The Gift Of Songwriting...Wrap It Up!



The Joy

Look at the joy on this guy’s face! Meet my soon-to-be-one-year-old-Grandson, Scout. Aside from the obvious reason for me to love him is the fact that he is learning to love presents. I love presents. The difference  is he's at the age where the wrapping is just as much fun as the gift inside.

Got me thinking about how I view not only my own songs but everything I listen to.

The Wrapping

I still love a good pop record and now more than ever it seems to have more to do with the wrapping. Production can create  a guilty pleasure  or ear candy and songwriting purists can turn their nose up at "Blurred Lines", "Roar" and this year’s ever present "Get Lucky" what? Sure the wrapping can tend to be better than the gift when it comes to production verses song value here but isn't that what you loved about pop music when you first heard it? 

The Gift

I know as a songwriter the more experience I get the more discerning my taste in music.

I studied the best writers, read every book about songwriting I could lay my hands on and went along with the theory that a great song is only a great song if it can be played in its simplest form and still work.

I became less interested in the wrapping and more focused on the gift inside. Living in Nashville the past bunch of years it's easy to start thinking 3 chords and the truth is the only way. Another way of saying I was becoming, at times, more song snob and less Scout. 

The Point

Well I'm rediscovering more and more the pure pleasure in the packaging of the music I grew up with and what’s on the radio now. Sure some of those songs would still be great played on a Martin at the Bluebird but for every James Taylor and Carole King I have Chic and well...most of the 80’s. I’m taking pleasure again in those songs that moved more butt than brain and hey… Nile Rodgers is bringing back the Chic with “Get Lucky”. So I’m smilin’.

And More Joy

Me and Scout are digging the packaging. Wrap it up…I’ll take it.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hoilidays!

Mark Cawley

Nashville, Tennesse



Update: Here's Scout , Dec 2017 and a link to the Billboard Pop hits this week

Scout 2017

Scout 2017


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Dedicating all my blogs in 2013 to the memory of John Braheny. I still ask every songwriter or artist I coach to pickup his book before we start talking. 

There is also a college scholarship in John's name, through the California Copyright Conference (John was a past president)'s the link:



Mark Cawley's songs have appeared on more than 15 million records. Over a career based in LA, London, and Nashville his songs have been recorded by an incredibly diverse range of artists. From Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Wynonna, Diana Ross and Chaka Khan to The Spice Girls, Tom Scott, Kathy Mattea, Paul Carrack, Will Downing and Pop Idol winners in the UK. He has had #1 records in the UK and throughout Europe as well as cuts in Country, Jazz & R & B. His groundbreaking website Song Journey created with Hall of Fame writer Kye Fleming was the first to mentor writers from around the world one-on-one online. He is currently writing and publishing as well as helping writers and artists worldwide with a one-on-one co-active coaching service, iDoCoach.


Mark Cawley of

Mark Cawley of