In my sudden burst of creativity that I have chronicled, I realized today that there is a part of my creative persona that I have been neglecting. Long before I ever even dreamed of trying my hand at visual arts, I was always involved in music. I think that I was about 7 or 8 when my parents enrolled me in piano lessons. I hated it. Or at least I thought that I did. It turns out that the years that I spent haplessly plunking away at the piano gave me a solid back ground in music theory. When it was time to pick out band instruments, I chose the trombone. Now this I loved. I can modestly say that I was pretty decent at playing the trombone. Furthermore, whatever I lacked in talent I was more than willing to make up for in volume. It was around this time that I realized that my musical tastes were often dictated by the instrument that I was playing. Piano playing (for me) was limited to classical or similar sounding pieces. The trombone became an instrument of jazz, baby. Even if I wasn’t the greatest, I learned to improvise a little with my trombone. Tell me, is there anything better than a grimy, growling portamento as only a trombone player can play? It was during high school that I realized that my most versatile instrument was my voice. Singing became, and has remained, such a pleasure.
After I became an adult, I wanted some kind of instrument that would allow me to accompany myself singing. I think it was maybe our second Christmas that Lovely Wife bought me my favorite gift that I have ever received:
A thing of beauty, not only in looks but in sound. I have never taken a lesson, but I have constantly tinkered. Depending on my mood, or how it is sounding for me on a particular day, I vacillate between using a pick, strumming with my fingers, using my thumb for an alternating bass line, or finger picking. Mostly I just strum easy chords that allow me to sing along without thinking too much. It is amazing to me how much a simple accompaniment can add to the overall sound.
I routinely play country and folk songs. I do like to tinker around with more “electric” sounding songs, usually making them slow to mid tempo and giving them a whole different sound.
Invariably, however, I will from long stretches of playing to equally long stretches of it hanging there on the wall, looking at me mournfully and silently calling out “play me!” I am in the midst of one of those latter periods. I can’t say why. I have always wanted to write a song, and with my current creative output it would seem like now would be the time to do so. Then I think (or perhaps depression thinks for me) that while I am pretty good at stringing some interesting chord progressions together, I seem to have a mental block as a lyricist. I have confidence in my writing, generally, but my ramblings have neither the brevity nor the poetry needed to make a decent song. Playing can bring out a catharsis of sorts, so maybe I need to strap up and spend some time with my friend, even if it just playing the old favorites.
FRIDAY FUN: Naming Suggestions
OK, I know I have at least a few readers out there. I am giving you the opportunity to weigh in–I feel like my guitar should have a name, but as of yet it remains anonymous. While I don’t think giving it a moniker will ever make me and it as talented as duos such as B.B. King and Lucille, Eric Clapton and Blackie, or Brian May and his Red Special, I almost feel as if I am depriving myself and it of something. But I just can’t think of anything. So, leave a comment on what you think a good name would be. I tend to think that it is a “she”, but don’t feel constrained to that criteria. If I have enough, I will take a few of my favorites and perhaps have a poll down the road. Let’s hear some ideas!