Sunday, August 14, 2016

Songwriting on the brain...

Looking back through the (online) notebook and found this - from August 14 in 2011...

8/14 Been reading Paul Zollo’s “Songwriters on Songwriting” - he interviewed a whole bunch of writers for the book, each chapter is an interview. Trying to be good, not jump around, read from front to back. Right now, Frank Zappa. He had a pretty pessimistic attitude about the state of songwriting in the middle of American culture. All commercial, all about getting sold and/or made into a video. All about consumption, like fast food.
All of the writers interviewed so far have had interesting things to say - different approaches with a lot of common threads.

But here I am, with this Sunday morning off - seems like there’s so much to do and not enough time to do it. Songs that I’ve been working on that need more lyrics - need to write a good bridge for one - and here I am, learning as I go along. Happy to be doing this, but a little frustrated that I’m not further along - frustrated that I don’t have as much time to devote to it as I’d like.
The next chapter after Zappa is Leonard Cohen. He says something about how even many people with jobs are unemployed - I take this to mean the sort of thing that I’ve come to find in my life - what I’ve been telling people lately - the carpentry work that I do every day, that I’ve been doing for about 35 years now, doesn’t really require more than 10 to 20% of my brain. So the brain starts off on it’s own little game - it’s own quest to amuse itself - and I start putting words together. 

Cohen meant that there are people who remain unfulfilled and underutilized, I think, but the part that resonated with me is how I’m dealing with that (my) underutilization as the day goes along.
Is it because we’re terrified of the truly random nature of the universe that we keep creating these little structures?
Doesn’t matter if you have the radar on, the rain could still walk around you at the last minute.
The eggs, the toast, the Holy Ghost. Which one gets you through the day? There’s no right answer, the life you’re living is your own. There are bugs on bugs and gods on gods.

...and then there's the other part of songwriting, of course - the music part. 
Here's a melody with no words from May 11, 2014...

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Who shot the blog?

I guess it was Facebook. For a lot of us the blog was just a way to get some thoughts and pictures shared. Then Facebook came along and made it easier. Not better, necessarily, but made it into a more commonplace thing. You used to have to work a little harder - maybe even understand a little bit of HTML.
I haven't posted anything to this blog in more than two years - almost three, actually. That in itself is maybe due to how things seem to speed up as we get older. Summer seems to last maybe a month-and-a-half - that kind of thing. But the ease of posting/sharing/revealing in the Facebook era has also been a factor, I believe. In order to include any hypertext or links I'll have to go back to some old posts where I can view the codes used. Do we necessarily have to regret the changing of our tools and methods? I certainly cuss with impatience when I've got to use a manual screwdriver these days (usually when I'm too lazy to go out to the truck to get the powered version). Easier is better?

Cape May Songwriting Workshop - Sept. 13-16 2016

First of its kind - Cape May Songwriting Workshop
The Carroll Villa Hotel and Mad Batter Restaurant will host the first Cape May Songwriting Workshop - September 13 - 16, 2016.  The featured workshop leader will be Freebo, a California based singer-songwriter and a veteran touring and recording musician. 

The first of its kind in Cape May - a three day songwriting workshop at the Carroll Villa Hotel / Mad Batter Restaurant in the heart of historic Cape May. 
The workshop begins on Tuesday Sept 13 with a welcoming ceremony, dinner and a concert by Freebo. Wednesday and Thursday are workshop days (lunch provided) and the event wraps up on Friday with a presentation and closing ceremony.

Freebo is a genuine folk, rock and blues icon who, after over 40 years of recording and touring with many of the great artists of our time (Bonnie Raitt 10 years, Crosby Stills & Nash, Maria Muldaur, John Mayall, Ringo Starr, Dr. John, Neil Young, & many more) is regarded as one of the most gifted singer-songwriters of today. A multi award winner and finalist in numerous songwriting contests, Freebo was also recognized as the 'Best Folk Artist 2007' by the Los Angeles Music Awards. In addition, he has appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Muppet Show, The Midnight Special, and in concert with the legendary Spinal Tap. “...the opportunity to have Freebo in Cape May is a major coup for the Singer-Songwriter community” said Michael Murphy, the program’s organizer.

Cape May has earned a much deserved reputation as a music town thanks to our long running jazz festivals, classical music festivals and the annual Singer-Songwriter conference, as well as our wonderful array of home grown talent nightly gracing gorgeous historic venues. This September marks the first workshop for songwriters and aspiring songwriters who want to immerse themselves in music and instruction just steps from award winning beaches and restaurants amid spectacular architecture at what is largely considered the very best time of year here.

Cost of the workshop, reception dinner and lunches is $450 for the three day event. You can register and pay by Visa and MasterCard by calling The Carroll Villa Hotel at 609-884-5970. Information is available on the CMSW Facebook page:
Those interested should contact the host, MQ Murphy by email at