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Guitar picking, music writing and evoking emotion are just three of the many reasons why Richie McDonald loves what he does—playing country music.
The first song McDonald recalls being inspired by was the John Denver 1971 classic, Country Roads.
“He had more of a country feel back then,” McDonald said. “I’m a huge fan of his because I love his melodies and lyrics.”
Looking forward to next month’s The Heart Behind the Music Songwriter’s Showcase at The Ritz Theatre in the historic Talladega square McDonald said the cool thing about a songwriter’s showcase is the intimacy. 
“You’re just telling the story behind the song with a guitar. It’s the meat and heart of a song and what inspired it,” said McDonald. “A songwriter’s showcase provides trivia and information that you don’t hear everyday. Here songwriters get to explain where the song came from and show the audience they’re real people too.”
Growing up in Lubbock, Texas, one thing’s for sure, don’t ask this country crooner if he’s a Longhorn ‘cause he’ll let you know real quickly he’s a Texas Tech Red Raider fan.
Along with that upbringing came his wide variety of musical tastes.
“I like The Eagles, Alabama and George Strait and on the extreme spectrum I love legends like Johnny Mathis.”
Energized by these greats, McDonald has made a name for himself in a town in Tennessee known as Music City.
“Nashville is named Music City for a reason. Everywhere you look, you see a songwriter or a publishing company. The competition makes you want to be better at what you do. It all works together.”
Recently Richie co-wrote what he calls “one of his favorite songs he’s ever been a part of” with Pleasant Grove native Jeremy Bussey.
The cut is called Just the Rain and is on the Lonestar 20th Anniversary album titled “Life As We Know It”.
For Richie the makings of a great song are all in the lyrics and melody.
“I’ve always said that a song should always touch someone’s emotions whether you make them laugh or cry.”
One song that evokes both of those emotions is a song that his then four-year-old son inspired.
“We’d been gone on tour about six weeks and I called home and my son asked, ‘Daddy when are you coming home?’ That’s when I wrote I’m Already There. It’s as close to my heart as I’ve ever written. It came out in 2001. It was and always will be a special song.”
For up-and-comers looking to try their hand at songwriting Richie has some words of wisdom.
“If you want your songs heard by the right people team up with great writers. Nashville’s a great place to be to make connections. Be a part of writer’s nights to help you get better at your craft.”
In a tough industry, he also says be able to take hearing the word no— a lot.
“You’ve got to realize you’re going to be told no a hundred times, but someone will say yes. Keep your determination.”
Looking forward to rocking the stage at The Heart Behind the Music Songwriter’s Showcase Friday, November 22nd at 7 p.m. in Talladega’s Ritz Theatre, Richie says music for him means only one thing—life!
“It’s the air that I breathe. To me, music is everything.”
To reserve your $25 tickets to the showcase log onto www.ritztalladega.com
 

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