Monday, August 22, 2011

Random Thoughts

Hey all!

I hope the last week treated you well.

This week is just going to be a sort of clearing of my mind of  all the disparate thoughts about songwriting that have been accumulating as of late.

The first among them is this: are we at the beginning of an era in which songwriting becomes something like poetry. That is, something with which you can't really make a decent living. You remember my previous post about the Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser? Mr. Kooser made it absolutely clear that you need to write poetry to WRITE POETRY, with no expectation of being able to support yourself writing poems. I think we might be at that same place with songwriting.

The overwhelming majority of us are going to be writing songs for no reward other than the advancement of your own skill set.

That being said, unlike the majority of  poetry, songs do not exist in a vacuum.  For there to be a song, an audience is kind of a requirement. Writing songs for yourself is a sort of empty exercise. Unlike most poetry (obvious exceptions are poetry slams and their relatives), songwriting is expected to be a PERFORMANCE art. So, if you're a songwriter and reading this blog, you should be finding someplace to play. If there are no open mic nights where you live, MAKE ONE! Create your own community. Create your own opportunities. People need to hear your songs. New people. Not just your friends and family.

I guess that's the theme--make your opportunity. I've been reading, or rather, listening to The Four Hour Workweek, so I've been thinking about how I can make songwriting a viable and money making enterprise, so I've been thinking of ways to make my own community...ugh...that sounds like a Jim Jones kind of a thing...have no fear...I'm just trying to think of ways to get critiques without having to PAY some ORGANIZATION to do it.  The community I'm wanting to emulate is the Nashville Songwriting community of the early and middle 1970's.  In that community you had Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Townes VanZandt, Steve Earle, John Hiatt, Steve Young, and more. They would play songs for each other, and they would critique each other, and basically bring up the total quality of the aggregate. That's the kind of community I want to have. It seems like in recent years, NSAI, TSAI, and the Songwriter's Guild have taken the place of that kind of community. It's sad in a way, but I really want to cultivate a community that values good songs and camaraderie without having to pay dues, or pay for song critiques.....

Ok. That's enough ranting. I've noticed that I have been focusing on lyric writing lately, so I think I'll do a series in the coming weeks on basic music theory as it relates to songwriting, with a discussion somewhere in there about the Nashville Number System.

This Week:

This week I finished my song for this local contest, and it should be in the player in the upper right hand corner. It's called "On My Way Back." We'll see.

Also, I (sort of ) finished my super cheap telecaster body. It looks like this:

...more of an Esquire, really....but it sounds GOOD! (and that's the neck from my other Telecaster BTW, so it really needs one...and a pickguard...and a jack cup...donate please ;-)

Also, congrats to Jodi Ann for achieving her Sell-A-Band goal! WooHoo!

Remember,  you can still bet her latest album, "A Brief Moment In Time" by downloading it from or, if you prefer a physical CD, and all of its inherent rights, you can email her at:

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you!

Measuring is for children!

Have a good week! Write something, will ya?

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