your feet and moving to the music. The enthusiasm in this one grabs you immediately. Mike Eli’s deliciously smooth country vocal suddenly bursts as if the lyrics demand he swallow Pop Rocks. Even the neon lights are buzzing with the excitement in this one. No way you can listen to this just once. This may soon be your new favorite song….until you hear the next one. “Plastic” is about standing out in a crowded room full of country girls. The music is a slow dance with a groove and not a cliched lyric rolls off Mike’s tongue. It’s a guy looking across a bar at a girl he’s fascinated by and appreciating what makes her different. This one could be a game changer on country radio, proving that it’s possible to put more than just one type of girl in a country song. Bravo to the songwriters on this one (Mike Eli, Ashley Gorley, Ross Copperman, Jeremy Stover)! Hooked on this one? Just wait…. “Your Place Or Mine” is irresistible, much as the lyrics suggest. Mike delivers a killer vocal on this that sets the mood from the outset. There’s no doubt this one is headed for a late night rendezvous. The intrigue laden instrumentals that show up throughout give this complexity from a musical standpoint that adds to the “it’s complicated” set of circumstances. Out of breath? Hold that thought….Chris described “Drink You Up” as the next song that may change things dramatically for EYB. I’d say, bet on this being a number one. Absolutely infectious, this one has the appeal of an open bar. When the music gets quiet in the middle of the song, it’s like waiting in line for that next drink. As soon as you get it, the party starts all over again with Mike’s vocal pushing you towards the dance floor. Expect this to be played in every bar in the country, country music themed or otherwise. With any luck, EYB will be there live to play it for you!

     For eight years, the Eli Young Band toured the country headlining their own shows, routinely playing a two to three hour set. Once their music got some radio airplay and they were making a name for themselves nationally, they got offers to be a part of larger tours. Over the years, they’ve opened for Kenny Chesney, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, and many others. This year, they’re going back to headlining their own shows and playing fewer of them. Family time is important to the band and less time on the road affords them that opportunity. As luck would have it, one of the stops on this year’s tour was at Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia. The odds of this happening were definitely not in my favor, so I seized the opportunity to see their live show. Having conducted this interview just prior to the performance, Chris told me a few things I could expect to see. They planned to open the show with one of the new songs off the EP, “Drink You Up.” Admittedly, this was a gamble. They had never opened a show with a brand new, unreleased song they’d just learned to play. The intent was to shock the audience. He said they were nervous about it but they would feed off that energy to open with a bang. It was a gamble that paid off.

     I’ve seen a lot of concerts in the past couple of years that have included some of the biggest names in country music. Few have blown me away like EYB. What they bring to the stage is an unbridled, live band performance. Opening with “Drink You Up,” the audience was captivated by a song they’d never heard before and pulled in by the amount of energy EYB hit the stage with. At the end of the song, people were looking at each other with surprised expressions of “what just happened?” They kept the energy high going straight into a rock-edged version of “Revelations.” I knew most all of the songs in the set list, but nothing was played as I expected it to be. Mike is outstanding as a front man. He had control of the audience from start to finish and he makes his way through the set list as if he’s telling the story of who they are through the music. Musically, the transitions are flawless and hands down the best I’ve seen. Mike’s storytelling between songs adds to the experience of the music you’re about to hear. Even the songs you know well become something new in their live performance. “Dust on the Bottle” became an intro into their own hit, “Dust.” From there, they introduced the new single off the EP, “Turn It On.” You would never know it hadn’t been heard before. The crowd responded to the high energy fun this song invites and the band played it like it was already a fan favorite. No doubt, it will be.

     The rest of the set was one special moment after another. During “Prayer For The Road,” their new video played on the screens on either side of the stage. I could tell that many in the crowd hadn’t seen this video before and were glued to it. I had seen it, but listening to EYB play the song live along with it, gave it a poignancy you rarely see. Absolutely stunning. Mike’s intro to “Drunk Last Night” had the audience more than ready by the time they launched into the song that everyone had been waiting for. They followed that #1 hit with another, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” It seemed everyone there knew the words to this one and helped Mike sing it. A slow, acoustic version of Garth’s classic, “The Thunder Rolls,” led into the acoustic opening of “Guinevere.” This beautiful ballad is a showcase for the talent in this band, ending with a killer drum solo by Chris Thompson. From there, they went back to one of the earliest songs they’d written, “Small Town Kid,” and ended the regular set with their first #1, “Crazy Girl.” Having played all of their hits, the encore was a surprise. Apparently, someone in the crowd had been asking for some Skynyrd so EYB finished with an outstanding rendition of “Gimme Three Steps.” It seemed a perfect ending for a set that began with a song that represents how far they’ve come from that Texas garage band that probably played Skynyrd more times than they care to remember.

     Leaving that show, I felt I had a good sense of who EYB is as a band. Chris said there’s a brotherhood and a depth to their relationship and it shows in their live performance. When you watch them together on stage, it’s like seeing them grow musically before your eyes. The set gives you the highlights of their years together, but the way they interact on stage, you get garage band camaraderie in the form of four exceptional musicians. They seem comfortable with their musical identity and clearly enjoy the music they play. When I asked about the choice of the new single, Chris said the label chose it and they were fine with that. They only record songs they love and believe in and it shows in the way they play. In making the new EP, they’ve taken a gamble on changing the process, the sound, and the way in which it’s being released. I predict Turn It On is headed for a big payout with four songs that are all capable of hitting that number one spot. Luck might be a lady, but with this EP, the odds for a winner favor EYB.

     From WAY North of Nashville……..Bev Miskus

Visit EYB’s Website: http://eliyoungband.com/index.php 

ELI YOUNG BAND - TURN IT ON EP COVER ART

“Turn It On” Audio – http://vevo.ly/O90noV

“Plastic” Audio – http://vevo.ly/IqwkoJ

“Your Place Or Mine” Audio – http://vevo.ly/daWuGE

“Drink You Up” Audio – http://vevo.ly/dh7mD0

EYB NEW EP - TURN IT ON DROPS MARCH 10!
Listen to the four great songs on this EP. Can you pick a favorite?

Eli-Young-Band-2014-300-01

Check out EYB’s latest album, 10,000 Towns: http://waynorthofnashville.com/eli-young-band-10000-towns-and-a-lot-of-familiar-miles/

©2015Bev Miskus

BRICE, LEE - I DON'T DANCE DELUXE

LEE BRICE PUTS ON HIS DANCIN’ SHOES!

     Lee Brice‘s new album, I Don’t Dance, was released just a month ago with a #1 song as its title track and the first single off the album. The song, written by Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, and Dallas Davidson, is nominated for CMA Song of BRICE, LEE - I DON'T DANCE #1the Year. That’s a lot of horsepower to street a new record with and a heavy momentum to sustain on the 16 laps around the dance floor the deluxe edition takes. Lee doesn’t have his sights set on Dancing with the Stars, he puts on his dancin’ shoes to show us the art of the slow dance. Shy, and uncertain of his footing, he starts out with a disclaimer – “I Don’t Dance,” and then spins us around and around in a shot of Red Bull-laced slow dance, ending with the passion of a whiskey burn. To ensure that our slow dance experience is exhilarating, Lee took the lead in the production of this dance as a co-producer on the album and a co-writer on most of the songs. His two left feet turned just right for this dance, putting the listener in the palm of his hand for the captivating, I Don’t Dance.

     Lee Brice may not consider himself a leading man on the dance floor, but everything about the title track, “I Don’t Dance,” says otherwise. This is a song where even the written notes grip the page like an impassioned lover. None other than a heartfelt, passionate vocal and intense studio production would do this song justice. There was no assist on this one. Lee produced it himself. Starting out with the delicate strains of music  that come from the winding of a music box, it implies the vulnerability that comes with laying your heart in the palm of someone else’s hand. Having done that, Lee embraces the vocal completely and lays out his feelings in the tour de force performance he gives. The musical accompaniment lets his vocal passion shine on this one and never threatens to trip up his newfound dancing ability. The video for the song, which has been viewed over four million times, includes actual footage from Lee’s wedding. This deeply personal track sets the tone for the album and demonstrates why it gets no better than this.

     Clearly ebullient after this first dance, Lee can’t wait to share his happiness through song. “No Better Than This” may inspire him to really get his groove on. This head bobbing, toe tapping tune is a feel good drive with the top down, sun shining on your face. Listening to this one you can’t help but agree that life gets no better than this! Shy no more, Lee is ready to put his dancing shoes and his girl in the big city spotlight. “Show You Off Tonight” is a lost in the moment, gently swaying ballad. When something feels this good, you just want to share it with the world, and Lee conveys that perfectly here with a vocal that is full of pride but never boastful. “Always The Only One” has an alt rock vibe to it with a strong back beat. The strength of this one is the drive of the music that enforces Lee’s testament of love. When he switches to the spoken word over the music, it serves to further convey the depth of his feelings. “Good Man” has Lee demonstrating his rap technique, more as a means to speak directly to his love interest than a foray into the genre. He pleads his case through a powerful chorus that fits well between those fast spoken lines and wraps the two styles neatly together in a showcase of all he can be.

DRINKING CLASS”

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

     Lee goes from good man to every man with his latest single, “Drinking Class.” This is an anthem for the blue collar class that lives for the end of the work week. He raises an understanding glass in song to those who gather with friends BRICE, LEE - DRINKING CLASSon the weekend to blow off steam and have a little fun. When the airwaves are flooded with drinking songs, this one is unique because it isn’t. There’s a balance here between weekend fun and the responsibilities that come with the crowing of the rooster on Monday morning. Time will tell whether a mature take on the subject can still find its way to the top of the charts. “That Don’t Sound Like You” is a power ballad written by Lee Brice, Rhett Akins, and Ashley Gorley. This one is a wake up call that shows how love can change who you are for better or worse. The most carefree track on this album comes with watching “Girls In Bikinis.” As much as the female gender may roll their eyes at this one, it’s the plain truth in a summer fun song. Guys love to look and we wear ‘em because they do. Have a laugh and just roll with the slinky.

     Bringing that laugh to a screeching halt will be the sound of “Sirens.” This is the first of two songs in a row that play as a stress test for the heart. In Greek mythology, Sirens were dangerous, but beautiful creatures, who lured passing sailors in with their enchanting musical voices. The writers of this one (Lee Brice, Jon Stone, Rob Hatch, and Lance Miller) may have had that reference in mind when they penned this. Their Siren has “tan legs standin’ on the side of the road/Honda with the hood up covered in smoke/Thumb in the air with somewhere to go in a hurry.” From here it’s a full-out, high speed chase, on a collision course with “what the hell just happened?” If there’s a Bonnie and Clyde movie out there without a soundtrack, this should be it – with the emphasis clearly on Bonnie! From its gentle piano opening, you get the sense that “Somebody’s Been Drinking” is going to be a heart wrencher. This one’s all about doing what you know you shouldn’t but can’t help falling back into. When alcohol gets between the head and the heart, defenses are weak. Lee’s vocal is spectacular on this!

     The rest of the album finds Lee Brice in a reflective mood, taking stock of what he has, counting his blessings, and putting things in perspective. “Hard To Figure Out” describes one of those situations we’ve all found ourselves in when we’re complaining about something and run smack into a wall of reality. Lee sings this one like a gospel song and the music behind it is the choir backing him up. Amen! “My Carolina” is a southern rock, Carolina anthem from the heart of a country boy. This one grabs the soul and has the power to bring a native son back home. It may never reach country radio, but it is a must hear off this album. “Panama City” turns Lee Brice into the piano man and this one would make Billy Joel proud. Maggie Rose sings harmonies here in an angelic chorus that lifts this one to the heavens. What a beautiful musical memory of lost love. Stunning!

     The deluxe edition of this album gives us three additional songs and all are worthy of having made the cut. “More My Style” is Lee’s ode to his country boy lifestyle. Rather than adding a trendy clichéd topic to the record, he presents this as a biopic to the girl riding shotgun. Well, in that case, let’s roll… “Closer” pulls you in from the first intriguing notes. The music creates a mysterious feel that makes you want to know everything. The classic rock-like riff that repeats in this makes you want to stay until this mystery is solved. Awesome vibe to this! If the formula for a great concert set is to begin and end on a high note, this album stays true to that format. The nostalgic strings of the acoustic guitar accompany the “Whiskey Used To Burn,” each one producing a fond memory. Much like the music box we heard in “I Don’t Dance,” this one plays gentle on the heart while expressing the strongest of feelings. On an album of outstanding vocals, Lee may have saved the best one for last.

     The power of music to move us, body and soul, is what makes someone want to get up and dance. Moved by the power of love, Lee Brice put on his dancin’ BRICE, LEE - I DON'T DANCE LINER NOTESshoes for the first time and shared his experience on this record. From that life changing slow dance, came the reflection he shares in the tracks on this album, making music with the power to move. The emotion he poured into this project comes out in his vocals and in the nuances he put into the production. As singer, songwriter, and producer, this is unequivocally Lee Brice. This Carolina country boy saved his best moves for this album, so don’t let the title fool you. He does dance, albeit slowly, and so will you.

From WayNORTHofNASHville….Bev Miskus

BRICE, LEE - I DON'T DANCE DELUXE

Preview and download through iTunes: HERE

Visit Lee Brice’s website: http://www.leebrice.com/

©2014Bev Miskus

SONGWRITERS QUOTE BY BRYAN ADAMS

“SOMEBODY, PLAY IT AGAIN, PLAY IT AGAIN, PLAY IT AGAIN”…FOR MORE THAN 9.1 CENTS

     Let me just begin this article by explaining the reason behind my putting quotation marks around part of the title. Those words are part of a song lyric. The song is called “Play It Again.” It was written by songwriters Ashley Gorley and Dallas Davidson. When excerpting their lyrics, it is proper to give them credit for their work, rather than trying to pass it off as if it were my own. In the music world, it’s an unfortunate side effect that happens more often than not. Most of you probably know the song “Play It Again” and would refer to it as a Luke Bryan song. He recorded it for his latest album, Crash My Party. Before I credited the songwriters here, did anyone know who wrote it? I’m a bit old school in the sense that I love album cover art and the liner notes. When I love a song, I want to know who wrote it. Imagine if the roles were reversed. What if your favorite song came on the radio and all you’d ever heard about its origin was the names of the songwriters? No singer. No album title. The singer would, no doubt, demand credit for the vocalizing of that song and there would surely be a lawsuit filed by the record label. All of these parties are protected by copyright laws. They also receive payment as a result of those protections. How they’re protected and how much they’re paid is at the center of a firestorm that involves politics, corporations, digital media, and songwriters. The issue: corporations and digital media outlets are fighting for their right to continue to pocket millions of dollars off someone else’s work while claiming that they can no longer afford to pay songwriters 9.1 cents per mechanical reproduction. Where politics comes in: Congress, lobbyists, and lawyers will ultimately have the final say in this. With that cast of characters, don’t expect this story to have a fairy tale ending, well, unless your office letterhead says Google or Pandora.

      If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in the Washington DC area and getting a daily view of how not to run a government “for the people,” it’s that whenever there’s an issue involving protecting corporate America vs. protecting joe average, one side clearly outpays – I mean outweighs the other. Freudian slip. Digital media outlets are a relatively new entity and clearly the wave of the future. The pace at which these digital jukeboxes have spawned and grown seems on par with the speed of light. So why is the rate songwriters receive, set by the the Copyright Royalty Board, look like the price of a loaf of bread in 1938? Having researched the laws that govern this issue and the reams of press devoted to it recently, I can tell you that War and Peace was an easier read. Every party with something to gain in this saga will tell you a different story. If they were all standing in a courtroom together, they would stand up and point fingers at each other while screaming “liar!” across the room. Liken it to a congressional session. What I noticed while reading all of this, was that one of the parties at the very heart of this issue seemed to have no voice at all. ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, which are all performing rights societies, are the official voices representing the interests of songwriters and performers in this. They have all been very vocal in protecting their members’ creative works and have lobbied hard for their continued protection under the copyright laws and for fair payment under those laws. The Songwriter Equity Act (henceforth referred to as SEA) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA). In a nutshell, this act aims to amend certain provisions under the current copyright laws that unfairly penalize songwriters, prohibiting them from receiving a fair market price for the use of their songs. In 1909, the royalty paid for a mechanical reproduction of a song was 2 cents. 105 years later, it has increased just 7.1 cents. If that rate of inflation was applied to everything else, Google would not have paid 1.65 billion dollars to acquire YouTube.

      With all the hot air blowing around this issue, very little is being said by the Chase Allan Pic 2actual songwriters, at least not publicly. So I was curious to hear what one of them thought about the state of things. Chase Allan is a songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. He is also an artist and producer. As an artist, he was named Nashville’s Independent Male Country Artist of the Year. This gives him a unique perspective on the issue because he sees it from all sides. Because of the complexity of this subject, I asked him to put some words down that someone not in the business could understand. Graciously, he wrote this:

     “There’s a story that needs to be told involving people dear to my heart, the songwriters. Like most artists today, I was so wrapped up in performing and expanding my brand, I never really took notice of the court battles brewing between ASCAP and Pandora. After I took the time to explore and research this topic, I quickly became aware that I, for one, should be deeply concerned with what’s transpiring for songwriters across this country. I’m not only an artist/producer, I’m also a songwriter. The recent ruling in favor of Pandora by Judge Cote in the ASCAP Rate Court, has adversely affected ASCAP songwriters by lowering the annual revenue rate to 1.85%. The songwriters definitely took one on the chin with this decision.

     Living in Nashville around so many talented songwriters, I see the heart and soul they put into writing their songs that so many people love to hear. Many on the outside looking in don’t realize the hard work and effort that goes into writing a great song. It’s a labor of love for songwriters, but it’s also a job for many of us. Many songwriters go unheralded, writing compositions that make you want to dance and lyrics that make you cry…all the while watching the artist obtain the glory. That’s alright, because in essence the songwriter is creating something that endures…something bigger than any onstage performance can bring. For the songwriter, it’s about the creative process; it’s breathing life into a melody; it’s giving a piece of themselves from the heart. I can say this because I’m a songwriter, yet let’s not forget that for many, their daily livelihood depends on being paid for their songs.

     Do you remember the first time you heard the Eagle’s “Hotel California,” AeroSmith’s “Dream On,” Garth Brooks’ “The Dance,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”…the list goes on and on. What if those songs were never written? What if the time wasn’t taken to create such songs? Songs you enjoy listening to on Pandora and other digital platforms have a story behind them and it starts with the songwriter. The songwriter who creates a melody with his voice; the songwriter who creates a composition with his piano; the songwriter who digs deep to find those perfect lyrics to fit that one in a thousand song he just created with his guitar. Whether inspiration comes late at night or early in the morning, a songwriter is creating from their heart and soul those songs that move you to dance, cry, and remember a time long gone by. So yes, a story needs to be told of how all these court decisions are adversely affecting songwriters and their livelihood, a story that needs a voice.

     Fortunately, Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) has introduced a bill, the Songwriter Equity Act (SEA) H.R. 4079, that will allow a “rate court” to consider other royalty rates as evidence when establishing digital performance rates for songwriters and composers and it would adopt a fair rate standard for reproduction (mechanical licenses). The bill has received public support from the NMPA, BMI, ASCAP, The Recording Academy, and SESAC. Finally, Senators, Congressman, and Congresswomen are stepping up and realizing the importance of songwriters to America. I stand strong with my fellow brothers and sisters who proudly call themselves songwriters.”

      When I read what Chase had written, it made sense why I hadn’t heard much coming from the songwriters themselves. As much as we all grumble about the way our government doesn’t work, how many of us actually get involved and do something about it personally? We may vote or put a sign in our yard, but beyond that we’re all too busy with daily life to think about it much. Our elected officials are supposed to have our backs in such things. It’s the same with songwriters. While they’re writing songs and going about the tasks at hand, they too are hoping that their representatives protect them. It would seem that in something this blatantly unfair, fixing it should be a no-brainer, and not take an act of Congress to mandate. Let’s say we apply the basic idea of “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” to this issue. What if we allow a court in Alaska to decide what salary Congress, the CEO of Google, and the King of Pandora should be paid. They can’t compare Apple, Inc. to Apple, Inc., they have to use the salary that a chimney sweep in the movie Mary Poppins would have been paid to decide their new payout. Now there’s a golden parachute that wouldn’t open! Try it for awhile fellas. Bert was quite happy as a chimney sweep. How do I know this? Because he had a great song, written by two American songwriters who were brothers, Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The song lyric from “Chim Chim Cheree” assures “When you’re with a sweep/You’re in glad company/No where is there/A more ‘appier crew/Than them wot sings/Chim chim cher-ee/Chim cher-oo!” And if you have a little trouble swallowing your new salary, try it with “A Spoonful of Sugar.” I hear it helps the medicine go down… “In a most delightful way!” Songwriters: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The exclamation point at the end of that lyric was added for emphasis by me, and since the songwriters are no longer receiving royalties on this song from Pandora because it was recorded before 1972, I’ll just assume I have their blessing.

From WAY North of NashvilleBev Miskus and contributing to this article in a major way from Nashville, Tennessee…Chase Allan

Chase Allan has written songs for Warner/Chappell and was Chase Allan Pic 2involved in the writing of all the songs on his new album. He was recently chosen to participate in Country Cruising 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @ChaseAllanMusic and check out his website at http://chaseallan.com/. Be sure to listen to his music while you’re there!

Note: To keep up with what’s happening with the Songwriter Equity Act in Congress and for information on how you can help support this important piece of legislation, visit my SEA page: http://waynorthofnashville.com/songwriter-equity-act/. If you’d like a little more background on how all of the copyright laws and royalty payments work, I found this to be a very good breakdown: http://www.gcglaw.com/resources/entertainment/music-copyright.html.

SONGWRITER EQUITY ACT

©2014Bev Miskus