How to Write a Good Country Song

In the latest installment of Dispatches From a Guy Trying Unsuccessfully to Sell a Song In Nashville, our hero realizes it’s going to take more than six clasess to learn how to write a good country song.

In every case, it would turn out—and I would be surprised every time—that I really had no clear idea of the story I was trying to tell with my song, no fresh, simple take on a universal experience. I thought I was ready, but before class ended each week I’d admit that I’d driven down with a song that was country in the same way that saying, “Sacre bleu! Haugh-haugh-haughnn!” while twirling a small invisible mustache was speaking French.

After class I would drive to the Bluebird, a little bar in Nashville where songwriting successes perform—midway into one of their verses you can usually feel the whole audience sort of slip into realizing they know this song from the radio, sort of like when your car shifts from first to second gear: if you’re paying attention, you can feel it.

Especially when you’re sitting there alone.

Previously: Why You Hate Modern Country.

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