Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Friend: Jody Williams

Important music business news announcement this week regarding my friend Jody Williams who has just been appointed Vice-President, Writer/Publisher Relations, BMI Nashville.

Read the Music Row item.

Jody will direct all writer/publisher relations activities for the US p.r.o. in BMI's Nashville office beginning May 30.

Jody Williams was the most passionate and dedicated advocate of my songwriting talent and hit potential in Nashville during his earlier tenure with BMI in the mid 80's when he worked as an associate director of writer/publisher relations. I was a new young writer exploring opportunities in Nashville at the major pro songwriting level after enjoying several big radio hits with my songs in Canada.

I earned a nomination for a Juno Award as Country Male Vocalist on the strength of those songs. The Juno is Canada's "Grammy" Award.

Jody Williams quickly became a true believer in supporting my goals as a professional Nashville songwriter and he personally introduced me to everybody who was anybody in the Nashville music business.

Jody's access to the very highest levels of the Nashville industry opened every door on Music Row for me in my efforts to secure a contract as a writer ultimately resulting in my signing a deal with Combine Music in October of 1987. I had considered a number of other publishers, but made my choice for Combine Music mainly because of the keen interest of legendary Combine CEO Bob Beckham who had helped revolutionize the songwriting business in Nashville by discovering, signing & successfully promoting the landmark songs of Kris Kristofferson who was my all time greatest Nashville influence.

A partial list of some heavy hitters whose access, interest and generous hours of time were accorded to me and my songs in those days because of Jody Williams include: Tony Brown, Martha Sharp, Mark Wright, Pat Higdon, Bob Beckham, Blake Chancey, Bob Doyle, Dennis Morgan, Susan Burns, Larry Hamby, David Conrad, Ree Guyer, Bob Montgomery, Al Cooley, Ralph Murphy, Karen Conrad, Walter Campbell, Pat Halper, Henry Hurt, Kevin Lamb and Larry Shell.

Just to mention a few.

Had it not been for Jody Williams, it's also likely I would never have met or hung out with such famous folks as Ricky Scaggs, Mel Tillis, George Jones, Marty Stuart, Mel McDaniel, Larry Gatlin, Steve Earle, Roseanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Shelby Lynn, Billy Dean, Mickey Gilley, Bill Monroe, Mickey Newbury, John Prine, Billy Joe Shaver, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Chet Atkins, Bobby Bare, Tony Joe White, Tammy Wynette, Porter Wagoner, Del Reeves, Doug Sahm, Buck Owens, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, The Oaks, Lorrie Morgan, Kathy Mattea, Don Henry, John Vezner, Nanci Griffith, Robert Earl Keen Jr., Alan Rhody, Nigel Olsen, Larry Butler, T. Graham Brown, Emmy Lou Harris, Vern Gosdin, Harlan Howard, Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, and many others.

Again, just to mention a few. I've met other great songwriters and artists in my life before and after Nashville, such as June & Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, Carl Perkins, Gordon Lightfoot, Jose Feliciano, Gino Vanelli, Bruce Cockburn and others, but Nashville is a whole different arena in which to connect with songwriters and artists.

Which brings me back to Jody Williams who played no small part in ensuring that the Nashville music industry community extended its full welcome to me as a professional. I was honored and grateful then and I'm proud today to say thanks to my friend: Jody Williams.

Congratulations Jody! All the very best in your new position at BMI and our very best also to Karen and your sons, Driver and Edward.

Talking Points: Here's a few of my personal Jody Williams quotes:

"Frank Trainor is a great singer with great songs. He is also my friend and a true gentleman in every sense of the word." - JW

"A publisher can only hope to find a writer as unique as Frank Trainor" - [Jody recommending me as a professional songwriter]

"Frank Trainor...if you ever write a book I'll buy it" - [Jody replying to my insights regarding his artist & writer discovery Josh Turner’s big hit song called Long Black Train]

Spotlight: For reasons that should be obvious, today’s spotlight is on Kris Kristofferson who wrote many great and groundbreaking songs including one I related to when there was really nothin' left to lose Shipwrecked In The Eighties …but hell, I was born to float ‘cause it ain’t the time to learn how to swim when the tide comes rushin’ in


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