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The Dance Songwriter Tony Arata Plays His Hits At St. Jude Seminar [VIDEO]


Every year, at the end of the St. Jude Country Cares Seminar, attendees are treated to the Songwriters’ Dinner.  It is a showcase of some of the best songwriting talent in Nashville and other genres, hosted by Alabama frontman and Country Cares founder, Randy Owen.  This year was especially exciting for me, as the panel included the writer of my favorite song of all time.

It’s been a long time since I could say my favorite song was something other than ‘The Dance’ by Garth Brooks.  That song was well ahead of its time, being released in 1989.  It just speaks to me, and reminds me that there should be no regrets in life and that everything, even the bad stuff, is there for a reason.

I learned last weekend that the song got to Garth, via a songwriters’ showcase in Nashville, where he was playing with fellow writer, Tony Arata.  Both men were working their ‘real jobs’ and playing on the side.  In 1986, Tony played ‘The Dance’ at a local Nashville club, and Garth immediately told him he’d like to cut it if Brooks ever scored a deal.  He started his path to super-stardom three years later and added ‘The Dance’ to his debut album, and the rest is history.  Arata also wrote some of my other favorite Garth songs, including ‘The Change,’ ‘Why Ain’t I Running,’ ‘Face To Face,’ and ‘Same Old Story,’ plus cuts for Patty Loveless, Don Williams, Clay Walker and more.

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I was such a fan of the song and the writing, I even credited Tony Arata (and not Garth Brooks) in my senior high school yearbook.

Eric Cornish / Trinity High School

And now that you know how much of a dork I was in high school, with all my activities, I would like to treat you to a part of a magical performance of my favorite song of all time, ‘The Dance,’ performed by the man who wrote the song, Tony Arata.

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