She writes the songs: Droop native a Nashville lyricist
Wilma Scott Workman’s life has the makings of a country song. She was born in a “shack” at the foot of Droop Mountain, she grew up on Locust Creek, then moved to Maryland when she was 16.
In Maryland, she became a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Now she divides her time between Harford County, Maryland and Droop.
Throughout her life she wrote lyrics, but it wasn’t until her children were grown that she finally took the time to “go for it.”
“My kids, they’ve always been believers in anything I do and they were like ‘Mom, you’ve been wanting to go to Nashville, why don’t you go,’” Workman said. “That was always my dream.”
In 2006, Workman turned that dream into a reality when she packed up and headed for the city of music with her nephew and his girlfriend, and a good friend.
After they checked in at the Broken Spoke, Workman and her friend went to get coffee where they met a waitress with the right connections. When Workman explained why she was in Nashville, the waitress told her she knew a music producer who frequented the café.
“He came in and she called me to come meet him,” Workman recalled. “I brought my little dime-store cassette with one of my songs on it. He listened to it and really liked the lyrics. He asked me to come back and make a demo.”
About a month later, Workman was back in Nashville with more songs and met with the producer at Bayou Recordings.
“He had a guy named Troy Cook Jr., and he said ‘I think he would do a great song,’” Workman said. “We watched as he recorded my song ‘Why Can’t I Forget Her.’”
Once the song was recorded, the producer brought it back to the Broken Spoke, a motel and honky tonk, where he debuted the song for Workman, her daughter and granddaughter.
“It was just like he [Troy Cook Jr.] was right there, it was clear and so good. It was perfect,” Workman said. “There wasn’t a dry eye in there. I still get emotional when I think about it.”
Later that evening, when the honky tonk was full, the song was played for the audience.
“It got rave reviews that night,” Workman said.
After the success of the demo, Cook recorded a CD featuring 10 of Workman’s songs.
“I’ve got another one to get done,” she said. “He’s coming off a tour, but in the wintertime, he’s going to do the other CD and maybe have it out by summer.
Workman said she would also like to record a gospel CD.
With one CD and another in the works, Workman said it’s amazing she has gotten this far.
“I feel so fortunate to have done what I got done,” she said. “Even if it would end tomorrow, I’m lucky. I’m one of the few. I’ve got great friends and the support of my family. It’s just good.”
Workman’s support system includes her four sons, two daughters and countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who are her driving force.
“Everybody has been really positive and my grandkids are always saying, ‘go for it, mawmaw,’” she said. “I’ve been trying, honey, trust me. It’s not easy. I enjoy what I do. I just put words down on paper. You go to bed thinking it and you get up thinking it.”
It’s been a hard road to make it to where she is, but Workman keeps reminding herself of all the positive advice she got from her time in Nashville.
“I was at a songwriters’ symposium in Nashville through the ASCP [American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers],” Workman said. “We had this guy by the name of Ralph Murphy. He played my song and said the lyrics were excellent. The guy in front of my said ‘I better not play mine after hearing that one’ and that made me feel good.”
A fellow songwriter also gave Workman advice that she has carried with her all this time.
“I met Tommy Barnes, the guy that did the song for Tim McGraw,” she said. “He said, ‘never give up on what you’ve got. If you believe in something, don’t let anybody talk you down.’ They say never give up, so, honey, I’ll never give up.”
Workman, who describes her songs as classic country like Hank Williams, said she draws inspiration from everything in life.
“Everything on that CD has a story behind it, from my life and other people that I have known,” she said. “If you see it and you live it, you put it down on paper.”
The CD, My Love for Country, recorded by Troy Cook, Jr., featuring Workman’s lyrics, is on sale at the Buckeye Country Mart.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org