Bushfires continue to leave their unruly mark on the Australian landscape. Anxiety and anger fill up my Facebook feed as Aussies everywhere start 2020 with a more subdued and sober feeling then in recent years. Charity Op shops are inundated with things, but it is cash that is most needed. Musicians, ever the opportunists, join forces with other musicians of like mind and talent to raise funds - a great way for music lovers and musicians to respond.
I have found myself avoiding the noise, the arguments, the vilification, the animosity, the sheer hatred, the bitter words, and the pointing of blame, all of which seems to spill over every square inch of my screen.
I have been down this path before on social media. As a musician, more specifically as a song-writer, sometimes I felt obligated to express my opinions in a 500 word Facebook rant. A few years back I removed myself from all social media all together. I found myself venting more and more about my frustrations and failings openly in public. I ranted about all kinds of things. It dawned on me that I had strayed from my primary love. Facebook had become my quick fix for expressing myself. But, I left a trail of confusion along the way. I offended. I hurt. I preached and moralised. I spoke out and I spoke up. But it was all too cheap and easy and totally self-gratifying. I debated and argued. I wasted hours and hours running down all kinds of rabbit holes hoping to be loved and affirmed.
In short I realised I was a very needy person and what I needed to do more then ever was to withdraw.
The problem was I wasn't actually writing songs. I wasn't channeling all that tension and emotion into the fine and noble art of writing a good song.
It is easy to go for headlines that grab likes. But, it is harder to transfer that energy into something more constructive. I left social media to find myself and to fall in love with my artistic passions again. I left to gain a better understanding of the real me. Not the digital me I had been crafting. The shy me. The introvert me. The scared me. The insecure me. The guy who can deep sea dive into an abyss of thoughts and emotions for hours and days at an end only to surface with something in my heart to share with anyone interested in listening. I left social media because I was too weak and fragile. I no longer had the bite for the fight. I had made myself vulnerable and I was overexposed.
I also realised that social media was something I was using as an excuse to procrastinate. All creatives procrastinate. I was looking for ways to not confront the truth. The truth was I was an undisciplined writer. I had become lazy. I wasn't doing the work. I was hoping for everything to just drop out of the sky. At the same time I also became terribly busy performing gigs that paid well, but that didn't give me the creative licence to do my own songs. I was dying on the vine. Stuck in a rut. Imprisoned by my own poor choices.
What a terrible place to be. On top of that I was grieving. Grieving for friends I had lost. Grieving for dreams I felt were dying. Grieving missed opportunities.
Now where is the positive I hear you say.
Well, through a series of events, chance encounters, lots of love from friends and family members who walked with me, I slowly began to recover.
My point of this entry is to remind myself that I have come a long way. My new songs speak of this journey. They don't actually explicitly speak about me. In fact, you won't find any direct reference to me. But, they come from me and my DNA is all over them and the words and phrases and melodies come from the broken me.
They are songs that penetrate the heart with the reality of life.
I believe all songs speak to our human anxieties. Our hang ups. Our fears. Our losses and our fear of loosing things and people we love. My songs are no different in that regard. It is just that they speak of my particular hang ups, fears, anxieties, and what my losses have been. Again, you won't even see my life in these songs. But, it's there. Neatly disguised and enfolded among all the textures and colours and word play.
The title of this diary entry is Genre. In preparing for my debut album I have settled with the specifics of the album's genre. Language can be used to divide and unite, to include and exclude, as does music and music genres. I find my writing lends itself to the use of country, Americana, and blues as a means for me to communicate. I love all kinds of music and would love to incorporate other genres as I go, but I have realised I am particularly suited to writing in this area of music - subtle country, a splash of Americana, and of course an undercurrent of blues.
I realise it's reach will be limited by the genre I have chosen. I understand it might exclude and isolate many. But, as stated in my bio I am confident they will find a home in the hearts of those who need to be encouraged and enriched by them.
Ok. That's todays little post. I hope it explains why I am not wanting to engage on social media with the current tensions going on.
Good news is I meet with my engineer on Friday to plan out the first track off the album. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow.