Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Class Reaction

I figured since I have talked so much about the song I wrote here, I should mention the reaction the class had to it last night. What I was happiest with, they also pointed as being the 'good part', and what I was uncomfortable with, I was given advice about fixing....Usually, what the class likes best is what i am uncomfortable about in a song...don't know what that means...LOL.

My favorite comment was over a part in the song when the narrator is saying how she loves to dance. The woman said that in that part of the song, the sensation of dancing and loving it was in the music and melody as well as the lyrics....made her want to get up and spin! That was a comment that made me feel like I am on the right track, that is what i WANT to do with music, make people FEEL.

I guess now that I have written all this, I should put the song up....LOL. But first, I have to be able sing it...this darn cold has my voice all crackly...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Think I'm finished now....

So, a few days ago, when I first decided to write about writing that song on this blog, I said that if inspiration meant being moved by some big spirit, I didn't believe in it....if I waited for inspiration, I would never write.

I was a little bit wrong and a little bit right on that ('Scattered'....look at the lyrics over there ------> and down). To write a song, I have to be moved enough with an idea to want to spend the time. It has to mean something to me. I have to care enough to have something to say about it.

The end, for now.

Dancing Tonight

I am going to call my new song 'Dancing Tonight'.

I know it is pretty weird trying to describe the process of writing this song, in real time. Especially when how I want to describe this part is-- 'Over the Hump'. The song is there, basically. It made me stop and think and feel after I sang it through complete the first time. I think that is a good sign. We will see.

So, the song is done. It is not in its finished version, but that is just tweaking. It has it's basic outline and most of the details. It is about my grandmother. I can't say that she ever danced, but the only thing I ever remember hearing her say good about my grandfather was about his fiddle playing....and i wondered why she left her family and money to follow him into poverty.... He was a charming man, and I could see him playing to a room of people and keeping them happy and moving. I am told that I heard him play, before his parkinsons disease took it away from him, but I don't remember that. I do remember him being pleased that I showed interest in music....his home was filled with unplayable instruments....

I am glad to have known both my grammer and poppy!!

The Moment

There is the moment of triumph, when you have some words and some chords and some melody and you see how all that you have in front of you is gonna shape up into a song.

Just a few minutes ago it was barren struggle to find an idea, a concept, a story, a line, a word, some melody, the feel, the pulse of the song.

Then, there it is, something with a few words, a couple lines of melody, a feel....

A Song.

i wonder where it will go and how it will grow....

Soooooo Sorry

I have to stay. I have bad tires and there is NO WAY I can drive in this. Today is my niece's shower....I suggested to my sister (her mother) that we have a small gathering for our family who are not able to come. My mother just refused to go out in this (as I see, being fearful of driving in the snow is a family trait).

So, I will stay at home and work on that new song I am supposed to write, that I just can't seem to start on.

Then...a walk in the snow!!!! LOVE to walk in the snow...but NOT drive.

Another Snowy Day

The view through my window....
So, do I stay or do I go??

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Write it Down


Facebook is teaching me the value of short posts/comments!!!

I want to tell you that there is something so therapeutic in cleaning a house.

Satisfying, when it is done, or nearly so. I don't like the activity, though, so I play music as loud as I can stand (or as loud as I think the neighbors will tolerate at the time) and go to it.....makes the time feel good....

My house is NEARLY clean....I have to dust the mud room (boy, that does sound hopeless, doesn't it???) and vacuum the floors, then mop....about an hour or so of work.

Then it will look and feel so nice....and then I have to write a song. David's class. A song about an historical event. I was thinking about Clara Barton (beings as i am a nurse), a friends family history (he is an ancestry buff), and then slavery (making it personal/first person), and finally an idea that seemed the best that I can't recall and didn't write down (cause it was so good I was sure to remember).


How many time before I learn that lesson? Write it down?

Art Rambling

I am thinking that creativity only breeds when the 'normal' manner of communication is blocked. When a work is created out of human feeling that needs to be put out there, there is creativity. If that means talking one on one, you will never know about it. Some folks, like me, get creative when they don't have their usual ways of communicating. Others are creative because that, they learn early on, is their best way of communicating.

I guess the end is....all people need to communicate. Sometimes, others like those communications and consider it art....

Just keep making art.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I read on a message board, from Darin:

'Enjoy the ride kid. Life is short, and you'll be 4o like me before you know it, and you'll regret not jumping on opportunities to play. Don't be a jerk to other players, make friends with everyone, learn everything you can, be willing to teach what you know. And remember, when you're on stage, they are there to see you, and be entertained. Don't be a lump on a log. If they just wanted to listen to music, they'd turn on the radio.'

Wow, thank you Darin!!

That kind of followed close on a suggestion from David Hodge, of Guitar Noise (and the david most often mentioned in this blog, btw) that musicians make the following two resolutions...

Never Turn Down The Opportunity to Hear Live Music


Never Turn Down The Opportunity To Play With Others

The rest of the article is called 'Two Tenets to Live By'. I recommend on this post title to go there.

Unfortunately, there are times when you gotta choose between the two, and fortunately, there are times when the two are tied closely together. But I agree, that is all some really good advice i have collected tonight...

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I have written far more here about performing than songwriting. Songwriting is another whole 'thing'. When people ask me how I do it, I don't really know. Sometimes I have words and I can sense a melody/mood/chords. Sometimes I have music and the words don't come....until a phrase sticks in my head and the whole song gets written around it. Sometimes it all comes at once. I don't really believe right now in 'inspiration'....if you mean inspiration as a deep feeling that takes you away and makes you have to write. I write next to nothing that is not an assignment from class...but what i write on assignment gets as good review as what i write because the 'muse' moves....

I went to a song writers song circle last night. I had no idea of what I was going into....but these are professional (!!!!!!) songwriters who make their living writing/performing. I was more than a little out of my league. I know I will certainly benefit from my experience, but likely more as a guitar player than a writer....they challenged every one of my song not on the melody or lyrics or feel, but on the 'old three or four chord thing', while also telling me, some of the most known songs are built on three chords!!!! They challenged me (it was me, a man and a woman) to add sevenths and sixths and minors and get rid of the pick....

Last night it didn't feel like a challenge, last night it felt like they were telling me I wasn't good enough. Today it feels like a challenge to learn my scales so I can add those notes in my guitar playing, not just my melody (that was very that i think of it.....C. told me 'you are singing an A, it is in your melody, add it to the guitar part there')

I don't know how you do that stuff while singing, though....LOL...

Other songwriting experiences I have had so far, and recently....hearing an mp3 of a friend doing my song. Wow. Did it better than I did it, too.... Strange to hear someone take your words and melody for themselves.

I also recently heard one of my songs played with a band acoustic and another song played with a band electric, and some other songs played late at night accompanied by a friend who seemed to hear what i had in my head, he was so ON THE MARK. Sharing my songs with other musicians is a blast and i hope to do much more of that. I have had people comment to me after listening to my mp3s here (not the best way to hear my music, btw) and played for people live in private settings (much better than the recordings). All in all, it has been a positive experience and I thank all of you who appreciate what i am doing and let me know (oh, and i also appreciate you folks who don't like my stuff and refrain from flames!!!)

Time to get ready to go to my next experience....a song circle set up as a performance....last time it was GREAT playing there....Ramsdell Library, Housatonic, MA at 2pm if you are around....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Neil Young Photo

Ok. I really like this picture and want to post it here....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Jam

What a great weekend!! Sorry to those who couldn't make it...we had a great time.

Friday night found some of us stuffed (i have a tiny house) into my livingroom for an acoustic warmup evening....we played guitar and sang until about 2am.....Neil, Dylan, Williams, Prine....lots of different music--got us in the groove for sure....

Saturday we got up and hung around and played a bit but mostly talked and got ready to head out to Davids at noon....
I, Marilyn, was actually EARLY to get to someplace....thanks to my friends here, I am sure....

We pulled up to Davids house, which is really like going to a retreat somewhere....a large house in the Berkshires on the side of the ski slope...yes RIGHT THERE. We set up and started playing and although we each took short breaks, as a band I don't think we really stopped until dinner....supplied by nan and david--delicious!!!!--and it was back to the music. We again played a wide variety of songs and styles (we did a round robin/song circle, so that everyone had a chance to play the songs they liked best). David played us his new acoustic fingerpicking song, which I just love....Powderfinger and Time Fades Away got new treatment with a banjo solo....we found new harmonies and guitar parts for other songs....there was a lot of great creativity happening, which we did not capture in recordings at all.....but we who were there know the good sounds that got made, and we even have an audience that will verify (except i was told that if we played surfer joe one more time, i might have been hit....LOL)

While we were still moving, we packed up davids space and left for our next destination....Jill's country home....where we finally winded down another acoustic songfest about 3am....needless to say, no one picked up the guitar Sunday morning, I think my fingers have blisters on top of the callous'!!!!!

I want to thank you all for coming....Jim for the great drumming (i wished we had been a little more attentive to your song requests!!!!), Mark for his great choices of D C G songs, guitar playing and vocals, Nan for her harmony, guitar and songs.....David for hosting us, feeding us, providing whatever interesting instruments to spice up the sound, playing bass for us, and some of those leads were RIPPING!!!! Very, very cool......Deb, thanks for being the greatest audience, Jill for the bed, food and laughs, Kathy for the wonderful friendship and Wanda for once again making me laugh!!!

I had needed this weekend so badly and today i feel like i am energized for the coming week....thank you all so much for making it such a great time!!!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sing Alongs

I just recently sent this to a mailing list, but it is much like the sort of stuff i like to put here it is!!

sing alongs....

one of my favorite singing moments (and yeah, i am wracking them up as much as i can, i play and sing with folks every single chance i can....)

i was at a song circle and it was late and it was my turn, but half the group decided to leave (yeah, right when it was MY turn!!!)

so i started to play 'leaving on a jet plane'
i know, hokey song, but people LIKE it
and you know, all those people stopped shuffling their things, some guitars got pulled back out of their cases, and we all sang that song was SO COOL, made me feel so good.....i love pulling people into a song like that...

happened again when i played a bar song circle and had all the drunk folks at the bar, singing that song!!!!
THAT is fun...didn't matter what it SOUNDED like....the looks on peoples faces as they sang at the top of their lungs and smiled and was SO COOL....

so, my thing is....just sing/play and be happy....
it is all good
music is for the good feel, not the perfection....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1000 Hits

I have had 1000 hits to my blog since I started counting....Who are all you folks? LOL!!! Just for the record, *I* was the 1000th....