Creative Sunday: songwriting together

Last week I posted this lil’ interview over on our band website, and I’m sharing it with y’all too. One could call this move on my part ‘laziness,’ but I opt for ‘efficient use of creative reserves’ or ‘resourceful multitasking.’

Also, I suppose I could have just told you ‘click here to read,’ but I know from personal experience that some days, when you pull up a blog you frequent, you just don’t feel like clicking. Personally, I want to stay where I am and have the fun come to me. Not that clicking a mouse once is that mammoth of an effort . . . but it kinda is. Sometimes. I’m just sayin’.

(reposted from

Hi friends! Just wanted to fill you in on what we’ve been up to since our last gig a couple weeks ago.

Though Eric, Carrie and I have been performing together for about 9 months, we usually do our song writing separately and bring (mostly) finished products to the table to share with the rest of the band. We decided that as part of our evolution as a band, we should bring our forces together for a Creative Sunday Afternoon. We weren’t exactly sure what would happen—would our claws come out? Would defensive tendencies crush the creative process? Would we experience joint writers’ block? Would someone’s guitar end up impaled on someone else’s melodica?

I am glad to report that it was not a disaster. With the help of some wine and coffee (as well as some fabulous lyrics from Eric’s brother John), we got into a musical mood and made it happen.

The lesson for us: we are able to work together in the creative process! And also: creating is hard work. Gratifying work—but not easy.

After 5 ½ hours together messing around with 3 guitars, a keyboard, a melodica, a djembe, a harmonica, a recorder and an egg shaker, we have three quasi-finished songs that we’re going to be polishing up to perform at our next gig.

By the end of the evening, with Carrie slouched on the couch in sheer exhaustion and Eric packing up his keyboard, I decided it was prime time to do a mini interview with my two bandmates. Catch ‘em while their defenses are down—that’s my motto.

So how has each of you affected the other’s songwriting?

C- Well Eric is a goofy person, and so it’s hard for me to be melancholy when he’s being so ridiculous.

E-She’s made me focus more on the melody and the singability of the song rather than harmonic or rhythmic flourishes.

C-Does that make me more of a folk writer, and you’re more of a classical writer?

E- I think my instincts are more classical and yours are more singer songwriter.

C- Also, a lot of my melancholy songs are pre-marriage. Maybe I was just a sadder person back then.

So what is this ‘Dinosaur’ song actually about?

C-Yes, yes, it is about something . . .  oh crap, I forgot.

E- John actually said something about the song a while ago . . .

C-Wait, I need to think about the lyrics . . . shoot, I really had a theory about this . . . Eric, sing it!

[Eric sings]

C- Um . . . oh . . . this conversation is showing the true character and unintelligibility of the artist.

How do you feel after you’ve written a song?

C-It depends on if it’s good or not.

Do you know when it’s good or bad?

C-I mean, I have my own spectrum of beauty, I guess . . . everyone has their own. Does that sound stupid? I mean, I can tell if something I’ve written is bad, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else is going to agree on what I think is ‘good.’

E-I was probably pretty excited about ‘Eloise’. (we performed this for the first time at our last gig; lyrics below)

C-‘Cause it came in one sitting, most of it. We thought of two short lines, Eric just started playing piano, and I started singing those lines. Then for a couple of weeks it didn’t go anywhere, and then we just sat down and started playing it and all the song came in one hour. It was 9:30 and I was like, “we’re just going to mess with this until 10 because I don’t want to mess with this all night,” and then I looked at the clock and it was 10:30 when we were done. I didn’t even think of stopping once we started going. I don’t think it’s like anything else that we have—that’s what makes it exciting.

Who is this Eloise, anyway?

E- It’s based on a real individual that we know. For obvious reasons, we won’t say who it is.

C-You’re making us sound like really mean people.

E-She certainly wouldn’t recognize herself in it, however.

How about the new song we just worked on, ‘Love is Home’?

C-This was unique, because we already had the words from George MacDonald and the music from Eric—we just had to marry them.

E-It was interesting, because I’ve actually set a lot of MacDonald’s writings to music, but this melody was written without thinking of MacDonald. So it was unlike the music I would have thought up if I had started with the words.

C-But it was good.

E-I’m glad to finally have that tune finished and out of my hair, though. An unfinished tune just does not leave you alone.

C-And they lived happily ever after. I’m happy with the song writing process as long as there’s some progress. But it is hard work . . . do you not think of it as hard work? What’s wrong with me? Do I have a bad work ethic?

E-It’s like swimming being hard work—it doesn’t feel like hard work.

C-It’s hard for me to get momentum going. Maybe that’s why we needed wine and coffee.

And for your reference, here are the lyrics to ‘Eloise’—come to our next gig (tomorrow!) and we’ll make sure to sing it for all y’all.


Whatever you want, she’ll do as she pleases
Eloise is… on her own
You try to get close, but that’s when she freezes
Eloise is… made of stone

She’s soft as silk and hard as steel
You might just wonder if she’s real
She isn’t one to sit and pout
She’ll kiss your feet then spit you out

Your heart is a toy she ruthlessly teases.
Eloise is… awful deep
She’ll cuddle up sweet, then leave you to Jesus
Eloise is… not for keeps

She will not rest until you’re hers
And then, oh baby, how she purrs
But once her claws are in real tight
She’ll pull ‘em out and then she’ll bite

Your future is dark, but you can’t resist it
Eloise has… got ya good
You know if you do, she’ll tear you to pieces
Eloise is… misunderstood

She’ll pierce your eyes with hers until
You won’t do what you say you will
There ain’t no use a’turnin’ back
She’s on the prowl and she’ll attack

And once she’s cozy on your knees
Makin’ you a’ hug and squeeze
She’ll make you cry for “Mercy, please!”
Naughty, naughty Eloise!

This entry was posted in Books, Movies, & Music, Musings and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Creative Sunday: songwriting together

  1. Joanne says:

    Ha! I totally adored this interview. It makes me think you guys should tour in NYC. And I’ll be at all your shows. Fo realz yo.

  2. The lyrics to Eloise sound like something Lyle Lovett would write. Which, of course, is the highest form of compliment.

  3. okielicious says:

    Lots of creative energy going on here (song writing AND blog writing!) Makes me smile. :)

  4. Twinky says:

    So what is your gig schedule for the next month or so?

    • Jenna says:

      I think we’re looking at performing again the second Saturday of August . . . why, are you thinking of comin’ on down? Oh wait . . . you’ll probably be in Spain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s