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Marty Dodson

Guitar World Member For: 1 year 16 weeks
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SongTown USA: Why I Write

People often ask me why I write songs. The quick easy answer is "Because I need to." Writing songs has been my way of processing life since I was 11 years old. I think men often have trouble talking about our feelings. We tend to keep them to ourselves a lot of the time.

SongTown USA: Love In A Coffee Shop

"Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right," "Let Me Down Easy," "While You Loved Me,' "Fire It Up" and "Bounce" were all about some aspect of love. And all were #1 songs. The trick with love songs is to talk about love in a different way.

SongTown USA: What is Your Music Worth?

There is a growing perception that music (and writers) have no intrinsic value. I have people all the time encouraging me to give a song away or to come play a show for free. I have actually had people get offended when I told them I wouldn’t come play somewhere for nothing. They tell me that I will be getting great “exposure” for my music. Meanwhile, they are packing the house and making lots of money on drinks, food and cover charges.

SongTown USA: Don't Wait For Inspiration

Often, people ask me when, how and where I find inspiration. I generally tell them that I sit down on a couch every day with a blank word document on the screen in front of me and a guitar in my lap. If inspiration doesn't show up at 10:30 when my co-write starts, then I start going through my idea file or playing my guitar.

SongTown USA: A Day Of Practice Songwriting

One day, my friend Danny Wells and I wrote a song. We were really excited about it, so Danny wanted to play it for his publisher. We went in the man's office and Danny played it live. I could tell as he was playing that the guy didn't seem like he liked it. We asked him what he didn't like - was it the groove, the feel, the title, the lyric? "All of it," was his response. He hated all of it. Every piece of it. His final comment was the nail in the coffin. "Boys, I would just consider that a day of practice songwriting and move on."

SongTown USA: Be An Empowered Writer

It struck me today that there are basically two kinds of writers I work with. There are empowered writers and non-empowered writers. Empowered writers write confidently and take chances. They don't complain about the state of the music business or whine about someone not getting them cuts. They realize that THEY are in charge of the ship they are on. If they are rejected, they learn from it and move on. They see criticism as an opportunity to grow.

SongTown USA: Write About Just ONE Thing

I work with a lot of songwriters on through SongTown USA that are trying to turn their hobby into a profession. The most common mistake I see in those aspiring songwriters is that their songs tend to wander around. They start strong with the first verse. It tends to stay on topic. By the time they get to the chorus, they are chasing a couple of rabbits down different trails. The second verse is where it usually falls apart. By the time they get to the bridge, there are rabbits running everywhere.

Favorites of 2013: Charlie Worsham's 'Rubberband'

My favorite acoustic-based album of 2013 would be Charlie Worsham’s Rubberband. Mississippi boy Charlie Worsham was a child prodigy. Before he went through puberty, he had already played banjo on the Grand Ole Opry stage with Earl Scruggs. His guitar skills are unmatched among modern country artists. He is one of the rare artists who actually plays lead guitar while singing. If you go to a Charlie Worsham show, it will be Charlie, not a hired gun playing the solos for each song.

SongTown USA: Forget Finding Yourself - Create Yourself!

I don't know how many times I have heard someone say, "I'm trying to find myself." It amazes me how many of our thought processes put life firmly OUT of our own control. If it's possible to "find myself,” that means that the REAL me is out there somewhere waiting on the imitation me to find him.

SongTown USA: Plan B

If you ask any successful person if their career has gone exactly as they planned it and I doubt you would get one affirmative answer. Careers (and life in general) are really hard to plan out and structure to our liking. There are too many variables that are out of our control. My theory is that successful people succeed, in large part, because they are able to react and respond well when something unexpected happens. When something doesn't go according to plans, they don't give up. They evaluate their new options and then pick another road to take.