Song-a-day 06. I didn’t really want to write this, I felt the chords were maybe bit obvious, and maybe just a little bit Dylan-esque. It’s also a bit Leonard Cohen-ey, the chords sound quite ‘Stories of the street’ in places. And then the words arrived and I realised that I already had written it and it was too late for messing around with some new chord changes. I wish I had a 3rd verse for this, maybe I’ll write one in the future sometime. If Dylan had written this it would have 7 verses and take up a side of vinyl.
I spared you my atrocious harmonica playing, recorded but not included in the mix (that would have made it too Dylan-ish?). I think the problem was that the guitar has drifted out of tune over the week, it might be in tune with itself, but sure as hell not in tune with anything else. There is a horrible asthmatic wheezing on one track – that’s me!
Song-a-day #5: Unfamiliar Constellations. For some reason, when I do the ‘song a day’ thing (about every couple of years, on average) I end up with a ‘doomed sci-fi’ song. This is another. Don’t ask me why, because I have no idea.
This is the first one this year with synths on it, I like doing floaty interstellar pads. I really struggled with the chord changes on this, I knew it should have a key change/modulation but I couldn’t get it to sit right. In the end if was an E minor to F major change that did it.
Song-a-Day #3*: This took ages to write. In fact, it’s not even the first song I wrote today. I had a really nice chord progression and melody going first thing this morning, then had my breakfast, by which time I couldn’t remember the tune. So I had to start again, fresh chords changes and tune. I think the first one was in 4/4, this is in 6/4.
Although the singing is quite lugubrious in places, it’s a fairly upbeat song lyrically. I have no idea why. I’ll probably be back to my normal dirges by the end of the week, don’t you worry.
*I’m trying to write a song every day this week (I’ve got the week off) and record it and upload it. I’ve done this before with Ok results, and I seriously need to kick-start my songwriting mojo before it atrophies completely.
It’s that time of year (most years, anyway) where I decide to try to write and record a song in a day, every day for a week. Sometimes I’ll keep going for the next week to. I usually take the weekends off (but not this time). The quality is variable, to say the least, but there are normally a couple of songs that come out ok.
I didn’t do this at all last year, I had writer’s block for 14 months, and it wasn’t fun. Good job I don’t do this for a living.
It’s an unusual feeling, when after a musical drought, you have the feeling, you know that all you have to do is pick up your guitar and open your notebook and songs will appear. It seems to work, though.
Here are songs #1 and #2 from this week: (I started on Saturday this time, just because).
‘Unbroken’ is uncharacteristically upbeat and positive for me, I thought I’d try for ‘not miserable’ and surprisingly, it worked!
I’m going camping on Saturday¹ and it is sort-of expected that I will bring my acoustic guitar. This year I’m going to try and learn a few songs that my friends might know or like, instead of playing my songs² or jamming on blues scales.
One friend suggested ‘Chuck E’s in Love’ (until she realised just how wordy it is) and has requested ‘Sara’ instead (which should be easy, it’s only 3½ chords). Another friend has requested ‘Amy’ (will be sounding more Ryan Adams than Mark Ronson, obviously).
To this I have added ‘Reel Around The Fountain’ (my friends will like that) and ‘Jennifer She Said’ (still a few Lloyd Cole fans in the gang). After that they are just going to have to put up with me jamming.
My notebook with all the songs I’ve learned in it
¹If it doesn’t stop raining between now and next weekend, I will be seriously thinking of not going.
²My songs aren’t terrible (although they tend towards melancholy) but no-one will be singing along as they don’t know the words.