I was very privileged to work with Nathan Partain for close to 8 years in Seattle. One of the things I learned from him was that the craft of songwriting is never at an end. A number of times he would come in with a song, or sometimes just a sketch. We would work on it in rehearsal, stay afterward and chisel at it, and try it on a sunday. Then he would bring it back a few weeks or months later, still working on it, asking us to help.
Nathan’s last 2 posts gives a bit of insight into this. Here’s his latest entry on a new song, originally meant to be a re-tuned hymn but turned a direction he did not expect:
I wrote this song a couple of weeks ago. I actually originally wrote the music to “O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus”. I have always liked the tune of that hymn but I have also felt that those lyrics could be heard differently and maybe even some of the lyrical imagery blossom more if put to something a little less like a Russian submarine song. However, after practicing Thursday night for Sunday morning it became apparent that I could not mess with this classic hymn without being a complete distraction for most of the people that heard it. So, after being encouraged by my friends Elyce and Kipp, I went back and wrote new lyrics to go with the music that I had written. I was actually glad that I had to go back to the drawing board because it led me to spend time with the Lord and thinking of the way that he works in my life.
His previous entry has similar insights. The lesson? Keep chiseling, and get others involved in the process, others that are not afraid to tell you what’s not working.