Songwriters Under the Covers with Victoria Shaw

S1 E4 | FULL EPISODE

Beth Nielson Chapman & Marcus Hummon with Guest Julie Gold

A new, intimate music performance and storytelling series that puts the spotlight on the songwriters of some of music’s biggest hits across pop, rock and country. Songwriters featured in this episode include Beth Nielson Chapman and Marcus Hummon, with special guest Julie Gold.

AIRED: November 06, 2019 | 0:56:56
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TRANSCRIPT

♪♪

♪♪

[ Cheers and applause ]

I love it.

Audience member: Whoo!

"Whoo!" yourself.

♪♪

♪ Have you ever had

♪ Really had One of those days ♪

♪ When all you really want to do is wish it away ♪

♪ As if it didn't exist

♪ And do it over again?

♪ You know, one of those times when nothing goes right ♪

♪ You wake up up on the wrong side Of the bed ♪

♪ And the sun's too bright and the birds are too loud ♪

♪ And everybody's smiling way too much ♪

♪ 24 little hours sure don't seem that long ♪

♪ But on a day like this it goes on and on and on ♪

♪ Here I am smack-dab in the middle ♪

♪ Of a wishing-it-was-over-but- it's-only-just-beginning day ♪

♪ Oh, great That's just great ♪

♪ And here I go on a quest to find the humor ♪

♪ In the giving all I got

♪ And knowing nothing's gonna go my way ♪

♪ Oh, what can I say?

♪ Might as well face

♪ It's gonna be one of those days ♪

♪ Well, I should have known after so many days in a row ♪

♪ Of everything going my way

♪ That would have to shift

♪ You got to expect it

♪ And no matter how hard your little heart tries ♪

♪ Sometimes the stars just don't align ♪

♪ And you're all out of sync

Yeah, that really stinks.

♪ You know it's coming but you can't prepare ♪

♪ 'Cause you never see it till it's already there ♪

♪ Here I am smack-dab in the middle ♪

♪ Of a wishing-it-was-over-but- it's-only-just-beginning day ♪

♪ Oh, great That's just great ♪

♪ And here I go on a quest to find the humor ♪

♪ In the giving all I got

♪ And knowing nothing's gonna go my way ♪

♪ Oh, what can I say?

♪ Might as well face

♪ It's gonna be one of those days ♪

♪ Woke up late, spilled my coffee ♪

♪ Took an hour just to find my car keys ♪

♪ A load of hot-pink laundry all because of one red sock ♪

♪ Oh, God A parking ticket ♪

♪ Dang meter I just missed it ♪

♪ It's almost funny but it's not ♪

A little funny.

♪ Here I am smack-dab in the middle ♪

♪ Of a wishing-it-was-over-but- it's-only-just-beginning day ♪

♪ Oh, great That's just great ♪

♪ And here I go on a quest to find the humor ♪

♪ In the giving all I got

♪ And knowing nothing's gonna go my way ♪

♪ Oh, what can I say?

♪ I might as well face

♪ It's gonna be one of those days ♪

♪ Gonna be one of those days

♪ And that's why God

♪ Made Prozac

♪♪

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

Thank you so much.

Welcome to "Songwriters Under the Covers,"

with me -- I'm Victoria Shaw.

I'm your bus driver tonight, and I...

For those of you who have never been to these shows --

raise your hand if you haven't been to these shows.

Where have you been?

We're so good. You've missed out.

But I'm so glad you're here tonight.

This is the show where I invite my very talented,

incredible hit-songwriter friends who sing their hits,

sing some new songs, tell the stories behind it.

We don't really rehearse.

We don't exactly know what each other's

gonna sing along with or be part of,

but you guys don't want ultra rehearsal.

That's too slick.

You want to see everything with the warts and all,

and let me tell you, you will see that tonight.

So let me just introduce my friends.

To my right is actually one of the first people

I ever met when I started going down to Nashville. That's right.

He's -- I don't want to say, "One of my oldest friends,"

'cause that sounds bad. No, you can. It's all right.

Okay, one of my oldest friends.

Besides being a Grammy-winning songwriter, he is an author.

He's a composer. He's a playwright.

He's an artist in his own right.

He's so talented.

He's had songs recorded in gospel and pop and country

and R&B and songs by Tim McGraw

and Dixie Chicks and Sara Evans and one of my favorite --

Alabama, one of my favorite songs.

You're in for a real treat.

Please give a warm welcome to Mr. Marcus Hummon.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you all.

And to my left -- ah! -- part of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

This is the real deal -- seven number ones,

songs recorded by Elton John and Bonnie Raitt

and Bette Midler and Neil Diamond and Faith Hill

and Willie Nelson, on and on and on.

She is just a precious, incredible,

amazing writer, Ms. Beth Nielsen Chapman.

Thank you, Victoria. Thank you.

[ Cheers and applause ]

And I'm gonna give it to you.

It's your turn right now to --

I thought we were starting with Marcus?

-We are starting with Marcus. -That's what I thought.

That was the only thing we rehearsed, was...

And welcome to songwriting, folks.

This is why I don't like rehearsals

'cause I don't remember it anyway.

Let's start with you, Marcus.

This is, you know, what we're here to talk about,

is this wonderful art form, and it's really interesting

because it's kind of an anonymous art form.

You know, there are...

You think of people like Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley,

and, you know, they didn't write any of their music.

Sinatra recorded over 2,000 songs,

didn't write any of it.

And we don't really know

who those songwriters are oftentimes,

and that's actually one of the things

that's really beautiful about songwriting.

It was back in the '90s, and suddenly the Dixie Chicks --

I had written with them once, but the second time we wrote,

they had sold, like, millions and millions of records,

so I had to drive out of town to a gated community,

and, you know, there were armed guards at the door.

And so, but anyway, yeah.

She said, "We have to write a song for my sister's wedding."

And I was like, "We are gonna do that."

And so we did, and we did it in --

and I actually -- one of the only cassettes...

Remember what a cassette is?

Yeah, so I still have -- You can Google that.

I know this to be a fact because I have a cassette.

I actually pushed the cassette, and we wrote the song,

and I had started a little poem, a couple of lines,

and she had this beautiful ♪ Da-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka

thing on mandolin, and it just went like --

it was like we were talking back and forth, and it was done.

So this is a song I wrote with Martie Maguire

of the Dixie Chicks...

-Yeah! -...for the album "Fly."

♪♪

♪ I want to touch the earth

♪ I want to break it in my hands ♪

♪ I want to grow something wild and unruly ♪

♪ I want to sleep on the hard ground ♪

♪ In the comfort of your arms

♪ On a pillow of blue bonnets

♪ Blanket made of stars

♪ Oh, it sounds good to me

♪ She said, Cowboy, take me away ♪

♪ Fly this girl as high as you can ♪

♪ Into the wild blue

♪ Set me free

♪ Oh, I pray

♪ Closer to heaven above and closer to you ♪

♪ Closer to you

♪♪

♪ I want to walk and not run

♪ Skip and not fall

♪ I want to look at the horizon ♪

♪ And not see a building standing tall ♪

♪ And I want to be the only one for miles and miles ♪

♪ Except for maybe you

♪ And your simple smile

♪ Oh, it sounds good to me

♪ Yes, it sounds so good to me

♪ She said, Cowboy, take me away ♪

♪ Fly this girl as high as you can ♪

♪ Into the wild blue

♪ Set me free

♪ Oh, I pray

♪ Closer to heaven above

♪ And closer to you

♪ Oh, closer to you

♪ Closer to you, baby

♪♪

♪ I want to touch the earth

♪ I want to break it in my hands ♪

♪ I want to grow something wild and unruly ♪

Thank you.

Marcus Hummon.

Thank you.

[ Cheers and applause ]

I love that song.

So all of us up here have been fortunate

to have some mailbox hits,

you know, where the money comes in the mailbox.

And I'm gonna play you a song that's a heart-box hit,

meaning I've had more letters and e-mails about this song

than anything I've ever written.

So this song came through me very, very quickly,

and the story behind it is pretty amazing to me.

My husband of 16 years that helped me move to Nashville,

and we had a beautiful young boy

about 11 or 12 years old at the time --

my husband, Ernest, died of cancer in 1994.

And I remember getting a sense of just feeling like,

I'm not gonna be able to -- I don't see how I'm gonna

be able to do this as a single mom.

So evidently my husband,

who was really close friends with Rodney Crowell,

had a little chat with hum a few weeks before he passed.

He basically said, "Rodney, she's gonna think

she can't do this as a single mom.

She's gonna put her guitar in the closet.

So I need you to call her after about a month.

Just give her a month.

And she so respects you,

and she would love to write a song with you,

that when you call, just say, 'I'm coming over at 2:00

or whatever to write a song with you today.'

Don't give her any advance warning.

And I promise you,

her ego will outweigh her grief."

[ Laughs ]

I hate to say that it worked perfectly.

So I wrote this song in about 10 minutes

before he got to my house 'cause, of course,

you want to be prepared

when Rodney Crowell's coming over to write,

and I thought this song was not anywhere near finished.

I thought it was too personal and too sad and not right,

and it had this whole weird line about stone and water.

It made no sense at all to me.

So he comes in, and I say, "I got this thing started,"

and I apologized profusely for how unfinished it was,

and I played it for him, and he just looked at me,

and he went, "Wow.

You're a grieving widder woman,

and you don't even know what you just wrote."

And he said, "You're not gonna change a word of that,

and that song is gonna go out in the world

for years and years,

and it's gonna find whoever needs to hear it

'cause the medicine of that song

came through you, and you're done.

It's none of your business what happens with it after.

You let it go, and don't you change a word."

So 20 years ago, that's when this song was written,

and it's still going. [ Laughs ]

So this is my favorite heart-box song,

and I want to call up a dear friend of mine

who's one of the greatest musicians

I've ever had the joy to work with,

who happens to live here in New York City.

John Ragusa is gonna come up

and play the most beautiful sound

I've ever heard to intro this song,

and he's also gonna play a little flute

and sing on this, too.

John Ragusa, come on up here. Come on up, John.

[ Cheers and applause ]

We've got a treat for you.

Oh, wow. Look at that.

To me, this vibrates right through the heart.

That's a conch?

-That's a conch shell. -A conch.

[ Blows conch ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪ All alone I didn't like the feeling ♪

♪ All alone I sat and cried ♪

♪ All alone I had to find some meaning ♪

♪ In the center of the pain I felt inside ♪

♪ All alone I came into this world ♪

♪ All alone I will someday die ♪

♪ Solid stone is just sand and water, baby ♪

♪ Sand and water and a million years gone by ♪

♪♪

♪ I will see you

♪ In the light of a thousand suns ♪

♪ I will hear you

♪ In the sound of the waves

♪ I will know you when I come ♪

♪ As we all will come

♪ Through the doors beyond the grave ♪

♪ All alone I heal this heart of sorrow ♪

♪ All alone I will raise this child ♪

♪ Flesh and bone

♪ He's just bursting towards tomorrow ♪

♪ And his laughter fills my world ♪

♪ And wears your smile

♪ I will see you

♪ In the light of a thousand suns ♪

♪ I will hear you

♪ In the sound of the waves

♪ I will you know when I come ♪

♪ As we all will come

♪ Through the doors beyond the grave ♪

♪ All alone I came into this world ♪

♪ All alone I will someday die ♪

♪ Solid stone is just

♪ Sand and water, baby

♪ Sand and water

♪ And a million years gone by

♪♪

♪ Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

♪ Ooh, ooh, ooooooooooh

[ Cheers and applause ]

Whoo, Beth!

John Ragusa.

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Oh, my gosh.

What's the name of the album that that came out on?

It's on the album called...

"Sand and Water," I think. Okay.

Yeah, I think that's the name of the album.

Well, all I remember is I wore the heck out of that album.

I wore it out. The sledgehammer song

before Miley Cyrus' sledgehammer, right?

You had that song? Wasn't that yours? No, that was not.

-Yes, yes, yes. -The sledgehammer song?

I'm talking about "Here Comes the Wrecking Ball."

-Oh, yeah. -The wrecking ball.

"Heads Up for the Wrecking Ball."

Yeah. That's on there.

So we have any Garth Brooks fans here?

[ Cheers and applause ]

He's not here, either.

[ Laughter ]

But I wrote this next song with Garth,

and I don't exactly know when and how it came about.

I remember standing on 16th Avenue

having this conversation with him,

and during the conversation, he said something similar

to the gist of this song, to the title of this song,

and something about something he never had.

And anyway, I just remember stopping and going,

"Uh, we have to write that song at some point.

Go back to your conversation, but we have to write that song."

So we did, and it ended up on his "Fresh Horses" album,

and it goes like this.

I can't change the lyrics to suit my gender.

I would have to change everything about the song,

so I'm just gonna sing it as a man --

a good-looking man. Beautiful.

A good-looking man.

[ Laughter ]

Actually, I don't have to sing it as a man.

I could just sing it as a...

-As a woman singing as a man. -...a woman.

That's right.

I'm just gonna sing it.

There you go.

♪♪

♪♪

♪ She's sun and rain, fire and ice ♪

♪ A little crazy but it's nice ♪

♪ And when she gets mad

♪ You best leave her alone

♪ 'Cause she'll rage just like a river ♪

♪ Then she'll beg you to forgive her ♪

♪ Oh, she's every woman that I've ever known ♪

♪ She's so New York and then L.A. ♪

♪ And every town along the way ♪

♪ Oh, she's every place that I've never been ♪

♪ She's making love on rainy nights ♪

♪ And she's a stroll through Christmas lights ♪

♪ And she's everything I want to do again ♪

♪ And it needs no explanation

♪ 'Cause it all makes perfect sense ♪

♪ Why I never face temptation

♪ 'Cause she's on both sides of the fence ♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪ And it needs no explanation

♪ 'Cause it all makes perfect sense ♪

♪ And when it comes down to temptation ♪

♪ She's on both sides of the fence ♪

♪ She's anything but typical

♪ She's so unpredictable

♪ Oh, but even at her worst

♪ She ain't so bad

♪ She's as real as real can be

♪ Then she's every fantasy

♪ Oh, she's every woman

♪ That I ever had

♪ And she's every woman

♪ That I never had

♪♪

Yeah, Victoria.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

-Whoo! -Thank you.

I finally took my kids to see Garth last summer,

or two summers ago, at Yankee Stadium. Did you really?

Yes, and, you know, they were too young to see him in concert

'cause he had retired for so long,

so I got them to Yankee Stadium, and there's, like --

what? -- 45,000 people screaming.

And they walked in. They were like, "Oh, my gosh.

He's really, really famous, isn't he, Mom?"

I'm like, "Yeah. Your mom's kind of cool."

I was cool for about a minute and a half, but it worked.

People ask me sometimes, "Hey, what was it like

writing and doing, you know, country music in the '90s?"

I say, "Well, here's what it was like --

one guy outsold Elvis in seven years.

And that's what it was like." You're welcome.

And then Elvis kept going, but anyway.

So again, something about kind of the world

of Nashville songwriting,

which is really where I kind of come from,

as it turns out -- I didn't grow up in Nashville,

but I've lived there now over 30 years --

is the degree to which we all are...

It's, like, you know -- it's a competitive business,

but it's also sort of a fellowship,

and it's a family.

It really is. It might sound, you know,

a bit saccharine or whatever, but it --

really, Beth and I -- I mean, I've known Beth for years.

You know, I opened shows for her,

as well as played showed with her.

I've opened shows.

Of course, I've been in her band.

I mean, it's true.

And Victoria and I -- I mean, one of the --

as she mentioned, was one of the first persons,

one of the loveliest persons I met in Nashville.

One of the reasons why I wanted to stay in a lot of ways

is because there was someone like Victoria, you know,

'cause she's just really wonderful.

And even then, she was going back and forth

from New York to Nashville.

So and, you know, and there's the family aspect,

in a good way.

The, you know, the industry itself -- Garth Brooks.

Garth Brooks -- I'm producing two weeks from now his daughter,

I mean, of all things, and I've gotten to know him

a little bit through the years.

My son, Levi Hummon, is out on the road

all over the country right now,

and there really is a wonderful tradition.

And when I do this next song,

it reminds me of the two persons I wrote it with.

One is Darrell Scott, who,

those of you who don't know Darrell Scott, you should.

He's one of the great musicians and writers

in American culture, actually.

And he's taught me a lot about what is country

and the things that I love about country music

'cause I didn't really grow up in it, exactly.

Grew up more in folk and soul,

and then Sara Evans, you know?

And Sara Evans is an artist who, you know, a lot of you love,

and she's been really, really good to me for years.

I got to sing at her wedding, and it's rare

when you get to know an artist and you become friends.

And, you know, and she's cut probably more songs of mine --

either things that we wrote

or things that we didn't write together.

So this is a tune that the three of us wrote years back

called "Born to Fly."

♪♪

♪♪

♪ I been telling my dreams to the scarecrow ♪

♪ Of the places I'd like to see ♪

♪ I say, "Friend, do you think I'll ever get there?" ♪

♪ He just stands there Smiling back at me ♪

♪ So I confess my sins to the preacher ♪

♪ Of the love I've been waiting to find ♪

♪ Is there a brown-eyed girl in my future? ♪

♪ He said, "Son, you got nothing but time" ♪

♪ How do you wait for heaven?

♪ Who has that much time?

♪ How do you keep your feet on the ground ♪

♪ When you know you were born

♪ You were born to fly?

♪ Hey! My daddy is grounded Like the oak true ♪

♪ My mama's steady as the sun

♪ You know I love my folks

♪ But I keep staring down the road ♪

♪ Looking for that one chance to run ♪

♪ Oh, I will soar away like the blackbird ♪

♪ I will dance in the wind like a seed ♪

♪ I will plant my heart in the garden of my dreams ♪

♪ And grow up where I want wild and free ♪

♪ How do you wait for heaven?

♪ And who has that much time?

♪ How do you keep your feet on the ground ♪

♪ When you know you were born

♪ You were born to fly?

♪♪

♪ How do you wait for heaven?

♪ Who has that much time?

♪ How do you keep your feet on the ground ♪

♪ When you know, baby, you were born ♪

♪ I said, you were born

♪ You were born to fly?

♪♪

Thank you.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you very much.

Oh, my gosh. Marcus Hummon. Whoo!

I never knew that song could be so, like,

with, like, a soul funk -- I mean, it could be...

That was awesome.

-Thank you. -It's so fun.

I mean, it's just so great to hear

a different interpretation by the other writer of the song.

Oh, my gosh. That's incredible.

And we did meet when I was still playing

the bars here in New York. Yeah.

I used to play in the bars and drive down,

straight down to Nashville, try to make it there,

write songs with people like Marcus,

and drive back up and play the bars.

And look -- I'm back in the bars.

[ Laughter ]

But in the beautiful Birdland Theater... Yeah.

...in New York City, so it's...

-Upscale. -I'm upscale now.

-Uptown -- that's a uptown bar. -Oh, yeah.

Well, you know, the Birdland is totally legendary,

and I've never been to the Birdland,

and I'm like... Ah!

...I walked in. I was like,

"I get to play the Birdland!" That's right.

I mean, to me it's, like, a big deal.

I mean, it doesn't quite make me a jazz musician,

but a little closer to, a little closer.

Can you just do this?

[ Scatting ]

-Well... -Done.

♪ Born to fly I even have better cred,

but this song is one that holds the number-one position

for the longest it's ever taken me to finish a song.

From the time I started it

till the time I finished it is 18 years.

[ Audience murmurs ]

I'm not proud of that,

but I raised an entire child

and sent him off to college in less time

than it took me to finish this song.

And here is what happens.

So a lot of times, I will write ahead

of the things in my life that are happening,

and I don't know what it is I'm writing about.

It's like, "Good line,

but I'm not sure where I'm going with this

'cause I haven't gone there yet."

So that's happened to me a lot.

So this is one of those perfect examples.

I had this first verse, and it just [sighs]...

I was like, "I don't know what I'm talking about."

So I kept trying to change it, and it wouldn't let me.

It would revert back to its original form.

I would stuff it in a drawer and wait another five years,

and it would float back up to the top,

and I'd be like, "Ah, I love this melody.

What are you? What do you want to be when you grow up?"

And I'd be, like, begging the song to reveal itself to me.

So fast-forward.

As I mentioned earlier,

my first husband passed away in '94,

so, like, four or five years later,

I met my now-husband, Bob, and, you know, to me,

the idea that I'd ever remarry or fall in love again

was just amazing,

and the heart is like an accordion.

You can actually add bellows as you go,

so you never have to get rid of anyone's love.

You just add more love.

So anyway, it took 12 years of engagement

before we finally got really married,

and I dragged him from New York across the Mason-Dixon Line,

and he now lives in Nashville.

And we went through a rough patch,

which happens, you know, in marriages.

And we even got -- it got so bad that we went

and got a counselor, you know, like a marriage counselor

to see if we could figure out how to fix Bob.

[ Laughter ]

And he just was not getting that part, you know?

It's like, "Bob, how many counseling sessions

is it gonna take, you know?"

For some reason, he just --

at one point, we were having this same discussion,

and he just looked at me, and he walked in the kitchen.

He said, "You know what?

I'm done 'cause I'm not getting anywhere."

I'm like, "Huh? What?"

He goes, "I'm done. I'm moving out.

This isn't working."

And it suddenly occurred to me in that very moment

nobody's ever left me voluntarily before.

Like, that's never happened to me.

People pass away,

but nobody's, like, voluntarily, like, said,

"I'm leaving you."

And the weirdest thing happened.

All of a sudden, that song shot into my brain.

I'm like, "That's what that song's about!"

And I'm thinking -- then I got this look on my face, like,

"Oh, yeah, 'cause, like, the verse."

And he's looking at me, and he goes,

"Are you even listening to me?"

And I'm like, "Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah. No, don't leave.

I mean, what are you talking about?

That's not even on the menu. You can't leave.

Like, you don't leave me, but nobody leaves me."

I had to really resist the temptation to say,

"Can you just hold that thought for one minute?

I'll be right back? I just have to run to my studio."

But I didn't do that, and we're still married today.

Everything's great.

Somehow, miraculously,

there were a few things I had to work on myself.

That's right, so...

I'm like, "All you had to do was tell me."

Anyway, the next day, I went in my studio,

and I finished the song, and Bob loves this song

because he's in it, you know?

Although the song is about people

whodon't get back together, and we're back together.

We're very happy now -- at least I am. [Laughs]

And so this song is called "Epitaph For Love."

So this goes out to those who don't get back together.

Sorry. We did.

But I would never have been able to write this song

unless Bob had threatened to leave me,

so it's my favorite song

and the longest it's ever taken me to finish one.

♪♪

♪ I was sure my life was over once ♪

♪ With a backward glance

♪ I watched all my dreams dissolve and fall apart ♪

♪ Lost the thread I dropped out of the race ♪

♪ When I lost my place

♪ In the center of your heart

♪ Falling like a star

♪ Caught inside a jar

♪ Fading like a firefly

♪ Just a note that hangs upon the step ♪

♪ A little epitaph for love

♪ Ooooooh, ooooh

♪ Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooooooh

♪ Ooh, ooooooh

♪ Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

♪ So much sadness

♪ So much pain to kill

♪ So much space to fill

♪ In this big black hole

♪ That fits me like a glove

♪ And the list that floats inside my head ♪

♪ Things I wish I'd said

♪ That could never be enough

♪ The tangled arms and legs

♪ The depth of our mistakes

♪ The endless ways we try to try ♪

♪ Diving headlong off the overpass ♪

♪ With our hearts of glass

♪ For love

♪ Little epitaph for love

♪ Ooooooh, ooooh

♪ Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooooooh

♪ Little epitaph for love

♪ Love

♪ Love

♪♪

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you, Bob.

[ Laughter ]

Thank you. Thank you.

I love how you just make that guitar sound

like a complete orchestra.

I so lost in, like, the beauty of everything you were doing.

Oh, my gosh. That's incredible.

Well, I had 18 years to get that down.

Speaking of great songwriters and iconic songs,

many moons ago a wonderful artist

named Nanci Griffith recorded a song.

She's wonderful, and she recorded a song

that I just became this huge fan of

and, of course, found out who the writer was

and was a huge fan of hers,

And it's interesting, you know?

Sometimes songs get recorded,

and they go around until they find almost --

I don't know if they call them the rightful owner,

but all of a sudden the right time,

the right song, the right artist,

and that artist was Bette Midler,

who took the song I don't know how many years later

and made it into a worldwide iconic song,

one of my favorite songs in the whole world.

And my friend, speaking of icons... Oh, yeah.

...she's an incredible writer and a New "Yawker,"

and we're gonna have her come up and sing... Yay!

...the lovely, beautiful Ms. Julie Gold.

[ Cheers and applause ]

I wrote this when I was still a secretary at HBO

right before my 30th birthday,

and that was 33 years ago,

and it has become my ambassador.

It has brought me to people and places and opportunities

that I never even dreamed could be my reality.

So I have felt it in braille.

I have heard it in multiple languages.

It's written into the Constitution recited... What?

...by Barbara Boxer during the first Persian Gulf War,

and the very first time that the astronauts --

the Russian and the Americans --

hooked up at the Mir space station,

this was their wake-up call. Aw.

So if music is an ambassador, this has truly been mine.

[ Cheers and applause ]

♪♪

Thank you, Victoria.

♪♪

♪♪

♪ From a distance

♪ The world looks blue and green ♪

♪ And the snowcapped mountains white ♪

♪ From a distance

♪ The ocean meets the stream

♪ And the eagle takes to flight ♪

♪ From a distance

♪ There is harmony

♪ And it echoes through the land ♪

♪ It's the voice of hope

♪ It's the voice of peace

♪ It's the voice of every man

♪♪

♪ From a distance

♪ We all have enough

♪ And no one is in need

♪ There are no guns

♪ No bombs, no diseases

♪ No hungry mouths to feed

♪ From a distance

♪ We are instruments

♪ Marching in a common band

♪ Playing songs of hope

♪ Playing songs of peace

♪ They're the songs of every man ♪

♪ God is watching us

♪ God is watching us

♪ God is watching us

♪ From a distance

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪ From a distance

♪ You look like my friend

♪ Even though we are at war

♪ From a distance

♪ I can't comprehend

♪ What all this war is for

♪ From a distance

♪ There is harmony

♪ And it echoes through the land ♪

♪ It's the hope of hopes

♪ It's the love of loves

♪ It's the heart of every man

♪ It's the hope of hopes

♪ It's the love of loves

♪ It's the song of every man

♪♪

-Yeah! -Whoo!

-Julie Gold! -Whoo!

[ Cheers and applause ]

That's a songwriter, right there!

That's a songwriter, right there.

You're making me nervous.

Wow. "Wow" is right, and I have to tell you,

I even bought the sheet music.

You got your 2 cents or whatever it is you made from me, okay?

[ Laughs ] Oh, I love that song.

I love her rendition. I love that song.

I'm like -- I couldn't even sing on it.

I was just blown away.

So Marcus is gonna do one more song,

and I requested this song, too, 'cause I'm allowed.

It's my show.

And I'll let you tell the story behind it.

♪♪

[ Laughing ] Yeah. That's a hard one to follow.

I got to tell you.

I think you're going.

This is an old song -- 25 years old

and has also been very good to me

in a very unexpected way.

And it was based on...

A guy gave me a really fantastic idea

and an inspirational idea at a bar one night,

which is sort of appropriate for a country song,

and I had this opportunity.

I was gonna get to write with Jeff Hanna

of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

It's one of my favorite bands.

I had just sung at his wedding,

and I knew that I was gonna get to write with him

when he got back from his wedding

to another sister songwriter,

Matraca Berg, one of the great

and a Hall of Fame songwriter herself.

And anyway, and so I started just a wee bit of this song,

and what...

The one thing I think about this song

is something I read years ago that Elton John said,

is that he said, "When in doubt, write a hymn."

And I always thought that was the most beautiful thing

'cause what is a hymn

but the things that we feel most passionate about?

So let me just do this for you, here.

[ Plays "Bless the Broken Road" ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪ I set out on a narrow way

♪ It was many years ago

♪ Hoping I would find true love ♪

♪ Along that broken road

♪ But I got lost a time or two

♪ And I wiped my brow

♪ I kept pushing through

♪ I couldn't see how every sign ♪

♪ Pointed straight to you

♪ And every long-lost dream

♪ Led me to where you are

♪ And others who broke my heart ♪

♪ Well, they were like northern stars ♪

♪ Pointing me on my way

♪ Into your loving arms

♪ This much I know is true

♪ That God blessed the broken road ♪

♪ Led me straight to you

♪♪

♪ I think of all the years I spent ♪

♪ Just passing through

♪ I'd like to take that time I lost ♪

♪ And give it back to you

♪ But you just smile and you take my hand ♪

♪ You've been there You understand ♪

♪ It's all part of a grander plan ♪

♪ That is coming true

♪ And every long-lost dream

♪ Led me to where you are

♪ And others who broke my heart ♪

♪ Well, they were like northern stars ♪

♪ Pointing me on my way

♪ Into your loving arms

♪ This much I know is true

♪ That God blessed the broken road ♪

♪ That led me straight to you

♪♪

♪♪

♪ Now I'm just rolling home

♪ Into my lover's arms

♪ This much I know I know it's true ♪

♪ That God blessed the broken road ♪

♪ And led me straight to you

♪♪

♪♪

[ Cheers and applause ]

Mr. Marcus Hummon.

[ Cheers and applause continue ]

So this is our last song of the night we're coming to.

-Aw. -Aw.

-Geez. -[ Laughs ] That's very nice.

You guys have had -- you've had a good time?

[ Cheers and applause ]

I'll tell you the truth -- so have I.

This show is so easy.

This, you know -- it's so easy when all I have to do

is call up some talented friends who make me shine,

I mean, make the whole night shine.

I just sit back and let them shine.

[ Cheers and applause ]

-We appreciate it, Victoria. -Oh, my gosh.

I'm in awe of both of these people --

well, all three of you.

Julie, thank you so much.

-Thank you, Julie. -Thank you.

What a pleasure.

Thank you.

Aw, thank you. Thank you.

And thank you to Birdland, and if you're in New York,

you got to come in and see Birdland Theater.

It's amazing. It's beautiful.

Isn't it incredible?

[ Cheers and applause ]

And let's see.

Please, as they say, take us home, Beth.

-Take us home. All right. -Yes.

Well, I'm gonna take you home with a song

I always put in my show

because this song helped put my son through college.

And a little story that goes with it -- how it was written --

One of my cowriters on this song

is actually here tonight, Robin Lerner.

She's up there, up there over in that area.

Brilliant songwriter.

And another songwriter named Annie Roboff.

So the three of us got together to write this song.

To be honest, they kind of had it started,

and I horned my way in.

But we ended up working on it on a beach in Malibu,

actually, I think at Robin's brother's house.

So you can imagine three women songwriters

on the beach in Malibu,

one of whom was a widow and a recent widow,

so I was going through all that, and Robin was going through

a rather difficult divorce at the time.

Hope you don't mind me saying that on national television.

And Annie was just a workaholic.

She was having hit songs, and she was just working

all the time, so between the three of us,

we had not been kissed in about 900 years.

[ Laughter ]

But we remembered what it felt like,

so we thought, "We need to write a song

about how it feels to be kissed correctly,"

'cause nobody had really gotten that yet, you know?

So thank you, Faith Hill,

for putting my son through college.

And here it is, and these guys are gonna help me sing it.

And all you ladies out there, come on.

♪♪

And thank you for having me.

Thank you for being here.

♪♪

♪ I don't want another heartbreak ♪

♪ I don't need another turn to cry ♪

♪ No, I don't want to learn the hard way ♪

♪ Baby, hello Oh, no, goodbye ♪

♪ But you got me like a rocket

♪ Shooting straight across the sky ♪

♪ It's the way you love me

♪ It's a feeling like this

♪ It's centrifugal motion

♪ It's perpetual bliss

♪ It's that pivotal moment

♪ It's, ah, impossible

♪ This kiss, this kiss

♪ Unstoppable

♪ This kiss, this kiss

Come on, girls.

♪ Cinderella said to Snow White ♪

♪ "How does love get so off-course?" ♪

♪ Oh, all I wanted was a white knight ♪

♪ With a good heart, soft touch, fast horse ♪

♪ Ride me off into the sunset ♪

♪ Baby, I'm forever yours

♪ It's the way you love me

♪ It's a feeling like this

♪ It's centrifugal motion

♪ It's perpetual bliss

♪ It's that pivotal moment

♪ It's, ah, impossible

♪ This kiss, this kiss

♪ Whoa

♪ This kiss, this kiss

♪ You can kiss me in the moonlight ♪

♪ On a rooftop under the sky

♪ Oh, you can kiss me with the windows open ♪

♪ While the rain comes pouring inside ♪

♪ Oh, kiss me in sweet slow motion ♪

♪ Let's let everything slide

♪ You've got me floating

♪ You've got me flying

♪ It's the way you love me

♪ The way

♪ It's a feeling like this

♪ The way

♪ The way

♪ Love me

♪ It's centrifugal motion

♪ Love me

♪ Love me

♪ Ohhhh

♪ It's perpetual bliss

♪ Ohhhh

♪ Ohhhh

♪ Bliss

♪ It's that pivotal moment

♪ Bliss

♪ Bliss

♪ Oooh

♪ It's, ah ♪ Unstoppable

♪ This kiss, this kiss

♪ Oh, oh, oh

♪ This kiss, this kiss

♪ Oooh

♪ It's the way you love me, baby ♪

♪ The way you love me

♪ It's the way you love me, darling, yeah ♪

♪ It's the way you love me

♪ Oooh

♪ Oooh

♪ The way

♪ It's a feeling like this

♪ The way

♪ The way

♪ You love me

♪ It's centrifugal motion

♪ You love me

♪ You love me

♪ Whooo!

♪ It's perpetual bliss ♪ Yeah

♪ It's that pivotal moment

♪ Whooo!

♪ Whooo!

♪ Oooh

♪ It's, ah ♪ Unstoppable

♪ This kiss, this kiss

♪ Yeah, impossible

♪ This kiss, this kiss

♪ Oh, oh

♪ This kiss, this kiss

[ Cheers and applause ]

Good night, everybody.

Thank you so much. Have a great night.

Thank you, guys. Thank you, guys.

Marcus Hummon, Beth Nielsen Chapman.

I am Victoria Shaw.

Thank you so much for coming.

Thank you.

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ "From a Distance" plays ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪ From a distance

♪ You look like my friend

♪ Even though we are at war

♪ From a distance

♪ I can't comprehend

♪ Oooh

♪ What all this war is for

♪ From a distance

♪ There is harmony

♪ And it echoes through the land ♪

♪ Oooh

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