Bobby Angel

Join singer/songwriter Bobby Angel around the campfire for songs and story-telling. Find out more at bobbyangel.org.

Second Drafts
And why the third settles it

The secret of the second draft?

Answer: You probably need a third.

First draft (sort of rough)

Second draft (getting better)

Third draft (audio version)

At least that’s the case with lyrics. And the untold story of the first draft is that it may have very well been preceded with an audio dictation. Really, writing is about getting your thoughts down, and refining. You know a draft is really coming to shape when the words on the paper talk back to you and tell you what to change, or what needs to be added, shortened or otherwise rearranged. People often mistake writing as a product. And just to be clear it is most definitely that, but more even more so and most of all it’s a process. Some may even say an art.

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Quotable: “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” — Jodi Picoult

Forgotten forest
fondly remembered, only too late

It’s the type of forest …

Nobody cares about until it’s gone.

Ugliest Forest, the Song

And if we’ve seen it once we’ve all seen in a thousand times. It’s that patch of trees that looks pretty enough, although it may be infested with invasive trees, and littered with trash. And no it’s never that big patch of woods, just a remnant of a larger contiguous mass or woods that got gobbled up by housing developments of various types.

Ugliest Forest, the Interview

Why and how that patch of woods escaped development is anyone’s guess. Maybe it got held up in a real estate dispute, or maybe the owner was holding out for a higher price, or maybe the zoning laws were still being hashed out. Whatever the case, the patch of woods survived, and even thrived as judged by the birds and the bunnies and the mice (and maybe even a bobcat). And then just like that, in move the bulldozers

And the woods are gone.

Old school angel
And why it took 14 years

Believe it or not …

I sang my first song in 1999.

Playing to a packed audience at The Pavilion

It would take another 15 years to record my first song. The reason? For one, smart phones didn’t become ubiquitous until sometime around 2010. Another reason might be that my songs were never planned events. Sometimes it would be a day before a farewell party and I didn’t have a song. Or I had a song that was half cooked and still being very unsure if I would be ready for show time. But I learned my lesson quickly: People preferred any song to no song at all. And I was pretty much a persona non-grata if I showed up empty handed without a song to play. The question still needs to be asked: How many songs did I sing in the great “blacked out” period between 1999 and 2014. If I had to guess — and just counting farewell songs — I would say a good two dozen, maybe more.

Many of them I wrote down. Just as many I forgot the chords. But maybe that’s the most incredible thing. One song called The Ballad of the Florida Panther I only sang once, and really even then when I sang it I was just trying to follow the chicken scratch page of lyrics I’d scribbled together in the day before Krista left. The year was 2005. How I managed to reconstruct the song (and the chords) fifteen years later is anybody’s guess other than I’m 100 percent positive I remembered the correct chords. I’m not saying I’m a great artist, but twenty years after singing my first song and barely being able to play more than a few chords I have a pretty good webpage. Next steps: Live performance. Ready or not world, Bobby Angel is ready, willing and able to tour. But not until I get done my third album, yet to be named.

Return of Bobby Angel
And why he never went away

Sometimes life …

Trips you up.

One of my better live performances

The only known antidote: Get up and brush it off. And I don’t speak from experience. I’m only saying it as a last resort. These past few months I’ve been going through a song-writing lull. The good news: I’ve seriously gone through my archive and put my songs to memory. I am now capable of playing any number of song sets. The problem is: I’ve left a lot of half-baked songs languish on the window sill. I’m not saying I’m not going to eventually get back up on the horse and gallop full speed ahead. But there are times I wish I was a full time nature-folk balladeer instead of doing the balancing act of being a hydrologist, every night campfire host, performing late night campfire concerts, maintaining a podcast and also trying to put the finishing touches on a fourth installment of a major literary work. Bogged down? Only to the uninitiated. There’s an old saying: If you want something done, ask a busy person. The corollary is: being bogged down is just a momentary state of finally breaking through to the promised land.