Lyric/structure feedback?- Americana/Singer-Songwriter

We're putting YOU in the drivers seat!

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

User avatar
Posts: 283
Joined: Sun May 17, 2015 6:41 pm
Gender: Male
Location: somers point, nj

Re: Lyric/structure feedback?- Americana/Singer-Songwriter

Post by mikemichnya » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:50 pm

Hey Anna,

I know I'm a little late to this party, but this song grabbed me right away! Years ago, I read about a singer-songwriter (whose name I now forget) that I really liked who dropped dead of a heart attack (he was in his early 50's) in a hotel room, so that first verse brought that memory back. It's a great start, and there's a lot to like about it. I love the melody, and I think your vocal is spot on. You have really strong imagery, some cool lines and good prosody. My favorite line: 'For all I care, call the fire department'. (I disagree with Jay in that respect; it makes sense because it's an emergency.) My second favorite: 'call it reckless indecision'.

I agree that it might need some structural tightening up. My first thought was your chorus really isn't a chorus, but a bridge, and it's an AABA song. My second thought was that it is a really cool chorus that you just need to get to quicker. My third thought was, maybe it's part of a whole 'nother song, but I quickly discarded that idea and decided my second thought was the way to go. (And not for nothing, but it's certainly possible to have a chorus that changes some part - usually a line or two in the middle - each time around).

I made two small structural changes (purely suggestions) to your lyrics. Then I read the comments, and saw that you revised some of the lyrics. I like the lyric changes, and I love how successfully you responded to the feedback, but no real change to the structure.

So, with that in mind, I think what you have as a bridge is really a lift going into the chorus. My suggestions with your revised lyrics (and a couple of lyric suggestions of my own in parentheses):

Don’t Want To Die in a Small Town

I don’t wanna die in a small town,
Country roads never end (great change there)
I don’t wanna die in a hotel room (as much as I like this line, it's not consistent with the story. Consider "I'd rather die..." instead)
Where nobody knows that I’m dead

I don’t wanna see you again
Cuz I’d say something that I regret
I wish I could wish you the best
But to tell you the truth I’m not there yet

(It kills me to) see the look on your face (great change from 'mom' to 'your'!!)
(Every time I tell you how) I hate this place

Call it a mission
Call it something
Call it feet that need running
For all I care call the fire department
Don’t know when and I don’t know how
All I know is I don’t wanna die in a small town

I can’t live on the back of my hand
I can’t be just some forgotten face
I know that you can’t understand
(Why I can't settle) down in (this small town) space (I actually like your original last line better, but your revision allows you to maintain the rhyme scheme)

And you know I love you and always will
but (I) can't see the world from (this tiny) hill

Call if faith
Call it a mission
Call it reckless indecision
For all you know I’m good at something
Don’t know when and don’t know how
All I know is I don’t wanna die in a small town

8 bar INSTRUMENTAL BRIDGE (fiddle solo? mandolin solo? - or you could write a true bridge that says either "I'm outta here" more directly OR asks him to go with you...)

Call it a mission
Call it something (you could go back to either previous chorus or...)
Call it whatever the hell you want (write something new and different here...)
Call the sheriff's department (and here if you decide to keep the middle of the chorus changing)
Don’t know when and don’t know how
All I know is I don’t wanna die in a small town

All I know is I don’t wanna die in a small town
No, I don’t wanna die in a small town
Hmmm mmmm

The only other (minor) concern that I have is there may be a bit of a disconnect between the emotions expressed in the lines (which I really like a lot, BTW) - 'I wish I could wish you the best, but... I'm not there yet' and the line "you know I love you and I always will'. Maybe not significant...

Anyway, definitely better with the revision. I say keep working on it while it's fresh. I think it can be a little tighter (and closer to country while solidly in the Americana/folk genre). And to your comment - "it's about as personal of a song as I have ever written" - it's the personal stuff that's always the best.

Whatever you decide, best of luck with it.

Best regards,

Michael (Amoriello) Michnya

Like Robbie Robertson sang, "take what you need and leave the rest."

Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1475
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:44 am
Gender: Male

Re: Lyric/structure feedback?- Americana/Singer-Songwriter

Post by johnlewitt » Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:49 am


This is a killer track. And while it's got a classic sound, it's very contemporary in that in could be on a playlist with Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell.

IMO, I'd leave it as is and don't overthink it.

You've got the hook that will make people remember it.

You've got the incredible emotion in your voice to sell the story, whether that story is perfect or not. Think back to Born In The USA, everyone thought it was a patriotic song, very few people actually listened to the story!

So don't put it away for 6 months. Record it the way you think it should be done. It can easily work just you and your guitar or you could go with a stripped down band IMO.

The only question I have for you is what you want to do with it? Is this an artist release/pitch, or are you looking for film and TV.


User avatar
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1609
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:49 am
Gender: Male

Re: Lyric/structure feedback?- Americana/Singer-Songwriter

Post by ComposerLDG » Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:25 am

Hi Anna,

I know I'm REALLY late to the party here, but I liked this song right from the intro. Really love your strumming and the vocals are spot on and expressive. The lyrics wonderfully capture emotions that I think all of us feel at one time or another, and are adeptly delivered with the great vocals.

I think you have a really good song here. Best of luck with it!
Loren DiGiorgi
Uniquely piano-inspired Orchestral | Tension | Hybrid | Trailer

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest