I’ve spent the past week feeling like Cinderella with the perfectly-fitting glass slipper on my foot! I was invited to be one of six songwriters participating in the ASCAP/SOCAN International Songwriting Retreat at the Fallsview Resort in Niagara Falls…and what an amazing experience it turned out to be.
When I first arrived and opened up the door to my complimentary suite on the 32nd floor of the Fallsview Hotel, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Dining room, chandelier, two marble bathrooms, whirlpool tub, and a full wall of windows across the entire suite (including the shower and tub) looking straight down on Niagara Falls, complete with misty rainbows hanging in the air. It was absolutely breathtaking. And not only that, but I was also given a special pass allowing me to order room service or eat at any restaurant in the complex for free!
Ok – I have to admit – I felt kind of guilty. I mean, here’s boring old, sweatpants-wearing me, owner of a 6 year old compact car and a 900 square foot house I struggle to pay the mortgage on, being treated like some kind of royalty. So what did I do? Well, first I jumped on the bed for a while like the kid from “Home Alone” (you probably think I’m kidding but I’m not)…then I ordered room service (of course!), took a giant bubble bath in the jet tub and headed downstairs to meet the rest of the writers – I’ll tell you more about them in a minute.
And the fairy tale just kept going after that…the next night I had planned to pick up my sweetie (who was flying up from Nashville for the weekend) at the Buffalo airport in my little car, but the Fallsview folks insisted on sending me in a fully loaded long black stretch limo! His flight was delayed by an hour, so the limo driver and I parked in the VIP lot to wait. I guess it’s not supposed to be kosher limo etiquette to invite the limo driver to watch a movie with you in the back of the limo, but I figured why not? I could use the company. So we sat back there and watched a Jim Carrey movie until the plane landed.
The entire week was amazing – I have never eaten so much gourmet food in my life – but I have to say that Saturday night’s show was definitely the highlight of the trip (and probably one of the highlights of my LIFE). Fallsview had booked an invitation-only acoustic show especially for the high rollers, movers and shakers of the casino, and the six of us songwriters were performing. So here’s who I shared the stage with:
-JD Souther (wrote the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight”, “Best of My Love”, “New Kid in Town”, Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter”)
-Darrell Brown (Grammy winner who wrote Keith Urban’s “Raining On Sunday” & “You’ll Think of Me”)
-Brett Jones (wrote Leanne Womack’s “Little Past Little Rock”, Bobby Pinson’s “Don’t Ask Me How I Know”, Montgomery Gentry’s “Whatdaya Think About That”)
-Dave Berg (Grammy nominated for Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy”, Emerson Drive’s “Moments”, Rodney Atkins’ “If You’re Going Through Hell” & “These Are My People”)
-Deric Ruttan (multiple CCMA winner, wrote “A Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do” & “What Was I Thinkin’” for Dierks Bentley)
It was absolutely incredible to share the stage with these writers and hear so many of my favourite songs being performed. And it was an especially full-circle moment to sit on stage with Deric – who I played in a band with during our days at high school in Bracebridge Ontario – and to hear the Eagles songs we’d sung in the old days coming from JD, who was sitting right next to us! Who would have ever thought that would happen? Not me!!!
So I’d like to send out a big THANK YOU!!!!!!! to ASCAP’s Ralph Murphy, Kelly Kelly & the Fallsview folks, and the SOCAN folks for including me in such an amazing lineup of writers and extending such amazing hospitality.
I’m spending a few days in Toronto, hanging backstage at the Jessica Simpson concert in Niagara Falls later this week, and then I’m off to perform at the Canadian Country Music Awards, so I’m sure I’ll have lots more to fill you in on soon….