Showing posts from 2012

Just a little bit country

At some point, after moving to East Tennessee, I gingerly turned the radio dial to a country station and boy was I surprised. The songs were fun, the musicianship was fantastic, and while the themes sometimes trouble me, it wasn't anything I had feared it would be. I've always been an omnivore of music, and can find something of interest in everything except Webern and later Schoenberg. I ended up feeling like I missed an important train, because country might be the style I was always supposed to write.

Pop music rarely welcomes me, but country does. In country, it's okay to tell a story, it's okay to have a good singing voice, and clever lyrics are welcome. It's still formulaic as hell, and some of the "good ole American values" in country songs are driven home in ways I don't like.I now believe that a lot of country music is pop music with a cowboy hat on, but there are also musical traditions and theoretical distinctives under the surface that I n…


I'm back from a blue moon gig with the Blondes, at Davenports' in Chicago. Video .... well, we will have tons of it. Unfortunately this was not a perfect show, at all; musically we were a bit ragged. Nevertheless, it was fun, and still good, and my new songs went well. I love my Blondes, after 17 years singing together we have a strong bond and you can feel it onstage.
I'm energized and have some new opportunities to move things forward here in East Tennessee, where the gigging venues are so different. Here's a pre-show shot from the dressing room - McKinley looks like she just ate a lemon. She doesn't usually look like that.


Because life is bizarre, I forgot that there is something I have always wanted to do. I have been in a washing machine for a few years, getting spun around and drowned in the agitations of my own ego and the agonies of starting over in a new place. I have been hoping to rebuild the outside things like gigs and connections, but have had to rebuild some inside things first. Like trust and forgiveness. As I have slowly emerged from my own personal spin cycle, dizzy and dripping but finally clean, I've noticed that I'm less interested in singing the perfect songs in the perfect place, while wearing the perfect outfit. I'm a little bit more happy about getting to sing with people I like, or people who challenge me or make me laugh. My favorite people to sing with are those I can help, and sometimes my favorite kind of helping is just shutting up.

Obviously those who can, do. Obviously, those who can, also teach; as do (sometimes) those who can't. My teaching, however, is be…

Ladder or wheel?

I am new in town, and I asked someone for help. He is someone who I have worked with, and someone who I thought respected my work. I wasn't sure if I was a fit for the gig he could have hooked me up with, so I asked. I would like to tell you that asking for help is a sign of strength, but I didn't like doing it very much. The person didn't respond to my inquiries, at all, and I got mad. I did something mildly provocative to get him to talk with me, which worked. He told me that since he wasn't putting me forward for this gig, he didn't need to reply, because there is "nothing to tell." I suggested that not replying at all seems to me to be unprofessional and discourteous, and he responded with a subtle threat, saying that being insulting "wasn't going to help my situation."

This is the ladder. He has climbed to a certain height, and he sees the world as above him or below him. He can't really reach down to help me, because he needs both …


I am ready to start.

I'm thinking of doing a mellow background jazz set at a fabulous bistro. I have at least one singer picked out to start a 3-girl group with, and a name, and a bunch of songs for that. I have the possibility of gigging with The Blondes in Chicago, after several years. I have a place picked out for a cabaret songs-and-stories gig, if I can figure out who the hell there will actually answer emails and phone calls.

It might be my lost mojo, at least temporarily returned to me. Why I'm finally getting it back is because of how hurt I let myself get by the Bad Church Experience. What can I say? I'm human. I'm healing. Time has helped, and distance. A new church, stuffed full of people I love and can trust, is helping me tremendously.