Tuesday, January 11, 2011

White Boy Writes a Blues Song

This morning I think I finally wrote my first blues song that I am satisfied with. My challenge has always been that I am not in a band and I am not a good enough finger-picker or slide guitar player to pull off that Robert Johnson sound. In addition, it is really hard to make something that has at least somewhat of a fresh sound so that it doesn't sound completely predictable and therefore boring. One of my strengths as a performer is my skill playing blues harmonica. And I love the blues.

I didn't intend to write a song this morning, but for some reason I was thinking about music and that phrase "The blues ain't nothing but a good man feeling bad" popped into my head. So right there the songwriter in me said "that's a good lyrical starting point." Within a half hour the lyrics fell into place along with a chord sequence that avoided the usual three chord 1, IV, V twelve bar blues structure; as much as I love it, it can be such a bore at this point since it has been done sooooo many times before. If I still think it sounds good tomorrow, I'll have to give it a trial in front of my fellow musicians and songwriters to see how they respond. I guess the phrase should probably be in the public domain, it is old enough - I did a Google search, and some songs are already out there using the starting lyric or something close to it, but I think that is OK because I know that there are sometimes totally different songs with the same title.

If there are any musicians out there reading this who can share how they approach writing a bluesy song that isn't just another cliched, soul-less imitation please share!

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