Sometimes songs are like a bad pair of shoes or an outlandish outfit. They wear you instead of you wearing them. When you can’t wear a song properly, when it doesn’t fit you, when the opinions or concepts or images you sing don’t quite match up to who you are, the song can really turn to insipid cheese in your mouth. What I’ve always admired in hearing Scott’s music over the years, and in seeing him play, is that he usually wears his songs like a second skin whether they are originals or covers.
When I first approached Scott about working with me, he said yes…but the song HAD to rhyme.
Music comes easily to him. Words, not as much.
Where he used to follow in the footsteps of the beatniks and write in stream of consciousness, he now approaches song writing in a more structured way. Scott collects ideas. When he sees a common thread he “threads them through”.
“Usually I come up with a scheme. A form. A rhyming scheme. I don’t start from the beginning, I start from where I want to land and work back.”
In the past he’s written from an autobiographical standpoint or from wanting to share a philosophy or a lesson he’s learnt, but he’s trying to move away from that. He’s now dabbling with creating characters and telling their stories.
“Political song writing can be too earnest.” They’re tricky. As for upbeat tunes? “I have a hard time writing happy songs.” Contentment is undervalued and we share the view that happy songs can be amongst the hardest to craft because they can so easily become cliché, or be perceived as lacking content…which counters the point of Folk songs I think.
In trying to figure out how we want to work together and what we want to write about, we ended up having a wonderful philosophical discussion. Everything from the fact that by misusing a word or by overusing it the subtlety and the precision of what that word represents is eroded…to our past joys and mishaps…to how we interact with the world and the impact it has on us and we have on it.
“Lately I’ve been thinking of the places I get stuck. The ideas of my own limitations that I’m attached to. The ways that I put off the life I want to lead. Maybe because I feel I don’t deserve it, or I’m not ready, or that there are things I want to accomplish first.”
Contentment is undervalued but we’re both chasing after it…
So we decide to try and co-write a happy song.
I know music is good when it pushes me to find a pen and write. When Scott sings in my kitchen my notebook finally gets a little love. Images in words blacken the pages.
Many have come before
Done all I do much better
And there are many also
Who’ve done it worst
I guess that means
I am forever mediocre
I’ll just keep telling myself: this or better
We stop. Who’s the song for? What needs to be said? What needs to be heard? He tries to teach me a new picking pattern.
The dichotomy of the internal hopeless romantic and the eternal realist.
The perfect day
Trying to find it again
I used to think lavender was for the old folks
It’s hard not to believe it’s all some bad joke Now it’s drifting in through the window
We need to set a focal point and work from there…
I thought life was something to be survived
I keep forgetting I've already arrived/thrived
I like to sleep in lateI’m getting old and strange
A little O(obsessive)C(compulsive)D(destructive)
But not enough to commit me
A vagabond soul
That’ll be the death of me
Drowning in debt
Two left feet
And when I drink too much I’m a downright bore
A stress case: with a furrowed brow
Trying to figure out the how, and when, and why
You can always pick me out of a crowd
A little too generous with my time and my dime
I talk too loud
I drink too well
But all in all things are going swell What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
I’ll never be able to afford a Road Ranger
I’m a little OCD
But not enough to incacerate me
I could sleep for a week
And still lust after another dream
I like highbrow
I like lowbrow
I like anyhow food
I go from not wanting to shower
To wearing a 3 piece suit to the pub
I have trouble believing I’m worth the long haul
I seem to spend my time bursting my own balloon/bubbles
I forego small talk for philosophy
Little secrets and what makes me me
I keep putting my foot in my mouth