Part One: Leading up to this session at Warner/Chappel took two years of specially crafted songs.In my bio, I mention that there are two times per year that I devote completely to writing new songs. In the summer I write at a lake cabin. In the winter I write at a cabin in the mountains near Asheville, NC. In both of those occasions I set a goal of writing at least a dozen melodies and/or lyrics to melodies. I take my favorite writing folder, that has a list of title ideas for songs, and partially written melodies that I've worked on beforehand. I do NOT like to write or record my new material on my computer, because I desire to keep the initial creative process RAW. So no electric guitars either. All melodies and licks/themes start on my acoustic guitar, or mandolin. I often get a tasty bass lick from my guitar that works its way into chords on either guitar, and sometimes piano. So I bring my old fashioned, tried and true hand held tape recorder. Yes, I prefer to record new song ideas on my cassette recorder. Whatever..it works for me. I must have pencils with good erasers and a little sharpener close by. (Y'all are having so much fun with this, aren't you? Lol) I also find that my creativity flows best when I take some quiet time of reflection/meditation before I write.
If I'm on a 'melody writing' trip, then I will ask myself to come up with a dozen melodies. If I put lyrics to one of them, it counts for two melodies, just because lyrics usually demand more time. The easiest way to start a melody is to 'fish' for a melodic catchy 'hook'. Brainless, doodling on my guitar, with no judgement usually finds a 'fishy' within an hour or so...then I start reeling that 'fishy' in, slowly and surely until, I work out the melody for the verses, chorus, and perhaps a bridge as well. I record all of this on the cassette recorder. It's so easy and quick to handle, as far as forwarding, erasing, re-recording new improved melodies, etc. If it's a strong hook, it's easier for me to start hearing in my head, a melody start to form. It's always a work in progress as I'm working out the rhythm as well. So I hum mock syllables and vowels as I play along. Sometimes, I'll get a strong feeling of what this new budding melody is wanting to be about. It sounds strange, I know, yet, when I get a 'glimpse'/ inkling of a song idea, even a short phrase, I will jot it down. And while I've been developing this hook into a melody, and into a full song, I am charting it in a quasi Nashville number/chord chart. I'm a stickler on my writing process to be on a yellow pad as well. Lol. OK, y'all all getting to know my quirks. Basically, it's like this: For years I've developed a system that works for my creative juices to flow. When I stick to the same tools, nature settings, work expectations and rewards, then I can produce product well! And it's fun! Why?
Because, I give myself the treat of being in a beautiful setting, and I make sure I give myself rewards for meeting my goals. Rewards for me are hikes, and sometimes a micro beer (one) at a local Micro Brewery. Then it's back to work. If i do treat myself to a brew, I take the tape recorder and notebook with me, should I have another idea pop in my mind. Often it does. It's a break, so I don't ask myself to go full focus at that time.
I carefully label my charts accordingly to the finished melodies and songs on the cassette tape label. Only when I return to my office in Nashville, will I convert the songs to Garage Band and type the finished song on my computer. Soon thereafter, these songs get their official Copyrights.
It is much later in the process, that I get picky about the best voicing, tuning and instrument that a particular song sounds best.
I want y'all to know that in this blog sharing, I'm not going to devote any time to editing my writing. There will be typos and incomplete sentences. Since the purpose of this is to give you a feeling like we were sitting across the table from each other, sipping on a coffee, then this is going to be an easy going conversation. See you later at the coffee shop for Part Two...