Roger Miller and good old simple songwriting

Every once in a while I get blocked and decide that if I want to write better songs I need to learn new chords and play the guitar better. I get stuck around my A's, and D's and C's and start thinking that I have nothing left to offer. And then a simple two-chord song breaks me out of the spell and gets me writing again. The best songs I know, the ones that really touch me, could have been written by people who know very little about their physical instrument. This is because songwriting is, to some extent, an instrument in and of itself. It's peculiarity is the ability to weave words and music. In my case I try to find the music that is already in words. I work from the lyrics to the melody to the harmony. Words have a rhythm and if you pay close attention, their meaning is usually linked to some melodic pattern. I learned to play the guitar through songwriting, and not the other way around. First I listen (in my head) to the song that is coming my way, then I sing it out loud, and only then do I find the chords in the guitar. If I start by picking up the guitar, chances are I'll get stuck and nothing good will come out. Today what broke me out of the "I-need-to-get-technical" spell was listening to the soundtrack of Disney's Robin Hood (1973), written by Roger Miller. The songs "Oo-de-Lally," "Not In Nottingham," and "Whistle-Stop" are three of my all-time favorites and they're all two to four-chord songs. In the Disney movie Miller is also the narrator (the guitar-playing rooster). His own work is deliciously simple and inspiring too. I am not advocating that technical skills aren't important, but I enjoy it when they are acquired based on need and curiosity, and not for their own sake.