Tuesday, February 26, 2019

WRITING SERIOUS SONGS - Jack Blanchard's Column 02/26/19


I can't tell a songwriter how to write,
but I can describe some of my methods
that others may find helpful.

On a serious lyric I try to avoid cleverness.
First I stare out the window a while
and mentally put myself in a place and situation,
and see where it goes from there.
In my case, most of them are places and situations I've been in.

I set the scene with a few details I call "furniture",
to get the feel of it,
then the story develops from that.
I have some examples.

"Dandelions that grow along the highway,
Silver gray they blow away like foam.
Trucks roll by and make the blackbirds fly away.
Seems like there ain't no goin' home."

I was broke and hitchhiking in the rain outside Phenix City, Alabama.
I had a hangover, a new sore tattoo, and no home to go to.
Until then I'd thought I was the happy wanderer.
I was hitching vaguely northward
because I had remnants of a family somewhere up there.

"Spent what I had left in Phenix City.
Nothin' in my pocket but my comb.
The way I look this morning ain't so pretty.
It seems like there ain't no goin' home.
Oh, it seems like there ain't no goin' home."

I had walked away from a couple of relationships,
thinking there would always be another waiting in the wings.
I found you can't depend on that.
These were not perfect relationships,
but on this journey I could have used a partner.

"Over on the hill I see a farmer,
Workin' in his field behind a mule.
There'll be smoke from the chimney of his cabin,
In the evening when the air is turning cool;
And a woman cookin' supper in the kitchen.
That's not for me, you see my freedom's all I own.
Here and there I get my share of lovin',
But it seems like there ain't no goin' home.
Yeah, it seems like there ain't no goin' home."

After a lot of rides to nowhere
that left me stranded in desolate places,
I wound up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania with the flu.
It was cold and all I had for warmth was a fold up plastic raincoat.
The town was having a centennial,
and a bunch of good-natured men, including a sheriff,
wanted to arrest me for not having a beard,
as I was sitting shaking in the Greyhound station.

I had somehow come up with bus fare to Buffalo,
where relatives agreed to take me in,
but the bus driver didn't want to let me on the bus
because of my shaking, and the awful way I looked,
and the wrinkled plastic I was clutching around myself.

But it must have turned out all right because I'm still here,
and I got a song out of it.

Jack Blanchard 

You can listen to the song here: 

Seems Like There Ain't No Goin' Home


Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan...
Home Page:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackandmisty
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists.

© Jack Blanchard, 2019

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