Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to touch base with you to spread some good news I recently received. Looks like my song "Above Ground" has won in the ballad category of a major cool song contest here in Nashville (sponsored by country star Terri Clark and a benefit for the local Crisis Center). If you want, you can check out the "Nashville Song Search Announces Category Winners" link at their site: www.nashvillesongsearch.com

In case you're interested in the background, I've included a little more info below about the creation of the song. Hope everyone is well, and here's wishing you all a great New Year!


The Story Behind the Song "Above Ground"

It's a true story, written about a kindly old janitor, named Ed, who worked in the same building I do (where Billboard Magazine is located), on music row.

I had heard the expression "Above Ground" a few months earlier from a gentleman (a courier) who got on the elevator with me one morning. When I asked him how he was doing, he said: "Well, I'm above ground. My Mama used to say: 'Any day that you wake up and you find you're above ground — well that's a good day!'" We shared a chuckle.

One day not long after this conversation, we found out that Ed, the janitor from our building, had passed away suddenly. I'd seen Ed nearly every day in our building, and we'd said hello to each other frequently. I was moved to write the song one night about him, using the expression I'd learned a few months before.

Another interesting note about the song concerns the recording of the demo by Buddy Jewell, who was still singing demos at the time. (He has since gone on to well-earned success by winning "Nashville Star," and releasing his debut album on Columbia/Sony Nashville.)

Buddy sang the demo for Above Ground one morning — despite being up all of the previous night with his wife, dealing with the painful loss of a close family member. I told him we ought to postpone the demo since he'd had such a rough night, and perhaps do it another time. But in fact he insisted on recording it that day, saying that, with its powerful inspirational message of hope, it was just the song he needed to sing. It was a very emotional experience for all concerned.

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