Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The next stage of drawing begins...

I'm heading into the studio tomorrow for the first round of recording for the "At the Drawing Board" project.

I'm super excited, a bit nervous and a lot giddy :)

This is the first time I'll be recording with funds coming directly from YOU, my friends and fans. And it makes this process all the more significant.

This is a picture of the converted firehouse where I'll be recording. Wish me luck! And I'll keep you updated.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

people music.

i led 2 workshops this morning; a group of pre-k and another of k students. i've led a lot of songwriting workshops for kids before, though, never with groups this young. with the older kids the goal of the workshop is to write a song over the course of an hour.

today, with these younger ones, i decided to sing some traditional folk songs and talk to them about who it was that wrote the songs and the context in which they were written.

singing these songs today, "this land is your land," "oh, susannah," and "yankee doodle," i truly felt, for the first time ever, like a link in a long chain. i felt my arms locked with woody guthrie's, stephen foster's and richard shuckberg's (credited with having written the first verse of yankee doodle.)  i was breathing their breath as these words and melodies were coming out of my mouth. i was peeking through an open window into the past...and the future...maybe outside time altogether. it wasn't a mystical experience but it definitely was transcendent. and most definitely unexpected!

these children who i thought would be running around within 5 minutes slamming on one of the various percussive instruments i handed out, instead were mesmerized. they sang along, listened intently and then asked me to play the songs again as soon as i finished them.

these guys just knew how to write a song. i feel that they are kindred spirits and it is when i play and hear these songs that i understand "folk music" as "people music."  music for everyone.  music that never dies...even long after their composers do.

Monday, October 6, 2008

a note on the title of this blog


i took the title of this blog, "Just So Stories," from a book written by the eminent writer Rudyard Kipling (the Jungle Book.)   it is filled with tales of talking cats, camels, whales, kangaroos and jaguars in an enchanted world when the world was just beginning. a few years ago i released an album called Never Seen a Jaguar. 

i wrote the music to the words of Kipling's poems
. at the time, i discovered a deep connection with Kipling's writing. he manages to blend the innocence of childhood in equal part with the wisdom of experience. he taps into themes and ideas that transcend age or time. and this is something i always find myself aspiring to in my songwriting as there's the connection.

"just so", to me, is a zen-like notion. its the way we see the world when we are kids. it is as it is...the all its wonder, mystery, tragedy, joy, beauty, banality and on and on. right there in front of you. without judgement. clearly and innocently. that's how i aspire to see the world. in all its "just so-ness." its also the lense with which i try to share my experiences through songs.  So these are my Just So Stories...