Songwriter with a Sharp Knife

Hack, hew, whittle, whittle, cut, trim, scrape, whittle!  I’m finishing up recording for the Southern California Care Collective’s Soundtrack I’ve been working on for the past two years.  A few songs are not done–most are, but the ones that aren’t finished, are not because I was too lazy to finish them at the time.  Now is the time!

Sometimes it is a word, sometimes it is a whole phrase that needs changing.  Sometimes I just throw the whole song out and start again.  That’s often easier.  Songwriters sometimes seem to cherish every word and phrase and hold them sacred.  Not good!  Once when I was talking with Ansel Adams and was critiquing one of my prints he said much the same thing about photographers.  Loosely quoting him:  “Photographers struggle for every small portion of negative space and hate to give up any piece of the image, but sometimes you just have to crop.”  So I am cropped.

That is also great advice for songwriters.  Let me quote myself:  “The words aren’t so precious that a good song can’t do without some of them.”  I seem to be doing without quite a few words these days.  So I am cropping, whittling, cutting, and trimming.  And the songs are getting better.


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