Well, every once in a while I start making lists of songs that I could actually play live. I always have this romantic notion of being a troubadour, traveling the world with just his guitar, serenading everywhere he goes. Never gonna happen. Well, at the very least it is fun to have a repertoire, so that you can just play, spontaneously, out of exuberance, enjoyment, and to tell you the truth, even in your own house, when you actually get the mics out, the stool, and the PA system, and you play a collection of songs for an hour or so, it really gives you the physical and psychological release do I call it? Therapy? Whatever, like a work out, or going to “Yoga” or a “Spin” Class.
At any rate, I thought last night that, you know, if I made a certain song off one of my lists a “Song of the Day” and spent the time learning it, actually playing it with a mic an PA as if I were performing live, that you know, after a month or a few months, certainly a year (and we know how fast these years go by) I’d have a pretty decent little setlist, repertoire, whatever you want to call it, that I could play for myself or for others.
So hear goes: Last night I suddenly had the urge to listen to John Mellencamp on Spotify. So I listened to his top hits. Really almost any of them I could have chosen. This one was about 5th or 6th down on the list.
So I came home and picked out the chords pretty fast. I mean it’s not a hard song, musically, but I’d like to think that that’s one of the benefits of learning covers: you start to see similar patterns, and the more you learn, the easier and more fun it seems to be to learn new ones. It’s kind of fun, like figuring out a puzzle.
(An hour or so later)
Well, if nothing else, I’ve managed to drag out all the chords and mics and re hook up my PA system, along with a spot and a stool to simulate playing live in a small room. I went through this song a few times. I think I about have it. I don’t think I would be too impressive in front of a real crowd. It felt like my already weak voice was even weaker than usual. That bummed me out. But I know that at least in part some of that has to do with being able to hear yourself and the monitoring system, of which I have none.
And then some other songs that I knew well enough came up, along with some original riffs sort “popping” out of the guitar. That’s another benefit of playing and learning cover songs: Gets your “juices” flowing and you’ll start spontaneously “hearing” and playing your own riffs and progressions that could become original songs.
I guessed that a few years ago and had it confirmed by different “real” artists that I’ve read in interviews: For instance, if you want to be a poet, the best thing you can do is constantly be reading new poetry. Same with fiction, and I suppose with other arts.
Well back to the subject at hand. I don’t know if I’ll keep this up. Knowing me, probably not. But anyway at least I have an official “Song of the Day” for May 8th, 2013, and it’s John “Cougar” Mellencamp’s “Ain’t Even Done with the Night.”