I was wonderfully amused by The Secret Sisters talking about how one particular character who had caused them a lot of grief, was the inspiration for a bunch of songs. In “He’s Fine” they wonderfully specifically reference Davey White
“Davey White, where is he tonight?
He’s sleeping with her in a Tennessee town and he’s fine”
I have never met Davey White or know anything about him, but he certainly provoked the creation of a truly wonderful song and so I thank him for that.
The Therapeutic Value of songwriting
Strong emotions and especially anger have fueled many truly superb songs and I have personally found songwriting and song delivery to be wonderfully therapeutic. Many of the songs I have written come from personal experiences and observations and some of the planet’s greatest fuckwits and attention seekers have inspired some of my best writing. Once a song is recorded I always raise a glass to such characters as they are invaluable in the writing process. One of the latest songs “Dunning Kruger Blues” has one of my favorite all time lines which is “I bet you’re thinking this song’s about you”
On The Small Change Diaries second album “Voodoo Doll” was inspired by an experience with a stalker over a two year period. Eventually I secured a harassment legal order against her. This experience gave me considerable insight into how to deal with such characters who are usually status obsessed and make everything about themselves! There’s another song in the works for the solo album with a similar theme.
Please lets have some edge and I don’t mean U2
Many protest songs were inspired by anger and regardless of your personal views music remains a terrific way to communicate and express our thoughts. One of my criticisms of many uke based songs is that aside from most people playing cover versions, original material often has very little edge. Artists are described as “wonderfully ethereal” or “pleasant listening” I accept I am in the minority and when at one festival a headliner started to adopt a cod Jamaican accent my wife commented “Oh for the love of god, kill me now!”
Anger, frustration, love and many other strong emotions can be a terrific inspiration for writing. I’m a big fan of provoking debate and discussion and of course is not to everyone’s taste. In my other life I deal with clients with anger and jealousy issues on a weekly basis so I can spot such patterms a mile off. A great song requires inspiration but also careful crafting. Simply standing in a fielf wailing about personal perceived injustice is of course not gonna create the best work, although I appreciate that for some this may be their ownly outlet for such emotions! On the next album “Tales of Dark and Light” I wrote a song called “I’m praying for some misery” The theme of the song is that often an artist’s best work comes from tough life experience and in the song I site many examples of this.
Here are a couple of verses
“I’m praying for some misery, days of endless rain,
Rising tides of water make us think again,
Nothing of comfort’s in these comfort zones,
Greater sounding melodies darker tones
Black rider’s out, playing for small change,
Busking in the forest, rain dogs out of range,
Townes tips the waiter, Steve’s transcendent blue,
Turning up the pain for something new”