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Ty Hager

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About Ty Hager

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    Muse In Training

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    http://nashvillesongsmiths.weebly.com/
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    http://nashvillesongsmiths.weebly.com/blog
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  1. Hi there, fellow songwriters! So, after a trying month which has included the loss of a loved one and my own major surgery, I'm back with my continuing blog series about the craft and business of songwriting, using interview segments from my book "Nashville Songsmiths - In-Depth Interviews with #1 Country Songwriters" to highlight specific issues pertaining to both the craft and business of songwriting, "From the Mouths of Pros!" I spoke with hit songwriter and swell pal Walt Aldridge ("I Loved Her First," "No Getting Over Me") about song demos. TH: Let’s talk about the way you approach demos. Do you, because you have the expertise in so many areas…I assume that you try to make your demos as much like what you hear the master recording sounding like as possible. WA: I do. And I think most people do. But the difference is that I’m able to converse with the engineers on a one-to-one level, and with the musicians on a one-to-one level. Usually I play on my demos, so I’m on the musician’s side of the glass while it’s being tracked. But I’ve found over the years that it really helps if you can speak with an engineer in terminology that he understands. If you say to him, you know, “I’m looking for more of a transparent sound.” Well, they don’t know what that means. But if you’re able to say to them, “I’m looking for a sound that’s more like an API mic pre with maybe a little real ultra-high frequency added to it”…or something like that, then you’re speaking in their terms. The same thing with musicians – to be able to speak to them in terms of music theory, or sounds, or whatever, and have it be something other than some kind of vague thing that a lot of people speak to them, like, “I’m looking for something with a little more punch to it.” Well, that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. I have found that it’s helpful to me to sort of participate with everybody, in that I can speak both the languages – technical and musical. TH: Are there any more instances these days of basic vocal/acoustic guitar demos actually getting pitched to an artist, or more often is that pitched to somebody that’s going to make that into a high-quality demo, then pitch it to the artist? WA: I think it depends. I think there are writers that do that. I have never been one of them. I’ve never been one of those guys that really sold the song with just his acoustic guitar. And part of it is the kind of songs that you write. I have to tell you, a big part of songwriting to me is also writing the production of what I envision. I write the intro lick…. I wrote that guitar lick for “No Getting Over Me” on the beginning, and I wrote the guitar lick on the beginning of “The Fear of Being Alone” - and those licks were just as important to me as…those guitar licks had to be there, just as importantly as any of the lyrics or the melody. So, it depends on what kind of writer you are. But I’ve always been a sort of production-oriented writer, who usually had a sort of end record in mind when I wrote the song. For much more, including cool audio clips, just go to www.nashvillesongsmiths.com. If you'd like a PDF or Docx version of the book, just shoot me a message through the CONTACT page! Next time, we'll talk with songwriter Anthony L. Smith ("What About Now," "Tomorrow") about licensing songs for advertising.
  2. Hi again, fellow Songwriters! This is the third in my continuing blog series about the craft and business of songwriting, using interview segments from my book "Nashville Songsmiths - In-Depth Interviews with #1 Country Songwriters" to highlight specific issues pertaining to both the craft and business of songwriting, "From the Mouths of Pros!" Tons more of this stuff, including audio clips of the interviews and the what-not, at http://nashvillesongsmiths.com/ - shoot me a message from the site and I'll get you a digital text version of the whole book for absolutely nuttin'! (please specify PDF or Docx). These interviews are all close to my heart, and I dig sharing. Billy Montana (Bring on the Rain, More than a Memory) talks about writing songs specifically with an Artist in mind - this one had an unexpected outcome! BM: People ask all the time, “Are you writing specifically for someone, or are you just writing a song?” And my usual response is, “I’m just trying to write the best song I can that day.” Well, we have a thing called a “pitch sheet” that describes, you know, it has the artist’s name, who’s producing them, when they’re going into the studio, and what type of song they think they’re looking for. And so Lee Ann Womack was on that list, and the description of the song she was looking for was “an up-tempo, fun, traditional-sounding country song.” So (co-writer) Jenai and I decided, man, let’s just try for a change to write for an artist specifically, and so we wrote “Suds in the Bucket” with that in mind. And we finished the song and really liked it, and our publisher really liked it. It was a cool thing in writing this song, ‘cause this is a case where we had the music and we had the topic we wanted to write about, but didn’t have a title. And I don’t usually start that way – I usually start with a title ‘cause I like to know where I’m going. ”She left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hangin’ out on the line” just kind of fell out of the sky, and when I said that to my co-writer, she was like, “Oh my gosh, I love that, let’s do that!” It just fit perfectly into the music that we had, and the idea that we had for the song. So we ran with it, finished the song, everybody liked it…and we pitched it to Lee Ann Womack’s camp and they passed on it. Which isn’t unusual, you know, that happens more than not, obviously. But it wasn’t too long after that that the folks in the Sara Evans camp heard the song, and thought it would be perfect for her. And so, she ended up recording it, and man, I thought they did an amazing job. Here's an audio sample of Billy Montana talking about Bring on the Rain. UP NEXT: Walt Aldridge on different demo approaches.
  3. Hi again, fellow Songwriters! This is the second in my continuing blog series about the craft and business of songwriting, using interview segments from my book "Nashville Songsmiths - In-Depth Interviews with #1 Country Songwriters" to highlight specific issues pertaining to both the craft and business of songwriting, "From the Mouths of Pros!" Tons more of this stuff, including audio clips of the interviews and the what-not, at http://nashvillesongsmiths.com/ - shoot me a message from the site and I'll get you a digital text version of the whole book for absolutely nuttin'! (please specify PDF or Docx). These interviews are all close to my heart, and I dig sharing. Even after a multitude of #1 smashes, from Brooks & Dunn's "Ain't Nothing About You," to Brad Paisley's "When I Get Where I'm Goin'," to Kenny Chesney's "Living in Fast Forward," Rivers Rutherford STILL has days filled with doubt... RR: You know, some days for me…months’ll go by and nothing sounds like a song. And then I’ll have a week or so where everything everybody says sounds like a song. It’s really funny how that works. And then I’ll start writing a bunch of songs that I really like…and I’ll dream ‘em, and everything else. And then all of a sudden it stops, and I’m back to slaving away, tryin’ to make it happen again. You start getting scared that it’s never gonna come back again. TH: Do you really? Is there a point where you think you’ve written your last hit? RR: Absolutely. I’ve thought that so many times, I can’t even count it…I thought that when I was twenty-two. I thought I’d written my last song. But it always seems to come back around, you know? I think the older I get the more I realize, it’s in there, I’ve got plenty to say. As long as I show up and do the work, kinda roll up my sleeves and dive in, sooner or later something’ll percolate. TH: So you force yourself to write? RR: Yes. I don’t feel like it every day, but I do it every day. There are days that I can’t wait to get in and write songs, and I don’t write anything good. There are days I’d rather get a root canal than write a song. But I show up and I write hits. There’s just no accounting for it, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, there’s no rhyme or reason to it, you just gotta be present to win. TH: And you’ve had way more hits than root canals. RR: (laughs) Thankfully. So far anyway. Rivers’ website is www.riversrutherford.com And, lastly, HERE'S a cool interview clip of Rivers talking about "When I Get Where I'm Going," complete with a sample of his demo! https://clyp.it/de5daqt5 I look forward to any comments, and don't forget to request your free PDF or Word Doc of the book!
  4. Hi songwriters! Happy to jump into the fray! I've started a blog called "From the Mouths of Pros," which will feature number-one Country Songwriters discussing the craft and the biz, all taken from interviews which aired on the American Forces Radio Network.It's been a labor of love for me, with some great important insight into what it's really like "Makin' the noise on 16th Ave!" I look forward to your comments, and if you message me through the website, I'll happily email you a text version of the book!http://nashvillesongsmiths.com/blog
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