Click to listen

Feb. 14: Now here’s a Valentine’s Day story for you, courtesy of my friend and music journalist Tom Roland. It seems that back in 1968, 16-year-old North Carolina boy Don Schlitz was in a bit of a pickle. Cupid’s holiday was upon him, and he’d forgotten to buy his girlfriend a present. So he gave her a song instead. Says Roland: “The resulting hugs and kisses — better than if he’d bought her chocolates — convince him to examine songwriting seriously.”

Can I get an “awwwww”?

Young Mr. Schlitz did indeed have a knack for tunesmithery. He proved that 10 years later, when he earned his first songwriting hit with a little ditty you might have heard of, titled “The Gambler.” Other songs in his catalog include “On The Other Hand” and “Deeper Than The Holler” by Randy Travis, “Strong Enough to Bend” by Tanya Tucker and “Old School” by John Conlee.

And this from 1986, one of the Top 10s from the debut album of hard-to-categorize sister duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo. Janis and Kristine Oliver (later Gill and Arnold, respectively) learned harmony when they were L.A.-area kids, and turned their bluegrass and country-rock influences into a career. Learn about that here.

Advertisements