American Songwriter: What was the inspiration for “Remembered”?
Cameron Burleson: I was on a walk as my wife and I killed some time waiting to go to the Penn State-Maryland football game. We came across an old family cemetery that dated back to pre-Civil War. I was struck that some of the graves had been marked with historical markers and others with only their original headstones. Those with historical markers were the unmarked graves of slaves who died and were buried there without recognition. I went back to the hotel room and the poem came out.
AS: How long have you been writing lyrics?
CB: I’ve only been considering the applicability of my poetry for lyrics for a couple of years. I have been writing poetry for the past 7 years with a published volume, Riding Fence: Thoughts of a Cowboy, and several published individual poems.
AS: Have you written music for this lyric? If so, how would you describe it?
CB: Not a musician. I can bang out D, C and G on a mandolin with inconsistency.
AS: How long does it usually take you to finish a lyric or song? How about this one?
CB: It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few minutes. Start to finish, “Remembered” was about 20 minutes.
AS: Do you prefer co-writing or solo writing?
CB: I’ve never co-written, but would be very interested hearing ideas back and forth. Sounds energetic.
Since 1984, the American Songwriter Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters gain exposure and have fun.
AS: What keeps you motivated as a songwriter?
CB: I love to write. As long as the ideas and motivations continue, I will keep writing.
AS: Are there any songwriters, artists or events that have especially inspired you lately?
CB: Maintaining a connection to my own thoughts and feelings, my authentic self and Southern and Western culture seems to be the ingredients. Straying too far away from those kills my soul.
AS: How long have you been writing songs, and what are your songwriting goals?
CB: I would love to have a poem or some lyrics developed into a song. Not a song that sells a million copies (although I would not be averse to that experience) or one that I can’t recognize once completed. I’d like to hear the collaboration of writing-to-performance live.
AS: How do you find time to write amid life’s many demands?
CB: If it hits you at 2 in the morning, you better get up and write it down. …It’ll only be a faint memory in the morning.
AS: What is your idea of a perfect song?
CB: Yikes, that’s tough. One that doesn’t age, the listening never grows old.
AS: Who are your all-time favorite songwriters and why?
CB: My first thought is Townes Van Zandt, which is kinda like saying, “Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets!”…which he is. Maya Angelou, Baxter Black, Bruce Kiskaddon also keep my mind on writing.