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August Milestones by Bob Chartier

I could never teach a class on songwriting. I’d tell them to goof off and find a good hideout. John Prine

The pandemic was a pretty good hideout, I must say, and one of my favorite songs that I got written is called Prine Time. It imagines me and John Prine sitting at a kitchen table trying to co-write a song. The song speaks to, like impossible possibilities, the longest shot in the world but just imagine…

Some believe that many of us novices should not even attempt to write songs as they believe the best songs ever have already been written.

Perhaps…but we will write anyway.

For the past decade, I have found song writing to be a gift waiting to be unwrapped. One day it’s a piece of coal and the next a wilted but still lovely flower. I learned that you just sit down and write and write and then if you just throw enough of the crap away, you may be left with a little nugget remaining at the bottom of the pan.

The songwriters are returning this summer to the Mile like meadowlarks in the spring. We welcomed them back with a song writing contest. Pat at the Ironwood and Teena at the Blues Can, great supporters of local song writing, welcomed them back onstage. Buskers are on the street. As I write this I look forward to Andy and Dakota welcoming our Songwriter Circle back to the Gravity Café this week.

To write a song is in many ways, to be like the kid moving from tracing a picture to coming up with their own work. It may be rough but its original and full of their beauty.

Last word to Dolly Parton, a millionaire doing good work instead of flirting with spaceflight… After writing 3,000 songs she insists “my head would explode if I didn’t get this stuff out!”

Write a little tune, it will do you good!


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