When contemporary Nashville artists and songwriters talk about perfect modern country songs, many of them wind up circling around one in particular: the Miranda Lambert-sung “The House That Built Me.” The co-writer of that and other classics over the last few decades, Tom Douglas, is the narrator and subject of a film, “Love, Tom,” just announced as coming out exclusively via the Paramount Plus streaming service on Feb. 24.
A trailer for the project has the world-class songwriter appearing in a variety of Nashville locales, including the Ryman Auditorium, the Shelby Street Bridge downtown, a truck and a front porch, as he offers narration derived from a well-remembered, inspirational acceptance speech he gave upon being inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.
Monument Records will release a 10-track companion album of the same name, for which Douglas will be joined by some of the country artists he’s written for and/or with, including Lambert, Tim McGraw (“Grown Men Don’t Cry,” “Southern Voice”), Lady A (“I Run to You”), Chris Janson and Collin Raye (“Little Rock”).
The film’s production partners include Sandbox Productions — headed up by Nashville uber-manager and Monument label head Jason Owen , who’s one of the executive producers — and Sony Music Entertainment’s Premium Content Division. It’s directed by Irish filmmaker Michael Lennox, who was nominated for an Oscar and has won a BAFTA award for his short films.
Douglas’ script, like the acceptance speech from the Songwriters Hall it’s rooted in, incorporates the text of a letter he wrote to a Nashville aspirant years ago. “People have often asked me about the creative process,” Douglas says in the trailer. “I received a letter from a desperate young songwriter asking for advice. I did what any good songwriter does: I wrote him back… ‘Dear friend, you ask me why the hell am I here? We all got here the same way, i suppose —we followed the song… We have a gift and with it comes an immense responsibility. Mine is really a story of failure. I wanted to give up, but I can’t give up on something that I love. You can’t either,” he says.
A past Oscar contender as well as Grammy nominee, Douglas has also written for Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Pink, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Florida Georgia Line and Kane Brown, among many others.
In a statement, Douglas described the film as “a letter of hope to a desperate world. Yes, it’s a film about songwriting and the creative process, but really, it’s a film for anxiety addicts, underdogs, underachievers, true believers, never-say-die-ers, keep on try-ers, the broken-hearted (and) can’t-get-started, optimistic pessimists.” Referencing another executive producer, Austin Fish, and co-writer/co-producer Tommy Douglas, he added, “Austin, Michael, Tommy and I are deeply grateful to Paramount Plus, Jason Owen, Sandbox, and Sony Music Entertainment for going on this journey with us.”