Makin’ Stuff Up: Exhuming The Writers Group

The Writers Group concept was the brainchild of gregarious session drummer/producer James Stroud.

  The Writers Group (Left to r) Fred Knobloch, Thom Schuyler and Paul Overstreet. Members of country group S-K-O, circa 1987. Photo courtesy J Fred Knobloch “If you can get in the tree with the monkeys,” chuckles J. Fred Knobloch, “you get to eat some bananas.” For three spectacular years in the 1980s, everyone on Music Row wanted to join the feast at 1101 17th Avenue South. “Crazy!” Cliff Audretch Jr. marvels, recalling The Writers Group. “We were so wildly successful in our first year.” The recession-era Music Row Audretch had encountered at the cusp of the ’80s “…wasn’t a ghost town, but it was very, very slim.” Having sold 40,000 self-issued LPs, Ohio-based country rockers McGuffey Lane were primed for major label distribution. Thus, their manager, Audretch, needed an accelerated education in the record/music-publishing biz. Nashville was the place to procure both. Audretch found a willing mentor in Jim Malloy, co-proprietor of DebDave/Briar Patch Music, one of the Row’s few thriving indie publishing houses — success more than partly due to Malloy’s partner, country popster Eddie Rabbitt, seeing sound business sense in padding his hit albums with compositions from the company catalog. Up-and-coming DebDave staffer Thom Schuyler, however, wasn’t content to rest exclusively on Rabbitt album fillers. The Pennsylvania transplant shared credit on Kenny Rogers’ 1982 crossover smash “Love Will Turn You Around,” before cracking the country top 10 with Lacy J. Dalton’s single of his “16th Avenue.” Schuyler: “I had a nice run at DebDave. And if I ever had a moment to take a giant step forward, it happened when Writers Group formed.” The Writers Group... Sign In to Keep Reading

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