WordSmithing

I like folk music.

Partly, this is because I grew up with parents who were activists, and partly it’s because I love stories, and storytelling is a key element of all music, but especially folk music.

Every month, the local UU church hosts a coffeehouse evening – there are homemade baked goods and fair trade coffee, and folk singers are hired to come in and sing. Despite the fact that I felt like crap last night, and much of today, I knew the music and company would make me feel better. So we went.

The opening singer was a man named Bill Nash, who began his set with an instrumental piece. He wore a baseball cap, and a rainbow tie-dyed shirt, and used several capos to compensate for a left hand weakened from MS, but his songs were full of amazing imagery and wonderful internal rhyme.

The headliner was Kathy Moser, who has close connections with the UUs in general, and this UU fellowship in particular. Her songs, and the patter between them were full of the sort of observations and wry wit that, as a writer, I really appreciate.

Both singers shared a common background element: participation in the Rocky Mountain Song School, where one of the exercises involves each group being paired off. You and your partner each tell each other a story, and then you write the song of the story you heard. Even without the addition of music to such a project, it intrigues me, and I think there’s a way to turn it into a regular writing exercise.

Kathy Moser will be attending services at the church tomorrow, and singing, and she’s agreed to an interview about her next album for ATG, and about her life philosophy. Her goal is to make production of her next album not merely carbon neutral, but “oxygen positive.”

I like folk music, because of the storytelling as well as the music.
I like folk singers because they are wordsmiths.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 WordSmithing by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

One thought on “WordSmithing

  1. When I was growing up, I had mixed feelings about everything I wrote, and very mixed feelings about the act of writing in general.
    But I was always drawn to the work of singer-songwriters… and I often wrote pieces as though they were songs to which I hadn’t yet found the music.
    Once I find the melody, I thought, it’ll all come together…
    Then, one day, something began to change in my writing. I suddenly realised that not only was I far better than I had ever thought I was, I actually enjoyed spending time with the stories I was creating.
    I had found my voice at last – not in a melody, but in the silence. I can hear it now, between the rain taps on the window. I can feel the words there, waiting, and I know that I am home.
    I guess, in an odd sort of way, the richness of silence is one of the things that makes a good song so precious, and so resonant…
    or something like that.

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