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Songwriter Sunday - and the Next Album

For those of you that follow me on the YouTubes (or Rumble, because, YouTube sucks) know that I spent a year+ doing a thing called Songwriter Sunday. I had only been writing songs when inspiration struck. I had seen other artists be intentional about their writing and had been mystified by that approach. "Surely, you must have to wait for inspiration, yes? You can't just... sit down and start writing?"

It turns out that, yes, yes you can.

One day I got it in my head to give this intentional approach to songwriting a go and see where it would take me. The experience has changed my approach to songwriting and I now realize being intentional has rewards. I had written a song and then thought - "Ok, it's Sunday - let's see if I can write another one next Sunday". And then I pulled that off and thought, "Could I do this every week?". I decided to find out.

Now one thing that I've learned about myself in my old age is that to avoid thinking I "have" to do a thing - I give myself permission to stop doing that thing if I want to. It's sort of a bit of reverse psychology I do to myself. And it just seems to work. "Oh, I don't have to do this if I don't want to". But then each week came and I kept at it.

Could I do this for an entire year?

And wouldn't you know, I did. In fact, I wrote more than 52 songs. Some weeks I would start a song, wouldn't feel it - and set that one aside and start (and finish) a different song. The most songs I ever wrote in a single day was three. Was it hard to get started some days? Absolutely. But I always pushed through - the goal was to write something... anything.

But why? The thing that I discovered on this journey is that the more I did it, the more the neural pathways were engaged in my brain, much like how you exercise a muscle - the easier the process became. Sometimes I started with a blank sheet of paper, or I was just noodling away on my guitar when I would hit on a chord progression that spoke to me. I started keeping song ideas on my phone - whenever a thought or a turn of a phrase would speak to me, but I didn't have time to write at that moment, into the phone it went. Then, when the time I had set aside for songwriting came, I could go through my list of ideas and see what spoke to me.

The unexpected benefit really came when I started considering the songs for my next album. When I would get ready for an album project, I usually had a target of 10 songs. But I would usually only have six or seven ready to go. During the process of recording I would be "waiting for inspiration" and hope that it would come to get the last three or four songs completed. Sometimes this caused delays in the recording and release process.

As my list of written songs began to grow, I started thinking ahead to the next album, cleverly called, "Jake's Rock Album" (although we'll see how "rocky" it comes out). As I added a song to the catalog I began ranking them - attempting to choose "the best". Also, if I felt I had a song that was a good candidate, I would take it to the boys, (Jeff [bass] and Terry [drums]) to see if it resonated. Thus, each song would get ranked for what was going on the album and the ones that were not going to make the cut.

The new goal, since I now had all these songs, was to choose the top 12. That's right - we're going even bigger! Now, I had already decided that we were going to re-record "Said, I Love You", from the Amygdala Hijack album, because I felt that we had not done that song justice. So that left 11 spots for this project.

But then I had a problem. I couldn't decide what the last song to make the cut would be when we had two strong candidates. I took the two candidates to band practice to get votes from Jeff and Terry. We played both and Terry said, "Well, I guess there's going to be 13 songs".

So here are the 13 songs that have made the cut:

  • Said, I Love You

  • I'm A Mess

  • Where I Might Land

  • Nothing Left to Show

  • Dirty Little Secret

  • Before I'm Through

  • I'm Still The Star

  • I Got Lei'd

  • A Little Misunderstanding

  • Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day

  • Yeehaw Junction

  • This Too Will Pass

  • Just Carry On

If you want a preview - you can see these songs on my YouTube Songwriter Sunday channel (and you should subscribe so, you know, YouTube shares the wealth).

I have also continued to write and put songs into the Songwriter Sunday channel - so when the next album comes around (Will there be a "next"? We'll see.) I'll have a whole host of new material from which to choose.

I'm aiming for a summer release - but we'll see how the recording process goes. As I write this, drums are completed and bass tracks are about 1/3 of the way done. Oh, and I need to continue to score some gigs so this whole thing can get paid for. Stayed tuned!


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