Jason Thomas (above; in his studio) teamed up with Tonnie Stewart to write two songs that have been included in a new CD released by 2007 Canadian Idol finalist Jaydee Bixby.

Local songwriters pen country single

Trail's Jason Thomas and Tonnie Stewart have had their songs performed on Jaydee Bixby's latest country album.

To those not involved in the music industry, it may seem that singers and songwriters have an easy life but the reality can be quite different. Long hours struggling to write songs that might appeal to an audience and always facing the risk of rejection when trying to promote their work.

Busy local musician, Jason Thomas, and his song writing partner, local realtor, Tonnie Stewart, have worked for five years, at least one night a week, crafting original works that they hoped to sell to recording artists that may have a chance of getting airplay.

Now they are finally seeing some of the dreams of their five-year long professional relationship come to fruition with the inclusion of two of the team’s songs on a new release by Vernon based country artist, Jaydee Bixby, who was runner-up in the fifth season of Canadian Idol in 2007.

“My long time friend, (Castlegar’s) Lisa Nicole, has the same producer as Bixby and we were in Nashville working on her CD,” said Thomas. “He liked some of the music I had played with her on the disc and I passed on a demo CD of our music.”

Thomas was later thrilled to hear that two of his and Stewart’s songs, “Loud” and “She’s Gone” had been included on Bixby’s latest full-length album, “Work in Progress.” He was even more excited when he heard that “She’s Gone” was being released as a single from the album.

“It’s great to have the chance to actually earn money from royalties when you have songs included on an album,” Thomas said. “But when it gets released as a single you have the chance to make even more when the songs gets heavy rotation on radio stations.”

Even with the Oct. 2 release of the album and subsequent single from the album played on country radio in Canada and the U.S., Thomas doesn’t anticipate seeing any financial returns in the near future.

“The album was released this month but I’ll be lucky to see a cheque by this time next year,” he said. “But I don’t care, it’s worth the wait.”

Thomas, who just returned from a cross-Canada tour backing up Nicole, started playing guitar when he was nine-years-old but didn’t really start his music career in earnest until he was 14 and began playing in local jam sessions and for practically every community held event in the Greater Trail area.

He attended the Professional Music Program at Selkirk College in Nelson and, aside from his songwriting work with Stewart, currently divides his time between teaching guitar and playing with three or four local bands.

For the future Thomas hopes to continue with songwriting and would like to start a music publishing company with Stewart.

“It would be pitching our music to artists and once we make a connection if someone is working on an album they could either pull from our catalogue or we could write something new for them,” Thomas said.

“Right now we have around 200 original songs in our catalogue. It’s primarily country but when the mood hits it can be blues, pop, rock, whatever. I draw from other people’s experiences but write from my perspective. I try to keep it honest.”

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