Today Is YOUR Day!


Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.


Hey, ya’ll! At the bottom of today’s post, I’m going to let you know about some free stuff I’m giving away to all of you great Man vs. Row subscribers.  Now, on to today’s post…

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for being part of the MvR community and especially for joining the conversation by leaving a comment or question on a post or by putting your creativity on display with Wordplay Thursday.  It’s always such a good feeling to see that something I’ve written has prompted some sort of response, whether a “thank you,” a followup question, or even a disagreement.  So, again, thank you.

I want today to be all about you.

Though I know some of you from “the real world,” I’d love it if you’d take a moment to post a comment and introduce yourself.  Tell us anything you’d like us to know- if you’re a songwriter or singer/songwriter (or neither), how long you’ve been writing, day job vs. full-time creative, goals, genre, a bit about your musical journey, or family life.  Tell us whatever you want.  And feel free to leave a link to your website if you have one.

Today, let’s celebrate you.

God Bless,



As a way to say “thank you” to all of you who subscribe to Man vs. Row by email, I’m going to give away some cool stuff in July (2014).  If you subscribe to MvR, I’ll send you a free report, “10 Things The Pro Knows.”  I’ll also send you the guitar/vocal of “Crickets,” which is the title track of Joe Nichols’ current album.  You’ll get to hear the song as Joe heard it when he decided to record it.  You’ll also receive the lyric file of the song- and this lyric file includes “Baxter’s Boneyard” – all the lines that DIDN’T make it into the song (see if you agree with our choices).  It’s something nobody else has seen, and I think it’s pretty cool.  But, again, this gift is only for those who subscribe to Man vs. Row by E-MAIL.  These gifts will be sent by email, so if I don’t have your email address, I can’t send it to you.  God Bless!


If you like this blog, don’t miss a single post!  Subscribe by putting your email in the “Follow Man vs. Row via E-mail” section on this page.  It’s either in the upper righthand corner or down below.   Also, please share this blog with anyone you think would benefit from it.  I appreciate it when you share it on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else.  Thanks!

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42 thoughts on “Today Is YOUR Day!”

  1. Hello, I’m Adam, I wrote for and front my own band, indie dance rock band The Mad Sugars. I moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey last summer to further navigate and immerse myself in this thing called The Music Business. Currently I work a full time day job but I hope to be able to pay the bills with my music in the near future and until then work tirelessly to write, rehearse and meet others. I’d be interested in meeting some potential collaborators for co-writing, primarily in the rock/pop genres. Glad I found this blog as it’s been majorly helpful!

  2. I have been working with NSAI since 2004, and have attended several training sessions. I enjoy Brent’s blog, as it keep pushing me to write. I send it sometimes 3-4 songs a month to NSAI, and I hear be fresh, out of the box, and then I get really fresh, and they say, come back to earth. A song is a piece of paper until someone hears it, and you get feed back. I am sure that quite a few of the better songs were sung by the bands, and corrections were made over weeks, and months. So, if you don’t have a band on the road you need NSAI, and guys like Brent to keep pushing you. Hope you are having a great time at it. Billy

  3. Hey there I’m Derek, Musician songwriter. My first paid gig was in 1979 playing zz top covers. Still active but I live in Thailand, so happy to connect with you and Brent’s posts online. Check out my site I’ve included info from the 1800’s about keys and story ideas . yes I said the 1800s… Take care wherever you are. And thanks for your posts Brent.

  4. Paul Alvin Harris
    worship leader from Eureka Springs, AR
    – Love songwriting near the line of modern country and inspirational/Christian
    … but also love writing some good tongue-in-cheek humor songs
    – My songwriting strength is finding an idea or hook. My weakness can at times be melody.
    – I’m a husband of 17 yrs; father of 4 amazing, musically-talented kids ranging 8-16 yrs old. We (wife & older 3) do some performing together as the group Harris Ridge.
    … I’m those things first; gigging songwriter 2nd.
    – Have co-written with Steve Dean and have a popular bucketlist to write a hit song, perform with my family on the Grand Ol’ Opry, & make a living making music.
    – My day job a data analyst the company that does all of the food demos in Walmart & Sams.
    – I’m a diehard Razorback fan; yes, I play a PS2, and I still laugh when someone farts.

    Thank you for your blog, Brent!

  5. HI! I’m Russell and I’m addicted to songwriting. I’ve had this problem for two years and counting now….. Just kidding( It’s not a problem) 😉 I’m from New Hampshire and work a full time job in printing while working towards the “dream” job of songwriting. Hoping to move to the Nashville area later this year, to be closer to the action! Thanks for all the great posts Brent!

  6. I’m a songwriter living in Indiana. I make frequent trips to Nashville, pitch to publisher events, workshops, etc. I belong to NSAI and find their services very helpful- especially the one on one with mentors and song critiques. I am always trying to get better. I recently stretched out of my comfort zone as a lyricist and have started composing melodies as I wanted to contribute more to my co-writing sessions. I find Brent’s blogs very helpful – his real-life advice help me avoid making common mistakes, keep me motivated and point me in the right direction. It’s hard making inroads when you don’t live in Nashville, but I’m making progress and these blogs help. Thanks Brent!

    Carol Katterjohn

  7. Brent,

    I’m a retired (from business – not music) songwriter from the Columbus, Ohio area. I have been songwriting since around 2000 (late start). I host a small, once a month songwriting group whose claim to fame is that we do “challenge” writes. This may involve drawing a hook or genre out of a hat or other gimmicks to make us stretch ourselves a little. This month our challenge is to write a song which is a metaphor or an allegory (like “Hotel California” or “American Pie”). I have shared some or your “Man vs. Row” entries at several of our meetings. (I always give you full credit.) I think what you post is extremely relevant to young writers who aspire to be professional writers or singer/songwriters. I’m glad I found your blog.


  8. Hi, all. I’m Marisa Ireland, a singer/songwriter from Knoxville, TN. My mom, Patty Parker Ireland, is a long-time BMI writer of gospel music who received some awesome advice from Brent in a NSAI one-on-one meeting a while back. You can hear our music at and on Reverbnation. Mom and I enjoy reading MvR because of the practical, real-world suggestions. Happy writing to all of you!

  9. Hi everybody! I’m an ex-New Yorker living in Florida, visiting Nashville as much as I can. Dog training has been my day job for years, and I write reviews and interviews for Music News Nashville. Recently I got hired as the new pet columnist for Biscayne Times, which I’m pretty excited about. Writing songs started when I was a teenager, but after high school I ventured off into other things until a dog bite suddenly woke me up. It had been years since I played my guitar, but with my left arm in bandages, the thought of never being able to play again was frightening. I guess it took that for me to jump back into music and I’m still in it. NSAI South Florida is the chapter I help coordinate. Check out my songs at

  10. Hello Everyone – I love checking out this blog and taking advantage of the song tips. I write tons of songs with my best pal and I look forward to someday writing full time and getting that first cut. I’d love to connect with anyone who is interested. Thanks for all the advice, Brent, and good luck to all writers. You can get there as long as you keep trying! Feel free to check out our stuff at – Have a great day, everyone.

  11. Shalamon “Shamrock” Baskin, American Songwriter/Artist/Performer based in Belgium. Biggest achievement in music was Co-creating the Dance project T-Spoon. We sold a few records and I still perform My 90s hits in Europe on a regular basis. My main focus these days is Songwriting, teaching Songwriting and mentoring new Producers/Singers/Artists. Collaborating on projects and co-writing various styles is what keeps Me growing, learning and improving on My skills.

  12. Hello, I’m Nila Kay. work “full-time” as a legal assistant..but spend a lot of time on blogs like this. And also teach Zumba on my “lunch-breaks” . I live in DC and teach songwriting workshops for pre-teen girls. I also have a 50’s rock cover band called The Wopbopaloobops. I also write my own music of course, and enjoy getting it dissected by NSAI. They’ve helped me write some of my best songs! When I’m not writing, performing, or teaching Zumba, I am taking my 9 year old to his soccer games, basketball games, and super-hero movies.
    Thanks Brent for your inspirational blog.. It helps this little cubicle monkey hybrid get through the day 😀 ..vroom vroom!

  13. howdy, my name is Terry, and a lot of what I do is, I guess, called rewriting…I’m a retired publisher of a daily newspaper (75 miles North of Chicago) I’m a staff song writer for a mid sized publisher in Nashville, with a whole bunch of indy cuts…been songwriting for 47 years. A number of songwriters send me the stuff that they need fixed, the stuff that is almost there, but needs to be tweaked. I think rewriter sounds better than tweaker…right now we have 3 rewritten songs with different major artists, and have gotten very positive artist response, if it happens…by the Grace of God, it happens, if it doesn’t I’m still a songwriter looking to the next opportunity…Brett has been an inspiration to me because I always prefer to do the words.
    oh yes, I do work part time for a weekly newspaper currently as well as trying to stay semi-retired.
    hope all have a blessed holiday weekend

  14. Hello everyone! What a wonderful idea, Brent! I am enjoying learning what a diverse and dynamic group of people read this blog. Pleased to meet you all! I am a pop rock vocalist and composer/lyricist from the Pacific Northwest USA. I was in corporate marketing in the software industry for my first career. Two years ago I decide life was short and I wanted to pursue my music more seriously. I have released two full length CDs and an EP and will have another EP out shortly. I love collaborating with other musicians, whether nearby or far away, like in Texas and the UK. I blog about my experiences as a musician, and about music marketing, tech and industry trends at and am a guest blogger on Hypebot. I’m also writing a book about my experiences as an indie musician. I also teach social media to working professionals at the University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education program and to musicians at the Art Institute of Seattle.

  15. Hello. I live south of Philadelphia. I have been playing and singing since 8 years old. I currently lead a cover band (Top 40 Pop, Rock, Jazz, Country). I have been writing songs all along too,but have always been more obsessed with Melody and Harmony than Lyric. The music comes much easier for me. So a lot of these old originals are not really pitchable. Over the last couple of years I have really been trying to improve the lyric as I am doing more originals in line with modern Country sound. I would love to get a cut, but the current goal is to be able to hang with the big boys in a co-write situation…be an asset to any co-write situation, and write songs that people really want to hear. I will be in Nashville in the beginning of June for a workshop and then plan on making trips every 3 months or so looking for opportunities. I have an unrelated day job, married with two young children. Thanks Brent for a great blog!

  16. Thanks for creating the very inspiring and informative man vs row.

    I’ve written songs my whole life, my first probably at age 7. After visiting Nashville last June, I thought “why haven’t, and why shouldn’t, I share my songs with the world?”. So for the last year, I’ve worked to take things to another level. (I’m writing 3 songs a week on average )

    Obviously, I’ve kept my day job as a HR rep at an international financial services firm. I have 2 young daughters and a mortgage to pay so that old job is likely going to be with me a while.

    As far as my style… I write songs. Some are country, some are folk, some are blues, some are pop, some are spiritual, some are nonsense. They vary as my influences are vast. My first favorite groups were the Bee Gees and the Beatles. I then got heavy into pink floyd and became a huge grateful dead fan and followed them for 6 years. Recently, I’ve listened to every Bob Dylan album from start to finish and have moved onto John Prine and Townes van Zandt. I’ve also listened to all the current country acts at length… Miranda L (saw her last July with deirks and kix— great!), band perry, Blake, Luke b… I’ll stop! I consider myself a student of music history.

    I’ve been contacted by some indie artist about my tunes which has been really uplifting. I hope some day to get a cut whether with an artist (big or small), or to place something in film or TV.

    I need knowledge now and appreciate that you write great pieces that help me understand what I need to do!

    Thank you! Best of luck for continued success!

    Mike Maher
    East Brunswick, NJ

  17. I’m a guy with a far better guitar than I am player – and when I’m messing around from time to time I end up “writing” – and I use the term loosely – a fun song or something to make my sweet wife happy (or sad). It’s great fun and one of the rewards is that our son is becoming a “real life” singer/songwriter who’s cut some indie stuff. You can check it out at:

    Thanks, Brent – really glad your brother-in-law introduced me to the blog!

  18. Wow, do I feel out of place 😀
    I don’t have a website.
    I have never had a song demoed.
    I don’t do social media.
    I’m not a musician, although I began taking guitar and piano lessons a little over a year ago, just to see if I could do it.
    I’m not a singer, and apparently there is nothing I can do about that.
    I’m not a songwriter, although I have written several songs over the past few months, without really trying or putting much effort into them. So you can imagine just how bad they are, but it’s been fun.
    I am the luckiest guy I know to be married for 24 years to the most beautiful girl in the world.
    I am a data manager with the largest employer in the State of Alabama.
    I am a lover of motorcycle riding, from down the street to across the country.
    I am a competitor, whether sports, games…it doesn’t really matter.
    I am lover of challenges, which is why I’m so curious about this “songwriting thing”.
    So Brent, and all the other talented artists and writers here, thanks for letting me hang out.

  19. My name is Christina. I have been writing songs since I was 15 years old but really became serious about it 10 years ago. I started out as a lyricist and then learned how to play guitar. Now I write both lyrics and music. I still have a day job as a family medicine physician. I write mostly rock and pop songs but have written in several other genres including country. You can hear some of my songs at

  20. Hi Everyone! First I want to thank Brent for continuing to take time away from his other responsibilities to share his knowledge with the songwriter, supplying us with helpful, easy to understand info! Brent you rock and looking forward to hearing more! Second, it’s so awesome to read everyone’s stories here whether near or far! Thanks for sharing!

    I’m a singer, songwriter, performer and have been working at this since I was in grade school. I was signed to an indie label at 15 and a few years later when the company ran out of funds for my newest recording project, the relationship came to an end. I’ve learned a lot since then and I am very happy at this point, to own my own tunes and control what happens with those.

    Eighteen months ago I left my Chicago burb’s home, family and friends to move to Nashville, the town that appreciates original music. I was always into the pop/rock genre but since I’ve moved to Nashville I’ve become addicted to the country sound and so now my focus has been more pop/country and some pop/folk.

    Like many of you here, my dream is to get that cut. And I love the challenge!
    I wish all of you the very best!

  21. vicinity. up in the West Bank area of New Orleans Louisiana I thought I would become a journalist becuz at age 10… I enjoyed making up written stories, making books up with chapters of their very own and putting on puppet skits that I had made up. (I think I must have been entrepreneuring even then because I charged for my shows.) Then somebody gave me a $10 guitar because my mom said we couldn’t afford a piano (which I begged her dearly for). I began thereafter entertaining all of my friends with my music encouraging them to participate. now roll the camera forward to many moons …. where am I still playing guitar and writing songs. I’m a little better at it now, however. I run a bed and breakfast where I have a captive audience with my guitar now… ha! I am also a full time Realtor which is what I have done for a living since 1987… 30 years of which have been right here in the Nashville vicinity. I also host concerts in my home once a month because I love music. I just went to my only sons graduation from army boot camp yesterday and I am one proud momma right now.

  22. Hello, I’m Willa Thompson, a retired teacher and lyricist from southern West Virginia (USA). I always wanted to write and kept a box filled with songs, poems, etc. I zeroed in on songwriting in 2011. Since I am of an advanced age, with no time to waste, I decided to start at the top by having my lyrics set to music in beautiful Nashville, Tennessee. I have been working with the Artist Development Network there to have my songs co-written, produced, and pitched. I have been blessed to work with some of Nashville’s finest musicians. Chris Leuzinger, Mike Joyce, Stevie Ramsey, and Nick Buda have played on my songs. I write a variety of songs. Probably the one I am proudest of is titled HEARTACHE. I was trying to write like Conway and Willie and was really happy with the result. My latest song is called THIS HEART OF MINE. It was inspired by watching the TV show CRAZY HEARTS: NASHVILLE. I would love to pitch it to Amy Holyfield, songwriter Wayland Holyfield’s daughter. She starred on the show. It is the first song I have written for a specific artist. I believe that God’s timing is perfect and when He is ready I’ll have the right song ready for that opportunity. Meanwhile, I had to get a bigger box.
    P.S. Thank you for the lessons in imagery, Brent. Without you I might not have written “Your kind of love is like a ragin’ fire, A pile of ashes lyin’ on the pyre, Well, I’m still smokin’ from the way it burned, Guess you’re some lesson I was meant to learn.” copyright 2014.

  23. Hi everyone! I am a singer/songwriter/painter. I have had a band called The Rachel Walker Trio, we are known for Zest Music. I am now working solo and writing tons of songs…I also paint for my songs and plan to, Lord willing, produce a great deal in the future.
    If you would like to visit my website it is
    or see my paintings that relate to my songs go to Saatchi online/rachel walker/canada.
    Thank you all so very much and Happy Easter!

  24. HI Guys – love the blog Brent, style and honest candour. I am not a songwriter although at times I pretend to be. My daughters are all musical so I am trying to learn about the music world so that I can help them navigate the icebergs – which I am learning are many 🙂

    Mikalyn my 12 year old is writing many songs now and of course I am biased but she is getting pretty good at it.

  25. Matt Martoccio here from upstate NY aka not the city in the slightest. I’m a lyricist and I’m enough, Brent taught me that and it changed my life. It was actually that line Brent wrote that inspired me to get back at it and try something. I’ve never co written a song and have never had someone sing any of my songs or put music to one. I have a guitar and can play the G chord, sometimes. The first song I remember writing was when I was younger than 10 and my brother, friend and I made a music video for it haha. “I’m a man with out a tan and I live in a van and I want to be in a band so give me some space man.” That’s all I remember from the song, I know sounds like an instant hit right? 😉

    Back in my high school days I use to write poetry and rap, but on my poetry I used fake names and then used them to “study what the author meant” in those type of assignments. Then around age 17 I lost all of my rap CDs and discovered country music and have never turned back. I’m a private investigator and I have my own Christmas light installation company in the winter. At one point in my early 20’s I use to go to craft fairs and sell my poetry in frames. I’ll never forget how awesome it felt that people were buying the words I wrote on paper for themselves and as gifts.

    I’ve been doing Jon Acuffs 30 days of Hustle since the 1st of the year which has helped me continue to write, which I recommend for anyone chasing dreams! Plus it’s free motivation.

    My goal is to find someone to co write with who can compose as well as write. That’s been tough in my area because they aren’t many people writing country songs that I’ve been able to find. One day I plan to fulfill some of my wish list dream writes.

    I have a website but it’s not music related, it’s just about me and at one time a newspaper had asked me to blog, which I did and then I stopped because I didn’t have the time to put that effort into something that wasn’t a dream but feel free to check it out

  26. Hello,
    I’m Bryan a country songwriter stuck in the suburbs between Baltimore and Washington D.C. following my passion for songwriting, and desire to share stories through the song. Though life gets in the way sometimes to find the time to follow this crazy crazy dream. I am thankful that it does because I know that is where the life experiences and ideas come from to allow me to stay creative.
    Thanks Brent for the Blog, for me it gives insight on the industry as well as being a great motivational tool. While it also allows for a connection with like minded people.
    Great work

  27. Hi everyone,
    Songwriter from Sydney, Australia here. Been writing songs since I was 16 but took a break for a year (or decade) when I got married, focussed on career, had kids etc. As Bryan said, life gets in the way sometimes……golden words, there ! Writing country, but a lot of country isn’t country anymore. I try to look for inspiration in everything, but as you know it is hard to switch between the day to day stuff and the creative mind sometimes. The way I do it is to go for a jog/walk in the morning and after about 20-30 mins I find my mind is clear enough for the ideas to flow. Here is a link to a song that came to me on my morning run. I am thinking it could use a rewrite, anyone interested ?

    Keep writing everyone,

  28. Steve here, retired in western NC. Started writing mid nineties at a music school in Nashville. Had a McSpadden/Smith publishing took an interest in me and mentored me for awhile. Centergy Music took a few of my songs. Stopped writing for about ten years. Retired and moved. Closer to Nashville now and go over occasionally to write. Met Brent at an NSAI mentoring session many years ago. Through GSC I’ve been able to write with some pretty neat established writers. Genre varies, from Contemporary Christian to folk, from comedy to story songs, to anthems. Whatever the song wants to be. Love co-writing. Brent your MvR rocks. Thanks for everything.

  29. I’ve been playing guitar for 32 years, took classical lessons as a kid. Been writing & composing almost as long. I was drawn in by the classical flavored progressive rock stylings of RUSH (Alex Lifeson) and YES (Steve Howe) – But my list of influences is long and ranges from Andres Segovia to Chet Atkins. I love to compose & perform instrumental fingerstyle guitar pieces as well as writing worship songs for church and just plain old songs about life. The genre is whatever the muse chooses!
    I believe that God designed me to do this and I am working towards becoming a worship leader / pastor as a vocation.

    During the day I work as an auto repair service advisor. I’m also the worship leader intern for the young adults group at my church, where I also volunteer as worship leader and electric & acoustic guitarist as needed.

    I was able to meet my songwriting goal for the year by winning best song at West Coast Songwriters Association a couple months ago – there will be a finals / play off to go to the next level – very exciting!

    God is good and I’m excited about what the future may hold for my songwriting career!

    Download my instrumental cd for free at

    Mark Steven Brocke

    P.S – thank you for asking Brent!

  30. Sorry I’m late to the party! Having discovered MvR earlier this year I’ve decided to go back to the very beginning and tackle all the Wordplay Thursday’s from #1 and that led me to this post.
    I’m an Aussie currently living in the UK, a F/T mother to a special needs child and a vagabond gypsy 18 yr old (who is finding herself in Aus).
    I’ve been a writer my whole life; from designing my own magazines (complete with adverts, horoscopes, stories, weather, pictures) aged 7-9 years old, to making up plays (aged 6-….ongoing), poetry, short stories, exotic fiction (yep, porn), greetings cards rhymes, more poetry, more stories, live music reviews (which took me to many big cities) (initially all heavy metal, rock and indie but I’ve mellowed into a deep love of country music) …. I’ve been published several times on 2 different continents, and have won several writing competitions. Grammar is not my strong suit. I’m a wordsmith and dedicated bibliophile – I love the words themselves, but I usually leave it up to someone else to make them conform to the rules.
    I’ve often been told my poems sound like songs. I sing all the time, and sometimes for an audience. I don’t play any instruments and can’t read music, although I can play songs by ear on the keyboard (very basic though).
    I suffered under the impression that to write a song you needed to be able to write the melody as well but have since discovered that’s not true..yay!
    I stumbled across Brent on Facebook and have been rifling through this website ever since.
    Inspiration has struck and I’m pouring out words at all odd times of the day and night and have ideas coming out my ears! Mostly sections or opening lines of a song but I’m studying Brent’s advice to try and learn how to nurture them into their own fullness.
    I hosted a Saturday night party show on Australia’s People’s Choice Most Popular Country Radio Station for nearly 2 years and, since moving to the UK I host a weekly Internet radio show (via International Connection Radio) called Sammie J’s Country Fresh. Search it on or use the listen live link on the website.
    I’m determined to use this creativity to its full extent and I’m having a ball along the way.
    I’m constantly surprised, and sometimes amused, by everyone else’s contributions to Wordplay Thursday. Cultural differences can cause some confusion! It’s very American.
    Find me on Facebook on Sammie J Page (my personal page), the ‘Country Fresh Sponsored by CMCXPRO’ page (radio program page), or ‘Country Music ConnectionX CMCXPro’ page (my country music promotions company page). I’m in the process of setting up a personal blog as well – gotta do something with all these words!
    I found it fascinating to read about you all and I am enjoying this journey with you.
    Thanks Brent!!

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