Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Welcome to “Notes About Notes”, TSAI's Blog. This is the first of (I hope) weekly issues about most anything to do with songwriters, the Music business, and a whole lot more. We will have guest writers along the way, offering many opinions on many subjects, helpful information, great stories, and some useful tips on songwriting. Please follow us on FACEBOOK, visit our website tennsongwriters.com, and visit our sponsors, too!
So, how many songwriters does it take to change a light bulb?
About as many as anybody else I guess, songwriting doesn't have anything to do with changing light bulbs! Or does it? There was a time when music, along with all the other Arts, shined a light on society. Songs made us look at ourselves, our problems as well as our achievements. Plays and movies conjured up imaginary situations that may happen in the future, sometimes becoming the future! How many ideas from STAR TREK have actually come to pass? How many songs from the 1960's were influential in the war in Vietnam ending? Or making us face the wrongs of racism? Nowadays it seems too many people are too afraid of offending somebody, that they're afraid of saying much of anything. Pretty sure “girl you look good in those jeans” isn't going to help society much. Maybe sell some jeans. Is it time for more than that? I say well past it.
Sure, everybody wants to feel good. But do you want to feel a little better for 3 ½ minutes? Or for years? For Real? I do. Now obviously there will always be lighthearted songs, dance songs, and simple stories. But there can, and should, be so much more! We need there to be more. Look around, there is so much we could be writing about, so much we should be hearing on the radio. We have a front-row seat here in Nashville for some amazing writers, get to hear some amazing songs. At writer's nights, in studios all around town, there are songs being played and sung that would move you to tears. Or action. Or help you make that important decision. Get you to face your demons, and win! There's a beautiful title and hook out there just waiting for you!
I'm afraid we won't get more until we demand more. Voices can be heard, money talks, butts in seats matter. Call radio stations, buy the music that moves you. Go to the concerts of the Artists that speak to you. I am encouraged to hear that vinyl is out-selling CD's. Not that CD's are down, but that vinyl is up! If you're playing an LP, you're more likely going to sit and listen. Not just let it be background noise. This should let you experience the music! And that requires better music. More interesting lyrics, stories that mean something. Who knows what we're capable of if they turn us loose!
I am also encouraged to watch a younger generation looking back to Roots Music, of all kinds. The Traditional Country of Johnny Cash and George Jones, Southern Rock originals like CCR and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rock-a-billy like Chuck Berry and early Elvis, Classic Rock like Led Zeppelin and The Who, Blues Rock like Stevie Ray and Jimi Hendrix, and of course the influences of artists like The Beatles and James Taylor are seemingly everywhere. Most of this music is now considered Americana, because it isn't the mainstream music the major Labels and Radio are pushing. But it's surviving, thriving, independently.
We are using our voice to help, with a movement called “Real Country Music On Radio”, which I will talk about in detail in the next edition of “Notes About Notes”.