Tuesday, July 28, 2015

writing in new forms

Tonight was a writing night for me. I've been pretty productive as of late, and I have about 5 or 6 songs which I haven't played out as of yet. Tonight was a good one, as I polished off/up two songs and got a draft of one which has existed only as a fragment for several months. As I was packing up my supplies, I realized my songs have been really different lately...and I figured out why. It was all because (sorry about this) I took a look in a book.

(Insert theme music here)

I've known for a while that I needed to expand my music career. For the most part, I play a lot of shows which are both low exposure and low paying. Most of them are in only a few area bars. I think and have been told that I'm reasonably okay at what I do, and I feel my music is good enough to where I'd like to get more people a chance to hear it. So, the summer mission was to get a bit better at this music game.

One of the things I decided to do was to learn a bit more about the songwriting process as practiced by professionals. I have never really had the desire to be a professional songwriter myself because my songs are largely my own attempts at self therapy. But I thought if I could benefit from seeing another view of the craft, I could maybe make my own process a little more effective and productive.

I got a pretty good book on songwriting (I'd tell you which one, but it's late, and I don't want to wake up my kid) and dove in. The biggest takeaway for me was thinking more explicitly about the process and the theory. I started to think about exactly what I'm doing. And the theory indeed does help me write more effectively. I'm still me while writing, but I am much more aware of what I'm doing...and I think that has led to better songs.

As I was packing up tonight, I realized my last five or six songs haven't had choruses. I've long known that songs didn't have to have choruses. One of my favorite bands the Drive-By Truckers have tons of songs without choruses. It wasn't something I ever did myself, though...with the exception of a blues song or two. Now I have lots of them.

So what does this mean? I have utterly no idea. I don't know if this a new weapon in my arsenal, or if it's one of those things. The songs are cool enough, though. And they are different enough from what I have been writing to stand out in my sets. So, if it is because of the book, that's pretty cool.
And to think it all happened because I looked in a book.

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