the nashville shuffle

i was working at ernest tubb’s record shop and met two guys, doug and arnie. they were musicians, guitar and bass, respectively. we spent a lot of quality work time talking music and nashville. one day, they brought in a live tape of a label showcase that arnie had played. this woman singer, i’ll call betsy, was astounding. she’d performed here in town as another famous singer at the ryman. her music was both jazz and country influenced. i loved it. as i was listening to her show, i realized i had written a song that would be right up her alley. i told this to the guys and they said they could get it to her because she partied with them, at their house, all the time (they’d both done a short club tour with her, a bonding thing). i was excited, i called my friend terri who had done some demos for me before and gave her the scoop. we agreed to record the demo at doug and arnie’s basement studio. i figured the more they worked on it, the more excited they’d be about playing it for betsy. we finished the recording with terri doing a killer vocal (as usual). i played one of doug’s ancient guitars (with ancient strings for that old jazzy sound) and arnie even came downstairs to lay some great acoustic bass on it. i was totally psyched. i ended up taking the whole eight-track reel-to-reel machine to another studio to get a digital mixdown. the whole time i’m thinking: this is how it happens, you get to town, you meet some people who know some people, and you are in business! i played the demo for some folks at ernest tubb’s (because they know country) and they agreed the song was totally betsy. as fate would have it, she was performing at the "midnight jamboree" the oldest live radio show in the country (sponsored by ernest tubb). i got to meet her (hanging around with arnie, backstage) and talk with her about the song. i brought it with me but i didn’t want to impose, after her show. i figured once arnie gave it to her, at a rehearsal or something, she’d be less distracted. time goes by slowly, as it always does. i don’t hear anything but i don’t want to be impatient. these guys are doing me a huge favor and they don’t need me bugging them. months go by and i still haven’t heard anything. did i mention that doug and arnie are serious stoners? in my mind they became that commercial. where the guy’s mom is yelling "did you get a job today?" as he’s blowing smoke out the window. they’re great players, but they can’t get anything going and they wonder why. i’m all for having a good buzz, but don’t be a cliche. more months later, doug comes into work and says "you know that envelope you gave to arnie to give to betsy? it’s still on his dresser." he still hasn’t given the song to betsy! i called him and he said he had to "wait for the right time, when she’s in the mood to listen to new stuff". it’s been eight months! she’s doing another record by now. i actually ran into her at the store and told her who i was, and that i still had a song that would be perfect for her. i actually told HER to bug arnie about it because it was still on his dresser at home!
i still haven’t heard word one about the song. i don’t know if she’s heard it and liked it, or hated it. oh, the joys of being a nashville songwriter. i’ll have to wait to see if the song makes it onto her new record. HA!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.