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Songwriter Jenna Herbst's Songbird Challenge tasks her with writing one new song a week

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Songwriters, like many creative types, often need to embark on challenges they create for themselves. Singer Jenna Herbst, for instance, has challenged herself to write, record and distribute a song a week for the next two months. The songs, which will be sent out via an email list will be voted on by fans with an end goal of picking which tracks will be recorded by her band, the Juniper Trees.

"I wanted to try something new, a new way of offering music," explains Herbst. "I heard about other songwriters doing this and thought it was a great idea -- the real challenge is to write this much, something I'm not used to."

Making your ambitions public is a good means to keep yourself on task. But just because the challenge is there, doesn't mean it's easy. "Honestly," Herbst continues, "it is pretty difficult so far, because I usually write songs when I feel like it, not on a schedule. This is fun, because I'm doing it for the people who want to hear them, so the effort has a purpose."

The purpose, and the idea of vetting songs through fans, can be a bit terrifying for a songwriter, especially in an effort like this where they're largely unfinished, or at least lacking any polish. "It is really important to me that people like the songs," she says, "because I want them to enjoy the listening, but at the same time, you can only write what comes out. For me, it's the purpose of the song to be enjoyed in some way."

On top of the digital files in your email inbox, you'll also be able to pick up a CD of the songs recorded during the challenge at The Juniper Trees' show on February 11 at The Laughing Goat in Boulder. She's also put out a call for anyone else interested in doing the challenge -- you can reach out to her on the announcement page for more information. Below you'll find the first track, "The Lines."



Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music


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