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Now Tracking: Better Than A Hallelujah

I hope to help make YOUR project sound GREAT soon!

I hope to help make YOUR project sound GREAT soon!

Working on a limited release demo CD project mixing original songs with cover tunes. First up? A cover of Amy Grant’s Better Than A Hallelujah.

The songwriting craft evident in Hallelujah blows me away. The lyric is simple yet powerful. The melody just soars. Love it!

There’s no sense in copying Amy’s version, that’s pretty much a definitive performance so rather than attempt to emulate greatness, I want to do something different with it.

One thought was to make it much bigger sounding, over the top alt pop rock with distorted guitars, a full choir, big rock drums, etc.

But I decided while interesting to produce, going huge would lose the best quality this tune has going for it: simple understated beauty. So it will remain at about the same dynamic just a little more dense with a slightly bluesy lead vocal, some Hall & Oates style bgv’s (background vocals) and some unusual instrumentation. Exactly what, I’ll leave as a surprise for now and post an mp3 when the CD is finished.

In my research before charting I found an Amy Grant interview about the song I think you’d find interesting for a lot of reasons.

I also found the The Official Amy Grant Video of Better Than A Hallelujah Not too great of a discovery, Columbus’ place in history remains secure, it comes up 1st in Google, lol.

Beautiful the mess we are.



Songwriting Tip: Contrast Upbeat Music With A Depressing Lyric!

Bill Watson

Bill Watson: Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

A tune came in today (by songwriter Tom Hogan a.k.a. Steve Zodiak) at Play It Again Demos that uses a rarely-employed technique you might wish to experiment with.

The song features a happy, upbeat melody but the lyric is definitely negative. For some reason that contrast works.

The best example of this technique is Jim Croce’s “Workin’ At The Car Wash Blues” where the lyric reveals the dichotomy between the singer’s current career path: “rubbing fenders with a rag and walking home in soggy old shoes” with where he feels he deserves to be: sitting in an air-conditioned office “talkin’ some trash to my secretary sayin’, ‘Hey now mama come on over here!”

I can’t agree with the attitude, a real man treats women they deal with in business or in their personal life as they would want their mother or sister to be treated, but the lyric’s contrast between fantasy and reality is hilarious.

In tough guy with a sensitive side, Jim Croce’s defense, he also wrote “Time In A Bottle” as well as “Operator.”

Another example is “Semi Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. It can give you happy feet but the lyric is mostly negative. Including lyric lines discussing crystal meth addiction.

Happy music, not so fun-loving lyric.

It works, try it!- b.e.

Camille Rae’s latest single, But I Want You, on CMT!

Congratulations to singer Camille Rae on her latest single, But I Want You, being added to CMT!


The CMT video version

Camille singing on our client’s songs:

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Custom Performance Tracks

Need a custom made production of a cover tune in your key so you can perform the song live at an upcoming event?

Or maybe one of your original songs?

And do you need that at a reasonable price?

It’s easy!

And yes, you can get anything from an extremely inexpensive acoustic guitar or piano track, all the way up to a full production.

Just click this link:

Custom Performance Tracks

Top Nashville Song Pluggers. Try this!


Nashville TN Skyline  Song pluggers based in Nashville promote songs to their contacts for a fee. Some charge upfront per song, some work for a percentage of royalties, some charge both.

Most Nashville pluggers primarily pitch country, Americana, Christian and bluegrass music. Songwriters who are not having success placing their songs with music publishers or who want more feedback than they receive from publishers tend to utilize their services.

Most pluggers primarily focus on placing songs in major label projects. When you’re paying thousands of dollars upfront or, as one plugger charges, $300 per month, you’re looking for a home run.

But beware, most traditional pluggers’ clients strike out and pay a lot of money for zero results.

For many songwriters, a better alternative is a subscription service such as Song Rocket. Based in the Nashville area, for a small monthly fee they provide a much broader range of plugging and song marketing services than traditional pluggers. No one strikes out. Everyone sees forward movement of their song catalog on a regular basis.

The Song Rocket service includes a traditional major-label-focused plugger who will work your catalog the same way a music publisher would but also submits for what they dub “secondary markets” songs needed for a local commercial or perhaps for a sound library- the list of secondary markets on their site is long.

But the reason they can guarantee all client’s songs will get exposure is because, in addition to regular services aimed at pitching to the elusive big time major label projects they have a creative team division that actually creates content, uses client’s songs in that content, then monetizes it.  For example, they might create a video featuring a client’s song or songs, then post it on You Tube and promote it, with the revenue going to the songwriter(s).

We believe Song Rocket is a good choice for any songwriter looking for traditional plugging due to the low monthly cost. But it’s almost essential for instrumental music, lengthy songs, songs that don’t fit a specific radio format and other song properties that may well be viable in the marketplace but would never land a deal with a music publisher or major label.

What To Look For In A Music Publishing Contract

After many songwriting roads that led nowhere you are finally staring at a music publishing contract.

Should you sign it?

The first thing that may confuse you is terminology involving percentages.How can you sign away 100% of your rights and still keep 100%?

That’s because as far as the PRO’s (performing rights organizations ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) are concerned, a song is actually considered to be split into two parts, the songwriter’s portion and the publishing portion. View those two parts as separate entities each worth 100% and the light will come on.

By no means is this a comprehensive list but here are some points to look for and expect in a music publishing contract:

  1. The right to renegotiate or terminate the contract in 35 to 45 years.
  2. If this is a single song deal not tied to an impending release then an additional  reversion clause should be included, contingent on the publisher securing a recording and release by a certain date. If the publisher knows the contract is for a specific release already planned, the reversion clause either won’t appear, or a box will be checked saying the second, shorter reversion, doesn’t apply.
  3. The copyright is temporarily transferred to the publisher for the duration of the contract. That’s what assigning publishing rights entails.
  4. Expect a lot of points about lawsuits between you and the publisher. Very few music   publishing contracts end up disputed in court, but it can happen, mostly this will be the publisher covering his liability in that event. .
  5. The publisher will likely want the right to re-title and/or rewrite the composition as necessary. It sounds a little weird but there are many possible reasons a publisher needs that right. For example, a big name artist may be cutting a vocal for the song and decides he doesn’t like a line… can he change it? If time to track down the songwriter is spent the potential hit recording opportunity may be lost. Or perhaps a foreign publisher requires a translation. Or maybe the song is such a big hit someone wants to record a parody lyric. Maybe the song just isn’t working and the publisher thinks a rewrite is needed. You do lose some creative control but you still get your 100% songwriter’s share regardless of the changes and the publisher won’t likely back down on this point.

Should you sign? I’m not personally a big fan of seeing a lawyer every time you do a deal but if this is your first rodeo or your first with a new company, and certainly if there are clauses you don’t expect or don’t understand, have a lawyer look it over.

Also, unless you already have hit songs you may not have a lot of leverage to negotiate. If you start playing big time prima donna by asking for a lot of changes to points that are fairly standard, don’t be shocked if the publisher decides its not worth the hassle and revokes the offer.

But if something is seriously weird such as a clause where you give up the title to your home or could end up owing the publisher money then stand your ground, In fact if outlandish clauses are present maybe it’s best you be the one to walk- b.e.

Female Country Singer, Sammi Moore, added to the Nashville Trax Vocalists Online Roster

Looking for a female country singer online for your demo?


Nashville Demo Singer, Sammi Moore

Give a quick listen to Sam:

She’s fabulous for rock, blues or country.

Additional Sammi Moore samples can be heard at Nashville Tracks Vocals Online