A Good Kind of Sidetracked

Last time I wrote (which was over a month ago, sheesh) I was on the verge of posting a new song called "If I Make it to Sunday." I did make it to Sunday, but the song did not. That is to say I still haven't posted it. Don't fret, the work tape is nearly complete and I am very excited about it. However, the best laid plans... immediately after mentioning the song I did an update to my operating system and the new system didn't communicate so well with my old version of my recording software. I know, yawn. That was the short term delay. What I really want to talk about though is what I have been doing over the past several weeks that has kept me from completing the work tape of "Sunday." It is really quite cool. I have come across an online organization called SongTown.com which was created by hit Nashville writers Clay Mills and Marty Dodson. These two have had some pretty impressive cuts! They offer training and networking opportunities in an online community. A very cool site. Anyway, I took a course they were offering on toplining. For those of you who don't know, toplining is the art of crafting a melody and lyric over an existing track. In other words, the writer does not write the underlying music but rather what goes on top of it. It is a unique skill as you are limited to the structure and feel that the track writer has already created. This is a very common way that pop songs are written these days and country is quickly adopting the process as well. The class was great. I made some new friends, learned some tricks and best of all I came out of it with two (count em') two new songs. The first of which is "Rise" which I posted about a week ago... give it a listen and let me know what you think. The second track is called "Freedom has Wheels" and will be coming shortly. I think I learned two lessons from this experience. First, hit songs are compact meaning the sections are short and tight. This is a challenge for someone as verbose as I tend to be. Second, being sidetracked can be a good thing. I hope you enjoy listening to the new songs as much as I enjoyed writing them and don't worry, "Sunday" is still coming.