SongTown USA: A Day Of Practice Songwriting

One day, my friend Danny Wells and I wrote a song. We were really excited about it, so Danny wanted to play it for his publisher. We went in the man's office and Danny played it live. I could tell as he was playing that the guy didn't seem like he liked it.

When Danny finished, his publisher looked at him without saying a word. Danny asked, "What do you think?". The guy looked him in the eye and said, "I don't like it."

We asked him what he didn't like – was it the groove, the feel, the title, the lyric? "All of it," was his response. He hated all of it. Every piece of it. His final comment was the nail in the coffin. "Boys, I would just consider that a day of practice songwriting and move on."

We went back to our writing room and quietly packed up our gear. We were despondent. We had gone from thrilled to killed in the 3 minutes and 18 seconds it took to play that song. Danny said, "Do you ever wonder if you're cut out for this?" I said, "Yep. Wondering right now."

We went home and I was honestly as discouraged as I have ever been in regard to my writing. I thought about what I would do if I couldn't make it as a writer. I started to go to bed, but decided to listen to the work tape of that song one more time to see if it really was as bad as he said it was.

As I listened to the tape, I got angry. It was a good song. I decided that I wasn't going to take that guys feedback as gospel. I called Danny and said, "I want to get a second opinion on that song, because I still like it a lot."

The next day, we went in to the big boss man's office at Danny's company. We didn't tell him about the other guy's feedback, we just told him we were really excited about the song. He loved it! He told us to go demo it right away.

Before we could demo the song, the guy that worked in the tape room (yes, I said tape) caught us one day and mentioned that he loved that song. We told him we were demoing it. He said to get him a copy of it as soon as we could because he wanted to see if the company would let him pitch that one song (he had never pitched a song before).

To make a long story a little longer. The tape guy pitched the song and it was cut by Billy Ray Cyrus within two weeks of our demoing it. We got a big cut, the tape guy was offered a big promotion and the first dude who hated the song ate crow for a LONG time.

Moral of the story? Don't let one person get you down. And don't give up. Write on.

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a songwriter, corporate trainer and entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell and The Plain White T’s. He once bumped Psy out of the #1 spot on the K-Pop charts but that’s another story for another day. Marty plays Taylor and Batson guitars. Follow him here:, at and at Twitter @SongTownUSA or visit

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