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Playin' For Peanuts

Updated on May 4, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

Performing for loose change tossed into my guitar case

I came here to Nashville trying to find my star’s place

A country singer is what I wanted to be from the early day

But I never dreamed that this street would be where I play

In this town, it seems that everybody can pick an old guitar

Talent is a good thing to have but it won’t get you very far

In the end it takes determination and a whole lot of luck

To be at the right place and time when the deal is struck

I’m livin’on nickels and sardines just waiting for a chance

What did Garth Brooks say in the song he called “The Dance”?

My daddy said a great musician could make a million you see

But he also said that if he didn’t, well, he'd still play for free

Sometimes I think I have a big future as nothing but a homeless man

I told ‘em all back home I’d make it; I can’t face ‘em until I can

The right man will one day see me playin’ in an alley way out back

And offer me my big break with a big lucrative recording contract

I dream of writing great songs and pouring my emotion on the page

I imagine myself all dressed in finery; singing upon that Opry Stage

A man’s got to dream and keep on dreaming when life’s this hard

I just take one day at a time and pray that soon they’ll punch my card

I can yodel the blues like Hank Williams; sing up high like Vince Gill

I can do a little Johnny Cash and maybe a little swing like Bob Wills

There’s little bit of everybody in me and plenty enough to go around

I just wish I could earn my chance and get a break in this star town

I’ll bet ol’ Willie’ would let me sing with him if he just saw me here

Bet Ol’ David Alan Coe would stop on the sidewalk to lend an ear

But neither of them are around as I sing and play from place to place

Guess I should just be thankful for coins pitched into my guitar case

Talent’s here from everywhere; every race, color, and hue

They come to town to make their noise down on 16th Avenue

Livin’ on the nickels n’ sardines; chasin’ the dream I chase

Each one playing for peanuts with a smile upon their face

© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Ghost32...Fred,Thanks so much...I do appreciate the good words. I just wish I had the life experience you have to draw fom to write are hold back on us buddy...let's hear it. Write those hubs and share...we want it! LOL! WB

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I went to Nashville one time, in '94, recorded a 10-song video, paid the folks that talked me into it a fair chunk of change to get it out there--on invisible, 3:00 a.m. satellite TV only.

      But even that fired me up some. It was the first time I'd ever performed with a band behind me. Scary, but hey, went back to South Dakota and formed my own band. Didn't last long

      Feel a Hub coming on....

      Up and all but funny!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @A.A. Zavala...You are so correct. Even those of lesser talent can sometimes make it if the timing is right. WB

      @LeisureLife...Well, thank you. Glad that you enjoyed it and please check some of my other work! WB

      @flying_fish...Thank you for the multiple reads. Music has always been an important part of my life as it was for my dad. He always tried to keep it simple but played a pretty good fiddle in his time. I have sang many-a-song to that three chord chain. Dad always said that if you could whistle it, you could play it! I have spent a lifetime just getting to the point of being able to play and perform and for me....that is a form of success...just like playing that street corner was for your uncle. Thanks for the great comments! WB

    • flying_fish profile image


      7 years ago from GTA

      I read this thing three times over, to three different tunes I intoned as I went along...

      I got an uncle who spent a lot of time playing street-corners in Florida, a harmonica in front of his face and just a great 'ole twang in his otherwise Torontonian voice...

      I learned a long time ago to love all kinds of music, (I watched American Idol for the first time the other night, and couldn't tell whether to smile or vomit as the hairs on my arms stood up... I'm not ashamed...) - I've always found that the energy and style put into things goes a lot farther than any real fancy-work - it's just like you said Wayne, with just those 3-chords, you can do just about anything you want with 'em!

    • LeisureLife profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      I'm not very much into Country Music, but I must say Nice Article !

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Timing is everything. For all the Hank Wiliams that make it big, there's seems to be more wannabees that get famous as well. Timing counts. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @chspublish...If I have it, I don't know what I am going to do with it! LOL! I am like Forrest Gump when Lt. Dan asking him if he had found Jesus Christ? To which Gump replied, "I didn't know I was suppose to be looking for him, Lt. Dan!" LOL! Thanks for the good words! WB

    • chspublish profile image


      7 years ago from Ireland

      So hard for the creative being to accept there are many more coming up. It's difficult to make it in the creative world of music, writing and art. Been there, done that. Great piece Wayne. You've got it.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @drbj...So many don't realize that playing on a Nashville street corner can be a lifetime occupation with about as much chance of discovery as you have at home. All it takes though is one that made it that way to instill the promise in many...we so want to believe. WB

      @Truckstop Sally...I have indeed heard that version of "The Dance"...a loftier thought. Ultimately I think it is just about showing up and knowing that you tried no matter how it turns out. Thanks much! WB

      @HattieMattieMae...So very true...even in the world of writing, we suffer with the same hopes. Thanks much. WB

      @thebluestar...I can loan you my guitar and as soon as you learn three chords, you are in business! LOL! Writing is a bit easier on the fingers though! Thanks much. WB

      @breakfastpop...American Idol seems to prove that every year. Sometimes when I am flying across the country at night, I look down at all those lights and realize just how much potential there is in America and if a person has a talent to market, they only need to capture such a small portion of it. There is still a lot of opportunity for those willing to put it on the line and venture forth. Thanks, Poppy. WB

      @The Frog Prince...That's what my dad use to laugh and say. He always said that if someone had music in their blood and was good enough, they could make themselves rich. But he also pointed out that if it was truly in your blood that you would starve to death doing it and enjoy every minute of it. I guess that's true of a lot of comes to mind! LOL! WB

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      7 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Why let good talent go to waste. Well Wayne, sometimes we have to eat. Right? LMAO

      Well done as usual and rated awesome for shedding some light once again.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      There really is so much undiscovered and unappreciated talent out there. I wish there was room for everyone. Up and awesome.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Wish I was just down there in 16th Avenue Wayne, the vision is glorious. Lovely sunshine and all that talent too. Lend me some of your imagination, then I could earn a coin or two. lol Not singing or playing the guitar thou.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image


      7 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

      Oh so true! Not just about musicians, but all mediums of Art in our culture!

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Wow! Love this hub! Willie, Hank, Vince Gill, Bob Wills, Johnny cash . . . I saw Garth Brooks at the Rodeo several years ago . . . rode a horse in and out. If you haven't seen this version of The Dance . . . mentions JFK, MLK . . . powerful words

      Hoping folks with a passion for entertaining don't give up/give in

      Reaching for the stars . . . with a little grounding -- maybe just a twinking toe or two!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Wayne. This poem is prophetic for all the country singer wannabes that come to be seen by someone connected with the Grand Old Opry. But sadly, Nashville doesn't have enough street corners for all those guitar players.

      Nice rhyming, nice beat. Now all you need is a tunesmith.


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