Native son shares art of crafting tunes
Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2006
He spent years on the road, playing his beloved Gibson Heritage guitar (“bought it in 1960…oh, the stories it could tell”) and singing tunes he penned. Many of this self-taught musician's songs went on to chart for country luminaries such as the Oak Ridge Boys and Randy Travis.
Call him a modern balladeer of what he calls “southern songs – blues written in major chords.”
Butler County native Rock Killough – musician, singer-songwriter and raconteur – is starting a new phase in his musical career.
Killough is the latest instructor to join the music department of LBW Community College's Greenville campus.
As part of their Continuing Education program, the seasoned musician has already joined instructor Charlie Kennedy in teaching students how to play the guitar.
Soon, Killough will be leading a songwriting course, said to be the first of its kind in the state.
The newest course, “Songwriting 101,” will actually use Killough's own book, “Helpful Hints for Inspiring Songwriters,” as its text.
“Music courses are the most popular of our Continuing Education classes,” Linda Adams of LBWCC – Greenville said.
“We are just delighted to have someone with Mr. Killough's knowledge and experience coming to our campus to share this opportunity with our students.”
Those who have been kicking around ideas for songs and need some help putting it all together will benefit from the songwriting class, Killough said.
“I do believe people who have been trying to write songs for a while will do better than raw beginners…however, I won't turn anyone who is willing to work at it away,” he said.
While Killough has done his share of “co-writing songs around the kitchen table,” he hopes to guide his students to be in a position to “do it all themselves.”
“After all, if you are writing commercially, you are giving half your money away on co-written songs.”
Killough plans to begin his class with plenty of poetry. “After all, what is a song, but poetry set to music? If you don't get the poetry right, you might as well forget it,” he said.
The musician said all songs are like a “short-short-story…with a beginning, a middle and an end.”
He added, “You could also say the verses are the ‘shoes,' and the chorus, the ‘laces' that tie it all together.”
Once the students have found their inner poet and learned to “get to their subject and don't leave it,” the course will move on to music, Killough said.
“I just appreciate the opportunity given by LBW and Ms. Adams for me to do this in a classroom setting.”
The six-week class will also cover copyrighting, royalties, publishing, self-publishing and marketing work, with students receiving independent, private evaluations. Tuition is $90. Songwriting 101 kicks off next Wendesday, March 1 at the Greenville campus. For more information, and the class and other music classes at LBWCC – Greenville, contact the Continuing Education division at 383-6705 or go to www.bamamusic.com.