Record your own record.
Credit: Charriau Pierre / Getty Images

Two decades into my musical odyssey, it was clear that Warner Bros. wasn't going to sign a chubby, middle-aged Baltimore folk-rocker. But these days, studios in the $80-an-hour range – with the technological tools that produced Abbey Road and Daydream Nation – are available to anyone with a few grand, several free weekends, and a dream.

I had nailed down the arrangements beforehand, so the songs took place before my very ears as I first recorded drums, hearing the song in my head and listening to a click track, then bass lines to follow the drums, then guitars, and finally vocals.
The process took a couple of years, but a re-fi or two later I had a professional, radio-ready set of songs for around $7,500.
I could have spent it on a luxury vacation with my son, or a new deck. But I'd made the ­record I always wanted to make, and practically by myself! With online outlets and digital download options aplenty, it's available to anyone in the world. After all these years I finally understand the classic lyric, "They can't take that away from me."