Songwriting

Words Imbued with Mission

Some people can say a simple word and color it with weight of untold meaning. Listen to Mary Gauthier talk about a song, and you’ll hear what I mean. A song means everything to Mary. And when I hear her talk about songs and songwriting, hearing the heft in her words, I believe it means everything as well.  

When I talk about songs it’s not the same. Even repeating the same words I can’t get it right; like a second rate comic telling someone else’s joke. A have a theory on how I might get there though. It’s mission.

I’ll probably never imbue the word “song” with the weight and meaning Mary does. But if I I seek out my mission fully, deeply, single-mindedly, I think you might hear me speak about my mission in the same way. Mission is like making a Demi-Glace* A chef starts with a huge stock pot and fills it with bones and marrow, vegetables, water, aromatics. Time and heat will yield about two gallons of exquisite rich reduction from what started as twenty. (Then there’s still more work to do).

A mission is like that too. You start with a whole life full of potential and possibilities that could be your mission. Then you let it simmer and evaporate and concentrate down until everything extraneous is gone and you are left with three or maybe five words which guide you, your mission. Then, like Mary, if your mission is songwriting, when you say the word, anyone can feel the weight of its import. 

*Mary was a chef before she was a songwriter, she uses the Demi-Glace metaphor to talk about honing a song. 

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