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SONGWRITING

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PEZ
Posted 2018-04-06 5:23 PM (#543097 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
July 2003
Posts: 3098

Location: Nashville TN.
Good Stuff
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-04-06 8:38 PM (#543100 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1309

Location: Gnashville
Dave, how long did it take you as a sign painter to become proficient? How many years to "as good as it gets"?
I've been following this thread, and your Kerrville post from the perspective of someone who's been in songwriting, publishing and plugging for over 40 years. The majority of my friends are writers. Most have gotten up every day for decades and... written.
Like me, many have been staff writers for some period where it's your job to show up everyday and write.
There is money to be made writing songs. But it's not the sole motivation... and it can't be... it's not a given you will be rewarded for the pursuit.
Writers write.
Keep at it if it's in your gut. You very likely won't see instant gratification though.
You write because you need to, and you have something unique to say.
You have some great Texan writers to aspire to, by the way.
Van Zandt, Clark, Newbury. You can't go wrong going to school on them.
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Darkbar
Posted 2018-04-07 9:09 AM (#543107 - in reply to #543097)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
January 2009
Posts: 4500

Location: Flahdaw
PEZ - 2018-04-06 6:23 PM

Good Stuff


See, DaveKell. Now PEZ is a perfect example. Has been living and working at songwriting in Nashville for several years now. Ask him how much money he has made selling his songs so far.
What do ya say, PEZ.....has it been lucrative yet? We all know how hard you've worked at it.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-07 1:59 PM (#543110 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 894

Location: Spin axis of a California map
@Mark in Boise - >>>If you think at 65 you have time to become a commercially successful songwriter, get real. When I get to be 65 (next week), I want to do what makes me happy.<<<

To Mark-- here's wishing you a pre-happy 65th birthday. Is it what you thought it would be??

To DaveKell-- See above quote from Mark. I fully agree. And it isn't that someone cannot eeek out a tune that sells. Anyone, regardless of age, can do that if the skill set is there and it just happens to meet a specific market demand and, more importantly, the corresponding people and organizations involved, during a given time frame; however, one must also come to full terms with what was said by Jonmark Stone, someone with decades of musical experience-- and I quote--

"It's not a given you will be rewarded for the pursuit. Writers write."

Man, oh, man.. is that ever the truth. I've been writing (non-musical/lyrical) since adolescence, and have half a dozen boxes of pre-digital paper stacked up. When I dig something out, be it for reference or just for posterity grins, I always seem to find myself asking---
"I wrote that? Not bad."
or
"I wrote that? Quick, burn it before someone walks in."

Yep. Writers write.. and there are millions of us. Spin the wheel. The only dimes I have ever collected for it have been from sporadic clients who requested something specific. Nary a cent has ever been collected from anything that has been offered into the blind or complimented by casual observers.

For guys like us it's mostly, if not always, just a case of "Ars Gratia Artis"
Translated-- "Art For Art's Sake"

Edited by Love O Fair 2018-04-07 2:25 PM
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-04-07 8:40 PM (#543120 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1309

Location: Gnashville
I will add one more little piece of advice, then I'll go away quietly... and, honestly, I'm not trying to pee on your barbeque, Dave. Watch your wallet closely whenever someone in LA, Nashville or NY tells you you've just written the greatest song ever. For a modest sum, we can record a demo sure to get this placed to artist X.
That's the oldest line in the business.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-07 11:31 PM (#543126 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 894

Location: Spin axis of a California map
@Jonmark Stone - >>>then I'll go away quietly<<<

Oh, man... just when the plot began to thicken.





Edited by Love O Fair 2018-04-07 11:34 PM
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Darkbar
Posted 2018-04-08 5:48 AM (#543133 - in reply to #543080)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
January 2009
Posts: 4500

Location: Flahdaw
Love O Fair - 2018-04-06 10:42 AM

Wow, Dave.. was that a suicide note?

No way...it was only two paragraphs long. We'll know it's a DaveKell suicide note when the site crashes
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DaveKell
Posted 2018-04-08 9:46 AM (#543135 - in reply to #543100)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING


Joined:
November 2011
Posts: 693

Location: Fort Worth, TX

Jonmark Stone - 2018-04-06 8:38 PM

Dave, how long did it take you as a sign painter to become proficient? How many years to "as good as it gets"?

Hi Jon... thanks for the reply and perspectives. I labored through the whims of 3 master sign painters for a few years, sweeping their floors and cleaning their brushes before they would teach me anything. I eventually learned effective design and spacing and brush techniques. And yes, I did attain to as good as it gets finally and went out on my own and made a great living I was able to retire from at age 58 after years of owning my own business.

I've been following this thread, and your Kerrville post from the perspective of someone who's been in songwriting, publishing and plugging for over 40 years. The majority of my friends are writers. Most have gotten up every day for decades and... written. 

Like me, many have been staff writers for some period where it's your job to show up everyday and write.

My friend of 45 years in Nashville told me his stories as well, beginning as a staff writer in LA and eventually Nashville. The pay for these positions I gather provided enough for a subsisten income, at least he didn't starve. Many album cuts came from it but no hits. I gather it was during this time he had a song on a Garth Brooks album that was the only one Garth didn't write himself. That to me would be enough to hang your hat on. I saw a documentary about the hundreds of people living out of their cars in Nashville down by the river, all of them pursuing the same break. Right now my college roommate from 44 years ago, who owns a big ranch in Utah and also wrote a song for his frined Chris Ladoue, has 4 or 5 songs he's interested in going to Nashville to pitch on his own. He said he has enough money to live there for up to a year to try this and invited me to go along. After the stats I've read about others doing this I'm entirely uninterested. We'd be up against the machine you described and the infinitesmal number of people  who overcome that I can easily reason means it would be a futile waste of his money. I've gathered only a handful of writers, guys like Fred Koller, are the ones routinely responsible for the vast majority of what comes out of Nashville. Until you've hit that league, nobody cares if you've written the next monster hit that could provide sweeping change of direction in anybody's recording career. The machine sounds counter productive to me in that regard.

There is money to be made writing songs. But it's not the sole motivation... and it can't be... it's not a given you will be rewarded for the pursuit.

I've read enough already to be in total agreement with you there. Otherwise why would so many sane individuals go camp in their cars along the river, at least hoping to get a staff position such as you described? Being a song factory minion sounds like a frustarting endeavor to me, but I actually have little insight into it I'll freely admit. I'm sure many feel like they've finally arrived at that point.

Writers write.
Keep at it if it's in your gut. You very likely won't see instant gratification though.
You write because you need to, and you have something unique to say.

It seems almost every day I have a song idea I pursue. Yesterday for instance, my wife and I were a vendor at a big, busy craft fair. With several people browsing our offerings, what was I doing? Ignoring all of them and writing a song. I'm about to leave for a big Nascar race my oldest son got great tickets for but in reality, I'd rather stay out in my shop and work on this song! As I've said, I only began this about 8 months ago. In that short time, I'm continually amazed at the response I'm getting at my weekly jam and a songwriters circle I attend weekly. I don't believe the assessment I've gotten of my lyrics being as good as it gets but am totally bewildered by how they're recived. You've read my lyrics I've posted and heard my feebl raw recordings of them, what's your opinion of my potential? Should I continue or just keep painting signs?

You have some great Texan writers to aspire to, by the way.
Van Zandt, Clark, Newbury. You can't go wrong going to school on them.

Funny you'd mention John Townes VanZandt. His grave is about 20 feet away from my mother, brother and sister in a nearby cemetary. I always stop and visit him awhile when I go there. So far, he hasn't shown any inclination to collaborate with me! But if I ever do hear a voice when I'm there I'll keep it to myself and be very encouraged!

As for financial renumeration being in my future for songwriting, I don't see that at all in my future. In fact, at this point I'd almost gladly be one of those idiots to give my ownership in a song away to the scoundrels who prey on new writers if it would ever mean I'd get to hear anything I wrote on the radio. I'm finacially set in retirement and live a very good life now. I have no real need to aspire to a songwriting income. My comments about giving it up center around the difficulty in navigating the vast bureaucracy involved in a song ever being cut. So many middlemen involved. Was there ever a time you'd write a song and give it directly to an artist and later hear it being played? A huge industry has gotten in the way of how I think it should work, but I'm certain it grew out of some necessity. I just don't have a motivation to participate in it, but will keep writing anyway. A young, local artist I've known since he was a child gained a lot of airplay on Dallas and Fort Worth country radio in the recent past. He played concerts in big venues as an opening act for many major stars. Right now he's interested in two of my songs for his next album. That would be enough for me.

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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-04-08 6:05 PM (#543143 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1309

Location: Gnashville
I'll try and hit on a few high points without quoting your post verbatim. I'm wearing a different hat at the moment finishing a remodel of my house.

The period of my life I spent staff writing was sort of a college/post grad 8 years as a young man. It was perfect at the time but wouldn't be right now. I did find towards the end that I was writing to write and not because I was writing something important. I'm at the stage now where I only write the songs that won't let me sleep. Honestly, I could go the rest of my life and never write another song. But I have to perform live for people.. It's much more important now.

My opinion of what you're doing shouldn't matter a rats butt to you if writing is something you're finding fulfilling right now. My judgment, one way or another, is often questionable anyway. True story, I was fielding submissions for a major artist we were working with many years ago and passed on "Wind Beneath My Wings" about 8 months before the first of many block busting recordings of that song.

Townes was brilliant... and tortured. May even have been a casualty of the business.

Ever a time to write and see it go directly to an artist successfully? Yes. My biggest selling song happened that way. Less than a week from writing to bumping a song off a major album. It was fulfilling. I bought a new car. But, in keeping with the train of thought... that album went gold, but my most cherrished cut sold very little.
My first was recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford... which flopped, but verified my career choice to my parents and started a long time friendship with a pretty special man.

Carry on.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-09 3:06 AM (#543146 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 894

Location: Spin axis of a California map
My take on it--

A sharp dressed man in a Cadillac shows up and hands a fat, juicy contract to the guy parked next to me. So I roll my window down, and above the crowd along the river, I say to the man--- "I'm just now finishing up a piece titled "The Ducky Song". It's a ballad about my niece's kid and her endless supply of crayons, beach towels and Pez dispensers. You wanna buy it?"

Annoyed by my intrusion, he says "no"... so I roll my window back up and return focus to my Cup o' Noodles. Just happy to have a song of my very own, and a car radio that picks up baseball games. Could be worse, I guess, since at that moment there could be someone dying somewhere from static electricity charges generated by the dust storm they got caught in while trying to find their lost donkey. I'd think a 1996 Nissan parked along a Nashville river bank would look pretty good to them, even without a guitar. Yep, could be worse.
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DaveKell
Posted 2018-04-09 8:04 AM (#543148 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: RE: SONGWRITING


Joined:
November 2011
Posts: 693

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Just as an aside to these discussions, here is something I came up with for a comedy song challenge. Total time to write about 15 minutes, and believe me it shows. I call it THE TRESPASSER.

Grandma's in the cellar
Oh my God can't ya smell her
Cookin' pancakes on an old rusty stove
And the matter in her eyes
Keeps drippin' in the batter and
The snot keeps runnin' down her nose

Grampa's in the kitchen
He just got back from fishin'
Now there's fish guts all over the floor
Lickin' worm goo off his fingers
The smell of 'em lingers as he slips
And bangs his head on the door

Grandma comes a runnin'
Grampa's up and cussin'
She plants a big wet one on his cheek
Their odors are outrageous but
Their motors git to runnin'
They go skinny dippin' in the creek

They get spotted that day
The guy quickly looks away
His first thought was to call the law
Cop asks what did you see
He says believe me if I say
It'll only serve to make your skin crawl

They was splishin' and a splashin'
Skinny old butts flashin'
Then they stood & hugged for all to see
They was all over each other
Believe me brother when I say
It's a bonafide case of public indecency

The cop gave the guy a ticket
There was laughter from a nearby thicket
The guy says officer I just don't understand
The cop said I'll explain it to you
This is what I do when I find
Trespassers on my grandparents land
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Oddball
Posted 2018-04-09 1:17 PM (#543157 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING


Joined:
March 2007
Posts: 795

Location: CA
Had the usual teenage dreams of a career playing the guitar and being a rock ***. A scenario captured well in Bryan Adams "Summer of '69". The guys in our high school band also lost interest, life got in the way and, well, that was that. I have enjoyed occasional jams with other guit players over the years, and even more occasional times (counted on one hand) where it all seemed to click and people seemed to really enjoy hearing just me. I don't 'write' songs because I don't read music, but I've made up a bunch of them over the years. No illusions that any will ever see the light of day and that's okay because it was fun just to create them. At my age (a tad north of 65), when the muse knocks, you don't ignore him - or her. These days I must be goaded and coaxed - a lot - to play in front of people. Just where I'm at these days. Keep swearing that THIS year I'm really going to learn GarageBand, looping and all that stuff and record some of my creations. But funny thing about life - it's STILL getting in the way! Thoreau sure nailed it when he wrote, "Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." I figure I'm going with a couple albums worth. LOL
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-09 4:22 PM (#543162 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 894

Location: Spin axis of a California map
Dave... call Ray Stevens! I think you have a hit with that one!
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DaveKell
Posted 2018-04-09 5:02 PM (#543163 - in reply to #543162)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING


Joined:
November 2011
Posts: 693

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Love O Fair - 2018-04-09 4:22 PM

Dave... call Ray Stevens! I think you have a hit with that one!


I was told the same thing about Ray Stevens after playing my first funny song on two different occasions. This one is pure schlock.
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DaveKell
Posted 2018-04-13 1:49 PM (#543230 - in reply to #543148)
Subject: RE: SONGWRITING


Joined:
November 2011
Posts: 693

Location: Fort Worth, TX
DaveKell - 2018-04-09 8:04 AM

Just as an aside to these discussions, here is something I came up with for a comedy song challenge. Total time to write about 15 minutes, and believe me it shows. I call it THE TRESPASSER.

Grandma's in the cellar
Oh my God can't ya smell her
Cookin' pancakes on an old rusty stove
And the matter in her eyes
Keeps drippin' in the batter and
The snot keeps runnin' down her nose



So, this first verse is something my dad taught me going on 60 years ago now. I THOUGHT he made it up. After playing this song at a songwriter circle last night, one old guy said he thought he'd heard something like it before. So, I come home and google the first line and, lo and behold, find that this is an ancient old ditty... but just the first verse. It goes into variations of lice on her body end up in rice, hair on her legs end up in eggs, and on and on ad nauseum. The rest of the song is ALL mine, now I just have to do an original first verse so it can stand on its own. Of course, by now, the original old ditty might be in public domain (if it was ever published).
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-13 6:06 PM (#543233 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 894

Location: Spin axis of a California map
Yep, Dave, you're right. And not only that, is was MY own dad wrote it and registered the copyright in 1967.. to whom I am the sole heir to his estate.. which means that this is TWICE now that I have filed in court on you! You're in big trouble, sonny. Big, big trouble.
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DaveKell
Posted 2018-04-14 2:08 PM (#543240 - in reply to #543233)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING


Joined:
November 2011
Posts: 693

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Love O Fair - 2018-04-13 6:06 PM

Yep, Dave, you're right. And not only that, is was MY own dad wrote it and registered the copyright in 1967.. to whom I am the sole heir to his estate.. which means that this is TWICE now that I have filed in court on you! You're in big trouble, sonny. Big, big trouble.


I'm in nowhere near the jam Taylor Swift is. Read this morning she's facing a 300 million dollar infringement lawsuit for a recent hit song of "hers" that a guy in Jamaica wrote and recorded back in '98. Identical melody and several lines copied verbatim. A judgement for the full amount would almost wipe out her entire net worth.
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Mike S.
Posted 2018-04-14 4:00 PM (#543241 - in reply to #543240)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
August 2002
Posts: 312

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
Hey Guys,
I wrote this particular ditty when I was in high school, c.,1974? , and it surprised everybody at the time!
"This Is The Shortest Song In The World!"
Mike S.
Ottawa, ON.,
CANADA


Edited by Mike S. 2018-04-14 4:03 PM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-14 7:39 PM (#543243 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 894

Location: Spin axis of a California map
@DaveKell - >>>I'm in nowhere near the jam Taylor Swift is<<<

If that ends up being true and goes to settlement.. ouch!
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-14 7:41 PM (#543244 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 894

Location: Spin axis of a California map
@Mike S. - >>>"This Is The Shortest Song In The World!"<<<

Oh, great. Now I have it stuck in my head... over and over and over. Gee, thanks, Mike.
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Mike S.
Posted 2018-04-15 3:25 PM (#543250 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
August 2002
Posts: 312

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
Hey, Love O Fair,
You're Welcome, I think? The hook is supposed to do that, so guess it still works, some 40 years later. I never even copyrighted it, or published it at the time, because it was just basically a fill-in between songs that my sisters, and I, were singing at a banquet, for my late Dad. I couldn't find my capo for the next song I was actually supposed to be playing, so one of my sisters said, "DO SOMETHING until we find it, and do it NOW!" That's when the song came out, and it got a laugh, so then we sang it at every banquet for my Dad, for the 10 years, until we all finally got sick of it. Still, whenever my sisters and I get together for a visit, guess what song they want to sing?...
Mike S.
Ottawa, ON.,
CANADA
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DaveKell
Posted 2018-04-16 3:38 PM (#543266 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: RE: SONGWRITING


Joined:
November 2011
Posts: 693

Location: Fort Worth, TX
My attempt at something other than the ancient country sounding songs. I call it Gettin' Off This Train


AIN'T FEELIN' IT TODAY, SO WHAT'M I TO DO?
FEELIN' LIKE A HAMMER, TRYIN' TO DRIVE A SCREW
LIFE'S PASSIN' BY, BUT I DON'T SEEM TO CARE
I FEEL LIKE A TRAIN THAT AIN'T GOIN' ANYWHERE

Woke up this mornin', nothin' on my mind
Diggin' in a drawer, no socks left to find
Lookin' in my closet, no pants on the rack
Feelin' like a train that's run outa track
Wife said it's over, she ain't gonna stay
Yep, it's really shapin' up to be a fine day

Wearin' dirty clothes again, socks that stink
The pantry's empty, no coffee to drink
Feelin' like a dog that wants to be fed
Now a depression's takin' over my head
Ring, ring, ring, I can't find the phone
Couldn't give a flip, just leave me alone

AIN'T FEELIN' IT TODAY, SO WHAT'M I TO DO?
FEELIN' LIKE A HAMMER, TRYIN' TO DRIVE A SCREW
LIFE'S PASSIN' BY, BUT I DON'T REALLY CARE
I FEEL LIKE A TRAIN THAT AIN'T GOIN' ANYWHERE

Rackin' my brain, hopin' for a resolution
I'm really only reachin' this conclusion
This day's gonna suck, I need it to end
Feelin' like a car that won't steer around the bend
LIFE'S PASSIN' BY, BUT I DON'T REALLY CARE
GETTIN' OFF THIS TRAIN, IT AIN'T GOIN' ANYWHERE
GETTIN' OFF THIS TRAIN, IT AIN'T GOIN' ANYWHERE


Edited by DaveKell 2018-04-16 3:41 PM
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DaveKell
Posted 2018-05-09 5:21 PM (#543617 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: RE: SONGWRITING


Joined:
November 2011
Posts: 693

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Here's a new one I wrote this morning. I'm sure some of you can relate. It's called OLD GUITARS.

The old bluesmen from down in Mississippi
With Sears & Roebuck guitars from the thirties
Wailin' away with their plaintive sound
Created a style that's still around

The hillbillies from the Appalachians
All the way south down to the Cajuns
With Martin guitars, fiddles and banjos
Created their style so the story goes

Young kids with electric guitars
Singin' about girls, surfin' and cars
When you reach the push comes to shove
Created a style we all love

OLD GUITARS ON THE WALL TELL A STORY
THEY'RE STILL IN THEIR DAYS OF GLORY
MILLIONS BEGAN PLAYIN' 'EM IN '64
AFTER THE BEATLES CAME TO AMERICA'S SHORE
SO MANY OLD GUITARS ARE STILL AROUND
SCARRED FROM HARD NIGHTS ON THE TOWN
AND YOU KNOW THE WORLD STILL SINGS
TO MUSIC FROM OLD GUITAR STRINGS

Old guitars all down through the ages
Have been played on so many stages
From Carnegie Hall south to the Ol' Opry
That's where the best pickers wanna be

Local bars to weekend jam sessions
Millions of pickers who never took lessons
Playin' melodies with chords one, four & five
Keepin' their dreams of stardom alive

Even though most will never get there
Guitar music they still wanna share
Old guitars become their lifelong friends
Here's hopin' their music never ends

OLD GUITARS ON THE WALL TELL A STORY
THEY'RE STILL IN THEIR DAYS OF GLORY
MILLIONS BEGAN PLAYIN' 'EM IN '64
AFTER THE BEATLES CAME TO AMERICA'S SHORE
SO MANY OLD GUITARS ARE STILL AROUND
SCARRED FROM HARD NIGHTS ON THE TOWN
AND YOU KNOW THE WORLD STILL SINGS
TO MUSIC FROM OLD GUITAR STRINGS


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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-05-10 12:41 AM (#543621 - in reply to #541785)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 894

Location: Spin axis of a California map
Good one, Dave. I like the gist. Too many people never bother to acknowledge and thank the equipment they use to pursue life's endeavors. I guess most people feel it's silly to show personal praise and gratitude to inanimate objects. Not me. It bolsters the emotional confidence, and I've been kissing things like competition figure skates, downhill racing skis, precious guitars, trusty vehicles, work tools, etc, etc, for as long as I can remember. Importantly heartfelt associations along the way, I'd say, since I’ve only been just half of the equation of what has been enjoyed and accomplished with those types of items. The other half is completely dependent upon them and our partnership; hence, the reason I chose the OFC screen name I did. Your song reminds me of that.

And thus ends today’s spiritual pontificate of testimony.
Amen.
Time for a beer :-)
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DaveKell
Posted 2018-05-17 5:00 PM (#543693 - in reply to #543621)
Subject: Re: SONGWRITING


Joined:
November 2011
Posts: 693

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Love O Fair - 2018-05-10 12:41 AM

Time for a beer :-)


There's a song title. Gonna work on it.
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