What a great, breezy book. Jeff Tweedy emphasizes the writing-of is the thing, not necessarily the One Song itself. Love of the process, which is its own reward, is more important than the goal.

How to Write One Song reads universally enough so that anyone can ape this do-your-first ethos for whatever it is that you want (but have yet to).

Before 2016, I’d written maybe 5 or 10 songs total, but I definitely (ridiculously) considered myself a songwriter, even though I would never have told anyone. But luck intervened, I randomly joined a song writing group, and now I’m in the 100’s. It took me over 45 years to start in earnest.

I needed a push. This book is a great push.

A total delight.

Well, the release-all-the-songs project hit a bump. Turned into an album, and that’s 12 max. Focused!

More importantly, we have a cabin that’s due to go up in flames, Covid, new high schooler, work, …

There will always be other stuff. I have heard so many artists at house concerts we put on talking about not being able to write due the current climate.

Has there even been a better time to write, practically speaking? But still almost no one is writing. Almost no one. I am. Latest demo here:

But I have work and am busy. So, for me, things are a bit closer to normal. And I am also seeing, a these house concerts, full-time musicians are fragile. And a lot of them need just-right conditions to create.

Also, art is hard in a vacuum. So if you write and are used to feedback and not getting it, the adjustment is the issue.

There are infinite insecurities when trying to decide what makes the final cut. It’s hard to get past them, and more often than not, when you see good artists lose the muse, one glaring culprit is themselves; the devil on the shoulder/ monkey mind.

It’s also tough when all hope is lost. What do musicians have to look forward to? They gave it all, and any hard-won success was stripped away. All 9f this with no real way to make $$ besides live shows (with physical product now extinct). And now what of plan-b options without going waaaaay back to the beginning?

But the songs are floating there, if you can get to it. But how? That’s the big question.

A happy guy making a happy EP (Acoustic)

Working on a single, and I am going deep.

Previously okay with writing and only flopping it out there (like this), I am now working with someone that does not accept this kind of disrespectful behavior.

The key word above is, “only.”

With some re-writes, a lot of what felt like wasting time, and some heartache (but not much), what I have now is way better than what I started with.

And hearing from so many artistic’s that they are having a real rough time creating (I feel it too.), it is a perfect time to keep it all moving forward by finishing. Mainly the good songs, but I’ll be finishing the suspiciously-usable too. (And doing it all without starting another podcast!)

I really feel like I have not fully completed the elemental framework of a song (and a record and an ep). But now I have, and I kept watch on the way to happened, so I can repeat it! I, I, I, I …

NO there are the complete songs in the first record, but boy was it a blur. And out of a total of about 150 finished, I am just now figuring this part out. (The Acoustic EP was easy, since it was basically acoustic.)

This not all to say that you should not show your work because you should. This blog is about: process. And that if you are past your prime according to the the numbers, the numbers probably exist in you your head only. So you should go on and do what you feel you should be doing, artistically.

-jd

In getting these 35 songs out, or now 29 (if you consider dropping the 3’s), all of them need to be recorded. And, for me at least, all of them need to be played live as well. Everything is intertwined, but playing live is different from arranging and recording. If you try and make both versions at the same time, you’ll waste a good portion of your life otherwise better spent.

You also run the risk of getting into versioning hell, making so many multiples of a single songs that you enter an endless loop, never finishing any version of anything.

You are susceptible to the above when leaving the initial writing phase too quickly, not fully completing the first draft. (A huge issue when you have a lot of material to get out!)

Good morning!

So what can or can’t you do? Number 1 is eliminating all of your little unknown rules and stops; the do’s and don’t that you’ve allowed yourself. Who knows where they come from, but they are anti-art and must be eliminated ASAP.

One of my stops is a sort-of clash: overly-comparing my end product with styles I wish I more easily fell into vs. being an advocate of ‘you make what you make.’ My mind says, ‘this needs to fit x to get y.’ And I don’t even know what y is. But I’m also telling myself, ‘this is your own thing!’ I’m perfectly happy with my thing. I fact, I’m proud of it! But I like slotting in. Yikes, right? (And please, this is no sly self-compliment.)

Good news: I think I may have cracked the code on a couple of these stops: song structure and logo/ name. More on these next!

-jd

I get up super early. I never really know what to do with myself post-coffee. Happily, due to getting these songs out, I’m trying to plan a little more. Cutting out a lot of the farting around. So I’ve taken to some headphone jamming down in the studio.

The Creek!

I didn’t ever like to call it jamming, but Sebastian pulled me over the line. (This video, containing a lot of jamming, really changed the way I think about a lot of music.) Getting a jam out is an amazing way to start your day, and electronically, you can just throw on the headphones. No one’s the wiser.

Even if you do not yourself jam, you get it, yes? (It’s like a walk by the creek, which I also do in the am.) There is something to doing all of this when your world is not up. Breaking the silence with headphones.

So, en route to getting these 35 songs out, I plan to work them out with the morning jams. This means words done (night before), song ID’d and cued up on the system, and chords generally known. Day on has been a complete success.

More on how it goes later.

-jd