March 11, 2012

As I go through the daily motions of life, trying to keep my head above water in all respects creative, personal, and career-wise, I find myself often forgetting to do those things I enjoy most, one of which is write about experiences in my daily life and musical adventures here in this blog. I look back over past posts and realize I wanted to blog more about recording "Still" (my latest release with Hilary Scott and The New County Line) and the tour we did in the northwest US, to name just a couple of things I've neglected. But the trade-off of all this introversion and retrospection and lack of direct voicing of my experiences is that I've been incubating so much new material which is going to explode soon! I recall once reading something Sarah McLachlan said when asked if she felt she ever had writer's block: she said she never thought of it as a block - she just found that sometimes she would go through periods where her well was dry and needed to be re-filled. Well - I think my well is overflowing! And I apologize for what seems my "blog block," I just was taking so many trips to other wells! :)

I recently asked people on my Facebook page to submit questions for me to answer. I want to thank Vicki and Alex for submitting the two questions I am going to respond to tonight:

Vicki: "What are your aspirations for 2012?" Well, Vicki, (and anyone else reading this right now) I think my biggest goal for this year is to follow avenues of exposure for my music that I have not explored as heavily before. For the past decade, my primary career focus has been on recording and live performance, touring, and record sales. While I do not intend to neglect these things, I also intend to heavily pursue more songwriting contests, TV and film licensing, and different levels of legal representation and radio promotion.

There is an exciting confluence of things going on right now in my personal and musical life. Recently we added a fourth member to The New County Line, and I am feeling a re-birth and explosion of creativity as old songs become new and new songs take shape out of the ether. With all of this novelty around me, I am extremely open to different possibilities and "newness" in other areas as well. I have also been teaching at a conservatory, and I am finding that in my drive to infect my students with the contagious love of music and passion to do things in ways that stretch boundaries, I have been pushing myself much more creatively. A few specific examples of this are that I am giving myself "songwriting challenges" where I will discipline myself to tell a certain story (rather than writing autobiographically, say) or to write within a certain musical genre, explore a new tuning, (I have added some strange ones many people say 'don't exist!' haha) or try changing meters within songs. I also am getting more exploratory with instrumentation. These are just some examples of what is going on right now. While still trying to get my songs "out there," I have concurrently turned inward to focus on the craft more. It is an exciting time for me.

Alex: "Your life has changed in oh so many ways in the past 10 have evolved through all of it as well as your music. Do you have a song or two that reflects how far you've come? Also, when are you going to be back in Columbia?" Thanks for asking, Alex. I would say that one of the things that has most affected my musical journey has been my personal journey, and I have reached new levels of personal happiness in the past few years, which I do think is seeping through the cracks (and bars, and notes, and lyrics) of my music. The song with which I won the Festival Degli Autori songwriting competition in Sanremo Italy, "And Just," is probably most indicative of where I have been versus where I am now. I also do not think I could have had the courage to enter a contest like that and do the traveling I've done, (Vietnam, France, Italy, Korea, Japan) without some of the trials and tribulations that have happened to me recently. Here are the lyrics to And Just:

AND JUST copyright 2010 Hilary Scott

And Just so you know each year I'm enchanted
By snow in winter and blooms in spring
But you're the newest, most unexpected
Thing that I may ever have seen

The city's pushing me around
It's making me feel like something used
Been wanting to leave for what feels like forever
But now I want to stay because of you

One sure way to get through the day
Breathe in, breathe out and breathe in
One sure way to get over, and get out -
Just fall in again

Better to be loved from afar, I've said
They never want you once they know who you are
But you see me laid out like a ruin in the dark
And you stay even when the sunrise starts

One sure way to get through the day
Breathe in, breathe out and breathe in
One sure way to get over and get out -
Just fall in again

Gonna say too much but don't you stop me
Until there's nothing more to say
You'll never know how close I hold you
But it's better that way, it's better that way, it's better that way...

One sure way to get through the day
Breathe in, breathe out and breathe in
One sure way to get over and get out
Just fall in again

One sure way to get through the day
Breathe in, breathe out and breathe in
Just accept that there's no more to say
And just fall in

I would say that anyone who comes to a show of Hilary Scott and The New County Line of late will still get a good does of my moody sad songs, but I do think people familiar with my catalogue will notice a significant increase in up-tempo and "up mood" songs. And since you asked about Columbia dates, here are a few:

Saturday, April 7th at The Bridge in Columbia, 8pm
Saturday, June 9th at Cooper's Landing 6-9pm
Saturday, September 15th, EcoArtsFest, details TBA

Hope to see all of you at shows in the near future - we will be out and about more with new songs and plenty of energy to spare. Hope we can share some of it with you!

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