Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June Songwriters.....and Thoughts

All the songs delighted at this session. The changes made to “I Dream in You” have made this a song I hummed for a week or so – it’s absolutely lovely. “Two Diamond Rings” is based on an exceptional story and will someday be an exceptional song. I loved “Gifts Along the Way” just as it was and “Water Wheel Go Round” reminded me of my younger days living on the lake right between New Hope and the Mandana Inn and I wouldn’t change it either (sometimes we really don’t need to understand everything, do we?) I identified too closely with “Dysfunctional Family Blues” to find fault with it and I felt that “License Plates” worked exactly as planned and felt the critique unfair (didn’t anyone else know John Hiatt’s “Tennessee Plates” where you knew what was coming?)

Anyway, that’s not what the evening was about for me. It was the young-uns. They blew the night away with their songs.

It wasn’t the lyrics. It wasn’t the melody. It wasn’t the performance. Although all were strong. They were good.

It was something one of the other songwriters said that stuck with me. After hearing one young man’s song about what’s wrong with the world today, she made a very valid comment about how we’ve been listening to songs about such things for a lot longer than he has. How true! And how damned unfortunate!

It’s something I’m thinking of more and more these days. When I watched a Jackson Browne PBS Concert and he’s singing “Lives in the Balance” and “I’m a Patriot” written years ago for different conflicts yet too meaningful today. When I watched another PBS special about Neil Young and he says he waited for today’s Bob Dylan to come forward to write new protest songs and no one did so he had to write them himself. There are new songs out there…..perhaps not as angry, not as in-your-face, but they’re there. There will always be protest songs. And it feels like a generation failed in its music. We’re just singing the same things with different words. Are we getting so used to it, we aren’t listening any more? Are any problems being solved?

I hope those young men keep on playing, loud and strong, however they see the problems of the world. AND I hope they take to heart something that Dana said as part of his critique of their song, something maybe us “old” folks might have learned along the way as we try to get our message across: anguish is better than anger.

Thanks again Sparky and the gang of songwriters that let me listen in the first Tuesday of every month.

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