Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.
Here are some of the songwriting decisions that went into the song “Vintage,” which has been recorded and released by Curb Records artist, Ruthie Collins.
Ruthie is a buddy of mine, as well as an artist on Curb Records. We’ve written off and on for a few years. She’s awesome. We were in the middle of working on another song, and we kinda hit a wall and decided to shelve it for a while. However, we had some time left, so we decided to look at another idea.
What idea(s) do I present?
I had this title in my hook book called, “Vintage.” I didn’t have an idea around it, but I liked the word. I hadn’t heard it as a song title before, and I knew Ruthie loved vintage clothes, furniture, etc. I usually like to wait until I have an idea or direction to go with a title before I present it to an artist… but I thought Ruthie would be be perfect person to help me figure it out. She loved the title.
What’s our angle?
The title “Vintage” just felt positive. Also, Ruthie had plenty of sad songs, so a happy song would fill a need for her. And making it somehow about love was a no-brainer. We landed on love being vintage.
What’s our point-of-view?
Deciding on the point-of-view was tricky. Our first impulse was to say, “our love is vintage,” but that made the singer old (because vintage = antique). And that doesn’t work for a young artist like Ruthie… or pretty much any artist selling many country records these days. Should we say, “THEIR love is vintage?” Well, that would work, but we still wanted the impact of “me” speaking to “you.” (That’s a more powerful way to write- directly addressing the listener.) We decided that the love was new, and the singer WANTED to love him UNTIL their love was vintage.
Ballad or tempo?
With an idea like “Vintage,” it could’ve been a sweet ballad. But, thinking like songwriters who wanted cuts, we gave it as much tempo as we felt the idea could carry. We both love ballads, but Ruthie had plenty of those already. We needed to write what she DIDN’T have. And she DIDN’T have enough tempo songs. This made it positive-love-young-tempo. We wrote a verse and chorus that day. Ruthie, being the vintage expert, carried the bulk of the work. Thank goodness for cowriters!
Several months passed while Ruthie went in to record her debut album (which ended up on the shelf, but that’s another story). Eventually, she rediscovered the worktape and fell in love with it all over again.
Do we bring in another cowriter?
Ruthie really wanted to get the song right, and she thought Jessica Roadcap would help us get it there. I’d never written with Jessica, but I knew she was one of Ruthie’s “inner circle” of cowriters. I trust Ruthie’s instincts, and I also figured it would be valuable for other reasons, as well (see my post: “The Artist Camp: Multiple Points Of Contact”). She called up Jessica.
Together, the three of us tweaked the first verse, chorus melody, and wrote the second verse. Thankfully, Ruthie loved the finished result. She wanted the song to have the best chance of getting on her record, so she and Jessica demoed it.
It must’ve worked, because it’s on her new album! Thanks Ruthie and Jessica!
You can check out Ruthie at: ruthiecollinsmusic.com
You can get the EP on iTunes <HERE.>
THE PRO KNOWS
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