My interests in the folk arts range from photography, songwriting, folk songs, the blues, roots music in general, playing music for charitable causes, Dumaguete pedicabs to Phillipine Folk Tales. I plan to explore all of these interests in my blogs. Hope you enjoy. Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you links and information on these and related topics. This blog will focus on songwriting.

Songwriting

I played in my first band at age 50 and wrote my first song at age 52. I have always loved the blues and felt that was a great place to start so I wrote my first songs in the 12 Bar Blues format. Write 6 - 8 original lines and you have an original blues song. That initial success helped take the mystery out of songwriting for me.

12 Bar Blues

A great place to begin songwriting is with the 12 Bar Blues. You only need to write two lines to write a complete verse. That’s because the first and second line are the same and the word at the end of the third line rhymes with the word at the end of the first two lines. There are three lines in each verse and each line has 4 bars of music. Have a look at this classic lyric by Robert Johnson.

  • Hey Baby, baby don’t you want to go
  • Hey Baby, baby don’t you want to go
  • Back to the same old place, Sweet Home Chicago 

Armed with the fundamentals of writing 12 bar blues, I set off to write my own songs. There are several available for purchase through CD Baby on my A Field By The Sea and Blue Smoke CD's. Cheatin' Blues was one of my first efforts and the lyrics are included here. As you can see, a full song has been costructed from 4 rhming couplets by repeating the 1st line of each couplet and using one couplet as the chorus. Any blues band with solo efforts can turn this one into a monster!

Cheatin Blues – Smokin Joe Wiseman

 

Intro l E7 l A7 l E7 l E7 l

Verse 1

She said it wasn't cheatin’ coz she did it with her best friend

She said it wasn't cheatin’ coz she did it with her best friend

That's why she didn't tell me coz it didn't happen with a man.

Chorus

I woke up this morning with my heart down in my shoes

I woke up this morning with my heart down in my shoes

Feeling low and heartbroken with the down and out Cheatin’ Blues

Verse 2 

Well I tried to make it work but that picture stayed in my mind

Yes I tried to make it work but that picture stayed in my mind

As soon as things get better that image ruins my good time.

Chorus

Interlude – Once over 12 Bars

Verse 3

I took up with a new woman, she was gorgeous and seemed so true

I took up with a new woman, she was gorgeous and seemed so true

The thing I can't reason is why I'm stuck between the two.

Chorus

Outro Over Verse

©      2007 Joe Wiseman               SOCAN/ASCAP

The following video by Pat Pattison, who I met at the REO White Water Rafting Songwriting Camp in British Columbia in 2005 illustrates 2 of my current passions in songwriting - the use of the verb and the use of metaphor. The second video sums it all up!


Joe Wiseman | Create Your Badge

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