All posts by Brent Baxter

The C.L.I.M.B. #85: Why It Pays To Be Terrible

I’m a bad guitar player… I sing like a horse… and staying that way has helped me become a successful songwriter.  Yep.  If you think you have to be great at everything to be a “real songwriter,” this episode will take a lot of that pressure off.

Plus, check out this week’s Song Title Challenge!

If you’re a singer, songwriter or indie artist who wants to grow your career, THIS is the podcast for you!

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast is live and ready for download!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON STITCHER (for Android)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON THE C.L.I.M.B. WEBSITE

The C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creating Leverage In The Music Business,” and that’s the goal of this podcast- to help singers, indie artists and songwriters like YOU to create leverage in the music business.  What is leverage?  It’s “strategic advantage; the power to act effectively.”  We want to help YOU make stuff happen in the music biz.

It’s exciting to see how folks are digging the show- and being helped on their CLIMB.  If YOU like it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a rating or review on iTunes.  Positive ratings and reviews help us to climb the iTunes rankings so more people become aware of the show and we can help more singers, songwriters, and indie artists like you make The CLIMB!The CLIMB iTunes review 3

CLICK HERE TO LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

If you aren’t on iTunes, you can listen to the show at our website:

TheCLIMBshow.com

If you have an Android phone, you can subscribe to the show on:

Stitcher

Thanks for your time. It means a lot to me, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of help for you!

God Bless and keep C.L.I.M.B.ing,

Brent

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.

Stop Calling Your Own Songs “Great!”

Stop calling your own songs “great.”  YOU don’t get to decide that.  And neither do I, to be fair.  Today, let’s talk about who DOES get to decide if your song is great.

________________________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________

When I was writing my earliest songs back in Arkansas, my cowriter, Tim Meitzen, and I would feel great about some of our songs.  But I remember Tim being reluctant to call those songs “great.”  Now, in the excitement of creation, we probably said things like, “Man, this is great!”  (I’m willing to bet that I did on several occasions.  I was wrong, but I didn’t know that then.)  But when speaking about those songs outside the writing room, it was a different story with Tim.

I remember him saying once, “I have a hard time calling one of my own songs ‘great.’  I’ll say ‘I love it,’ but I don’t think I can call it ‘great.'”  I took it as a healthy dose of humility and uncertainty on his part.  After all, what qualified us to call our own songs “great?”  What had we accomplished, other than recording some work tapes around a campfire?  What gave us the right to proclaim greatness?  Nothing did.

We don’t get to decide if our own songs are great.  Only the market gets to decide that.

If the market (the listeners) decide your music is great, then it IS great.  If the market decides your music is forgettable, then guess what?  It IS forgettable.  If the market decides that your current album isn’t worth their time, then the market is right.  If that same album is “rediscovered” ten years from now and the market decides that it is brilliant… then the market is right.

Like it or not, the market is always right.

But how can that be?  Because the greatness of music is ultimately a qualitative decision.  It’s subjective- a matter of opinion and taste.  Music isn’t math.  2+2=4 no matter what the majority decides.  Music isn’t like that.

Yes, you may be able to point out objectively how your song has a more sophisticated structure, rhyme scheme or melody than “cliche’ and stupid” hit songs on the radio.  But at the end of the day, you haven’t proven that your song is great.  You’ve only proven that is is more sophisticated.

I personally don’t really care if you call your own songs great.  Sure, in certain settings, that will make you sound like an egotistical amateur.  But whatever.  That’s not the biggest problem.

For many of you, your biggest problem is that you’re too busy blaming the market for being stupid and wrong when you should be focused on writing better songs.

If people don’t “get” your songs, it means one of two things:

  1. Your music isn’t for that audience, and you need to find the audience that WILL love it.
  2. You’re in front of the right audience, but your music isn’t good enough yet.  You need to keep working on your craft.

Let’s say you love country music, but you hate “today’s country music.”  That’s fine.  I can respect that opinion.  But if you want to write hits, what are you supposed to do?  Calling the market stupid does you no good.  Instead, study “today’s country music.”  What is it that the market likes about this music?  What makes it relevant to today’s country audience?

Don’t hate.  Investigate.

Once you start to understand that, you can incorporate some of those elements into your own songs – making them more relevant, or market-smart.  Or you can choose to stay inside your current musical box and hope that the market eventually changes its mind abut your music.  Hey, that’s fine.  Some writers stick to their creative guns, and sometimes the market eventually decides to like it.  Either choice you make is fine – as long as you understand the implications.  Just…

Don’t waste your valuable time blaming the market.

If you want some guidance on how to write “market-smart” songs that artists want to record and audiences want to hear, I have something you should check out.  It’s called, “Cut/able: Lessons In Market-Smart Songwriting,” and it’ll help you give your songs their best chance to one day be called, “great.”

Click here to take your songwriting to the next level.

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

_______________________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________
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. SWP 4

Wordplay Thursday #206

Welcome to Wordplay Thursday!

Here’s a line to get you started. Feel free to use it to start off YOUR song, then go back and change this original line up a little bit. After all, other people will be using this one, too!

“I know where you were last night

‘Cuz boy/girl, I’ve been there…

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

Wordplay Thursday is a fun way to generate new song ideas- and who doesn’t need more song ideas?  If you’d like MORE “creative kickstarters,” join the Frettie.com community today!  In our private Facebook group, I share a handful of creative kickstarters every week.  Plus, there’s plenty more cool stuff for Frettie members!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT FRETTIE!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

The C.L.I.M.B. #84: What Are You Doing

On today’s episode: Johnny and Brent discuss how success in anything is a result of the work and thought put into it.  If you say you “don’t have time” to chase your dream, what are you actually doing with your time?  Plus, hear this week’s Social Media Tune-up!  If you’re a singer, songwriter or indie artist who wants to grow your career, THIS is the podcast for you!

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast is live and ready for download!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON STITCHER (for Android)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON THE C.L.I.M.B. WEBSITE

The C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creating Leverage In The Music Business,” and that’s the goal of this podcast- to help singers, indie artists and songwriters like YOU to create leverage in the music business.  What is leverage?  It’s “strategic advantage; the power to act effectively.”  We want to help YOU make stuff happen in the music biz.

It’s exciting to see how folks are digging the show- and being helped on their CLIMB.  If YOU like it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a rating or review on iTunes.  Positive ratings and reviews help us to climb the iTunes rankings so more people become aware of the show and we can help more singers, songwriters, and indie artists like you make The CLIMB!The CLIMB iTunes review 3

CLICK HERE TO LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

If you aren’t on iTunes, you can listen to the show at our website:

TheCLIMBshow.com

If you have an Android phone, you can subscribe to the show on:

Stitcher

Thanks for your time. It means a lot to me, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of help for you!

God Bless and keep C.L.I.M.B.ing,

Brent

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.

Is Your Spouse Jealous Of Your Songwriting?

I love my wife.  I’ve loved her since shortly after I met her.  But I also love songwriting- and I’ve loved songwriting LONGER.  I don’t know if I’ve ever loved songwriting more than I love her… but I know for sure that she’s sometimes FELT like I love it more.

I hope you won’t make this same mistake.

________________________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________

My wife, Emily, knew she was marrying a songwriter.  “Monday Morning Church” had just been a hit single for Alan Jackson when we met through her brother, my roommate and a fellow songwriter.  She knew I was a songwriter, but there was no way she knew what all came with that.  Honestly, neither did I.

I’m not ready to confess all the painful details, but let me just say I’ve wounded my wife a lot over the years, and songwriting has usually been the blade.

I’ve let songwriting carry me away from her too much.  From days in the writing room to nights in the home office or at showcases to just being gone in my mind when I should’ve been fully present with her and/or our children.

Why was I gone so much?

Fear, partly.  Songwriting is a a very, very competitive business, and there is ALWAYS more you can be doing.  Couple that fear with a lack of faith – faith that God is in charge of my success, not me – and you have the perfect recipe for workaholism.  Add in the fact that I love love love songwriting, and it’s even easier to get sucked in.

And when this priority imbalance leads to hurt feelings and conflict, where have I usually turned?  To more work and songwriting.  Music is my alcohol.   Songwriting is my drug.

Songwriting has been my affair.  And my wife has rightfully felt cheated.

I’m not sharing this post to air my dirty laundry.  It’s embarrassing, honestly.  I’m not the husband I promised I’d be.  Thankfully, God has enough grace to cover me, and He’s doing the (painful) work of making me more like Christ.  He has a long way to go, just for the record.

I’m writing this blog post because I want to spare you and your spouse from making these same mistakes and causing or feeling the same hurts.

Songwriting is NOT more important than your marriage.

You didn’t stand in front of God, family and friends and vow to be faithful to songwriting “till death do us part.”  You made the promise to your husband or wife, not to music.

Take some time today to really be honest with yourself.  Have you been unfaithful?  Have you been cheating on your spouse with music?  Go ask your husband or wife if they feel cheated.  You might not like the answer.  But don’t go into defensive mode.  Just shut up, listen and honestly consider what they have to say.  It might be time for an apology.  It might be time to take a break from writing bridges.  It might be time to start rebuilding them instead.

Love is more valuable than love songs.

 

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

_______________________________

To BE a pro, you need to THINK like a pro, and this FREE ebook will help transform your thinking, your songwriting, and your success.  Get it today!

Click Here For The Book

_________________________________
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. SWP 4

Wordplay Thursday #205

Welcome to Wordplay Thursday!

Here’s a line to get you started. Feel free to use it to start off YOUR song, then go back and change this original line up a little bit. After all, other people will be using this one, too!

“I just had a long talk- with a wooden box…

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

Wordplay Thursday is a fun way to generate new song ideas- and who doesn’t need more song ideas?  If you’d like MORE “creative kickstarters,” join the Frettie.com community today!  In our private Facebook group, I share a handful of creative kickstarters every week.  Plus, there’s plenty more cool stuff for Frettie members!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT FRETTIE!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

The C.L.I.M.B. #83: How To Make People Want To Hear Your Song

On today’s episode: Johnny and Brent discuss how YOU can make music industry pros WANT to hear your song- even if they don’t know you and you aren’t a hit songwriter… yet!  If you’re a singer, songwriter or indie artist who wants to grow your career, THIS is the podcast for you!

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast is live and ready for download!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON STITCHER (for Android)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON THE C.L.I.M.B. WEBSITE

The C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creating Leverage In The Music Business,” and that’s the goal of this podcast- to help singers, indie artists and songwriters like YOU to create leverage in the music business.  What is leverage?  It’s “strategic advantage; the power to act effectively.”  We want to help YOU make stuff happen in the music biz.

It’s exciting to see how folks are digging the show- and being helped on their CLIMB.  If YOU like it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a rating or review on iTunes.  Positive ratings and reviews help us to climb the iTunes rankings so more people become aware of the show and we can help more singers, songwriters, and indie artists like you make The CLIMB!The CLIMB iTunes review 3

CLICK HERE TO LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

If you aren’t on iTunes, you can listen to the show at our website:

TheCLIMBshow.com

If you have an Android phone, you can subscribe to the show on:

Stitcher

Thanks for your time. It means a lot to me, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of help for you!

God Bless and keep C.L.I.M.B.ing,

Brent

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.

Congrats To Our September 2017 “Play For A Publisher” Winners!

Congratulations to our newest “Play For Publisher” Top Ten songs and songwriters!

First of all, thank you to each of you who took a chance, took positive action, and submitted one or more songs to the “Play For Publisher” event with Dan Hodges of Dan Hodges Music.  Ya’ll are just plain awesome.

Out of about 200 songs, it took a while to whittle it down to just 10.  We have country songs, pop songs, cowrites, solo writes, male songs and female songs!

There were a lot of worthy songs sent in, and I felt bad about leaving so many out.  If your song wasn’t chosen this time doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good song.

By the way, here’s a little about HOW I pick these songs.  Brave, awesome songwriters like you sent in your song or songs.  I downloaded them and listened in the truck- BEFORE I looked at who the writers are.  I picked the Top 10 and On Hold songs, THEN I looked up who wrote them.

So these were picked based on the song, not on the songwriter.  As a result… some folks got more than one in the Top 10 and On Hold.  Congrats to them for doing good, consistent work.

You know, one time I turned a song in to my publisher, and they didn’t know what to do with it, so they didn’t want to do anything with it.  My cowriters wanted to demo it, and the publisher said they wouldn’t pay for a demo.

The song was called, “Crickets,” and we got it cut by Joe Nichols.  It’s the title track to his last album.

joe-nichols-crickets

That’s right.  The song my publisher wouldn’t even pay to demo got cut anyway.  (My cowriters did an out-of-pocket guitar/vocal, and we pitched it ourselves.)

Welcome to Nashville.  So while I listened to each and every song and did my best to pick the ones that have the best chance of catching Dan’s ear… I could be wrong.  That’s just the way the music biz works.  So if your song wasn’t selected, it doesn’t mean you should give up on it.

Okay, here are the Top Ten (in no particular order):

“One Man’s White Trash (Is Another Man’s Treasure” by Chloe Dolandis, Zach Ziskin

“Park It On The Water” by Donna King, Lee Black, Gina Boe, Riley Roth

“Hang Ten My Friend” by Pat Aureli, Danny Myrick

“The Boy That Once Was Me” by Sam Speirs

“Call Me Drunk” by Troy Castellano, Doug Folkins

“Kids In Love” by Jay Putty, Brian Donkers

“Fifth Of July” by Sarah Spencer, John Cirillo, Dan Reifsnyder

“I In Love” by Lynn Tessari, Terez Goblet

“Ugly Is The New Beautiful” by Jayne Sachs, Hattie Murdoch

“Takes” by Rob Harris, David Rivers, Todd Taylor

(The Songwriting Pro community would LOVE to hear your songs, so if you have a link you’d like to post to your “Top 10” song, please post it in the comments below!)

Congratulations!  Dan and I look forward to hanging out with you on September 18.  (In the days before the event, I’ll email the winners the instructions about the online meeting.)

Like I said, the 10 songs above aren’t the only good ones I had the pleasure of hearing.  There are several more that were put “on hold” for the top 10 songs.  This list could be quite a bit longer, but I’d like to spotlight a few of them, too.  (Ya’ll feel free to link up your songs in the comments, too!)

“ON HOLD” songs…

“Devil You Know”  by Mikalyn Hay, Bobby John, Murray Daigle

“GPS” by Donna King, Riley Roth, Brandon James

“Friday Groove” by Joe Sly, Emily Kroll, Donna King

“Pulling Strings” by Tom Glynn, Kelly McKay

“Magnetic” by Joe Slyzelia, Loralei Ells, John Stanislawski

“Tequila’d” by James Hoppe, Vanessa Welwyn

“Calling Your Bluff” by Lynn Tessari, Ben Woolley, Ajaye Jardine

“Beyond Repair” by Art Dickerson, Parker

“Scotland Whispering” by Sam Spears

“He Is Greater” by Josh Otten

These songs, along with others, were in there battling it out with the top 10, so be encouraged!

If you want to become a songwriting pro (in how you think, write songs or do business), then a great place to start is RIGHT HERE.  I want to help you on your songwriting journey.  I’ve been in the music business for years, and I’m here to help you get the cuts – and avoid the bruises.  CLICK HERE TO START HERE.

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

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.

SWP 4

Wordplay Thursday #204

Welcome to Wordplay Thursday!

Here’s a line to get you started. Feel free to use it to start off YOUR song, then go back and change this original line up a little bit. After all, other people will be using this one, too!

“Buy me a drink…

I’d love to hear what you come up with, so please share in the comments. Oh, and please keep your posts below an R-rating. It’s a family show, after all!

Wordplay Thursday is a fun way to generate new song ideas- and who doesn’t need more song ideas?  If you’d like MORE “creative kickstarters,” join the Frettie.com community today!  In our private Facebook group, I share a handful of creative kickstarters every week.  Plus, there’s plenty more cool stuff for Frettie members!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT FRETTIE!

God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,

Brent

The C.L.I.M.B. #82: This Secret Will Transform Your Career

On today’s episode: Johnny and Brent share a secret that will help you move from music dream to a music career!  If you’re a singer, songwriter or indie artist who wants to grow your career, THIS is the podcast for you!

The C.L.I.M.B. Podcast is live and ready for download!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON STITCHER (for Android)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON THE C.L.I.M.B. WEBSITE

The C.L.I.M.B. stands for “Creating Leverage In The Music Business,” and that’s the goal of this podcast- to help singers, indie artists and songwriters like YOU to create leverage in the music business.  What is leverage?  It’s “strategic advantage; the power to act effectively.”  We want to help YOU make stuff happen in the music biz.

It’s exciting to see how folks are digging the show- and being helped on their CLIMB.  If YOU like it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave a rating or review on iTunes.  Positive ratings and reviews help us to climb the iTunes rankings so more people become aware of the show and we can help more singers, songwriters, and indie artists like you make The CLIMB!The CLIMB iTunes review 3

CLICK HERE TO LEAVE AN iTUNES REVIEW

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE C.L.I.M.B. ON ITUNES

If you aren’t on iTunes, you can listen to the show at our website:

TheCLIMBshow.com

If you have an Android phone, you can subscribe to the show on:

Stitcher

Thanks for your time. It means a lot to me, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of help for you!

God Bless and keep C.L.I.M.B.ing,

Brent

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.