I suspect that this is the closest to the ‘correct’ answer Dave.
I’m guessing that compression would play a relatively small part in your songs, compared to situations for many of us where you have a full band to manage - i.e. a wide palate of sounds to integrate and massage into place. Compression then becomes a primary tool to try make it all gel and sit nicely as one cohesive and coherent entity. And of course the risk is always going to be that you over do it. But having said that, I rarely hear anything posted here that comes even close to the extreme crushed sounds of many commeral mixes that are being released these days. Personally I tend to aim for something in the middle, a finalised RMS of around -12dB is usually my target, but I know many commercial releases (particularly rock) that are closer to -9db.
As has been noted on a couple of my recent tunes - I may well not have found optimal compression settings yet but I think overall what I’m aiming for is pretty conservative in comparison. As much as I love dynamics in a piece of music, having a fairly compressed sound overall does work well for certain listening environments e.g. the car. When I used to do ‘test’ listens on my orchestral stuff during my commute one of the biggest issues was the quite passages disappeared amoungst the vehichle and general traffic noise, and the louder passages had you reaching for the volume control. But of course a ‘feature’ of orchestral is the dynamics.
I guess the needs and requirements are different for pop/rock and different again for the solo acoustic/vocal stuff you do.
I must admit though when I do listen to older pop/rock recordings, 70’s say for example, I really do appreciate the more open dynamic sound, but they sure are much quiter recordings compared to today. Somewhere in the middle seems like a good compromise.