Travis Meadows “Pontiac”

If you want to start with something that’s true, one of the best songwriting mentors you can look to is Travis Meadows. He has a way of writing about his experiences that brings others in and not only reveals a bit about himself, but also creates a perspective...

Jason Isbell “Cumberland Gap”

Having worked in the Cumberland Gap area back in the day, I’d drive up 25E through Tazewell TN, past the Mustang Lounge, and wind my way through the gap toward Middlesboro Kentucky. Why do I remember these places so well? I was standing in the back room of a...

Brandi Carlile “The Eye”

I got a direct message through twitter asking about a Brandi Carlile song called “The Eye” (thanks Helen!). While I’ve listened to Brandi Carlile since her first album, I now realize I haven’t mentioned any of her songs on the site, so...

Eric Church “Record Year”

We’ll deconstruct Eric Church’s “Record Year” to discover the songwriting devices that made this song a #1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart and #44 on the Hot 100 Chart, and garnered three CMA nominations. Written with band mate Jeff...

Chris Stapleton “Parachute”

“Parachute,” written by Chris Stapleton and Jim Beavers, is one of my favorite songs on Traveller.  It delivers a universal message in a very economical package. For example, you’ll find a single chord progression repeating itself, sparse imagery and...

Adele “Hello”

Written by Adele and producer Greg Kurstin, “Hello” focuses on a telephone conversation/voicemail. The song brilliantly leverages the strength of direct address to create a highly personal moment, while the melody moves from ballad to power ballad...

Aaron Watson “Bluebonnets”

How do you make a very personal moment a song that can connect with thousands and top the Texas Regional Radio Music Chart? Aaron Watson did just that with “Bluebonnets,” which also charted as high as #13 on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart. The song was...