The evolution of a brand new song

In Nashville, TN, it's really common for pro writers to sit down in a writing session and finish a complete song in 3 hours. Then, they're done and never go back to it unless their publisher asks for a rewrite. 

I've  done that at times when working with Nashville writers, but it's not the usual way I work. Especially now that I'm recording my own material instead of pitching it to other artists. Nashville staff writers write hundreds of songs a year. Most of them never see the light of day. There's a reason they do that. They're writing songs in hope that a major artist will record them. It's pretty much a wild guess what those artists might like, and there are thousands of writers competing for the few availble slots on a record. So, they come up with as much material as they can and hope that some of them hit the target.

I've never been good at the process of banging out a finished song in 3 hours, and I don't have to. I get to choose what I record. When I get an idea that I want to write about, I want to get it right. That's often a long process.

I just finished a new song. To say that it went through transformations is a bit of an understatement. It started out being about one thing and ended up being about something else. There are few words remaining in the finished product from the original. The title change a few times. The melody evolved. It took several days of continual re-writes. There were several times when I thought I was done, only to realize that there were still parts that weren't up to the standard I aim for.

Like my current single, "Thoughts and Prayers", this new one is a political song. I don't specialize in political songs, but I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and tweeting about politics. Sometimes I need to express my opinions through music.

I've been very distressed about the political situation in America and also around the world where there's a wave of authoritarianism undermining democracies. One thing that stands out to me is how certain media outlets work hard at turning people against each other and have deliberately made it hard for people to tell fact from fiction. This was the original topic I set out to write about.

That turned out to be a tricky thing to build a song around. I still want to do it, but in the process of writing it, the focus turned trom the media to the people ourselves who've been turned against each other. And the song turned into a plea for unity. In a strange twist of events, the new song said nothing about the media at all. But.after I finally got all the parts right, the song felt incomplete. So, the final step of the process was to go back to where I started from and add a section on the media.

The song is called "One Great Nation". I hope to record and release it in the not-too-distant future.

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