The Road. Econo Lodges. Thin sheets. Thin soup. New songs. Forget the "road blog" deal. The road journey is worthwhile 'cause it centers around "The Song." The Minstrel trail; gone back to Homer and his autoharp. The Song! People whine about the demise of the album - the cd - the record store - the music biz - and, finally, downloading wiping out records.. Let me lay it on you: I told an executive at Capitol Records that digital downloading was perfect for young kids 'cause there are no young writers capable of writing 12 great songs for a full cd. I expected him to blanch. He looked me in the eye and said: "That's true." We are in the age when it's all about "form"and "concept" and not about content and great writing. (Ditto the art and literature worlds.) There are wonderful new "folk sounds" out there, and great cross pollinations of world music, and 20,000 celtic girl bands who are cute. There are no songs at the core of it all that give you "The Chill." We have lost our creative core. I'm speaking as a American music fan; not as a songwriter who should shut up and deliver. I'll keep trying to carve out a great song. Promise. We have created hundreds of bullshit magazines in the last thirty years that pretend to cater to songwriters and guitar players; we have folk alliances and SXSW conferences up the ass, and yet all this stuff has just led the young writer AWAY from the true journey of finding out who He or She is; as an artist. Doing the homework and learning fifty Hank Williams songs and 1000 year old folk songs, and building an individualistic-artist core; as Dylan and Van Morrison and Lucinda Williams did. The industry just wants to sell guitar tuners and tattoos to 10,000 core-less kids trying to establish a fake "edge." Tattooed kids are the new Middle Class. There is no "edge." All the digital paraphenalia in the word hasn't created the next Beatles. It's about heart and soul, and we're lost - wandering around folk alliances like zombies with cd's in our paws….praying for gigs and instant credibility. But I wax on….nothing more to whine about….everyone is whining….it's back to the pen and paint brush, the buck stops here; and somewhere in Hibbing or St. Louis or El Paso, a giant Sphyinx-like creature bats it's eye in the desert and moves toward Bethlehem, or the Newport Folk Festival, with a batch of songs that wipes out boredom, bullshit, songwriter magazines, conferences, rock and roll museums, and the booing that will certainly ensue from the Old Guard that tried to stuff wax into the mouth of Bob Dylan. It ain't about "looking back" at the '60's…it's about looking down into your heart and seeing if you have a soul that rings with a little truth, and then praying for the guts and the duende to make it rhyme and resonate, and finally, work as a song that might move The Tribe. Song!
Me? "I'm just on the road, heading for another joint…." Walking down those tracks with blood on them.