My first recording session took place in Jackson, Mississippi
at the famed Malaco Studios in 1966. A band, The New Generation,
based in my hometown of McComb, Mississippi, recorded two of my
original songs. I was sixteen years old and thus began my life
long fascination with all facets of popular music.
The seeds were planted even earlier. I was named for a song
(Danny Boy) and, further, when I was four years old, Elvis Presley
came to McComb for a concert, appearing with Johnny Cash (September,
1955). My father, Bill, had promoted the concert, through his
position at a local radio station. I remember standing outside
an open window, holding my baby sitter's hand, as the excitement
of Elvis's music poured over me from the packed high school auditorium.
Throughout my years in McComb and, later, at the University
of Mississippi, I wrote songs, led a rock band and entertained
friends and family with my compositions. After graduation from
law school and a clerkship with a federal magistrate, my
bride, Adele, and I moved to Nashville so I could pursue my dream of
becoming a professional songwriter.
Fortunately, success came quickly. In 1978, Eddie Rabbitt took our song, "Hearts
on Fire" (Rabbitt, Stevens, Tyler) to number 2 on the country Billboard
However, with the responsibilities that came with a new son (William),
I was reluctant to give up the practice of law for the vagaries
of the music business. I struggled to balance the demands of practicing
law with my love for music. In 1982, the Oak Ridge Boys enjoyed
a major hit with my song "Bobbie Sue" (Tyler, Tyler, Newton).
I left the law profession and established, with Adele as my
creative and business partner, Intuit Music Group, a music publishing
venture which we have operated ever since.
Besides publishing my own songs, Intuit discovered and developed
songwriter/producer R.S.Field and the recording artist, Webb Wilder,
releasing Webb's underground classic, "It Came From Nashville," which
is still in print. During the decade of the 1980's, a tune I
co-wrote with Kix Brooks, "Modern Day Romance," became a number
1 record for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Other hits from
that era include "Twenty Years Ago" (Kenny Rogers) and "Baby's
Got a New Baby" (SKO). R.S. Field and Intuit also enjoyed a major
success with his song "Powerful Stuff" as recorded by the Fabulous
Thunderbirds and released on the multi-platinum soundtrack album, "Cocktail."
In 1989, needing a break from the demands of the music business,
the family, which now included a daughter, Elise, moved
to McComb. During my sabbatical, I rediscovered my ability
and desire to write songs by myself. While in McComb, I formed
my first band since high school and entertained locally. Our family
returned to Nashville in 1991 and I was committed to writing songs
close to my heart.
In 1996, LeAnn Rimes recorded a song I had written for my
son while we were living in Mississippi. "The Light In Your Eyes" was
an early radio hit for LeAnn and was included on her classic album "Blue." The
great success of that song, which we also published, enabled
me to continue to work on my own terms.
Also in 1996, Eggman Publishing (Nashville) published my novel,
Music City Confidential, an insider's fictional take on the colorful
country music industry. Despite limited promotion and distribution,
the book has sold over 2,000 hardback copies and remains an active
title in libraries around the country.
In the late nineties, I was deeply involved with my son's
band, Lifeboy, helping them secure a recording contract with Sire
Records. Although the album Lifeboy recorded for Sire was never
released and the band is inactive, William has continued in the
music business, establishing himself as an important young musician
and songwriter. William has played with the seminal Nashville group,
Lambchop, and also with David Berman and the Silver Jews. In 2010 Tompkins Square released a solo record on William titled "Behold The Spirit." A new album on Merge Records is scheduled for release in 2013. William's Website.
In the first decade of the 21st century, Intuit Music Group worked with a variety of recording artists, including: Billy Ray Reynolds, David St. Romain, Marna Taylor, Levi Sims and the Louisiana soul band, Coffee.
I have recorded and released two albums produced
by Joe Pisapia (Guster, k.d. lang). My song and recording, "I Am The River," was
chosen as the theme song for tennesseewaterworks, a clean water
campaign. In 2006, soul legend Candi Staton recorded and released
my song "When Will I?" - initially released on my "I Hope" disc.
In 2006, I released two albums, one
produced by R.S. Field (Billy Joe Shaver, Sonny Landreth, Webb
Wilder, Allison Moorer, Hayes Carll and many others) and another
produced by Mark Nevers (Lambchop, Calexico, Bobby Bare, Charlie
Louvin, Candi Staton and many others).
My lifelong love affair with music continues.