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Songwriter’s Block

Lucinda Williams talks Songwriting on PBS NewsHour

One of the faces of Americana music describes songwriting as the “life force that drives [her].”  You should take the time to watch/read this wonderful interview of Lucinda Williams by Phil Hirschkorn of PBS NewsHour.  Just one highlight in response to a query regarding whether she wrote everyday and was disciplined about her songwriting:

My brain is always going, and I’m always jotting down things. I might be sitting at a bar or anywhere I might be and hear something somebody says or something we’ll pop in my head, and I’ll jot it down on a lot of times on a cocktail napkin. I have a lot of cocktail napkins with lines on them. And I save everything. I put it all in a folder. And then when the muse strikes, I pull all that stuff out, bits and pieces. I’ve got 10 or a dozen songs or something right now that are almost finished. So I’ve always got kind of works in progress. But I don’t apply myself every day and get up at and say I’ve got to write between noon and whatever time. I don’t do that. I’m not disciplined about it necessarily. I had a therapist once describe it as “work,” because I was concerned, in the early years that I was going through a dry spell. And she said, “No, no, no. You just work on a J curve,” which means I might not write for a couple of months, and then, once I get into that mode, I might write ten new songs or something over a period of a few weeks.

And here’s the piece:

May the Muse stay with Lucinda and us all…

Like A Girl – Week 2 Challenge

Well, I had a rough week with this challenge.  As I’ve already stated, these are uncharted waters for me… My daughter just turned 13 so you think I might be hearing a lot of current music in the house, but God bless her soul, she listens to a lot of older tunes (her favourite – The Beatles).  I wrote one song (Waking Nightmare) base on Rehtaeh Parsons‘ tragic death after her attempted suicide.  I didn’t end up having time to record that one for this week, but I thought I’d put a line or two here:

I can’t fake that smile
It’s been a while
Since I wanted to anyway…
Why do I have to be strong?
When you know what’s right from what’s wrong

Not exactly light fare… Some of the lines in that song (and the working title) were right from Rehtaeh’s journal.  Very sad…

So, another song took hold later in the week inspired by the recent campaign that started earlier this month with a Super Bowl Ad –  the”Like A Girl” campaign. The campaign shows differences in how people perceive the phrase, “like a girl.”  And thus, the first verse is:

He meant it as a joke
When he spoke
But a little piece of me broke
Shattered my glass house world

The girl takes ownership of the phrase and wears it proudly.  I gave myself some wiggle room to be able to put it into the third person if need be, but my daughter helped me out with vocals on this one. Here it is:

May the Muse be with you… and can’t wait to see what Week 3 has in store (and still working on the Week 1 challenge!)

Songwriting Challenge No. 2

Boy, if I thought I was out of my element with the first week’s challenge (due in 5 weeks), this week’s challenge (due in a week) has me hyperventilating even more!  This challenge comes from Rob Wells who writes/produces with such artists as Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez, among others…  Here’s the gist of Mr. Wells’ “reverse” pitch:

I’m looking for strong female based Pop/Top 40 songs.  Think Selena Gomez.  Think Demi Lovato.  Think big.  Think hits.  Think target audience of 13-18 years old.

This challenge will NOT be easy… I’m really hoping the Muse will be with me…

Songwriting Challenge No. 1

So I took my own advice from my last post and signed up (late) for the SAC’s Songwriting/Blogging Challenge.  I was just accepted today, so I’m behind one week, but I can catch up.  The thing is, after listening to Matt Dusk’s “reverse” pitch on how the songs should feel (up and down tempo, Daft Punk/Foster The People to John Legend/Lana Del Rey) I’m feeling I may not be up to the task.  These are not my contemporaries – I have exactly one song in my personal collection (Pumped Up Kicks) so I’m doing research right now listening for the feel that Mr. Dusk wants (now, I have a lot of Matt Dusk in my collection, but lo and behold, he wants something different!).

Wish me luck – I’m waiting for this new Muse to be with me…

Little time

My failure to keep up with my blog and songwriting has me a bit down. A parental leave saw little time for me to pick up my guitar… But now I want to make some time to let the Muse in.  I’m helping my daughter with her guitar and, selfishly, I admit I’m hoping that will get me going again…  Wish me luck and may the Muse be with us all…

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