Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Listening Back

We should try to be the parents of our future rather than the offspring of our past. -Miguel de Unamuno

I've been finalizing some new chord charts these last few weeks from my 3 records. Putting the G's and the C's and the A minor's in their correct spots above the correct words. It has also required some listening of the songs, which is so strange to me. I haven't listened to Always Eden, my first record, in maybe a couple years. At least not entire songs. I really love that record, what it means to me, what we captured, how we captured it, it will always be my favorite record for the organic nature of those early days. However, my voice sounds completely different and I find myself cringing at the way I sang things, or how I phrased something. It's so funny, how the past is all laid out there like a train track, and how the future is all swimming like a river.

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other
ages you've been. -Madeleine L'Engle

I feel like I understand myself better as I listen to those old songs. When I read lines I wrote so uncensored, snug up next to the sound of Joseph's upright bass on songs like Right From Wrong, which is one of my favorites, and the only song I've written that has generated zero feedback. Which is fine, I meant it, I wrote it, I sang it. And if it was just for me, I think that is ok. An artist is surely allowed a couple paintings that are for their own room.

Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in
writing. It's one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period. -Nicholas Sparks

I am afraid of beginning... are the first words you hear out of The Day of Small things, my second record, and that was never more true than when I got that record back from the printer. I had told Kirk once that I wanted to make a CD that looked like the inside of a soybean. All green and happy. And there it was in my hands, my silver soybean. Would people like it? Would they like me?

It's been fun to look back and listen and remember the process of creating, the times when I am somehow still guarded from the inevitable cringe of critique and opinion. It is okay, I tell myself. I can learn from the rocks in the train tracks, and move with the current all the same.


Nelson Prater said...

Hello, friend. I've listened to all the CDs so many times. My "The Day of Small Things" CD case is getting a little ratty. I've got to take better care of it because it has your autograph on it.

I love them all for different reasons, and listen to them for different reasons. Some days I wake up and think, hmmm I'll take "Always Eden" with me today. Usually when it's chilly out, perhaps cloudy, and I want something more intimate.

I take "The Day of Small Things" when I know I'll be able to listen to the whole CD straight through. It's a whole piece of art, to me, that I like to experience all together.

Same with the live CD -- I like to listen to that one from start to finish also. It's like you're right there in the passenger seat with me. It's really stunning, and I can't wait to experience it live again this year.

"You and the Evening Sky" is like a new friend -- we really like each other, but we're still getting acquainted, learning more about each other.

Wade said...

Hi Alli, happy I stumbled on your blog. Love your tunes. Saw you live in Fargo, ND with Shane & Shane. Lovely evening. Love the new darker hair by the way..perfect. Just bought your new cd and loving it. Thanks for being you and doing what you do...

luke said...

that noisetrade thing is great! i'm glad you're on there and i hope it spreads your music to lots more people.

Dan said...

That's just a beautiful post. :)