Ah, song writing. I was quite honored to be on a song writing panel with the aforementioned pros of the industry! It is quite an interesting topic to discuss and impossible to have a “right way”. It’s the post-modernist’s dream where nothing can be certain or correct or known. Or nightmare. And if you think you’re a relativist, then you’re in heaven. Or hell.
Just like in learning and education, everyone will have their own way of writing, and usually many forms and techniques depending on the blockage or inspiration. But they are “tried and true” ways that can at least grease the hamster wheel.
I have only ever had, I think, about 10 songs that came out nearly fully formed: they’ve never been completely there, though some- like Silver– were near complete when they appeared. Some tweaking was required to keep it from falling into the usual bitter-sweet poignancy.
Hector Saldana and Ron Young find it fairly straight forward to write somebody else’s songs- as do I- as they tend to have come up with the idea, which is often the hardest part. I find coming up with the proper slant on the idea the hard part, but once I get the tack I wish to take, it’s just a matter of time to get to the end. Sometimes the wind is just barely blowing tho and sometimes I am pointed so hard into that near-virtual creative wind it can be really slow going.
Butch Morgan tends to write songs the old fashioned way with pen and paper and a guitar. I may have given the impression that I do all my writing in the studio, but the great majority of my songs are based around acoustic instruments, primarily the guitar. If would just break down and buy that piano I’ve always wanted, I’d have more keyboardy songs. Maybe album #4.
I have two broad ways of coming up with a new song. Most often, I get a phrase that I like or a story (or part of a story) I’d like to explore and go from there. Usually the story idea comes with a nice angle from which I can begin. For example, One For Now, is Shroedinger’s Cat gedanken from the cat’s point of view. A very amorous cat, probably. But then I like to combine ideas, so it is also an unrequited love story. And Feel The Way I Do– a song that’s been in the coffers for a few years and will make it to CD 3 OR just demo’ed…either way it’ll be up ere in a few weeks, if all goes well, my isn’t this a nice aside- is imagining Love was like Dilbert’s Ego and Insecurity and got up to leave one day. I also- proudly- managed to get the phrase “reticulated office lights” into that one. I’m a geek.
On the other hand, I am writing a new song that started with some chord changes, which looks to be titled This Moment. It’s still in progress, but it’s about what a person does when they lose their faith. In a completely non-offensive way, of course. Of course. I’ve done a quick demo of it for place-keeping purposes, and should be recording that in the coming week.
On another note, I am finishing working on a song that was given me by Patrice Villastrigo who received it from a lady who, sadly, has since passed away. So we will be finishing that quite son as well. I actually do have a small problem with this song, as it needs some lyrical modifications to make to fit into a country genre, and I am striving to keep it true both the spirit of the song and her purpose, but some of the lyrics are about accepting certain political actions unconditionally. And that’s just…well…wrong. And she wrote it from a very Conservative view point, so you know she’s modify it given the current political climate. Or maybe not. Regardless: it’s a country song, so it’ll fit comfortably in the genre when I am finished. 🙂
Download the entire CD “Entangle Mental” Here