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Win a Single-Song Publishing Deal!
November 18, 2006

Write With A Hit-Maker, and Win a Single-Song Publishing Deal!

Well, it's that time of year again. No, not Christmas (well, yeah it is) but we're talking about the "tween-Expos" "Write With A Hit-Maker" Songwriting Contest!

Here's the scoop:

Sure, you can write with a bona fide hit songwriter again this year, if you win. (See the 2006 Winners here.)

But for 2007, WE'VE SWEETENED THE DEAL! How about the added prize each winner will receive of a SINGLE SONG PUBLISHING DEAL courtesy of Windswept Music (Country Category) and peermusic (Pop/Rock Category). The publishing deal will include studio time to record a professional guitar or piano/vocal demo of the song written by the winner in each category!


The winner in the Country Category will write a song at the EXPO with hit songwriter Jeremy Stover (Jeremy recently earned his first No. 1 single as writer and producer of Jack Ingram's "Where Ever You Are").

The winner in the Pop/Rock Category will write a song with hit songwriters Ben Marguiles and Tony Scalzo (FastBall).

The winner in each category will also receive a free Registration to the 2007 Santa Barbara EXPO (a $250 value), May 31 - June 2, 2007.

(Transportation to the EXPO, meals and lodging, are the responsibility of the participants.)

Very Special Offer for EARLY entries:
All Contest entries POSTMARKED by January 10th, 2007 will automatically be entered into a drawing for a FREE Santa Barbara Expo Registration, a $250 value! (The winning entrant will be notified by February 1st, 2007.)

Here's the Entry Form.

Congratulations Moker Jarrett of Jacksonville!

How's this for irony: Moker Jarrett, pictured here (center), has a band called "Lucky Stiff." Moker is a two-time attendee at the Expo. This year in Park City (Oct. 5-7), Moker entered the drawing we held at the Saturday night concert for a brand spanking new Yamaha DW30 acoustic guitar (a $1,000 value). Moker WON! That lucky stiff!

We called Moker to get a little update on how he liked the new axe and ask for a picture of him and the Yamaha (the guitar in the picture above is obviusly not the guitar he won) since in the concert excitement, we forgot to snap his picture!

Anyway, it turns out that winning the guitar, as cool as that was, was just the beginning of a series of events that took place on his trip back to Florida. It's a super cool story that we'll be publishing in our next Great Connections!

A Special Message, Tribute, and Request from Jack Hayford, Jim Attebery and The Expo, and—

I met two of my now best friends in the world, Jim Attebery and Jimmy "Muffin" Yessian, ten years ago at the Durango Songwriters Expo. It was the first Expo that Jim produced.

It was a life-changing weekend for me (and many others).

Muff and I met shortly after we both arrived, in the bar of our first Expo home, the Tamarron Resort in Durango—watching baseball before the event got underway.

Muffin is a life-long, die-hard, New York Yankees fan. Ditto for me and the Boston Red Sox. The Yanks were in the playoffs so there we were, each with our own agendas so to speak, watching the game.

"Choke you S.O.B's," is what I was probably saying. "1918" is probably what Muff threw back at me. That started our friendship and musical relationship.

It was an awesome event, as is now the standard for the Expo.

There is so much we all remember about that first conference.

It happened that when we left, Muff and I were on the same plane back to L.A. We were at the baggage claim when I first met Amy, Muffin's wife.

They had been together forever and so having become so friendly already with Muff, naturally I fell right in with Amy too.

We did many things, and shared many wonderful moments, the three of us, over the last ten years. And the baseball rivalry grew, although I was out-numbered 2-1. Amy LOVED the Yankees too. That alone kept us always calling and talking shop. We talked music shop too.

Muffin is a really fine and sensitive songwriter. Amy was his biggest champion. We always talked about Jimmy's songs. We had our love of "Muffsongs" in common even more than baseball. That, and I loved her laughter, her great sense of humor.

Amy and I always agreed that "All My Heart" was one of Jimmy's sweetest and best songs. I liked it so much that I took out a piano arrangement of it and started performing it, occasionally singing it with Muff playing guitar, here and there.

About two years later Amy's step-dad who I had also met in Florida, passed away. She took it hard. We talked about it a bunch because I had just lost my Dad too.

At the very next Expo, after the guitar-pull on Friday night, I grabbed Amy by the hand and walked her up the winding staircase at the Tamarron to the baby grand piano they had stationed in the lobby. I said, "I have something for you, and your dad." And I played and sang my version of "All My Heart."

She cried. I might have cried too. She gave me a kiss and thanked me.

Here are the words Muff wrote that I sang to Amy:

It's the last stop on the line,
here's where I get off
It's not the end of the world
but where do I go now,
I'm lost

Sometimes love fades and no one cares
That's not the love that we shared
I'll take the blame
Live with the pain
Just tell me you knew right from the start
That I gave you all of my heart

Who dealt me this hand?
Man they stacked the deck
I'd have drawn one more card
if I had known what to expect

Sometimes I break down and cry
I can't believe it's goodbye
One night you're here
the next day you're gone
Excuse me for falling apart
But I gave you all of my heart

I gave you all
I gave you all
I gave you all of my heart

On November 2nd 2006 (my mother's birthday), Amy Yessian lost her excruciating battle of 29 months to cancer. We are all still grieving.

In thinking about writing this little piece, I recalled that I had an old cassette tape of "All My Heart" that Muff recorded years ago for Greg Dorschel when he was working over at Sony/Tree. I made a quick mp3 out of it. It's the medicine I'm taking for the loss of Amy.

Amy gave all her heart to Jimmy. And Jimmy gave all his heart to Amy. Though their life together was cut short by far too many years, it was indeed a special love. Everyone who knows them knows this. Despite their tragic misfortune, they are still the lucky ones, the forever ones.

Probably YOU've never heard "All My Heart." So I'm playing it for you here as our tribute to our great friends Amy and Jimmy.

Call me anytime Muff, but not right now. "Excuse me for falling apart."


All My Heart — Performed by Muffin
(Words and Music by Jimmy Muffin Yessian)

Click To Play "All My Heart".

Here we are at the Key West Songwriters Festival: Amy, me and Muffin. I was singing "All My Heart." I'm still singing it.

The Request: Amy's medical bills are enormous and the family has been devastated financially, as anyone would be. Please send help if you can. As our great friend (and mentor) of the Expo, Michael Laskow, told his TAXI legions, "give a buck, just like you'd throw into the Salvation Army kettle over the's the right thing to do."

You can send a buck (or more!) to:
Jimmy Yessian
5719 Beck Avenue
NoHo, CA 91601
or to a PayPay account at:

NEW! Visit the Bookstore!
SPECIAL OFFER: Get a $70 Discount on MasterWriter— The Ultimate Collection of Songwriting Tools for the Serious Songwriter

Durango Writers Night in Nashville!

Don't forget our monthly Durango Songwriters Night at the Blue Bar in Nashville. The next Expo night is Monday 11/20. Thanks to all our "Expo-ites" and Members who continue to make this a special night.

If you're in Nashville, COME ON DOWN to the Blue Bar on November 20th!

Email if you would like to be added to the line-up. Thanks to all who come out to play, listen and support us!

What is

Not everyone can join us in Durango each year to be educated and inspired by our panelists and hit songwriters. But every songwriter can now have access to the next-best thing- and benefit from many of the same resources provided each year at the Durango Songwriter's Expo. offers Members a chance to hear writers, publishers, producers, managers and executives who decide what songs and artists make it to the big leagues.

Annually, we record the EXPO Panel Discussions and make them available in our subscription-based Backstage. If you can't make it to the EXPO in person, you can still get the same information from our ever-growing library of recorded discussions, as well as songwriter interviews and other special features.

Check us out!

Got a Website? Special Request from the EXPO—

If you've been marketing yourself and your music through a website, no doubt you already know the importance of "back-links" (how many websites, and their popularity, link to YOU) in gaining high search engine rankings and growing your traffic.

Let's help each other! We are building an EXPO links page (coming this month) and we want to link to all of our friends and supporters. All we ask is for a link back to us!

If you are interested in exchanging links, please link to:
The Durango Songwriters Expo

Then send us an email with YOUR link either by using the Contact Us Form, or sending an email to


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