Latest From Rory: Hall of Fame Dinner: A Chance Encounter

October 28th, 2009

Hall of Fame Dinner: A Chance Encounter

It’s always a thrill to attend the NSAI Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner in mid-October and watch the latest inductees be ushered into the prestigious Hall of Fame. This year, Kye Fleming, Mark D. Sanders, and the great Tammy Wynette were voted in.

Watching the performances and listening to the speeches, I’m always taken back to my own induction (1989, Rory Michael Bourke, Whitey Shaffer, and Maggie Cavender). I find myself revisiting some of the same feelings I imagine the current inductees must experience. What I felt was extreme humility that I’d been selected for the honor and gratitude at my good fortune.

This year, when I looked up from my reverie, I chanced to see Paul Richey, one of the people without whom I wonder if I would be in the Hall of Fame. We talked, and I reminded him of a great lesson he’d taught me about the craft of songwriting. Years ago, I’d brought him a song. He listened thoughtfully, then asked the meaning of two particular lines. I explained that the person in the song was still very much in love and was searching for ways to get over it. Paul smiled and said, “Oh, okay. I’ll tell you what. When I pitch the song, I’ll include a little card telling everyone what those lines mean. So when they get to that part of the song, they can look at the card, and they’ll understand.”

Paul’s words became a cornerstone lesson in songwriting for me. Make the lines say what you mean them to say. If it takes extra hours or even days, put in the time to get it right. Thanks, Paul


One Response to “Hall of Fame Dinner: A Chance Encounter”

  1. Allyson Says:

    November 7th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Great lesson. Very cool. Your humility is one of your cornerstone characteristics, as a songwriter and as a person. But allow me to quote from my beloved president Barack Obama, who said jokingly of himself. . .
    “My greatest strength is my humility. My greatest weakness? Possibly I am a little too awesome.” Same goe for you, Dad. You are humble and possibly a little too awesome.

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