Bruce Springsteen spoke in 2012 at the SXSW Conference about what he termed, “the genesis and power of creativity, the power of the song-writer, or let’s say, composer or just creator.”
He said, “whether you’re making dance music, Americana, rap music, electronica, it’s all about how you are putting what you do together. There is no right way, no pure way, of doing it. There’s just doing it … It’s all just what you’re bringing when the lights go down. It’s your teachers, your influences, your personal history; and at the end of the day, it’s the power and purpose of your music that still matters.”
As a song-writer, I am constantly engaged with that very process of “doing it”. As are all artists. As are all human beings. We are all engaged with “being and becoming” and Bruce’s comments ring true for many aspects of life, not just music.
Wow … where is this post headed? Well, the sixth song on the new album is grounded in my own experience with what I term as “striving” and the struggle that we can have with thinking, and worrying, about what other people think. That concern can inhibit our energy and commitment to our process of becoming. And, in reality, other people aren’t really thinking about us – they are busy thinking about themselves.
Anyway, two particular, and timely, circumstances converged to trigger the song Dancing, Not Singing, The Blues.
The first was my return to Canada from two years living in London, England. There, I experienced a welcoming and inclusive attitude from fellow writers and performers and I played shows all over that rich and diverse cultural mecca. I came home, eager and “pumped’, to find a disinterested and insular music community. Man, I couldn’t get arrested in a city one twentieth the size of London. Oh, poor, poor me.
The second, shortly after that return, was a night out to a club where Maria Muldaur was playing. About half way through her marvelous show, Maria started talking about how, “People spend thousands of dollars and years of their lives on therapy, when all they need to do is go dancing on Friday night”.
Because I am trained as a Human and Social Development professional and have significant experience as a Counselor and Educator, those comments struck a vibrant chord for me. I would tell my clients that it is important to climb in open windows rather than keep banging on locked doors. It is also important to follow one’s intuition. So, I took the decision that very night to produce my own shows and to encourage other artists in the process. That decision led to a two year gig as host of Ken Cooper & Friends and I was able to walk the talk of action and encouragement rather than complain and look to others for validation. And, in a matter of days, I had a song inspired by Maria’s simple observation.
As the character in the song says, “I went out dancing to the Barangrill. I asked Maria how to cure my ill. And when she called out my number, I threw my crutches away”.
Check Out The New Album Now
You can go to the HOME PAGE to hear three tracks from the new album, Place & Time, or you can check it out on Bandcamp.
There will be two CD Release Concerts at the Royal Theatre Thousand Islands in Gananoque, Ontario.
On February 23 my special guest will be Canadian Roots Music Icon, David Essig.
Stay tuned to hear more news about the songs on the album and about live shows this spring and summer.