Well, since the last "Rewrite" post, I have finished up "The Worn Pages" (formerly "The Brown Pages") and have sent it out for demo. I took it to the Little Rock regional NSAI meeting and got some valuable suggestions then a couple of small rewrites and NSAI evals later it is ready to turn loose of. I hope to have a demo of it up in a few weeks but until then I will put the worktape in the Home Studio > Workstapes section of this site.
I have heard the comment made about how "magic" it is when the audience spontaneously sings your song along with you. That is something I witnessed at a Merle Haggard performance last Tuesday night.
The interesting thing was that the audience was made up of twenty-somethings all the way up to seventy-ish (MH's age). I was sitting in a row of twentysomething working men and these people all(!) knew these Haggard songs by heart and sang along. I made a list as the evening went on:
* That's The Way Love Goes
* Silver Wings
* If We Make It Through December
* Sing Me Back Home
* Rainbow Stew
* Set Me Free
* Kern River
* Okie From Muskogee
Of course, there were many, many songs performed but these listed had instances of spontaneous sing-a-longs. What a thing to write songs that people identify with so strongly! Setting aside subject matter and the fact that more than a few audience members were drunk, as a writer I have to learn to connect so strongly and to cut such a wide swath age-wise. This was phenomenal.
Writers and performers often talk about touching lives with their craft as a primary motivator. For a moment, I want to ignore the demographics of the audience, which, again, was roughly aged 20 - 75, neither predominantly male nor female, and was kind of a mixture of honky-tonk partiers and upper middle class concert goers.
Here is a man who has an enormous body of work. It has been covered many times over by other famous artists and is well enough known that the entire demographic I mentioned above could sing along spontaneously. Isn't Merle touching lives? Again, let's not get tangled up over "how" he is touching them, or to what end. Let's look at the big picture and realize that lives can be touched in this way. Let's take courage from that and figure out how to do it in a way that we can "overcome evil with good" as Romans 12 says.
I've been thinking of different angles to go about rewriting "The Brown Pages" (which will not be the title of the next version, nor the theme) for the last few days.
Re-writing has never failed to be a "for the better" experience. Every time I have needed to do it (which is like... every song I have written so far) it has resulted in a better song. Who can complain about that? I want to work toward the best "product" possible and not turn loose of it until I feel like I have taken a song as far as it can go. My frequent evaluator at NSAI has been a great help in that regard.
So, I'm at it again!
I have also been enjoying the newest single from Joey + Rory "That's Important To Me" -- what an enjoyable statement of things I (and many others hold dear). If you haven't heard it, give it a listen.
It's November today. October 28 was my birthday -- 59, thank you. It's been a busy couple of weeks. I finally put "I'm Happy With Me" to bed and had a rash of ideas last weekend, one of which I'm currently developing. It is called "The Brown Pages" and the idea for it came while I was looking at a very well used part of my Bible. As you might have guessed, the pages in several places are brown from frequent contact with my fingers and an occasional coffee spill -- since I usually have a cup when I'm spending any length of time in the Book.
I finished an initial worktape of it last night and will get it posted pretty soon.
I'm John Rowland, a country songwriter, working man and father from East Texas.