Hi gang. I’d like to begin by thanking all those of you who responded to my previous blog (dated 7/12/07). I received a great many comments regarding the dreadful situation of the inhumane “Puppy Mills”. It stirred and warmed my heart to learn that so many of you are concerned animal lovers, as I am. Thank you for your compassionate and insightful responses.
In recent weeks, I have found myself entrenched in the studio, flushing out some new ideas for songs. As a writer, I have come to appreciate and cherish, over the years, the special and unique times the “muse” decides to grace me with her presence – to hand me the gift of inspiration and creativity – a rare and precious gift, to be sure. When starting a song, I usually gravitate towards the keyboards, but recently, I’ve been experimenting with acoustic guitars. I have a deep affinity and love for traditional folk and sacred music, so when I am able to juxtapose flavours of the past with contemporary styles, usually something interesting is born. That being true, of course, as long as “Mistress Muse” feels generous!! The process of writing a song still remains a mystery to me, and I hope it stays that way for as long as I am able to write… for when that memorable melody appears out of thin air, I am truly lost to the world.
When I first attempted to write songs, as a teenager, I knew immediately and instinctively that I had entered into a spiritual domain, where having technical skills and ability was only half of the story. For a song to really live, to touch and to move people, it also needs that unknowable ingredient – some call it divine intervention. Whatever it is, it is the illusive element that keeps me hungry and excited to keep on writing. Once you have tasted that indefinable ingredient, you are forever hooked, and wanting more!
That brings me nicely on to “The Beatles” (now there’s creativity for you) and a truly amazing book called, The RTB Book, Recording The Beatles, written by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew. This extraordinary book is a bible of information regarding absolutely – and I mean ABSOLUTELY – every aspect of recording the Beatles during their heyday at Abbey Road Studios. The product of over a decade of research, Recording The Beatles offers a detailed look at how the Beatles’ historic albums were recorded. The four lads from Liverpool had the biggest musical influence on me as a kid; so for me, this book brings back many romantic memories of that revolutionary period in music and culture. Just for the photos alone, it’s worth the admission fee!
For those of you who aren’t remotely interested in microphone placement, vintage compressors and analog tape machines, maybe I can interest you in four wonderful books of poetry that I am reading at the moment. They are, Constance, by Jane Kenyon; Empty Walking, by Tryfon Tolides; After, by Jane Hirshfield; and Lay Back The Darkness, by Edward Hirsch. All four authors profoundly illuminate the light and dark of our human nature.
Well, before we wrap it up, I thought – just for fun – while my iPod is in Shuffle-mode, I’d push the play button and tell you which fifteen songs play at random. Here goes … finger at the ready … PRESS:
|1) Abraham, Martin & John (Marvin Gaye)||9) Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol)|
|2) Happiness Is Easy (Talk Talk)||10) Watcher Of The Skies (Genesis)|
|3) Long Distance Love (Little Feat)||11) Fire (Ohio Players)|
|4) 54-56 Was My Number (Toots and The Maytals)||12) Hamburg Song (Keane)|
|5) I Get My Beat (Richard Ashcroft)||13) Boys Break The Things They Love The Most (Ricky Ross)|
|6) Samson (Regina Spektor)||14) Serpentine Fire (Earth, Wind & Fire)|
|7) Let Go (Frou Frou)||15) A Walk Across The Rooftops (The Blue Nile)|
|8) Enigma Variations/Nimrod (Elgar)|
I’m not sure what, if anything, that selection says about me – I think I’ll just leave that up to you!
— “Pearls lie not on the seashore,
if thou desirest one, thou must dive for it.”
— Oriental Proverb
I look forward to the next time we get a chance to chat.
Oh…. and by the way, my new album is just around the corner: I’m getting rather excited ☺