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Archive for July, 2009

Song-Making

For many months I have neglected this blog, despite being chastised regularly by a few friends who check in frequently. So today I have decided to force myself to get back to it.

On my mind today is song. I’ve been on a bit of a song-writing kick lately, the last 6 weeks turning out four or five pieces I am relatively happy with. Just simple little songs, mostly folky and straightforward, but I’m feeling really very pleased with them nonetheless.

Song-writing is a strange thing for me. Generally I’ve written either non-fiction or poetry, neither of which really works for me as music. O, there are are folks that do both brilliantly – Phil Ochs the consumate journalist-bard. Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen two fabulous examples of musical poets, and Bruce Cockburn one of the best at combining the two. And for years I tried to replicate their formulae, with the result that the first songs I ever threw together were either straight-ahead political tracts or unintelligible strings of words and images that I decided sounded pretty. I was a whole lot younger then, and today can’t bring myself to sing those things for anyone, cause they just sound juvenile or pretentious or both.

Then, after Mica was born, I wrote alot of little songs for her – just ditties to entertain or amuse, or to distract her from a bruise or impending tantrum. Mica loved them. Her friends loved them. And something felt right for me, as these easy singalong rhymes came more naturally, stuck with me longer, and continued to feel good to me even after a long long time.

So now, back to song-writing after years away, I find I’m writing grown-up songs but more along the lines of how those kids’ songs emergedĀ  – simple, often repetitive little things. Easy to play, easy to sing, easy to understand. And y’know? It’s working like it never has, and I’m actually finding myself willing to play these around other people – something that has never been the case in the past. And as I write and play, I find every day new verses popping into my head, and I rush off to capture them on a scrap of paper for some future development. It’s exciting. It’s a new-again hobby that is reminding me how much I love to sing and play, how good it feels to write, and giving a much-needed boost to me at a time I have been decidedly-disinterested in work and other daily pursuits.

It’s super-nice, this thinking-in-song.

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