The driver came out, invited me on board, where no less than Billy Ray Cyrus came out of his room in the back!
During our brief chat, he got a black and white promo picture to sign for me. I mentioned that I'd just cut four songs I had written; BRC then wrote his manager's name, Jack McFadden, and address on Music Row in Nashville. "Send them to my manager, maybe he can help you!"
I played the tape for my friend Bill Mack, a DJ in Fort Worth (WBAP's Midnight Cowboy) who liked "Patsy Come Home". He loved the story behind the song; how I'd really seen a sign on my first trip to Nashville with my nascent manager, Susan. I'd been so inspired by the rush of it all, I'd begun singing Patsy Come Home in the shower soon as we unloaded at the motel on Demonbreun in Nashville...
It was much later when I received a call from another DJ friend, in Kentucky, who congratulated me on my 'cut' with BRC. "What cut?" I said. "That song you played for me at 'Bap...about Patsy Cline."
Before I could reflect on how funny it was he'd assumed it was about THE Patsy, Bill Mack called me. He was excited about my cut on BRC's third CD.
I hotfooted it out and bought the BRC CD. (In those days, we didn't have access to Apple's I-Tunes!)
There it wasn't. Different writers.
Patsy was only identifiable via dental records.
I played the song in Nashville for my attorney. She sent it along to a musicologist.
The musicologist told my attorney it was apparent her client had been a victim of that common phenomenon known in Nashville as song theft. It didn't lighten the sting much back then to be told by both of them that at least my original song was much better written! Now, of course, I find it funny...because I look back and remember how I befriended my CPA, and later he regaled me with the hilarity that ensued at a party when he told his in-law "You know your hit song, Patsy Come Home? The woman you stole it from is a friend of mine."
You know what? I'm glad I didn't sue; the publishers would bear the costs, and it would have held me back while I spent my energies and time pursuing something that went bad. Looking back, I'm thankful every day I chose to put my energy in pursuing a better future.
A few years later, I was picking through my old songwriting archives and realized I had, quite innocently, 'borrowed heavily' the tune of an old Emmylou Harris song when her voice touched me, a dreamy teen. My lyrics were completely original, but that tune...
I'd thought the lyrics weren't all that, so had never recorded the song. Lucky me.