In May 2018, I was invited to appear on the WAER FM radio show Common Threads, with host Larry Hoyt, to share a few songs by other artists that are particularly meaningful to me as a songwriter. I brought tracks by Paul Simon, Dan Bern, Elliott Smith, Chris Whitley, and Martin Sexton (plus one of my own), and we talked in depth about the songs and their writers—and more broadly about the methods and mysteries of songwriting.

The hour-long interview (including the tracks) is posted below, broken up into seven segments. Thanks to Larry Hoyt for the conversation and for allowing me to share it here.

For more reflections on some favorite artists (including several included here), see my all-time top-ten album list on Facebook.

1. On Paul Simon’s “Wristband”
2. On Dan Bern’s “God Said No”

Read Bern’s own description of writing this song here.

3. On The Complete Singer-Songwriter and lessons of songwriting
4. On Chris Whitley’s “Scrapyard Lullaby”
5. On Elliott Smith’s “Sweet Adeline”
6. On Martin Sexton’s “Love Keep Us Together”
7. On how Sexton’s song inspired my own song “Bones”

More

Behind the song

The Complete Singer-Songwriter