PROMPT: Learn a Tom Waits song.

If you don’t know who Tom Waits is, and you’re a songwriter, you’re in for a treat.  This dude has been writing songs since the 1970’s (maybe earlier) and has a huge range of styles and subject matter to delight his listeners.  He can be tender and outright frightening.  His songs have been covered by everyone who is anyone in the singer/songwriter field.

He’s kind of like Bob Dylan (who also gets covered a lot) because his voice is not  exactly what we would call pretty but his songs lend themselves to all kinds of voices.  The man just writes wonderful songs–songs that invite anyone to reinvent and play with what’s already, well, a solid piece of music.

For instance, if you’ve watched THE WIRE, you will recognize that each season begins with a different version of Tom Waits’s, “Way Down in the Hole.”  High five to the person who complied all the versions into a single Youtube video:

Season 1: Blind Boys of Alabama

Season 2: Tom Waits (himself!)

Season 3: The Neville Brothers

Season 4: DoMaJe

Season 5: Steve Earle

My favorite Tom Waits album is called Mule Variations.  I think it’s a good place to start if you’re not too familiar with his music.

SONG OF THE DAY: Chocolate Jesus

This is one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Kim Taylor, covering a great Tom Waits song.

One Reply to “SONGWRITING MONTH DAY 13: Tom Waits”

  1. Mule Variations is an excellent choice for a Waits album, but in the end which album from that guy doesn’t deliver? I never knew that The Wire’s opening was “Way Down in the Hole”, great to learn new things. Great post!

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