Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Songwriting

Sometimes songs come easier than others. Sometimes a song begins and then lays dormant... the words stuck on the paper, unwilling to grow. But songwriting means working on those lyrics, playing with phrasing, switching lines around, allowing the words a chance to rise up and call out to others and allowing the songwriter a chance to meet the challenge head-on, pencil in hand, guitar on lap.

Such has been the case with one song I started about two weeks ago... a song about the river and living in the here and now. The first verse came quite easily, along with the chorus. The second verse followed fairly nicely, but the third? After leaving the song for a couple days, I came back to it. And I spent almost two hours on four lines! And I'm still not sure if I am satisfied with the lay of those lines. So I set it aside and made dinner. And a few days have passed since, while I have had band practice and singing with the old folks and playing in the Winston-Salem Shuffle on Saturday night. That turned into a very late night for this old gal, and so yesterday, I was fairly good for nothing.

Here are a few photos from the Shuffle. I asked my mandolin-playing friend, John Hartman, to share the stage with me, which he graciously agreed to do. Our first song was Marlboro Man, which is on my CD. Our second song, which is the one during which these photos were shot, was my brother's song, When You're Alone, which I absolutely love singing and will perhaps put on my next CD (yes, I'm planning on a new one!). And best of all, it uses a kazoo, which my husband agreed to hold hidden in his hand until the appropriate time. It got much laughter and applause! Our final song was a new song I finished up about two months ago called A Little Mercy, and which, by the way, came easier than some... thanks in part to its rhythm.

So this morning I took an early morning walk with my three adopted dogs (I'll be dog-sitting this week), and the air was cool, there was fog lying low on the mountain, and there was a freshness all about me. And lo and behold, new lyrics came rushing into my brain. Not for the above-mentioned river song, but for a brand new one. I love it when that happens. It's often unexpected but oh so welcomed! So as soon as I could, I got the words on paper (in a nifty little journal that I bought from phofun on Etsy) and got out the guitar. I think it will be a traditional sounding song, full of fun rhythm and fun rhymes... a song of summer, a song of love... "c'mon, darling, come on home."

Stay tuned... literally and metaphorically.


  1. How fickle the creative muse can be...sometimes visiting when we least expect it and at others so illusive! Looks like you have a lot of fun on stage. BTW, "I Come to the Garden" was my dad's favorite song. I think of him each time I hear it. Such a beautiful visual that comes with that song. Blessings, Vicki

  2. Smiling ear to ear over here. I love the photos and the chance to hear how the process flows for you, Rebecca. As a writer I know that there are moments where inspiration flows freely, but then there are other moments when it simply makes better sense to bake a batch of cookies or something. I'm glad your muse eventually visited you bearing plentiful lyrics gifts.

    Wish I could have been there to hear the kazoo surprise, the the pictures tell a thousand words, for sure! So funny!

  3. Very cool article! So glad you could use my little journal and hope it provides you with lots of creative inspiration! Cathy from Phofun

  4. I'm in such awe of songwriters and true musicians. What an incredibly frustrating and equally fulfilling process it must be! I once wrote poetry so I can somewhat relate. I'm glad your song finally came to fruition! Love the photos. :)

  5. Very interesting process and not all that dissimilar to my creative processes. That's really neat !

    I've never heard your music, is there an online sampler somewhere ?


  6. Yeah! New songs and a new CD. I have really enjoyed listening to your CD. Marlboro Man is one of my favorites! My muse is a fickle little thing...I think we may have a muse from the same family!! My muse has taken a long vacation and I hope she will return soon! Love the photos!