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#1119889 - 11/24/16 04:01 PM Are You an Honest Songwriter ?  
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niteshift Offline
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Hey All,

To answer the question would be stupid, but I have been listening to a great songwriter, Peter Allen, now deceased, who put out great songs, the most "famous" one was for the Arthur movie, where he received an Academy award.

At the same time, he needed to write this song from his own family history. The following song is a testament to his own history... and damn honest to the fact that both his family and his record company tried to block it for it's honesty.

What he says is true. His father did commit suicide, and the 'pretty face' is Liza, to whom he was married.

Link https://youtu.be/xMauNjr7_ZE?list=RDcsLB3-_BeSs

So, how honest can you be in your songwriting ?

cheers, niteshift

#1119894 - 11/24/16 06:31 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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I tell people my songs have an element of truth in them, although it might not be my own truth. But poetic license rules since my life is relatively boring.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#1119900 - 11/24/16 10:11 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Little_stevie_b Offline
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Most of my songs are like my real life...Loosely based on fiction.

Stevie

#1119902 - 11/24/16 11:37 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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niteshift Offline
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Hey guys,

Yes, I agree that a songwriter is simply a sounding board for society at the time. An emotional tell all,if you wish, for what happens around them. Like a journalist, they reflect back, what they see. And in that regard, they embellish a theme and amplify it.

What is a bit different about this song, is that it was written at the songwriters peak of his career. He simply sat down at the piano one day and spilled his guts. His own Mum said "No" as did his record company, yet if you're an Ozzy bloke, it brings tears to your eyes, especially if you're a long way away from home, and has become a national lexicon.

I'm exploring the theme of the tortured musician. and have always found ( I think ) that my better songs are based on deep emotion.

So, how far do you let yourself dig into places where you shouldn't normally go ?

cheers, niteshift


#1119913 - 11/25/16 10:49 AM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Most of my songs come from pure imagination but some reflect what I see in society. My gospel songs I try to base on the bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

#1119925 - 11/25/16 02:48 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Jim Colyer Online content
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My songs are honest, maybe too honest.


JIM COLYER girl albums
http://www.jimcolyer.com
#1119927 - 11/25/16 03:08 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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The best songs always come from reality. If you can paint a picture that people are ACTUALLY LIVING, they will always relate to it better than just a random lyrics. People want to see THEMSELVES in songs, and being able to describe a scene that they can see with their mind's eye is all important. They want to be able to put themselves in a song. If they can listen to it, and say "Hey, that's MY LIFE", they will be interested in listening to it.
If not, they tend to tune out and move on very quickly.

Just depends on how fast you want people tuning out your songs. Cell phones will show you quickly how interested people are into what you do. We're in the Facebook generation. If the audience can't find themselves in a song, they are not interested.

In Nashville, we call it "THREE CHORDS and the TRUTH." Always a way to incorporate truth into a story, but never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

MAB

#1119931 - 11/25/16 04:56 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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MidniteBob Online content
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Raleigh, ya'll
"So, how honest can you be in your songwriting?"

....By the way, Nite, I've been a Peter Allen fan since the band Pablo Cruise recorded:

"When my baby. When my baby smiles at me I go to Rio."

I saw him "live" in Chicago in the early '80's....One the most incredible performers, ever!!!....But I don't wanna sidetrack your question:

"So, how honest can you be in your songwriting?"...

John Lennon once said: I have only written two honest songs in my life"...

FACT:
One was "Help"....Sir Paul was later quoted as saying: Here we were at our peak, and he he was crying for help and we were all too wrapped up to hear it.

Suspicion, because I can't remember the second one, but I suspect it was "Julia", which was about his mother...

I wish I could hear how Mr. Lennon first heard this song, before it got "uptempo'd" and turned into a movie...I know, I know, it's hard to get the "song" outta yer head, but try, for a few moments, to read the lyrics of a songwriter, at his peak of success being "honest".

Here are the lyrics to "Help"...

Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone, help

When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
But now those days are gone
and I'm not so self assured
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I've never done before

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
But now those days are gone , I'm not so self assured
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, ooh


Midnite


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1119944 - 11/25/16 07:50 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Raleigh, ya'll
To follow up on the "honest" theme and John Lennon's quote...

As a song-writer-screenwriter, I am simply a story teller, trying to capture a little bit of what I've seen & heard...And try to keep my story telling "true"... I try to leave myself out of the writing...

With that being said, John Lennon claims to have only written two honest songs...

...As for me? I've only written one where I laid myself bare:

The song is: Til I can stand alone....

Here is my soundclick page where you can hear it:

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=1085431

Here are the lyrics, strictly from memory....Been a long time since I've sung it:-)

"Til I can Stand Alone"

Oh mama, take these tears from me
take these tears from me, let my cheeks run dry.
Oh mama take these tears from me.
Take these tears from me
I don't wanna cry.

Don't wanna cry,
don't wanna cry.
Take these tears from me I don't wanna cry...(repeat)

Oh mama pass the bottle to me.
Pass the bottle to me and let me drink.
Oh mama, pass the bottle to me
Pass the bottle to me
I don't wanna think.

Don't wanna think,
don't wanna think.
Pass the bottle to me I don't wanna think. (repeat)

Oh mama, won't you stand by me?
Stand by me, oh the night is so long.
Oh mama, won't you stand by me?
Stand by me til I can stand alone.

Stand alone
Stand alone
Stand by me til I can stand alone...(repeat)

....

So, there ya have it Nite...My only "honest" song....:-)

Midnite











Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1119945 - 11/25/16 08:19 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Raleigh, ya'll
Oh, and I would be remiss, in regards to this thread, regarding "honesty" in songwriting, if I didn't toss in this, from Mr. Warren Zevon...

Written after he had come down with the "cancer", and dedicated himself to putting out one more collection of songs:

"Keep me in your heart for a while"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMTKb-pgxGI

Midnite




Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1119946 - 11/25/16 08:56 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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That's interesting. See I can name a few more that came from reality and honesty.

"FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. KITE'
(A poster describing a traveling circus coming to town.)

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS
From a picture Julian had drawn in school. His friend "Lucy, floating around in the sky with diamonds."

DEAR PRUDENCE
(written about Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence, when she locked herself in her room at the Mahavishinu retreat in Rakikesh.

Most of the Beatle's songs came from some sort of reality. PENNY LANE, ELENORE RIGBY.

You see, there doesn't have to be an actual "FATHER McKENSIE or ELINORE RIGBY, to be a lot of "ALL THE LONELY PEOPLE."

They are pieces of things, but the TRUTH. And the Beatles wrote that all the time. You're telling me that looking around seeing war, protests, riots in the streets, and they didn't feel that LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED.

See, I would argue the complete opposite that ALL songs of quality and staying power, have some nexis in truth and reality.
Could have been the "reality or truth" of a 1969 LSD trip, but it still was reality to them.

Today, it has to be much more graphic and feeling real because there are more people trying to relate to it. But the same as it was in many decades before, I'd say it is more than true today. Reality and honesty. They always come rising to the top.

MAB


#1119947 - 11/25/16 09:26 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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MidniteBob Online content
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Raleigh, ya'll
Nope, sorry Marc,

Great input, but I gotta disagree with you, for once, just a tad here:-)

Niteshift(Geoff) asked:

Are you an "honest" songwriter, in the sense of laying your soul/heart naked for all to see.

Not in the sense of capturing personal memories and making those memories universal, but more in the sense of "this is me naked"...

Peter Allen would understand...

So I will stick to my original Lennon quote from when he was around 24 years old:

"I have only written two honest songs in my life"

The first one was "Help"....I, myself don't remember the second one, but it was not "Imagine", the most hypocritical song I've ever heard....

Gosh, Nite, see what you started:-)

Midnite






Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1119948 - 11/25/16 09:45 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Raleigh, ya'll
For what it's worth...

Peter Allen was gay-bi...Mostly gay and trying to fit in...

Peter married Liza Minelli...The daughter of Judy Garland(every gay boy's dream girl)

Peter Allen died of AIDS in the mid-'80's...

I saw him live in concert...

Freddie Mercury & Peter Allen...Two of the most dynamic performers I've ever seen

Peter Allen..."I go to Rio"....Enjoy:-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EUx32dIHiE

Midnite



Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1119961 - 11/26/16 04:25 AM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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niteshift Offline
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Good stuff guys !

Marc, totally agree with three chords and the truth. It brings emotion to a song and puts the listener in a place where they can relate and it becomes "their" song.

When I'm listening to songs on the mp3 board, especially if I've had a few beers, and that song transports me to a different place and time, and it's obviously written from first hand experience, then to me it's a great song because I can put myself into the situation described. It's not "fake".

Hey Midnite,

Well, I really don't know what to say. Re Peter Allen, I just thought that he was the dude that wrote the song "I Still Call Australia Home" How wrong could I have been.

And you saw him live ? You rotten sod ! I'm just jealous.

Two stories...

He was booked to open for Frank Sinatra, in a gig in Florida. So he did the gig, and Frank never booked him again. Both the audience and the reviews said "more of Peter and less of Frank". He blew the doors off the joint.

Then, there's a well known journalist/DJ called Richard Glover who as a young man, was working as a waiter at the Hilton here in Sydney, where Peter Allen was booked for a 12 night residence, 2 shows per night. As a waiter, he saw all 24 shows, and every one was different. The energy as an entertainer in relation to the audience, was apparently overboard.

And you're right. He was gay, and for that reason, his record company would not promote him, and his best songs went to other artists. But he still did his own shows, even in the final months where he was suffering from full blown AIDS.

Liza stood by him, although they divorced, and was at his bedside when he died. They had a deep passion for each other, regardless of his sexuality. And then Liza became an advocate for research and treatment into AIDS.

Great discussion guys. Keep 'em coming !

cheers, niteshift


#1119989 - 11/26/16 07:50 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Raleigh, ya'll
Hey, Nite,

Oh, you Oz-landers:-)...

Did this ever make it across to you?

Hugh Jackman..The actor who played "Wolverine" in the XMen movies, had a Broadway hit back around 2,011, called:

"The Boy From Oz"

Here is the "closing" of an award winning Broadway Musical about Mr. Peter Allen:-)

In the first scene here...Peter Allen is talking to his younger self....

Enjoy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaU8pXPWBqE&list=RDmA4965Uz8as&index=2

Hey, all...,if you have an hour or two, to follow the links, I'm not sure which order they all lead to, chronologically, in the Musical "The Boy From Oz"...

A Broadway Musical Tribute to an Artist.....

But girl, oh boy....

Might be worth an hour or two...

Just sayin'....

...And also just sayin', while watching this all again...

There's a scene with Peter & Liza...Magic!!

For those of you of an older age...

The Olivia Newton John song, that Peter Allen wrote: "I honestly love you"...

Has a line:

If we both were born, in another place and time
this moment might be ended with a kiss.

.....That line was inspired by his relationship with his gay partner who had to keep their kisses hidden from the general public...Two boys kissing....SHAME SHAME SHAME!....

...PERSONAL NOTE: I lost a lot of friends back in the '80's....But enough about me...

Follow the links....

Oh, and if anything that I'm writing here makes anyone feel uncomfortable, well, that's on you, not on me...

Blessings, ya'll!!!

Midnite


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1119992 - 11/26/16 10:29 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Raleigh, ya'll
Sorry, Nite & ya'll...

I totally hi-jacked this thread...

It is just that Peter Allen is a hero of mine, as a songwriter and performer, and this is the first time I've heard his name mentioned on JPF...

....And I just had to take a moment or two to give the man a nod...

Midnite


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1120151 - 11/29/16 12:18 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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niteshift Offline
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niteshift  Offline
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Go for it Midnite,

All good stories, and a learning experience too. smile

cheers, niteshift

#1120153 - 11/29/16 12:52 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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TC Perkins Online content
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Certainly people love a good song that reflects life experiences they can relate to.

But they also like fun songs that have nothing to do with their life (Celebration is a good example).

They also listen to songs they are not even sure what they are about (Hotel California is a PERFECT example) because the music is compelling.

People are complex and so are their tastes. What they listen to depends on their environment at the time, and their mood.

Truth and beauty lie in the eyes and ears of the beholder.

My approach to songwriting is just write whatever comes to me. I dare say most artists famous and unknown do this a lot more than aim for a target. Is that honest? I don't know but it is what comes out.

Peace,
TC



If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1120154 - 11/29/16 12:58 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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couchgrouch Online content
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cochise, az, usa
No.

#1120165 - 11/29/16 01:51 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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niteshift Offline
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Hey Couch,

Care to expand ? grin

cheers, niteshift

#1120175 - 11/29/16 05:07 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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couchgrouch Online content
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Bevare, take care...these next words may offend. These topics always make me roll my eyes. I never wanted to be an honest writer. Or a universal one. Or famous or rich
I just wanted to be good. Forget all of this workshop/mentor/Dr. Phil songwriter stuff and just write a compelling idea. Whether it's "Honest" or not is all BS. if you get an idea that inspires you to write a second verse, chances are, the audience will follow. Take them someplace they haven't been or someplace they have been with a new view. That's all you
Need and why I could never be one of those bozos who gets $100 for an hour of songwriting advice. All the advice you need can be given in thirty seconds...don't be boring.

Last edited by couchgrouch; 11/29/16 05:08 PM.
#1120198 - 11/29/16 08:31 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Michael LeBlanc Offline
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if you believe my lyrics,then yes,they are true.i won't try to change your mind.

#1120325 - 12/01/16 07:22 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: Michael LeBlanc]  
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MidniteBob Online content
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MidniteBob  Online Content
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Raleigh, ya'll
Hey ya'll...

Nite's question wasn't how "true" a song was...

It was:

"So, how honest can you be in your songwriting?"

As songwriters, we all try to capture a little bit of the "True" in everything we write, whether it's something that we've seen or felt or glimpsed and tried to bring it to life for others to relate to...Which I like to think of as "The Universal"...Because we're all story tellers...

...Maybe it's just me misunderstanding here, but I see "honest" as soul-baring, me laying myself naked in front of the world....See: J. Lennon: "Help"....

Midnite



Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1120326 - 12/01/16 07:39 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Midnight,

I guess we have to agree to disaggree. I just don;t see them as different things. Telling the truth and being honest is all the same to me and I have to say pretty much every hit writer I've ever known, because we have these sorts of conversations all the time.

I just don't consider them separate things. If that is the way you want to view them, you can have your opinion. I just don't know of anyone I've ever met that shares it. Simply semantics.

MAB

#1120705 - 12/08/16 03:49 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Raleigh, ya'll
Well, Marc,

There is never a bad time to "agree to disagree"...:-)

Happy holidays of choice to you and yours!!!

Midnite


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#1121223 - 12/19/16 01:19 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Dave Rice  Online Content
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Never tell the truth! Lie like hell and then, just maybe, someone will believe you. Tell that same lie often enough and it becomes "gospel." In each of my novels I followed this "tenet" and my success has made me the dishonest writer I am today! LOL!

I lie to myself each morning... telling myself... "Today is going to be special!" "Your aches and pains are only temporary!" "The man (or woman) with the money is going to knock on my door today!"

After a while, it becomes "second nature."

#1121230 - 12/19/16 04:15 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Joe Wrabek Online content
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Like Shakespeare said, "I am but indifferent honest." My specialty, if I have one, is to take the truth, or what people perceive as truth, and exaggerate it to the point of no return, and give it a country twang while I'm at it. Like Shakespeare said (sort of), "The world is a very strange place, and people are very weird critters." (No, Bill didn't call them "critters.") I just show it to people, and hope they notice.

Joe

#1121282 - 12/20/16 04:25 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: Dave Rice]  
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TC Perkins Online content
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TC Perkins  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Dave Rice
Never tell the truth! Lie like hell and then, just maybe, someone will believe you. Tell that same lie often enough and it becomes "gospel." In each of my novels I followed this "tenet" and my success has made me the dishonest writer I am today! LOL!

I lie to myself each morning... telling myself... "Today is going to be special!" "Your aches and pains are only temporary!" "The man (or woman) with the money is going to knock on my door today!"

After a while, it becomes "second nature."


LOL

I lie to myself every morning that I am still young and good looking. That damn mirror is wrong! crazy


If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1121302 - 12/21/16 03:11 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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BenJones Offline
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Hi All,

I was in google on a different subject, and came across this discussion. Thought i'd chime in.

I think honesty is not just lyrics, but music and melody. it's not just saying how you feel, or if something really happened, but is it coming across as honest to a listener? People tune in to real emotion.

Ever hear of an actor giving an honest portrayal of a character? Songs are the same. A country bumpkin speaking like a rapper almost seems comical, so does somebody writing a love song who has never been in love. Or a girl singing teeny bop songs, but the person who wrote it is 50 years old, alot of times it comes of as phony. A 14 year old girl singing a song with odd time signatures and exotic chord changes seems fake too.


The singers voice lends alot to it too, roy orbison singing pretty woman, seems as real as can be, when David Lee Roth sings it, it sounds cabaret and for entertainment only.

Frank Sinatra was said to have one of the most honest voices ever, so much so that people thought he wrote his own songs because he was believed.

Bob Dylan once said he never writes I love you in a song, because it's been proven than when people say I love you, they dont mean it, so he refuses to write something not true.

It's hard for a songwriter, who is trying to write for somebody else to write honestly because nobody is interested in what they have to say, they are only interested in what the artist has to say.

I dont think you have to live what your songs said, but I do think you need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the person you wrote about.

I came across this from Jason Isbell

http://www.soundslikenashville.com/news/jason-isbell-on-the-importance-of-honesty-in-songwriting/


Last edited by BenJones; 12/21/16 03:13 PM.
#1121303 - 12/21/16 03:25 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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BenJones Offline
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#1121307 - 12/21/16 05:00 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: BenJones]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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Hi Niteshift,

Couch's reply made me smile. smile It reminded me of Lawrence Olivier's remark to a young-ish Dustin Hoffman who was getting himself all worked up, method acting style, for a scene in "Marathon Man" where Hoffman's character is noticeably agitated. Legend has it Olivier asked him why he was putting himself through "such an ordeal" to which Hoffman replied he was "preparing for the scene" --and Olivier, very causally is said to have remarked, "you should try acting, dear boy."

Anyway, this is a topic near and dear to my heart.

Couch makes a good point, but I think he misses the fact that we're all different, and that for some "confessional" songwriting is the only thing that makes sense to them. It's the only way for some folks to "just write a compelling idea." This makes sense if you buy into the notion that one needs to be "connected" to the material in some important way.

Most writing falls between the two extremes of pure confession and pure confection.

Personally, I believe in the Zen idea of "beginners mind" and like to approach every new writing project as if it were my first. This helps keep the process organic and non-formulaic, in that ones "method" for any given song can shift and mutate to meet the specific needs of the song one is writing..

Mike


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/21/16 05:10 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1121308 - 12/21/16 06:31 PM Re: Are You an Honest Songwriter ? [Re: niteshift]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Humm,
I think the words of Robby the Robot may apply here. THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE. And we have that other bit of advice from someone on here, Don't analyze the damn thing, just write it! You have to write about something you know about but if it is too personal, disguise it.


Ray E. Strode

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