I quite like the fact we have such a diverse amount of music available. Thats somewhat the key in being good at songwriting and that is having the courage to utilize this diversity when writing songs. And believe you me the competition is fierce in the songwriting business. If it was not for the encouragement that I had gotten from folks like Ronnie Hawkins I would probably have given up on songwriting. When you listen to and realize how many poorly written songs make it onto the radio you know that somehow you (the listener) has been had. You are quietly humming some meaningless lyrics that repeat over and over and in so doing - missing out on some of the real gems. Take for an example the exquisite song: The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness by songwriter Nanci Griffith (and trust me Ms. Griffith has penned some splendid material (for an example, From a Distance, recorded by Bette Middler) -its just the simplicity of story-telling in the lyrics that makes you want to hear the song again and again. In the song, The Speed of the Sound of Lonliness, Ms. Griffith writes: "What in the worlds come over you, and what in heavens name have you done, you've broken the speed of the sound of loneliness, you're out there running, just to be on the run..." Perhaps the song was written about a relationship ("you come home late, you come home early, sometimes you don't come home at all...") but the message is clear, much as much of the story telling we pick up from George Strait or Merle Haggard or even Kris Krisofferson, letting us get involved in a journey, a moment, a fragment of life itself that has possibly gone wrong and how the outcome has some lasting memories...indeed, plain and simple, good songwriting.And in a song we look for and usually find the hook that keeps us coming back and the bridge that allows us to cross-over into a new journey within a journey, if you want to interpret it in that order. There is in other words, a connectivity. The song moves from paper to instrument to radio to our ear and sometimes even to our very heart and soul and in so doing goes from a humble verse to a great song, Is that not what we should strive for...in writing music?