Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April's Noisetrade News

If you receive my monthly emails then you have already read this, but for those of you who don't here is an exciting update about some fun stuff we're doing with this months noisetrade downloads. (You can download my music by clicking on the links below, or just click on the noisetrade link on the right side of this page down about halfway)

I'm excited to say that you can still get some of Alli's music for free but we're upping the ante a little bit for the next few months... We wanted to give you one more reason to tell your friends about Alli's music and we wanted to help a few amazing causes in the process. So for the next six months we're going to be giving away Alli's music but what's different is that each month the person that tells the largest number of friends about Alli's music will get one of each of Alli's records (including her records that are now out of print One EP, At Sea: Live, and The Silent Stars EP) and a t-shirt absolutely free, the more friends you tell the better chance you have of winning! (please note that you must initiate the download process by clicking on the link in the confirmation email and then again on the following screen each time you "tell 5 friends" otherwise the system won't recognize how many people you've told, but then after that you can cancel the download).

At the end of the six months we will pick at random one monthly winner out of the six to receive a free iPod shuffle, "the brand new music player from apple that talks to you!" You can also post the free music widget (above) on your Facebook, MySpace, blog, website, and much more. For more information on how to get started just click here!

The other new twist is that 100% of all the net proceeds (NoiseTrade takes 10% to cover the credit card fees and admin, etc.) that come in from people who choose to donate money will go to a different non-profit organization every month. This month we're excited to be supporting Not For Sale, an amazing organization that is committed to abolishing modern day slavery around the world.

Thanks so much for all your help spreading the word, we can't do it without you!

(P.S. I wrote about Not For Sale a few weeks ago in this post)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Songs that move me

Once when I asked my friend Don Chaffer what record he recommend I download from itunes with a gift card he answered, "Ah, whenever I have an itunes gift card I just buy something that moves me." Sounds easy but it makes me think of Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail when he says something (sarcastically) about how easy it is to find "the one single person in the world who fills your heart with joy".

I suppose love finds us more than we find love. And I often feel that way about music. Here is a handful of songs that have found me at one time or another. I remember where I was the first time I heard all of them and songs like this become a part of who we are, I think. There are many more and hopefully will continue to be, but here are a few.

David Wilcox- How Did You Find Me Here
I was in High School when I first heard this song. After hearing a friend play "Eye of the Hurricane" from the same record, I bought a copy immediately. A few songs in, this track begins and I was sold. I don't remember where I was but I know it was through headphones that I first felt the weight of this song. It still haunts me, in a good way.

Sara Groves - When it Was Over, Why it Matters
I was sitting in my car about to go for a drive to clear my head when I saw Sara's record, "Add to the Beauty" still in it's packaging on the passenger seat. I had just had a long conversation with my husband about music and how I wasn't sure If I could or wanted to continue playing. When it was over is the first track and before the first chorus was over I was crying with a clear reminder of why I love music and why I write and play music. It was just what I needed. Later, Why It Matters resinated deeply with me as well. I'm very thankful for that record!

Andy Gullahorn/Jill Phillips- Ressurection
Jill, Andy's wife, released this song on her new record, "The Good Things" and I heard it for the first time this last week at Jill's release show. It is one of the most moving songs I've heard in a long time.

Rivers Rutherford- When the Lights go Down (made famous by Faith Hill)
I heard Rivers play this at a songwriters deal before Faith HIll recorded it and fell in love with the story. At the time I was working at some restaurants and the images in the first verse still stay with me.

John Gorka- Houses in the Fields
My husband played me this song when we were dating. We were driving around listening to music after some late night coffee and I remember falling in love with him even more, knowing that he had such good taste in music. :)

The Khrusty Brothers- Sympathy for Jesus
I don't remember the first time I listened to this song because every time I listen to it I put it on repeat for about 5 times after. Something about the raw emotion that Don conveys through this song is... well...I can't really put it into words. It reaches such a unique place in me that most songs don't dare travel.

Tom Conlon- Wake Me
Justin McRoberts Introduced me to Tom Conlon, I listened to this song on his ipod while we drove back to our hotel from a Compassion project in Ecuador. The context I was listening to the song through was just too much, too much.
"until one alarming day when heaven's first chair trumpet player and this whole world gets finally fully redefined...it feels just like dreaming, I almost believe it, Just tell me I'll wake up forever one day... and it's just temporary things that I'm seeing..."

I'm so thankful God gave us music.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How Do You Write a Song?

Do the lyrics come first? Or the music? How long does it take you?

These are questions I do not know how to answer. It can not be explained, in my opinion. The way I cannot explain how I feel after seeing the sunrise over the ocean. Often it takes weeks, months, years to finish a song. However, after I post this I will head to a writing "appointment" with another writer where we will probably start and finish a song in 4 hours. This is one way to write. But even there, even in the fast food of songwriting, my best moments are when I dive in, when I commit, when I give. I do think that the best songs are written exactly as Annie Dillard explains here in her book "The Writing Life". I have never heard it explained quite this way.

This, my friends, is how you write a song:

To find a honey tree, first to catch a bee. Catch a bee when its legs are heavy with pollen; then it is ready for home. It is simply enough to catch a bee on a flower: hold a cup or glass above the bee, and when it flies up, cap the cup with a piece of cardboard. Carry the bee to a nearby open spot-best an elevated one- release it, and watch where it goes. Keep your eyes on it as long as you can see it, and hie you to that las known place. Wait there until you see another bee; catch it, release it, and watch. Bee after bee will lead toward the honey tree, until you see the final bee enter the tree. Thoreau describes this process in his journals. So a book leads its writer.

You may wonder how you start, how you catch the first one? What do you use for bait?

You have no choice. One bad winter in the Arctic, and not too long ago, an Algonquin woman and her baby were left alone after everyone else in their winter camp had starved. Ernest Thompson Seton tells it. The woman walked from the camp where everyone had died, and found at a lake a cache. the cache contained one small fishhook. It was simple to rig a line, but she had no bait, and no hope of bait. The baby cried. She took a knife and cut a strip from her own thigh. She fished with the worm of her own flesh and caught a jackfish; she fed the child and herself. OF course she saved the fist gut for bait. She lived alone at the lake, on fish, until spring, when she walked out again and found people. Seton's informant had seen the scar on her thigh.