No Men For Old Country: Guest Post by Tim Cagle

Good morning! I've got my cup of coffee. Grab your favorite beverage because I have a fascinating guest blogger today.

TimCagle is the author of Whispers From The Silence, a novel based on his experiences writing songs and his career as a singer/songwriter.

You'll read more about his novel later in the post. Now...

Meet TimCagle

Tim is a practicing trial attorney in the fields of Medical Malpractice, Products Liability, and Personal Injury law. He's also served as co-counsel to other trial lawyers by conducting the cross examination of adverse expert witnesses during trials.

In addition, he was a law professor and is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, State of Missouri, before the Federal District Court in Boston, and has been admitted pro hac vice for the trial of cases in the State of New Hampshire, the State of Rhode Island, and before the Federal District Court in the State of New Jersey. (Bachelor of Arts Degree from Kansas State College and a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts.)

Photo Courtesy of Tim Cagle
In addition to his many professional memberships in the legal arena, he is also a member of Nashville Songwriters Association, American Legion--he was a First Lieutenant in the U. S. Army, assigned to Military Intelligence--Boston Pacemaker Club, and Sigma Chi Alumni Association.

Tim has led a varied and interesting life. He's played college football, been an assistant high school football coach, and has written over 350 songs. He's played professionally in groups and as a single performer and spent time in Nashville as a songwriter.

His biggest regret in life is that he did not spend more time concentrating on guitar riffs, lyrical hooks and finger-popping melodies, and less time learning about when to blitz if the guards pull on third and long, blistering cross-examination techniques and expert witness fee schedules.

Find Tim Cagle Online

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * LinkedIn.

No Men For Old Country
by Tim Cagle

The question I get asked most often is, “Why would a medical malpractice lawyer from the Boston area write a novel about two country songwriters from Texas?”

The answer is simple. Although these 2 activities are vastly diverse, they have one major thing in common. Words are what matter most for each.

I’ve been writing country songs for decades. I’m sorry I cannot show you unbound volumes of Tim Cagle hits, as many of them exist only in my mind. That’s why I did the next best thing. I wrote a book about the time I closed down my law practice when I was in my early 30’s and left for Nashville.
Source: - CC0

My big break never broke, and I discovered I would always be a songwriter trapped in a lawyer’s body.

The other question I am most asked is, why country?

The first reason is because the melodies are as stimulating as an ice-cold longneck, while the lyrics can be as soothing as comfort food.

What Makes a Hit Record

Songwriting legend Harlan Howard once said the secret to a great country song is, “Three chords and the truth.”

Finding those chords can be easy. Truth, on the other hand, is a bit more elusive. What’s true is often subject to interpretation.

I grew up in the 50’s when rock and roll started. Clergy denounced it and parents banned it, making it the perfect recipe for juvenile rebellion. When Elvis appeared, I wanted a guitar like most kids wanted a puppy.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough money for food, let alone a luxury like a musical instrument. I found a poker game during my sophomore year in high school, won 5 straight pots and made enough cash to get a cheap acoustic. I also learned money won was twice as sweet as money earned.

Black Acoustic Guitar: Attribution at End of Post
In college, rock music was spreading like a prairie fire until Lyndon Johnson escalated the troop levels in Viet Nam.

That’s when the music grew dirty and ugly, as people vowed to put a stop to that unholy war.

Country music was almost universally hated at the time. Most lyrics were still mourning crop failures and binge drinking, while many artists sounded like they had sinus infections.

The Day The Music Died?

Then, rock and roll died, but people refused to let go. Today, we old rockers are listening to country songs that could be a clone for rock’s reincarnation. I challenge you to listen to the mega-hit “Ain’t Goin’ Down Till The Sun Comes Up”, and try not to imagine the sounds of Chuck Berry, John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival or Don Felder and Joe Walsh of The Eagles. They lit the pathway for rock and roll; Garth Brooks is now just a surrogate.

The second reason I love country is personal. My father died a few weeks before I was born, and I grew up as a poor kid. When I was 15, the only summer job I could find was in a town an hour away. I stayed in a dumpy old hotel with a group of elderly residents, in a run-down room with a pull-chain light and a bare, unshaded light bulb.

All I had for entertainment was a cheap transistor radio my girlfriend had given me. I had no car, no friends and no outlets.
Photo: Min An, Attribution at end of post

After twelve-hour workdays, I spent nights alone in my room listening to the only station I could find, one that played country songs.

It was the first time sad lyrics triggered my emotions, and my throat grew tight and parched as I listened.
When the music finished, my sorrow felt purged.

Country Music Can Be Cathartic

That October, my grandmother died. It was my first struggle with death, but I refused to cry. As I sat in church, an image appeared of that stark hotel room and a string of poignant songs began playing in my mind.

After the funeral, I broke down in the car and bit my bottom lip to stay strong, but hot bitter tears kept flowing like raindrops trickling down a windowpane.

When the car stopped, I jumped out and vowed no one would ever see me cry again. Then, I went on the attack, shouting that country songs were harsh and cruel, before music whispered in my ear for the first time. It told me to write my own lyrics so I could cry inside.

That hotel room created my epiphany into how song lyrics can paint a portrait. That’s why my favorite lyric is from Gretchen Peters, in her song about domestic abuse, Independence Day. A wife pretends her abuser has quit drinking, yet her 8-year-old daughter points out proof to the contrary could be found on her cheek. It’s hard to imagine anyone who would not be moved by that image.

Photo Courtesy of Tim Cagle
Giving Back

My years as a musician have helped me give something back, now that I teach guitar and songwriting to my neighbor’s teenage daughters. Taylor Swift is their favorite singer, while they refer to my repertoire as “Civil War campfire songs.”

My theory about the power of words blossomed when I taught them a three-part harmony version, which blended the lyrics from Taylor’s Stay, Stay, Stay, with those of Maurice Williams, whose biggest 50’s hit was called Stay, and inspired covers by the Four Seasons and Jackson Browne.

Teaching them has also convinced me this is what songwriter Lori McKenna meant when she wrote a Grammy-winning hit for Tim McGraw called Humble and Kind, all about helping who’s next in line.

That’s why I have found whether I’m acting as a songwriter, a lawyer, or just a guy, words are what matter most. To paraphrase what Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb of the BeeGees once told us in their mega-hit Words, words are the only thing we have that can take our hearts away.

Whispers From The Silence by Tim Cagle

J. W. Steele’s lifelong dream is to be a songwriter. Once the quarterback for the New England Patriots, he was stuck in a marriage he described as 6 years confined to a Turkish prison with occasional time off to go to small appliance sales with the warden, until she left him.

After moving to Nashville, he finds his soul mate in former attorney Angela Trappani, called Trapp. They fall in love, personally and professionally, and call their act Steele Trapp Mind. They write songs by waiting for the silence to whisper the lyrics.

The sky’s the limit until tragedy strikes. Trapp's father is a victim of securities fraud, loses everything and suffers a stroke. Although she has quit practicing law, Trapp moves back to Houston to take over his practice. Once there, she and J. W. become estranged after she rekindles a past romantic relationship.

J. W. fights to win her back but nothing works. That’s when he grabs his Martin guitar and pleads with music for help. The silence starts to whisper.

Finally, he knows exactly what to do…

Add Whispers from the Silence by Tim Cagle to Your Library

You'll find Tim's first novel in print and ebook at Amazon.

Tim's second novel, Unexpected Enemy (Ultimate Revenge), is now available also.

Graphic Images

Black Acoustic Guitar Photo from via http://www/

Man in Black Dress Shirt... Photo by Min An from Pexels

Takeaway Truth

Looking for a good book? Try Whispers from the Silence by Tim Cagle.

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