Our little one visits her sister in Tucson every month. She usually stays 3 nights. They have a studio so while the little one and her sister are up all night singing and laughing and making videos, the good husband is trying to sleep so he can go to work in the morning. We’re all (especially him) hoping they can move to a bigger place soon.
It’s 3 hours down, drop her off midday, then 3 hours back. Two full days at home, then do it all over again, pick her up late afternoon, arrive home wiped out after dark.
Two more songs, making it 4 for 4. Four for four. Fore! These two were happy.
The next one will be pensive. Many lines will begin “I remember . . . ”
I never know which list songs will end up on: lost and forgotten, performed once and abandoned, or regular rotation crowd faves. Some songs I thought were great when I wrote them don’t interest me much anymore, and some I thought were throwaways get played all the time because people love them.
This is the planting time. Harvest will happen later, and as always, will surprise me.
Tomorrow begins a month-long exercise in artistic immersion.
I’ve been participating in February Album Writing Month (FAWM) since 2006, making this my 13th year. (I missed the first year it went public, but I’m still one of the Old Folks in the forums.) Nearly every song I’ve ever written has been born in February. For a while I wrote throughout the year, partly because I couldn’t afford to shut down all my other activities during February.
It wasn’t the same, though. Writing three songs in a week isn’t the same depth of immersion as writing 14 (or 30, like last year) in 28 days. Now that my schedule allows it (thanks to Best Beloved who loves my art) I’m back to diving in unrestrained.
Except tomorrow, when we’ll be taking the Little One to Tucson to spend a few days with her sister. But I’ll bet I can write a song on the drive. Maybe she’ll even play the ukulele while I record it.
That’s not 15 minutes long, it’s 15 minutes to write.
Last Saturday we played some of my songs for a bunch of friends in our living room. During the show, folks scribbled notes on slips of paper and dropped them in one of 6 hats:
At the end of the evening, I drew a random sample of suggestions from all 6 and wrote a song. In 15 minutes.
The suggestions were
a cowboy who doesn’t like horses or cows
I chose 2 people which is why there are 7 on the list.
It pretty much wrote itself. The video below (lightly edited for bonehead mistakes) was shot 15 minutes after I drew the suggestions. I’m switching a lyric to specifically mention Costa Rica, but even though “dark ages” would fit where I used “medieval” it just doesn’t flow, so that stays.
I wonder why I didn’t post these before?
what do you do when you’re in the wrong place
in the wrong place in the wrong time?
thinking like that can ruin your breakfast
looking for reason and rhyme
roping and riding and drivin’ ’em in
is driving me out of my mind
so I’m moving on
next week I’ll be gone
the week after that I’ll fine
my sister just doesn’t get it
she doesn’t have to, she knows I’m okay
her Harley will get me to LAX
I’m flying south today
I’m off on a plane to the tropics
heading south as fast as I can
get away from those horses and smelly old cows
in Costa Rica I could work on my tan
no more bacon and eggs in the morning
Aunt Jemima’s got nothing on me
that medieval torture of saddle tramp days
is washing away in the sea
Every February since 2006 I’ve participated in February Album Writing Month. (I joined up during FAWM’s 3rd year.) While I do sometimes write songs during other months, the bulk of my nearly 200 songs have been written during these episodes of shared mania.
Hundreds of participants commit to writing a full album, 14 songs, of new material during the 28 days of the month. Sort of a NaNoWriMo for songwriters, though with less emphasis on embracing low quality; it’s more like accepting it without actively chasing it.
Some of my very favorite music has been written by my fellow FAWMers during this month of madness. Here are four examples: