He Done It

His song dares to challenge the Nashville money machine. Somehow, though, songwriter Larry Cordle has gotten away with Murder.

All of which doesn't bode well for "Murder" to win come October 4. "I can't imagine it winning," Cordle says, "but there again, I couldn't imagine it being nominated. Larry and I are both a little shocked. But whether it wins or not, we feel like we've won a victory of some sorts.

"I've been told," Corlde adds conspiratorially, "that MCA had a guy actively calling radio stations and asking them not to play the song."

Of course, the bigger victory Cordle's tune could achieve is to actually spark a change in the practices of Nashville's record execs. Cordle's not expecting that to happen, since it would require "admitting they're wrong. And this town is all about power. It's not about anything else, my friend."

Which means the joy of penning a tune that attempted to shift that power will be tempered by a dose of reality. "I talked to one of my old partners last week -- he's a session player in town," Cordle says. "I asked was he playing on some country records. He said, 'Cord, I'd like to tell you that I am. But the fact is, it's the same tune all day long -- it's just in a different key with a different singer.'

"My daughter is nine years old," he continues, "and she's been around all of this stuff. She sees these guys and girls on CMT and she says, 'Daddy, they're not country, are they?' And I tell her, 'No, not really.' And then she asks, 'Well why is it on CMT?' And all I can says is, 'That's a question I can't answer for you. You'll figure it out as you get older.'"

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