In a recent blog post, Gary Ewer mentions Bob Dylan’s analogy for describing a good song: ‘It should be able to “walk by itself.” A good song has life. It has an identity, and it exists long after someone sings it.’ (source: www.secretsofsongwriting.com)
I’m hoping to write a few of those.
I’ve been in songwriter-mode for most of 2017, taking part in a year-long course with Lalalab in Amsterdam and attending some songwriting camps. Not that I’ve been prolific, but I do have something to show for it.
Some recent song tiles:
Be a little braver
Do you remember?
On the other side of darkness
It kills me
When we went to Los Angeles in November, we decided to take our busking kit with us, hoping to make a little money and to share our music with the locals.
This is us performing on Venice Boulevard, not too far from our Airbnb eco-cottage. We didn’t make much money, but we did make some memories.
Later in the week we put our kit to good use at the Taxi Road Rally too, as part of our act and our branding at the open mics.
I went to Lausanne for a meeting this weekend (lucky me) and took along my ukulele as I often do on trips, hoping for an opportunity to play and sing. It wasn’t to be. But towards the end of my journey back home, in the train to Rotterdam, I gave an impromptu mini-concert, singing the chorus of one of our Two Doors Down songs: “This is for you, this gem of a memory … this is for you to keep” (written on the ukulele, and easy enough to play from memory).
In fact, I got to play the chorus twice. My audience: a lapsed guitar player and two train conductors. I was sitting in a vestibule (I think that’s what you call it) near the door (and the toilet), surrounded by my luggage, and the guy next to me was drawn to my instrument in its mandolin case. So I took it out and we shared a “gem of a memory” right there, together with first one and then a second train conductor doing their rounds, with the sounds of the train and rushing wind as a backdrop to my little song.
I hope I have inspired my travel companion to pick up his guitar again, and/or get himself a ukulele. The few chords he played on my instrument sounded really sweet. And I hope the train conductors also have good memories of our brief encounter.
This was our favourite busking location on the St Cuthbert’s side of the Prince’s Street, Gardens.
Margriet and I will be in Edinburgh in August, hosted by a good friend of mine. We’re taking along our instruments, so we can do some busking, on the fringes of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
We did consider the fringe festival busking opportunities, but soon realised our music would be drowned out by all the hustle and bustle on the Royal Mile. Instead we hope to find a listening audience in quieter parts of town, and maybe sell some CDs.
We’ll also be sampling some of what the fringe festival has to offer, and map out a strategy for participating in the festival next year, possibly on a shared bill with some singer-songwriter friends.
Margriet and I spent the evening trawling the Edinburgh Fringe website for Venues where our music might find an appreciative, listening audience. Sent an email to the programmer for one venue. Watch this space …
The environment, climate and weather inevitably have an impact on us on us all. We need each another to “weather well”.
Inspired by a newspaper article about young men caught up in conspiracy theories and the like. From the girlfriend’s perspective.
This song was inspired by a photographic project with nomadic tribes. As their world gets smaller and smaller, the knowledge of how to survive often challenging terrain, passed down from generation to generation, is getting lost, making us all poorer as a result.
About my music teacher at a convent school. She was one of the nuns and the pupils had given her the nickname, “The Dragon”. She had a fierceness about her that warned everyone to keep their distance. Scary stuff. I think she was very unhappy, and not in her element teaching kids. Many years later, when I was inspired to write a song with dragon in the title, she came to mind.