Songwriting – Simple Setup Is Good

Crossroads, Napa Valley, CAI’m just back from a mini-vacation to Napa Valley and Sonoma here in Northern California — one reason was to find Californian cross-roads (long story, more later.) Anyway, it’s one of first times I’ve not packed a laptop or anything fancy with me on a vacation, just a guitar and a hand-held recorder.

And it was fun. Sitting in the hotel room with the guitar, trying out various chord progressions, when something interesting happened verse-chorus-wise, hit the record button — no worries about record quality and timing, main thing the idea was recorded down. I have six entries to look into later this week, that after a short less than two-hour jam session.

There’s something special about not worrying about equipment, cables, plug-ins, just record ideas. Another danger with working in a studio is to get so fixated on cool sounds and arrangements, so the song writing side is limited or weak. So this is one of my main working systems now, when I have interest, I just pick up my acoustic guitar and the handheld recorder, go to my pool house and spend some time jamming and experimenting.


  1. entirely so mate! Performance, performance, mere performance takes it to the top, not the coolest latest equipment

  2. I tend to swing towards both extremes. But I never get tired of a good singer/songwriter combo. If the song facilitates a certain emotion or idea that’s what I tend to pay attention to. I like produced like Radiohead or Sigur Ros, but not like John Tesh.

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