I heard recently that a whole slew of unheard Bob Dylan songs would be coming out, and saw lots of people on the Internet get pretty excited for these new bits and pieces. But I'm not so sure this kind of thing automatically means we will find a bucket of hidden treasures. When I think about my own process as a songwriter, I think about all the junk I produce -- stuff I don't get around to recording or sharing. It's probably for the greater good. Why? Well, for me, it's all about scratching around and letting the brain and fingers flow without my direct intervention. In other words, when I am properly writing, my best kind of songs, I don't intend to write them -- they just come out. Even the bad words, phrases and cliches right alongside the gems and keepers. My whole point is that one day down the road if you hear that somebody is releasing a bunch of my stuff that I never fully produced...beware! It may only be as interesting as looking at a painter's used brushes.
In practical measure, in terms of what songwriting I want to shape and mold into my third album, I'm kind of on the fence between two worlds: rock and folk. I have enough material to make either kind of album. Perhaps a combination of those things will be the right prescription. Making a "Folk" album today sort of implies a kind of dense acoustic-oriented poetry. Folk leans toward a tapestry of natural sounds and voices, drawing from traditional forms, melodies and storytelling, that immediately inspires a kind of fireside warmth. Making a "rock" album on the other hand is an often colder, noisy, industrial, electronic howl, which has explosive intensity even in the softest moments. Now, it is certainly true that today's new work being produced by musicians across the spectrum in the best of both genres borrow from each other quite steadily. I can mix and match as I please. But right now I feel like I am filled with too many notes and not enough time to get them all out. Running out of canvas.
Time to drop some names. In a few weeks I'll be heading to the CD release show for two of my music friends -- Emily White and Heather Styka. Hearing what they've been up to will perhaps be a guide for me to follow a more defined path so that from the first note to the last, and every beat in between, the listener will never be bored. I hope for the listener to always discover new things about my third album at every hearing (when it comes out early next year!?). Beyond Emily and Heather's work, going to the Folk Alliance Region Midwest conference in St. Louis toward the end of October will be illuminating and inspirational, I'm sure. Last year's conference led me to brilliant songwriters Dan Weber and James Curley among many others who helped inspire me to try new things in my own music. Joining the music continuum means absorbing, reflecting, and adding a verse or two along the way.
So, before I release new music, some thanks are in order. I am so grateful for the support I've had all year long at shows I've had in the area -- very excited to be part of the September Folk You! Showcase at the Windy City Inn on September 19th, and later in the year I have a big show on the main stage at the Mayne Stage. I'll be doing some festivals in late 2014 and early 2015, and looking forward to doing shows outside of my city. Please let me know if you'd like to have me in your neck of the woods!