Acting as an interpreter is an important part of it. Johnny Cash, a great song writer, was also a great interpreter. Though his journey had never taken him to prison, he could interpret in such a way that those who had been there took him as one of their own. Such was his talent that those songwriters who were lucky enough for him to cover their songs, often paid the price of losing them forever.
There is also the importance of the craft. In his song “Turn the Page,” Bob Seger takes us through a day in the life of a rock star. This is a song in which every word has been carefully placed: “Here I am / Out on a road again.” It is “a” road, not “the” road. The selection of the indefinite article over the definite article is telling us something. “The road” is a place of romance and adventure; “a road” is just another road.
That particular song is also tied together very well. In the first stanza he says, “You can think about the woman or the girl you knew the night before;” he closes the last stanza with “You smoke the day’s last cigarette, remembering what she said.”
I’d never paid much attention to Bruce Springsteen until his song “The Rising” which came out of his experience of 9-11-2001. With maturity of his talents, he managed to take that tragedy and to find hope. After that, I’ve listened to some of his older stuff and have discovered he is a master. His talent as an interpreter is confirmed with his We Shall Overcome album wherein he pays tribute to Pete Seeger. If I had any doubt about his continuing talent, it was assuaged by “Girls in their Summer Clothes” which conveys a particular emotion made perfect in men older than 50.