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Who Are Your Biggest Influences?
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 Posted: Mon Nov 15th, 2021 01:40 pm
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Undervision1
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Joy Division without doubt..

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 Posted: Mon Nov 15th, 2021 11:11 pm
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mlerner
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Wow, I read through this whole thread and was struck by how few women are mentioned. Fasstrack mentioned 3. I think one other person mentioned one. Every other influence is male.

I am very influenced by Ani Difranco but I can't do anything she does because her guitar playing is just too damn complicated for someone at my level. I asked my guitar teacher to teach me one of her songs and she just laughed. She said her style is so unique and complicated that it's not even worth her, the teacher, learning any of her songs because there's so little that's transferable to playing other people's songs, so that it would be a lot of work with few transferable skills for most of her students. But she's what I aspire to, though my music sounds nothing like hers. Not sure my lyrics are anything like hers either.

Probably a more close influence, in terms of my own songs, is Dar Williams. Though, again, my songs don't sound anything like hers. I did use one of her songs for a songwriting exercise that resulted in a song I've posted here, so that was a very direct influence.

A song I wrote last night was influenced by an Iron and Wine song, I think, though I didn't realize it until after I wrote it. I was trying to think what it reminded me of and realized it was that. I don't think I'm generally influenced by them.

I love Bruce Springsteen but not sure my music is influenced by him. Again, I don't really have the chops for that.

Also Bruce Cockburn. But, yeah, can't play much of his stuff.

Katie Curtis! I think that some small parts of some of my songs are influenced by Katie Curtis. If nothing else, I love to finger pick C9 and D/F# chords and mix them with minor chords, and I think I got that from her.

I tend to write mostly finger picked songs for whatever reason. But they're all over the place in terms of tone and style, and not sure they often match anything I listen to. But I think that's likely, again, that I just don't have the chops yet to match things I like to listen to, or to be influenced by them in a way that results in music that uses many of their techniques. Interested in seeing, as I improve (only been playing guitar 18 months), if their influences bleed more into my own music.
It's been interesting to read about everyone else's influences. Thanks for starting this thread!
Michelle

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 Posted: Tue Nov 23rd, 2021 05:50 pm
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Gary E. Andrews
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I remember noticing that if I stopped in at a piano bar in Tucson, Arizona, when I got home I wrote that kind of Song.
If I stopped at a country bar, and listened to the country band, I'd write country-ish when I got home.
Up Golf Links Road was a bar shaped like a pirate ship, and they had rock bands. I'd go home and write rock-ish.
I think I was always influenced by whatever I heard. Late night radio, searching the dial, I'd hear Copland's "Grand Canyon Suite", or Rhythm and Blues. I remember hearing The Beatles, I think, sing "Hey Bulldog" that way, and never again.
The masters of Song Structure were the ones I wanted to cover. Carole King, John Fogerty, and The Beatles began having double-sided hits, meaning 45 RPM records with an A-Side, the intended 'hit', and a B-Side, often just 'filler' to put something rather than nothing on the opposite side of a disc, which was done in the early days; nothing but a blank on the 'other' side.
Not everybody had that B-Side hit then, and the 'single song' is common now, the one Song someone comes up with, gets cut and released, and then goes searching for another one. Sometimes they can write it. Usually they have to find it because they're not writers. Maybe didn't write the first one; just 'found' it and got to be the one who presented it to the public.
In "Porgy And Bess" (Is that right?) The Gershwin Brothers wrote "Summertime", but considered not using it in the play. It's the only Song I think anyone knows from the play. Short and simply Structured, it works.
In "The Wizard of Oz", they considered not using "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", another masterpiece of Structure.
The Beatles were masters of what they called "The Middle Eight", that eight-bar component of 'Change' to break the 'Repetition' of Verses. They also sometimes opened with 'The Chorus'. Structure is of extreme importance in 'Hook Factor', the ability of a a composition to engage the listener, and keep them 'Hooked', have them singing along by the end of the Song.
Kris Kristopherson mentored with the woman who wrote "Long Black Veil", another Structural masterpiece, components and story-telling.
I think anything that can Structure well and tell a coherent Lyrical story, prosodied with a listenable Melody, can influence you. It insists on you noticing Repetition, Change, Lyric and Melody. Arrangement, the accompaniment, can have features of riffs on guitar or keyboard or other instrumental assists that are 'influential', but the Structure may be the main thing that gets in your head, that gets in lots of heads and works, making it a 'Classic'.
Frank Sinatra advised Pia Zadora,
"If you're going to sing other peoples' Songs, sing the Classics."
There's a reason why they became Classics. They possess those elements, Structure, prosody of Lyric/Melody, Lyrical clarity and story-telling. And Songs that accomplish that in simplicity seem to stand out.
Beyond musical influence is literary influence. When you read, newspapers, fiction, non-fiction, your sense of words changes. You learn the difference between 'you're' and 'your' so a 'reader' of your printed Lyric doesn't interrupt their 'consumption' of it figuring out what you meant to say despite what you did say. You learn how words on the printed page become images in your mind that no movie can duplicate the way you experience them as you read. You 'learn' something about wordplay, words that manipulate you emotionally, intellectually. You look up from the printed page and see the world a little differently. And it can influence your Lyrical creations, which can influence your Melodic creations, and your instrumental Arrangement to accompany that prosody.
The emotion of Notes, a wailing guitar, or melancholy piano, or a raucous percussion, can influence. You listen. You're engaged; Hooked. You may come Unhooked before the Song ends, and realize it when it does, but that 'Hook-Factor' that got you in the Introductory Movement may still influence you.
I remember people getting in my car and I had the radio on a genre they just could not listen to, insisting I change the channel, making it a literal argument. I had tuned that channel in for the sake of listening, being influenced. I can listen to classical, Brahms, Mozart, or Jazz, or Big Band, or Country, or Rap or Rock or Chill. I don't have to like it, or like it all. But I can listen. And I can be influenced.



____________________
As long as you'll reach for your pen, paper, instruments, here will always be another Song to be written. Someone will write the next great Song. It could be you. http://www.garyeandrews.com
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 Posted: Tue Nov 23rd, 2021 09:25 pm
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mlerner
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Gary, that's all really interesting and thought-provoking/educational.

thanks,

Michelle

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 Posted: Wed Dec 29th, 2021 05:46 pm
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Gary E. Andrews
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Today, influences are more psychology of the moment, and what I discover on guitar. A few chords, an emotional 'feel', a Melody woven among the chords, Rhythm, Rhyme, tempo, ideas in the Lyric.
But everything around you can be 'influential' if you just reach for the instruments of your creativity.



____________________
As long as you'll reach for your pen, paper, instruments, here will always be another Song to be written. Someone will write the next great Song. It could be you. http://www.garyeandrews.com
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 Posted: Tue Jan 4th, 2022 08:40 pm
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Dreamnuff4me
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Bar none, beyond a shadow of a doubt my number ONE musical influence is a man named ROBERT EARL ATKINS.
Okay, I may be biased for he is my Dad, but it doesn't tarnish the fact.
My Dad plays a mean rhythm guitar and when he plays chords and songs he plays them 'right'.
Being an 80's kid, my introduction to the Beatles collection and other hits like: House of the rising sun, Joy to the world (Jeremiah was a bullfrog), Proud Mary, Mr. Bojangles, Cinnamon Girl, Take it Easy, Country Roads, California Dreamin and a hundred others were all first heard played and sang by 'My Daddy'.
Of course every time we went fishing, camping, to the beach, bbquing at the house or what not, Dad has always had his collection of Reel to Reels, Albums, Cassettes, CD's, and now his digital content.
Nothing beat being with Dad, playing card games and board games, listening to the sound emanating from the electric blue glow of his Mirantz receiver.
Such an eclectic sound my Dad introduced me to. Zeppelin, Marshall Tucker, Max Webster, Steely Dan, Average White Band, Miles Davis, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears to Joe Satriani and literally 100's more!
The best music education. The best education of life I could have ever asked for. Lucky for me at age 41 I am still fortunate to still keep learning from the man.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2022 09:40 pm
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Psuedoname
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Mr. Robert Hunter
Mr. James McMurtry (lyricist extraordaire)
Mr. Jackson Browne
Ms. Joni Mitchell
write lyrics that make me want to reach..
as far a full tunes... way too many

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