Thursday, February 5, 2009
further notes on process-it's album writing month
I got up this morning and went for a run in the rain through the Mission: up to 24th St, past the paneria's and taqueria and down Harrison St. (yes, I should say, 'jog' but hey, I put running shoes on). It's been nearly five years since I lived in this part of San Francisco, and while it's familiar, I'm in that great discovery phase where it feels like I moved to a new city (or country). Then I came home and wrote before work. In the middle of everything—job deadlines, moving, gigs, rehearsing, promoting "Adding Water to the Ashes," practicing at a different yoga studio, the laundry, general dealing—I started a new project, a collaborative blues album with Alex Walsh, and I had to get to it. I write a lot (or used to!) and I need deadline to finish things up, so we're writing an album this month.
Last week, while driving down Highway 1 to play at Asana Teas, he asked if I was participating in "February Album Writing Month?" At that point, I wasn't. Where would I find the time? But more drive talk turned into the plan to cowrite a blues album (Alex is a prolific writer of his own material and veteran collaborator as well as a fine player of glues guitar) and suddenly I am. This week, we've been sitting down every other day after work and hashing out lyrics and chords. We've quickly finished three, and today's run yielded what has to be subtitled "Grandma's Mission Blues" as the truth is the Mission is not really new to me, it's actually in my blood: it's the first place (to my knowledge) my maternal grandparents settled when they got to the US from Croatia, and where my mom was born. Hopefully, the tune will be of sharable quality, but for the time being the writing exercise performed a hat-trick: jogged an important memory, met a deadline & transformed the blues as only the blues can.
[note: the Mission is notoriously full of murals, and this one called " Under the Sun of the Orishas"]