Vern's Verbal Vibe

Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and purveyor of folk 'n' roll: spirit-filled sad songs made better.

August 24, 2014

Songwriting Trips

Thanks to the generosity of my brother and sister-in-law, I've got a nice stash of Via Rail gift cards that I'm using for day trips. The original intention was to busk in these small towns, but having decided that busking is not for me (see previous posts), I'm now using these little getaways, among other things, as impetus for my songwriting.

It's like fishing: whether the catch is bountiful, nothing at all or somewhere in between doesn't matter, because it's always relaxing. Sometimes I will get a whole song out of the deal. A few years back a rainy day in London turned into a full set of lyrics that eventually became "After You," which is now in the can and will appear on my album. Yesterday was Kingston's turn and I got only one line, but that's okay. I don't force it; rather, I travel with the intention of staying open should inspiration come. If it doesn't, there's always the scenery, exploring the town and dinner to enjoy.

Unsurprisingly, music is my constant companion on these jaunts. Yesterday's trip featured Gordon Lightfoot on my mp3 player as we chugged through the countryside ("Canadian Railroad Trilogy" being quite apropos), with Steeleye Span and Miles Davis providing the soundtrack for the return leg. Often the tunes will spark arrangement ideas as well. If you're a recording musician, you tend to hear music like a record producer—at least I do. Always have, even when I was a boy.

Coming up: Woodstock in September, Ottawa for my birthday in October.

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