Virtual Workshop with Hugh Prestwood

Please don’t miss this month’s NSAI Charlotte meeting! Fiona has arranged something really special for us this month. Our guest speaker, talking to us from his home in New York by way of Internet magic, will be Hugh Prestwood. Hugh is an absolutely amazing songwriter. He wrote “Ghost in This House,” recorded by Alison Krause, “The Song Remembers When,” recorded by Trisha Yearwood, “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart,” recorded by Randy Travis, and tons of other great songs, some of which are listed in his bio below, and on his website at

Hugh spends hours and hours crafting each of his songs, to make sure that each word is the perfect word to express the exact feeling that he’s after. Read these lyrics and you’ll see what I mean:

Ghost In This House

I don’t pick up the mail
I don’t pick up the phone
I don’t answer the door
I’d just as soon be alone
I don’t keep this place up
I just keep the lights down
I don’t live in these rooms
I just rattle around

I’m just a ghost in this house
I’m just a shadow upon these walls
As quietly as a mouse I haunt these halls
I’m just a whisper of smoke
I’m all that’s left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
You took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house

I don’t care if it rains
I don’t care if it’s clear
I don’t mind staying in
There’s another ghost here
He sits down in your chair
And he shines with your light
And he lays down his head
On your pillow at night

I’m just a ghost in this house
I’m just a shadow upon these walls
I’m living proof of the damage
Heartbreak does
I’m just a whisper of smoke
I’m all that’s left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
And took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house
Oh, I’m just a ghost in this house

Absolutely amazing lyrics! Hugh will be talking to us about finding ways to write fresh, believable lyrics.

Here’s more information about Hugh, taken from his website bio:

Hugh Prestwood has been writing hits for two decades. He was discovered in 1978 by Judy Collins, who gave him his first hit (Hard Times For Lovers), and subsequently recorded five more of his songs.

A staff songwriter for BMG music, Prestwood has penned #1 hits for Randy Travis (“Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart”), Trisha Yearwood (“The Song Remembers When”), Michael Johnson (“The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder”), Shenandoah (“Ghost In This House”), Crystal Gayle (“The Sound Of Goodbye”), and Collin Raye (“On The Verge”). He has also composed hits for Highway 101 (“Bing Bang Boom”), Anne Murray (“Feed This Fire”), Michael Johnson (“That’s That”), Ty England (“Smoke In Her Eyes”), and Kathy Mattea (“Asking Us To Dance”). Other artists who have recorded his songs include Conway Twitty, Lee Greenwood, Don Williams, Jackie De Shannon, Verne Gosdin, Maura O’Connell, Tanya Tucker, and The Judds.

In 1991 Prestwood was honored at the annual BMI Awards with the 23rd Robert J. Burton Song Of The Year award for “Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart”. He was also picked by Billboard Magazine as the #2 country songwriter of that year. Billboard currently lists “Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart” as the 5th biggest country hit of this decade.

In 1997 his song “On The Verge” was listed by Billboard magazine as the 4th biggest country hit of the year.

Three of Prestwood’s songs have been nominated for Grammys in the “best performance” category:
“Sound Of Goodbye” performed by Crystal Gayle.
“Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart” performed by Randy Travis.
“Ghost In This House” performed by Shenandoah.

Born and raised in El Paso, and a graduate of the University Of Texas At El Paso, Prestwood currently resides on Long Island, New York. Since 1982 he has taught advanced songwriting at The New School in Manhattan. Additionally, each year Prestwood teaches songwriting workshops for the NSAI in various locations throughout the country.

Enough said. Don’t miss it!

The agenda/newsletter is pasted below. Don’t forget to bring a song for the critique session. Hugh will not be critiquing our songs, we will have our own song critique session, as usual, after we log off with Hugh.

Normally there would be a fee to attend a session like this, but thanks to Linda and Bruce Johnson and the other NSAI members who raise money for us by volunteering to work concessions at the Tosco Music Parties, it’s being provided to you free of charge!

See you Tuesday!

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