Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Favorite songwriters

I've been tripping out after such a shitty experience in grad school. In a return to roots, today I'm stepping back to where my head was in early 1998. It was about then I had an epiphany that I'd rather sing my own songs than other peoples. That was an intense time of study. I was commuting by train to San Francisco, clockin' lots of dollars, buying and carefully listening to about ten new CDs a week of songwriter music. Somewhere in there I bought pretty much all the available books on the subject, too. I was exploring the mechanics of songwriting as well as aspects of my life that I could write about.

I didn't really find my voice, but I certainly identified a bunch of my own weaknesses. After a couple of years I gave up without really even performing the fifty or so ideas I tried to flesh out in song. I probably over-thought the whole thing. The journey was worth it and really opened new doors to my appreciation of music.

The list below is in approximate order. I'm surprised myself to see how the genres stack up. I intend to include birth city and year, as well as a short justification for each, but until I get around it, here's the list.

Townes Van Zandt
John Lennon
Paul McCartney
Merle Haggard
Tom Petty
Bill Monroe
Tom Waits
Bob Dylan
Lyle Lovett
Paul Simon
Steve Earle
Guy Clark
Elvis Costello
Eric Taylor
John Prine
Gram Parsons

Honorable mentions

David Byrne
Buck Owens
Jimi Hendrix
Paul Siebel
Shel Silverstein
Roger Miller
Chris Isaak
Stephen Foster

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