When I see these guys up on the stage with their Martin D-42s and their Breedlove A-25s just picking away and coaxing that rich tonal melody out of that acoustical sound hole into the microphone and onto the waiting audience, my eyes start to water from the I don’t know… the anticipation, the expectation of being taken away, the wonder of the sounds flooding into me… But mostly they just piss me off. It’s the Loudon Wainwrights (the third. The first two don’t really faze me either way) the Leo Kottkes, the Pete Segers and the Lyle Lovetts. Do I really have to make a list? It could go on and on. It’s not just the men either. The chicks burn my ass too. The Indigo Girls and Aimee Mann each time I see them. Melissa Etheridge yes.
I never really understood why I have such an intense love hate relationship with these talents. I always figured it was just that, the talent. From a young age I guess that I wanted to sing. But not in a choir or an ensemble. Not as the backup singer going sha la la or parroting the verse after the lead got to shout it out first. A lead in a Broadway musical wouldn’t have done it for me cause those songs are to orchestrated and fine. The back and forth with the other actor/singers would have driven me to distraction. No I wanted to be solo. But it wasn’t my voice that was to propel my music; it was the instrument in my hands, a guitar exactly.
And then I figured it out. What really chafes my hide about these singer songwriters is the songwriter part. And in particular the writer part. As I sit in the audience and listen to these guys spin their yarns, it dawns in me that they have a voice to relay their experiences however grandiose or trite. They can talk of alcoholic grandmothers and love gone bad in way that seem relevant and vital so where me just writing about them seem vain and bitter.
Please, indulge for just a second while I try something. Really, it’s going to be great.
Marion, Marion, why you do me like ya do. Always burnin down my house o love. Pullin down and pantsin me. Like a dervish twerlin away from me.
I guess I could pull it off if you caught me on a YouTube flick; it’s no good translated on the written page. And that’s my medium. I write, on white. So damn you all, singer songwriters. I will try to be lyrical in my writing in the long form. And I’ll do it in my vain and bitter way.
(If any singer songwriters out there would like me to finish the song above, I would happily… if you let me play the harmonica.)