Looking Up at the Christmas Tree
Written by Guest Writer Cheri Beddies
CARLISLE, OH -- Have you ever dreamed of being a songwriter, musician, or singer? Rick Amburgey not only dreamed about it, he packed his bags and headed to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue that dream. Amburgey was born and raised in Ohio, and was a graduate of Carlisle High School in 1995. He loved music - country music in particular - and has fond memories of listening to Conway Twitty with his mom, and George Jones with his father.
“Country was all I was ever gonna be,” he shared. Listening to Merle Haggard one day, Amburgey made the decision to pursue his dream. “I want to do that. I want to write those songs.”
In 2021, Amburgey headed to Hendersonville, Tennessee - just outside of Nashville. He began working as a full-time English teacher, but spent his spare time writing poetry & songs - up to 100 or more a year.
“I joined every organization I could think of,” said Amburgey, “NASI (National Songwriters Association International); Song U; SongTown; and more.”
Through NASI, Amburgey joined the RISE program (Remote Interactive Songwriting Education). It was during his time in RISE that he was paired with Joe Bigalke and Sterling Adams. The three were tasked with co-writing a song. Although it was the middle of summer, they decided to write a Christmas song, and started writing “Looking Up at the Christmas Tree.”
The song is “full of memories and nostalgia,” he shared. The opening line, contributed by Amburgey, was one that CEO Scot Harold and Producer Mark Warple from the Rock the Cause recording label really latched onto.
“There was an ornament that I made when I was in 2nd grade–it wasn’t pretty, but momma didn’t care.”
When Bigalke was signed with Rock the Cause Records and CEO Scot Harold heard “Looking Up at the Christmas Tree,” he said, “This is a song that we need to be releasing.”
The song would be Bigalke’s second song with Rock the Cause Records and was released on November 17th of this year. You can hear the song, recorded by Sophie Shorai, by clicking the link below.
Amburgey shared more about his friendship with Joe Bigalke. “He is the reason that we’re doing this. He is the reason we are where we are.”
Bigalke was diagnosed in 2018 with high-functioning autism. Bigalke calls Amburgey all the time - “...sometimes he calls before I’m even out of bed yet, and tells me I’ve already written three songs!”
Amburgey says that melody is Bigalke’s forte, but continues “...he always respects me and my lyric writing. We’ve written a few songs together. It’s always fun to write with him.”
Like all of Bigalke’s songs, “Looking Up at the Christmas Tree” benefits charities. This particular song benefits autism awareness, suicide prevention, and music education — which are three things near and dear to both of their hearts.
Amburgey continues to write songs, and tries to “...write like the pro’s do,” by working on lyrics in the morning and then, again later in the day, with a goal of at least two sessions daily.
“I’m always writing,” says Amburgey, “and I talk to Joe on a daily basis. We have other projects in the works.”
Amburgey writes primarily country music, but writes Christian music as well. He enjoys co-writing with different people as he meets, and sometimes become friends with, the fellow writers, musicians, and publishers through his involvement in the various songwriting organizations he has joined.
Amburgey has advice for anyone that is interested in songwriting. “When I was interested in songwriting as a teen and in my twenties, there were nowhere near the opportunities as there are now. You don’t have to be in Nashville to be a part of some of these opportunities.”
Amburgey credits SongTown for really supporting his writing. “I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am if it wasn’t for them.”
SongTown was founded by two songwriters - Clay Mills and Marty Dodson. “I’ve learned so tremendously much from both of those guys. They keep helping me get better with their teaching.” If you would like to learn more about songwriting, links to some of the organizations Amburgey has joined are listed below:
- About NSAI | Nashville Songwriters Association International
- RISE - SUMMER 2023 PROGRAM | Nashville Songwriters Association International
- Rock the Cause
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