More than one songwriter has been quoted as saying “that song just took on a life of its own.”
That could certainly be said about “Too Close for Comfort,” one of the latest from John Schneider, former star of “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
In 2003, songwriters Luke Maness, Billy Phillips and Jessi Rae were living in Nashville and got together at 2 p.m. every Tuesday.
At one of those sessions, Rae gave her friends a title: “Too Close for Comfort.”
Maness and Phillips considered themselves “renegades” of a sort and wrote the first and part of the second verse, but for some reason, stopped and didn’t finish it.
The song sat in a notebook as well as a rough recording for more than two years.
Then in late 2005, Maness had a songwriting session with one of his previous bandmates, Jonathan Singleton, who is originally from Jackson. Trying to think of something to write about, Maness came across that unfinished recording.
With permission from Phillips and Rae, Maness took the song to the session with Singleton; they finished the second verse and also wrote a bridge.
Then, it sat on a shelf for a couple more years.
By then, Maness and Rae were married and reworked the song as a duet, performing it in most of their shows. Phillips. who had cerebral palsy, died in 2011.
The song had also sat for years in Singleton’s catalog.
But in early 2018, Jessi Maness was interviewing Schneider for a magazine article and pitched him the song for his next album, “The Odyssey Project.”
Fast forward two months. Schneider called her saying he’d like to record the song but wanted an extended bridge added.
She immediately wrote that bridge and told her husband about her conversation with Schneider.
Even though several ideas were then passed around, what Jessie Maness had written fit perfectly and it was sent back to Schneider.
He loved it and then recorded it a couple of months later with singer Heidi Newfield, where it is played on Spotify and also is on his Odyssey project on the Vagabond label.
This is how a song lives its own life.