Thursday, February 11, 2010


My entire family was born in Texas.  I was born, more years ago than I like to think about, in a little town called Wheeler which lies up in the Panhandle in the top of Texas.  We moved from Texas to Tennessee when I was around nine.  My father felt he was called to preach so we moved to a little town called Daylight just outside McMinnville.  During the summer months, for the next five to six years we traveled around the country with tent and two hundred chairs while Daddy preached his own version of the gospel.  I like to call it "Saving Souls & Damning Sinners".  I like to think of myself as a spiritual person although I've never thought of myself as a religious one.  I don't worry about eternity and am content to let what ever powers that be take care of that.  I'm not concerned with what any one religious belief, or preachers, or prophets version of what it is, or isn't.   My belief is that only the master understands the master plan and I'm thankful for that.  I've always felt very fortunate and comfortable that bigger hands than mine are at the controls.  I've always felt like a passenger sitting in the coach car of a train on which I have no idea about it's origin or destination.  All I know is it leaves me free to enjoy the ride and let those bigger hands run the train.  I don't try to figure it out.  I'm just thankful for each day and for the ride.  
Earl in uniformcrp Spending two years in the Infantry was a great turning point in my life and restored my faith in people.  I was never in combat but have the greatest respect and gratitude for those who were; what we went trough was tough enough.  I can't imagine doing what we did and getting shot at too.  I've seen them walk till they fall and shook all night long in freezing foxholes with them.  It creates a bond like none other you will ever have as long as you live.  Your grow very close with each other because when the chips are down, each other is all you have.
I've always enjoyed music as most of us do.  I enjoy writing more than performing although performing is fun as long as I feel what I've written is something others might find worth while.  I like songs that say something about life and our experiences with it.  Although there are great songs about love, living down on the farm, drinking and prison, I just feel they have been done to death for the most part.  My favorite writer of all times is Kris Kristofferson.  It's always amazed me how one man can come up with so many great songs when so many of us struggle to come up with just one.  Hank Williams Senior was probably the greatest country song writer of all times.  His songs are so together and simple.  It amazes me he was able to do that so well on so many different subjects from wooden Indians to lonesome blues and at such a young age.
Earl It generally takes me a long time to come to terms with, or actually "like" anything I've written.  I'll work on it and polish it for weeks sometimes.  I've heard others say they wrote ten songs in a day.  My hats off to anyone who can write something good in a hour but it's never been my experience to do that.  It took me almost two months to get "More Than A Name On The Wall" to come together.  It was so emotionally charged for me. I'd be laying in bed just before going to sleep (a good time to write) and when I'd change a line tears would fill my eyes.  It's still hard for me to sing without getting emotional.   However, having said that, there are times when it's coming so fast you can't seem to get it written down fast enough.  There are few things I enjoy more than seeing an idea come together.  I've never been that good at co-writing as I like to write what I feel and it's just hard to get with someone who has the same feeling for the same thing.

If I have a philosophy on song writing it would be to tell the truth.  It has to be emotionally honest lyrically and musically.  I'm not into form, fancy riffs, lengths or how many chords and instruments you can use.  The simpler the better.  It has to be from the heart to touch another heart.  I truly believe you can't disguise anything in a song; if you try, people will sense it.  If your trying to write, it sounds like your trying to write.  If you use a "crip" or "filler" line it sounds like a "crip" or "filler" line.  A song can be funny, silly, serious, and about almost any subject you can name.  It's not about the subject matter as much as how you say it.  Hit songs have been written about "A dead skunk in the middle of the road".  The world is full of things to write about, it's all a matter of how we frame it to make it interesting and meaningful.  That's the challenge.
In the end, song writing is self expression and therefore spiritual in it's heart and soul.  Your basically reaching out to others with music and lyrics with how you feel and see things and it has to be honest.  It's exposing your heart and soul and ability; or lack of it, in expressing that.  As Harland Howard said, all you need is "three chords and the truth".  I think a good way to write any song about almost any subject is to pretend your writing a letter to a trusted friend.  Pour your thoughts and honest heart felt feelings and soul into it; then you can start trying to say it in a song with lines and syllables hopefully coming together.   I know every song doesn't need to be written on such an emotional level and doesn't require soul searching, but I like the ones that do.
Earl D. Watts   

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