Rowland Sally on “Killing The Blues

The man who wrote  “Killing The Blues” talks about what it takes to write a great song.

“It’s hard for me to imagine writing a song purely out of uninspired labor as your friend describes. I guess it can be done but why would he? To think that somebody might write a song that they simultaneously felt ambivalent about sort of makes me wonder. How could they know when the song was finished? The question “what is a great song?” also arises. There are so many kinds of songs. Kitchen songs. Field songs. Party songs. Truthful songs. Story songs. Love songs. Burnt your own house down songs. Car songs. Murder songs. Gospel songs. Pitiful songs. Real songs. Real Magic Songs. John Prine once told me that it took him twelve years to write this one song. Which was understandable. Unless you start cold with “the lawnmower” and then find that the song you’re working on has come to hunt you down and burden you with its own inspiration…I think that songs really have to be inspired to begin with…I agree with you on that. Some of them could come in ten minutes…others might take a decade or two to get them exactly the way the writer needs them to be…or anything in between. After you’re moved to the point of needing to get the song written and have come to some sort of terms with it….i think you need a combination of luck…grace…and hard work in varying relative amounts to make sure this gift is as well realized as it can be. Sometimes it almost writes itself like greased lightning…other times it flows like molasses uphill in a plowed field in january (northern hemisphere). I’m stumbling around here but what I mean to say is something like…in order to make something you have to be something”

The Back Fence | roly’s blog.


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