Murder On Music Row
1999: I am leasing an office from old pal, songwriting great & publisher extraordinaire, Larry Shell. I been off the road since early autumn ’95 but I’m hungry to get in the studio with my newly reformed, Lonesome Standard Time guys. They are all super pickers.
We’re having fun and getting really tight playing regularly at Nashville’s famous bluegrass den, The Station Inn. The band is now, David Harvey, mandolin, David Talbot, banjo & baritone vocals, Booie Beach, lead guitar, Fred Carpenter, fiddle and Terry Eldredge, bass & tenor vocals. We are gaining quite a following. My daughter Kelvey is now 8 years old and I don't so much feel like I’m not missing all the cute little girl stuff anymore. It’s time to get back out there. I’ve got the songs picked out for the new CD & I’ve made a handshake deal with my friend Randy Harrell to put the record out independently on his new Shell Point Record label. Larry Shell calls me one day and says... “son, I’ve got a great song idea for us”. I’m not much in a frame of mind to write since I’m so close to recording. However, since it’s Larry I say what’s it called. He says, “it’s called murder on music row” … I get it immediately & say oh man! Is it about killing country music? He says well… yeah. We hastily get schedules together to try to write the song. When we get together a couple of days later, we honestly work from about 10:00 AM till maybe 1:00 PM and for all practical purposes, it is finished. We go to lunch, come back to the office, tweak it a bit and put it on a cassette recorder that I have. Once again I am playing a show at the Bluebird with songwriting pals, Jerry Salley, Carl Jackson & Rebecca Lynn Howard. I decide I will debut our new song there. It’s going over well…. I get to the hook of the song at the end of the 1st verse and the place goes crazy. Before the chorus? Are you kidding me? This is a tough crowd. They take the roof off that place. I decide to record it and it becomes the title of LST’s new CD “Murder on Music Row”. Shell has a cool promotion idea. After the song is mixed I get him a copy. He takes it to local DJ hero Carl P. Mayfied @ WKDF radio station. He doesn’t put any names on it. I get a roll of crime scene tape from a local police officer after explaining to him our promotion idea. Shell wraps the package in it… we laugh it’s so gaudy, carny looking. Carl P starts playing it on his morning show! In fact he’s playing the zero’s and one’s off it… he dedicates a website to it we are the toast of the town….. well, to some we are. George Strait’s manager hears our record of it on Carl P’s show, on his way to town one morning. They figure out who it is & contact us about George recording the song…. Really? George then asks country music standard bearer, Alan Jackson, to do a duet with him on the song . When the CD comes out it’s a runaway smash with the folks. Mr. Strait’s record label MCA records, is trying to squash interest in it. It comes on Billboard’s hot 100 without any promotional push. MCA is not happy. They already have a single out on George that they are promoting heavily and spending lots of money on. Ditto for Alan Jackson’s camp at RCA. Music industry people start choosing sides, some on the more contemporary side, others on the traditional side. The head of the CMA is on the local news extoling the virtue of the “new country” music that dominates the airwaves. Really? It’s an absolute, three ring circus. Shell and I are getting our 15 minutes of fame and enjoying every minute of it. We are in People magazine, US magazine, The New York Times, all the country music mags. It’s crazy! In 2000 it is nominated for CMA song of the year and George & Alan pick up a CMA award for best performance by a duo and a Grammy for it as well. It is never released as a single but manages to reach the 30’s in Billboard magazine, with everyone fighting against it. We are sick about it but that’s the music biz for you. Meanwhile LST’s version re