As a songwriter I love coming up with melodies, chord progressions, and lyrics. Not necessary in that order but the end result is typically a tune that paints a picture and and/or tells a story. Depending on where I am playing I like to try out some of my new originals in order to get an idea of how it goes over and hopefully connects with an audience.
However, in the Louisville area there are not many venues that allow a songwriter to simply play their own tunes. Therefore, covering other material is a must if you want to play out with any type of regularly. I don’t think this is such a bad thing. I really enjoy learning other material because it makes me a better songwriter. However, besides the simple "crowd pleasers", I am pretty picky about the songs I choose learn and cover.
When I approach cover songs I put them into two categories:
Something else I’ve started doing lately in regards to learning cover tunes is to research (Google) the material. What’s the tune about? What message was the artist trying to get out? Understanding the origins of a tune helps me better connect with the song and the artist and as I mentioned the connection part is very key. Before, the internet this type of research was very difficult but these days it’s pretty easy and fun learning about other artists and there stories.
With all the new technologies and cloud based channels the music industry is probably one of the most disrupted industries that there is. However, one thing will never change and that is that good “from the heart type” music can connect, inspire, and even build bridges to common ground. These days we need more common ground and inspiration that brings folks together as opposed to apart.