All posts filed under: Cowriters

Money – in Exchange for What?

Have you ever started a project and then stalled? Not walked away. Just stalled. That’s where I am with this blog. I did not start it natively. I knew to develop it into more than a journal would take time and effort. I did not realize how much of both. The more I learn the more I realize how much more there is to learn. What I saw as hills in the distance are in fact mountains. I still have the original vision. I see this blog doing online what I do and want to do in my life. I am called a creative catalyst and an inspiration. I want to be that for my blog readers, but I want more. I want to make money for myself and others. Giving away still seems so much nobler than being paid. I want to feel no shame in being paid to help people. See? Even now it is hard for me to unabashedly say I want to make money by sharing. If you are one of …

Decluttering Life

My life was as cluttered as my house. Thanks to a housecleaner, my house is in good shape. My life? I made progress this week. The method that is working for decluttering my life is a simple one anyone can use. In fact, it is almost too good to be true. I tried copious to do lists, detailed scheduling, Facebook groups, free and paid webinars and courses. All of those have one thing in common; I was trying. The harder I tried the more frustrated I became. With my life so cluttered, I was overwhelmed and felt I did not have enough time to get everything done. The problem was not lack of time. It was lack of a central focus. Last Monday night, I went to bed asking the Powers That Be for guidance. I got up in the morning with clarity. The solution was so simple. Life needs priorities and a central focus. I chose myself as a writer as my central focus. My priorities were in place. Self-care, my family, and my …

Revamping

Over a hundred posts in, I am stepping back to evaluate and improve. Revamping will take time.  I will post sporadically instead of each Wednesday and Saturday. My vision for this blog has not changed.  I have a public life as a Muscle Shoals songwriter,  show organizer, promoter, and mentor. Many creative Muscle Shoals music people do not know how to promote themselves or share their knowledge.  I already help them with that  Now I want us all to have a larger audience. I also want to share my love and experience as a photographer of birds and flowers, as a flower grower (mostly from seeds), as a quilter, and as writer.  I am writing a book about my long history in music, including why Garth Brooks says I am the person who discovered him and started it all for him. I have bipolar disorder.  I share my experiences as well as how I cope. We all leave a legacy.  I want this blog to be part of mine. I want to see how much …

Muscle Shoals Chord Chart

How to Write a Song

How to write a song? I wish I had the definitive answer. A song begins with nothing and becomes something. How? I am a professional Muscle Shoals songwriter with years of songwriting in Nashville as well and am often asked how I write songs. That is a slightly different question that where do songs come from. Let me go from the nothingnesss of my song One Moment All Time through the process to completion. Listen to the completed, as of now, song. One Moment All Time – Stephanie C Brown (River and Stones Music) Mark Narmore (Nobel Vision) This song began with a spark of memory and longing. I did not have any of the words. I did not have any of the melody. I am evading the question of where the song came from and moving on to the process of writing it. No matter the song my songwriting process with my cowriters is basically the same once we have distilled the emotion or idea into one phrase or melody line. Normally that phrase …

Songwriting – Craft or Art?

All songs are not created equal. I should know. I have been writing songs more years than some of my cowriters are old. I am seventy five. I started writing in my mid-thirties. Do that math! I know the rules well enough to follow them or break them. Like carpenters who can make square boxes after learning to make one square box, songwriters can write songs once they learn the basics of combining words and melodies. According to Harlan Howard, country music’s songwriting legend, three chords and the truth is all you need to write a great song. For a blues song, you need less than that. I cowrite as many as four songs a week in different genres with songwriters much more skilled than I in structure. I regularly write with seven different co-writers: Mark Narmore, Sandy Carroll, CoCo O’Conner, Will McFarlane, ElizaBeth Hill, Taylor Grace, and Mitch Mann in varying combinations. We write many genres, some simple and some complex. I am confident in saying we are not going to write a bad …

Speeding the Tempo Up

I do not always write up-tempo songs, but when I do they are good ones. At least I think so. Today I am sharing seven with you. You decide. All are published by River and Stones Music (ASCAP) and cowriters’ publishing companies. And now – one bonus to slow the tempo down a bit

Life Changes

Sometimes you just know your life is going to change even before it does. Mine is. I am seventy-five soon to be seventy-six. Last year I wrote two or three songs most weeks. I do not see myself writing so many songs this year. I am not going through writer’s block or discouraged with myself as a songwriter. This is not just about age. Something else is out there for me. I welcome whatever is coming. I do not have preconceived ideas about what one should and should not do at any certain age, but I can not see myself at eighty still writing relevant songs. For several years, I have been writing legacy songs, songs to let listeners know my beliefs and emotions. How much more do I have to say that is not already in one of my songs? I have been in strict self-isolation since last March. I got my vaccination shot this week. By this March I will not be isolated depending on Zoom for human contact. Perhaps that is the …

Down For the Count

…but not to 10 yet. I have already written about it here. Now I have captured it in a song. When my cowriters have writing sessions, we check in with each other. When we ask, “How are you?” or “What’s going on with you?”, we are not being polite. We care about each other and want to know. Sometimes the song has nothing to do with our answers, but sometimes the honesty of those talks fuels passion into the song. Those songs are different. They are not written around a hook or idea one of us comes in with. They are written from raw emotions. I am not saying they are better songs, but I am saying I love them more. Two cowriters and I wrote such a song this week. I am not calling names or going into details because those talks are the kind you have with someone you trust. We wrote about struggling with keeping passion and enthusiasm for a dream or an endeavor begun wiith high hopes and energy. With dreams …