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I thought it'd be useful to get people's thoughts on songwriters that inspire them to write or to improve their songwriting chops.

For example, Mike Oldfield's 'pop song' work such as 'Moonlight Shadow' and 'Islands' is what inspires me to do a better job of my own work. Outside of the more standard definition of a song, artists like Public Service Broadcasting totally inspire me with how they merge spoken word material with great music.

Fire away!


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I'm influenced by storytellers with a sense of humor - Lowell George, John Hiatt, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
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Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Ray Davies, Root Boy Slim, Keith Richards (he wrote Gimme Shelter for one).

Short list, the long list is long.


Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
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Some brilliant suggestions so far thu


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Jimmy Webb

Peter Gabriel

Steven Wilson

Mark Isham [ instrumental]

John McLaughlin [instrumental]

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Originally Posted by GregC
Jimmy Webb


Even though he could get a bit dogmatic at times, I thought his book Tunesmith was great.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
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Originally Posted by Joe Muscara
Originally Posted by GregC
Jimmy Webb


Even though he could get a bit dogmatic at times, I thought his book Tunesmith was great.


True.
Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix and The Highwayman are all great songs too.


Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
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Originally Posted by Joe Muscara
Originally Posted by GregC
Jimmy Webb


Even though he could get a bit dogmatic at times, I thought his book Tunesmith was great.


Thats great, Joe ! I almost missed out on his book.

Not anymore;
https://www.amazon.com/Tunesmith-In...+tunesmith&qid=1574724564&sr=8-1

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I feel like lyrics are my weakness because, especially being an engineer, have a tendency to be too literal. I feel like I can be creative musically, but lyrically is tougher for me. For that reason, I appreciate lyrics that can mean different things to different people and do it in a creative ways.

I could offer tons of examples, but I'll start with one many people may not have considered or known much about, The Posies My Dear 23 album has lots of cool lyrical tidbits. You guys can google all the lyrics for yourself. Off the top of my head, stuff like "So we built upon this ground, something we thought was sound.......but in reality was silence". (Obviously about a failing relationship)


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This past year or so, I'm inspired most by songwriters working in languages I don't speak. Mainly Spanish, but other languages, too. I love listening to words not primarily as carriers of meaning, but as conveyors of sound and pure emotion. Chilean singer/songwriter Mon Laferte comes to mind first, but there are others like:

Natalia Lafourcade
Heilung
Javiera Mena
Cancamusa, both on her own and with her band Amanitas
Band-Maid
Marie Pierre-Arthur
Carla Morrison
Alex Andwanter

...and still grooving to Badi Assad, Angelique Kidjo and Rammstein, each of whom I've been a fan of for 2 decades now. Not just headbanging or dancing to them these days.

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Wow some great examples and a bunch i look forward to checking out!


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I wasn't sure if I should answer this or not because I'm probably in the minority on this- no one inspires me. There's a plethora of artists that I enjoy and respect but not one of them caused me to pick up music and more specifically compose. My drive and passion is inner fueled, not the result of exterior influence. I apologize if it seems egotistical but thems the facts smile

I write anything that pleases me, I have no set genre though I will never write in any genre I don't enjoy...in fact I never set out to write anything...I just improv on whatever strikes my fancy and if it strikes a chord I pursue it. I consider myself an "accidental composer" wink

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I don’t think that’s egotistical at all Bill. We all obviously will have different interpretations of what ‘inspired’ means. For me it’s where an artist makes me want to jump in and create something, not necessarily even in the same genre. I’d argue my songs are inspired by a range of people but hopefully they don’t sound too much like any of them thu


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Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson. Rod Stewart also, a great but somewhat overlooked writer.

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Chrissie Hynde, Warren Zevon, Billie Eilish, Hoagy Carmichael (Georgia for one), Willie Dixon, Pete Townshend, Ray Davies.


Tones can't substitute for composition/arrangement but they offer useful suggestions-overt and subliminal. Spices are no substitute for high-quality food, but they do make food taste more interesting.
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For the longest while I ignored song lyrics. Everything else took priority - cool chord progression, cool groove, cool riff, cool keys parts, etc. Edmonton has had a great folk festival for decades, but I attended rarely, because I would get bored by the abundance of predictable chord changes and melodies. However, over time a few people like John Hiatt, Guy Clark, and Joni Mitchell (saw her live after she released Turbulent Indigo) gradually turned me on to the beauty of the songwriter thing.

Now I wish that it was I who had written "Boys of Summer". While I still indulge my instrumental nerdy side, I have come to really appreciate writers that can evoke (vs describe) emotions and form pictures in my head. Joni inspires, because she worked so hard to write lyrics (as well as deliver musical delights). I appreciate songwriters who can move me, many of whom I would have completely dismissed when I was younger- Jesse Winchester, Tom Waits ("Kentucky Avenue"!), sometimes Haitt, Jason Isbell and all of the ones that I will remember after I hit "post".

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Peter Gabriel

Steven Wilson


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