The Song Journal

Miscellaneous news and writing by Bob Franke, mostly about songs as a portable art form, and the process of creating them and enabling them to do their work in the world.

My Photo
Location: Peabody, Massachusetts, United States

from Bob Franke began his career as a singer-songwriter in 1965 while a student at the University of Michigan. Upon graduation in 1969 with an A.B. in English Literature, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has since made New England his home. Bob has appeared in concert at coffeehouses, colleges, festivals, bars, streets, homes and churches in 33 states, four Canadian provinces and England.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I worked on a new song tonight--Joan had admonished me to practice for my gig this Saturday night at the Eighth Step's 40th anniversary show in Schenectady. The song showed up in the middle of the night one night in the lovely notebook my daughter had given me for my birthday. So I decided to take the song one step closer to reality by picking a key and testing out the tune. The act of singing and playing the guitar has changed the song, as it usually does, and lucky for me, I like it better as it matures. I was looking for a key, an arrangement, and a sense of lightness, and as I explored my friend Bennett Hammond's remark that the 12-string guitar is a treble instrument, I found them. The melody evolved a bit to accommodate my limitations, but then, the song in part is about limitations.

Joan was off at an art class she's been taking--she's really quite talented with pencils and charcoal, and exploring this talent for the first time in her life. I took advantage of the solitude. As my touring schedule contracts, I have less of the solitude that seems so necessary for my songwriting. It was kind of her to remind me of the opportunity.

Being a business person has been a necessary evil to me, necessary to my music. Being a mechanic has a Ghandian sense of right livelihood to it, but it sure takes up a lot of energy. I was tired at the end of the workday today.

I suspect the idea that my music is an avocation says a lot more about Bush's America than it says about me.

One day at a time. Today was a good one.