Tag: Songwriting

  • Old Masters

    I was scouring a hard drive, trying to clean out all of the old junk. On the same day, I was working on a list of potential songs for my next record. On that hard drive, I found the masters from my very first recording project. One of the songs is called Old Photographs. I […]

  • Reuse

    I have a song called Idea 9. I wrote it in the spring of 2022. I was working on a project about the sun exploding. It was an apocalyptic love story. Apocalyptic love songs are super exciting but for some reason I was never able to write more than two songs for the project. While […]

  • 15 Minutes

    I experienced something magical. It’s not the first time that I have had this experience but it’s rare enough that I might consider it a miracle. I am not sure what the equivalent would be for a doctor, carpenter, or accountant. I am sure that all vocations have a corresponding miracle. I wrote a new […]

  • The Wikipedia Rabbit Hole

    If I want to be working but I’m not currently in the middle of a song, I need a spark to find a new idea. One of my standard moves is to plunge into the Wikipedia rabbit hole. My favorite place to look for the spark of an idea is called Unusual Wikipedia. It is […]

  • Phrasing

    Wednesday Words I was working on the phrasing for my song called Idea 9. Phrasing is the songwriting equivalent of punctuation. A slight pause can change the meaning of a line. Never again, I’ll feel the wind brush my cheek vs Never again The wind brushes my cheek When singing this line, it’s a minor […]

  • Words vs. Music

    Are the words or music more important? I have heard or been involved with multiple debates on this subject in the past week. When I am writing, I’m a words-first kind of guy. I love words. I always thought of myself as being fully committed to team words. A song isn’t good if the words […]

  • Saturday Night Live

    All songwriters have certain rules and routines that work best. I guess all writers have best practices to which they adhere. Some writers are only able to work at the butt crack of dawn before the birds have had a chance to influence their day. I guess everybody has routines they follow to ease the […]

  • Romance Songs

    Let’s take all of the songs ever written and organize them into categories. Love songs would be the overwhelming winner. If you lumped all religious songs together, they might surpass love songs but that feels too diverse to be a single topic. There have been so many love songs written. Everybody has a favorite. Love […]

  • Hard Man verse 1

    I discovered some words in an old notebook from 2018. They sparked a melody and I set it to some chords. If you are keeping score, the progression is a minor 1, minor 4, and a major 7. This is not a conventional progression. Playing it feels a little bit like breaking a law. This […]

  • Write that Feeling

    I had a vision for a song today. I guess vision isn’t the right word. It was more of a daydream but without the visual component. I guess it was a feeling. I had a feeling for a song today. Most people would assume that feelings are the singular commodity for a songwriter. I tend […]

  • Writing a Christmas Classic

    It’s almost impossible to write a new Christmas song that can compare with the classics. Once a decade there may be that one song that can hang out with “White Christmas.” Every idea has already been done several different ways. Good luck finding a new way to sing about the desire to have snow for […]

  • Whistle Some New Words

    Some time last spring, I wrote a song called “Whistle At the Sky.” I was happy with it at the time but it wasn’t perfect. I must have sent it to the bone pile without realizing it. The bone pile is where I stash song ideas for future use. At the time it said everything […]

  • Scary Songs for Christmas

    On my creative journey, it seems that I am always late. I’ve got a good batch of scary songs started right now. By the time these songs are finished, it will be Christmas. It’s too bad that “Nightmare Before Christmas” has already been made. If I promptly take these songs into the studio, they could […]

  • Spooky Songwriting

    I’ve got a new batch of songs developing. So far they all borrow a shard from the bone pile. There are murder ballads, zombies, and assorted monsters. Spooky season has a firm hold on my current songwriting cycle.

  • Rock Lobster

    I was working on a new song. It started with a riff and some yeah, yeah, yeah’s. I needed some real words. The riff became “Rock Bottom Revival.” I was playing this over and over. That is the best way to figure out where a song is going. It started to sound familiar. Ahhhhhhh. It […]

  • Bone Pile

    The bone pile is a gruesome place. It’s where a good song idea goes to die when it is too painful to actually write. It’s where a particularly poetic line wanders aimlessly without form. It’s where a great hook is doomed to repeat on loop, over and over and over. It’s where a lonely bridge […]

  • Bad Songs

    If you want to write a good song, there is one thing that you must do first. You must get very comfortable writing bad songs. Be proud of your mediocre songs and keep writing. I have never hummed one of my very forgettable tunes while driving down the road. I’ve never sung one of my […]

  • Backwards Process

    When writing a song, you can start with a melody or some words. That’s it. Those are the only two options. Most songwriters have a preference. If you are a melody person, you groove on your melody until you find some words. If you are more of a words person, you write the words and […]

  • My Forgotten Valentine

    Broken and Beautiful – part 1 I wrote a song on Valentine’s Day in 2013. I vividly remember writing the song. It was a very emotional process and it felt really important at the time. It was about neglect, child abuse, and kids exchanging Valentine cards at school. I called it My Forgotten Valentine. You […]

  • Unusual Wikipedia

    Songwriting Secrets #1 A song idea can be gleaned from some really weird sources. One of my favorite places to look for the spark of an idea is called Unusual Wikipedia. It is exactly what it sounds like, a list of unusual topics found on Wikipedia. Late one evening I was perusing this source and […]

  • Sad Song Series

    I love sad songs. I am a happy, optimistic kind of guy. But there is just something about a truly sad song that can hit you way deep down. I want to write a really sad song. It feels like the songwriting equivalent to a superpower. Hannah pointed out that I’ve written a couple of […]

  • Tuesdays are for Songwriting

    For a while, I’ve been blocking out time on Tuesdays for songwriting. A lot of songwriters stress the importance of writing every day. That has never been a routine that works for me. I have a regular collection of lines and notions for songs. Once a week I sit down to see if any of […]

  • Songwriting Season Has Ended

    I love the classic bit with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck where they argue with Elmer Fudd. “Duck season!” “Wabbit season!” “Duck season!” “Wabbit season!” I’ve been feeling the seasonal tug between songwriting season and gig season. I tend to do my creative work in batches and it often follows some yearly cycles. I wrote […]

  • Ghosts – An Idea

    I had an idea for a song way back in December of 2020. It was a groove on the ukulele and a notion about ghosts. I regularly played the groove but I couldn’t get myself around to the actual writing. Playing this hook never fails to make my kids dance around the room. Off and […]

  • Never Underestimate a Good Title

    If a song is worth anything, it will stick in your craw without any help or reinforcement. A good song shouldn’t need to be written down. As I am aging, I trust my memory less and less. I require some basic notes to preserve the idea. Most of my songs grow from a tiny initial […]

  • A Bunch of Songs

    I have written six new songs in three months. I don’t know how it compares to other songwriters but for me it is a respectable rate. I’m talking about six complete songs. This does not include the bad songs, social media snippets, and song fragments headed to the bone pile. I feel as though I […]

  • Words

    I am not good at nonverbal communication. With other people, I just don’t recognize it and I rarely translate it correctly. Also, regarding my own body language, it has been made clear to me that I don’t always communicate what I think I am communicating. This has made marriage much more exciting than necessary. After […]