In my songwriting, I tend to go for more particular images and references over more general ones, because I think life is experienced in the particular rather than in general. One of my songs about a long-distance relationship makes reference to Knoxville and Pittsburgh. Someone recommended that I change it to "the South" and "the North," and that just felt all wrong to me because people in relationships live in particular places, not just somewhere down South or up North. But I suspect that in a live performance, all these very particular images and references can get a bit overwhelming; so the storytelling helps to give a little context.
This is something that's been cooking for a while. But it really started to gel this past spring when I attended a several-day retreat with David Wilcox. David is masterful at weaving stories and songs together, and it struck me that it added this whole other dimension to the performance. Todd Snider also does this in his solo performances. Last time I played at the Open Chord's Songwriter Night, on Oct. 4, I had such a good time sharing my songs and their stories that I decided to expand the storytelling in my full-length shows. I used this format in Friday's (Nov. 18) Vienna Coffee House gig, and it felt right and (I think) went over well. I'm excited about doing more of this in upcoming shows, so get in touch if you'd like to book something!