Rosanne Cash has added her first blog post to the Measure For Measure blog at NY Times entitled "Well, Actually It Is Brain Surgery".
She eloquently remembers her songwriting mentor, John Stewart, who recently passed away, and gives him full credit for inspiring and challenging her to become a better songwriter.I include just a couple of paragraphs of Rosanne's post on the infernal/eternal question: what comes first the music or the lyrics:
People always ask me, "What comes first, the music or the lyrics?" I don't know why people are so fascinated with the answer to that question, and the question always makes me slightly nervous, as if I should have an expert opinion or a backlog of statistics on my own songwriting to give a definitive answer. I can't.There's lots of different ways to get to the same end result - the SONG - the music and lyrics... May the Muse be with you on your journey there...
Often, it's true for me that the lyrics come first. I seldom find just melodies on the guitar that come out fully fleshed, and add the lyrics afterward. If I start on the piano, it often happens that the melody will come first, of a piece. The instrument has a lot to do with the order of inspiration. Sometimes. And sometimes the fragment of a conversation, the color of the sky, the image in a dream, has everything to do with where the song begins. My song "Seven Year Ache" began as a long poem, several pages of rambling, and I distilled it down into a lyric. The melody came last.