Q – Since you will soon turn your attention to recording your next disc, I was wondering how you develop the songs. I read somewhere that the idea for Woman in a Bar germinated for ten years or so until you were happy to record it. Glad you took the time because that is a great song.
I imagine it would be fairly easy to write down phrases and lyrics in a notebook and review them and rewrite them as needed. But how do you capture your ideas for melodies? Do you record all your musical doodlings? And play them back and then expand on them? Surely you can’t keep them all in your head until they are ready to be born fully formed?
Is there any chance that Backwoods, Sunburst or Santa Cruz might become full grown songs?
A – These days I try to just live with the songs and let them develop on their own timelines. Still, after this tour is over and a few outstanding business issues are tied up I will start work in earnest, and I guess unfinished songs which I think are especially promising, may be encouraged by repeated play and attention.
I do keep notes, always. I do have a dictaphone – the latest one being a neat iPhone app, so one thing less to carry.
I tried to make Backwoods into a song with Tie me Down which is on Cleaning out the ashtrays. It has merit, but I’m not 100% happy with the outcome, I certainly prefer the instrumental. But it’s funny that you should ask because I’m working on a waltz time song right now (so many of my tunes are 3/4 these days) which I realised was almost identical to Santa Cruz, so I’m not going to try to hide the similarity, which only lasts through the intro riff anyhow (Santa Cruz isn’t much more than an intro, is it?). That tune is coming along nicely, touch wood.