In the draft of my novel Radio Dreams and Dead Air Nightmares, the main character, Grace LaVette, gets a job at a country radio station. Her co-worker, Jesse, becomes her music mentor. One day in the studio, he recommends a song by Merle Haggard and charmingly sings Mama Tried.
Like photographs, lyrics are protected by copyright. When I began to fill out the licensing application for Mama Tried, I noticed the fine print: the publisher's minimum license fee is $300. In a previous scene, I quote lyrics from another song, Golden Ring by Lee Greenwood. I'd be lucky to make $600 in book sales, LOL!
Since I’m writing fiction, it makes more sense to write my own country songs. After all, I've got a bachelors in music and in the mid-90s, I left my radio job to learn Music Technology at the Madison Media Institute, where I wrote and recorded many songs and commercial jingles.
So here you go. The first little ditty is called "Takin' Me Too Soon" by the fictional singer Chet Hale. The second is "Love Knot" by Amanda Stacks. (Both works in progress.)
TAKIN' ME TOO SOON
I went to jail for life, for somethin' that I done,
I left behind my wife, a daughter and a son.
Forgive me dear for dying,
Death row's takin' me too soon,
I assailed, and I failed.
Life's takin' me too soon.
Takin' me too soon,
To that barren room,
I'll never know our future
Time's running out, dear Sue.
Takin' me too soon,
Life's over at high noon,
The reaper has no humor,
Life's running out, dear Sue.
On the way to the bar, she takes off her ring,
And drops it inside the glove box,
Her lover slips in, shares shots of dark rum,
She's well on her way to a love knot.
No beginning, no end,
An affair among friends,
There's no untangling this love knot.
Entwined in his arms, alone in their fling,
Feelings unfold without forethought,
Her husband slips in, and stands there numb,
The love knot ends with a gun shot.
A beginning, an end,
No way to make amends,
Suspended in time in their love knot.
© Lisa A. Lehmann. All rights reserved.