“I have travelled alone for most of my career. Out of financial necessity, and personal preference. It’s a suitable way to present my songs, and I’ve loved living the life of a solo troubadour. Driving from town to town with a guitar, a harmonica, bar stool, a bottle of water, and a spotlight. Selling CD’s from a little table after the show, meeting people, and talking to them as they walk up to the table. Wake up in a hotel, drive. Then do it again. It’s a good life, and I love it.
“But to play in combination with others, swapping songs, stories, jokes, sharing the stage with peers, equals, and other writers has brought me to a new appreciation of the art of stage and song. There’s no boss in these situations, no one has the final say. We all have the final say.
“Chemistry is important. This wouldn’t work with just anybody. Mutual respect is vital, as is trust. I’ve chosen the people I want to work with, and I’ve chosen well. The results have brought me great joy. We open the door for magic, for alchemy, for the mystical spark of the divine that makes the show bigger than the sum of the people present.
“I am in the business of creating magic. We are looking for communion with the Gods, reaching for that lift-off place where we all ride the waves of music into another world and become one with the song. The ego is at rest. It is an event of the soul, and very difficult to create on stage with other songwriters. When the other performer is so very good that the entire room is silenced and amazed, the result is sheer joy. As a listener I am in resonance with the singer next to me. Ah, such beauty, and so difficult to create and sustain.
“I experienced this resonance with David and Allison night after night, and with Gretchen when we wrote “How You Learn To Live Alone.” And when I watched Jonathan Jackson beautifully perform our song on the Nashville TV show, I thought “wow – the circle is complete.” – News & Musings from Mary Gauthier.
I totally get what she’s saying. I am more of a lone ranger. However, I fondly remember the heady days of singing in a school choir, the backstage camaraderie, sharing lemons for sore throats, the support of my fellow singers in rehearsals as well as performances, the warm-up of the band as your pulse races with shared excitement before the curtain rises.
But today, starting over as a modern musician, I’m more of a loner. I have my studio, my keyboard, my microphone, and my Logic Pro X (digital audio workstation). That seems to suit me for the most part, except for the desire to connect with other musicians.
Maybe someday I’ll get to collaborate with other musicians. Maybe if we move to a city that has a local NSAI chapter (Vegas no longer does). Or maybe when we move to Nashville. 🙂