17 February, 2009

a little bit of a name drop

i have waited as long as possible to post a new blog, because i have been LOVING the responses people have sent me public-ly and privately about the "knee-jerk" post... i have more to say about that... but this morning, i just want to put up something lite. the night i spoke of in the last post, i was opening for bettye lavette. when i met her after the show, she was incredibly complementary and gracious.

"girl, you have written a song about every emotion you've ever had. that is something."

and then we had a great chat about how hard it is to write songs, how important it is to speak your truth that way. and yet, i wanted to know how you could sing other people's songs as convincingly as you sing your own, something i have struggled with, for sure.

"believe them," she said. " you just have to believe them."

and i cant resist posting this one too... guess who, before she got crazy-famous? and whose T-shirt is she sporting?????


  1. "before she got crazy famous"... I have to admit to being on the back end of that crazy famous train. I only JUST this last week jumped in with two feet and the stupid digital conversion on tv is making it very hard to keep up with everything, channels changing number as they seem to do.
    But I've no doubt that Rachel loves your music as anyone with a sense of humor, a great intellect and a bit of a pop/rock bent should certainly love your soul.
    As far as believing other people's songs, it sounds like the key to a great cover is a little bit of acting, which in my opinion never hurt anyone at all.
    Be well! : )

  2. The idea that to be "authentic" you must write what you sing is a peculiar notion that crept into American pop music just recently.
    It runs counter to most folk traditions throughout the world, and even to our own pop music tradition up until the 60's and 70's - before then no one was really concerned that Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra or Fred Astaire didn't write their own songs, or thought they seemed less genuine or creative than those who did.
    I think that there is a lot of pretty thin "singer/songwriter" material out there being performed for the sake of originality.(Of course I exclude our Ms Mckeown from the above mentioned group.)

  3. I've seen that pic with you and Rachel before, prompting me to go on an mp3 hunt of the audio--to no avail. So if anyone has any leads...

    And, oh yeah--what Mike said.

  4. I feel like with covering songs convincingly it's necessary to crawl into them, to wear them like a coat. Filtering the words and sounds through your own set of personal experiences allows you to bring your own truth to the song; I picture it like hooks snagging the parts of the song that speak to you and the more points that connect the stronger the delivery will be. Even though it’s in a way the listener might not be able to clearly identify, I think it’s obvious when a performer is emotionally fused to what they are playing. Recently I realized that as my experiences have deepened, one song I’ve been covering since I started playing music has expanded and grown with me just as my own songs have. If you start with adding your truth, whether it be bits of your life resonating in the lyrics, the mood of the song, or just the desire to feel a certain melody reverberating in your body, I don’t think the outcome will be anything less than sincere.