I've lost track of the days. Lost track of time, meals, sleep, emails, countries, social media, laundry, everything really, except songs, songsongsongsongsongs. Just finished a delightful and slightly delirious three-day songwriting retreat in Aldeburgh, UK with this talented and inspiring group of folks.
I got to see and hear the creation of many incredible new tunes. I also finished three myself: a funny country love song called "Filthy Jokes" (with Findlay Napier), a folky story song in drop D called Kilimanjaro (with Stu Hannah, and a last-minute assist from Findlay) and a moody indie folk duet called Sheler that I maybe just maybe will be playing on the piano (!!). That last one was a co-write with Luke Jackson - he'll be touring with me in the US in Feb/March and then I'll be on the road with him in the UK in May. I'm really excited to sing that tune together during our shows!
I also helped Findlay finish up one of his tunes (basically I just gave him my standard song-editing advice, which is 'Move the third verse to the first verse.') and I got another two solid starts that I'm looking forward to finishing up soon. So many songs.
On the very last night of the retreat, after everyone had declared themselves done, dinner was being made and ales consumed, I tapped Findlay on the elbow. "Hey," I whispered, "Can I steal you for a minute?" I spirited him away to my room, where I played him what we had so far of Kilimanjaro, the folk tune in Drop D. Verses one and two were done. Stu and I had tried to convince ourselves that was enough, but I knew that I was just being lazy and optimistic.
Findlay didn't pass any judgment but he leaned back, laced his fingers behind his head and told me the story of the first time he saw the movie Up. The first ten minutes had leveled him. When he was done, I turned back to my computer and wrote the third verse. When I played it back, he recommended that I put a 'sour note' towards the end of the chorus and voila! It was done. Thank you Findlay.
So now I'm back in Holland. Words and melodies are racing through my brain, shooting through my fingertips. I'm switching gears a little reluctantly, getting ready for three more shows and a few days off before I head home next week.
Thanks to EFDSS for inviting me to the retreat and the PRD Music Foundation for making the whole thing possible. Extra huge thanks to Neil Pearson for being an absolute champion of the indie songwriter.
Sending you love and light and SONGS!