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Kim Edward making move for music fame

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RUSTY WELLER
Ellis County Press Managing Editor WAXAHACHIE -- Chow time on the trail ride meant trouble for 8-year-old Kim Edward. There weren't enough paper plates to go around because she had used them to scribble song lyrics.

That was 30 years ago, and Kim's urge to craft a country song is still as strong. Next month she will hit the trail for Nashville as winner of a spot in Song Camp 102, where aspiring songsmiths learn from some of the greats.

Although singing and writing songs all her life, at age 38 the Waxahachie resident now is making a cautious yet determined bid for a professional music career. Edward, the lead singer for a band known as FM 740, isn't making her belated move for herself so much as for her father, a singer and songwriter until his death in 1996.

'I kind of made him a promise in ICU … that I'd make him proud,' Edward says.

'I hesitated to move forward or spend a dime (on her career) because I was in my 30s,' she said. 'But I don't think you have anything much to say to society until you've lived into your 30s.'

Kim, who has written 'just under a hundred' songs in the four years since her father's death, captured third place 1998's prestigious Bluebird Café songwriting contest. She has cut a six-song demo CD and has her weekends filled with FM 740 gigs.

Come Aug. 23 Edward will invest three days in an intensive three-day retreat, where she will learn from such hit-producing songwriters as Steve Seskin, 'Don't Laugh at Me' (Mark Wills); Mark Alan Springer, 'That's Why I'm Here' (Kenny Chesney); Chuck Cannon, 'I Love the Way You Love Me' (John Michael Montgomery); Mike Reid, 'Everywhere' (Tim McGraw); Tom Douglas, 'Little Rock' (Collin Raye); Jason Blume, 'Change My Mind' (John Berry); Craig Carothers, 'Little Hercules' Trisha Yearwood); and Casey Kelly, 'Soon' (Tanya Tucker).

Edward is looking forward to their perspectives on songwriting and having her creativity supercharged, her business knowledge expanded and writing skills enhanced.

'I haven't tried to send off a song,' says Edward, who has a day job driving a school bus for Red Oak. 'I've kind of developed ‘em for my own use, but maybe I will now.'

She is known for one of her songs, though. 'Ode to Vietnam' was so well received among veterans that Edward was asked to perform for the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Reunion back in '98. 'I did that four-hour show by myself, with my husband (Ron Furstenfeld) running the sound system,' she says.

Kim enjoys fronting for FM 740, which used to be called Texas Tones before changing its name at the first of the year. It offers her an opportunity to sing some of her original material. The band, named for the first exit into off Interstate-20 East into Forney, is in demand, playing recently in Mesquite and Austin. This August it's booked to play the Ft. Worth Stockyards on Exchange Street.

The group, which practices in Forney, even has its own website -- www.FM740.com -- to keep its growing number of fans updates. Still there are no grandiose plans.

'We're not talking about a commercial CD or anything like that,' she said of FM 740. 'We're just going out and playing and writing material.'

Personally, Edward would rather be know for her songs than her delivery.

'I'm shooting more for being a recognized and appreciated songwriter of the Texas style and Nashville material,' she says.

The song camp just might be a crucial step in that direction.

'I don't know what songwriting means to other people, but, well, I'd say it's kind of therapy to me - except people would think I'm crazy,' Kim says with a laugh. 'Writing allows me to coin emotions, to validify them. Songs almost tell the story of you.'

And that story musically is just now being written.

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