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Bobby Tomberlin: 5 Songs That Shaped the Songwriter

by Jim Casey
(Photo by Jenny Anderson/WireImage)

Alabama native Bobby Tomberlin has been a songwriting staple in Nashville since moving to Music City in 1990.

The top tunesmith has penned hits for Diamond Rio (“One More Day”) and Darryl Worley (“A Good Day to Run”), among others. In addition, Bobby has had his songs recorded by Willie Nelson and Barbra Streisand (“I’d Want It To Be You”), Faith Hill (“I Want You”), Kenny Rogers (“727 East Magnolia Avenue”), Rhonda Vincent (“Like I Could”), and many more.

Bobby recently signed an extension to his songwriting contract with CURB World Music, marking his 27th year with the company. To celebrate, Outsider caught up to Bobby to find out the 5 Songs that Shaped the Songwriter.

1. ‘Wichita Lineman’ – Glen Campbell (written by Jimmy Webb)

Bobby Tomberlin: I literally wore this record out when I was five years old. Somehow, this haunting melody and lonesome lyric connected with my little five-year-old mind. I could just feel the frustration in Glen’s voice as he sang, “And I need you more than want you, And I want you for all time.”

2. ‘A House of Gold’ – Hank Williams

Bobby Tomberlin: This is another song that I connected with as a kid. It’s like a sermon. It was like Hank was saying, “I came from very little, but I made it and have riches, but I’d rather be in a deep, dark grave and know that my poor soul was saved than to live in this world in a house of gold and deny my God and doom my soul.” You can feel the turmoil in his heart as he sings this. I probably enjoy singing this song more than any other.

3. ‘The Blues Man’ – Hank Williams Jr.

Bobby Tomberlin: I fell in love with this song when I was a teenager. Straight from the heart honesty: “I got so sick from speedin’, all the stuff they said I was needin’, If I was to keep pleasin’, all of my fans, I got cuffed on dirt roads, I got sued over no-shows, But she came and took all that old load, down off this blues man.” Songs like this made me want to be a songwriter.

4. ‘Good Ole Boys Like Me’ – Don Williams (written by Bob McDill)

Bobby Tomberlin: This is just a perfect song. I get chills every time I hear it. In 1980, while most of the kids were jamming out to “Another Brick in the Wall,” I was listening to this beautiful Southern poetry with a melody.

“I can still hear the soft Southern winds in the live oak trees, And those Williams boys they still mean a lot to me, Hank, and Tennessee, I guess we’re all gonna be what we’re gonna be, So what do you do with good ole boys like me, Nothing makes a sound in the night like the wind does, But you ain’t afraid if you’re washed in the blood like I was.”

5. ‘Same Old Lang Syne’ – Dan Fogelberg

Bobby Tomberlin: It’s interesting that there is only one songwriter on each of my five favorite songs. This one still gets to me. Especially late at night while driving. This song can catch me off guard. It makes my heart hurt, and I have shed tears over this song. I don’t mind the torture because it’s so good.

“She said she’d married her an architect, Who kept her warm and safe and dry, She would like to say she loved the man, But she didn’t like to lie,” and “Just for a moment, I was back at school, And felt that old familiar pain, And as I turned to make my way back home, The snow turned into rain.”