We have two great weekends coming up at this year’s Fur Peace Ranch On The Road at Dana Point In San Diego. The first week will feature G.E. Smith which would be Feb. 2nd through 6th. The second weekend would be be Me (Jorma) with David Wolff, and Larry Campbell… Feb. 9th through 13th.
It’s been an interesting time to say the least. Recently a number of friends have passed… some my age, some quite young. These things tend to lead to reflection. I start to think about what is important to me in my life and in my art and at this point in time, it is the tell… the story. I love the guitar, the instrument, the music, but these are the setting for the story… the real jewel.
Feb. 02, through 06th, 2015, at Dana Point in San Diego, is a songwriting workshop and I have been rethinking my approach to a class that so far, has been quite successful. We’ll be dealing with melody for sure. What is a song without the song? That said, this time around I see some serious interactive discussions about message, motive and metaphor.
My method has always been to write from life. I need to write about things that are affecting me at the time of the writing. I have never really been able to put myself in someone else’s shoes and create an imaginary landscape from scratch. Hopefully we will be able to learn to discuss the writing process and the emotions that drive it in an un-self conscious way. The writer will be led to put words on paper and music in the air in a way that will leave a lasting memory in the listener.
For me, song writing has always been cathartic and as a goal, to be able to really say what you mean and have others actually understand it is worth striving for.
Having just put all the emphasis on lyrics in these previous paragraphs… I’m going to back track a little for this next class, the 9th through the 13th of February, 2015… also at Dana Point In San Diego. In this workshop we’ll be learning, yes, instrumentals. Mostly ones that I have written, but not limiting ourselves to that. Again, with or without words, a musical piece must take you on a journey that has a beginning and an end. This is not about technical flash although we hope the songs we have chosen will challenge an elevate the student. It is about taking one on a listening journey that will have them at the end of the song saying to themselves, ‘That was nice!’
Since I’ll be going out to San Diego in about a week, I find myself psyching up for the trip and the teaching experience…. And having said that…
From Apprenticeship Of The Mule
‘They hand you a pen and perhaps some small corner to make
your home. And if you discover the strength which carries one
past exhaustion, if you are blessed, perhaps someone will arrive
to look over your shoulder and read what you are doing,
what you have done.
And if you are of the word, and if you have the duende,
they’ll be standing there, reading, long after you have gone.’