Songwriter: Alan Baxter
Contracted Vocalist: Michael Lusk
State your reason for choosing music as a career.
Actually, music is my second career. I’ve just finished a 30-year career in law enforcement. I’ve always been able to write poems. So I started writing songs in January 2018. I guess you could say I’m an old songwriter but at the same time a rookie!
Tell us how you write the lyrics to your song.
Cigarettes and Beer was one of the first songs I have written. A friend mentioned they just sat on the couch smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. As soon as I heard it, the song popped into my head.
Tell us about you.
Alan Baxter aged 65, born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee; attended school at Lipscomb University, Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla. Served with the Starke Police Department in Starke, Fla., Alachua County Sheriff’s office in Gainesville, Fla., for 19 years, and the Madison County Sheriff’s office in Jackson, TN for 8 years. Lives in Ashland City, Tennessee currently. Has been writing songs since January 2018, currently has written 58 songs, with four songs, Darkness, David’s Army, Cigarettes and Beer, and Mamas Toddy, currently published. Alan is currently looking for a vocalist or record label to contract his songs.
Discuss your life outside the music world.
I live and write in Ashland City, Tennessee. I am married to Darlene H. Baxter, who is an exec sec and office manager with one of the major labels here in Nashville, Tennessee. I enjoy working on our small farm, hunting, and fishing. I’m also a history nut. I love history and the stories about early settlers here in our country. I maintain a 150-year-old cemetery on our farm. I’m a Christian and am a member of the Ashland City Church of Christ. I love meeting people and listening to their life stories. Music is about life, so if you are tuned in to life, you will never be a good songwriter or artist.
Discuss your music career.
As I said before, I may be an older songwriter, but I’m a rookie in the business. I started writing in January 2018. I try to write each day. Writing is like anything else you want to make a career. If you don’t do it every day, you will never be very good at it. Currently, I have 58 songs written. I only have four published, mainly because it’s expensive to have your songs produced. I was blessed to find Stacey at AWritersPardise when I first started out. They did a fantastic job on my four songs. As soon as I can find a producer for my songs, hopefully, I can get other songs I’ve written out there for my fans and future fans to enjoy.
Elaborate on your songwriting project.
As I said, I was blessed to have been able to contract Michael Lusk and Amber Rose to do the vocals for my four songs. Darkness, David’s Army, Cigarettes and Beer, and Mamas Toddy. Although I have not met them personally, I feel like I know them. When two people put such feelings into your songs – words suddenly become life; the listeners can see and hear a story. They actually become a part of that story, because they can put their life, into that song. I know there will be other artists in my life, but these two are what really made me realize I could write.
List your five favorite music videos with reasons.
Adele-Hello – funny, grabs you from the start, then you realize it’s a commercial.
Blank Space – riding bikes through a castle, wow!
Roar – beautiful color and imaging, loved it!
Shake it Off – crawling between dancers’ legs, looking up, that will get your attention!
Shape of You – every man’s dream, boxing…then getting stomped by a wrestler, not every man’s dream!
Tell us your source of inspiration.
It would have to begin with my father. I was adopted at age 2. He taught me about life. He preached for 37 years, locally and on worldwide television. He always had time for his three boys. I learned many lessons from him. One would be, ‘believe in God.’ Hard work always pays off. Never ever give up. You can always overcome, always. His words and example have followed me throughout my life. Another person would be Betty Gillette, my sixth-grade teacher at Lipscomb. At the time, I was having extreme problems grasping the things that you had to learn in the 6th grade; she spent many hours after school with me, helping me learn. Failure at something isn’t the end. Many times it’s the beginning. We learn from our failures. The great artists, sport figures, even our political leaders have had failures, but lifted themselves back up and tried again. That is why they became great.
Tell us your impression of dealing with paparazzi.
Well, I haven’t dealt with paparazzi. Maybe one day, I will have to. They have a job to do. If you have them following you, you’re famous for something! Treat them as needed.
Elaborate on the recording of this song.
As I said before, I wrote this song, awritersparadise.com produced it. Stacey worked with me on it, giving advice where needed. In the end, they gave me a song, which has touched many people’s lives and is growing in popularity more and more each day.
Tell us the theme of your songs.
With nearly 58 songs written, I can see a majority of them are deeply religious. Telling of life’s struggle but life’s victory too. I have several country songs, writing about such subjects as our mamas, dads, and other subjects that deal with everyday life. My music tells of life’s personal situations of love, joy, heartache, death, but life’s victories too. My current work, Mamas Sparkling Eyes, brings the listener back to those great moments with mamas that we will never forget.
List the names of those that have supported you so far.
My wife – she spends hours going over my songs, editing, spell checking, and making suggestions. Ray Walker, a Country Music Hall of Fame member. He has guided me and made suggestions, and cautioned me about the spit falls of the songwriting industry. The late Sonny James – as a young man growing up, I was always impressed with the dignity and personal appearance he always showed.
Tell us your point of view on vocal tuning.
Our voices are what we were given at birth. Yes, our voices as far as singing can sometimes be improved. In the end, it is what it is. Many artists tend to try in the beginning to sound like someone else. Just be you. Your soul and heart will make the vocal impression for you.
Tell us your thought on quality and quantity for the release of songs.
As I first started out writing; most of the advice I received said, keep the song short, people won’t stay tuned in; if the song is too long. I tried that at first, and nothing seemed to come together. I agree, keep your songs telling a story, but tell the story, as quickly as possible. If your heart is really telling you, the song needs to be longer, or for that matter, shorter. Listen. We know there are some classic songs out there over five minutes long. Yet they tell a story.
Tell us your viewpoint on comparing a music career to a non-music career.
I’ve done both. 30 years in law enforcement, wow. People would give anything to do what I’ve done over the years. Yet songwriting for me is relaxing, it soothes my soul. I love creating something that, hopefully, will still be giving people pleasure long after I’m gone from this earth.
Tell us your opinion on categorizing music into genres and sub-genres.
All music is different. It’s generated from different paths of life and different cultures. Do I agree with all genres, of course not? But the human race is different; we’ve had music from the beginning of time. Just like food, we all have favorites.
State the genre you despise most with reason.
Acid rock – I’m not sure there’s much meaning there. Yet as I said previously, part of our human race is drawn to it. They have their right to listen to it. I don’t like it, so I don’t listen to it.
List your favorite movies with reasons.
Braveheart – A true love story; a movie about human nature to be free, to love who we want, be what we were destined to be.
The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan – Stories about man’s overall character. The good over evil fight, with the maximum sacrifice to gain what is best for mankind, even if it means giving all for it.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
Cigarettes and Beer: The life of a man who had it all. He loved being who he was, with the love of his life. She made him feel young and free. She left him. Life has crashed in on him. He knows he was at fault for her leaving. She is not coming back. So his life now is just smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, listening to music he doesn’t really hear, and talking with people that aren’t a part of his life.