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Songwriter Jerry Salley Discusses Music, Nashville, and "Saving Grace"

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
February 25, 2021 10:32 am

Songwriter Jerry Salley Discusses Music, Nashville, and "Saving Grace"

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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February 25, 2021 10:32 am

Hugely successful songwriter, Jerry Salley shares wonderful insights into the Nashville songwriting world.

"We all have a song in us!" - Jerry Salley

Jerry's career spans 30+ years and an amazing list of huge stars have cut his songs. 
Bringing an extraordinary talent and heart to this music, Jerry shares his powerful song, SAVING GRACE, about a man caring for his wife with Alzheimer's. 
Jerry's heart and passion continues to move and inspire audiences , and John and I were delighted to have him on the show.


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The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham

Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you. I have, I'm Gracie Rosenberger, and in 1983 I experienced a horrific car accident, leading to 80 surgeries in both legs amputated.

I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me. But over time, my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God that understanding along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs led me to establish standing with help more than a dozen years we been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people on a regular basis. We purchased and ship equipment and supplies and with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison. We also recycle parts from donated limbs.

All of this is to point others to Christ. The source of my hope and strength, please visit standing with to learn more and participate in lifting others up that standing

I'm Gracie and I am staining with hope, and hope real Americans are seeing this wonderful song written by my guest, whose name is Jerry Sally I'm going to good Mellinger so it is with this Reba just absolutely just nailed that song and I know you probably recorded years welcome to the show was quite an honor to get a song recorded by my appreciate her so much in the year project alternative with Jerry came to my knowledge of and hearing his name bandied around the studio lot. When I worked with my friend Chris Latham who helped me with Gracie's record and was my record and I think Chris cowrote the theme song of the show that we try to get John to sing it but this is Peter so is even even produce it. Help with that. What it just no increase but so will Jerry what years they will came up in more conversations and I got to know a little bit of his music and hear little bit about it and in us that you will have them on the show and listen to his songs and a love that. So, by the way I think about because I think that's a great song for us as caregivers will take that melt and Edward were good were warriors of this they were battling and that I just I just want to hear your thoughts and heart on writing solid enough that I found yourself saving grace John. The song is called saving grace is always honest with God so and so it up thinking about wife Dave grace although they said what I heard the song it really just tore my heart out. I went to Nashville to be a songwriter majored in composition and that I am a slow run of rituals also done okay with it but nothing level what you do that I'm always interested in songwriters and how they do it and what they do and what inspires them in and in music is such a big part of my life. And so, dear.

I just want you to. How did you get in the solar were to start work on my first all I was 16 years old, a pretty musical family. As far as we didn't perform no quickly or as professionally as the word I'm looking for but my dad played five string banjo. He loved flat rate and bluegrass country and gospel music. And when I was 10 years old that got me my first car I fell in love with is so low that it is very early age started for home and mom was 12 years old on stage is southern Ohio where I was born and started getting a big fan of the Don and Tom to your call with all so I just became Otto's eyes, weird kids because her young to be so enamored with what he did and how he told stories was a little different. I think for most kids my age but I would learn his songs, and so I would literally write them out by hand, computers, laptops, and all that stuff and so I would have to write out the lyrics to learn the songs to sing on stage and I just fell in love with his ability to ride was inspirational me to want to become a songwriter wrote my first hollow 16. It was very good, but that was really I just had an inspiration. I felt like God was calling me to be in the music business talent that I was going to try using and I was very fortunate to I went to college on international a couple times and that some people and you have some connections here but they all encourage me to try to get my degree before there's less what I did graduate from college to about eight weeks and graduating.

I have an apartment here was on this little place called Opryland USA. Oh yes, and that's where I got my first job in the it was while I was performing there that I went to Matt downtown. The music really knocked on doors and start dishing myself and we were very fortunate to be.

I was in a cast is really incredible people. Steven Curtis Chapman Little Stevie Chapman at the time that he and I were flat scratch that Opryland USA show you my heart with a tore down Opryland and put them all out there because I stick to the season passes all the time and it was just yet. What are you thinking man, I was assigned like you, even after I left the park, you know, we would take family Visit and have fun and watch the shows and rides arising it was a I don't know what they were thinking either. But that's a whole another story. I talked to Earl Snow Scruggs at the waffle house over there and sit Cohen Harding.

He would come in almost every weekend and I just I talked to tell stories about the Beverly hillbillies and everything else and that was that's a part of national. I think that sadly Jerry may be gone forever. I don't know what you think. Well, I think it is something I'm so grateful that I came to Nashville when I did because I got to know Wagner's boy.

Many parole and all these people that I grew up listening to and made me want to people like Harlan Howard was one of the greatest song. It was a great time.

The early 80s, mid 80s was just an incredible special magical time really to be in Nashville on the road. You know, meeting function, learning my craft. Last Gracie's to Get Her Hair Done Pl. in Greenhills is right next to Sara Kate and Minnie Pearl and CCL to her. All the men and it was just, you know that you where you canyou actually see people you can actually go down the street you would see folks, I was behind Conway, 21, Taco Bell, with usually one in Greenhills and he was in front of me and I recognizing that I was thinking just like Taco Bell `you ordered Calabrese hello I was just playing that out when I was behind Conway duty at the Taco Bell. Leslie brought thoughts are song that we have for the show. We wrote together. Chris wrote the melody while he was working the didn't the tin Lizzie cars out there. Opryland that's just how to the groove of it about the same time but I just got a hang hung onto it for years and years and years and years later week we hooked connected up on it and he had this ability and I had this groove we put the schedule he was working that built-in judgment of the tin Lizzie cars out there. Opryland II was passed that was past time. Like I showed up here. I should've about 2002 and oh yeah yeah what my old gig was doing home movies for people and I would transfer their old 8 mm film and 16mm film and video tapes never and I got to do so many things but when it wanted one the ones that really stuck out was the officer who ended up going over George on his transfer to his retirement is wonderful well I interrupted you. I'm sorry, but it's hard to ask each other, so I hate that would, but you go ahead with what you say Rob is just a little sorry we have so many special members of that cast that I was in Marty Road. The lead singer for diamond radio and and he played in the member on I did many parole.

I couldn't day I still can't dance another dancer. So we had to show where the girl would play many parole and garlic flavor on Brasfield like Brasfield was a very famous comedian the late 50s the country comedian and him and he pulled a lot of TV shows back in the day did not realize they were very close friends.

Well when I got a job out there and I realized I couldn't dance which is right after the comedian part I was.

I was very fortunate out. I got part of Wabash and so because of my ability to dancer which was a good thing because I really enjoyed playing comedy part. Many parole with a young lady named Shonda Pearson went on to be a very good on the show yet and so she and I were were many parole and brought Brasfield together and the real Minnie Pearl took us under her wing would teach us the jokes that I would tell someone all my love found many folders health and so it was just a really special kind. We all went. It was the 80s in Nashville were very different time and I was privileged to be there as well and Gracie and it was just it was a wonderful time and in so many dear friends, if you like said they all got into the business and say, all of us do different things and and I'm still mad that I'm not a songwriter professionally, but I just accepted it. John at this point of I wanted to take a moment on the song saving grace.

You know what it thinks about gospel and country songs and so forth. A lot of this is always a great story behind the cells is not just a formula. So the somebody wants to write about just benign things is always a impetus behind it what what drove this with you. Well this with a buddy of mine who just passed away. Another great comedian but also a great songwriter fellow by the name and became really well known by appearing on loving Bill Gates or videos over the years that back in the day in the early to early 1990s, and I've been buddies for a while and then write a lot of songs together a gospel song called it wasn't the grace and I was down in Destin with my family on vacation. Now think about that song and I thought Alzheimer's was becoming a very huge issue. That was a lot of material out about it when I was growing up. They didn't really call it Alzheimer's on the pillows older so right ring a lot of articles really friends who are going through this with relatives and and I had not personally change that we have lost and I said I thought about this song decided saving grace, and I write like that in the course. I thought my get home share this with because I got the idea, the other song written to get it and he loved it and we got together and wrote together and it was really strange because it was after we wrote the song that we both experienced it firsthand. His mother was diagnosed about three years after my grandmother about seven years later and the first time I'm saying it out in public.

I had a gentleman come up to me, whose wife just passed away and he was just know what to say was so difficult. But the song really touched him and he really is. It really did, and I was about it was almost 10 years after we wrote the song that we finally got recorded and we did.

We got recorded three times that year. The Oak Ridge boys recorded it the Lawson Quicksilver, which is one of the greatest bluegrass fans ever recorded it and then young lady named Gina Jeffries in Australia. She was like the real McIntyre of Australia at the time you start in the 90s of and she recorded it so we finally did get recorded in the Bible recorded since then. It's just a very very special song for me to realize how close we came to write later, having not exchanged firsthand initial dishware. It's really not a lot you did get it right. And Joe Joe Bonsall from the Oak Ridge boys been on the show could affect a Texan just for you were coming on to let her know any decision letter you and enter EE there just great folks but the version we have is if you sing this right yes I believe that's right. This is actually this is a recording I made Chris like our dear friend Chris was the omniscient help help me out with the 20 I produced a video recorded all the vocals and as I like to call them Grammy award-winning Chris Latham and I played this now and what it would take a moment to play this week.

We may not be up to the whole summit. I want to play at least enough of it, so people can hear this and that the hotel where they can go get it. But if you going to kick in there, yes.


Grace has seen all the raised race and is the knee and he is saving grace is saving grace, but your salary in given that I'm a caregiver for woman named Grace. You can imagine how that sold his wrecks me and Jerry that this is beautiful. That is just beautiful. I know that you made when you and Chris did that studio Chris Latham. I know you made a blubber because I know he blubber the man's got a heart of Texas yeah that's I mean you know it and I just love that it and and when you write a song like that that that's got that desk at your heart that is not something you just write. Hey Put together something to make you clever your put your soul into that song don't you love that is true.

I mean things to me and I don't just write a song.

A lot of times I'll rewrite a song I just want to lose me when I'm writing it. I have a feeling it will touch somebody else. At least I hope that and that was one of those very special Psalms that we just we worked on until we got it right into and got the emotion that we felt like it needed because the whole purpose for me for writing songs and if I can't communicate story might someone believe that and relate to it when there's no reason song. That's my whole goal when I said that I don't always accomplish that, but that's my goal is to try to message and can relate to the function. Well that that's that's old school national writing to you know that's that was the thing you're telling the story of you putting your heart and there you're trying to touch people away and and I love that and I love what you learned from the old school writers and and you can't afford one of things we talked about on the show a lot is the need for caregivers to express themselves and get things out of their heart that may be bottled up in their and we encourage everything coming from songwriting to gardening to woodworking. John is a spectacular is it is a calligrapher John is that Elizabeth right yeah yeah welding for having not not just like doing stuff like doodling and setting it on his autograph which he does a lot for his me but does this beautiful scripted things that really touch people's heart in a way of saying a quote or something and it had giving that to people just very artistic, but whatever it takes to do it in an a lot of people have music inclinations and they're afraid to to maybe pick up a guitar or a keyboard and rights of the delegates afraid it will be good enough.

You will report to Brian what would your right with us to think of those folks who may be timid about that. What would you say to them as a veteran, so Robbie you are very successful songwriter you've had hits for some of the biggest names out there and what would you say to that person is timid about picking up a pen and paper and or guitar something and doing that what would you say to what I would say first of all that we all have a song are in our ship and actually all have a song we all have a God-given talent of some kind and that music is a healing agent music heals and touches, especially those many of those if not everyone that we care for, whether they're good, regardless of the illness they're going through or what what what were facing with them. Music can be a healing opportunity for them so I would encourage everybody who is to even if you don't have a talent for playing an instrument, or don't think you can't, at least pick something up.

Write down a few words it can be something special for your family for the person you love the person you're caring for you don't have to do this professionally or commercially to be able to touch people and that's the great thing about music in general is how people can how people react to. I can't count the times that work with some autistic children glanced into cannot verbalize cannot carry on a conversation they just can't. But if you counted on to play a song strike that court. They can sing every know that scone currently and never miss a word.

Never miss amount, the melody, if used, if it's it's an incredible the way music can be used to communicate and to heal and to create relationships in your relationships, and so if you have any kind of desire to do that all you can't be afraid of God will God will guide you.

You pray about it.

You be prayerful about it. God will guide you and help you create music and melodies words that touch the people you care for. I believe that with all my heart I've seen it in person more than once and I just think that it's a great music is a great opportunity to the cuts for just that simple. Went when Hans Christian Anderson writer used to say when when words fail. Music speaks and gives it live by that that statement and I deleted nursing homes 11 times for folks and I looked over and there people that were just listlessly looking at the windows completely oblivious to what's going on around them just kinda slumped over there chair, but when I started playing an old hymn, they would mouth the words they knew that even though they didn't asserting know what was going on around them and Tim Kim Campbell Glen Campbell's widow of Showtime or two and they used to live down the road from us in Nashville. We lived there in music was like one of the last things to go with Glenn. Yes, it it's amazing what music can do to people and and I would, you know, a lot of times we just had music going in the hospital with Gracie and so forth and so I encourage him you've heard from a professional. Jerry Jerry's about his professional at this as you get and he saying don't be afraid of the soul that is in you, you're not doing this to go out and try to get a gold record to do this because it's important to you. You don't old records may come, but it's more important that you be authentic to the music. This in your soul to do that.

Did I say that will enough John that I think you are passable music `music is is so why mentioned earlier how I did you like you waiting for people and often times I would do things for funerals where you have a slideshow and know they would get through like picking up the pictures and putting them in order, but as soon as you through that song behind that reminded them of who they know all that stuff. It was something incredibly powerful and so many times what is broke down in the middle of remembering dad's favorite song or something. I I would imagine yourself saving grace will be around for very long time and touching hearts for a long time Jerry that is a beautiful song that you are you are a gift.

You are a gift to two as a songwriter. Just as an individual. Thank you for taking the time and trusting me with your music in your heart to come on the show. I hope it's been encouraging to you and I know having urging to to John and me into our audience and hope you come back keep writing more songs like this in the we would love to have you back but I would love that.

Thank you John. Thank you so much appreciate also much everything you Jerry that's Sally with EY Jerry for more information as caregiver over the will see you next time think this is John Butler I produce hope for the caregiver with Peter Rosenberger. Some of you know the remarkable story of Peter's wife Gracie and recently Peter talk to Gracie about all the wonderful things that have emerged from her difficult journey.

Take a listen Gracie. When you envision doing a prosthetic limb outreach. Did you ever think that inmates would help you do that, not in a million years. When you go to the facility run by core civic and you see that faces of these inmates that are working on prosthetic limbs that you have helped collect from all of the country that you put out the plea for and their disassembly sell these legs like what you have your own prosody and arms and arms everything when you see all this.

What do you make me cry because I see the smiles on their faces and I know I know what it is to be locked in place where you can't get out without somebody else allowing you to get out course, being in the hospital so much and so long and so that these men are so glad that they get to be doing as as one man said something good family with my hands. Did you know before you became an amputated parts of prosthetic limbs could be recycled now had no idea and I thought a peg leg. I thought of wooden legs. I never thought of titanium and carbon lags and flex the sea legs and all that.

I never thought about that as you watch these inmates participate in something like this, knowing that there there helping other people they'll walk there, providing the means for the supplies to get over there. What is it do to you.

Just on the heart level. I wish I could explain to the world.

What I see in here and I wish that I could be able to go and say the this guy right here Denise go to Africa with that. I never not feel that way out every time you know you always make me have to leave.

I don't want to leave them. I feel like I'm at home with them and I feel like that we have a common bond that would've never expected that only God could put together. Now that you've had experience with it what you think of the faith-based programs. The core civic offers. I think they're just absolutely awesome and I think every prison out there should have faith-based programs like this because the return rate at the man that are involved in this particular faith-based program and other ones like it, but I know about this one are.

It is just an amazingly low rate compared to those who don't happen and I think that says so much that has anything to do with me just has something to do with God using somebody broken to help other broken people.

If people want to donate or use prosthetic limbs, whether from a loved one who passed away or you know somebody well groomed.

You've donated some of your own for them to have it out of the do that please go to standing with staining with Thanks. Grace

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