i've been learning a couple of themed cover songs for a benefit gig tonight, and it hasn't been easy trying to memorize the words. it has occurred to me that it's because i've been writing and playing my own songs for so long, hardly ever playing covers.
when i try to sing someone else's words, i want to replace them with my own, sing it the way i would say it, phrase by phrase.
i'm trying to remember what it was like, when i wasn't writing, playing other folks' songs i loved and had to learn because i couldn't get them out of my head otherwise. i appreciated each turn of phrase, wishing i could come up with something so poetic, so perfect.
and then i could. and now i find it hard to internalize someone else's song. because that's the way i used to do it. many of my friends and contemporaries choose to change a song, find some way to make it their own, in their way. i always played covers as closely as possible to the original, ie. the song i loved.
it's been an interesting exercise, in any case. and i'm glad i've partly figured out why it's been as hard as it has - much better than assuming i've lost some capacity in my middle years.
tomorrow i will go back to playing my own songs, with a better appreciation of what having written them means to me.