Gearing up for 50/90

Fifty-ninety begins July 4th and lasts through September 30. The challenge is to create 50 songs in 90 days. I think it will be an awesome way to focus.

Yesterday, I posted on my travel blog some thoughts about my childhood and how when we visited my step dad’s family in California’s Central Valley, I would leave the women behind in the living room talking about babies to sit with the men on the front porch talking trash about drinking, the neighbors, and other stuff I can’t remember while making home-made ice cream.

Anyway, that got me to thinking about how hanging out with musicians in places like FAWM and 50/90 and Sonic Academy is like hanging out with the guys on the front porch. While there are women there, the majority are men. And that’s more than okay.

I also notice that when I’m involved in podcasts and live videos in these communities, we focus on the music. Nothing else exists other than a passing comment about having more time to create music. There’s no politics. And it’s so refreshing.

So I’m thinking that maybe if I focus on the next 90 days, that when it’s over, all of this might be over. Or in a better place than where we are now. And if not, October brings Rocktober and November brings National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo), the music version of NaNoWriMo (instead of writing a novel in a month, you write an album). Maybe *then* it will be over. If not, then there’s Christmas and New Year’s and then maybe it will be over or mostly over in 2021.

 

Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon, the Book, the Poem, the Tour, and Now the Song (#FAWM)

You may recall that I’d just finished a publicity tour for my psychological suspense novel, Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon at the end of 2019 before starting FAWM on February 1st. Well, during the tour, I’d written a poem about the book here.

So, naturally, I turned that into a song for FAWM 2020. Check it out. I hope you like it – the song, poem, the tour, and the book. 🙂

2019: the Year of Many Firsts for Me in Music

It’s that time of year when we start looking back over the year to see how we did in whatever we’d hoped to pursue or accomplish at the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve the year before.

So, as I start to look back on 2018, I realize there were many firsts for me musically. And while February may have brought my second FAWM, July through September enticed me to try my first 50/90 (write 50 songs in 90 days challenge). During that time, I even took on the challenge of trying out Ableton Live 10 (Standard Version). I’m now upgrading to Suite with so much more to learn yet.

All of that was so much fun, making friends and sharing music with other musicians, I couldn’t resist participating in my first Rocktober (Rock cover songs done your way) in October. Now I’m counting down to the next FAWM, looking forward to meeting up with some of my new friends, to see what they’re doing musically, and to see how far I hope to come by February.

Listening to some of the songs I wrote/produced this year, one of my favorites is Pop the Clutch:

Song Drop on Spotify: “On the Brink”

One of the Electronic Dance songs I wrote for FAWM 2019, part of the “Everybody Lies” album in progress, is now available for streaming on Spotify. Hope you like (add me to your playlist) and follow me.

(This is just an excerpt. To hear the entire song, log into your Spotify account to play it. )

 

Thanks for your support!

FAWM 2019 (Original Songs)

Today is the last day of FAWM (February Album Writing Month) 2019 and I finished all 14 songs. Songwriters have different goals for FAWM but it’s a time to experiment, get creative, try different things.

This was my second FAWM and it went a lot better than my first. I’m making progress – yay! I noticed that I did a lot more EDM than before and I’m thinking that’s turning into my strong suit.

Here’s my playlist for FAWM 2019.

Worship in the Waiting (#poem)

Worship in the waiting they say
These words I recall lying awake
Writing, singing, working all day
Are distractions I welcome but only delay
The peace to panic transition the nighttime obeys

We’re not alone in our fears
In our struggles and overflowing tears
When our strength seems to disappear
When we’re down on our knees
Begging please please

Like writers writing fiction
Seeking love, loss, and friction
Musicians share their heart and their stories
Waiting forlornly
For answers that give Him the glory

Remember the truth and the blessings
In trials, tribulations, and second guessing
As Mary pondered the love of her life
After Good Friday comes the Easter Sunrise
Worship in the waiting conquers the fear in the lie

Sleeping in a Stranger’s House (#poem)

Daytime I see the snow-capped mountains of home in the desert light
Night time I hear screeching and scurrying under the first flight
Consciousness tells me it’s the heater roaring on a colder than usual night
Imagination weaves a story about a monster living underground
The sounds surrounding me startle me awake reminding me I’m sleeping in a stranger’s house

Money and a contract give me the right to call it mine
But my heart remembers a home of a different time
When family and memories made it more than just a mortgage and I knew I belonged
But all of that has changed and everything feels so wrong
Like landing on an unfamiliar planet where once upon a time I sang a familiar song

Living in a stranger’s house is like living in a foreign body
Looking in the mirror at an amusement park or traveling carny
The familiar is distorted, upheaving your orientation, spinning you round and round
Uncontrollable reeling, desperately seeking balance to keep you from falling on the ground
If six months in feels like home, you’re halfway there counting down

Larger Than Life (#poem)

He was larger than life
How could he be gone
And the house where we lived
How did it all go wrong?

If I could turn back time
I’d do it in an instant
But one thing I’ve surmised
To enjoy each moment as you live it

Counting the days until that special thing
Not knowing the losses you’ll know by then
Painful lessons life does bring
The moment is lost and won’t come back again

And before you know it, another is gone
They said he, too, was larger than life
He may have been, but he was not the one
Who taught me about love
That gift was my Skipper and Lovey, his wife

 

FAWM Day 5: Howling of the Wind (#poem)

Rat-a-tat on my window pane
The treetops holler from the third floor
Like a stranger knocking let me in
Pounding loudly outside my bedroom door

The slider on the second floor rattles my nerves
Is Daisy safe hiding in an unreachable place?
Should I tiptoe downstairs in barefoot curves?
Dodging life’s bullets hurling in space

Slurping kitty quiets the mouse
And the raging fury of the desert wind
Stills my heart praying for grace in this house
While the muse gathers strength to show up again

Creativity hides from a quiet life
Yet the artist resists her vocation like the Prophet Jeremiah
The priest reassures me about suffering and strife
A human lost in confusion in a broken Hallelujah

Once I was lost and now I am found
And the howling of the wind spins round and round…

(My middle-of-the night offering to my King)

FAWM Day 1

This time last year I began my first FAWM (February Album Writing Month). It nearly killed me – lol – but I was hooked.

Okay, I managed to survive, but it was very stressful. My chest muscles tightened and it hurt to breathe. By the end of the month, I even caught a cold.

I debated all year about whether to FAWM or not to FAWM again this year. We’re going through a very stressful time right now. I don’t need more stress right now. But I really enjoyed the community of supportive musicians and the songs I wrote were used throughout the year in various circumstances. How could I not FAWM?

I posted my first song for FAWM 2019 and now it’s time to do some laundry and read and relax, a day I would have been thrilled to have back in my Silicon Valley days. So maybe the answer is to take one day at a time. Gratitude. Live in the moment.

FAWM Day 1 = done!

50/90 Day 3 (#poem)

Her false sense of importance and a lack of genuine love
Launched an army to reflect a self-image of being better and above
With a stand-in father pretending to be what he could never be
I learned the truth from the real man on a mountain top of redwood trees

We talked and talked about everything and everything under the sun
Until at last we turned to music like something just stumbled upon
With a long line of instruments played and a musically discerning ear
He hugged me and held me close, peace shutting down my fears

Whoever says “any man will do” hasn’t walked in these shoes
And is bound to repeat mistakes until they do, too
It’s the same old story from the beginning of time
Learning hard won lessons just like mine

50/90 Day 2 (#poem)

Narcissist or Sociopath whatever the name
You hid it well your walk of shame
Hiding in plain sight with the hero in black
The first sign of foobar throwing away the white hat

Troubles between us brewing now and then
Your secrets and lies spun your little children
Like a playground merry go round banging your head
Uncovering the truth about the men you wed

Just another American family looking good on the outside
In a world of corruption, chasing sin and vice
Running away from our Creator slapping His hand
Reinventing ourselves pretending we the man

The world spins on as everything is questioned
And the world isn’t round I’ve even heard  mentioned
Men are women and women are men
The guns rage on and violence never ends

Oh my dear ladies and fellow man
Swearing like a street hood in Gangsta rap
The dignity of the Black man creating Jazz and Blues
Has surrendered to the fight and taken you

We’re headed in the wrong direction and I can’t stop this thing all alone
Like a boulder thundering down the mountain in Indiana Jones
I need your help can’t you see
It starts with Jesus, then you and me

April is Writing Month (#NaPoWriMo #CampNaNoWriMo)

I’ve been gearing up for writing 30 poems in 30 days for #NaPoWriMo this April but I’ve just learned of #CampNaNoWriMo (April version of #NaNoWriMo–Novel Writing Month). Something has got to give! After #FAWM (February Album Writing Month), I’ve decided that perhaps I should give my ears a break and write a novel and poetry instead. I can gear back up for 50/90 (50 Songs in 90 Days) from July-October.

I’ve never been a fan of these writing challenges before but, somehow, where I am in life is leading me to loving them.

I’d just joined TAXI, I still have two months of NSAI membership, recently enrolled in a Logic Pro X Music Production class and got some new killer speakers, so I am feeling a bit guilty about putting music aside to focus on other writing. But, I tell myself, it’s only for one month. I still have time for 50/90, and I still have time for the TAXI Road Rally in November.

Let’s see how this year plays out.

Cool Comments on my FAWM Songs

I experienced my first FAWM (February Album Writing Month) this year and going in, I thought it would be like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – you post your words but nobody sees them). But for FAWM, the whole point is to write an album and get comments, collab, and connect with other musicians.

This has turned out to be so cool! Some people are still hanging around and posting more comments so I peek in now and then to see what some are saying about my music and to discover other people’s music.

The interesting thing to me is that the two songs I thought were just too far out there have been getting compared to David Bowie (and Laurie Anderson) so I guess I’m not too strange after all. 🙂

Take a listen for yourself – strictly work tapes:

Wise Woman (Wisest Woman I Would Ever Know)

I Missed the Train

Ode to John Madison

During FAWM, I wrote these poetic lyrics here.

And then before the month’s end I came up with a demo. It was inspired during Race Week in Daytona with its roots in rum runners with a tribute to those who came before me: musicians, car racing, and rum runners.

FAWM Freaked Me Out

I threw myself into FAWM (February Album Writing Month – like what NaNoWriMo is for writers, FAWM is for songwriters) for the first time – I’d only heard about it a few days before the beginning of February. I proved to myself I could sit down at the computer in my music studio and write a song every day. I did that for 7 songs and then I literally froze up.

The muscles in my chest, neck, and back grew so tight, I shouted out in pain. Music was no longer fun. I was totally sick on Valentine’s Day. I slept all day and rested more on the day after and by Friday I was working on a song with a collab partner and the whole thing happened all over again. Music, it seems, is too much for me. At least FAWM is. So I had to bow out.

Rethinking my whole music focus, I began to think it was time to put it away and focus on writing. But then I picked up my latest Logic Pro manual and started programming drums. OMG!!! I could spend all of my time doing that. So I doubt I’ll be able to live this quiet life I’d imagined, reading and writing novels, quieting my mind without music. I don’t think that’s going to happen either. So I’ll have to choose wisely, whatever that is.

For today, I think it means I leave the drums alone and go back to some quiet reading, maybe writing. My brain has absorbed enough noise for the day, no matter how much I love it. Otherwise, I think I could totally go nuts playing electronic drums – it’s in my DNA. The drumming part that is. Or maybe the other part, too. 🙂

 

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)
Songwriting Challenge: No Chorus

Lyrics, copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

I searched for an old friend the other day
I met him in California in the sixth grade
I never expected to find him that way
When I saw the obituary of my old Kentucky Flame

I remember the day this Kentucky boy met this California girl
You never forget the first to call you on the phone or carry your books home from school
We listened to Elvis records on my record player in the garage
He said he loved me and chased me around my front yard

He played guitar and I wrote songs
He said he’d never seen the ocean but he’d seen it all along
Seems like yesterday we played those innocent kissing games
How could the light go out for my old Kentucky Flame?

3 Drinks Later (Dancing with Travolta) (#FAWM)

My first complete song I posted on FAWM (February Album Writing Month – similar to NaNoWriMo for writers in November), inspired by the opening of the new Edison bar and lounge at Disney Springs.

First the lyrics followed by a work tape on SoundCloud:

3 Drinks Later (Dancing with Travolta)
Copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

Verse 1

I was starting my winter vacation
Flying to my destination
Then somewhere over Bermuda
Halfway to Antigua and Barbuda
Over that famous Triangle
To a disco in San Francisco

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing with Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Verse 2

I was starting to get my groove on
A mustache was tickling my abdomen
Then somewhere after the Hustle
Travolta turns into Kurt Russell
I’m bumping on the floor with Goldie
A waiter is passing out Stolis

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing with Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Verse 3

The disco ball is spinning on the dance floor
Heading from the front door to the back door
A red Camaro is waiting
Driver is someone I’m dating
Road 24 with Aunt Ola
I think my name is Lola

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing like Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola