From a Sun Media article by Mike Ross, here are some thoughts on the Nashville system by country music star, Terri Clark:
Terri Clark is trying to pull herself out of the tar pit that is the commercial Nashville country scene - where young singer-songwriters are discouraged from writing their own material, image is everything and nothing beats a hit.
The 40-year-old Medicine Hat star was hip deep in the status quo for a decade, so she's got her work cut out.
Happily, a big change in her career could help: She's no longer on a major label. She's an indie now. She writes all her own songs - which fans can hear when she plays Sunday at the River Cree Casino.
Clark declares, "If you're a songwriter, you should write your own songs."
Sounds obvious. Doesn't happen much in Nashville, which is as dependent on its professional songwriting corps as Alberta is on oil.
The stars will generally shop for a song to express their deepest feelings, rather than write it. The same can be said for the R&B scene of yore, of course, whose biggest hits came from largely unknown tunesmiths toiling in the Brill Building of New York City.
That bubble burst with the advent of rock 'n' rollers speaking their minds and writing their own hits - from the heart. Blame the Beatles.
(Editor's note: this vastly oversimplified history of R n' B songwriting is meant to be illustrative, not educational.)
Clark recalls a slippery slide, "I wrote almost all the songs on my first two records, but as the career progressed I wrote less and less. Got busy, plus got caught up in 'we need the hits, we need the hits, we need the hits.' We were chasing rather than just going with what was natural, coming out of me, which is what fans bought into in the first place."
Good for Ms. Clark... as she returns to songwriting, may the Muse return to her...