Last night I was in the mood for a Clint Eastwood western movie.
I think somewhere in the day I heard the theme song for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; and it set me off.
Here’s a fun listen to the theme with the California and Montreal Guitar Trios. Come back here though, because there’s a songwriting point to both the movie and this clip.
In the movie the “bad” guy is always playing the smug gunfighter.
Bragging about how he always sees the job through as a hitman.
Always playing the badass…
Knocking women around…
Shooting a teenager…
Then there’s the “good” guy. Eastwood.
He quietly does his deal.
Works up a little number catching an outlaw, getting the cash reward, then shooting the rope before the outlaw hangs.
Just to do it again in another county for even more cash.
Okay. So that ain’t all that good, but at least he showed compassion.
In the end, the bad dude gets gunned down by Eastwood, the good guy.
Because he’s just better than the bad guy.
Thing is, the good guy doesn’t have to say he’s better or go around acting smug throughout the movie.
He is what he is, and quietly goes about his business.
Now, for this guitar trio clip.
Look at those guys.
They’re having a blast up there with probably the most notorious movie theme ever.
They don’t need to showboat or anything.
They just played and had a bunch of fun.
Here’s the point.
Ever met a picker or a writer who feels compelled to brag about stuff.
Rattles off a bunch of technical terms to try impressing you.
Practically stands up in a good ol’ boy guitar pickin’ jam as if to say, Look at me boys.”
Or commence to bragging about gigs, song cuts, or awards.
You’d think they’d dislocate a shoulder patting themselves on the back like that.
Here’s the thing.
If you’re one of these.
Please. Really. You aren’t going to attract co-writers or anyone else who can help you with that attitude.
I remember a song camp with Angela Kaset. Angela wrote the hit song something in Red which Lorrie Morgan made big.
Some schmuck who’s ego was big enough to swallow his cowboy hat started arguing with Angela about her feedback she was giving.
I remember thinking this is the last guy I’d ever want to write with.
This was even after he paid me a pretty good comment, called me a hero of some sort.
For what, I can’t recall anymore.
Hey. At the end of the day as a songwriter there’s only one question that matters.
One single question that answers any other question about your writing ability…
Do you move people with your songs?
For instance the below means more to me than any award or money:
“I want to let you know before I go just how much you have impacted my life. I draw a lot of inspiration from you. As a fellow vision impaired musician and as a lyricist. Your songs touch the boarders of some of the experiences I have been close to in my own life.
Jagged Edges – because of my own very dysfunctional upbringing.
She’s Long Gone – I lost a sister to cancer who had been living as a street person for the last few years of her life.
The Wall- is especially touching – I’m a bit of a patriot too.
These songs I have a connection with and it is those connections, and the experiences in my own life that tie me to them from which I am able to feel a kinship to your music.
I have thoroughly enjoyed playing the tracks that you provided to me on my weekly shows and hope to continue doing so, once I am back at the broadcast desk.” 6StringStew—Jim Hodges,
That is where it’s at my friend.
If you aren’t writing songs that evoke unsolicited mail like this?
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