How I Spent my Summer Vacation

There is no road map, no GPS for the creative process.  Sometimes all you have is your North Star. You can picture your destination, and know the general direction, but you don’t know all the steps you will need to take.  But at some point you know you have to just start moving or you’ll never get there!

This summer, I decided to start a recording project.  Since releasing my last CD in 2008, I had five songs I had written that I was dying to record.  What’s unique about the songs is the themes.  I write about things that are relevant to me, and hopefully as well, to others.  Themes like worrying about your family (the difficulty of creating change (No Return), losing a loved one (Crocus), and the joy of the simple rituals in a long term relationship (Our Life Together).

I learned so much from the amazing producer of my last three albums, Mark Shilansky, that I was inspired to try my hand at it this time.  I enrolled in an arranging class at Berklee, and I soon found myself up to my ears learning the intricacies of Finale (a musical notation system), and Garageband.  Kind of like going to summer school and taking calculus and trigonometry at the same time!

There were many moments of panic but somehow, thanks mostly to the contributions of the wonderful musicians playing on the album (read more about them), it’s all coming together. We recorded the basic tracks (vocals, piano, bass and drums) at the end of August.   Steve Kirby is adding some guitar tracks, and then I’ll be sending it all to engineer Huck Bennert to mix.

When have you set off on a creative journey with no map — and what was your experience? I’d love to hear.

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