The Acoustic Guitar Project Gives Songwriters Worldwide a Guitar and One Week to Write a Song

The White Stripes’ song “Lit­tle Room” is all about re-con­nect­ing with the space of cre­ativ­i­ty with­in you—the “lit­tle room” where emo­tions become ideas—when you’re feel­ing over­whelmed (by suc­cess? Or maybe just kids, bills and the IRS). Their garage-rock dit­ty is a nice mar­riage of form and con­tent, the lyri­cal sim­plic­i­ty enacts the men­tal par­ing down Jack White rec­om­mends. No telling how often White goes to his “lit­tle room,” but he’s such a well­spring of song­writ­ing ideas, solo and in a con­stel­la­tion of side projects, that I’d guess it’s pret­ty often. As a song­writer myself, I have found White’s advice utter­ly unim­peach­able (which must be why I duti­ful­ly ignore it so often).

But the lit­tle room isn’t just a com­fort­ing place in the head, like Hap­py Gilmore’s hap­py place. It’s also a phys­i­cal space—differently arranged for artists of dif­fer­ent media. For the singer/songwriter, it’s gen­er­al­ly a famil­iar, seclud­ed place where you can put all of your focus on a gui­tar, a notepad, and a record­ing device (the sim­pler the bet­ter). That’s the space con­jured up by The Acoustic Gui­tar Project, “cre­at­ed to help musi­cians recon­nect to the orig­i­nal moment that inspired them to be singer-song­writ­ers.” Con­ceived in April, 2012, the project’s stat­ed mis­sion is three­fold:

  • Inspire artists to take action.
  • Tell sto­ries from a truth­ful, mean­ing­ful point of view.
  • Strive to give peo­ple some­thing to believe in.

If these goals sound a lit­tle too vague and pollyan­naish to com­mu­ni­cate much, lis­ten to the won­der­ful sim­plic­i­ty of The Acoustic Gui­tar Project’s premise: 1) the project selects a musi­cian, and pro­vides him or her with an acoustic gui­tar and a hand­held recorder. 2) the musi­cian must pro­duce an orig­i­nal song with­in one week, using only the equip­ment pro­vid­ed. 3) the musi­cian, once fin­ished, choos­es the next musi­cian for the project, and, I sup­pose, “pays it for­ward.”

It’s a real­ly neat idea, and you can see the results on the site, which fea­tures over forty singer/songwriters so far who have been passed the gui­tar. Each musi­cian has their own page with a pro­file, pho­to, and the audio and lyrics of their song. The first three stages of the project took place in New York City, Helsin­ki, Fin­land, and Bogo­ta, Colum­bia, respec­tive­ly, and the fourth stage moves to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Joel Wald­man of Bogo­ta is one of these brave trou­ba­dours. You can see him per­form his song, “Como Una Lla­ma” (Like a Flame) live above. (See Joel’s page for the lyrics to his song, in both Span­ish and Eng­lish.)  In the video below, Joel very thought­ful­ly dis­cuss­es the feel­ing of writ­ing a song—a process, he says, of com­bin­ing infor­ma­tion and inspi­ra­tion.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

James Tay­lor Gives Free Acoustic Gui­tar Lessons Online

The Best Music to Write By: Give Us Your Rec­om­men­da­tions

Josh Jones is a writer, edi­tor, and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Love your mis­sion and real­ly appre­ci­ate your post about my web site. Thank you so much! Let’s keep in touch. Good peo­ple have to stick togeth­er.

    I list­ed your post on my site:

    and on my Kick­starter:

    Thank you!

  • Stephen Deg says:

    Love it..and so true..A naked voice, be it the ener­gy com­ing out to inter­twine with oth­ers in words,art,and arti­san’s the basis of life. Hope you can make it Tokyo where I reside.Would love to par­tic­i­pate.
    The above is a Video gallery con­tain­ing a short film dis­play­ing a med­ley of a song and kind peo­ple’s remix­es plus a few bonus songs and below:
    ORANGEY MUSIC chan­nel
    Live shows and “naked” Web Vlogs rough and done to engage with my small col­lec­tion of youtube friends in the states and europe.
    Much appreciation,Stephen Deg (band: Orangey )

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.