“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman~
Escape from Nashville
Feature-length documentary & CD project
THE STORY: Among other current proposed film projects which I think are good, I had an epiphany recently about the project I really SHOULD be doing, based on my actual past accomplishments and strengths, which I feel holds the best prospects for myself and my investors:
The two areas where I've actually made some money and gotten some recognition are music & songwriting (see Wikipedia draft below), and documentaries. As the idea for this project came to me, I also realized that I have had the perfect domain name and title, "Dangerous Country", for years! **
So, the subject matter is the fascinating world of commercial country music songwriting. That is the very specific niche of writing songs intended to be cut by hit country artists, for CDs and radio play. This is a very lucrative field, with a hit country song representing upwards of a million dollars in value to the writer and publisher (apart from its value to the recording artist and record company). Here is a recent story from NPR about the value of song publishing in general.
As noted, this is a very specific niche of songwriting, not one which many (or most) singer/songwriters aspire to or are accomplished in, particularly outside of Nashville. That is not a value judgment; it's just a specific style and intention, and it happens to be what I've been focusing on and sharpening my skill in for all these decades. Of course judging what's a "commercial song" involves many interesting issues, aesthetic & cultural judgments, "what is" vs "what could be", etc...
The best part of this is that the success of the project, for investors and all participants, does not depend entirely on the tricky business of success with audiences theatrically, on-line and with DVD sales, because investors will have a share of the publishing rights to all songs involved. This means that if this documentary gets even a limited amount of circulation in the right circles, some of the songs might actually get CUT and make a pile of money for everyone!
Best of all, being a documentary that I can pretty much shoot by myself by visiting songwriter friends and colleagues, it will be quite inexpensive to produce! -Jim Terr, December 2009
** The BMI payments alone, for instance, on the song I had in the movie mentioned below, have amounted to many thousands of $. Likewise payments for the ad & video rights to the "E-Mail" song below.
(NOTE: Though very different, I would hope to end up with a film as interesting as "Lubbock Lights")
Videos with some relevance to this project...
(sings with Brooks & Dunn)
(videos relevant to my own songwriting & publishing)
"Sing a Song of Snapple" (Real Audio) (!?)
By JT - the national favorite of that whole
campaign, according to the agency
(Background): Draft of Jim Terr WIKIPEDIA listing, compiled with assistance of Tony Byworth,
co-editor of The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music (see bio below)
British press release about Jim Terr - January 2010
(c) (TM) Jim Terr Contact
COMMENTS on "DEMOS & DIAMONDS" by Jim Terr and Friends
(CD of original JT compositions)
"Some of the most thoroughly enjoyable tunes I've ever heard...tiny monuments to songwriting...For whatever elements came together to make the genius of Jim Terr and his music happen, we should be truly gleeful, grateful and gratified. 'Demos and Diamonds' is a square meal of music, a walk around town when all the lights are out and your first kiss, all over again."
Santa Fe Reporter
New Mexico Singer/Songwriter Releases Debut CD after 27 Years in the Business!
This is one of the most enjoyable albums that I have listened to in ages. So country, so interesting and so entertaining. What more could one ask for from music?
[Jim Terr has been] described as a modern day Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Jimmie Rodgers and Jackie Mason rolled into one. Can I add to that list names like Shel Silverstein, Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bare, Ray Stevens and the likes--master wordsmiths all, and country boys too.
This guy could quite easily make our stone country section on all counts. Yes, he is that good...this selection barely scrapes the surface of his huge talent...a killer songwriter and storyteller...
["Did It Hurt?"] I just cannot stop laughing... ["The Call"] I find it most delightful as I do the whole album...
...all of the guests give stellar performances...
-Brian Ahern Country Music & More (UK)
A Late Starter!
...an impressive line-up of guest artists from New Mexico, California, Hawaii and Nashville. These include "Bluegrass Vocalist of the Year" Kathy Chiavola, Elvis impersonator Lonnie Yanes, the late western actor Slim Pickens, country music trucking star Buddy Converse and the Sneakers, Sara Jo Rubenstein, and Lilia.
-Country Music Round-Up (UK)
Terr's CD spans parody, eye-opening sincerity
...Terr produced an entire album by [Slim] Pickens, including the Guy Clark song Desperadoes Waiting for a Train--which Clark says is his favorite cover version of any of his tunes.
My favorite tune [on the CD] is a recent one--Reader's Digest Me... There's not a speck of cynicism in this song, no hipster sneer or yuppie smirk...Terr's simple sincerity in this song and one about his father's death (The Call, 1986) is eye-opening.
-Steve Terrell, Santa Fe New Mexican, "Pasatiempo"
British Country Music Bulletin:
An entertaining, description-defying collection... If one were to invite comparisons, you'd perhaps liken Jim Terr to Tom T. Hall, or, perhaps Paul Craft.
Comments on previous Jim Terr work:
"Wise, witty and whimsical (and sometimes sad)" -Tony Hillerman
"Bodacious" -Dave Barry
"Terr is clearly a menace to musical serenity, and we advise purists in all genres to keep their distance" -Ed Morris, BILLBOARD
"A cross between Tom Lehrer and Ray Stevens...sorely needed comedy in these uncertain times." -Country Music People (UK)
Father, a physician, and mother, a John Robert Powers model, met in New York City and were married while father served in World War Two. Raised in Charlevoix, Michigan, and Las Vegas, New Mexico, with four siblings. Grandparents immigrated to US from Vitebsk (Belarus), Rostov-on-Don (Russia), and Kiev (Ukraine) in 1890s. Ancestors include Yiddish playwright Jacob Terr (collaborator with Boris Thomashevsky, grandfather of Michael Tilson Thomas) and great-uncles Max Terr, Al Terr and Michael Terr, all involved in acting and music in Hollywood from the 1940s through the 1960s.
Attended Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, graduating in 1971 with a degree in English literature and art education.