As of yesterday, I’m not feeling quite so bad about being second fiddle to Robert Plant.

Back in the very early days of my new life as a brain injury victim, I wrote a song called Coming Together (By Falling Apart). The song is about how Catherine and I became much closer after my brain injury and how her unwavering support and love finally woke me up to what she really means to me. When I finished the first demo of the song, I was determined to do everything possible to make it a success. I wanted the world to know how I felt. So I contacted my close friend Cory, who knows Buddy Miller, and asked if he thought Buddy might sing the tune for me. Cory, ever the practical dude, simply suggested we give it a shot. Well, um, Buddy proclaimed the tune not really his thing, but he’d do it anyway. Someday. He just needed to finish his album first. Then he got hired to join the touring band for Plant/Krauss. Then he had a heart attack. Then Robert Fucking Plant asked him to record his next record for him. Somehow, my song didn’t stay at the top of Buddy’s To Do list.

 I was feeling very sorry for myself about how this song that meant so much to me would never be sung in quite the way I’d hoped. Or played, for that matter, as I was holding out a candle for Buddy to slap a little guitar on it. Then Andy “Thump” Korn radioed me about a singer he thought I might want to work with, a guy by the name of Elliot Randall. I checked out Elliot’s site and was pretty blown away, so when I first wrote him, I thought he’d politely turn me down. The opposite happened! He told me that Andy had sung my praises and in Elliot’s mind anyone who could get Andy excited was worth a shot. Even better, Elliot knew a female singer named Heather Combs who could help out with the harmonies. (To hear a clip of Elliot and Heather singing together on KFOG, a San Francisco radio station, go here and scroll down the player to Ol’ 55. Also, be sure to check out some of Elliot’s tunes. They rock.)

Our first session was a few weeks ago, and the minute Elliot started singing, Jaime Durr turned to me in the control room and said, “Wow, this is the perfect voice for this tune.” He was right. Elliot delivered a nuanced, emotionally dead-on vocal, with just a touch of twang and weariness. A few hours later Heather showed up and put the harmonies on the chorus and everyone was feeling mighty fine (it’s a country song, so that’s how we were feeling!).

Once I was aware of just how great Elliot and Heather were, I went back and gave the song a very hard look to make sure my music was worth of their talent, rewrote the chorus for the third time and scheduled another session, which was yesterday. It was an even better session than the first, and we also made serious headway on a second country tune of mine called I Got Religion (And It All Went To Hell).

Now, I can’t lie (well, I can actually, I’m an adman for god’s sake!), I would still be deeply honored to have Buddy put a vocal on Coming Together, but if he can’t, it’s cool. Elliot and Heather sang it so well, I’d wager Buddy might just say, “What do you need me for?” And as for the guitar, I’m just going to say it: Tim Young is among the greatest ever, in my book, and would probably impress the hell out of Buddy. Even Plant.