I’ve been more people’s Valentine than I care to remember! LOL… I’ve spent too much of my adult life being single… and while Valentine’s Day dates where a lot of fun in my teens and early twenties… I wasn’t always pleased with the status of my relationships in the years that followed. For the most part, however, I tried NOT to reevaluate my entire life on that day and just have some fun.
Pop, Rock, and Country ~ Blurred lines…. Pop music all sounds so similar to me today… and I suppose it’s for the same reason my parents used to tell me Rock Music all sounded the same to THEM! It’s the root of the genre that does have a similar beat and timber to it. While there ARE several songs in the Pop music genre I really like bypeople like Katie Perry and Taylor Swift, most of it is a little too clos
Pop music all sounds so similar to me today… and I suppose it’s for the same reason my parents used to tell me Rock Music all sounded the same to THEM! It’s the root of the genre that does have a similar beat and timber to it. While there ARE several songs in the Pop music genre I really like bypeople like Katie Perry and Taylor Swift, most of it is a little too close to EDM (Electronic Dance Music) for my taste. I’ll probably be barred from performing at any of the Casinos of Las Vegas for saying this… but EDM has taken over the world in the clubsacross America because it’s DIRT CHEAP to put on.. a DJ is a one man show… but really, it’s the ‘Walmart’ of music… and I don’t know who really LIKEs the stuff… but even I can dance to it if I’m in the right mood. As a collective, us musicians NEED to be out there informing the world and our fans that THAT is what EDM is all about for the club owners. It has it’s legitimate fans and there IS a craft to it… but it’s lacking in real soul. It’s the CHEAP-OUT version of real music…. and nobody wants to be cheap. I am told that I’m a Country artist by today’s definition. I NEVER ever would have been told that 20 years ago. I’m all Rock N Roll !!… surely!… but Country has lost a lot of it’s Twang and appeals to a much wider demographic these days. It’s grown up some. Parts of that genre is what those of us who were Classic Rock fans now listen to… because Classic Rock is just that… I’m told it’s part of ‘History’… and we can’t RECORD newClassic Rock songs. I beg to differ. A rose by any other name still smells the same. Keith Urban of today is as Classic Rock as the Jackson Browne of yesteryear. The genre’s have changed so much because the Country fans don’t want to admit they like Classic Rock and old Rock fans don’t wanna give the New Contemporary Country a chance. There’s so much more that crosses over these days. I agree that there’s still a huge bunch of people subscribing to what I know as “Bro-Country” …and my new Album is aimed pretty much DIRECTLY at that. I’m no fan of the schlock being thrown at us on Country stations from that angle. I’m as ‘girly’ a girl you’ll ever meet but the endless prattle of songs about getting the girl to go for a ride in your pickup truck and drinking some beer and having your way with her is nauseating. It’s gonna come to an end though… mark my word. Women DO want to be girls and everything that goes with it…. but few want to be painted as ‘easy’ and portrayed as brain dead. I, for one, want to be STRONG. I want to embrace my physical side AND the artistic me. I want to be an inspiration to women everywhere that ‘You CAN live your dream’… and ‘You CAN be someone people love to be around’. Be all you can be… be strong… be fearless! Rock On, my music lover friends… and give some of the ‘New Country or Country/Rock a chance. You might find a few nuggets in there you can identify with. Hope you all like me new Album… Rock On ~ Fearless Journey . You tell ME what Genre it belongs to.. …Available Feb 24th 2015… Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby.
I have recently been reading posts about cures for cancer. I’m not certain there is any validity to the claims but people are saying there are cures out there that never see the light of day because “there is no money in it”. Nay-sayers tell us we are “paranoid schizophrenics” and that “all is well” and “that could never happen”. I say, “follow the money”. It is not because of their great desire to help the cause that Large Pharma is one of the larger donors to “The American (and Canadian) Cancer Society”… and that, because of this status, they get to have people on the Board of Directors. Are there no Ombudsmen of Charitable Organizations that can look into the OPERATIONS of these Organizations and tell the public EXACTLY what’s going on? I was also recently told about how Hemp Oil virtually INSTANTLY cures Skin Cancer. I haven’t SEEN it work.. but we don’t even hear the FDA or any other reputable health organization TEST these claims in proper “Double Blind Tests” or put out a “Statement” to put such issues to rest. I am just skeptical enough to believe these cures exist and that big business does NOT want us to know about them… and would put up HUGE protests if the FDA even CONSIDERED testing these claims… much like their fight to overturn GMO labeling laws in every state that is considering putting that into effect is GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
I’d love for everyone to watch “Who Killed the Electric Car”. It’s movie about the early 80’s Oldsmobile Electric Car that GM built and then suddenly recalled the ENTIRE fleet, shredding every last one of them (There is one hollow carcass left in the GM museum). THAT, after California saw their efficiency and almost maintenance free operation and passed a law REQUIRING a certain percentage of all cars sold in California to be electrically powered from that time forward. GM had already put up Fast-Charge stations throughout the state and destroyed them all. SOMEONE somehow convinced California to reverse their Electric Car Law as well. It’s an extremely provocative movie… and it’s all true. They leave you to make your own conclusions. Apparently British Petroleum tried to buy a substantial interest in Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors recently… and THIS TIME it only resulted in him releasing ALL HIS PATENTS relating to his electric Car Development… his way to ensure the electric car will survive and actually take over and dominate world Auto production in years to come. I am so happy this man is walking the face of this earth. I would NOT be one to bet against Mr Musk or one to invest in Oil Stocks because this time we have someone who does what he does because “it’s the right thing to do” and not really that concerned about the money in it. He has made and lost several fortunes in his short lifetime… and I am one of his biggest cheerleaders. I hope he is rewarded handsomely for his clear headed view of what mankind needs to sustain our lives on this planet… and beyond. THAT is the way the system should work… reward those who improve man’s sustainability WHILE improving our standard of living at the same time. He should be one of the heros of our day. I only hope he stays healthy and well and eventually turns his attention to our health care as well. I have also heard that his association with Mr Bill Gates is resulting in some VERY interesting discussions far beyond the programming and manufacturing of his electric cars. It’s going to be interesting to watch the world change over the next ten years with people like him in our midst. Rock on Elon Musk…. Rock On!!
A new show almost ready to hit the road! EXCITING!!
Roy H Williams writes, “A person capable of creating is happiest when they are creating. Artists create visual and auditory artifacts that affect our thoughts, moods and attitudes. Riddle-solvers perform feats of engineering and invention. Teachers create new understanding in the minds of their students. Entrepreneurs create businesses that offer us new and different experiences. Communicators create stories and speeches and ads. Made in the image of God, humans are creators by nature. All humans. Yes, that includes you. What do you create? What do you change? What effect do you have on the world around you?”
Beaumarchais was working on the second scene in the first act of The Barber of Seville, when it hit him, “Aujourd’hui ce qui ne vaut pas la peine d’être dit, on le chante.”
“Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung.” Aaarghhh!
Life is made UP of songs… they make up “The Sound Track of Our Lives” however stupid, or perhaps poignant, or even SMART! In song writing we never really have to say it all. We don’t have to tell the whole story. The best songs leave some of the writing up to the listener… the interpretation and the extrapolation.
Isn’t it funny how the mind makes assumptions based on fragments of information? Your mind fills in the empty spaces. But what if there were no empty spaces? What if the mental bandwidth of your attention was filled with other information? Fill some of that vacancy with music and you’ve got a song.
Crowd the remaining emptiness with images and actions and you’ve got a movie. Make it participatory and you’ve got a video game, but now we’re on an entirely different lesson…
Getting back on track: song lyrics don’t have to make sense because words that are wrapped in music aren’t held to the same level of scrutiny as words that must stand on their own.
“Every language is made of obstruent and sonorant phonemes with the vowels of the language supplying the musical tones. The letters of the alphabet are not phonemes. The sounds represented by those letters – and certain combinations of letters such as sh, th, ch, ng, – the sounds are the phonemes.” (I’m not making this stuff up. It is a studied and known science. I can dig up explanations if you like…)
“Humans are uniquely gifted to attach complex meanings to sound. Some of these sound-messages are the combinations of phonemes we call words, but a complex sound-message without phonemes is called music. Mix phonemes with music and you’ve got a song.”
Words wrapped in music are no longer strictly words, but components of a complexly woven auditory tapestry with additional messages embedded in the pitch, key, tempo, rhythm, interval and contour of the tune. Song lyrics cannot be easily evaluated until they’ve been separated from the music that has swallowed them.
When the music feels happy, we usually think of the song as being happy, even when the lyrics are tragic. When the music is sad, we feel the song is sad even when the lyrics are joyful. When the music is triumphant, we feel the song is triumphant even though its lyrics may describe rejection and defeat.
On September 12, 2001, the day after 9-11, the most-played song in America was Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. This is a fact. Radio stations across America wanted to lift the mood, remind us of our heritage and defy Osama Bin Laden, so they filled the sky with our favorite anthem to American exceptionalism:
“Born down in a dead man’s town,
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up.
Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A….”
Those lyrics get increasingly sad, describing rejection and defeat without redemption, as a returning Viet Nam vet can’t find a job even though he turns to the Veteran’s Administration for assistance. In the end, he winds up working without hope in the shadow of a penitentiary and he blames it all on the fact that he was born in the U.S.A. The End.
Yet we shout the chorus to Born in the USA at the top of our lungs because the triumphant arc of the music and the defiant tone of Springsteen’s voice feel profoundly patriotic and proud, lyrics be damned.
“Music is a language of emotion so powerful that it is capable of contradicting the very words it carries. Control the music and you control the mood of the room. But choose the music for its feel, never for its lyrics.” Stevie Nicks’ music is no different. She manages to evoke a rainbow of feelings we are certain have to do with the clarity of her words. The message to us is clear… but more than likely, it’s the musical arrangement as much as anything.
“Sound is a stunning phenomenon.
Learn how to use it, then choose whom you would like to stun.” …R H Williams
So here’s where I’d like little help. I’m tempted to give you a lot of back ground and what it is I’m trying to say… the entire context of the song…. but I won’t! Nope! You’ll need to come up with your OWN ideas on what this song is all about. It’s better that way. Here are the lines of my song… Only rule is that you have to match the meter…
He’s all Thrift Stores and Junk Food
with reckless abandon,
m’ Heart aches for his touch,
You can’t imagine.
Love’s just a substitute
for mystery and passion…
…and the rest is up to you. Write me back with your ideas. You can do it. I hope by now I have you thinking that it’s not rocket science as much as coming up with the arrangement is. We’ll worry about that with the band. You can tell me what YOUR thoughts on the context of the song is if you like…that’s cool too! Have fun out there. JCM
Recording as a Tribute Artist is always a topic of hot debate. Even to myself, it seems folly unless we can do something meaningful with these songs. Simply reproducing precisely what is done by the original artist seems dumb. Just doing a sloppy job of it, also pointless… as in both cases, why wouldn’t a person just try to find an album by the original artist? I’d love to be able to elevate an old song to some new relevance without disrespecting the original arrangement. Having someone tell me I achieved THAT would be the ultimate motivator to do more. These are the instructions to the Mixing and Mastering Engineer. A tall order when the 1977 Rumours album, the 8th best selling album of all time (Over 40 million copies sold) took a year to produce and probably a million dollars in studio time.
Most of the vocals are “in the can” and we only have a few more bits of saxophone, mandolin, violins and other strings, and pedal steel guitar to add to the tracks. I didn’t write a single one of these songs… but I still feel like it’s a work of art that I’ve been able to have a hand in. I’ve tasted working in a big well equipped studio with absolute A-List musicians…. and it’s a really really wonderful flavor.
As Christmas 2012 approaches and I think about the wisdom of my choices, I try to think philosophically about these things. From an article I read recently, “A wise person sees both sides of a matter. The fool sees only one. The origin of the word “wizard” is wise-ard. It means wise man. Nothing more.
The wise-ards of the Christmas Story followed a star, had an adventure, made a discovery and leaped onto the pages of history. What did they talk about along the way? Who did the cooking? What pressing issues did they leave unattended back home? Did they do anything really big with the rest of their lives? Where, when, and how did each of them pass?
We know only that they followed a star everyone else was content to ignore… that they were nonconformists with strange beliefs who had the courage of their convictions. They took action. They left home and found the thing they sought.”
This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. How about you? Will you run with the big dogs or sit on the porch and bark at the postman? Talk is cheap, the buzzing of flies. What are we trying to accomplish? How will we measure progress-to-goal? Do I know what needs to happen next? Which star do you follow?
An encounter with the wise man in the woods is part of every hero’s journey. Athena was the wise man in the woods for Odysseus. When Obi-Wan was gone, Luke went to Dagobah and Yoda became his wise man. Mr. Miyagi was wise-ard for the Karate Kid. Morpheus for Neo. Galadriel for Frodo.
When you’re in the darkness of the forest – the belly of the whale – look around for the wise-ard who will help you complete your journey. The wise man in the woods exists only to assist the hero on his or her adventure. I’d love to be that hero….
“As I bow at the waist and back slowly off the page, I pass along these carefully crafted words from heroes who carved their names deeply in the tree of life.”
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”
– Hunter S. Thompson
“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.”
– Wes Jackson
Julie C Myers