I’ve got a few things to share, and I’m going to be very transparent…
About a decade ago, I decided to start trying to get folks to hire me to play guitar and sing. I had a list of about 50 (mostly classic country) cover songs, and some really terrible original tunes. I had no idea what I was doing, how to book shows, or really how to perform. All I knew was that I had an undeniable, gut-burning desire to “chase the rainbow” and see where it led.
See, I have always been a strange bird. I’ve always held a deep reverence for old things…books, artifacts, history, music…I spent my childhood making up stories and acting them out, pretending to be this or that, learning to read music and play piano, and I even made my own “drive thru” library out of my playhouse. I read everything I could get my hands on, gathering and scheming and dreaming…
When I was fifteen, I got my first Takamine acoustic guitar. My uncle (who was -and is - just about the coolest person I’d ever met) drew out some chords and tabs for me…”Time of your Life” by Green Day, “3am” by Matchbox 20, “All For You” by Sister Hazel…so I’m sure by now you have a pretty good idea of the time period we’re talking about!
I was into every kind of music - I loved the popular music of the time, R&B, alt-rock, country…all of it. I taped the American Top 40 and the Country Countdown on my cassette deck…my cousin and I spent countless Saturday nights playing Super Nintendo and listening to the Saturday Night Regrind! I drove my parents crazy with my spastic love for the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and Britney Spears. I also sat at my piano and wrote classical pieces…I still have a couple. They’re simple and predictable and juvenile…but it’s a tangible piece of my heart.
The true vein running through my connection with music, however, comes from bold lyricism. I vividly recall (as a child of 10 or so) my dad blasting “The River” by Bruce Springsteen, and how those words made me feel. I had no idea what it meant…there was no I way I could appreciate the nuance of that song, or how I could identify with the story in the least. But it made me FEEL, really FEEL…I knew those words mattered.
I would listen to those Springsteen tapes and CDs and follow along with the lyrics on the insert…the way he wrote, the melody, the way he made you believe it…and, THE E STREET BAND. Need I say more?
I could go on and on about the influence folks like Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Tracy Chapman have had on my development…my imagination, my profound angst, my very identity…but for this purpose, it’s enough to say that these folks and many others are a huge reason I have sought Truth in my writing.
I did not aspire to become a musician when I was young. I was painfully insecure, and there’s no way I would have shared a poem, song, or story with just about anyone until I was well into my 20s. But I did play, I did write, and I was interested in so many different things, I never had any real direction in my heart.
I’ve lived a lot of life since lying in my bedroom floor copying down Springsteen lyrics. I have pushed the girl country singer thing, I’ve done the party band thing, I’ve done the “writing to formula” thing…but I’ve always felt I had to work an angle to be able to play music. When I look back over the past decade or so, I’m so proud of all the things I’ve been able to do thanks to music…I’ve played big ol’ stages, I’ve played to no one but the bartender, I’ve met some of my favorite people, and I’ve found my home. But, the thing I see most as I look back is what’s missing - the truth.
I have a 5-song EP coming out tomorrow. These are songs I wrote when I was heartbroken, when I was feeling extra sarcastic, when I felt pain for a friend, when I was overwhelmed by love. Me, my guitar, and the best truth I have to offer.
This EP won’t break any records. I haven’t pursued backing for it or planned a tour to support it. More or less, this is a way to establish my “re-branding” (God, I hate that term)...a factory reset for my own sake, more than anything else. Hopefully this new foundation will pave the way for an album I can push by next year.
From now on I’m going to make music that is honest. I’m going to write stories that are honest. I’m going to humor my rock & roll side in The Dirty Mirrors with my husband. I’m just plain tired of the pretentious, wasteful side of this whole business…when it comes down to it, the story is what I can’t live without. Plus, I suck at promo.
I’m going to add this post to a new Blog section on my website…y’all check it out sometime. I’m also going to start posting some of the stories and poetry I’ve accrued over the years…it all ties in together. There are things I am terrified to share, but I feel it’ll be therapeutic for me and hopefully for someone else…all these lessons I’ve learned the hard way aren’t doing any good just sitting in my brain.
We need the truth now more than ever. Can’t wait to share more of mine with you, tomorrow.