Monday, March 19, 2018

Music Itself

“I've never known a musician who regretted being one. Whatever deceptions life may have in store for you, music itself is not going to let you down.” - Virgil Thomson (American composer 1896-1989)

(thanks to Helena)

In the Studio

Last week, I started recording for my second record, laying down the 'scratch tracks'. That means, you put on headphones that have a click track, and the engineer records the music you make on your instrument and with your voice. I was pretty nervous about it. I had not met my engineer, but he came HIGHLY recommended by Rick Warren, who you might recognize as my partner in music making! But I was still nervous. What if he doesn't like what I do? What if I can't sing to the dreaded click track? When I was practicing, I had a real hard time playing to the click track in my tablet program, which upset me quite a bit. I have always been pretty proud of my ability to keep a beat... that is one of my strongest skills. Or was. I was pretty devastated that I was having so many problems with some pretty simple songs. Until I took the advice of Peter, the drummer, who reminded me that the click track would be fed to my ears through the headphones... ah YES!!! And when I did that, with the metronome, not the little click track in my tablet program, I was perfectly able to follow that noise that makes you want to scream STOP!! But I didn't do it. I also was not perfect at following the click, but I certainly did ok.

I liked Ted Orr, the engineer. He was right to business, something I appreciate a lot, since 'time is money' is very true, especially in the studio. And I went right through the 16 songs that I am planning to record. I am not sure they will all make the record, but I am pretty sure I want to record them all. I still need to adjust some of the lyrics, especially on Blue Love, which has been rewritten now more than I can count. Trouble is, I really like the melody. I really like all my melodies. I really LIKE MELODY. It is words that I struggle with... and I have lately realized that part of the problem is trying to say what I want to say in convoluted fashion, rather than just straight up. I could give you an example if I wasn't too lazy to get up and look one up....

This weekend, on Sunday, Rick, Peter and Aaron came to my house for what is likely the last time we will rehearse as a group. I have to say, I really think the guys are nailing the songs and the feelings behind the songs. I really love that they seem to like what they are doing, and I very much appreciated Peters assessment of the record as being songs that use a variety of sounds and styles.... yes, that is always what i am looking to do. I very much do NOT want to sound all the same, like Jack Johnson. I want a little folk, a little blues, a little rock. I really thing that is also one of my strong points... my songs stand alone.

I am looking forward to putting out a fine record. I hope you are, too....

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


I read some motivational writers, and a strong message is, SHOW UP. It really is the first step in absolutely every endeavor you can undertake.

Every. Single. One.

SHOW UP. It is so important. I find that if I show up, and ignore distractions (turn off facebook), automatically, *something* gets done. Yep, I do have a To-Do List (Google Keep) and a goal list (Habit Bull). I also track projects (Trello) such as gig searching, show planning and even yard maintenance! And what would I do without Google Calender and Reverbnation widgets!!! If you don't know me, you likely think I am SO ORGANIZED. Those that know me, well... they can tell you.

But... SHOW UP. Show up first to plan. I want to learn my fretboard and leave behind my status as a First Position Queen. I would love to be able to add some harp to my own songs. I want to write more. There are so many good cover songs out there to learn. Walk two miles every day.

If I don't show up, none of these things can happen.

So I show up. And I still procrastinate. As a matter of fact, PLANNING can be a BIG way to procrastinate. So, I am adding JUST KEEP MOVING to the SHOW UP strategy.

For example, I find scales to be a terribly boring activity. I only want to practice the same song maybe twice. After about an hour of trying to find a rhyme that works and expresses, I am fried. I don't have enough air to blow more than a couple songs on the harp.

But, if I do a scale, then do a song, then work on the rhyme and blow some harp and then another scale and go around the circle again.... THAT I can do. And believe it or not, it also feels right to me. It fits me. It has long been my strategy for doing work in the yard, and now I am applying it to the creative parts of my life and I am thinking it is a good way to try....

Maybe it won't fit you, but if you think about it, maybe you can come up with a strategy that will help YOU show up!!

Ok, enough time 'blogging', time to go do some vocal practice!!