I am on my way back to the Canadian Rockies this week! I am looking forward to performing shows in Alberta this month, including three dates with Sam Baker and one with Eliza Gilkyson.
I have drawn inspiration from this beautiful landscape and creative environment for my book, and am excited about the potential for a new project affiliated with The Banff Centre and friends Sam Baker, Jim White and Minton Sparks.
As I continue to teach songwriting in Banff and collaborate with other great writers in this tremendous setting, I am able to finally put to words some of my most important realizations about the mystery of writing songs. As a result, my book is starting to take shape now, and is starting to look more like a manuscript than a pile of thoughts that don't connect. Writing a book still feels like writing the longest song ever attempted, but my brain thinks in song, and I'm going with the flow!
Thanks again for following along on my journey and for all of your support and feedback as I explore this new territory. Below is an excerpt from the latest draft of my book. In the meantime, I hope to see you in Alberta this month or down the road this spring and summer!
~~~~~ "Songwriting is an art unto itself, and vision is what’s most important. A basic understanding of craft is necessary, but the art of songwriting is not about mechanics. The art is not about singing, guitar playing, or mastery of any instrument. It’s not about performance, show business, or even entertainment. It’s not about reading or writing music. The art of song is about combining vision, ideas and truth in an effort towards wholeness.
Basic knowledge of music and melody is helpful, but songwriting doesn’t require a music education. Emotional literacy is what matters. There are generations of timeless songs “written” by illiterate songwriters, and brilliant songwriters who don’t play any instruments at all. Irving Berlin, the composer of countless beloved standards couldn't read or write music. He played almost entirely in the key of F-sharp, allowing him to stay on the black keys as much as possible.
At the end of the day, songwriting is conjury. The conjurer is often as mystified as anyone as to where our creations come from. We often can’t explain how we do what we do because we don’t fully understand it ourselves. But in the right mood, with the right frame of mind, there’s a feeling of being an antenna, receiving, then transmitting, receiving, then transmitting. Great songs are more than words and music. Welded together just right, they become emotional electricity.
Songs are music and words glued together with magic. Songwriters apply the glue."
Please visit my Tour Page for all of the details about my upcoming shows in Alberta!
Thank you! - Mary