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Cheap Motel

Michael R. J. Roth

October 24, 2017

Genre: Folk

More by Michael R.


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Learn the art, craft & business of songwriting from hit songwriter, Brent Baxter!

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About This Song


Co-written with Scott Thorn (https://scottthorn.com/), this song was recently a second-place winner in the Dallas Songwriters Association's lyric competition. Scott has a rock-country version in the works, but this is a stripped-down acoustic take.

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Any and all suggestions/critiques are welcome! There's always room for improvement.


2 Responses


Brent Baxter

Hey, Michael- thanks for sharing!  Congrats on the contest placement.

There’s some great imagery here.  You definitely set the mood and scene.  (Hair in the drain, beer can ashtray, etc.)  Well done!

Now, it’s a folk song, so it may not need as much clarity as a country song, but I was missing it, anyway.  Why is he in this cheap motel?  Is it because he’s on the road a lot?  Or because he got kicked out of his place again?  I didn’t have a clear sense of the situation, and that bothered me.

But there’s some cool stuff going on here.  Thanks again for sharing it!

Please pay it forward by leaving a comment on another writer’s song.  Thanks!

October 27, 2017

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Michael R. J. Roth

Thanks, Brent! You’re not alone in that criticism. Here’s what the judge said:

“I really liked the imagery in this song, things like “…shattered life I left behind, Like a beer can ashtray…”  really puts me in the Cheap Motel.
I’d like to know more about what put the singer in the Cheap Motel, what misfortune put them there.  The verse about a “man who made it all the way…” is not clear to me, I don’t really get why they are singing a chorus about a Cheap Motel.  But the verse lyrics really made me feel the Cheap Motel room, with a groaning, haunted bed. “

I suspect there were only two entries in the contest. : )

November 01, 2017

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Brent Baxter

Hey, Michael- thanks for sharing!  Congrats on the contest placement.

There’s some great imagery here.  You definitely set the mood and scene.  (Hair in the drain, beer can ashtray, etc.)  Well done!

Now, it’s a folk song, so it may not need as much clarity as a country song, but I was missing it, anyway.  Why is he in this cheap motel?  Is it because he’s on the road a lot?  Or because he got kicked out of his place again?  I didn’t have a clear sense of the situation, and that bothered me.

But there’s some cool stuff going on here.  Thanks again for sharing it!

Please pay it forward by leaving a comment on another writer’s song.  Thanks!

October 27, 2017

0

Michael R. J. Roth

Thanks, Brent! You’re not alone in that criticism. Here’s what the judge said:

“I really liked the imagery in this song, things like “…shattered life I left behind, Like a beer can ashtray…”  really puts me in the Cheap Motel.
I’d like to know more about what put the singer in the Cheap Motel, what misfortune put them there.  The verse about a “man who made it all the way…” is not clear to me, I don’t really get why they are singing a chorus about a Cheap Motel.  But the verse lyrics really made me feel the Cheap Motel room, with a groaning, haunted bed. “

I suspect there were only two entries in the contest. : )

November 01, 2017


Cheap Motel 

(C) 2017 Michael R. J. Roth & Gregory Thoroman

Living in a cheap motel, 
I'll mail you a postcard from hell,
Gideon bible in the nightstand drawer, 
It's a passport to heaven I'm sure.
Stains on the carpet, hair in the drain,
I swear this bed is haunted 
With the groans of a saint.

I’m living an alibi
From the shattered life I left behind,
Like a beer can ashtray 
In the corner of my soul.
This is where dreams come to die
Under pink neon lights,
Looking for the truth behind
A whiskey colored blind.

CHORUS:
This is not the mansion I was promised,
This is not the life I'm supposed to lead,
These are not the girls I meant to kiss, Lord,
For a love that only hits me where I bleed, 
In these cheap motels

I knew a guy who made it all the way,
Got himself a mansion and famous name.
He lay awake one night alone in his bed.
These are the words he said:

(CHORUS)

BRIDGE:
Between the rocky road to heaven
And the long and lonesome 
Highway to hell,
No matter where you live, 
It’s just another cheap motel.

(CHORUS)

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