Making a Demo in Nashville – Broke On Payday


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Broke On Payday

Written by Andrew McGee and Jack Frisby, © September 6, 2013, Produced by Phil Wolfe

Mailman brought me three bills today; my woman and the rent are late. I know I should probably shave, get another job, learn to pray. Well, come this time tomorrow my way all the money I spent yesterday.

Broke on payday; spent it on a lady. Forty hours a week until they’ll pay me. Tip my hat to the man in charge; pick up the slack just to keep my job. Working hard–hey hey–to be broke on payday

Landlord brought me a notice again; shade tree mechanic said it’s the transmission. People say I should learn how to save; the truth of it is there just ain’t no way. Come this time tomorrow fast, gonna feel good for a change to have a little cash.

Broke on payday; spent it on a lady.  Forty hours a week until they’ll pay me.  Tip my hat to the man in charge; pick up the slack just to keep my job. Working hard–hey hey–to be broke on payday

Punch the clock, play the game, pass the time, waiting for the payday. Tip my hat to the man in charge, pick up the slack just to keep my job. Working hard–hey hey–to be broke on payday.

Written by Andrew McGee and Jack Frisby, © September 6, 2013, produced by Phil Wolfe

Original work tape

Down into a Coal Mine – (take a look up)

Down into a Coal Mine – by Stuart Cary

While living in a wonderful village here in Nashville, I made great friends with many neighbors.  Stu was one of those neighbors.

Slugging it out, the livelong day.
Line up Friday, the man gives me my pay.
The weekend’s gone, it’s Monday morning at the crack of dawn.

When you go down in a coal mine; when you go down into the ground, take a look up for the sunshine if you can. ‘Cause there’s a little light shining there in the darkness everywhere, so take a look up for that sunshine if you can.

All these dreams may come to none.
Think about what I have and what I have not got.
Times get tough, I find out that I’ve had about enough.

When you go down into a coal mine; when you go down into the ground, take a look up for that sunshine if you can. ‘Cause there’s a little light shining there in the darkness everywhere, take a look up for that sunshine if you can.

If you can, sift the gold from all that useless sand, pull it out with just your own two hands, ride off into to sunset-promised land.

Pull up the stakes pull out the stops.
Haven’t seen the bottom, I haven’t seen the top.
Times get tough, I find out that I’ve got about enough.

When you go down into a coal mine; when you go down into the ground, take a look up for that sunshine if you can. ‘Cause there’s a little light shining there in the darkness everywhere, take a look up for that sunshine if you can.

Take a look up for that sunshine if you can.

Words and Music written by Stuart Cary


Meeting With Hit Songwriter, Rivers Rutherford:

Advice On Becoming A Nashville Songwriter

I’ll never forget some of the best advice I ever got was from Rivers Rutherford.  I had literally just arrived in Nashville that day, and through a vague connection I was able to meet this hit songwriter at his home and later in his office, and boy did I blow it!   🙂

It’s okay, I have a feeling that most people like me blow those good chances at first.  At the time, I simply wasn’t ready to work with someone of the caliber of Rivers Rutherford, despite how ready I thought I was.

But oh how I’ve listened and learned since then, and if you are reading this Mr. Rutherford, I would love to take that second meeting and play Rescue or Broke on Payday.

The simple advice Rivers Rutherford gave me was so valuable that I want to share this knowledge with other new songwriters in Nashville who are wondering where to go.  It’s simple:

Go out and play, make friends, and come up together.

Everything else will fall into place if it’s meant to be.

Have you ever heard stories about how movie stars and comedians all knew each other years and years ago, because they were all hitting the circuit trying to reach their own success?  It’s very much the same way in the music business, and probably many other industries as well.

In my fourth year I can already use all the fingers on one hand when counting the friends I’ve made in Nashville who are slowly but surely moving on to the next level.  If some of us make it to that next level of success, it’s likely that we will remember some of our colleagues from the days when we were in the trenches.  It’s one big network of like-minded people playing to a multitude of audiences, and the cream always rises to the top.

Whatever role you play, the industry consists of all sorts of people working together with different talents: artists, musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, business executives.  There are different ways to make it in Nashville; I have the artist’s passion but I have been learning how to have the songwriter’s mind.  After all, my end-goal is to make a living being a songwriter.  I’ll always be an artist…

How To Make It In Nashville:

Success In Music City’s Music Industry

There is no one entity in Nashville that accepts applications for a job in the music industry – no matter how good you are at what you do.  And you can’t just sell a song.  Therefore, one excels in the music industry based very much on the friends they make, the hours they sweat, and the chances they take.  Be patient, curb any excessive zeal, and try to listen for what you should be doing rather than talking about what you are doing – everyone is also doing something else just like you and maybe they’re doing it better.  Here’s a great list of things NOT to do when you move to Nashville.

Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity, luck is the inexplicable variable, and talent is practicing something you love until you become an expert.  You’ll probably have to work a regular job for a while but I’ve noticed that most of the successful people in Nashville devoted their life to becoming a master at one or more of the following skills:

  • Creating – writing and co-writing popular songs that sell.  I love what Mitch Ballard says about this.
  • Performing – being highly proficient on one or more instruments, on stage or in the studio.  I love Tim Aker’s advice on this.
  • Engineering – providing world-class sound production
  • Business – fostering exclusive connections, management, and community involvement

Additionally, you do need to be in Nashville on a regular basis.  Opens Mics are a great place to start networking as you’ll continuously develop your skills, make friends, and learn about the community.

Join whichever guild it is that serves your segment of the music industry, for me that’s NSAI and BMI, but there are groups strictly for musicians, engineers, producers, and other professionals.  Pay attention to your industry.

The music and art scenes are very active in Nashville and the city is steadily growing stronger each year.  While its foundation is inherently Country Music – as portrayed in ABC’s TV series Nashville – the city proudly welcomes all other genres and offers its unconditional support to all styles with countless annual events like Musicians Corner and Live on the Green.

If you are thinking of moving to Nashville to make it in music – good luck – the city will wish you the very same.

Nashville Top 3 Open Mic Nights

Nashville top 3 open mic nights flourish as new songwriters still flock to Music City

As a performing songwriter I’ve seen my fair share of writers nights and open mics.  This is my opinion of the Nashville top 3 open mic nights.  I’m writing this review from the upcoming songwriter’s perspective, and I’m basing this assessment on a few factors such as consistency, audience quality, and how well it’s run.  There are several other high quality writers nights and open mics in Nashville on any given night of the week, but these three have stood the test of time; they were each here when I moved to Nashville and are still go-to venues for local songwriters who are itching to play some originals to an audience.

Writers Nights vs. Open Mics

Some people use the terms interchangeably but they are two different things.  Writers Nights are scheduled blocks of songwriters playing their original songs, whereas Open Mics are first-come/first-serve signups.  Some venues do both in the same night, having scheduled rounds followed by an open mic.

1.)  Douglas Corner Cafejoe

If it’s Tuesday, getchur phones out!   This is a huge favorite for local songwriters.   The house is always packed and the networking opportunities are rich.  If you frequently attend Douglas Corner’s open mic night, you will undoubtedly increase your chances to make friends and learn about other cool open mics around town.  The stage sounds very, very good and is manned by 60-year Nashville native, Donnie Winters.  This open mic is absolutely phenomenal and without fail it happens unless there is a holiday.  This is why it is my first in the list of Nashville Top 3 open mic nights.

When & Where: Tuesdays 8:00pm on 8th Avenue South, right across from Zanie’s Comedy club.

Signing Up Call (615) 292-2530 on Tuesday at 1:00pm CST and leave your name on the answering machine.  This puts you on the signup list, then just show up at 8:00pm ready to play.   NOTE:  Seriously, call at 1:00pm, the lines will be busy and if you call at even 1:20pm, you’ll be near the end of the list, playing after midnight.  If you want to play early you may have to start calling at 12:59pm and call 100 times before you finally get through at something like 1:05pm.  You’ll be on stage with three other songwriters and you’ll each play two songs.  Being in an early round usually means you will play to a larger audience.

2.) The Commodore Grillcomm

This is a unique writers night and open mic venue, and the stage always sounds great.  The open mic portion of this night starts at 10:00pm, and from about 6:00pm-10:00pm there are scheduled acts which are booked by the host.  These acts are seasoned and you will thoroughly enjoy yourself as you take advantage of the full-service food menu and bar.  It’s located in a hotel right by Vanderbilt, so it’s a premium place to have your songs heard by people visiting from out of town.  The house is always packed with good energy and an attentive audience.

When & Where:  It’s on West End, here.  It happens every night of the week except Tuesdays.  Debi Champion hosts on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.   On Fridays and Saturdays, Rick and Tammy Stewart host the night.

Signing Up:  Be there by 7:00pm to sign up.  The signup period ends at 8:00pm and they only take about eight people.  Four play at 10:00pm and the other four play at 10:30pm.  Each person plays one to two songs depending on time.

If you want to play in the earlier slots that start at 6:00pm, just ask the host about it, but those songwriters are scheduled in advance.

3.) The Bluebird Cafebb

Ahh… the famed Bluebird Cafe.  It’s a real experience to play here.  No other venue in all of Nashville can consistently provide a guaranteed, shoulder-to-shoulder packed house of 100 people intently listening to your song.  The room is always dead quiet as each performer plays.  It’s a premium performance for any songwriter to give.

When & Where:  Mondays 6pm on 21st Ave South – aka Hillsboro Pike

Signing Up Monday is the Open Mic, from 6:00pm to 8:45 pm. Sign up is done by phone and begins at 11:00 am on the Monday you want to play. The first 25 callers to get through will be given a slot to play, and one or two reserved seats. The number to call is 615-943-8168. There is no voice mail so you have to keep calling until you get through. If you don’t get through in 30 minutes, the list is probably full and they have stopped taking calls. The Bluebird Cafe’s Monday Open Mic is hosted by longtime Nashville veteran, Barbara Cloyd.