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By: Robert Lloyd

'A SOCIABLE SONGWRITER?' (Does one exist?)

By Robert Lloyd (Email: robertlloydmusic@cs.com)

The sociable songwriter... does one exist? Yes, but does a GREAT one exist? Harlan Howard talked about the sociable songwriters being the life of the parties, while the true songwriter was probably standing quietly in the corner by him or herself. That is my feeling also. If you are sociable, why write music? Pick up the phone and talk to someone.

Songwriters talk through their music. I watched an interview with the great songwriter, Bobby Braddock (He Stopped Loving Her Today, Time Marches On, and D-I-V-O-R-C-E) and he constantly looked down and away from the interviewer. He wasn't being rude, but you could sense the shyness in his delivery while he talked. I have learned through necessity to overcome my natural shyness, at least when I earn my living and have to deal with the public. They said Johnny Carson was very quiet in social settings throughout his life, too, and could be found in a corner of a room keeping out of the spotlight.

But we do have to be sociable enough to exist in our culture and communicate the bare necessities of business even as songwriters. But it still bothers me to see all the trivial gossiping in videos within songwriting organizations as though we are a bunch of Facebook enthusiasts wanting to find out aunt Mary's newest apple pie recipe.

This is why I want to eventually move to East Nashville. I have had a whole lifetime of basically not having anyone to talk to. A songwriter really has little in common with others, even musicians, for example. Musicians are the mechanics of our trade. Songwriters are the inventors (or the Thomas Edisons') of our trade. That is quite a difference. I really have little to say to someone that wants to play cover tunes every weekend at a local bar. It makes for very limited conversation. I don't want to hear Sweet Home Alabama or Margaritaville in the next hundred years. On a somewhat humorous note: I am known to playfully threaten (but partly serious) asking a musician to not play Jimmy Buffett while I am eating at a restaurant. Yep, that's me. I get strange looks back, but they do refrain.

And it is amazing to me when I meet new people and they will go on for half an hour talking about their job (doing whatever) and never stop and take a breath and ask “and what do you do?” I have little interest in that level of sociability. So I don't want to talk to the majority of musicians or singers (singers are the most self-centered and sociable of all).

I guess this is why a community of songwriters located in East Nashville is so attractive to me. I yearn to be around people like myself... I think everyone in life clamors for a commonality with others... well, so do songwriters. In the art world there is just so few as a percentage of the population, it creates the need for a community to develop where people of that 'kind' can congregate, and through some sort of synergy, develop and shine in their trade or at least as a social group... and be a community.

If I was sociable, I wouldn't look to move.

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Robert Lloyd