I Freakin’ Love Music Production

So I started my Silicon Valley career in book production working for San Francisco publishers and printers before I segued to high tech companies in San Jose. Unfortunately, production departments were eventually incorporated into technical writing so I was forced to do both. But I’ve always had a thing for production. And now it’s music production.

You know how you can’t seem to avoid people on Facebook who follow some site called “I freakin’ love science” (to put it nicely). Well, I freakin’ love music production. I can’t resist watching videos of music producers working in their studios. Oh, yeah, Loopcloud isn’t bad either.

Check out this video about the latest version of Loopcloud.

Heavenly Holmes Band (Musical Family Story and Testimony)

I grew up up without knowing my father or my father’s family. It’s complicated. But my maternal grandmother was a staunch Jehovah’s Witness and my father’s family were Baptists and she wasn’t about to hand me over to the Baptists. How ironic I should become Catholic. 🙂

Anyway, when I came into contact with my father and his family in my 40s, my Uncle Don said:

“Now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re going to want to pay attention to music.”

And he began to tell me the family stories and the talents of the family I had never known.

Along about the same time, my literary agent said:

“Your writing has a poetic, almost lyrical rhythm to it.”

What did that mean? Poetic? Me? Lyrical? Really? But I had heard that my paternal grandmother wrote poetry and my grandfather was a musician, so I started to look at my love of music and this lyrical rhythm I apparently had to see what I might do about it. That was the beginning of my serious pursuit of music, including songwriting.

As the story goes, my great grandfather made musical instruments and, of course, then, he could play all of them. My grandfather played the keys and sang in a band (besides, being a pitcher for the Memphis Chicks), my uncles and dad either sang and/or played various instruments, from guitar to drums to bass to the keyboard.

In school, I’d heard that I had a musical ear. My vocal coach in Las Vegas (who had appeared in Mamma Mia on stage), said I had a great ear for music. Anyway, back to music in school, I sang in the choir, solo’d and played the organ, piano, guitar, and violin in fits and starts. The constant for me was singing – that was my favorite part. And as a modern musician, I’ve discovered that, like great grandpa, I love to arrange an assortment of instruments through music production – I absolutely love that!

All of that family except for one younger uncle are gone now so I like to think that some day I’ll play and sing with the Heavenly Holmes Band. (For more about Uncle Ron’s musical talent, check out his obituary).

Listening to Travis Greene this afternoon, I’m calling on the Heavenly Holmes Band to be my prayer warriors and all play and sing this song together:

 

 

Kristopher (#poem)

Kristopher I call you today
Are you the one or is it Kristy?
Not if the little boy who went away
Sweet, loving, and kissy
Was really you in disguise
Would my love have been a lie?

To heal a broken heart, they say
Is not to bury you, but to give you a name
To keep alive since that day
You were identified by your grave
And so today I call you Kristopher
Until we meet in the ever after

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.

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

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!

Red Tiled Roof (poem)

Rat-a-tat-tat Rat-a-tat-tat
Rhythm of the drum of an ally cat
Clippity clop of a horse’s hoof
Rainy night on a red-tiled roof

Drip drip drip sings the rain
So unusual on the desert plain
This time home is more of a stranger
It feels so temporary, so full of danger

Where did it go just last year
It’s gone for good is the deepest fear
Three thousand miles more or less
Hurrying back to cross the abyss

Writing songs up all night
About home and loss and other frights
Night time writing so aloof
Recognizing only the red-tiled roof

Music vs. Fiction: Music Always Wins #amwriting #songwriting

January has just begun and already I’m in trouble. Choosing to focus on writing and music, I realize I must designate one as the priority because both of them take enormous skill and time and focus to succeed. Sure, I can pursue both, but I must choose which will be number one in my life. I keep returning to this truth for me.

Music always wins. And now I have a separate designated studio in my home, which is great because then the cats can’t chew the wires. 🙂

But songwriting still counts as writing, right? Will that be enough or will I have to fit in fiction, too? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Besides, I can always write fiction during breaks from music because you always need breaks, right? But there are just so many pieces to a song, including vocal warmups, as Shelly Peiken writes about in her latest blog post here.