2019 Year in Review

Now that it’s actually over…

Let’s hit the “highlights”:

My measures of success have changed

Previous year-in-review focused on songwriting productivity: how many songs did I complete in the calendar year? I find it hard to count up the songs this year, as so many are works in progress still. I have surely completed at least 20 songs, some of which are included in the latest album.

However, the realities of being a recording and performing artist sank in this year: I have spent as much time promoting existing works as I have creating new works, and spent time developing skills quite tangential to songwriting itself. That’s not bad, but does take time away from songwriting and developing those skills.

It was fun to go on radio shows like Tim’s, and also WRUV Exposure and WOMM-LP The Radiator’s Rocket Shop to talk about the album and play the songs live. I also did a TV show called Vermont Treasures with host Rachel Hamilton on LCATV, a regional local access channel.

Better songs, more people

I made some conscious decisions to be more careful about the selection of songs for Common Man Blues than I was for America Dreams.

I took songs for feedback to two different groups of songwriters, AND to two different mentors when any deeper question came up. Being open to the suggestions given really helped several songs improve, and the feedback of the groups was instrumental in choosing which songs made the cut.

I also invited guest musicians Rik Palieri and Janice Russsoti to play and sing on my album, and that was an enlightening experience itself, and improved the arrangements for those two songs immensely. Working with different studio engineers (instead of doing it all myself) was delightful, and while I am also glad to note my “home studio” recordings stand up to the pro studio stuff, it was way better to have someone else handle all the microphones and mixing.

This year I tried to do more “jamming” and collaboration in general, and it’s been generally beneficial. People seem to really like my slide guitar playing. I will be incorporating more of that into my songwriting. The Burlington Songwriters Holiday Celebration allowed for a small group of us to form a little impromptu harmony group. I expect to incorporate that in future songs as well.

What are my specific plans for the new calendar year? Subscribe to this blog to find out next time!

Now tell us your plans for songwriting in 2020 in the comments section! Always love to hear ideas for everyone to try…


You are invited…

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week.

Of interest to songwriters (but open to all):

Burlington Songwriters meeting is Tuesday, August 27th at 7 PM at 20 Allen Street, Burlington, VT in the Community Room on the 2nd Floor. Open to all, this meeting is primarily for the purpose of sharing works for feedback.

Of general interest:

Denny Bean and Bob Devins on Wednesday August 28th at 6:30 PM at The Double E Performance Center 21 Essex Way in Essex Junction, VT

Jason Baker on Friday, August 30th at 5 PM at Gusto’s Bar, 28 Prospect Street in Barre, VT. I will play a two hour set. Come on by after work!

Burlington Songwriters News!

It’s official! Burlington Songwriters has a new home!

Our next meeting is Tuesday, March 26th, 7 p.m. at the C.O.R.E. Center at 20 Allen Street.

We have greatly appreciated the generosity and our association with Big Heavy World. When they moved to their new space, however, the location and schedule just wasn’t going to work for many of our active members.

So, for the past couple of months, we have been searching for a new meeting place. That search eventually led us to talk to Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront. Specifically, we met with Candice Holbrook, the program manager, about possible meeting space at the Center of Recreation & Education (CORE). Our group seemed like a good match, and Candice suggested that we partner with Burlington Parks & Rec, which allows us to meet at the CORE center.

The Center of Recreation & Education (CORE)

The CORE center is the old Catholic school at 20 Allen Street, across from St. Joseph’s church.

There is a parking lot entrance on North Street. There may also be street parking on Allen Street. Either way, you should plan to enter through the main door in the front and center of the building.

The CORE center is on the second floor–one set of stairs up from the street level. Our room assignment will appear on the chalkboard in the main hallway, but I’ve been told that we can plan to meet regularly in the “Community Room”. That’s where the senior meals program is hosted. That means that tables and chairs will be available for our open mic’s! Perhaps this also means that there will be a local community to invite to those open mic’s. I’ve very excited about the possibilities here.

It’s typical, lately, to have some business to discuss, but this should otherwise be a regular song sharing session. Remember, please bring copies of your lyrics to share. Mostly, I expect we’ll take the first couple of meetings to get used to the new space, and to work out the logistics for our open mic sessions.

Looking forward to it!