I’m thinking about the legacy of David Berman. That casual nineties indie-rock shagginess that I found so attractive on the surface masked some deep and careful craft. On a close listen, every line shines with quirky, personal humor and beauty.
I used to be fine using a metaphor I didn’t fully understand in a song lyric, just because it sounded right. No one really understands anything, I reasoned; who am I to say what this lyric does or does not mean? Perhaps meaning hides behind it, all the more powerful for being initially elusive. I am less and less willing to take this chance. I am more and more insistent that my music tell the truth. I am grappling with the fact that this might mean working slower and saying less.
I’m finding my way back to “pre-composition,” something I learned about in school and had to jettison for a while. I’m doing my own sort of planning and conceptualizing right now, waiting for things to click before the notes start to hit the page.
Here’s something I learned about in school that I haven’t yet managed to reclaim: editing. Particularly this idea from European composition of revising old pieces. Editing an old piece makes as much sense to me as proofreading old journal entries or photoshopping old pictures. This isn’t to say the music is simply autobiographical, but it does reflect what music meant to me at one specific moment—how I wanted it to be—perfect, in this way, as a record of aspiration and distance.
• Gone Walkabout
• Music as Drama
• Crossroads II
• 10 Best of 2014
• January: Wyoming and the Open
• February: New Mexico and the Holes
• Coming Up
• Notes on The Accounts
• Crossroad Blues