On A High Note

Legendary Friend and Longtime Songwriter, Frank Dycus, leaves a legacy

Frank Dycus

Frank Dycus

Frank Dycus

You may think I have that title wrong … I don’t. Though Frank Dycus was indeed a legendary songwriter, he was also a legendary friend. I had the honor of knowing “Dycus” for the past 14 years or so, and he was truly one of the most unique, real and extraordinary persons I’d ever known. Its not like Dycus was known as a genteel sweetheart, but he was undoubtedly known for being first rate at keeping it real. You never had to wonder where you stood with him; if he liked you, he’d tell you – and if he didn’t – he’d tell you that too. That might sound harsh, but it wasn’t. Frank Dycus was the kind of person who gave so much love to those he truly loved, that he just didn’t have time to pretend with those he didn’t.

Dycus, Hit Songwriter and Legendary Friend
Aside from the fact that Dycus co-wrote many a recognizable song throughout his history as a songwriter (from “Unwound” and “Marina Del Ray” for George Strait to “Gonna Get a Life” for Mark Chesnutt, and “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair” for George Jones to name a few), the things I remember and will continue to cherish about him most are more related to the lessons he taught me about living life and being a true friend; about hanging in and hanging on even when the chips are down.

When I first met Dycus, we’d sit and talk, and he’d tell stories of the history of Nashville’s music, the camaraderie that existed among the music community, and how well respected all the songwriters and behind-the-scenes folks were. We also talked about what he thought REAL songwriters were obligated to do. He’d say things like: ‘Jessco, if you want to write a hit song, you’ve gotta write about something real – something everyone can relate to – about things that are important to everybody in some form or fashion. Because some sh*% just don’t matter, and you need to write about stuff that matters.’

Some days Dycus would get into a listening mood, and he’d go through his hundreds of CDs and play demos of songs that no one had ever heard – and all the while I remember thinking: “if God likes music, Dycus is his favorite songwriter.”

Frank Dycus – Mentor
Dycus helped a lot of folks out and up in his lifetime, and didn’t expect anything in return. He helped many a songwriter become a greater songwriter, and helped a few get signed – first as songwriters, then as artists – and whose names you would recognize today.

From Dean Dillon to Matraca Berg, Leslie Satcher, Shawn Camp, Billy Yates, Jim Lauderdale, Scotty Emerick, Luke Maness and many, many others – including myself – Frank was a friend, co-writer and mentor. You couldn’t sit down in the same room with Dycus and not gain something positive. And though Dycus was famous for writing songs about whiskey, drinking and ramblin, he was also great at writing heartfelt songs…some of which have not yet made it to the ears of the general public. One of the best songs you may never hear (and one of his personal favorites) – written by Dycus and two co-writing friends, was: “You are the Last Love of My Life” – written for his current bride, Miss Mary. (yeah, old Dycus was married for the past few years)

Dycus leaves a legacy
Legendary? Yes. Frank Dycus leaves his songs, his memories and the sum of all he was here in the hearts of all who loved him. Some thought he was a mad man – but if you knew him well, you’d see he could be a glad man, a sad man, a quiet man or a genuinely funny or deeply inspired man. But toward the end, he was always a grateful man.

This week, a few in our community are celebrating the life of my dearly departed Friend, Frank Dycus.

Dean Dillon

Dean Dillon

Dean Dillon (pictured) is hosting several other writers at Douglas Corner Café, Tuesday evening (December 11) from 5ish to 8pm. If you’d like to drop by and say hello, I know Dycus would appreciate it … even though he might call you an old son-of-a-b for not getting in touch sooner. But come on out and help us honor the memory of Frank Dycus. Heaven knows, it is an honor he deserves.

We’ll miss you always Frank…