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We just had a rollicking and free-wheelin’ conversation with singer-songwriter Carl Christensen. Everything from George Orwell’s treatise on loneliness to how to play the talkin’ blues to whether or not an artist can actually write collaboratively with an audience was discussed. Carl also played 3 songs!
We recently had a great conversation with Her Mountain Majesty. Her Mountain Majesty is gutsy stomping band fronted by Andi Lee Scher. We chatted about making (and taking) space as a performer, building community, and how to harmonize by smart phone. She was joined in the studio by the talented Katrina Burrows and they performed 3 songs live for us. Check it out!
Not being able to quite reach my cup of coffee from where I sit I suppose I will write. I believe I’ll use this space to write about problems and, hopefully, offer a few solutions. Or if that’s an overswing, then at the very least a bit of breezy lucidity.
There’s a moment in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice when the lazy joy of magic badly used becomes terror. Mickey awakes to find himself awash in the water of his overzealous broom creation and, in a wildly savage sequence, takes care of his little wooden problem with an axe. Of course, that’s just the beginning of the mouse’s troubles.
At around 9:30 this morning I received an email from a local musician with a song attached. He mused that I must receive dozens of these each day. He wasn’t wrong. In fact, by that time I had already received 32 new albums. Seriously.
Wo ist meine axt?
But before I get to chopping, I should say that the above mentioned song – which I did listen to – was lovely. It was a sad country beaut and gave me goosebumps.
When I was a kid I had small Superstar radio/cassette player, and I could simultaneously jam down the record and play button way faster than you. That’s it. That’s my only true gift given from god. But it’s enough.
With the patience of Job (I mean, discounting that part of the story where he really flies off the handle and lets Jehovah have it) I would sit in my room, door shut, and listen and wait with twitching fingers hovering over the plastic buttons for a song I needed to come over the FM.
Sure, every song on those cassettes was missing the first note or two, but love is love and it is not perfect.
Have you written a song so good that if you heard it on the radio you’d mash down the record button to capture it? I got one today. I know that’s not many out of the many songs I’ve already received and what I will inevitably still receive, but – and for me this is true –
Another thought: It’s best to attach a download link to the original email, which will cut down on unnecessary back and forth.
I don’t reply to every email. Accept this as a non-apologetic acknowledgment of my inadequate supply of time and energy. That’s blunt, I know, but it’s also true.
A final thought.
How did you answer the above question about your songwriting? I’m reminded of a story G.K. Chesterton wrote in his book Orthodoxy where a publisher pal of his said about another writer “that man will get on; he believes in himself.” Chesterton then remarked that he knew his publishing friend hid himself away from a drunken poet and his dreary tragedies and an elderly minister and his dry epics, both of whom believed in themselves. He went on to write that “believing in one’s self” is “hysterical and superstitious,” and “is one of the commonest signs of a rotter.”
We should ponder those bold assertions on the weakness of self-confidence.
All this to say, you might love your song, but I might think it needs a re-write (and probably a bridge), before my fingers twitch with that old adolescent urge to hit record.
None of this is to suggest that my lack of reply, were you to send me music, is an avoidance – it’s not – nor am I at all insinuating that you’re a boring drunk – as if!
N= (A x B) / T + E + (or -) C
Iaan’s Neglect equals Albums received by 9:30 AM divided by Time plus Energy plus (or minus) Coffee.
But – and this is the important part – you might write beauts which you rarely share. And maybe your song would give us all goosebumps, were we so lucky to hear it on some Wednesday morning when the coffee is just out of reach. So go ahead. Send it in.
We were thrilled to have Paula Boggs Band return to the KBCS Studio for an in-studio performance. Paula and KBCS Music Director, Iaan Hughes, talked about her latest album Janus, and as the album title might imply, delved into beginnings and transitions. Janus is a personal and potent album pulling from Paula’s own history, yet through her exceptional songcraft the music comes alive for all of us in profound ways.
Genre crushing duo Tuck & Patti stopped by the KBCS studio before their show at Jazz Alley for a wide ranging conversation about musical partnerships, early influences, covering Cyndi Lauper, and how music is community; it was all really quite lovely.
Oh! They also played 3 songs live, plus Tuck showed Iaan Hughes what a 13#11th chord, and Patti stunned with a few a cappella bars of “High Heel Blues!”
KBCS Music Director, Iaan Hughes, sat down with This Girl to chat about Diva Ranch: A Country Drag Show at the Tractor Tavern on April 16th. This conversation goes everywhere from country music as Drag performance, to the silliness of Kid Rock shooting beer cans, to the multiple laws being written to ban Drag performances around the country, to the beauty and art of Iris DeMent. They also played a lot of music as This Girl stormed the airwaves, including:
Sometimes, rather than beginnings and endings, we need songs about being in the middle of things. That’s just what Abby K. does and does so well. Her latest album is called Where We’re At and we were thrilled that she shared moments from it with us yesterday. She was joined by the very talented Jonathan Plum on guitar and Art Frankel on pedal steel and banjo.
Jon Pontrello stopped by the KBCS studio recently to play his song about PNW icon Peter Bevis. Peter had a hand in everything from the Fremont Troll, to the infamous Lenin statue, to the ill-fated Kalakala. Jon’s song is wonderful and fitting tribute to a complex person.
Amy Lou Keeler and Lisa Maria, the wonderful Eastern Canadian duo that is Mama’s Broke stopped by the KBCS studio on Monday, April 3rd to chat with music director Iaan Hughes. They talked about love as both briar and rose, song cycles, and going beyond traditional covers when working with old ballads like “Barbara Allen.” They also performed 3 songs! You can hear it here!
Catch them live tonight, Friday, April 7, when they perform at Conor Byrne Pub in downtown Ballard!