Interview With Nashville Songwriter Steve Williams
Cowriter Of 'Redneck Yacht Club' Yields First #1 Song
Steve Williams is a songwriter / artist who hails from St Louis, Mo., He landed in Nashville 11 years ago. Steve met Thom Shephard, his cowriter of the current #1 hit, “Redneck Yacht Club” for Broken Bow Records artist Craig Williams, though a mutual friend.
When Thom and Steve hooked up for the first time for a cowriting session, they wrote a song called “Life Ain't Fair,” which was cut by Warner Brothers Nashville recording artist Blake Shelton.
Steve has also had songs recorded by Nashville-based major label recording artists Buddy Jewell, Trick Pony, Steve Holy, Cowboy Crush, and others. He has written for Malaco Publishing and EMI.
Steve currently have his own company (WilBurns Music), and actively performs on with songwriter / recording artist such as Sherrie' Austin, Deborah Allen, Tammy Cochran and Anita Cochran. He has also toured with major label recording artists such as Kenny Chesney, Tanya Tucker, Doug Stone, and others.
[Doak Turner] When did you write the song “Red Neck Yacht Club” and what inspired it?
Steve Williams "Redneck Yacht Club" was written in June 2003. Inspired by my wife Terri and I spending a lot of time out on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, I had the idea written down for about six months. I had told her about it.
One day she said, "Who are you writing with today?" When I told her Thom Shepherd, she said, "Why don't you write that 'Redneck Yacht Club' idea with him?" I said, "Yeah, he'd be great!"
Well, I asked Thom, "What about an idea called 'Redneck Yacht Club'?" He said, "Nah ..." But then we started spittin' out lines like take your Johnson, your Mercury or your Evinrude and fire it up, and before too long we said, "Nobody will probably cut this, but lets write it anyway!" (Author's note: This was pre-Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" hit song.)
[Doak Turner] What did your publishers think of the song and did you have to re-write the song?
Steve Williams We made a work tape and played it for Thom’s (Shepherd) publisher, Mosaic. Our original second verse said, “Bermudas, black socks and a tank top tan / he popped his first top at ten am / that's Bob, with the hairy back. / He's checkin' out the girls on the upper deck / rubbin' in the 15 SPF / it's hot, he's bound to have a heart attack..."
Well, they suggested we change the hairy back thing. We struggled to come up with a replacement line up until the time we demoed the song. We made Bob the president [of the yacht club]. We pitched the song around.
[Doak Turner] How did the song get to Craig Morgan? What kind of timeline did it take for the song to get heard and then on the radio?
Steve Williams I was playing with Sherrié Austin (BBR records) at the time. The label had booked a Radio tour for label mates Craig [Morgan] and Sherrie' for January and February 2004. We toured the east and west coasts, and we all hopped on Craig’s bus.
Craig and Phil Odonell, his producer / guitarist, were listening to songs for his new record. I put about five songs on a CD and he liked three of them. Only one stuck! The label called soon after to put it on hold.
I believe they cut the song in September 2004. And, we all know the first single was “That's What I Love About Sunday.” Needless to say, we would wait a long time before we found out our song, “Red Neck Yacht Club,” was going to be a single.
[Doak Turner] What have you heard from people about the song, and what did you do when you heard the song on the radio?
Steve Williams We've had so many people come up and say, “That's our song, we sing it every weekend! Did you write that about the party cove at the Lake of the Ozarks, or Lake Lanier?” Everyone who's ever boated before connects with it.
Thom Shepherd, my co-writer, has had songs on the radio before (“Riding with Private Malone” - #1 for David Ball), but this is my 1st single, and my wife and I have been acting like little kids all this last summer. We'd get in the car and turn on the radio and yell, “There it is! Turn it up!”
[Doak Turner] Do you have merchandise for “Red Neck Yacht Club” and if so, where is it available?
Steve Williams We have “Redneck Yacht Club” merchandise available at www.redneckyachtclub.com . We feel very blessed, and it's been a wild ride.
[Doak Turner] Steve – continued success and more #1s in your future!
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