Pages Navigation Menu

Start With Something That's True

Travis Meadows “Pontiac”

Posted by on Oct 23, 2018 | Comments Off on Travis Meadows “Pontiac”

If you want to start with something that’s true, one of the best songwriting mentors you can look to is Travis Meadows. He has a way...

Read More

Mary Gauthier “Between The Daylight And The Dark”

Posted by on Aug 19, 2018 | Comments Off on Mary Gauthier “Between The Daylight And The Dark”

Mary Gauthier is known for her strong scenes and emotional context, and “Between The Daylight And The Dark” is no exception....

Read More

Lucinda Williams “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road”

Posted by on Apr 21, 2018 | Comments Off on Lucinda Williams “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road”

Lucinda Williams is a songwriting super-shero. Yes, most successful women who have to deal with a male-dominated industry often are. But,...

Read More

Jason Isbell “Cumberland Gap”

Posted by on Jan 27, 2018 | Comments Off on Jason Isbell “Cumberland Gap”

Having worked in the Cumberland Gap area back in the day, I’d drive up 25E through Tazewell TN, past the Mustang Lounge, and wind my...

Read More

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings “The Way It Will Be”

Posted by on Sep 29, 2017 | Comments Off on Gillian Welch & David Rawlings “The Way It Will Be”

If you’ve followed the folk and Americana genres, or read Pat Pattison’s books on songwriting, you know who Gillian Welch and...

Read More

Brandi Carlile “The Eye”

Posted by on Jul 16, 2017 | Comments Off on Brandi Carlile “The Eye”

I got a direct message through twitter asking about a Brandi Carlile song called “The Eye” (thanks Helen!). While I’ve...

Read More

Eric Church “Record Year”

Posted by on May 6, 2017 | Comments Off on Eric Church “Record Year”

We’ll deconstruct Eric Church’s “Record Year” to discover the songwriting devices that made this song a #1 on...

Read More

Chris Stapleton “Parachute”

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 | Comments Off on Chris Stapleton “Parachute”

“Parachute,” written by Chris Stapleton and Jim Beavers, is one of my favorite songs on Traveller.  It delivers a universal...

Read More

Lori McKenna “The Bird & The Rifle”

Posted by on Nov 13, 2016 | Comments Off on Lori McKenna “The Bird & The Rifle”

Lori McKenna’s “The Bird & The Rifle” is a lesson in song craft. And, she’s a great example of how writing...

Read More

Adele “Hello”

Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 | Comments Off on Adele “Hello”

Written by Adele and producer Greg Kurstin, “Hello” focuses on a telephone conversation/voicemail. The song brilliantly...

Read More

Aaron Watson “Bluebonnets”

Posted by on Sep 3, 2016 | Comments Off on Aaron Watson “Bluebonnets”

How do you make a very personal moment a song that can connect with thousands and top the Texas Regional Radio Music Chart? Aaron Watson...

Read More

Personification In A Song: “I Am A Town”

Posted by on Apr 26, 2015 | 0 comments

Personification in a song is hard to do well. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “I Am A Town” is not only the most ambitious, with...

Read More

Tyler Farr “A Guy Walks Into A Bar”

Posted by on Feb 14, 2015 | 0 comments

Cliches are well – cliche. They’re predictable, boring, and not something your ears perk up for . . . except when done in a...

Read More

Song Themes: Same But Different

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 | 0 comments

Listening to these two songs is a great way to hear how the song themes can be the same, but written in two very different ways....

Read More

Dolly Parton Jolene Best Direct Address Ever?

Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 | 0 comments

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” was based on a young girl who approached her early on in her career. She had red hair, green...

Read More

Joni Mitchell “The Magdalene Laundries”

Posted by on Jun 15, 2014 | 0 comments

On her 1994 album Turbulent Indigo Joni Mitchell has one of the most descriptive, powerful songs you’ll ever hear. She crafts a...

Read More

Song Outline Worksheet: Stripes

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 | 0 comments

 Brandy Clark’s “Stripes” One of the things I’m not so good at is the song’s story. I tend to get a little...

Read More

‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ (II)

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 | 0 comments

Part 2 of the post “Mama’s Broken Heart” (I) Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves   Rhyme...

Read More

“Mama’s Broken Heart” (I)

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 | 0 comments

Three terrific songwriters: Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves took an age-old story line (mother / daughter “you...

Read More

Suzanne Vega “Small Blue Thing”

Posted by on Jul 13, 2013 | 0 comments

Master of Becoming the Other!   Suzanne Vega’s “Small Blue Thing” is one of my favorite songs.  I first heard it in...

Read More

“Merry Go Round” – Kacey Musgraves

Posted by on May 15, 2013 | 2 comments

Written by Kacey Musgraves, Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally, the play on words in “Merry Go Round” bring the images and the...

Read More

Reba’s “Consider Me Gone” (II)

Posted by on Nov 27, 2009 | 1 comment

The “Consider Me Gone” Simile Concern   Let’s run through how the song gets us to Verse 2, where the problematic...

Read More

Reba’s “Consider Me Gone” (I)

Posted by on Nov 27, 2009 | 1 comment

  A Weak Simile In Reba’s Song?   In fairness this isn’t really Reba’s poor simile.  Because she’s a...

Read More

Adele “Chasing Pavements”

Posted by on Feb 1, 2009 | 1 comment

A recent comment on the blog got me thinking. The comment was downplaying the songwriter’s lyrics, mentioning they sounded as if...

Read More