Category Archives: songwriting

The Man in the Movies

I posted the first draft of this in December 2008. I worked on it off and on. I changed one line today and I think I’m finally done.

The Man in the Movies
by Rob Roper 5th draft March 27, 2011

She had no time for sadness
Didn’t believe in second chances
She was looking for the man in the movies
She wanted flowers without the rain

I played the part for awhile
wearing a crooked smile
I was the man in the movies
I promised flowers without the rain

Guess I scared her a little
when I let her see my cry
I’m not the man in the movies
But I’ll take the flowers with the rain

Sorry for ignoring you

Dear blog,

Sorry for ignoring you. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. But I started this mainly as a blog about my songwriting, and I haven’t been doing much of that. I recorded a record, “Me”, in the Spring and Summer of 2009 and released it in the Fall. Then I formed a band around December 2009, and focused on gigs with the band in the Spring of 2010. Then in the summer and fall of 2010, I’ve been recording another record, a full-length, professionally produced record. And working a full time day job all along also. More than full time; I’m forced to work a lot of overtime on this job, no way out of it. So not much time for songwriting.

But I came back to the blog today, and read the last post, about getting better. That was confirmed in the current recording project. The producer, John McVey, is using professional musicians, and he himself is a very good guitar player and singer. And he’s been kicking my ass to make me a better singer and guitar player. It’s been a little humbling, but good for me. If you want to read more about this recording project, go to my website,

But I’ve been itching to get back to songwriting. I’ve got a ton of musical and lyrical ideas. So once I get this record done, and do a little promotion for it, I hope to take 2-3 months off and write some new songs.


I Need to Get Better

This is a reply to myself in the previous blog, “What Happened to Built-in Crowds”. (This is nothing new, I argue with myself all the time).

I need to get better. I need to sing better, I need to play guitar better, I need to compose better music, I need to write better lyrics.

Marketing and promotion can only help if you’re good. At something. Maybe you’re not a great singer, but people will come hear you if you’re a good guitar player or songwriter. Maybe you’re not a good guitar player, but people will come hear you if you’re a good singer.

If you’re just average, and not really good at anything, your friends will come see you– for awhile. But to win fans you have to be good, at something.

If you’re good, people will open doors for you. They’ll tell their friends about you– “You have to hear this!” Other musicians will invite you to open for them at a gig. The word will get around. That’s more important that the best website, the best MySpace or Facebook sites, Twitter, emails, etc.

Of course if you are good, then the-above mentioned promotional tools can really help.

It’s hard to evaluate oneself, but I think I’m a decent guitar player, a decent songwriter, and a below-average singer. So I’m taking singing lessons to improve my singing. But I also think I need to improve my musicianship and composing.

I’m going to spend less time on promotion and more time getting better. I want to hear rumors of people emailing their friends saying, “you’ve got to hear this guy Rob Roper”. I want to hear other bands or singer-songwriters approach me and say, “Your music is important, I want to help turn people on to you. Will you open for me next month?” When I hear those sort of things, I’ll know I’m good.



I moved from Tucson to Denver 10 years ago. I finally wrote a a song about Tucson.

by Rob Roper 1st draft Feb 16, 2010

Gabriela was pretty
though she always looked down
She was like the city
a grown-up little town
I should have left them
ten years ago
But she and the Catalinas
just won’t let me go.

On 4th Avenue
College girls drink
Spending daddy’s money
with fake I.D.’s
And the Sand Rubies play
while I sip my beer
Wondering what the hell
I’m doing here

Out in the desert
Snowbirds play golf
The winter’s too nice here
It’s making me soft
Oh give me four seasons
Winter snow and all
Where the trees
are pretty in the fall

Gabriela, my dear
Summer’s almost here
The Palo Verde trees
have lost their yellow leaves
Oh you’ll probably call me
sometime in June
Then you’ll disappear
like a summer monsoon.

I should rent a truck
and pack up my stuff
Goodbye Santa Ritas
Goodbye Catalinas
But the sun is too hot
in Tucson today
so I’m
just looking for some shade.

Oh, the sun is too hot
in Tucson today
and I’m
just looking for
some shade.

Sea of Hope

When I was at the Lyons, Colorado Song School last August, I was at my camp, noodling around on my guitar in a tuning I learned from Beth Wood. It’s DADGCE. I came up with a rhythm and riff in the key of C that I liked, and The Muse sent me this line, “Sailing on a Sea of Hope”. But C wasn’t good for my voice, G was better, so as much as I loved the tuning, I decided I had to ditch it and go back to standard tuning. But here’s a lesson I’ve learned: sometimes using a new tuning can give you a song idea that you never would have gotten otherwise, even if you go back to another tuning to finish it.

I wrote the chorus first, and then pillaged an unfinished song from 2005 for some verse lyrics. Another lesson learned: don’t be upset about unfinished songs. Maybe they weren’t meant to be finished. Put them in the song junkyard and use them for spare parts for other songs.

I don’t know if it’s done yet. It’s a first draft. I’ll probably tweak the melody and chords a little more, maybe some of the lyrics. I’ll record a rough version and put it up on Here’s the lyrics as they stand now.

Sea of Hope
by Rob Roper 1st Draft December 31, 2009

Mistakes are necessary
so I’m gonna make some
This life of comfort is
a life of boredom
The radio plays
the same old songs
I’ve got to do something
even if it’s wrong

Sailing on a sea of hope
Bailing out this leaky boat
Set the sail, catch the wind
Won’t be coming back here again
Won’t be back here again

Tired of living
in the slow lane
Tired of saying
another wasted day
Everybody says
“You’ve got it made”
But even the best zoo is
still a cage


I don’t know
what I’m searching for
But I don’t care if I
ever make it to the shore