Country Music Return (advice)

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JeremyDoss
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Country Music Return (advice)

Post by JeremyDoss » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:10 am

I joined Taxi for this very listing and both of my submissions were returned last night. I have submitted these 2 exact songs for 4 or 5 more listings. Now I think they will probably be returned for all of them after reading the critiques (especially if it is the same screener for the other country music listings).

"I'll Be Home Soon" (was returned because they said the lyrics were not relatable to enough people and that the chorus said the same thing as the verses...need to talk more about emotion of being a trucker in the chorus). I mean there are only 3.5 million truck drivers in the US (that does not include every person retired from trucking or who was a truck driver at one time or who had parents or family that were truck drivers, etc).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axv7Xeo6D4A

"The Simple Things" (was returned because of too many lyrics and they felt packed in...no time to breath....verses did not seem natural to sing).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixzuIzdZD7s

Any thoughts or advice. Am I just wasting my time and money submitting these songs to listings? The screener gave many compliments (I posted the reasons for the returns above). After writing these songs, I sent them to have the lyrics etc critiqued to multiple places. I then reworked the songs. Then I paid to have them professionally recorded (not sure I am going to spend the money to record them again). Thanks in advance.

Here is the listing information:
COUNTRY SONGS with REFLECTIVE Lyric Themes and Male Vocals are needed by a super well-connected A&R Executive for a HUGE chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning SUPER GROUP that’s working on their next album!

The A&R Executive is searching for Songs in All Tempos that could be found on the same playlist as the following references:

“How They Remember You" by Rascal Flatts

“Letter To Me” by Brad Paisley

“Time" by Dean Brody

NOTE: The bar is high for this request, so pull out your best and pay special attention to your Songcraft! Getting Songs cut by this act could be absolutely career-changing!

Please submit radio-worthy Country Songs that have solid productions and great lyrics with substance. Your submissions should have fresh, compelling Country melodies and super strong choruses that are ready for the charts! Please be sure your vocal performances are good enough to get this A&R Executive and Artist excited about cutting your Songs.

Lyric Tip: We’ve been told that they're looking for "reflective" material, with lyric themes along the lines of (but not limited to) "This is my life" or "Taking a look back at our lives."

The quality of your Songs should be competitive with material being pitched on Music Row – in other words, submissions have to be really, really strong!

Please submit as many Songs as you’d like, online or per CD. Please include lyrics. All submissions will be screened and critiqued by TAXI. Submissions must be received no later than 11:59 PM (PDT) on Monday, August 3rd, 2020. TAXI # S200803CS

TAXI # S200803CS

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by lesmac » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:55 pm

I would let them go and chalk it up to experience. I have 6 songs that have followed the same routine as yours. Money spent, lesson learned. My songs weren't hits and I feel these 2 songs won't be either.

The second song seems wordy and jumpy, sort of uncomfortably so. The first song doesn't sound contemporary lyric wise, the wagon reference straight up lost me.

The allure of demo houses getting songs over the line is strong but you gotta have a great song first. The dream and the reality often don't line up.

The only remedy for folks who have a few years under their belts [myself included here] is to listen to contemporary country songs and learn to enjoy them. Find three current country male singers that float your boat and get into their music.

If you really think you can write for a current artist you will have to dig in and pull apart everything about their style, attitude to life, phrasing, preferred keys even, subjects they sing about and how they deliver a lyric.

Music row writers and writers in general who have publishing contracts write hundreds if not thousands of songs. They never stop trying, working and crafting. They learn to let songs go that won't cut it and they won't demo a song unless it has great potential.

It's tough but if you like a challenge it's a good one. :lol:

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by JeremyDoss » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:26 pm

Lesmac, thanks for your advice.

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by kitbenz51 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:18 pm

You’re definitely not wasting your time. You clearly have a lot to bring to the table here. The hook on the simple things is great. The production is great. The singing is spot on. It just wasn’t right for this listing for one reason or another. I agree with the above points as well. Keep writing, keep making your art and keep submitting. Welcome to Taxi.

-Kit

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by Kolstad » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:38 am

I think the first one was good, the second one didn't cut it due to meter issues. Remember Country is the highest songwriting bar in the world, and you compete with Nashville a-list writers.

Even though the first was good, it wasn't really a hit song (it didn't stick to my mind). It was also not on par with recent country hit structure (19sec before first vocal is really long now!). It did sound like 00's country, and perhaps could make an album cut then.

I would secure the master rights to that one, and pitch it for traditional country listings to tv/film (make sure you get the instrumental mix too, if you do).

Not trying to be a downer here, you did well, these types of songs requires incredible skill, but the target keeps shifting, so now you need to be aware of rhythm hooks in the verses, short intros, minimalism/ less guitars, electronic (hybrid)drums, hiphop sensibilities/ elements (as hip hop now floats out of fashion in pop, country starts to adopt it).

And the consuming audience is more middle class, 20+, city, female than working class (/cowboy), 40+, country, male - which matters a lot when choosing themes and concepts for the lyrics.

You definitely can write, so that's not the issue. Just be aware that some paradigms have changed, and try to act accordingly. You can do it.

This particular listing is probably also for Rascal Flatts, as they recently have announced a career change. And there was nothing in your songs that they haven't already done, so that's another thing to consider. It needs to fit like a shoe for the particular artist, in their particular situation, with their particular catalog and sensibilities. No wonder country listings like these are hard, but your career as a songwriter is also at stake, so it's no small thing :D

So, no advice (I hate advice), just ramblings to chew on (I like chewing).

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by JeremyDoss » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:52 am

Thanks guys for your advice and your ramblings. :lol:

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by SteveAlton » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:51 am

Yeah I was gonna start a thread on my returns from this listing...

If this guy or gal is the screener that listens to all songs I am sunk too...

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by todddunnigan » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:46 am

When you said you paid to have them professionally recorded i thought "ooooo, that's tough". I don't know what you paid but judging by the quality, it wasn't cheap. I'd be willing to bet for roughly the same amount of money you could invest in a computer, a DAW, and a decent mic and preamp, then I'd start hitting the Youtube videos and learn how to use it. It's not hard. You wouldn't be able to record a full band, but you could do guitar overdubs and vocals yourself which would save you some money, but more importantly it would give you the ability to revise your stuff without spending a bunch more money. You could change out the lyrics to your trucker song and make about pickups and chicks and back country roads or some shit and I think it would have a fighting chance. If you have to go back to a studio every time, it's going to become cost prohibitive to revise those songs. DIY is also really fun and you can add a new skill to your skillset.

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by funsongs » Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:19 am

Hi Jeremy,
Are you the singer on these tracks on your TAXI page?
Peter Rahill - aka "funsongs"
https://soundcloud.com/funsongs-1
You Tube channel: Peter Rahill
https://peterrahill.bandcamp.com/ (as of 12-2-2020)

“The future aint what it use to be.” - Yogi Berra

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Re: Country Music Return (advice)

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sun Sep 13, 2020 12:40 pm

I'll Be Home Soon sounds like a well recorded Country song...But it reminds me of something I might hear 20+ years ago...it hasn't got that modern edge like the Rascal Flatts song and that's as much in the writing, phrasing , lyrics etc. as it is in the production. I wouldn't peg it as a chart ready hit.

I'm sure it could find a home with a publisher and maybe end up in a TV show though, so just because it's not right for this opportunity doesn't mean it's a total bust. Like the listing said it was a high bar so it would take something pretty special to get forwarded.

The other guys have given some solid advice, people don't often realise how their songs are perceived by industry professionals until they join somewhere like Taxi and it can be a bit of a reality check. Paying demo studios to record fairly average songs can add up to more than they will ever earn back from TV placements so if you can invest the money in your own setup as Todd mentioned and learn to DIY you can make a competitive demo in a home studio these days.

You can also learn to write more contemporary songs and experiment more when you're not paying for someone else's time.

Mark.

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