EXTENDED PLAY (EP)

     His first name was Eldridge but that wasn’t the unusual part.  I was in Nashville, sitting in a large room packed with aspiring country songwriters.  They were a mixed bag; all ages from all walks of life.  Ponytailed men in dress slacks, a biker with more tattoos than skin, a teenager fresh off the cover of Taylor Swift’s last CD, a Dolly Parton wannabe, a guy with a crew cut who never stopped texting, a high school kid in flips flops and Hawaiian shirt, and a man who was clearly homeless. 

     What they all had in common—perhaps the ONLY thing they had in common–was their desire to impress the guest publisher that night with their self-penned songs.  The demos they brought ranged from tinny sounding, cat-like, wailing recordings done at home to professionally, produced records with string arrangements.  The publisher politely played the first verse and chorus of each and then went on to the next.  If he heard something he really liked, he kept it, garnering a round of applause. 

     Several hours into the evening he pushed the PLAY button for the umpteenth time.  As the demo began I was immediately intrigued.  The words were clear.  The form was good and the melody was catchy.  It was so good in fact, that I was already singing along as the 2nd chorus came around.  The title?  “I’m a Six-Pack Away From Loving You.”  This writer had a great sense of humor AND the audience loved it!!  However, the publisher suddenly clicked STOP and tossed the demo into the reject pile. 

     But I wanted to know WHO wrote that song, so asked that he be pointed out.  As the audience began to applaud, I strained to see where he was.  There, in the very back row, an older man with white hair shyly put up his hand.  Now ask yourself this:  how many people of an age long past retirement are not only writing songs but out there trying to pitch them?  Most people his age are dusting off their old trophies, not trying to earn new ones.  I was smitten and even scrawled a one-line fan note which said, “You are AWESOME!”  Now I’d tell you his last name.  It’s as unforgettable as his first and as memorable as his song.  But in deference to his seeming shyness I will merely say this:  his initials spell EP.  That’s right.  It’s the phrase in music meaning “extended play.”  And that is exactly what I hope he gets!!   (http://www.helen-hudson.com). 

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