Songs; write and record new ones. Learn old ones. Perform in clubs, concerts and festivals. Encourage others to write songs, poems and stories.
A development that began in college. Used to read the lyrics that came with record albums (remember those?). Turn a phrase, turn a head. Not alone. He/she thinks that way? Well, I thought that, too, but I didn’t think anyone else did. Cool. I think this thing. Maybe you’ve thought it. I’m weird? You’re weird. We’re cool.
Come up with a phrase. Then another one that rhymes. Come up with a bunch more. Throw out the first one, the second one, the last one. Pick up guitar and choose a key. Try to sing phrases. Rewrite all of it. Put it away for a day. Rewrite most of it. Put it away for two days. Throw it out or rewrite some of it. Sing it for people. Note the way the words trip off the tongue. Change more words. Fix the ending. Fix the beginning. Sing it for people. Take it into a studio. Listen to yourself singing it. Change some words and phrasing. Wrap it up and put it on a CD. If it’s good you’ll not forget it.
Audiences throughout Michigan are familiar with John D. Lamb as the front man of his rock band or as a solo acoustic act. Others know him as the director of Lamb’s Retreat for Songwriters where he gives other musicians a chance in the spotlight. In addition to bringing in some of acoustic music’s top songwriters as faculty members, Lamb has given out over 1000 individual songwriting assignments to musicians throughout the country. He was a journalism major at Central Michigan University. In 1980, while living in Mt. Pleasant, he formed his first band, Johnny D. and the Stains. He later toured the rock club circuit throughout the Midwest. In 1990 he and his band recorded the regionally acclaimed CD Live at Legs (recorded at Legs Inn, Cross Village). Lamb infuses his music with strong attention to detail that gives the songs the dexterity to work as rock tunes or as acoustic storytelling. Lyrically, he insists on finding the exact word or phrase to shade a line with a particular meaning. John D. Lamb’s CD, Feel That is the winner of the 2007 Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Acoustic/Folk Recording.
” … Lamb nails the exhilaration of the Up North experience as the driver in one song heads for the ski slopes and the good times, while wary of the whitetails on the road….With a laid-back, made-in-Detroit drawl, his voice and lyrics invite comparisons to populist songwriters ranging from Mellencamp to Steve Earle, with roots buried in the heart of the country.” ~ Robert Downes, Northern Express Weekly, Traverse City, Michigan.