Brad Meador
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Nov 14

Northpoint Cafe (Sausalito) – Tuesday, November 18

Filed under: gigs | Back to: Homepage

Thanks to Mary Elizabeth and Robin, I’ve got a gig lined up on Tuesday in Sausalito:

Northpoint Coffee
1250 Bridgeway (@ Turney)
Sausalito, CA
7 PM 6 PM Last Minute change – sorry!

There will be some other songwriters on the bill, though exactly who is TBD.  Stop by if you need a trip out of the City.

Nov 13

Songwriters on Songwriting

Filed under: books | Back to: Homepage

image I’ve been reading a really interesting book.  Paul Zollo was the editor of SongTalk magazine for a number of years and had the opportunity to interview some of the world’s greatest songwriters.  Songwriters on Songwriting is a compilation of his interviews from the past 20 years or so.  He sits down with the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Randy Newman and many others to talk about the craft of songwriting.  I’m about 3/4 of the way through the book (730 pages and 62 interviews!).  Here are some interesting notes that have stuck in my head:

  • Paul Simon seemed to dismiss all of his work with Art Garfunkel as immature.  Most of the music for Graceland was completed in the studio before he started actually writing the lyrics.
  • There doesn’t seem to be one “right way” to approach songwriting, with one exception – almost all songwriters talk about carving out regular time every day to craft music.  This reminds me of a recent interview with Ryan Adams.
  • All writers agreed that songwriting is hard work, but most referred to the occasional song that seemed to come from somewhere outside of them in an inspirational flash.  I have had this happen on a few songs – nothing left to lose is the latest.  I’m not sure that I buy into these songs as gifts from a higher power, but I do think that if you are constantly thinking about this stuff and you’re listening for good ideas, you’ve set the stage to allow inspiration to grab you.
  • That said, Townes Van Zandt dreamt he was playing a new song on stage, liked it so much that he played it again to teach it to himself, and woke up the next morning able to play it for his friends (Guy and Susannah Clark).  Wow.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Sammy Cahn, who wrote many timeless classics for the likes of Frank Sinatra, did so mostly on spec (i.e. Frank’s got a movie with title The Tender Trap, I need you to have a song of that title written by this afternoon).  His joke – Q: “Which comes first, the lyric or the music?” A: “The phone call!”
  • Finally, I really have no idea what Bob Dylan was talking about in his interview, but it sure sounded beautiful.

If you’re interested in songwriting as a craft, I highly recommend putting Songwriters on Songwriting on your reading list.