Episode #190: Driving Home Blues (Song starts at 3:00)
I’m really enjoying producing these episodes – it’s a live online gig, really. That’s what it feels like. Thanks so much to those of you who are tuning in regularly. If you’re new here:
I’m looking to shine a light on some aspects of how I compose a song. I’m certainly not to looking take away the mystery – as if I could do that. The mystery is half of what makes song writing intriguing.
In 1991, when I wrote song #190, ‘Driving Home Blues’, I was working in a piano bar with Paul Dredge, my song writing buddy and great friend. We played 5 nights per week for 3 years at this residency. We learned so much. We are still writing and recording today – our 6th album is nearing completion.
I was single at the time. A brief stormy sort of a relationship had snuck up on me. It made me feel stuff. It made me grow up in a hurry. I had to toughen up, look after myself.
Then it was all over before it started. At the time I decided to go out and buy a sheet music book, of Bob Dylan’s songs, with the purpose of analysing Bobs songs – his Melodies and chords, etc.
Paul, and I were already playing lots of Bob Dylan (and Neil young). We’d worked out there songs by ear, but something made me buy this book and study the notation.
After 30mins browsing the book, I was sort of in the mood. I thought: “I’ll have a go at writing a Bob Dylan sort of song” and I wrote ‘These Bills Blues’ (featured on an earlier episode)…. and then about 5 nights later I wrote ‘Driving Home Blues’.
Writing ‘in the style of’ isn’t something I’d done before or since, to be honest. But I’m glad I gave it a go.
We can learn so much by following in the steps of the masters. So it’s not plagiarism, nothing like that. It was more noticing how few chords you could work with, how few words you sometimes need. And how simple a melody can be for it to work.
Both Bob Dylan and Neil Young have at times written some very, very clever simple songs that say so much, which ultimately was enhanced by the way they were so brilliantly sung and produced.
As a piano player, you tend at times to use a lot of chords. So this was something that pushed me in a slightly different direction, and it’s something I never forgot.
I’m not afraid to write simple songs.
On that note, I’ve never been afraid when composing. You can’t be afraid of making mistakes. Being aware, now I think that’s super important, being aware…( eg how original is this song I’m writing?)… a sense of honesty and originality. It can take a while to find your own style.
It’s a such a pleasure to be writing songs, still, after all these years.
Because I’ve been so busy doing this podcast and my blog, teaching 24 kids piano each week, painting seascapes and cartoons, – and selling them – it’s all been ‘go’ around here, for years.
I’ve written 800 songs, have 12 albums out & have 5 albums nearing completion – plus I’m working on tuition videos (music and art). These video courses have taken me far longer than I thought it might. Oh well.
It’s important not to be to hard on yourself if you’re on the creative path. It’s like a river sometimes you’re in a holding pool, other times you’re in the rapids and away you go.
When writing the music, it seems like you can somehow ‘hear’ the beginning of the next phrase ‘ahead of time’. It is fascinating, and it’s fun to be in the flow, like this.
I’m grateful I took the time to sit down and write Driving Home Blues. I could’ve just sat round licking my wounds. Instead, I got stuff off my chest and into my diary. Then I used those feelings and experiences to push me on and turn a murky feeling into a piece of art.
Here we go. I hope you enjoy hearing new music ..and another chat.
Thanks for having a read, I hope you enjoy the listen. If so, there’s another 180 odd episodes waiting for you. They’re not in an particular order, although I’ve enjoyed the way this podcast continues to evolve. It’s a fun creative process, producing each episode.
This is my blog ( you can find the lyrics to the song on this podcast each week on my blog – plus art and more music,) www.petepascoe.wordpress.com