Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mountains and Music

This morning I am sitting here looking out our patio door at the snow and ice with my cup of coffee trying to fulfill my songwriter's mission statement....that is:  "To drink coffee and make stuff up".  My mind started to think about the mountains...specifically the mountains where I have lived.  The Many Glacier Valley in Glacier National Park and also the Togwotee Pass (pronounced 'toe-gah-tee') area near Jackson Hole and Yellowstone in Wyoming.  The mountains have always been an inspiration to me for writing songs.  Sitting for hours with a guitar in a meadow or by a cabin just looking at incredible scenery.

I think every songwriter has to find their source for inspiration.  Most often for me it is a quiet time and a place to reflect.  The business of songwriting is different I guess filled with writing appointments, hooks, computers/iPads etc, a 2 hour block of time to finish a song or two.  Maybe this is why much of the music today lacks heart, soul, authenticity! There is no time to reflect, imagine, create, and craft the music.  See that takes deep throught and time along with hopefully talent and a creative mind for the music.  Calling up someone and saying "let's meet tomorrow from 10-noon and write" rings hollow for me.  Maybe some writers can "turn it on and off" but many can't and that includes me.

I have a hard time writing, what I call "ditty" songs.  Don't get me wrong...I love to listen to great tap your foot, feel good songs that are just fun to play and sing...but...that isn't what I lean toward.  I lean toward songs that cut right to the heart, that have something to say, that evoke emotion whether laughter or tears.  I need quiet, introspective time without a time limit to write a song.  To me every song will write itself in its own time...that may be one day and it may be 2 years.  But, in a fast food world of songwriting many times that doesn't pay the bills.  Look on the country charts and look at the songwriters.  Just about every song will have at least 2-3 songwriters on the credits.  These are business relationships created to crank out songs and make a living.  Some writers are good at this....I am not.  We grouse at the quality of music out there these days and then fail to go to the source...the songwriters and the process that is forced upon them to finish so many songs every year per their contract.  What is the process, the goal?  To me EVERY song is a gift and I never take a song for granted.I feel very lucky that I don't have to make a living off my songwriting (although I'm not against being paid fairly for the work). Anyway, my mind puts me back in the mountains and the ideas start to come.  Sometimes we just need to sit, close our eyes, open our mind and let the ideas come.  Forcing inspiration just isn't something I can do.  So today I sit here at the kitchen table and stare out at the cold thinking about the mountains and music and how they are pretty much inseparable to me.  Hope you are staying warm on this cold February day and are inspired to be creative.  Yup...mountains and music does it for back to drinking coffee and making stuff up!!! :)



  1. Love this, looking forward to lots of mountain scenery and plenty of time and coffee to make stuff up.:-)

  2. Brink,
    You have been an inspiration to me to continue the persuit of songwriting and through the best and worst of my songs, I've been able to stay motivated. It's people like you that I'm sure will keep me motivated to write! Thanks for blogging! Some really nice state parks in my neck of the woods in virginia. Hungry Mother is a really nice one that you would certainly find some of what you are looking for on inspiration. Let me know if you venture this way and maybe we can sit down with guitars in the mountains of Virginia! Scott Patrick

  3. Thanks Scott....I appreciate it and look forward to the summer and the mountains :)

  4. Brink, living in Kansas eliminates mountains as a source of inspiration but I will share a short video to your FB page of the Flinthills. It is the same thing. They have been a focal point of some songs and simply a place to slow down and let things take their course. There are so many beautiful and quiet places we can all use "To drink coffee and make stuff up"