Your music in true voice is a piercing voice. It’s the one heard loud, ringing out on the inside. The voice that cancels the noise. The one to listen to, to follow, the one telling you you’re in tune.
Performing music is a test of character and integrity. The heart of it is not caring what others think of what you do, it’s doing what’s right by you. Yet the soul of it is to treat both yourself and others right.
...the actual term. Rhythm and beat in time. The pulse of music. The spell that grabs. What “gets you into” a song. Toes tap, heads nod. Mess up time, miss it early or late, lose the listener. As they say, timing is everything.
Where's the music? The notes, or the space between?... Always a question debated. No one right answer. When writing music, I listen to leave in - and to leave out. Silences are a strong sound.
Why do it... Who knows, who does. Maybe the call of the wild, maybe hysteria. Anyway, music is a deep addiction, a dark art. The trip we take takes us.
Any artist who steers clear of the common rocks and shoals to set course for amazing shores may or may not reach the beach to stake that claim. Still, what a wild ride…
photo: Liz Kane & Co
...Is a homecoming. Take the trip, it takes you. Get it right, feels like home. Often the mind, at least mine, turns to Spain, where I lived for a time. In English, we have no all-encompassing word for this homing instinct. The Spanish do. They call it querencia: favorite haunt, retreat, chosen spot. Here in my querencia, writing a new song, the tonic of sound renews me.
Carole Charlin, vocalist...inspiring harmony in word and song...a soulful, lyric voice that soars.
The art of compression in story and song...serious business about not taking yourself too seriously...takes long to make it long, longer to make it short. Make more about nothing less with much to say. Serve hot. (Photo credit: Liz Kane)
Gotta have the fun clause in the contract. Having fun makes playing music playful. Keeps it childlike. Grab a guitar, riff what I feel. A day the fun goes, I move on... till fun comes home again.
"Spartan Practices"... a rough go. Harsh culture. Hardship, deprivation. Vicious training, no timidity. Ridicule ups performance. Prove it, no surrender… and that’s a happy day in rehearsal!
Cherries… My Grandma Rose had the stuff. “Life isn’t a bowl of cherries,” she’d say. For her it wasn’t. My Uncle George had the goods. “Get a bowl,” he’d say, “stop walking around with a fist-full of pits.” Some of his last words to me… I know. The juice, the edge to get a leg up. The sucker punch you didn’t see. It's the daily dose in writing my music… It takes a whip hand. You chop that cherry tree, tell yourself no lies.
“The Chills”… Goosebumps. Chicken skin. Frisson, to the French - not cold, not fear, but the chills brought on by piercing beauty. It’s emotional, sensual. And nuerological, a dopamine shot to the brain. With music the scientifically proven hottest spark on the wires that induces this pleasure. In an instant, the first chords of your favorite song? The chills…
Survival begets belief. Survival spans not only what one outlives, but how one chooses to live on. I’ve had plenty of near misses, and I’m grateful to be alive: that’s my belief about how I try to handle news of the bad and sad that bleeds the world so often these days. No way am I going to give it an outpost in my head. I might waver at first. But I aim not to flinch. Help others if I can. Count my lucky stars. Wager one more day and beat the demon moving through it.
Q: Jonathan, where did you record the new songs?
A: Odin’s Guesthouse.
Q: Odin, as in the Norse God Odin... You’re saying he has a guesthouse?
A: He has a lot of houses.
Q: Why did you go there?
A: Only Odin would have a guesthouse cool enough to go to.
Q: What was so cool about it?
A: Two words for you – “Horned Hats”
Q: Did the experience make you think differently about things?
A: Immortality. It’s got a bad rap.
Be outrageous … and lose the illusion it’s heroic. Disturb yourself. Flirt with disaster. Capsize. Salvage anything. Get out with some skin left on. Good luck…
“Blow your own horn” gets a bad rap. You don’t, who will? Declare, man, and deliver! Then…don’t beat them upside the head. Let ‘em kick the tires, let ‘em judge it as they will.
As an artist, as a person, as the authentic you… you are enough. You are always enough. For musicians, a music path is yours alone, for the making. Mine? It’s all about trying to stay on it, letting all the nonsense fall to either side -- and avoid stepping in it.
Lyric dances with melody. Words falter, music picks them up. When that comes together, for me, it's an outburst of feelings, sometimes calm, sometimes storm, yet always cleanses and restores.
As storyteller and tunesmith, what turns me on and sparks the song is a narrative or source drawn from life that renders universal truth. Then I have to be my own brutal filter and dramatically differentiate myself in order hopefully to be heard.