Podcast Palooza!

Everyone has things they do or pursue which are unique, and with all the different social media platforms, those things can be turned into regular publications which others can look forward to at intervals. Some have shows on YouTube, others produce a podcast. I am not sure why I just explained that? I am just realizing that most of my interactions lately have been with the wonderful octogenarians I am blessed to have in my life.  I am pretty sure one of the 4 of them, my Mom, who is my biggest fan, reads this blog.

So, Hi Mom! Thanks for reading Happy Mother’s Day 2019!

And, Hi Dad too— Happy Birthday next week! Thanks for giving me wings, literally!

Well, moving right along, I am a podcast/youtube junkie in several areas of interest.

So…Today I was checking in with one which I follow, and

Bam! I heard my music and my [fake] name! GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Made my day!

So, I like to send links to news articles when I come across some, or send an email because, if they are anything like me, it is a weird feeling putting your thoughts and stories out in space, then wondering who is listening. I like to speak up when I hear something which strikes a kindred cord. Maybe it’s crazy, but I do it, especially when a podcast is particularly storied or equipping in an area of my interests and or ambitions.

I also think about how that person has pulled back the curtain and little bit on their lives, so I do the same, by saying who I am and what I do, a mere listener among thousands worldwide. It is fun to connect, and I truly do not expect anything in return, not even a simple reply. I think about how these folks give of themselves, whether or not anyone tunes in because it is coming from their heart. OH how I ‘get” that!  I believe that if a tree falls in the forest, it DOES make a sound, whether anyone hears that sound or not.

I like to pop in every now and again, as if to say, “I hear you.” I have enjoyed when people come out to my live events and tell me that a certain song really touched their heart, or made them think. Everyone can use a little more thanks and encouragement. Even me – I feel so honored and humbled, and undeserving…actually I had been feeling pretty low, seems like I am always trying to swim an ocean. Today’s hearing a familiar voice speaking my name was a real surprise. For clarity, I was asked for permission for my music to be used (I did NOT ask ) and of course I felt flattered (in a good kind way) and gave permission, but in any case, I did not know it would actually be used, so I was floored!!! Also, art is such an expression of your inner soul.. BUT no less vulnerable than a storytelling enthusiastic podcaster or youtuber. I love to hear all the different voices, ideas, and tutorials, oh the tutorials…Yes, I am a podcast junkie.

I am on a dual “2nd Act” career path. I have so much to learn. I try to keep a somewhat of a low profile on the non-music career interest.  In the past year, two podcasters with content unrelated to my music career and learning path, rather related to my other aspirations, have generously given me a shout out -made my heart skip a beat!

I will post those episodes below:

Betty in The Sky with a Suitcase:

https://www.bettyinthesky.net/podcast-and-archives/

Podcast Episode 165 ‘Grounded” posted 2 days ago, May 7, 2019 (ft song “The Best Life”)

Betty Shares stories from her travels and from on the plane and fellow crew. She is also a 5xs published author, so while you are there on her site, click through her Amazon link and order her books!!!

The other was

The Airline Pilot Guy Show:

http://airlinepilotguy.com/apg-341/

APG Episode 341 entitled “D’oh!”  (Song Clip “Like Wildflowers”)

Airline Pilot Guy and his host of co-hosts wax fondly, educationally, and humorously among pilots about things pilots, aspiring pilots, and aviation enthusiasts are interested in. I have enjoyed attending some meet-ups within the listenership.

And now for a music-related podcast:  Women of Substance Radio 

Women of Substance Radio is curated by Bree Noble of Female Entrepreneur Musician

My songs have been included in these three episodes:

#940 posted March 22, 2019: (Song “Shall We Dance”)

http://breenoble.libsyn.com/940-music-by-tina-van-eveonvox-annie-calder-lara-ruggles-joan-bessie-heather-layne-catherine-m-thompsonrebecca-selah-melody-cooper-kele-fleming

#881 posted on November 18, 2018  (Song “The Edge”)

http://breenoble.libsyn.com/881-music-by-joy-chadwell-verily-doreen-pinkerton-rebecca-selah-andrea-schmider-elaine-peacock-christine-roberts-verily-doreen-pinkerton-andrea-schmider

#880 posted on November 16, 2018 (Song “While My Father”)

http://breenoble.libsyn.com/880-music-by-lola-dehanna-margo-zelle-kyra-shaughnessy-sheila-veerkamp-cleopatra-dame-janet-blair-rebecca-selah-emilsounds-joe-joe-benita-charles

#853 posted September 19. 2018 (Song “Turn a Light On” )

http://breenoble.libsyn.com/853-music-by-laura-berman-ann-leung-kathy-bogle-curtzon-astroblue-express-lisa-brigantino-raina-krangle-rebecca-selah-chelley-seibert-melanie-broussard-intelligentsia

Bree Noble does so much for the songwriting community. The resources she holds out are almost too numerous to mention. If you are reading this, and you are a songwriter just search Bree Noble and avail yourself of her resources.

I WANT TO SAY A BIG THANK YOU TOO ALL THESE WONDERFUL PODCASTERS!!!

From a very blushing

Rebecca

 

 

 

 

What I Do All Day

I used to love reading the big Richard Scarry books to my kids containing detailed pictorial descriptions of working folk, their tools, and their trade. One such Book was called “What Do People Do All Day.” Back in the day, my work consisted of reading that book all day to my littles, because the illustrations were fantastic! Now my days are spent differently because I have no littles under my roof, Though 2 still live in my home, both are over 18 and basically living here while preparing to establish their own vocations and homes.

Fall of 2018, and certainly the 2019 New Year would bring traditional employment, if not full-time globetrotting with benefits, at least part-time or temp, but a paying “day-job” to feed my music projects. at least that was the plan…Sometimes life comes along and blows up your prior plans. I see no day job for a long while. it is because I cannot ‘land” a day job? Of course not, it is by choice. I am choosing to place an extension on my primary title of full-time caregiver, and with good reason.

I have done the singer/songwriter thing off and on, in addition to my natural habitat involving caregiving, part-time employment, and volunteering, since about 2007. I wrote songs long before 2007, and began the caregiving and part-time working at age 17, and I think I have volunteered since I was old enough to push a broom. I have 2 speeds, industrious, or asleep, with not much in between. I only slow down where in caregiving it is necessary to sit quietly, which have been doing more of that the past several weeks, listening, taking directions, and attending appointments. This must be understood to know why I am not actively seeking a paying job at this time.

That being said, no matter what I am doing, I have realized that a percentage of my waking hours are devoted to matters pertaining to songwriting. There is the writing itself, there is production, there is learning my trade, honing my craft, and the business…which includes all manner of desk-work – that is the part that churns my stomach, and takes up the most time. I am so used to the bad habit of measuring my days by tangible three- dimensional output, like gleaming floors and appliances, that I forget to “count” my hours of intangibles, like all that is involved in songwriting and caregiving….as if I only “worked” on songs when I have a page of fully worked lyrics with chord symbols, or have sung into a microphone. There is so much more that goes into a song, or family for that matter- the intangibles are priceless in every sense of the word.

Now, for my own benefit, and the benefit of peers, and those just wishing to peer into my creative process, I’ve made a google calendar which will not only house upcoming events my local peeps can attend, or my online peeps can tune into, but also document my deskwork and legwork which nobody sees. The hours I put in have begun to surprise me when documented. BUT those hours are unpaid. If you figure in that my local events are usually free, or if paid, stretch way to thin for my musicians to even get minimum wage for the performance only, they get mere pennies when rehearsal time at home and collectively are factored in. The fact is, I have not had to fill out a 1099  for music yet. I have paid for many things, but have never written them off, or even been reimbursed. This is not a complaint. The best things in the life I’ve ever done, have gone without financial compensation. I will work diligently either way.

So, enjoy my new calendar as it grows: (Oops! No link here—see msg below)

OOPS! My calendar kept showing things like meetings & appointments not having to do with music. So I need to find another calendar app. I guess we will have to wait for that.

On it, you will find an accounting of my actual song-crafting, desk-time like making blog posts, updating website, contacting venues/musicians, creating Spotify playlists, (next up on my learning and implementing,) dealing with documentation involving copyrights and performance rights organization and backing up hard drives and hardcopy, also any research or classes I audit, at seminars, retreats, or  through online tutorials. By scheduling my rehearsals, studio-time, you might be looking for photos and or short live vids on my Instagram (which reminds me, I need to have my Instagram link added to my buttons on my website) and of course, you will find events, along with times, locations and directions. Feel free to check in at any time. I hope this will be fun, and enlightening.

It will add minutes to each day, but I hope to keep up with it, so that when I think I must be a proverbial “grasshopper” and not an “ant,” I can look back and see that some of the most valuable things I have ever done, just do not show up on a pay-stub. I’m not saying songwriting will never yield an income, but for the sake of those who work hard at good things which go unnoticed, I’m throwing it down. Tell me in a comment what types of thing you do each day, for which you do not receive a pay-stub, but are likely the best investments you could ever make?

 

 

Looking Up: Sweet By & By, plus other rambling trivia about un-official c 2007 album art, and more

I found myself talking about windows and thinking about windows today, (1/30/18). The weather started out snowy, then turned windy first carrying a white-out squall, then sending it elsewhere revealing a beautiful clear blue sky. The sun is shining through my windows into my very soul. I know someday I will look back and think of the times I stayed in my nightgown all day writing songs or writing blog posts because they were the first things on my mind and I didn’t want to waste any time getting down to work. I’m thanking God I could stay inside my house all day. yet be diligent and productive. I’m gonna miss this.

I am attracted to windows, all the time. Mainly ones that I can look OUT of and see the world. My first album produced by friends, privately released to friends and family, was Titled Out of my window, and featured family of my husband and my kids had activities going on centered around the windows of our big old house. One was of my husband rehanging shutters he had just painted, while my 7 year of daughter looked out smiling, and on the back was a picture of my older 2 sons when they were tweenagers, practicing how to attach a rope ladder out an upper story window and climb down. The meaning of the tile was derived from a line in one of the songs citing a time in my childhood when the nurse taking care of the elderly neighbors next door would sit in her bedroom window, about ten feet away from my bedroom window, to listen to me singing myself to sleep at night. Sadly, when I found out, it stopped, because I became self-conscious…too bad. Later in life, when I was rocking my 4 babies to sleep, living on houses with no air conditioning, I am sure that a few songs could be heard from “Out of My Window.”

But today, the line that came out of me, was that I love my big old house with lots of windows. I found myself saying that I need to look out of windows at the world, otherwise i might look so intensely inwardly as to tear myself apart. How many times a song is born out of my rambling thoughts. I knew that sounded like a Phrase form a piece I wrote, but also as I contemplated a getting full-time job in order to self-fund my art. The thought of it is hard because, in the past, I chose work which stole time and energy form my writing. I was self-employed and able to set my own hours, but I because  I was the boos and the worker and the scheduler etc…it became all-consuming and a big pitfall to my natural drift into perfectionism, I killed parts of my skeletal system. But the job I am considering now has windows and a clear start time and a targeted finsih time each day. Best of all it has windows, and rain or shine, those windows will look out on things I love to see.

So, once upon a time when I was experiencing my first two music losses, first of many, I will add, because to be involved on any level of music production means you have to learn how to lose …people. In my first months of having made music, and feeling the nudge to share it, I lost tow people who I thought would always be with me. One died and the other relocated. Cosquesnlty, I did not start sharing the 15 songs I’d recorded for another 3 years. Then, every time one of my volunteer musicians would understandably need to shift their priorities elsewhere, I would be up-ended and though I was smiling and giving my sincerest blessings, I was a quivering sobbing mas on the inside. If anyone wants to choose to make music as a career, get ready because people of art need to be people who are free to come and go and pursue interests other than yours…Can you imagine that? I am pretty sure many good writers have choked on that bone and suffocated. But I have fallen many times, and have stood back up, eventually. if you love them, you must set the free…I am dependant on musicians, but I can’t take prisoners.

Looking up was written as a potential personalized, maybe even public goodbye to the musician who relocated, because this person breathed the idea of singing in public to me, and then 15 years later, after a doctor thought I was going to die (but I wasn’t going to die) I fessed up years worth of songs only my babies in arms knew, and would have forgotten if that doctor had been right. I was friends with the whole family and was sad to see them go, but glad for them too. I started 2 songs, and then they turned into about a half of a song, and not sounding at all like it was about saying goodbye, more like how hard it is to focus on the things we are called to do, because we get distracted by trying to make a living and by too much morbid introspection. The line was “looking to my heart until I tore myself apart” and there’s no end to all that I know I should” [be getting done.] Leave it to an indie singer songwriter to follow that stream of consciousness…The half son was all over the map, then something happened too attached it to some more stable moorings. it never was presented to the friend, when I read the words it seems now Like it had little to do with that event at all, it has become a “happy little song” {aka ‘Bob Ross’ inflection}

Somewhere in the process, I was looking on a website that told the back stories to old hymns, and stumbled across the story behind the song sweet by and by. I was captivated. The story goes that there was a violin player who was often melancholy. He stopped in to the druggist one day, and the druggist in his concern for how low the violinist was feeling, told him to go home and get his violin. When he returned, this was the song they accidentally and oh so wonderfully co-wrote, “The Sweet By and By.” While the lrics indicated the sting of this present reality of and the hope of the future, and meeting again. After reading the story, I sat right down and wrote what has now become a “preamble” to my own arrangement of the good old hymn, often used as the last number for some of my live events for which it would be appropriate. My musicians Love to play it, their good work is showcased in a way that highlights their talent and passion for playing their instrument, and the arrangement is upbeat of “goodbye.” I hate goodbyes.

I only have one recording of this song, and it does not contain the piano lines, because my pianist was out that night, but it is good, and I hope with $ I earn from my day job, that I will have the time and energy to see many of the songs in my now about 80 song catalog, through to production on a level that I can at least share them with family and friends.

Done right a full-length album cost 20K to produce. if you are cheap and poor, and your friend helps you, it costs them large chunks of their life which goes unpaid. That can’t happen anymore. I am aiming toward the former, not because I like to drop money like nervous sweat, but because in the world of the work of music, it is the right thing to do.

 

 

 

 

 

Before Winter; The Back Story

My songwriter business this morning included a correspondence in which I needed to think back to about ten years ago when I wrote the song “Before Winter.” At first, I wondered if I could take myself back, but, like a mother describing the birth of a child, or an athlete describing memorable game play by play, I was able to remember in vivid detail. There was license to speak or write poetically, so those who prefer textbooks over novels, sorry, not sorry. Here is nearly what I wrote as the description to go along with the lyrics I had submitted today…by the way, as I make this post winter is raging outside…and the passage of time and the fragileness of life are bearing down hard.

The story behind the Song:
I had just been at the funeral of someone I’d known for a very long time. Her brave husband delivered a eulogy using this quote by Louisa May Alcott from “Little Women” on the death of Jo’s middle-sister Beth :

” There are many Beth’s in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind “

My heart was pierced. I was one who had not had enough conversations with her before it was too late. I left the service unable to say a word. I went home and sat down at my piano to work through my feelings. My life had been a busy torrent of activity and wanted to question it all. It was as if those who are facing mortality and those who are braving the storms of life are assigned different valuations for time, and I wanted to learn how to hold both at the same time. I wanted to be changed. I could not force my thoughts to slow down, and process the feelings I was having. There were many thoughts running through my mind, not unrelated, but it was also as if I could not bring any of them into focus. I narrowed my thinking to contemplate just the sound crickets make, and wondered if I could re-create that sound, a single atonal rubbing together of wings, a collective modal orchestra, but using the wester intervals on my piano. Two tones came to me, a two-pronged message -pleading and warning, sometimes-three tones if winsome and hopeful … Suddenly, my fingers and my pen were moving with rare rapidity, as words tumbled out, not in a jumble, but surprisingly clear and linear. It was one of the fasted songs I’ve ever composed. The melody, lyrics, and elements were all there right from the beginning, complete, simple, and calling for minimal accompaniment. At the time of recording, I choose for the introduction to be free-form, unyielding to any guiding click-track or beat. There are several tempo variations throughout the song, rises and falls, where the pace slows and picks back up, and slows again, each accented by pauses and or a simple two or three-toned melodic trill on which the song concept and all my phrasing were rooted. A solitary cricket, a small fragile insect, a concertmaster cueing a final opus which slows after sunset on cool evenings near summer’s end, a harbinger of its own death and the coming of winter’s bereavement.
The lyrics:
Before Winter                     c 2011

Is there a cricket on your hearth[?]

But you don’t hear it

From where you are

Lost in your dreams

Now winter has come

And stolen her song

Winter has come

< >

Hidden in a corner

Singing into the darkness

Pleading with her song

Come near breath it in

A transient fiddler

On paper wings

A rapture of wonder

In the smallest of things

Invisible movement

Ephemeral symphony

Dissonant, honest

And speaking to you and me

“This life is a vapor!”

A steady twilight melody

Listen with your heart

To a song could set you free

Cricket on my hearth

Sing into my darkness

Let me hear your sweet song

Lead me to where you are

Before winter comes

And steals your song

Before winter comes….

Fleeting fading

Summer is waning

Slowly and clearly

she warns       < >

Before winter comes

And steals her song

Before winter comes

Before winter

Where to Begin: “Turn A Light On”

Singing is primal.

It began…

in my crib…

6-8 years younger than my siblings, I resented going to bed earlier than they, who were downstairs enjoying laughing at television and who knows what else. I understood that my tiny closet of a bedroom, shared with a sibling, needed to have lights out, but a light left on in the hallway was not only a comfort, but allowed me to continue being awake, and playing in my crib. Consequently, and rightly, it was usually tuned off, to encourage sleep.

Who remembers these things? I do, with recollections connected to all my my senses. I would lie there, and say over and over, like a chant, Turn the [hall] Light On, until I fell asleep. Tribal and monotonous, but none the less, that may have been my first song.

Note: Please do not read into this. It was not wrong to let my litany of petition go unheeded, I would have been awake all night otherwise, I never wanted to miss anything, and I was not frantic, I was literally saying it over and over until I burnt out and fell asleep…it would wind down, slower and quieter until I was “out” and…it must have been a funny (and slightly annoying) thing to hear…Ok…not busting on the parenting choice. My Mom reads this. Hi Mom!

One evening, several years into this songwriting journey, I was sitting t the piano, fooling around with notes, what I would now refer to as a written session, but trust me, I was just de-stressing and doodling melodically…I asked myself, what was the first song you ever made up Becky? And the phrase came to my mind, as clear as if spoken out loud…Turn the Light on…It came flooding back to me…the song fell out intact, in minutes.

The first half of the song talks just about that, singing that line “to anyone who might listen, to anyone who would pass by” because I was afraid, and I was also plagued with re-occurring nightmares.  The second part, however, was inspired much later. It can be interpreted as a song promoting foster care, or care for those who provide foster care, or care for those who care for any impressionable child of children, who are struggling under the weight and need encouragement and support…it is about welcoming those who struggle with the past, with the present, and making space for them, which encompasses hospitality and time, and giving of yourself, however you can. I have attempted this, through supporting struggling young parents with housework help at times…at times, I have been on the needing end. Everyone has been. Everyone can be both, needy and needed. Everyone should take some time to meet needs, if possible.

People often wonder what goes into a song. This one, it just rolled out, like my pen was gripped by a force other than my own hand. I could hardly write the words fast enough, the melody was there he whole time. The same one that was with me when I was in that crib and calling out, or later, struggling to parent and feeling like a failure, and spending myself in attempting to elevate others…attempting to Turn a Light On. Of all my songs, this one reaches people at personal levels and depths. Music is that way. It cannot mean to each listener the very same thing it means to me. Some songs come with a “film-reel” that could just about turn out the same no matter who holds the camera, but there are other songs which change like a chameleon to fit the background of each listener, this is one.

Enjoy…let it take you where you need to go. Where does this song take you? Feel free to drop a comment, or contact me personally via my website.