Monday, October 25, 2010

Folsom Breakout Blues

So I moved on to the next round of the informal songwriting contest over at Spintunes 2. The challenge for this round was to write a sequel to a famous song. For purposes of the contest we were limited to choosing a song that had been on the billboard top 20 singles chart for at least one week, so that there could be no debate about what qualified as famous.

I chose to write a sequel to Folsom Prison Blues.

You can hear my song and the others, and participate in a poll, here.

"Folsom Breakout Blues" - biography of a song

How exactly the idea to write a sequel to "Folsom Prison Blues" came about I really don't recall. But once the idea struck me it seemed perfect; narrative not too limiting, logical sequel, style right up my alley, no chorus, etc...

A few of these were tough choices, should I stick with the no chorus structure? It works well for me in much of my own songwriting, so I decided to, even though I often favor a bridge for variety. I think the guitar solo fills that niche well in this case.

One problem was going to be how to get it in the Johnny Cash style pocket without sounding too close to the original? So i was quite concsious to use a different rhythm to the vocal phrases, avoid using the same changes and tried to sort of turn the tune upside down Simpson's style. I think i succeeded fairly well.

An important device, of course is the train, in the original a symbol of imprisonment, in the sequel both a literal and symbolic device of freedom. I tried to use some other lyrical glue as well; San Antonio, "Far From Folsom," Reno.

All together i think it works both as a sequel and as a stand-alone without needing to know any inside info about how it came to be.

I'm interested to hear what you think.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your tune and have always enjoyed your work. thanks for the story of the song. nice to find your blog. :)