The Truth in Music
I heard this phase the other day while watching a documentary on the history and evolution of country music. If you have not seen the program it is called “Country Music - A Film by Ken Burns” on PBS. The film is 16 hours long, in 8 parts, and takes you from the music of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers to modern day artists. Ken Burns is known for his honesty and accuracy in film making. His series on the Vietnam War pulled no punches on the tragedy and suffering of war.
These four words “The Truth in Music” really got me thinking about songwriting and what makes a song great. We all know, or should know, songwriters tell the truth, stretch the truth or make up the truth when writing a song. But, those words on the page or the story it tells is somebody’s truth. As songwriters, we may have never lost a love because of drinking, abuse, or cheating, but someone has experienced it.
Sometimes we write about personal experiences and pain in our own lives. This makes the song our truth. No matter what the reason is for writing the song - it connects us forever to the story. When we play the song for others, they too may connect to the same experiences in the song - and it then becomes their truth.
Songwriters take people on a journey with their stories. Songs are nothing more than books in a condensed form. The power of a great song cannot be underestimated and should never be taken for granted. So, go and write some “truth”; whether it be yours or somebody elses. The truth is out there, so find it and tell the story.