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Lyric contest winner: Dumb as Dirt and Slick as Oil


Adam Silverstein and I are still working on our double album, A CAPITAL IDEA: GILDING THE AGE. Among the stories we tell on the album is that of Coal Oil Johnny, an historic figure from Rouseville PA, in Venango County, not far from the county seat of Franklin, where I grew up, and Oil City, where my sister Katya currently lives.


I won’t go into too much about the song except I’d had the idea to write about Coal Oil Johnny since about 1995 or 1996, whenever my mother moved back to the area after living in Laguna Beach, California, and I visited the historical sites along the old Oil Creek. During one of my visits to Derby, England, to see Adam and his wife Christine, Adam played me a song he’d been working on. Right away I heard the chorus, and from there the lyrics just fell into place. I think I wrote the song in a couple of hours along to Adam’s melody and we demoed it up instantly. Hopefully we’ll have the album finished early in 2018 and ready for a late spring/early summer release!


Anyhoo... I entered the lyrics to this one into American Songwriter Magazine’s lyrics-only contest and took third place in the current issue! You can check it out at this link.