Category Archives: Songs – Songwriting

“Dirt Roads And Fence Lines” – What is the meaning of the CD Title?

For everyone who grew up in the Midwest or the Northwest of the United States, or for that matter anyone who has spent some time in the country and loves country music, you will appreciate a lot of the songs / themes on this CD “Dirt Roads And Fence Lines“. 

For those who didn’t, my hope is to bring you along for 12 songs and give you a little look at what it was like to grow up in a small town in Montana. 

Where I grew up, dirt roads are more common than paved roads.  Who wouldn’t love to jump in a 53 Chevrolet Pickup Truck and just head on down that dirt road for as far as it goes, for as far as you can see in any direction?

Old Fence lines are even more interesting as they “just go on for mile and mile, standing there strong, bold, meek and mild,” (from the title track Dirt Roads and Fence Lines).   If you stand along an old fence line and look for as far as you can see, you will notice that somewhere off in the distance “where the sunset meets tomorrow”, it blends into the horizon and disappears!  

Every song on this CD is from life as I find it.  I write all my own lyrics and I’m happy when you get a copy of this CD at and take a look at the perfect way I grew up, but as I say, if you grew up where I did, you will appreciate a lot of the themes on this CD. 

The titles of the songs says it all:

01 Dirt Roads and Fence Lines

02 Small Montana Town

03 Wishful Thinkin’

04 Wish It Were Raining

05 Not Enough Whiskey

06 Two Steppin’ Honky Tonk Dream

07 Second Hand Heart

08 Day To Day

09 Good Ol’ Days

10 Heros Of The Lost Highway

11 (Thank God) Dirt Roads Never End

12 Where I Come From


You can preorder the new album “Dirt Roads And Fence Lines” HERE!

How To Write A Song, Part 1 – The Hook Line

How To Write A Song, Part 1 – The Hook Line

Think of a song you enjoy listening to. It could be a song from your youth that you always loved, or it could be a song that you’ve heard playing on the radio a couple minutes ago. Sing the part you know in your head. You probably just sang the hook line. Did you sing the words Sweet Home Alabama, or Sweet Caroline, or was it On The Road Again? Those are hook lines! Ear catching hook lines have been the starting point for many great songs! I’m always looking for them! When I find a good one, I write it down or record right away!

People ask me, “What comes first, music or words?” I tell them, “I write the hook!” Sometimes I hear the music along with the hook, but always the hook.

A good hook will give you a starting point for how to write a song lyrically. When I wrote the hook line Why Not, One More Drink, I had a few pretty clear ideas on how to build the lyrics.

A great place to find hook lines is by listening to people speak. People say the strangest things, if you listen! On my last CD I wrote a song called Playin’ to Win. The idea for this song came while my father and I were sitting at a blackjack table in South Dakota. We were joking about splitting a pair of tens, which in blackjack is taboo because a pair of tens is already probably a winning hand. I believe my father said “do it, split the tens, losing doesn’t mean anything, only thing that matters is that you’re playing to win!” That really stuck out as one of those odd twists and after some re-write it became, Losin’ Don’t Mean A Thing, If You’re Playin’ To Win. There’s a scene in the video for the song where I split the tens at a blackjack table, and off course in the video I win!

When you think of a potential hook, or hear a nice twist on words, grab a napkin, any piece of paper, or your smart phone. People may look at you strange, but just look back at them and say, “I’m a songwriter; I have to write down my ideas when they come!”

Last thing, if you’re fortunate enough to have an idea for a melody with the hook, sing a few bars of Mumbo Jumbo into your recorder as well. Mumbo Jumbo is any words you can think of to accompany the music pattern and hook line you are putting down on tape. You’ll be surprised how often you come back to that Mumbo Jumbo and use something from it!

So go out and get those hook lines! Start making a collection of your own hooks, and check back and visit me for the next article on Song Writing, Part 2.

Below is the video link to the song Playin’ To Win which I referenced in the Ezine Article How To Write A Song, Part 1 – The Hook Line

Below you can read the lyrics and listen to an mp3 of Playin’ To Win and Why Not One More Drink

First Song – Playin’ To Win