Archive for the ‘Songwriting’ Category

And if you go chasing rabbits/And you know you’re going to fall
January 17, 2010

photo by T.R. Hummer

Psychoanalysis: a rabbit that was swallowed by a boa constrictor that just wanted to see what it was like in there.

—Karl Kraus


a whole damn song
November 23, 2009

photo by Chuck Hummer

One day a whole damn song fell into place in my head.

—Billie Holiday

AmeriCamera: The Web Site
November 3, 2009

BWLOGOweb-819x1024Visit the new web site at

“Each [singer] . . . is as much a part of the tradition of oral epic singing as Homer”: the Purpose of the AmeriCamera Project
October 31, 2009

homerThis . . . is about Homer. He is our Singer of Tales. Yet, in a larger sense, he represents all singers of tales from time immemorial and unrecorded to the present. . . . [This] is about those other singers as well. Each of them, even the most mediocre, is as much a part of the tradition of oral epic singing as is Homer, its most talented representative. . . . [This discourse] concentrates on only one aspect of the singers’ art. Our immediate purpose is to comprehend the manner in which they compose, learn, and transmit their epics.

–Albert B. Lord, The Singer of Tales


I have been a musician longer than I have been anything other than human; it could be argued, in fact, that until I began to become a musician at the age of 9, I was not yet human; that is a judgment I would be willing to accept. I grew up in a remote, rural part of the state of Mississippi; as I was born in 1950, my adolescence was calibrated to coincide precisely with the 1960s and everything the 1960s brought along, most pertinently a) the Civil Rights Movement, very “resonant” in the area where I lived, and b) a new and in some ways unprecedented “popular” music, so-called, and set of attitudes toward that music. I have written at length elsewhere about the effect of all this on my psyche and on my art; the documentation presented with this “proposal” is a window on that process, and a testament to it.

To put the matter in a nutshell: music would not leave me alone to stew in my local juices; music came, like Socrates, to my door and knocked on it politely; when nobody answered, music (unlike Socrates as far as I know) huffed and puffed and blew the door down, came to my bedroom, took me by the throat, and sang “You must change your life.” Music was my first muse, and she was a dominatrix. She whipped me into shape. I became, under her tutelage, an artist, something I could not have been without severe tutelage of some kind. And if I came out the other end of that encounter more a poet than a musician, there is in that transformation a story that involves a deep cultural history.

I have, as I have said, assayed all that from a personal perspective, many times over; those who know anything at all about my work as a poet are also apt to know something about this narrative, as it has both infused and tempered my poetry, and also often been my poetry’s subject. The present project proposes to take on the second part of the equation: the deep cultural history, the stream of “discourse” in which I have been all my life a speck of flotsam. In that frame, the first question that wants answering is: just exactly what is the relationship between music and poetry in our place and time? (more…)

Your Mileage May Vary
October 19, 2009

Here are a few examples of some of the cliches and everyday expressions you will find in The Songwriter’s Journal:

• Colder than a Klondike Bar

• The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t

• Like death warmed over

The book contains over 150 cliches and expressions and were narrowed down from thousands to those that seemed to have songwriting potential.

You can also take out your handy book of cliches or simply search the internet. You’ll find thousands although many of them don’t have great potential for song.

–Internet Advertisement