Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 1, 2013

Lessons from the pros

Peru H. S. choir students learn from hit songwriter and award-winning artist

(Continued)

Barker has done a lot of that.

The San Antonio, Texas, native was touring fulltime in a cover band when his first attempt at songwriting — “Baby Blue” — went to No. 1 after country music superstar George Strait recorded the song on his “If You Ain’t Lovin’, You Ain’t Livin’” album. Another song, “Love Without End, Amen,” was the result of a long father and son talk. Although Baker never intended to play the song outside his family, “Love Without End, Amen” became a country music classic, spending five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard for Strait. He also wrote Lonestar’s top single, “What About Now.”

He never knows when inspiration is going to hit.

Barker said he keeps a legal pad by his bed to write lyrics in the middle of the night, and he used to pull off the road when he was feeling inspired.

“I would stop and use a payphone to call my house and sing into the voice message recorder,” he said.

Chapman said he was over at Barker’s house one night. It was an old plantation that was used as a hospital during the Civil War.

Barker casually told his friend that one day he saw a woman he’d never met before walking through the house, wearing period clothing from the 1800s. This woman walked down the hall, across the dining room and into the kitchen before disappearing.

Chapman asked him if he’d been scared.

“He said it was strangely natural,” Chapman told the choir students. “She seemed to belong there.”

After hearing that, he picked up Barker’s old guitar and started playing a few notes. Then the pair started writing lyrics. Fifteen minutes later, they had written “The Widow of the South,” a song on Chapman’s newest album.

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