Review: How to Write One Song

This is the songwriting book I wish I had back in the 80’s. It could have been labeled “Zen and the Art of Songwriting” because right from the start, Jeff discusses some feelings and approaches behind the art and craft and where ideas come from. He also discusses that “magic” that happens where you get so into writing a song – one good one – that you ask “Where did that come from?”

I’m not done with this book, so I’ll update this review soon. I can’t put this book down, its an instant classic. Now I’m really glad I have a hard cover version.

I started following Jeff Tweedy when he was in Uncle Tupelo. That was one amazing band and everything they did was phenomenal. My second favorite is Jay Farrar and his band Son Volt, but I do really like one Wilco album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Maybe Son Volt also has only one favorite too – Trace.

Most critics think Wilco is the more interesting of the artists who split Uncle Tupelo, but I have to say, I still like Uncle Tupelo the best.

Now, back to the book. Jeff’s approach to explaining song writing is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. He expresses my thoughts and emotions on the subject and how the act of creating washes away the tarnish of the world we see every day in the news. Song writing is a form of meditation for me, and I crave it as much as exercise.

Jeff offers a series of great exercises and ideas – all worth trying. It also unlocks some secrets to his lyric writing – and BTW – the only niggle I have with this book is its all about lyric writing. If I were to be super critical, I’d say the book should have been called “How to Write Lyrics to One Song”.

But this book is so damn good, I give it 5 stars without reservation. I also love how small the book is because if you were say travelling with just an acoustic guitar, this would be your coffee time best companion.

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