The Crooked Road CD
Airport Love Story: (March 2006) ONE LINE….””She was looking down her nose at my cowboy boots”….came to me around January 2006, but I put it in the back of my mind because I wasn’t in a songwriting mood. A couple months later, riding the elevator up to our apartment, the LINE came back…That was a clear message that the SONG was ready to be written. All the rest of song is from an imaginary story of meeting this woman at an airport bar and enjoying a drink with her. Something not to far fetched, plus I did NOTHING WRONG!! THINGS TO KNOW: I wrote two melodies for this song; an up tempo and a ballad. I sent out both demos to about six DJ’s and several other songwriters asking for their advice on which version they liked best. In less than seven days, pen to paper, Roy Cost (DJ Arkansas) played the ballad version on his radio program and the same day Joyce Ramagatie (DJ Netherlands) played the up-tempo version!!. By the way there was a toss-up between who liked which version!!
Country Boy: (March 2006). Another true story of my childhood! Grew up in the simple life of a country boy and I’m damn proud of it. I tell the joke that we were so wealthy, we had two TV’s...they were on top of each other, one for sound and the other for the picture….I’m sure there’s some families out there that can relate to that. But looking back, it was rich childhood raised on solid principals of honesty and hard work. I can clearly remember watching those great Sunday morning Gospel music programs on TV and waking up to the smell of Mama’s Fried Chicken and Sopping Gravy…YES, that was Sunday morning breakfast!! THINGS TO KNOW: For the benefit of some that didn’t grow up in the country, when you bought soft drinks you had to pay a 2-cent deposit on each bottle. Lots of people would just throw the bottle out the window of the car in the ditches after they were empty. We’d roam the ditches along the road between the house and country store looking for “pop bottles” and turn them in for that 2 cent return of deposit…which was a very common way to make a little money!
Crooked Road: (September 2007). Virginia has a designated trail titled “The Crooked Road” to celebrate the musical heritage of Virginia Musicians (Carter Family, Ralph Stanley, etc). The Crooked Road begins in Ferrum Virginia some 30 miles away and runs through Patrick Country. We were visiting my hometown in January 2007 and we staying in the Virginian Motel directly in the town of Stuart. I spent several hours looking out at Bull Mountain. I also got the chance to play at one of the “Crooked Road” venues in Willis Gap on the North Caroline border. I wrote most of the song while looking out the “Bull Mountain watching the Pickup trucks drive by”. THINGS TO KNOW: I have a picture video of the Crooked Road on You Tube and on My Space.
Guardian Angel: (November 2008). The “Fernpass” in Austria is a very dangerous curvy mountain road, where motorcyclists try to set land speed records and end up being the next organ donor. There is a sign showing a motorcyclist with a tiny angel up on his shoulder and the sign reads (translated) Give Your Guardian A Chance. When I decided to write a song about two times when I was about 14 years old, my Guardian Angel stepped in. THINGS TO KNOW: You can’t put the gun in mouth and keep pulling trigger and expect the Guardian Angel to save you every time. Your Guardian Angel can’t do it all…
I Play Country Music: (July 2009). I love Country Shuffles…they’re great two steppers and fun to play…but up until now, I had never written one….I wanting to write an introduction kinda song. So I just rolled all the ideas into one…It’s also one of 8 songs I wrote in 2009 at Pullman City’s Eging and Härz on my day off between shows. THINGS TO KNOW: Webb and Ray or course is Webb Pierce and Ray Price, the two kings of the Country Shuffle sound in the 1950’s.!
Montana: (November 2004). Thank you Doug Adkins for an email and the hook line….”The catfish ain’t jumping, the fishing is downright bad, but the beer is okay!! Doug is from Montana and I started thinking about a good theme for a Montana song! THINGS TO KNOW: I’ve never been anyway near Montana…When somebody says something unique….there is probably a song in there!!
Moonshine Daddy: (1971). First song I ever wrote. Greatly influenced by the history of the illegal making of liquor in my county and neighboring Franklin county AKA MOONSHINE CAPITAL OF VIRGINIA. It was not unusual in my childhood to meet people who had been the State Prison for either making or transporting moonshine. My great-grandfather and my grandfather on my mothers side made moonshine, first legally and then illegally (before and after prohibition). A first cousin of mine got arrested just after we finished high school for making moonshine…which was also in his family heritage. THINGS TO KNOW: Homemade, illegal liquor has many names, Moonshine, Bootleg and White Lighting. Moonshine was based upon the transporters driving without headlines, gain light by the Moon. Also the origin of NASCAR or stock car racing, came from Moonshine Runners… White Lighting referred mainly to the taste which might be between 45-60 percent Alcohol. I’ll just say it’s GOOD!
Radio On Trial: (April 2006). Driving back from the Golf Course one Sunday afternoon, Kix Brooks was doing the Country Countdown. After one popcorn country song after another with the current pimple of the month singer, I wrote on my hand (as all creative songwriters do) “Radio On Trial. The rest of the song speaks for itself. THINGS TO KNOW: I sent this out in demo form to some International DJ’s. The Demo version included the TAG…”Watch Out, CMA, you’re next!!
That Girl Who Sang Johnny Cash: (November 2007). During the finale stage show at the Country Music Messe (Fanfair) in Nürnberg in 2007, the song, I think, was Hey Porter and my bud Mandy Strobel sang the first verse and I was all poised to jump up to the mike and belt out the next verse, but to our great surprise a young lady named Steffi Glässer stepped up and wailed out the verse….we all just stood there in shock!! I got to emailing Steffi back and forth to find out she was a big Cash fan. When I started writing the song, everything that kept coming out was a title to a Johnny Cash song, so after a little bit I decided to make the whole song based on titles of songs Johnny Cash recorded…there’s 28 of them….if you missed one, go back and listen a little closer!! THINGS TO KNOW: My duet partner Marty Wolfe is the only guy I know in Germany that knows MORE about Cash than I do. He used to hang out with the Tennessee Three when Cash came to Germany and he’s a personal friend of Bob Wooten. Also, the TAG is a joking tribute to Steffi and her duo, the “Crown Jewels”!! Thanks Steffi and Marty!
This Old Car: (September 2006). I saw a fairly new car one day that just beat all up from a hail storm. I wanted to ask the driver if the windshield had survived. I did a bit of research about hail storms in the mid-west to find out they get a big as baseballs and just trash a windshield of a car when you driving!! The rest is just songwriting!! THINGS TO KNOW: I borrowed the words “right off the Detroit Assembly Line” from the great Americana Songwriter Tom Russell.
Tucson: (September 2004). I was doing a weekend exhibition at a Hyundai Dealer playing 15 minutes every hour for 7 hours (Saturday and Sunday). This was to advertise the new small SUV “TUCSON”. During my 45 minute breaks I was staring at the window looking at the Police Headquarters for Stuttgart and looking back at the new Tucson directly in front of me. This went on for a few hours and I knew there that to be a song in there somewhere. I wrote the song during the breaks and that evening finished the melody and song structure. I played the song the next day! THINGS TO KNOW: The guitar riff is something I stole from a Willie Nelson song, who stole it from some Mexican guitar wizard…actually I’ve heard it in several songs!!
Winds of Corpus Christi: (August 2004). We lived three years in Corpus Christi Texas it is known as the “windiest city in the US”…At the golf course in Stuttgart Germany, I decided to challenge the chance of certain storm and play anyway. I made it to the 4th hole when the sky fell and within minutes I was soaked with rain and the wind was so strong the umbrella had no effect. As I was slowly slogging my way back, I was thinking about the Winds of Corpus Christi. By the time we got back to the club house and dry clothes, I had the first verse written!. THINGS TO KNOW: Corpus Christi manages to get hit about every ten years or so with a hurricane!!