So what is Good Coffee, Great Songs all about? Well, as you’ve probably guessed by now, it’s really a good excuse for songwriters to come together to share, listen, write, connect and learn more about songwriting. Most songwriters I know love coffee and start off their writing sessions with a cup of java in hand. I must admit, I’m not much of a coffee connoisseur but I do love the aroma and am quite intrigued by the power of a pot of coffee. It brings people together. It causes people to linger, talk, connect, listen to each other…all while consuming this hot dark brew. It seems like an invisible gravitational force is at work, drawing songwriters to coffee shops to sing and to listen to songs. We just can’t get enough. Maybe it’s because it causes us to slow down a bit. We sit still, have a cup of coffee and listen to a songwriter pour out his or her heart. We seem to crave the opportunity to connect to people and to God through our songs. As a singer/songwriter I get it.
Prior to moving to Nashville I had written many songs and had recorded quite a few demos. I had even made connections with a few Christian music publishers in Nashville and a couple of those publishers were interested in my songwriting. They encouraged me and challenged me to keep writing and to co-write. I made up my mind early on that I would listen to all advice, input or wisdom that any publisher would bestow upon me and would maintain a “teachable” attitude. To have a couple of well known publishers interested in a few of my songs was such a thrill. I thought I had “made it.” No, I still didn’t have any cuts at that time but all I needed was just a tiny glimmer of hope to fuel my dream even more. I lived and breathed to write songs. For after all, I was a “songwriter.” I could not NOT write. I HAD to write. And write songs I did!
Since then I’ve been wildly blessed to have been a staff songwriter for several publishing companies since moving to Nashville in 1995 (McSpadden-Smith Music, Word Music, Spring Hill Music Group, Brentwood Benson Music Publishing and Universal Music Group). I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have had many of my songs recorded over the years by some of the top Christian groups and artists in CCM and Southern Gospel music, (Avalon, Vince Gill, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Jeff and Sheri Easter, The Talley Trio, Charles Billingsley, Point of Grace, Dottie Peoples, Babbie Mason, Legacy Five, Brian Free and Assurance, Triumphant Quartet and more). It has been such joy to have had many of my songs on Christian radio and on the charts. I’ve had songs recorded in musicals, octavos and choral arrangements and many have been sung by choirs in churches all across the country. A few of my songs have literally been sung all over the world – “Orphans of God,” to name one. This song received 2 Dove Award nominations and received a BMI award in 2008 for one of the most performed songs on Christian radio, (recorded by Avalon and the Talley Trio). Sometimes I look back and see that 15 year old girl in West Virginia who dreamed of some day writing songs for Christian artists and I just have to smile. I’m happy I never let go of my dream, even when it felt like it was unattainable at times.