Tuesday 16 August 2011

It's time for music to claim a third of the spotlight ...

So it just occurred to me this past weekend that I rarely talk about music here. What is wrong with me? It's not a secret that I'm a singer/songwriter/guitarist, so why has fiction and poetry taken over this blog? I don't know, really. Perhaps I've been trying to convince myself that music isn't a priority of mine to make more room for my books. But you know what? I think it is a priority. I think it deserves a position at the front of the stage along with the rest of my creative endeavors.

I haven't neglected music entirely, of course. As you know I've been busy writing and recording the album for String Bridge, but a part of me has been pushing it to the sidelines, rendering it an "unimportant" facet of my career. But it shouldn't be, should it?

Why don't I take my music as seriously as my books? Time? Nah. That's just a stupid excuse. Insecurities? Perhaps. I don't really think I'm that great a guitarist. Actually, I'm not. What I excel in, is the singing and composing. Boredom? Yes. Sometimes. It can get pretty annoying hearing the sound of your own voice over and over and over and over, while trying to practice a song. And by the time I perfect it, I hate it. Especially when it sounds so bland without other instruments to give it the dynamics it needs to roar. But these are all just petty excuses that I come up with to justify my flippancy. It's easy to forget that listeners do not experience the labor that goes into producing music and therefore will not feel the same way I do about it. So I've gotta get over that. Because when I hear the finished product, I get butterflies in my stomach. I fall in love with my songs all over again. That feeling really is quite euphoric.

So, as a kind of way to mark the acceptance of music in my life, I've decided I'm going to talk about it here from time to time. I'm also going to slip in little quotes or lyrics from musicians that have influenced me in some way, or whom I admire. I may not do whole posts about them, but I may add them to the end of a post once a week as a sort of signature. Sound good? I think so ... so here's my first:

~Muso of the week~
Polly Jean Harvey: "I don't loathe interviews, I'm just one of those people who makes music because I find it difficult to talk."

My Favorite Albums: Dry, Is This Desire?, White Chalk, Let England Shake (oh, bugger it, I love all of them!)

Why I love her: Listening to her makes me want to write a new song. She's got a gritty, intriguing and unusual style. A bit of grunge, a bit of folk, a bit of blues, a bit of pure rock 'n' roll. Think Sonic Youth or Patti Smith meets Joni Mitchell or Kate Bush.

Do you have an artist you admire? What do you admire about them?


  1. yeah, I think you should! Most of us are writers, and that means, we also have other creative outlets like music and art. I draw and paint, but I love music and would love reading about yours and your likes and dislikes. I think it's amazing you're doing an album for String Bridge! We love sharing what makes you you.

  2. I love music. If only I were any good at it...

  3. I think the Scottish singer/songwriter, Fish, who I became aware of when he was the lead singer of Marillion, is terribly under-appreciated. He’s one of the few people whose albums I would buy based purely on the name in fact I bought my first Marillion album after hearing one single played once on the radio. You can read my article about that album here.

  4. Now Jessica there's a question to ask an avid a Daniel O Donnell fan? I like hime beacsues he sings all sorts of music from Inspirational, Middle of The Road and rock and pop. He is the most considerate person I have yet to meet, when he heard that I lost both mum and husband close together he was on a the phone to me. Also where ever he goes he always has time to have phoyo's taken.
    Music was my first love as a child bothe classical and modern and I'ts
    still important to me today as you may have gathered,

    Ithink your music is great, you have an unique talent to be able to sing/songwrite and write books.


  5. I think it's a great addition. It makes some sense to me that you thought of it later, though--writing and poetry are the same media to a degree, as the BLOG. Music is out loud and so there is a greater level of translation, if you will. But you can post videos to help connect us, and the creative process is certainly one that will be interesting to hear.

  6. it's difficult to give all talents equal exposure, just do it as you're intending to...

    loving your voice/craftsmanship

  7. She sounds absolutely fascinating and I will definitely check out these albums. Me, I'm an Aerosmith girl from way back, but I do also love Janis Joplin because she made her own stamp in male-dominated music biz. I also really love Joan Jett, Pink and Adele

  8. PK said it, and I'll reiterate and plagiarize, that as creative souls, most of us have multiple creative outlets.

    I do woodworking, for example. I program anything from complex algorithms to simple websites, and enjoy the creative process of designing logos and graphics.

    I do have a secret passion, though, and I let it sit at the bottom of my ocean rotting because it is by far the most terrifying of them all, right up there next to writing.

    Writing scares me. Publishing scares me even more.

    But down deeper is a set of drums that I play all day every day in my head, with every song on the radio, with my fingers tapping and my feet slapping invisible pedals, and I'll never do it on stage not ever ever ever.

    I don't know why, other than it's almost ~too~ personal, as if I'm naked on stage and I'm afraid everyone will laugh and point.

    I tell my wife that if I ever drum, I'll do it shirtless. I think that's true, though it's never been tested. I can't imagine doing it any other way.

    I won't speak for you and your music, but I will say that fear of failure has kept me from doing a great many things, drumming and writing among them. In 2009 I decided to come out of my writing cave, and I did some research and submitted one short story to one publisher.

    It was accepted. So was the second and third story, and now they want a book, coming this fall! ;0

    So all that fear was for nothing.

    Maybe the same will be true of the drums one day, hauled down from the attic and refurbished and updated, new sticks and heads and cymbals and thank you baby Jesus, a new foot pedal because I hate that thing.

    Maybe it's fear that keeps you from writing about your music. Maybe it's that much more personal than writing. I can't say for you, but I will say that's true for me.

    Screw fear. Sing away.

    - Eric

  9. My four-track and its stacks of tapes haven't been touched in years 'cause I've tried to focus on writing. And even though it frees up so much time and energy, I do feel that loss, like a month without any wind.

    Looking forward to learning more about all the artists who've inspired you.

    And Eric - the number one fear of failure in music for you should be failing to play at all. Those drums sound too much a part of you to lose that connection.

  10. I love that you're talking about music more. I have lots of singers I adore but I'm going to check out the one you mentioned here.

  11. I don't think it's necessary to be a great guitarist to be a great singer/songwriter.

    It may be you've given music the second chair because it puts YOU, as person, out in front. Where as with writing YOU are behind the scenes and the book is out front.

    That said, I'm looking forward to reading more about your singing/songwriting experiences.

  12. I love listening to music! And that's the one and only way I'm musically inclined, LoL. Good luck with your album for String Bridge!

  13. I love that you're going to focus more on music here!!! You're so creative, it's awesome that you're trying hard to be true to what you love. :)

  14. Yay! You should definitely talk about it - it's a part of you, and we're here for you!

  15. I've heard a clip of your music and you're excellent! I understand how you feel about hating something once you've finally perfected it. Repetition can drive one nuts.
    I admire guitarist John Petrucci of Dream Theater. He's just amazing.

  16. It's because we don't want people confused with these two passions. The musicians might think we're abandoning our music, and the writers might think we're not serious writers. I don't have any advice, other than to honor both the same way you're doing now and just enjoy it. : )

    BTW, your picture is beautiful!

  17. I am crazy about music. I do blogs on it quite often. I have too many musicians and bands that I love to list them here, but I've flown all over the world just to see bands in concert that I love. I took up guitar very late, in my early twenties, and just as I thought I might be getting decent at it I shattered my fretting hand, so now I can only play with three fingers.

  18. I'd love to hear about your music! Music is very important to me and my family too.

  19. I think when something's in your soul, you gotta be true to it. Who do I admire? Hmm? Can't say admire, but I do love Joyce Cooling and her guitar.

  20. Yes! More music talk please. :)

    Got your book in the mail today and I'm so excited to read it. Read the first page and I adored it.

  21. My favorite quote, "If music be the food of love, play on." Had to throw that in.

    All about music!!! Favorite artist... if I have to pick ONE it would be Etta James.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  22. I grew up in a musical family, but not the kind you did. My father plays the cello in a professional orchestra and I grew up on Bach and Beethoven and Mozart. So I know little about what's popular in the music business.

  23. Yeah, I'm not a great guitarist either, but I do play, and I play my OWN songs pretty well.
    I'm just lukewarm with everyone else's.

    And yeah. Music is ALWAYS a good thing ;D

  24. Looking forward to hearing more about your music life :-)

  25. ahh... I'm playing catchup. Look how pretty you are! :D

    And yay! More music on the blog! I hear ya about singing alone. I much prefer having all the voices around lifting me up, and I miss my little choir back home so much. :o\

    you know, I've never listened to much PJ Harvey. For no real reason, either! Just never did. I'll have to fix that~ :o) <3


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