You Re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go Lyrics The Evolution of the American Singer Songwriter

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The Evolution of the American Singer Songwriter

In this article we will look at the evolution of the American singer songwriter, from Robert Johnson to Woody Guthrie, Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams, the Avett Brothers, Langhorne Slim and more in between. The singer songwriter has influenced virtually every American music genre because, after all, it starts with a song. Make no mistake, the singer songwriter, armed only with his instrument, provides the purest form of musical expression; A poet whose rhythmic verses are set to music. At its core is music; Even with a band, the song is composed using more instruments.

For the purpose of this paper a singer songwriter is generally defined as an artist who composes and performs his own music and may occasionally play or lead in a band. The singer songwriter genre itself includes both solo artists and bands with an emphasis on lyrical content.

Gospel, Blues and Country

Gospel music already existed in the early 20th century, with the Fisk Jubilee Singers forming in 1871 as an African-American a cappella ensemble that helped fund Fisk University and “toured” the Underground Railroad. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Dixie Hummingbirds and other “jubilee” or “hard gospel” quartets influenced all of the music of the era. 1920’s vaudeville and “race records” artists sold more than a million records before. However, this genre is excluded because that music is not considered singer songwriter based music.

During the 1920s, the blues emerged from African American spirituals, work songs, and chants. Blind Lemon Jefferson, one of the earliest blues recording artists, wrote “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” in 1928. The rhythm is melodious and in the form of a call and response work song that echoes their difficult life. time

Well, I ask you a favor

Well, I ask you a favor

I only ask you for one kind of help

And the response:

You can see that my grave is kept clean

Also, in the 1920s and 1930s, AP (Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter) of the Carter family, the first family of country music, would travel to small towns “discovering” regional music in the South and recreate that music. His radio shows and records. One of their most popular recorded songs, Keep on the Sunny Side of Life, recorded in 1928, has a fast rhythm and provides a chorus between the verses. Written by Ada Blenhorn in 1899; The music is drawn from Appalachia, gospel, folk.

Father of the Blues, Country and Folk

Robert Johnson’s recordings from 1936 and 1937 include the vocal, guitar, and songwriting skills that have influenced generations of musicians. The pitch of his voice conveyed the emotion of his song. His music was completely non-repetitive and included guitar “riffs” that were advanced blues music. By Robert Johnson’s own admission, the blues was referred to at the time as “the devil’s music” because he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads.

It was during this time that Hank Williams was creating music that would forever influence songwriting and country music. Like Robert Johnson, Hank’s personal and catchy lyrics and soulful voice appeal to generations of fans.

I have never seen such a great night

When time drags on

The moon just went behind the clouds

To hide my face and cry… So Lonesome I Could Cry – Hank Williams

Woody Guthrie, best known as the “protest singer” who started the folk movement, was performing in the 30s and recording in the early 1940s. He sang traditional music and wrote about injustice with a guitar that boldly read “This Machine Kills Fascists.” As part of the Almanac Singers, who embraced communism at the time, their music was written to fight fascism, promote racial and religious inclusiveness, and workers’ rights. That collaboration included Pete Seeger, an iconic American folk singer and activist to this day.

Music was recorded in the 1940s and broadcast over the radio from the 1920s. The composers of the time have expressed personal pain, hardship and love. Music that protests against racism, labor and social injustice touches the social conscience. Folk, bluegrass, jazz, blues, and country music were becoming more defined and mixed together to create more musical styles.

The 1940s saw the convergence of major strands of American music that would eventually become rock and roll. Southern blues artists moved north to work in auto factories and perfected the electric “Chicago” blues Muddy Waters. Jazz bebop was popularized by jazz greats such as Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. Billie Holiday and Nina Simone mostly performed ballads about personal love and loss. The war effort affected music, and gospel music is now considered a “golden age”.

Fun is fun

In 1951, Alan Freed, a disc jockey in Cleveland, Ohio, coined the phrase “rock and roll” to describe the multi-ethnic and multi-style music of blues, country, and gospel. Lock up your girls – rock and roll is here!

Remember, playing blues music was considered sinful by many in the early 20th century, Hank Williams was asked by twenty-two preachers to never play “Two Faced Preacher”, and much of the folk music of the time was “protest music”. In many ways this genre has produced questionable music. The racial tensions of the time and the inter-racial aspects of rock and roll were difficult to accept. Parents were horrified and many forbade their children to listen to rock and roll.

Parents just didn’t understand, the youth of the time embraced rock and roll and music is now big business. A 7″ single was introduced in 1951, Rebel Without a Cause was released in 1955, and Elvis was shot from West Up on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis were popular. Rockabilly, R&B and Pop emerged.

The Birth of Rock and Roll was only the catalyst for the 1960s, when everything was about to change.

Dylan

In 1961, Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman) visits his bedridden idol, Woody Guthrie, vowing to be Guthrie’s greatest disciple. It turns out that Dylan may be the greatest singer songwriter of all time.

In the 1960s a new generation began to openly question the status quo, noting that the values ​​of the past were not necessarily the values ​​of the future. The civil rights movement was gaining strength, the Vietnam War was televised into American homes, families had bomb shelters, and protest was in the air. There was a combined freedom and accessibility of information and documented history that had never existed before. Expression was more expressive and experimental.

Dylan’s music was distinctly different from that of his predecessors and was part of the folk revival of the 1960s. His music had political, social, philosophical and literary influence. Dylan’s greatest influences were Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Allen Ginsberg, and Nietzsche.

In 1963, twenty-two-year-old Dylan wrote Blowin’ in the Wind.

How many roads should a man walk on?

Before you call him a man?

How many seas must a white dove travel?

Before she sleeps in the sand?

Yes, how often ‘n’ the cannonballs would fly

Before banning them forever?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind,

The answer is blowing in the wind.

Songs had more meaning and affected people on more levels. Dylan’s, A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall was interpreted by many at the time as symbolic of the potential nuclear fallout from the Cuban Missile Crisis – a claim Dylan refutes.

For many, the singer songwriter era began with Dylan. However, the limitations of this article require me to proceed somehow. So, to summarize, Dylan considered himself a poet first, never compromising or presenting material to a particular style of music, Dylan made a dramatic appearance at the Newport Folk Festival and embraced both country and gospel stages in his career. At the time of this writing Dylan is still relevant and making music.

The musical and expressive experimentation of the 60s led to new genres and styles of songwriting. The 60s gave birth to the British Invasion, which in the 60s was heavily influenced by pre-30s blues records, psychedelic music, soul music and an endless amalgamation of musical experiences and styles emerged.

In the 60s, the singer songwriter genre incorporated a variety of musical styles and forms of expression. A new generation of songwriters responded to Dylan’s call. Canada’s Neil Young presented a unique and highly personal style that was melodic and of course. The Grateful Dead used songwriters like Robert Hunter to create masterpieces of the era and exposed listeners to bluegrass, folk and blues. Crosby stills Nash and Young create songs with harmonies that emphasize their lyrics. Tom Rush, Joan Biaz, Chris Smithers, Greg Brown, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs and Pete Seeger continued the tradition of pure folk music. Jimmy and Janice brought new levels of writing, composition and performance while the Doors pushed the envelope – right into the 70s.

Towns

In the late 60’s and early 70’s some of the most famous singer songwriters of our time were making incredibly beautiful music in Texas. Townes Van Zandt felt the need to devote himself completely to music. citing influences such as Lightning Hopkins, Dylan and Hank Williams; Townes created music that affected people on a very personal level and was known above all else for his songwriting.

Mother don’t you worry the night is coming.

There is a hole in heaven through which some sin slips

Just close your eyes and dream real still

Maybe you’ll get a little spilled

Don’t lie dark dreams come true

Maybe some will meet you………… Cowboy Junkies Mourn – Townes Van Zandt

Songs were now created from different perspectives, influences and told in different ways. Initially the songs were literal and usually from a single point of view but over time the point of view (from where the song was speaking) changed. Abstract ideas and phrases were used to express meaning. The use of abstract lyrics in songwriting can be very powerful and personal because the listener can more easily personalize abstract ideas or thoughts. Clearly defines descriptive writing style; Which, can either engage someone with that ideology or alienate someone who sees or feels a different meaning from the lyrics.

70s, 80s and 90s

Lyrical content became more important in the 1970s and influenced almost all musical genres. Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, Tom Paxton, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Tom Waits, Jim Croce, Steve Goodman, Harry Chapin, James Taylor, Carole King, Elton John (w/ Bernie Taupin), Peter Frampton, Bruce Springsteen, Gordon Lightfoot and thousands of others, famous, infamous or unknown, found old, borrowed and new ways of expressing themselves.

In the 1980s and 1990s, many singer songwriters joined the soft rock music genre. Artists such as: Billy Joel Stevie Wonder, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Tracy Chapman, KD Lang, Kate Bush and Warren Zevon, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt and John Hyatt filled the airwaves with a more refined sound heavily influenced by the “album oriented”. “The Voice of the Times. John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, Cheryl Wheeler Gandalf Murphy, Richard Shindel, Richard Thompson, Joan Osborne, Cowboy Junkies and others continue to redefine the genre.

Today

Currently there is an abundance of established music legends and the rise of new singer songwriters who have taken the genre to a whole new level. Artists such as Norah Jones, Mumford & Sons, Hank LLL, John Butler Trio, The Heartless Bastards, Jack Johnson, The Avett Brothers and Langhorne Slim write and perform with sincerity that creates an emotional connection with their fans.

It is said that the song has been sung at some point and maybe it has been, but as time changes, so do the words, phrases and music. Here’s to finding your song!

There is a darkness upon me that is filled with light

They tell me what’s wrong and what’s right in fine print

And it comes in black and it comes in white

And I’m in awe of those who don’t see it

When nothing old deserves or respects

And the elected man doesn’t change your life

If you love someone, you will never be rejected

Decide what to be and be it………….

A Road of Doubt – A Road of Promise – The Avett Brothers

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