It’s great to be asked to join the club. I’ve been writing a long time and have no idea how and when a song will get sparked. It seems totally beyond my control. So this is a leap of faith.
I think I got into writing songs through listening to singers. I used to just listen to the music and not pay much attention to the words but through my love of singers I began to listen more to lyrics and then I started writing.
My first song was called “The Night I Ran Away With You.” I remember writing it while I was riding my bike to the package store outside Oberlin, Ohio, where I went to college. I was going to pick up some Pink Champale for my friend Maggie. Funny how you remember certain details. I can remember where I was and what I was doing when I got the first inkling of each song.
My first band, formed in 1986, was the Maudlins. We called ourselves that because it seemed to describe my writing. I looked up “maudlin” in a thesaurus and it said, “having the soul of a shopgirl.” That’s how I picked my publishing name, Shopgirl Songs. I almost titled my first record “The Soul of a Shopgirl” but ended up calling it “The Maudlin Years” instead, in homage to band.
Some of the first songs I remember loving:
The Old Rugged Cross
Red Rubber Ball
I Can Never Go Home Anymore
Ode to Billie Joe