Rodney Clawson retraces his songwriting career from farming in Texas to placing songs with Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, and others, during this Songwriter Session at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, held on August 20, 2016. In addition to taking fan questions about songwriting, he performs five hits he’s written.
Clawson opens the program with “You Look Like I Need a Drink,” a Justin Moore single climbing the charts at the time. In addition to multiple reference to writing (and not writing) “bro country” songs, Clawson gives the back story on cuts such as Luke Bryan’s “Drunk on You,” Buddy Jewell’s “Sweet Southern Comfort,” and Jason Aldean’s “Amarillo Sky.”
Raised in Gruver, Texas, Rodney Clawson tells the audience that he never joined a band or played in bars before finding success in Nashville. Instead, his friend John Rich (of Big & Rich) helped him make connections to get his songs heard. Clawson also remembers listening to the radio while farming in Texas, thinking of various ideas that could work for songs. He states that he tried writing his first song when he was twenty-eight years old, but didn’t have any expectations that a career in music would work out.
“I think everybody starts writing songs because you love music,” he remarks. “There’s something in you. I spent twelve hours a day on a tractor. You listen to the radio a lot but you get these ideas in your head and they just keep going around and around and around, like the tractor. It’s not like, ‘I want to be a songwriter.’ It’s more, ‘I have to be a songwriter.’ I have to do this. I have to write this down. I have to get it out.”
The event concludes with Clawson’s performance of “American Kids,” a hit for Kenny Chesney.
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