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Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations



Hugh Moffatt

Hugh Moffatt to Teach Songwriting Class

DANVILLE, VA, Aug. 7, 2014 – Danville Community College (DCC) has tapped a nationally-renowned songwriter for a new fall semester music class. Nashville artist Hugh Moffatt will teach Songwriting (MUS 195-W1) as an online class.

Moffatt has written chart-topping songs recorded by a number of country, bluegrass and folk musicians. Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Alabama, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tony Rice and the Osborne Brothers are among the artists who have recorded and met with success with songs written by Moffatt. “Old Flames Don’t Hold a Candle to You,? recorded first by Joe Sun and later by Dolly Parton, “Words at Twenty Paces? recorded by Alabama, and “Rose of My Heart,? recorded by Johnny Cash, are a sampling of the hit songs authored by Moffatt, spanning a 40-plus year career.

Moffatt will bring his expertise to DCC, thanks to a personal connection with the College’s president Dr. Bruce Scism. The fellow musicians met during Scism’s time as interim president of Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tenn.

Moffatt’s class is a three-hour workshop, meeting on Blackboard, a virtual classroom, from 6 to 9 p.m., on Tuesdays. The class will kick off with an orientation session on Aug. 28, with the first official class set for Sept. 2. Solo songwriting assignments, co-songwriting assignments and assignments to write a song specifically for a particular artist will be part of the workshop.

“The class is focused on writing first and the second major focus is on critiquing and re-writing. Songwriting is collaborative. Nobody can finish a song without input from other people,? Moffatt said. “People are going to present their songs and we’re going to have comments from everybody about what they think.?

Years ago, Moffatt went through the re-write process for his first chart-topping song “Just in Case? with mentor Ed Penney. Grammy Award-winning country singer Ronnie Milsap recorded “Just in Case? in 1974. Through the re-write process, Moffatt became his own critic and learned to take ownership as the “final arbiter? of his songs.

“Every song that I write not only has to be the best song I’ve ever written but the next best song that the world needs to hear,? Moffatt added.

That approach has afforded the Nashville songwriter/ musician much success, but he acknowledges that there is still an element of luck in the road to success. One such happenstance was Johnny Cash’s recording of Moffatt’s “Rose of My Heart? as part of his last album, “American V?, in 2006.

“It must have spoken to him about (his wife) June, who had died just a few months before he (Cash) died,? Moffatt said.

A goal of Moffatt’s songwriting is to convey something that he feels deeply about in a way that other people can comprehend it. One such song that tells a personal story is “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You,? written by Moffatt and his then-wife Rosemarie Patricia “Pebe? Sebert. The song was first recorded by Joe Sun in 1978 and later by Dolly Parton.

“Songs are storytelling. I really want people to understand the human art of storytelling,? Moffatt explained.

The Nashville songwriter will strive to make his students understand that songs are “character-driven? and in order to write a song that appeals to a wide audience, the writer needs to let that character take over and tell his/ her story. Most of all, Moffatt said he wants to get his students “excited? about songwriting, an art that has been his passion for more than four decades. Songwriting is an art that Moffatt continually seeks to perfect, and to that end, he is taking classes toward earning a Master of Fine Arts in writing at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky.

Registration for songwriting is currently underway. The class is available for credit to DCC students and for non-credit as a continuing education offering for community members.

For more information about the Songwriting course or other new music courses this fall at DCC, contact the college at 434.797.8462, or click here. To register for the class as a non-credit continuing education offering, contact the DCC Workforce Services Office at 434.797.8430.


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