Friday, August 22, 2008

writing songs of all sorts.

after i wrote that title i immediately thought of Mary Poppins).

music. songwriting. one of the main reasons i started a blog was to write about these things...and i haven't yet, at least not very much. so i am, ok. i decided to start with writing about 6 of my biggest influences in music - truly i could write about one artist a day for the next year probably. but i'll stick with a few...

1. Twila Paris - go ahead, laugh. i did as i wrote it. my love for her songs and music started when i was 6 or 7 i think. i wouldn't say she influenced my songwriting, but my desire to be an artist and write songs of hope - absolutely!

2. Fleetwood Mac - wow i loved these guys as a teen. oh ya, i still do. "when the rain washes you clean you'll know, you will know" - Dreams (one of my favorites of theirs) this day when i listen to this song, i immediately go into contemplative what are they really trying to say mode. amazing. cheers to Lindsey Buckingham for being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998...i was proud of you then, still am.

3. Billie Holiday - i remember the first time i sang The Very Thought of You at a talent competition in high school...flirty, playful words, yet lonely chords stole my heart. gosh that Billie, she can sing! i used to try and copy what her voice did in jazz tunes and scatting - never quite got there (surprise surprise)...but oh how i love her. she gave me a love for jazz that would influence my songs ten years later...and still is.

4. Dave Bazan (Pedro the Lion) - i feel like i might need to make disclaimers with this one, but i won't. fell in love with Dave's music in college - started studying his lyrics post college. it is truly fascinating to try and understand the meaning behind his words. his 'story' albums overwhelm many emotions, dark chords, depression, hope, to the unresolved. i met him once...this middle-aged bearded man with a belly...i was really nervous. it was wonderful.

5. Nichole Nordeman - gosh this lady can write. i won't say i'm in love with all she has written, but some of it is, in my opinion, fantastic. take her song Gratitude for instance: "grant us peace Jesus, grant us peace...move our hearts to hear a single beat...between alibies and enemies tonight. but maybe not, not today, maybe You'll proved in other ways and if that's the case...we'll give thanks to You with gratitude for lessons learned in how to thirst for you - how a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is over head...."

6. Leslie Feist - i remember exactly where i was the first time i heard her sing in my ears. One More Cup - March of 2004. a friend of mine said "hey, you'd dig this gal." that was an accurate assumption to say the least. i couldn't get enough of Mushaboom, Now at Last, Gatekeeper (a song i now cover) and Lonely Lonely. so i bought all of her albums up until that point and studied them. i love printing lyrics and reading them over and over...i have notebooks full. Leslie is fascinating to me...truly. from reading her life story i know she has gone through dark times, but she has a way of putting those times into words that make you feel her loneliness...truly feel it. the gorgeous jazz chords of Now at Last take me to a completely different world - one that is very contemplative and in a way, sad. but if i put 1,2,3,4 on immediately following, i'm up and dancing around the room...wishing i was in her music video wearing a neon jump suit. i love this lady. i love that my mom enjoys listening to well as my 3 year old niece. some of her lyrics are so deep...some are so fun. i love both. she has taught me that you can write a fun song - just for fun! wooo! Derek always jokes that he would lose me to the touring life if Leslie ever called and asked me to open for's debatable (kidding love). she is such a good musician and songwriter. now that is inspiration for years. oh, and lastly - Feist recently did a guest appearance on Sesame Street that blessed my soul (partly because i am an elementary music teacher and this would be a dream for me) here:

well, there they are...6 of my biggest influences. i will post more soon - and i promise not to write a book about each one - it's just hard not to ok!

i told my mom last night what i was blogging about - she informed me that my first influence was Elvis Presley. she said i came out of my room when i was 3 and told her i was in love - she asked who - and i replied, "Elvis Presley." so i guess he's in there too. sidenote: i always wanted to marry a musician...always apparently...yessssssssssssss.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

just smart music.

Wilco/The Fleet Foxes last night.

rush hour traffic at 7:00 by the Winery? oh wait, all of these cars are turning into the venue for the show! i couldn't believe it last night as i drove up to Wood River Cellars - so many people and cars everywhere. i guess i was being a music snob by thinking "there will probably only be 500 peeps here - not very many people in Boise know them." wow was i wrong! as i was parking, the parking attendant told me 2300 tickets had been sold by 2:00 p.m. that day - crazzzzyyyy. i don't know if you've ever been to the Cellars out there but it is breathtaking. i had the priviledge of playing for 4000 people out there a few weeks ago...ok, only 500, but still :). it was one of my favorite venues to play at, but this was my first concert experience there and it was fantastic!

The Fleet Foxes - Sub Pop Records...need i say more? this label has put out quite the lineup of fantasticism (?) in it's day. The Album Leaf, Postal Service, The Shins, The Helio Sequence (grrreat live), Band of Horses, and on and on. i have wanted to send Sub Pop a cd for a while's been on my 'to do' list for probably 2 years. problem is, i need one that is good enough to send...someday. back to the show -- if i could sum up their music it would be in 3 words: mountain man music (really it was Marc summing it up in those 3 words...but it was a perfect description, so i'm ripping it off...sorry Marc). indie rock meets folk with gorgeous 3 and 4 part choral harmonies spilling out everywhere. exquisite voices! bells! organs! harmonies and more sweet harmonies! singing of spring to summer and summer to fall - it's almost as if you are in a story book. what a wonderful story book it is! i recommend them to all!

Wilco - i am always impressed when i go to a show and 60 year olds are singing the band's songs, as well as 16 year olds. that is truly impressive, and exactly what it was like last night. i was standing by a 50 year old man who knew almost every word...definetely cool. they played from 8:30 to 10:00...and then came back out for 2 encores and kept playing until 11:00 p.m. my experience with encores is one or two songs...not a half hour for each one! all were so excited. i guess that's what you do when thousands are screaming for you to come back out - sheesh! it is hard for me to describe Wilco's music and my experience last night...but i was amazed multiple times. it's just smart music...not throw 2 chords together make a catchy melody meter changes and chill country feel while the drummer plays heavy (almost metal) drums over the top and the guitars start screaming, while the lead singer is still singing his chill country song and sweet melody - and then in an instant they are all back together with the chill country feel - and the whole transition was flawless?! what?? they are so creative - experimental, but in a good way. some experimental bands are too much, in my opinion...but i think Wilco does it right. from gospel organ intro to blazing rock chorus. i was amazed, still am. they put so many styles and genres together and make it sound good? not overlooking the fact that Jeff Tweedy's vocals are great. i will have to look at his lyrics more closely but a few times i started laughing last night (not laughing in disgust, laughing like, "how fun")...sometimes it's ok to throw in a cheesy lyric or two - especially if you are Wilco.

that is my way too long review of the show last night. it was wonderful. perfect summer weather. listening to great music. fantastic experience.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

oh Addy.

my neice, Addison Grace, is one cute little 3 and 1/2 year old thing. just ask anyone really. i've been wanting to post some of her sayings but wasn't sure if that was too "aw, goo goo gee gee ga" - you know? oh well, posting anyway cause she's too darn cute to not tell the world...

1. "Teets" - yep, that's my nickname. used to be "Tee Tee" and then she shortened it. awesome.
2. "he's my best" - "ya, it's my best" - in reference to her favorite people, things, colors, toys, they are her "best."
3. "Teets, you are taking too late!"
4. spilled her drink the other night...said to her dad, "sorry! i didn't see that one coming." what?! do three year olds say things like that even?
5. "Teets, you are my best friend the whole world...want to know why? you wear all my favorite shirts." funny thing is, she really could care less about clothes...which made this comment even more funny.
6. "Tee Tee, so, when you get married you have to move out of mimi and papa's house?! that is sad. i'm never getting married."
7. "is it time for my dark nap or my light nap?"
8. "probably Friday we will." - everything happens on Friday - everything. :)
9. "why can't Derek have a sleepover with us?" - she always wants him to sleep over...and then i try to explain to her why - and i quit usually a few words in.
10. "Teets, play the compiano! play the compiano!" - i don't know why she calls it this but i love it so i don't correct her...i know, aunt of the year.
well i'm blanking - out of the million things i've heard her say, all i can think of is ten right now. i truly hope you get to meet her someday...and hopefully she'll come up with a fastastic nickname for you, like mine!
(the adorable little boy in the picture with her is Eli of her "bests")

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hembest? Hensbest? Henbestie?

a little exaggeration on the Henbestie. from what i've heard/experienced, Henbest is apparently a difficult name to understand or pronounce correctly? Derek warned me about this but i didn't believe apologies D.

yesterday i was speaking with my soon to be principal boss lady - this is how it went:

lady: "now you will only be Miss Wilson for the first 2 weeks of school and then what will your last name be?"
me: "Henbest."
lady: "Hembest?"
me: "no, Henbest."
lady: "oh, H-E-N-S?"
me: "nope, like Hennnnbest...just an n."
lady: "oh, ok! like Hensbest?"
me: "(still without the s...what i wanted to say) like the hen (baak baak...i did make this sound)."
lady: "oh, got it!"
me (thinking): "i'm sure you do lady, i'm sure you do...can't wait to see my teacher badge."

i have a girl friend who's last name is Mereszczak...she is a star athlete - i always felt sorry for the sports announcers when they came to her name. we always knew because they would be chuggin along and all of a sudden there was awkward silence for a minute or five...and everyone in the stadium would become restless and blame the pause on the dumb announcers and their lack of organization. only us members (is it ok for me to say that even?) of the volleyball/track team would know the real reason why....they were trying to say Laryssa's last name. poor girl. poor announcers.

Shoenig, Glaphl, Schreffler - "excuse me mister, how do you spell that?" is appropriate to ask with last names such as these. but Henbest? i assumed it would be as simple as Wilson. i've never had to spell Wilson, ever...surprise surprise. i loved going places with my friend Candice (whom i call Candy even though it kinda sounds like an exotic dancer) when her last name was Gunstream - apparently she got tired of spelling her last name - so she wouldn't even wait for them to ask: "that's Candice Gunstream like gun as in bang bang and stream like stream of water." every time. and it was amazing every time.

i refuse to be this gal, "that's Henbest - H as in house, E as in elephant, N as in Nancy, B as in boy, E as in elephant again, S as in sassy, and T as in toe." i refuse. sooo, i think i will have to follow Candy's example: "that's Henbest like Hen as in baak baak and Best as in you're the best." i might add a thumbs up in the you're the best part. Derek would love that.