One Email Away

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.

It’s ironic that I posted about “8 Ways To Build And Protect A Positive Attitude” on Monday morning, because I felt anything BUT positive.  Maybe it’s just a Monday thing when you’re not heading off to do what you love, and you know you have a full week of not doing what you love ahead of you.  Maybe it’s just life trying to make a hypocrite of me for what I had just posted.

Either way, I was pretty sour.  My next success felt too far in the future, and my last success felt too far in the past.  I felt miles away from where I want to be.  I even had an old buddy return my call about a MvR opportunity, but I didn’t pick up.  I was in no mood to dream and plan.  The rock I’m trying to push up that mountain felt very heavy.

Ever have those Monday mornings?

Well, I eventually started pulling myself out of the funk.  I started listening to some podcasts which inspire, motivate, and fire me up.  That got the juices going some.  Then I called my buddy back and we had a good little chat.  That helped, too.

Then, around 2pm, I got an email from another old friend and cowriter, Roxie Randle.  She said we had just gotten a cut!  The song is called, “No Promises,” and we wrote it back in early 2008.  It’s been cut by an artist out of Oklahoma.  Her name is Sarah Dunn, and she’s on a radio tour right now promoting her first single on Audacity Records.  The album should be out in a month or two.  (You can check her out here.)

I’ve been hearing good things about Sarah, and it’s ALWAYS cool to get a cut.  But what I’m really happy about is that it’s Roxie’s first outside cut.  She’s a talented singer/songwriter and has put out her own albums (check her out here), but this is the first time she’ll get to pop in somebody else’s album and listen to her own song.  She was one of my first cowriters when I hit Nashville in 2002, and I’m so proud to be a part of her first cut.

It just reminds me how everything can change with just one email or one phone call out of the blue.  Believe me, the last thing I expected was to get a call about a cut on a 6 1/2 year old song.  But that kinda stuff can happen when you do good work and put it out into the world.

I have no big expectations for this song.  I’ve learned not to lean too much on what might be.  I’m just thankful for the cut, and anything else is gravy.  And I’m also thankful that tomorrow might bring another call or another email.

But enough about me. What about YOU?

Do you have a story of being in a dark place with your dream, only to have a ray of sunshine just when you needed it?  I think if someone else out there is in that valley, hearing your story might encourage them.  Thanks.

God Bless,



I have two special online small group coaching sessions coming up in August, and I’d love for you to make it.  The first is on “Finding And Focusing Your Idea.”  Learn some of the techniques I have used to generate song ideas that have led to cuts.  The second is a special small group interview/chat/Q&A with new Curb Records artist, Ruthie Collins.  This is your chance to connect with her as she’s recording her debut album and is prepping her first single for release.  It’s a very cool opportunity.  Just click on the image below to find out more about each!

Small Group Coaching 1



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14 thoughts on “One Email Away”

  1. Things are always pointing up eventually…you just don’t want to hurt yourself in the interim.  Ha. 

    — Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

  2. You never know. Great songs eventually find the light of day most the time. I think it helps to write songs that can be cut in different genres. I got a hold request from a platinum plus selling artist late last week. However, it was not a country artist and the request came out of L.A.

      1. Thanks. This isn’t my first rodeo. I have some fairly strict guidelines regarding hold requests. We’ll see what happens.

  3. This is yet another GREAT thread! I’ve been making verrrrrrry sllllllllllow progress on one of the best opportunities of my life. The progress has not been by piece meal, but more like crumb meal, dang near molecule meal, to be more exact. Most of the “update” activity on this opportunity has been on Mondays or Fridays. Since it’s my “/” side of life, hopefully the last “/”, I have to stay somewhat vague in my comments here.

    I’ve thought that this opportunity was a sure thing no less than 8 times since talks started way back in January. This Monday, I thought the finality, closure, and the deal being done, was certain, but… hold on, not yet.. The two emails this week were “we’re moving forward” and then “we need a little more information”. I don’t know that I’ve ever, in my 42 years, had a more intense exercise on patience and needing to trust God’s timing more than my perception of time. We’ll get there, though, if it is His will. Until then, I need to keep on trucking more so than get anxious about the prospect of this opportunity. There’s way too much good that might not get done, if I just sit and wait without maintaining my current work rolling along.

    Maybe next Monday, will be the one! 😉 Does this rainbow have an end? I’m certain it will, whether I find the pot of gold or the rainbow disappears, I’ll be thankful for the light of the sun and the rain.

  4. I’ve been writing now for about 7 years and can now say officially the I have my first cut!! I attended a Songwriting and Music Business work shop with Amanda Williams last October where I co-wrote a song with a couple of young songwriters. One of them (Abbey Cone) is releasing her first CD this year. She decided to put the track we wrote on her CD! I even scanned my first check and see it daily as my computer screensaver to remind myself that I really am a songwriter!! Don’t know where this will go, but I’m just grateful for this opportunity.

  5. I was trying a ton of different things waiting for something to stick, then came up with a fun little melody. I played an unfinished, scratchy, old voice memo from my iPod for a friend, and he said he loved it. I flushed it out and I think his band is going to put it on their record later this year. Little glimmers…

  6. Hi Brent,

    I can’t say for sure that you were the sole reason I joined NSAI but you were definitely a big influence through your Man vs. Row posts. I’ve been a member of NSAI for a few years now and I was thinking of cancelling my membership as it is due soon. I wasn’t sure I was getting what I needed from NSAI. Or if it was money well spent.

    But then…I received an email…from NSAI Song Evaluations. I’ve received many emails from them since I have sent in lots of songs to be evaluated. This one was different. At the top of the email it said ‘Congratulations! This song has been recommended for consideration at our next “Pitch to Publisher” luncheon!’ Woah! I’ve never seen this before. I’m not sure what it means but I do know it has given me that punch in the arm to tell me to keep going and to renew my membership for another year!

    So that’s MY email story 🙂 Onward and upward…


    1. Glen,
      Congrats! What it means is that, out of all the songs that’ve come in through song evaluations, YOURS was considered worthy of being passed along to the next step. Now your song will duke it out with the other contenders to see which 10 or so will be played for a room full of publishers at NSAI’s quarterly Pitch To Publisher Luncheon. Each publisher will have a piece of paper listing each song along with three responses from which to choose: “I’d like a copy of the song,” “I’d like a meeting with the writer,” and “no thanks.” At least that’s the way it worked when I was there. It’s a great step- congrats! And if it doesn’t make it to the luncheon, don’t be discouraged. Back when I used to send songs in for evaluation, I only had one recommended for the luncheon. It didn’t make it. The song was “Monday Morning Church.”

  7. Hi Brent,
    Lately I feel like I’ve been in a dark place as far as my songwriting dream goes. So your story is inspiring. It seems like it has been awhile since I’ve gotten any good songwriting news. I’m hoping for that call or email soon. In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away at writing and pitching.


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