Sunday, December 21, 2008

songwriting and stuff

OK I am going to try and finish writing that song today, I only have a few cover songs to learn for the next casino gig, so its a great time for me to focus on writing.

I just wish I was more accomplished musically, I am so impressed with how easily it comes to some people. It is work for me. My gifts are mimicry and performing. I am in kindergarten when it comes to songwriting. I took a few stabs when I was a baby ( in my 20s) , but I sucked quite badly, I was way too 'affected' in those days.

Ever since my father died last year, I have been letting myself try songwriting again. I have been putting basic chords and rhythms to lyrics, and posting the rough drafts to You Tube (I know its mortifying to some people, but I am quite fine with it, I am an 'around the campfire' kind of girl. 'Polish' is best utilized by the people who really know what to do with it). Anyhow, I struggle with song writing, because I am clearly limited by my musical abilities, or lack thereof. I did do a pretty good job of co-writing however, when I lived in England. A lady singer was advertised to play at a local tavern one Friday night, and I went to see her, thinking that if I liked her stuff, I would see if she wanted to collab.

She was sweet and very good, but she didn't do any country (which I was into at the time). She told me that her guitar player was into Rockabilly, and she introduced us. I had sung background vocals for Buddy Knox in the early 90's, so I was familiar with Rockabilly, and I liked how this gentleman played. I considered that he seemed like the kind of guy whom my (then) husband would not be threatened by, so I decided to give it a try.

We set up an appointment to write, and it went very well, he took some of my chorus/verse ideas and matured them. We continued writing for a couple of months, wrote about 12-13 tunes, and I really enjoyed the process, I looked forward to it. He was positive and open to my ideas so that I was not fearful to try anything, or throw ideas out there. It was a great classroom for me because he had the musical ability to help mature my nursery rhymes into real songs, plus, he had a real Jim Croce style which appealed to me at that time.

We were just starting to play the songs out at open mics, when my husband got the call that we were being transferred to Africa. I had a matter of weeks to pick up my life and move it to another country.

The writing stopped, but not before we sat down one day and recorded all of my vox for the songs we had written. We did a very rough draft of our catalogue of songs, some that were not even complete. When I listen to the vox, there are moments where I deeply wish we had, had the ability for punch ins, but we only had time to do one take, live acoustic and vocal.

Not to worry, it is what it is, a way to remember the songs, and I am grateful I have it. I found a copy of it the other day, and it brought back memories of collaborating. I saw it as a message to remind myself that back then, with the right guidance/ writing partnership I was able to grow and learn. I had forgotten that it can really work.

My worst collab attempts did not go very far at all, possibly because they were with boyfriends who were impatient with my insecurities. One of them, compared me to that bugs bunny cartoon of the dancing frog, who would only blossom into a singing and dancing frog in secret. LOL, I guess I only dance when I feel like I am safe.

But in fact, I have 'danced freely' before, that old CD I found, reminded me of that.

I think one clever thing for me, would be to not be 'involved' with my writing partner. If I'm not invested emotionally, then nothing can be taken personally, and I just may have a shot at learning something. ;)

Speaking of writing songs, I said I was going to work on one, the first step in accomplishing my goal today, is to get off the computer and pick up my guitar.


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