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Creative Thing Week 11: Half a Song, and…

Yes, I’m still creating. And yes, I’m still working on some projects that will take some time before I can share a semi-finished product with you. I tried tracking my instrumental project last week, and wasn’t quite to where it’d work. But I’m closer now, thanks to more rehearsal. Hopefully this week…

I do have half or 2/3 of a new song that I’m working on. When I made my “eclipse trip” up through GA last summer, I had an idea come to me of “Florida sand and Georgia clay.” I didn’t know what to do about that then. A couple of days ago, while listening to some Jesse Rice music, I got a song idea that works with that particular contrast. I don’t quite have the whole thing yet, but I’ve got two verses and a chorus. The song will probably be verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, (bridge, chorus). And I may tweak the later choruses to fit the story. I think it will end up being an unrequited love song. Here’s what I’ve got:

Florida Sand, Georgia Clay

I was somewhere on the outskirts of Atlanta

A a quiet bar, waiting for rush hour to clear

When the woman at my right downed a shot, and then she sighed

And in the corner of her eye, I could see the start of tears

 

Can I offer you a drink for your sorrows?

She said yes, and we chatted for a while

I said, “you could come escape; you can follow me tomorrow

To my place by the beach, I bet it could make you smile

 

CHORUS

Will you stroll on my Florida Sand

And leave your Georgia Clay?

Will you come south and maybe take my hand

Even though it’s a little far away?

(unwritten verse 3: She politely declined and we went our separate ways)

(unwritten bridge: I wonder how her story turned out. Wonder what might have happened if she’d…)

Creative Thing Week #10 – Brainstorming a Song Idea

I don’t have a finished product this week, though I’ve been spending time brainstorming new material and listening to some different songs and instrumental tracks to help inspire me. I’m just about to where I hope I can track my first guitar instrumental with minimal mistakes, and I’m pretty much up and ready to go on the new version of Logic Pro. So maybe next week I’ll have an instrumental work in progress for you.

I’m also rehearsing some things I’ve written/composed in recent weeks, because I’ve got a gig coming up at which I want to debut them. And they shift and settle into more polished places as I do, and that’s all good.

In the meantime, at the top of the list of my brainstorming is something titled “Walking Each Other Home.” I want it to be inspirational, and maybe a love song. I don’t have enough pieces yet to know how it’ll turn out. But I can share a possible chorus, and I’ll share some of the more interesting lyric sets I’ve come up with so far. And you may see a more-finished version of this in the future.

First the proto-chorus:

Wouldn’t life be easier

If we walked each other home?

We could all get where we want to go

If we walked each other home.

 

And some lyrics:

The slamming closed of a heart’s own door

Is the saddest sound there is

 

Forever trapped in too-small armor, bonsai of the soul

 

The world is full of magic, for those with eyes to see

Like the sparkle in your gaze every time you look at me

 

Cassandra tried to anchor the news, but everyone changed the channel

 

And that’s where it all sits right now, along with some other bits that I don’t like as much. 🙂 Hopefully a bit more brainstorming will give me something I can use.

In the meantime, thanks for listening and have an awesome week!

Loren

Week #9: More Creative Goodies

This is going to be a “prose week” for me. I’m still working on a number of different creative ideas, including ratcheting up my guitar-playing skills so that I can create instrumentals. And also re-familiarizing myself with Logic Pro, so that I can record and produce at least some of my own stuff. These are important projects for me to be working on, even if it takes me a while to turn out anything I can share with you.

I created new lyrics/prose on four out of seven days this past week, and was working on my other creative-related projects (above) on two of the other days. So I’m still spending time trying to focus on my creative self every day, though I can improve on that.

I *did* get what might turn into part of a song at some future time. I was thinking about my time in the Virgin Islands last June, remembering how polite and friendly everyone was down there. And I came up with a very rough verse and a possible chorus. At the moment, it seems to be about the entirety of the USVI, but I may narrow that down, broaden it, or do something else with it going forward. Here’s today’s very rough draft, for your enjoyment:

Looking eagerly out the window, as the plane came in to land

The runway’s gotten longer and the planes have gotten stronger

Since my first trip down with my family, when I was a very young man

Some things look familiar and others strange; there have been so many changes

 

“Good morning, good afternoon, good evening”

People will greet you every day

From the streets of Charlotte Amalie to the beach at Fredriksted

The Virgin Islands are where I want to lay my head

Creative Thing Week #8: Wonderful Life

In our last exciting episode, I described how I hadn’t managed to finish anything for last week, despite having spent some significant time up at the South Jetty in Venice, observing life and writing stuff down, among other things.

Well, this week, among other things, I’ve used a lot of that material in a new song. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

One big difference this week was that I spent more time focused on working with my creative muses. I’d like to get to “daily,” but this week I only had one day on which I didn’t create at least a couple of lines of doggerel, so that’s pretty close. And yesterday I dug into the accumulated lyrics of the week, and pulled out and assembled this song. Again, it’s likely not the best thing I’ve ever written, but it’s more or less complete (the bridge is a bit sparse) and it has music. I think I had some Jim Morris running through my head while creating lyrics, because the song at this point definitely has that sort of feel to it.

You probably want to hear the song now, right? Well, here it is: https://youtu.be/_g1dNFU5TmA

In addition, I managed to spend a bit of time brainstorming with a couple of my fellow artists on Friday, in between their sets. In the process, I came up with a chorus for something they’ve both been noodling on a bit, and got some constructive feedback on an old idea I’ve been knocking around for years. It was a helpful reminder of one of the reasons why I live here now, where my fellow artists track through fairly regularly.

I’m learning some worthwhile things about my creative flow and process, doing this exercise. And I’m already eight weeks in! 🙂

Copyright © Loren Davidson, all rights reserved

To buy any of Loren’s music, go to iTunes and search on “Loren Davidson.”

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Creative Thing Week #7: I Fuck Up.

I got nothing.

Well, not exactly. I’ve created a bunch of lyrics, many of which are on similar themes in support of a couple of ideas I had around being by the water, dolphins, etc. Hell, I made a special trip to the beach today to try to get it together.

And it didn’t quite work. I got home; I got distracted. I did not meet my goal.

Yes, some of it is that I don’t dedicate regular time to creative work. Maybe I’ll manage to try that, and not try to pull an all-nighter on Saturday or Sunday.

My commitment is to be accountable through this journey, as I work on this stuff. Yeah, I’ve created three new songs in the last six weeks. That’s pretty awesome. But I ain’t done what I said I’d do for this week.

And I have to live with that, and figure out how to do better.

Thanks for listening.

Creative Thing #6: First Step (new song)

So Saturday morning arrived, and I was still about as idea-challenged as the guy who tried breaking a car window with his head. And I needed something by Monday.

And then I got an idea: Go through some of the song pitch requests that I get every day, find something that I can write to, and write something. So I picked a request looking for “travel songs” (because that *should* be in my wheelhouse) and listened to about five examples that had the feel they were looking for. Most of these used the same approximate groove, so that gave me a place to start. I picked up the guitar and started mucking around with chords and the groove, and trying out possible lyrics that might work for a hook.

After noodling with this for a bit, I started converging on a chorus idea, “take the first step.” I wanted to make it a love song, so I made sure there were two characters in it. And after getting a chorus, I had to make verses work.

In this case, I noticed that at least one of the examples was a contemporary folk song, with contemporary melodic phrasing. So I decided to do that in the verses, giving me contrast between verses and chorus. And then I kept beating stuff around until I had two halfway-decent verses and a passable bridge. A bit of refinement, and I have the “draft and a half” version that I recorded on Sunday afternoon before running off to play some Pokemon.

I don’t think the song is done. I’m not even sure it’s usable, and it’ll require a fair bit of work. But I’m proud of being able to create a song “to spec” in a very few hours, and I’m proud that I *finished* the blessed thing.

Give it a listen here, and let me know what you think: https://youtu.be/Y25cVGuAnQU

And if you like what I’m doing, please feel free to support me using the following links:

 

Copyright © Loren Davidson, all rights reserved

To buy any of Loren’s music, go to iTunes and search on “Loren Davidson.”

Or buy Loren’s music on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/LorenDavidson

 

Just want to help support me in making more music? http://www.digitaltipjar.com/lorendavidson

 

Loren’s Website: http://www.lorendavidson.com

Loren’s Facebook artist page: http://www.facebook.com/lorendavidsonmusic

Loren’s ReverbNation artist page: http://www.reverbnation.com/lorendavidson

 

Creative Thing #5: Work in Progress

So, I didn’t finish anything presentable last week.

Oh, I have excuses. Monday I had a bartending class in the afternoon and a gig at night. Tuesday I was driving home from the Keys. And since Wednesday, I’ve been fighting a cold. Which is, thankfully, mostly a thing of the past already. 🙂

But I committed to doing this on a weekly basis, and to being accountable to you, my reader, on that same basis. So here we are.

The week wasn’t entirely without creative work – no week truly is. I have a collection of one- and two-line ideas for lyrics, and I had a clever idea for rearranging a song I cover to include a nod to a song currently on the charts. But I’m not going to make you sit through 2/3 of a song you already know just to catch eight bars of something else. We’ll save that for a show sometime, I think. 🙂

All that said, I *did* spend some time brainstorming on one idea of mine, and I’m at the point of having a halfway-decent (but possibly not final) first verse and a decent chorus. The music is still subject to change, so all I’m gonna give you is lyrics.

But first let me tell you about the idea.

What a few folks in our “coastal Americana” genre say about their songwriting process is, “I go places and write about what I’m seeing.” I’ve done it myself; my recent song “On the Beach” is one of those. But sometimes, the places I go aren’t that interesting. Englewood FL isn’t Key West by any stretch, and sometimes I go out in search of inspiration and find…an ordinary bar with ordinary people. And nothing interesting to write about.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, but as the old joke goes, “No adventure started with a salad.” And there have been a few awesome songs written about ordinary bars with ordinary people. “Piano Man” comes to mind.

But what if…rather than just seeing an ordinary bar with ordinary people, the tale-teller imagined those people to be more interesting? Being pirates, Rangers, dwarves, swashbucklers?

Thus was born the idea of “Fantasy Night at the Lukewarm Tiki Lounge.” The title is a nod to an old Dan Millman quote about moderation being like “lukewarm tea, the Devil’s own brew.”

So, here’s a verse and chorus from what I hope will turn out to be a fun and slightly offbeat song:

 

Tonight I’d like to find a den full of pirates

Hear their tales of adventure, see their jewels and gold

And sing songs of the ocean, a broadside and how to fire it

But all I’ve got is the neighborhood watering hole

 

CHORUS

There ain’t no epic tales going on

So I’ll just have to make up my own

Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had to scrounge

Guess it’s Fantasy Night at the Lukewarm Tiki Lounge

 

As always, your feedback (especially the encouraging kind) is welcome.

Creative Thing #4: No Place Like Far Away

Sometimes I think my Muse is testing me. “How badly do you want my gifts?” she’ll ask. So she’ll show up while I’m in the shower, making me remember lyrics and melodies until my brain is full and until I can get to either paper or pocket recorder. (Still thinking about putting a waterproof notepad on the shower wall – they exist.) Or showing up in the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep.

The latter time is actually not bad for a Muse visit, from the perspective of being open to her whisperings. The conscious brain is mostly shut down, so what comes out is mostly from the creative subconscious.

So, at roughly 4 AM this past Friday, 1/19, my brain started noodling on the chorus for this song. I’d spent some time brainstorming on the drive south to Key West the day before, because there’s nothing like seven hours in my own company on the road to get the mental wheels turning on a whole variety of subjects. But things were still diffuse in my mind, with a couple of new ideas thrown in (notably, “pineapples, mangoes, and rum; oh my”) until 4 AM. At which point the chorus sorted itself out, and I roused myself sufficiently to try capturing it on my pocket recorder. Which chose that moment to die from old batteries.

Shit. Time to rouse myself a little more, turn on the video recorder on the phone (easier to use than the voice memo app, IMO), and quietly (don’t want to wake my hosts) sing the chorus into it. And close my eyes again.

At which time more ideas started pouring in, of course. So I gave up on getting back to sleep, turned on the light, and started writing. And captured an entire song: Two verses, the chorus, and a somewhat unique “spoken word” bridge. And *then* I went back to sleep, because I couldn’t work on music in the middle of the night while staying with friends in a very small house.

And once everyone was up, I got out the guitar and figured out the rest of the song. And recorded a video of it that didn’t turn out too horribly badly – I edited out the worst gaffes, made fun of one mispronunciation, added your part (“Oh my!”), and I was done.

And now you can enjoy it here: https://youtu.be/7CWfrXz8e4o

Yes, it’s a bit first draft-ish. It *is* the first draft. It will be refined and polished, and I may do something a bit different with that bridge. But the bones of the song are there, and good.

And I’ve managed to keep my creative commitment four weeks in a row, two of them with new songs. 🙂

Thing #3: Back to the beach…

Yes, I still write a lot of beach-themed stuff. As long as I can keep it entertaining…

This week’s offering started as a weird idea I got while in one of my favorite “idea generators,” the shower. I don’t know why I get so many creative ideas there; maybe because it’s the one place where I can’t write the bloody things down. 🙂

Anyway, it started with the old song “Frere Jacques” running through my head, and I stuck beach lyrics on it, following up on one of the likely consequences of falling asleep while lying on a beach. And it was cute and it was clever.

And then I remembered: Frere Jacques is supposed to be sung as a *round*.

And then I remembered: I can do that stuff on video.

And thus was a crazy, offbeat idea born.

Along the way, I discovered that my sense of tempo isn’t always all that great even when I have a visual “click” to follow. (I used a metronome app on my phone, which is why I’m looking down through the video.) So I’m not always in sync with myself…but that wasn’t the point of doing this.

Enjoy it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hu4THK6Ltk

Cheers,

Loren

 

Copyright © Loren Davidson, all rights reserved

 

To buy any of Loren’s music, go to iTunes and search on “Loren Davidson.”

Or buy Loren’s music on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/LorenDavidson

 

Just want to help support me in making more music? http://www.digitaltipjar.com/lorendavidson

 

Loren’s Website: http://www.lorendavidson.com

Loren’s Facebook artist page: http://www.facebook.com/lorendavidsonmusic

Loren’s ReverbNation artist page: http://www.reverbnation.com/lorendavidson

Thing of the Week #2: New Song – On the Beach

So…this week, I’m sharing a song that I started working on last month, but have only recently “finished” polishing and rewriting.

I’m fortunate enough to live ten minutes from a lovely beach. On one recent afternoon, I decided to head over there to take a walk and let the sounds of the surf mellow me out. Which I succeeded in doing, but along the way, I started hearing bits of a song chorus about the beach in my head, so I played with it and let it work itself out a bit. And then I started populating the rest of the song.

Some of the bits in the song come from that particular trip – for instance, I did see the “family in the water posing for a picture.” Other bits I had to add from other beach and recreation spots – Englewood Beach doesn’t have a food concession, for one thing, and there’s a rule about bringing alcohol there. But in the end, I think I created a rather nice beach that I hope to find and spend some time on, one of these days. With friends.

The song is titled “On the Beach,” and you can enjoy it here: https://youtu.be/aIdPvs0y_ak

Other than that, I’ve been working on two other songs that aren’t coalescing yet – each of them has about two pages’ worth of lyrics scribbled, but not organized in any coherent way. There’s also a possible short comedy skit on handling telemarketers, and I got a concept for something (and a cool title) that needs lots of fleshing out. Back to the drawing board!