Thursday, September 16, 2010

Songwriters and Other Magical Storytellers

I love good storytellers. They suck you out of your own world and into another. They're magical, and when we pay attention, we can learn some of their tricks.

Some of my favorite storytellers are songwriters. I use them to set the stage for my writing process. Christine Kane's Wide Awake cd (especially tracks 1, 3, and 5) pumps me up to dream big and make it happen. Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream" inspires me to send out submissions, and his song "The Waiting" relaxes me as I check and recheck my inbox and mailbox hoping to hear good news. Other favorite songwriters of mine are Don Henley, Steve Seskin, and Jimmy Buffet.

What songwriters do you love? Leave a comment about them and on Wednesday, September 22 one name will be drawn to win a Margaritaville guitar pick, a Post-it Flag Highlighter, and some Pop Rocks. Not a ten page critique, mind you, but I bet it will make you smile!

Remember, leave your Twitter name or email address if I can't find it through your blog account. I will only mail the prize to a U.S. address. Good luck, and thanks for sharing.


  1. How cool! Thanks Laura.

    Hmmm. My favorites are always girls - Joni mitchell, mary chapin, kim richey, nanci griffith...

    forget it. there's WAY too many for one comment!

  2. OH MY! Pop Rocks and a Post It Highlighter? You've combined 2 of my favorites: sugar and office supplies!
    Right now, Jason Mraz is really speaking to me. Also, Casting Crown's music always touches my heart. But I'm sad to report I don't know who rights their stuff. I'll have to investigate...

  3. I'm a huge fan of the songwriting of Rob Thomas. He does such a great job at expressing the angst and search that is so much a part of my life.

    Thanks so much for asking - I've been wanting to say that for a while...

  4. David Bowie. Definitely David Bowie.

    jenniferwhite13 (at) ymail (dot) com

  5. I love David Wilcox (the American one) and James Taylor!!

  6. Being a Jersey gal, I'd have to say Bruce Springsteen. I was lucky enough to visit the Rock N'Roll Hall of Fame the year he was inducted and they had an area full of memorabilia. I was struck with how many handwritten journals and snippets of paper there were with poems and song lyrics. It was then that I realized he was more than a rock icon who wears his Levis to perfection, he was a writer. I'm continuously dazzled by how well he can tap into the human spirit and I know I've listened to many of his songs when I need a pick me up or I want to evoke a certain emotion in my own writing. He is truly an artist and poet! And can still have an audience riveted for 2+ hours....sigh...okay, back to work!

  7. Thanks for sharing, everyone. This might be one of my favorite blog contests. You're giving me great songwriters to check out.

  8. Hey, Laura! Great post. As a sixties girl, I grew up with music playing constantly, and am just rediscovering how much it means to me now. As you say, there is music for every mood, and for every situation. Some of my favorites:

    Traveling music: Jimmy Buffet; Jackson Browne

    Remembering-what-it-was-like-to-have-your life-ahead-of-you music: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Suite Judy Blue Eyes!)

    Taking-on-the-world music: Carly Simon

    Laughing-at-life music: Christine Lavin

    Mellowing-out music: Gordon Lightfoot; James

    Thanks for letting me share!

  9. Totally with you on Jimmy Buffett but I tend to get wrapped up in his stories so I save that for driving.
    I mix it up a lot when I'm writing. I'll listen to Green Day, Muse, Linkin Park, Evanescence, Nelly, Breaking Benjamin. Sometimes, I go Broadway, usually with "Spring Awakening" or "Avenue Q".
    Or I'll go with Diana Krall or Josh Groban for some mellower tunes.
    In other words, I'll listen to just about anything depending on the mood!

  10. Ooh, songwriters! Okay, for folky-acousticesque songwriting, I think both Peter Case and Freedy Johnston are severely underrated (although Freedy's later stuff is not as good as his earlier stuff, and he doe a lot of plugged-in stuff too). Patty Griffin is great (and she has an amazing voice as well), as is Nanci Griffith, although she's another one whose earlier work I prefer. Loudon Wainwright III is one of the very best when it comes to writing about everyday stuff, and his songs about family are faaantastic.

    In a more pop music vein, Neil Finn is another underrated person - his work with Crowded House is more known, but he did some great solo stuff too.

  11. My favorite songwriters include Ray Charles, Steve Wonder, and India Irie.

  12. Paul Simon. James Taylor. Carole King. And for fun, Jonathan Coulton. "We're not unreasonable, no one's gonna eat your eyes..."

  13. Lennon-McCartney is an obvious choice for me. I would also add Kings of Convenience (wonderful songs if you've never heard of them) and Chrissie Hynde (overlooked now but so influential in her time). And for a more conventional choice, Van Morrison.

  14. I've been mapping my newest manuscript to the sweet harmonies of The Indigo Girls.