“All of a sudden there’s a song – there in your hotel room playing your guitar – and you write it, and two or three years later it will come true. It keeps you on your toes.”These words, spoken by Townes Van Zandt, support a popular notion of the songwriter in American popular culture: A rambling man, on the road with a band, playing venues both squalid and splendid, creating songs from thin air with little more than a beat up guitar, bottle of booze and hotel notepad.And there’s no doubt that countless great tunes have been written in such a manner. But there’s another question worth asking: In 2017, are most songs written that way?To find out, we spoke with six songwriters who will be at the ninth annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival over Memorial Day weekend (May 25-28) in Martinsville, Va. These six artists: Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass), Anders Osborne, Andrew Marlin (Mandolin Orange), Lyle Divinksy (The Motet), Marcus King, and Wood Robinson (Mipso) bring different backgrounds, hometowns, experience levels and genres to the craft of songwriting.Perhaps unsurprisingly, they write songs in different manners.Read on to catch a glimpse into the daily songwriting process of Anders Osborne. Then, catch his nighttime set at Rooster Walk 9 in Martinsville, VA.Editor’s Note: This is the fourth story in a six-part “Road to Rooster Walk” series about the craft and process of songwriting. Previous installments featured The Motet, Greensky Bluegrass, and Marcus King.Called “the poet laureate of Louisiana’s fertile roots music scene” by Guitar Player magazine, Anders Osborne has released 15 albums since arriving in New Orleans in the mid-80s. His songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Keb’ Mo to Tim McGraw.Despite touring roughly nine months a year, Osborne is an ardent proponent of daily writing as habit.“You’ve got to be grabbing at the stuff every single day, or I do. I have to grab at it every day, because I think the way I look at it is that inspiration and the muse is always dancing. And ideas are always out there. And if you miss it on a Thursday in February, I don’t think it shows up again, you know, in August. I think you missed the opportunity to write that song,” he said.Due to his heavy tour schedule, Osborne often writes from the back lounge of his tour bus, and he typically begins with a guitar in hand – rather than a pen or keyboard.“I try to find something (on the guitar) that gets me inspired or that emphasizes the mood I’m in emotionally. And then if I find something that works – maybe a couple lines come out, or an idea of the lyrics – usually I work off that. And then another thing I do is I try to have several songs going at the same time, so I keep ‘em fresh. Sometimes I’ll have different sheets of paper in a circle around the room where I usually write. And then I kind of rotate, going from one to the other, keeping it fresh, and that way I don’t get stuck too much.”Though he knows what it’s like to catch lightning in a bottle and write fully-realized songs in one sitting – he wrote hit song, “Marmalade,” from the 2013 album “Three Free Amigos,” in roughly 2 minutes’ time – the songwriting process often takes several days or weeks. He likes to use the voice recording app on his smartphone to record a song idea when it hits him. Then, he develops, tweaks and refines it over the coming hours or days until it’s nearly finished. Only then will he record it a second time.“About 4 or 5 years ago I started to put down the initial musical idea. So let’s say there’s a progression or a melody that comes out, I put that on the phone, like on the little demo voice recorder, and what I try to do is to not keep recording it as I write it,” he explained. “That way I can always go back to what it was I liked the very, very first time I had the idea. And what that helps me with, and this is something I’ve been doing pretty consistently, it helps me not forget or change the original inspiration, if that makes any sense.”Osborne tries to complete at least one new song per week. And while “Marmalade” may be the quickest one he’s written, “Can You Still Hear Me?” from the 2016 album “Space Dust and Ocean Views,” might be the longest.“That (song) started probably a few months after my mother died. I started to write some stuff and then I couldn’t finish that. And that was 2001, and then I finished it in 2015, so that took 14 years,” he said. “… I forgot about it, and then my old saxophone player (Tim Green) died, and then it all sort of made sense and it came back.”Songwriters who influence Anders: Townes Van Zandt. Stephen Stills, Neal Young, Cat Stevens, Black Sabbath (“I don’t know who wrote those but there’s a lot of sort of riffy, rock stuff that I get from that.”). The melodic compositions of Cannonball Adderley, John Coletrane and Miles Davis.Song: MarmaladeNext Week on the Road to Rooster Walk: Mandolin Orange[Photo by J. Mimna Photography]
The world’s largest LNG bunker supply vessel Kairos departed from the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan, South Korea, on October 17, heading for the ship’s primary area of operation in Northwest Europe. The ship, with an LNG capacity of 7,500 m³ is the world’s largest LNG bunkering vessel, and it is expected to be ready for operations before the end of 2018. “The arrival of the Kairos in the Baltic Sea will set a milestone for LNG as a ship fuel. From then on, supply of LNG as a marine fuel in the Baltic Sea is secured on a large-scale basis. This is a great step for sustainable and responsible shipping with a large impact on air and water quality,” Mahinde Abeynaike, CEO of Nauticor, which holds 90 percent of the joint venture that charters the vessel, said.Mindaugas Jusius, CEO of Klaipėdos nafta (KN), which holds the remaining 10 percent of the joint venture, pointed out that the new ship will ensure an efficient LNG reloading station service in the Port of Klaipėda, Lithuania, and offer a full LNG logistics chain in the Baltic Sea Region to its customers.“The main advantage and ambition of the new vessel is to ensure more competitive pricing for the LNG reloading station users. It will not only reduce the cost of the LNG supply chain, but will also ensure the smooth and reliable service to distribution station users in Klaipėda,” Jusius added.The construction of the vessel started in 2016 when the joint venture signed a time-charter agreement with ship owner Babcock Schulte Energy (BSE). The vessel has several other unique features, including the ballast-free design and installation of a CNG tank to store vapour return gas from vessels being bunkered.
Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod national rookie of the year and Lexington Raceway track champion Jacob Olmstead. (Photo courtesy of Jacob Olmstead)OVERTON, Neb. – Jacob Olmstead proved up to the challenge in a second IMCA division this season.Olmstead earned national Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod rookie of the year honors, winning 10 of his 43 starts and the track title at Lexington Raceway.“We started strong, won a feature, wrecked a car and had some bad luck,” the Overton, Neb., driver summarized. “I got to run with guys I grew up watching and kept racing hard locally as many nights as we could.”Third in national point standings for the Hobby Stocks in 2015 – the year his brother Zach was the top rookie in that class – Olmstead ran an abbreviated 2016 season before selling his car and crewing full-time.“I wanted something different. I wanted a new challenge, so I bought the car that Tyler Frye had driven to the national championship and ran that a couple times after the point season,” he explained. “Our goal in 2017 was to run for national rookie. I wanted to get some seat time and experience so I could look halfway like I knew what I was doing.”Career win number one in the class came in his seventh start, at Boone County Raceway on May 5.“I told my dad my goal this season was to win one feature. It has always been my dream to win a SportMod feature,” Olmstead said. “I was watching the laps count down and thinking Just throw the checkers! I was speechless for hours after I won. It was a pretty crazy night.”Olmstead had that car figured out before a late June wreck, also at Albion. He bought another BMS car, which had sat outside for four years, for the frame, swapped parts and promptly won three straight starts.His 10th and final win of the season came on Aug. 20 … two days before he and wife Jenna celebrated the birth of their first child, son Owen.Starts-43 Wins-10 Additional Top Fives-13HIS CREW: Wife Jenna, parents Troy and Gina, brothers Zach and Morgan, sister Mallory, Kellin Myers, Trevor Myers, the Frye family and the Murray family.HIS SPONSORS: South Central Feeders and Harmon Motorsports, both of Arapahoe; Bruner Frank Attorneys at Law of Kearney; the Myers family of Axtell; Weinman Farms of Arnold; EQ Cylinder Heads of Las Vegas, Nev.; BSB Manufacturing of Wellington, Kan.; Tin Man Bodies of Belleville, Kan.; and Ultimate Machine of Phillipsburg, Kan.