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Tom Douglas, Nashville troubadour

Tom Douglas @ Country Radio Seminar 2013
Tom Douglas @ Country Radio Seminar 2013
Kelly E Schultz

Tom Douglas is not only a Nashville treasure, he truly is an American treasure, by writing songs the people can relate to. His writing was once referred to as ‘grown up songs for grown up people.”

Can’t really describe it any better than that. In an age of formulaic songwriting and what seems to be the same six writers getting all the radio cuts, it’s refreshing to hear songs with some depth and to hear the story behind them.

"I'm 31, wasted 4 years of my life, I'm leaving Nashville and I met my wife and got engaged. Moved to Texas and got into Real Estate business. I tried to get songwriting out of my head, [but] I couldn't they were always there, going through my mind. It was a spiritual epiphany, am I going through the rest of my life miserable. I almost created the songs as idols. Being horrified that I had to choose God or the songs. A year or so later I reconnected with Paul Worley in Austin. He had a cassette of some songs I was working on, and on that tape was “Little Rock,” which was signed to SONY/ATV publishing and in the spring of 1994, "Little Rock" went to Number 1. Which is just a metaphor for just starting over.”

Some of Douglas’s stronger album cuts were co-writes and include;

-”Number 37405” written with Troy Jones. Recorded by Tim McGraw.
-”Hello World” written with Tony Lane, and David Lee. Recorded by Lady Antebellum.
-”23 Degrees South,” written with Hillary Lindsey, and Gordie Sampson. Recorded by Billy Currington.
-”One Mississippi” written with Brett Eldredge. Recorded by Brett Eldredge.

“Writing with different people is pretty amazing. I’ve never had the continuity of writing the same time with the same people say every Tuesday. The great thing about an artist like Brett is you’re so inspired by the sound of their voice and Brett’s instrument is his voice. I wanted to figure out how to expand on that and how to make the song work. Both of my daughters went to Ole Miss and the romance of the state, Faulkner, some of my favorite writers are from Mississippi and Mississippi gets in your blood. It was a play on words, it could’ve turned out really cheesy if it wasn’t for Brett.”

After writing 150 plus songs, there will be always be ones that resonate to the fan, the listener. “The House That Built Me,” is a perfect example of that.

“Allen Shamblin and I were in Sundance for a songwriters series. I think it was 2003. We took our families and we were enjoying the mountains. Allen comes into the restaurant and was talking about architecture and said ‘what if there was a song not about building a house, but about a house that built me?’ As soon as he said it I knew that it was a song and when we got back to Nashville we wrote it, but took us another 7 years. Through all the demo’s but we had too much. We took out a lot of details and just got down to the core of what the song was about. Everybody wanted the song, and then Miranda Lambert cut it, but we never thought a woman would sing it. So very proud of that song.”

Tom Douglas continues to write. Currently he has two singles on the Top 40 charts, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” which Tim McGraw and Faith Hill sing as well as George Strait’s “I Got A Car.” Needless to say you should hear his name announced for Song of The Year at this year’s CMA Awards.

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