Sometimes I feel like I’m a songwriter trapped in a newspaper columnist’s body. Songwriters and opinion writers actually have quite a bit in common. Both write to express how they feel about a wide variety of subjects ranging from world affairs to personal relationships and from fast cars to pick-up trucks. Songs and opinion pieces frequently feature themes such as love, loss, fear, anger, hope, and despair. And when they’re done right, these short works of art can make a powerful impact on listeners and readers—as well as the writers themselves.

Travis Naughton

I hope that at some point in the last nine years I have written something that resonated with you in a meaningful way. Perhaps one of my accounts of our family’s camping misadventures stirred up a long-dormant memory you have of a family vacation that took place in your youth. Maybe my descriptions of teaching primary school music reminded you of the joy of discovering a new favorite musician when you were a kid. Hopefully my stories about being a dad and now a granddad have helped you understand your relationships with your own family members a little better.

Two themes that are frequently touched on in music are mental health and substance abuse. From Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” to “There’s a Tear in My Beer”, there are countless songs dedicated to songwriters’ emotional and chemical battles. The same is true for my columns.

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