Monday, August 26, 2013

Why not songwriter-singer?

I was thinking today about the musical artist genre of singer-songwriter. Don't you think it should be called songwriter-singer?  There are musical artists who are known for their singing.  Elvis, in his prime, could have sung about lemonade and sold a million records.  Lionel Ritchie could (and did) sing some of the stupidest lyrics, but the majority of the world loved it because of his gifted voice.  We should all be thankful for great vocal ability.

But what would vocalists be without great songwriters?  Silly pop songs are fun for awhile, but a diet of candy all the time is sickening.  Powerful lyrics with strong imagery, clever wordplay, and poignant truths provide songs that not only last, but make a difference.  Sometimes these songs are written by an invisible person-- in the sense that they are seldom ever publicly recognized. We hear a singer sing a song, and we think only of the song belonging to the singer.

Some gifted songwriters have strong enough vocal ability and passion about their songs that they do both.  In some cases, it's a stellar success (like Bob Dylan or Willie Nelson), but most of the time, these artists have a small following of fans and never really achieve fame and commercial success.

Here's a short list of songwriter-singers who come to mind:
-- Rich Mullins
--Andrew Peterson
--Marc Cohn
--Bill Mallonee
--Neil Young
--Dan Fogleberg
--James Taylor

Who comes to mind for you?