Not Going Home
Ten Reasons to Become a Singer-Songwriter When You're Old 1. You have more things to write about. In my 20's, I'm afraid most of my songs would have been about wanting a woman or being heartbroken when she left - pretty much what was on the radio then and still is. I probably couldn't have written any (good) songs about not succeeding, accepting what we have, having long-established things fall apart, raising kids, understanding the work involved in love, appreciating the simple things, or watching death approach. 2. You don't have to stress out trying to achieve fame and fortune. By this time in my life, I've learned not to expect much. I just want to enjoy the moment as best I can. 3. You don't have to worry about being forgotten by the public in a few years. It doesn't matter, because in a few years I could be incapacitated or dead anyway. 4. You can better appreciate the influence of artists other than those who are current and popular. If I had started writing songs in college, they might have all sounded like the Beatles or Bob Dylan. Those artists certainly influence me now, but I can see how my work reflects a wide range of songwriters - from Tin Pan Alley masters Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Arlen to Delta bluesmen like Skip James and Leadbelly to jazz pioneers Louis Armstrong and Thelonious Monk to Motown greats Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder to revivalists Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal and, of course, a long list of other contemporary writers including Bruce Cockburn, David Byrne, Rickie Lee Jones, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch, and.... 5. You don't have to be concerned that groupies will disrupt your home life. At my age, there are no groupies. 6. You can be a better critic and editor of your work. I have no youthful illusions that a song must be good just because I finished writing an initial set of words and chords. 7. You don't have to worry about failing as a singer-songwriter and having to take some job you don't want. This probably will be my last job. 8. You don't have to wear yourself out working with immature musicians. I can choose to work with responsible adults who know what they want, do what they say they will do, and show up on time ready to perform. 9. You don't have to worry about work causing hearing loss. I already have hearing loss, and our audiences don't want us to play too loudly anyway. 10. You don't have to try to impress anybody with your chops on your instrument or your acrobatic dance moves on stage. I'm old. My audiences just want to hear good songs played well.