Odie Blackmon Teaches ‘The Craft of Writing Hit Songs’
Have you ever wanted to know how to write a song? Hit songwriter Odie Blackmon has put together an instructional DVD, 'The Craft of Writing Hit Songs,' for those aspiring tunesmiths who are interested in putting thoughts and ideas to music ... the right way. He certainly knows what he's talking about -- Odie has penned chart-topping tunes such as Lee Ann Womack's 'I May Hate Myself in the Morning,' George Strait's 'She'll Leave You With a Smile' and several Gary Allan songs, including 'Nothing On But the Radio.'
The Arkansas native, who was once roomies with Gary Allan, offers up tools to folks wanting to learn how to craft a song. "I wanted to break things down for people," Odie tells The Boot. "People sometimes think about songwriting in a real heady way -- artsy and creative, but there are nuts and bolts, foundational stuff that we all have to have. You know the saying, 'We have to learn the rules before you break them,' and there are a lot [of rules] out there."
After writing his first hit, Odie taught the craft at a handful of workshops, and he felt that there was a significant disconnect between what people were writing in middle America to what was being heard on the radio. "I thought about how I learned how to do it, and how I learned was coming to town and sitting in a room with real deal writers," he explains. "I tried to read books about it, but it was really hard to read a book about music. So, I thought maybe there was a way to give people that don't have the opportunity that I did to move to town, maybe I could give them that experience and show what I've learned that people need. A lot of times I go out there, when I talk to younger writers or critique songs, and they just want to know how to get into the business. And I want to put real hard and fast things that they could use to make them better songwriters and just make them think about things they probably don't, that we know in our business."
Odie had a fascination with songs and music at an early age. "When I was a young boy, music was an escape and a gift to me out of say a painful situation," he reminisces. "I spent a lot of time by myself and in my own world which was headphones on listening to music ... it would take me to another place." He also says he got a re-education along the way while doing research for the DVD. "It was fun and it was really cool to go through songs and go, 'Oh yeah, they did that there, and I forgot that or I never realized that,' so it was a really cool education for me, and that's a lot of fun for me to do. It's not something we do when we're driving down the road and listening and enjoying it, but it's a neat exercise. It's kind of amazing how educational it is to take something you love and then kind of pick it apart an go 'Oh, this is what they did.'"
'The Craft of Writing Hit Songs' was filmed by director Gandalf Henning, who helmed the Gram Parsons' project, 'Fallen Angel,' and has been putting the finishing touches on a Merle Haggard documentary. For more information on the DVD, go to Odie's MySpace page at myspace.com/thecraftofwritinghitsongs.