Three Inspiring Songwriters...

June 16, 2018



I love surprises and I would say that last night was a surprise for me at The Listening Room of Mobile. 


The ticket read “LA” Laurie Anne Armour, Hannah McFarland and Greg Padilla. I immediately began researching the only one in the group I had not heard or heard of before….His name is Greg Padilla.


They were lined up LA first, then Hannah who sat in the middle and Greg was in the 3rd seat. LA started the show with a new original “Sailor Take Warning”. I used to hear that old saying as a child, “Red Sky at Night Sailor’s Delight, Red Sky in Morning, Sailor Take Warning”, so she had my attention immediately. It was a wonderfully written song with an equally good message as all of Laurie Anne’s songs are to me. The next song she sang was one that I had heard, titled  “Sometimes”…she explained that sometimes she forgets that she is happy, sometimes its easier to be sad. WOW” those lyrics grab me every time I hear them. This song is relatable for me and I am sure to others. A song should “touch us” and make us feel it personally. This one certainly does that.


Later she sang “Take Your Time” it is a tribute song to her mother for the advice given to her when she was in need and had questions about a relationship(or potential relationship). It is a story and a lesson told in a song. I love all of LA’s songs new and older, but I am in-love with a brand new one that was inspired by a recent incident where her sound system, mic stand and firearm were stolen from her locked car at her apartment. This was a devastating blow as these things are very expensive and necessary for her gigs. The new song was written to the person who robbed her, and it was written by her dad, Smitty Armour. It is titled, "Song for That Guy." It is clever, it is funny, it is raw and real and most of all it even encourages a certain forgiveness.  LA did a masterful performance on it as well! It was a great example of teamwork and great hearts between a father and daughter.

FYI: Laurie Anne (LA)  Armour has an EP titled “Ebb and Flow”…check it out, buy it.


Hannah McFarland started her evening with “Great Escape”, a well crafted song and her voice drove it where it needed to go. I think most of us know of times in our lives when we at least thought of escaping from circumstances we found ourselves in. I must say this song is one that spoke to me.


Then Hannah told the story of herself as a 3rd grader who hopped into the car when her daddy picked her up from school and she broke down in tears, because the other kids had been mean to her, “Daddy they were mean again”, she said. Her daddy explained she should hold her head up high and know that Jesus picks the tough ones to handle this type of thing in life and he said,“I am not surprised he chose you”. This song is called “The Fight”, it is the first one she ever wrote. She has an EP out that is available and this song is on it, certainly worth the time and cost to go get it.


I also LOVE her song “Broken In Love”. It too is on her EP “Heartache Like You”. The story in the song tells of a couple who have been together for a while. It tells of his broken-in cowboy boots he has worn since 1998 and the red high heel shoes she wore on their first date. Everyone interprets songs with their own thinking, their own experiences and views, so I don’t believe there is a wrong way to interpret the lyrics of a song…it is YOUR way. My interpretation of this one is as follows: When shoes are broken in, they feel more comfortable and they endear themselves to you…sometimes Love may have sustained many years and could be considered “broken-in” but it does not always feel more comfortable and endearing like the shoes. For me this song yearns for the same broken-in feeling as those shoes to be present in the relationship. 


My personal favorite is “The storm”. Turbulent times have hit us all at one time or another, this song touches me. “I don’t want to chase the storm, the storm is chasing me”, it says.  Get this song and listen, it is one that makes you think. There have been times when I lived in a storm and it is certainly better to live in fair weather.


Greg Padilla was a mystery. When his turn came up I watched as he dismounted the stool, stood on bare feet and explained though many people tell a story with their songs, he does not. He said he reaches out to the audience in an effort to touch them, in an effort to make them feel his words. Then he said that his songs tonight would be a chronological history of his story and he wanted to start out with a song about his addiction to gambling. It was a tough time for him and he is proud to be past it, but it deserved a song. His second song was about a break-up that he went through. He explained that he has played music all of his life but when he went through a divorce he broke away from music and did not play in public for a long time. He started back playing on stages in October of last year. Then he played a song called “I’m No Superman.” and he sang one called “Walk Away”, its about broken love. Almost everyone has felt that feeling. 


Greg told of a time when he suffered a kidney stone. “It hurt so bad I wanted to die”, he said. Anyone who has had a kidney stone can relate to that pain. Well he had taken some pain meds for it and his wife left to pick something up…he was left alone in his pain-pill stupor and suddenly he picked up his guitar and wrote this song, “Sing Baby Sing.’ It was lively and fun, someone in the audience shouted “Take more meds”. Everyone laughed as this was a great song he wrote while in less than great condition. He told about a situation where he found himself in love but he did not feel safe or courageous enough to tell her. He said it was “infatuation” to him. In this song he says “I’m thinking about you, I’m thinking about me and you.”


The final round on this songwriter  show, was exceptionally good.

LA sang one of her originals, “Leftover Love”. It is so touching as she tells of every Autumn how she feels the loss of this relationship and the leftover love that lingers. She yearns for this feeling to stop but it seems to be forever leftover in her heart and it rises up again and again in the Fall.


It was now time for Hannah's final song. She said, “I am going to sing my happiest song and its not happy.” Everyone chuckled and she began, The title of this one is “Heartache Like You” 

She sang …“Pain, I felt the pain, last time I heard you say my name.”  “And tears, Oh I cried tears, thinking back on all those years.”

“I still think about what you’re doing from time to time but that don’t mean I still want you to be mine” This song goes on to say, “I’m not gonna waste my time on a heartache like you.”

Well crafted, well delivered song!


Now was the time for the actual last song of the show…it belonged to Greg and everyone was on the edge of their seats wondering what it might sound like.


He explained that he knew this was a SONGWRITER show, but he wanted to break from the rules and do a cover as his last offering. He sang a Sam Cooke song, “A Change is Gonna Come”  I have to tell you Sam would have been proud to hear Greg’s rendition. The crowd roared. There was so much emotion delivered to us from Greg that night but he put extra power in this final song and it showed. We were the beneficiaries of the gift he gave us in that song. All I can say is WOW!


Another one in the history books for The Listening Room.


Thank you Jim Pennington for providing a beacon in the darkness for musicians to be heard.

Thank you LA Armour, Hannah McFarland and Greg Padilla for performing masterfully.

Thank you to those who attend The Listening Room and continue to support our talented artists.


Juanita Smith

Music Mom






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