Thursday, August 25, 2016

How I Wrote The Song Montana Sky at Summer Acoustic Music Week, SAMW

How I Wrote Writing Montana Sky at Summer Acoustic Music Week, SAMW

So one of the best things I did this year at guitar camp was to write and perform a song. I have written little tiny songs before but not a full fledged song with lyrics, chorus and music. I figured with all my traveling this summer and lots of adventures and stories I would have plenty of material. I took Joel Mabus's beginning song writing class followed by Pete Kennedy's class on song craft. Joel starts you off with a set of words, basically an idea starter and you go from there. I knew what I wanted to write about and the line of text was helpful to get started. We eventually took it out, but other people in the class kept their text in. The entire

For my story I wrote a song about Louise and I sitting in a Subway Sub shop in western Ohio when 8 Missouri Highway Patrol Officers came in for lunch followed by two contractors one of which had a side arm. Ohio is an open carry state so he had the right to carry but it created a very odd situation and a little stressful with us sitting in the middle. We were basically the only customers in the restaurant that didn't have a gun. Patrol men on one side, man with gun on the other. For the song I tried to walk a fine line about being in a very odd situation rather than a for or against guns song.

What was also cool is that I got a lot of help with the writing and creating of the song. It was a true collaboration with Bo Veaner, Bill McQuaid and Mike Kaufman all helping out during the week. On Friday I performed the song. Bo was my main partner for writing the music and arranging and he also played with me on stage for the student concert It was a great experience.

My initial notes on the song before I took the class

My initial notes on the song before I took the class

The line I was given by Joel Mabus in the class.

First take on roughing out the lyrics

Second take on the lyrics. For the music I started with the bluegrass song Cripple Creek and then changed from there

A story grid, a technique I use for design, I tried it with music and it works also
The song is really starting to pull together, but is does look messy

My final version, I use these pages at the student performance.