A song containing a few as one or two chords can be just as well-crafted as a far more intricate composition. Of course, the world is full of guitarists who play a D-to-G strum pattern ad infinitum, rhyme “fire” with “desire” and declare that they’ve written a song. You goal as a songwriter is to not be that person.
I used to sit around and daydream about having a rich relative that would pass away someday (sadly) and leave me a fortune. When I began to look around at my relatives, I realized quickly that I had better start buying lottery tickets if I wanted a windfall like that. I figured out that any money I was going to fall into was likely going to be the result of really hard work on my part. Sobering, but true. Here are the lessons I learned in regard to a big windfall as a songwriter...
One of the great parts about touring is meeting other artists and forging new relationships that might not otherwise come to pass. I met Isaac Johnson briefly when we shared the bill at a show in Hollywood. We kept in touch and quickly got the feeling that we might like to write together. That lead to a collaboration with a very satisfying result.
Following the release of his acclaimed new album Joy Of Nothing, Foy Vance's song "Closed Hand, Full Of Friends" now has a music video, directed by Gregg Houston of Babysweet Productions. The accompanying video was recently shot on the River Tay in Perthshire, accidentally causing a mystery case for the local Police that was picked up by BBC Scotland. View it here!
Each guitar I own speaks to me in different ways. I owe part of my success as a writer to the instruments that led me down different roads. They truly did teach me how to sing a love song. They taught me how to laugh and how to cry. I know of no better friend to have on a cold and lonely night than a great guitar. Never underestimate the power of a great instrument to take you places you never would have gone on your own.
I was only a kid when Ani DiFranco first exploded onto the indie folk scene, but by the time I was in high school, she was as relevant and powerful as ever to me as a budding female guitarist and singer. Recently, when I heard that she would be touring through a nearby city, I jumped at the opportunity to see her live for the first time. Opening for her September 27th performance at Durham’s Carolina Theater was Pearl and the Beard, a three-piece indie folk band based out of Brooklyn.
Prior to launching a solo career, acoustic guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Aoife O'Donovan (pronounced ee-fuh) spent the better part of a decade touring and recording with the celebrated progressive string group Crooked Still. This past June, O’Donovan released Fossils, her debut LP released on Yep Roc Records. On Fossils, O’Donovan has developed a collection of bluegrass-tinged folk-rock that showcases a focused maturity in her songwriting, and a clear understanding of a deep-rooted music form.
Idealists are people who just never grow out of their childhood dreams. Some idealists believe that they can achieve world peace. Then there are the artistic idealists who believe that, despite massive financial obstacles, ever decreasing record sales, and a heavily saturated market, they can find a way to beat the odds and build a successful career selling and performing their own original music. My friends, that is me.
If you’re a performing songwriter like me, or just a performer, you might find yourself feeling stagnant and falling into the same patterns of playing or writing, using the same chord progressions. Here’s an easy way to breathe some fresh life into your playing: Capo up!! I don’t mean just changing the key of what you’re playing already. I mean, explore the possibilities created by using a partial capo. These devices change the tuning of the guitar itself with just the squeeze of a spring, or the snap of a locking clip.