11/21/2009

Before the day begins

My house is not in tip-top shape, but it's not in rotten bottom condition either. My ears are being assaulted by a recording of guitar and vocals I did back in October. I record about an hour of raw material a week. In some ways, creating music has taken over from running as the thing that fuels my expanding view of myself. Greater than running a marathon is the idea of becoming a very good musician. Both take practice, a willingness to train, patience and concentration.

Last night after I got off work at 1:00 AM, I went down to Miller's like I do every Friday that I can to catch the last set of the Rogan Brothers. Last night I met up with some friends, hung out with them until last call and then went home. At ten to three I started playing music, risking waking up my housemate. I played for 23 minutes, using the energy from the Rogan Brothers, as well as the experience of serving at least a hundred people last night at the tavern. New regulars, familiar faces as well as strangers I met for the first time.

I want to stand on a stage and sing and play guitar and entertain, but I'm not there yet. At the moment, I make music in order to create a soundtrack for my life. To capture the energy that I feel vibrating all around me when I'm around other people. Creating a pulse with instruments, shaping them with effects, crafting lyrics from a deep part of myself that I don't fully understand.

Yet, it seems so fragile. I've never been able to share any of it with anyone except for people who I play with, and develop some sort of bond. In my life I've mostly been playing with one person, my childhood friend Jeffry Cudlin. We've played off and on for so many years, but these days we're both so busy that it's proven impossible to find the time to get together.

None of it is smoothed out. For whatever reason, I've found it hard to write songs and instead choose to rely on improvisation to capture whatever it is I'm doing at the moment. I consider the material I create to be akin to a journal, where I open up my mind and sing. In the early days, Jeff used to try to write up whatever I had said, but for whatever reason that never caught on so our work together was always off the cuff.

And now for the first time in my life I've been taking it seriously enough to the point where I spend a lot of time trying to craft songs. I've been trying to write several, both the lyrics and the music. I'm not sure if any of it is accessible to anyone at all, but I figure I have time to train.

Right now it's all kind of sloppy and intertwined, but when I listen back, I'm listening back with the ear of someone who is trying to try to figure out just what a song is for. Why do we make them? Why do we love them so much? Why do so few of us make our own songs?

I'm not sure, but I know I'm enjoying this period of my life because I feel like this is my chance to devote to creating things. And now, the day is set to begin once more, and I'll be wishing for the end of the night to come so I can get right back to the guitar.


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