Glad to be invited into Larry John's musing page.
I'd like to start off by saying that Larry John is
one of my favorite songwriters of all time. I've
been inspired by his work and mind for 12 years now,
and am really happy to call him my friend and
comrade. We're both from Maine, too, so besides
making music, we have that in common as well.
I've been giving it some thought as to what I
wanted to say here, and frankly, all that is brewing
in my brain is hard to put into words in any
concrete way. What's the use in commenting on the
current political state? That's a long
conversation that I just am not ready to have. I'm
still processing it all. What to do next is a big
question we all have to contemplate and frankly, I
have no soap box to stand on as I could do much,
much better. I'm a bit tired of people's simple
solutions to massive problems. Once I get a grip on
my own home, maybe saying something worthwhile will
So I figured stream of consciousness would be
interesting, as I haven't been keeping a journal this
past year, regrettably. I'm a bit rusty at this.
You need to stay current with your ideas and
thoughts in this way to flesh out the true meaning
of a song, as a song is short and precise. A lot
goes into it, and you enjoy the end result of many
minutes or hours or even years of good old fashioned
hard work. Both physically and mentally.
Settling on a rant, I've decided to discuss what
is most current for me today and that is presenting
a song vs. entertaining an audience, as I took
part in a songwriter-in-the round as a guest. One is
a courageous and timeless art, the latter a bag of
horseshit. I know some people are really good at
it, and I certainly have been entranced by their
gifts myself. Most would agree, they give you your
money's worth. It doesn't even matter if the songs
are any good. As long as you get the jokes.
Two minutes of song per artist. Not my favorite
setting for making music (unless I have booked the
artists, carefully, myself). I was pleased to take
part in it though for an unsuspecting reason.
I like examining a bad situation. If I am inspired,
then I can be in the moment with myself before my
thoughts kick in. I can ask how I am feeling, locate
the tension that overcomes me and sit with it before
I respond. It's a great experiment and good
learning can take place during these awkward and
Awkward and awful in this format because a person
only gets to play a song or two at a time, making it
hard to hit any stride. Creating a set really is an
art, and in this, there isn't any art. Only guess
work in trying to perform what you think are your
strongest songs, which generally are the ones you
think people already know. Ones you've played a
thousand times already. Ones you generally need
desperately to discover new relationship with, but
you probably won't get to here.
And then comes all the dialog. Some artists in a
songwriter setting seem compelled to say something
funny, ironic or sarcastic. Something to make you
stand out more then you already do sitting up there.
All the while, keeping an eye on the back table
where your records wait to be consumed by you. I'm
sorry to say, folks, that it isn't a community
being built. It might look like it. Some of these
songwriters are better actors then writers. What is
on the minds of most is their entire catalog being
purchased. After paying $15 to get into this mess,
the very least you can do is spend another $50. Come
And then there's the green room, hanging with
those you most likely have never met before, and who
you most likely have nothing in common with. It's
like being at a party with a bunch of strangers and
wanting a conversation with someone new to mean
something. Most times, there's a lot of name
dropping and talk about what you both do and have
done. Either that, or you disappear in the corner
until you've had enough cheap red wine to pull you
out of the darkness. To be subtle means time is
required and no one seems to have that these days.
Being clever is a puff of smoke. A lingering fart.
Moving out of the way for music to do the work it is
meant to do, whether writing or sharing is the
hard work. To be open and honest is enough to keep a
person busy up until they expire. Having nothing to
relay in a conversation is a faux paux which might
be why things become so exaggerated. Everyone thinks
they should be doing better then they are, and a
person is almost apologetic for not living up to
someone else's expectation. To be the poor fellow
whose schedule is not jammed packed with house
concerts and coffee houses! Sleeping on peoples
floors! Driving from town to town alone! That's
I really appreciate those who say very little. Who
see their lives no differently then that of an old
oak tree. Take the time when you run into someone
like that to observe them.
I like all the imperfections that make any old thing
interesting. That's when you witness in yourself,
or in someone else a growing spurt. Being
"right" or ˜in favor" isn't anything more
then an illusion. Doing your best at any given
moment is the meat to go with the average heaping
helping of mashed potatoes.
I love meeting someone who has that look in their
eye that is honest when they talk about their lives.
I love messy hair with a worn look and hands! And I
love a mind that is constantly in motion devoted to
saying something unique to them that is meant for
everyone. That's really rare, and when you find
it, it is to be cherished like a natural resource.
It's all right to call it as you see it and to do
so without judgment is even better. To not impose
your fears and beliefs is beautiful. Somehow, be
open to it all. We may all be big complicated gobs
of flesh, but there is goodness in the clearing.
Looking at this last paragraph, you'd think I'd
be more compassionate to my fellow songwriter.
Life is one big contradiction.
This is how I'm feeling today. Don't hold me to