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All too often, songwriters are like those maleficent individuals classically described by Somerset Maugham:

"Do you like card tricks?"
"No, I hate card tricks," I answered.
"Well I'll just show you this one."

You know. Guys with guitars and a certain hungry look. Girls with ukes and glasses and a simper that could melt plastic. All of them the embodiment of the climax of the Bobs' version of Little Red Riding Hood: "LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO MEEEEEEEE!!!!" (wolf howls optional but probably more entertaining than whatever they're about to impart). Posting phonevids on Youtube, engulfing Reverbnation and Soundcloud with soulful ditties, searching the self-help sites for the secret address to the Department Of Fame And Fortune.

It's one of those unintended consequences that you read about on your cousin's blog: ever since the tools of production of popular music cheapened to the point that virtually anybody could pound out a beat or capture a crystalline guitar chord without mortgaging their soul and possibly their first-born to The Man LLC, virtually everybody has discovered in themselves the Next Big Thing and are boiling however many man-or-woman-hours they're not already burning updating their Twitter feed miking bass drums and programming virtual synths in their bedroom studio, dollar signs shining in their dear little button eyes. And it's sad but true that most of it is — actually pretty good. Certainly not out of tune or rhythm, sincere, even a touch creative at times.

Yes, the Folk have rediscovered Folk Music, and a hundred flowers are blooming. It's the golden age of universal self-expression. But the two things that increased productivity cannot enhance are innate talent and access to audience. Particularly the latter.

And boy, can that make it hard on a hoary old hack like me. I've been a songwriter since I was 16, and it's only gotten worse, believe me jocko. It's hard enough to rev up the ol' musical juice and attempt (and attempt only, mind you) to batter some vague glimmer of inspiration into an actual palpable Work without the accumulated weight of ten octillion wannabes inscribing the words WHY BOTHER? into your back in 800 point Comic Papyrus bold. It's been so bad that I've only recently managed to gown up and deliver the first squalling brat I've been fertile enough to conceive in about a year, which is way way too long a dry spell to...

Wait a minute! What's the matter with you? Why are you backing away smiling nervously? Come back here! Don't you wanna hear my new song?



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