Now that it’s actually over…
Let’s hit the “highlights”:
- Recorded four songs for Common Man Blues live at Robot Dog Studio as part of Tim Lewis’ radio show on WBKM.
- Heart attack due to an unknown congenital condition.
- Finished the album Common Man Blues in September at Leilani Sound and
- Released it in October on digital platforms (YouTube, Spotify, Amazon, Deezer, etc.)
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…