Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Mary Gauthier / Singer-Songwriter

This week's TT Test is taken by the great American singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier [link]. Her songs have been covered by many artists including Tim McGraw & Candi Staton & her albums have all been highly praised culminating in the masterpiece 'The Foundling' which tells her own story of being abandoned as a child,the struggle for her own identity & birth mother & ultimately the triumph of love. What is your wake up song at the moment ? 'Lorraine', by my dear friend Lori McKenna. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession? I got sober from drugs and alcohol in 1999, and songwriting followed. I would never have become a songwriter without recovery from from my addictions. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? I'd go back 40-50 years in Nashville, to the time when the songs coming out of this town were great, and I'd hang out with the my songwriting hero's when they were in their prime... Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Marijohn Wilkin, johnny Cash, Tom T Hall et al. I'd find my way into their scenes, and they'd make me a better writer just from being around them. I love eating out & discovering new restaurants,can you please recommend one to me ? Margot's Cafe [link], in Nashville,TN. My favorite restaurant of all time, The chef is the owner, and she is in the kitchen every night cooking fresh local ingredients with passion and love. No one can cook fish like Margot, and she changes the menu every day to reflect what's fresh in the market. I am a huge fan. What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional /creative life ? Unless they are giving you a big check, don't sign anything. BONUS QUESTION: I am intrigued that you also teach songwriting - what sort of guidance are students looking for ? And what is it that you try to bring out of them? I teach songwriters to look for their own voice, and look inside themselves for the truth of what they are trying to say. I can teach the craft (song structure, chord progressions, rhyming patterns) but I can't teach the art, the art being the subjects which the writer is called to write about. I try to teach the students to listen to the voices in their heads and hearts, and reveal what's being said in there. I try to teach them to allow themselves to be vulnerable, and expose their hearts. I try to teach them that songwriting is more about re-writing than anything. and most of all, I try to teach them to connect with themselves and their listeners. I let them know that if they are not connecting, it's not the listeners fault. Basically, I give them a ladder, show them the rungs... and it's up to them to do the climbing.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Psapp - Sad Song

This week's wake up song is Psapp's 'Sad Song '. The song sounds so crunchy it always makes me smile & even if the refrain is 'I don't want to live no more' it's not sad at all ! Listen out for the great line 'Peter, just called to say, he saw a slug eating a chip...' That has to be some kind of genius :) The video I'm posting is a fan video, I don't think a band video is available for this song, anyways, hope you enjoy, lotsoflove tt

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Monster Calls

Just finished reading 'A Monster Calls'. The book's own history is worth telling. Siobhan Dowd was a children's writer who died in 2007 from cancer. At the time of her death she had left some details of the story, the characters, a detailed premise and a beginning but sadly did not have the time to write it. Her publishers commissioned author Patrick Ness to complete the book & Jim Kay to illustrate it. The young boy's struggle to accept a terrible loss is a universal one & the illustrations are so powerful that it's worth buying the book for them alone. It already feels like a classic to me, love tt

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Marie Knight & Mary Gauthier

I have developed a bad habit of not setting time aside to really listen to albums in their entirety. I tend to hear a new song I like & add it to an ever expanding playlist of favourites & if I do listen to any albums they are probably familiar & trustworthy & at least 20 years old! However, I recently discovered two great records - if not exactly new releases Marie Kinght's 'Let Us Get Together' [link] was released in 2007 and Mary Gauthier's 'The Foundling' in 2010- they are new to me & just as thrilling as any of my older beloved record collection The recommendation from Madeleine Peyroux 'This record has gotten into my soul,spirit... & I cannot stop... music that infects one with joy...' on the cover of Marie Knight's 'Let Us Get Together' made me curious. I'm not religious & it's a gospel record but Knight's voice, at over 80 years old, still so powerful & authoritative & perfectly partnered with multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell moved me deeply. Sadly, Knight passed away in 2009 but along with her earlier recordings including her work with Sister Rosetta Tharpe from the 40s leaves us with a great musical legacy. The other record, Mary Gauthier's 'The Foundling' [link] is astounding. I can only urge you to find the time to discover it's rare & haunting beauty.You can hear acoustic versions of the songs from 'The Foundling' on this channel [link]. Hope you enjoy, lotsoflove tanita

Alberta Hunter/ Darktown Strutters' Ball

This week's wake up song is performed by the legendary Alberta Hunter. The beautiful 'Darktown Strutters' Ball' was written in 1917 by Shelton Brooks & inspired by a ball at the 1915 Pacific-Panama Exposition in San Francisco. It is one of the earliest traditional jazz songs to become a standard. Alberta Hunter's version recorded when she was actually in her 80s (how is it possible to be so vocally fit at that age ?!) makes you want put on your most glamorous clothes & dance the night away ! Hope you enjoy :) love tt

Monday, 9 May 2011

Jammy Dodgers !!

London is so beautiful & sunny at the moment, I am spending a lot of time outside, discovering new places especially the markets which come into their own at this time of year. One of the most charming I visited during a quieter week day is Brixton Village Market with it's beautiful covered Arcade & very good coffee ! Broadway Market [link] is also worth visiting, I found a stall with the best home made Jammy Dodgers I've ever tasted !! love tt