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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Davey What attracts you to a song or tune? (33) What attracts you to a song or tune? 08 Oct 99

I'm interested in knowing what it is about a song or tune that attracts you enough to want to sing it or play it, strongly enough that it becomes a part of your repertoire. If this topic has been covered before, just point me to it and I'll dig through it there.

When I was a teenager delivering newspapers, one of my first purchases with my earnings was a transistor radio, and I used to bicycle around my paper route listening to the local country station. I'd learn and sing along with just about anything (didn't start playing an instrument until many years later)... In those days, also, I was growing up in a military environment, and had absolutely no knowledge of concepts such as left wing, right wing, social justice, etc. Those also came much later, and greatly influenced my choice of music. Until then I was mainly attracted to songs that had a good dance beat and catchy, if sometimes dumb, lyrics. I was also influenced by my peers who were listening to the latest rock 'n roll tunes.

Since the folk revival in the 6o's, and learning to play instruments, and a social awakening thanks to a few good friends, my tastes have become much more selective. Now I will learn a song that has a social message, is not racist, sexist, ageist or otherwise a putdown of any disadvantaged groups. The song has to have an interesting structure and usually, though not always, a shareable chorus.

If it's a tune I'm learning to play, it also has to have a compelling melody, whether fast or slow, and be a reasonable challenge. Some recent examples of tunes I like are Ashokan Farewell, St. Anne's Reel (still struggling to master that) and Dill Pickle Rag.

Contemporary songwriters whose songs I sing are James Keelaghan, Jerry Rasmussen, Gordon Bok, Utah Phillips, Alistair MacGillivray, and John Prine, among many others. I also sing a few 'trads'

So just what is it in a song or tune that "speaks" to you other Mudcatters? :-)

Happy singing

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