June Membership Meetings

By Diana Black

Louisville's own (but, like me, still a Hoosier at heart, I hope) Grammy award winning Debbie Hupp and the "natural born songwriter," storyteller Billy Edd Wheeler joined us for the June 5 membership meeting. Among other great songs, Debbie penned "You Decorated My Life" and Billy Edd gave us "Coward of the County" and "Jackson."

Debbie began her portion of the meeting saying that she has spoken to so many of us so many times in the past that she was afraid she might repeat herself. I did not find that to be the case at all. Debbie walked us through the various aspects of the songwriting business AFTER you have written the right song, such as: facing the stiff writing competition, getting an album cut (if you're one of the lucky ones), getting a single (if you're one of the very lucky ones), and dealing with the diminished country radio format. I think she gave us a pretty good clue as to what it's all about when she asked, "Can you write a song that will sell peanut butter?" The other side of the coin? During a question and answer period, I asked Debbie if she has the same desire she had when she began writing. Reflecting for a moment, she answered, "More."

Billy Edd told colorful stories, sang several of his great songs, gave insightful writing advice and described just what his upcoming Great Smokies Song Chase songwriting camp is all about. Billy Edd was told by several people early in his songwriting career, "You're a natural born songwriter, Billy Edd, but you'll never make any money at it." He said this was hard to ignore when he heard it from the acclaimed songwriting team of Leiber and Stroller. He apprenticed with them and learned to develop his craft. And develop he did! At one point the Beatles held numbers 4 and 9 on the charts while Billy Edd's "Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back" had the number one spot! And now, Billy Edd will be helping other writers, be they beginning, intermediate or advanced, develop their skills and hone their craft with his camp in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina during the second week of August.

Thanks, Debbie and Billy Edd, for a great evening!

The June 19 meeting was a critique session. Although the number of tapes brought for critique was small, the number of members and visitors was not. There was active participation in the critique, and I believe the writers were open to the many excellent suggestions that were made.