Widower's lyrics about late wife become music, studio touched by story

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 28 2013 3:45 p.m. MDT

Fred and Lorraine Stobaugh

Screenshot from Green Shoe Studio.com

When widower Fred Stobaugh sent a letter including lyrics about his late wife to Green Shoe Studio in Illinois, he didn’t expect a response, much less a professionally recorded song from his lyrics.

“After she passed away, I was just sitting in the front room one evening by myself, and it just came right to me almost, it just kept coming, and that’s how I came to write it," Stobaugh said in a Vimeo clip about his song. “It seemed like it just fit her.”

Stobaugh submitted his lyrics to Green Shoe Studio after seeing an ad for an online singer/songwriter contest in the newspaper. Although the handwritten letter in his manila envelope didn’t meet the contest requirements, the employees at Green Shoe were touched by Stobaugh’s story. He did not win the contest, but the staff still wanted to do more with Stobaugh's lyrics.

“We decided we were going to do this, just by reading the letter, without even meeting Fred,” said Jacob Colgan, Green Shoe Studio producer, in the Vimeo clip. “So I called him up one day and said, ‘Fred ... we’re going to record your song. We’re going to have professionals do this. We’re going to have a professional take so that it’s not just lyrics anymore. It’s bringing it to life.”

According to the video, Colgan said he spent more time making Stobaugh’s lyrics into a song than most other songs, and he was also anxious about how Stobaugh would react.

But after Stobaugh listened to a near-completed version of the song “Oh Sweet Lorraine” he emotionally said, “It was wonderful — just wonderful.”

“Oh Sweet Lorraine” is available for purchase on iTunes.

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact Abby at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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