Songs

No More Few, Far and Between

Nothing could be more gratifying, for an artist of any type, than connecting with other people through your work. When any one person connects with your expressions--whether it be a song or even a single line--the feeling is magic.

Compared to modern times, back in the day, these rewards were few, far and between. Songwriters would labor over the writing process, often for months or even years, before they would be able to assemble musicians and enter the studio to "cut" an album. For this reason, it wasn't unusual for this process to create years of expanse between the release of new works. Yet, for those who were purely recording artists, this was the only means of connecting with an audience; so the in-between times were filled with work and loneliness.

My how times have changed.

In the modern era, this need not be the case. Yes, distributing a complete album and/or live performances will forever remain the way for a singer, songwriter or musician to be fulfilled, but, in those now shorter in-between times, the urge to reach out is inevitable. With modern technology, let's face it--you can tweet or blog your life away, one moment at a time. And that is what this blog and website are all about.

I don't intend to make this a place for daily rants, family photos or endless updates about my personal life. Rather, I plan to make this a continual outlet for thoughts and expressions pertaining to my work. I will continually toil over the songwriting process (along with poetry and other art forms), but, in the meantime, I plan to produce the good, bad and ugly--right here.

Fully Exposed

Of course, no one shows the entire world their ugliest parts, so don't expect to find pictures of my morning hairdo or face-in-the-toilet hangovers here. Only our closest loved ones are afforded these opportunities. However, being the cheap date that I am, it doesn't take much to make me open up, and for this purpose, allow me to introduce the "Backstage" area of my site. And since I'm no Aerosmith, and no one's going to pay a single penny to see anymore of me than they have to, all of this can be yours for the low, one-time fee of your name and email address. This way, when you don't take the time to send me hate emails, I know how to reach you and what name to call you by when I beg you to be my fan and friend.

In all seriousness, by design, the Backstage area of PoemsWithMelodies.com provides a space where I can show a little more of my personal side--a lot of the "stuff" behind my songs and lyrics. Here you will find articles, videos, photos and additional music. It is meant to be a mixed-media outlet that's ongoing in nature; so, if you happen to enjoy what you see, hear or read, then check back frequently. And don't be surprised to find new content popping up daily, even if it is a picture of me ... with my face in the toilet.

Thanks for reading.

I think it’s pretty obvious that my music is uncomplicated. I mean, I’m no different than anyone else–I have my own style of play, which I choose to believe has its secret recipe and intricacies; but, all in all, a child could probably learn the chord progressions.

When I first began to play guitar, I was no different than anyone else; I wanted to learn to play the standard tunes and slowly graduate to lightening fast intensity. But that approach didn’t last. Eventually, I relaxed, put aside the tablature and began to just play. And that’s when I really found myself in the instrument. If you’ve read my bio (or suffered through it, perhaps I should say), then you know that, ironically, I went through the same progression with the saxophone–first learning to play the instrument, then to read music (for years and years), then turning towards jazz and improvisation, where I really found myself as a player. Well, I guess I never learn, because, when I began writing music I went through the same progression–yet again!

When I went back and listened to my first creations, I was elated (at the fact that I had actually written something), but I was also bothered by how simple my music was. I knew I was a better player than what was ending up on tape or in my songs, and that bothered me. But, in the end, I had so much reverence for the process of songwriting, that when a song “came to me,” I just left it alone. Each time I caught myself trying to sneak back in to complicate things by beefing up chord progressions or melodies, I would stop myself. In some strange way, I really didn’t feel like I had the right to change a song that just popped into my head; nor did I, in some ways, feel like I could take the credit for it. (There’s your weird artistic statement for the day. Now go barf.) But as I came closer to the point of sharing my tunes, I was once again bothered by the fact that I might be perceived as a terrible player, or a pitiful songwriter. I mean, what were people going to think or say when they heard me singing over three chords? (Ever heard “He Can”?)

I think this is where the brick wall comes in for a lot of artists–music and otherwise. When you’re more concerned with impressing yourself and others, it’s easy to lose sight of the underlying essence. It’s kind of like the “can’t see the forest for the trees” theory. In my writing career (like writing/writing, as in words) I’ve known plenty of people who could be great writers, if they would only put down the thesaurus, stop trying to impress everyone with a robust vocabulary, and let style and purpose outweigh their flawless grammar. It’s just impossible to think about all these things while producing a work of art. In my opinion, too much thinking equals not enough feeling; and not enough feeling produces souless music. And no, “souless” is not a word, so put down your dictionary. Today, we’re just going to write it how it comes out.

Blog, Life, Music, Ramblings, Songwriting

October 18, 2014