Bright pink spotlight

Wow…there are SO many great songs out by women right now. I just wanna shine a bright pink spotlight on ALL of them!

If I enjoy this half as much as I think I will I may do a whole series (oh yeah…I hope you like it too!)

Right now I’m obsessed with Ingrid Andress’ song “More Hearts than Mine” (written by Derrick Southerland, Sam Ellis, and Ingrid Andress). It’s a beautiful, yet heart wrenching song about opening yourself up to a new love in the scariest way possible; bringing them home to meet your family.

Grab a Kleenex and watch/listen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_A8Zjwr9m0

I first heard it while I was driving to Nashville last fall. I remember thinking how I loved everything about it. It was a fresh idea, one you don’t hear expressed in songs much. It was a feeling of vulnerability. And her delivery is also sooo vulnerable.

She talks a little about that feeling in an interview. It made her so uncomfortable she almost changed the lyrics and meaning of the song, but her co-writers (thankfully) talked her into keeping her original idea. Here is the interview:

https://theboot.com/ingrid-andress-more-hearts-than-mine-lyrics/

I love a good heart wrenching country song. They used to rule the airwaves. They made/make us FEEL something deeply. Even if they hurt our hearts for a little while, that’s not a bad thing!

“More Hearts Than Mine” makes me wish there were more “feeling” songs in country music today. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman) and “I Will Always Love You (Dolly Parton) come to mind.

And it makes me wish there were more female artists getting airplay. Nothing against the guys…I just want to hear more balance. There are some phenomenal songs by female artists out there right now (and there always HAVE been).

I’ll be shining that bright pink spotlight on some other female artists very soon. Stay tuned!

 

woman in Vertical stripes

Spring is coming. You know what that means…we get to hear about “fashion rules” again.

 

I was watching a tv show (which shall remain nameless) a while back and one segment was on fashion for women. You know… what’s styles and colors are trendy, etc.

Why is it when someone discusses fashion for women it inevitably includes something about what does or does not “flatter” each body type?

“The vertical stripes and cinched waist flatter and elongate the body.”

“The V-neck draws the eye downward, giving a more slimming appearance.”

Ugh.

 I know all the rules. All the tricks. All the ways to make myself appear taller, thinner, bustier, whatever-er. How to hide my flaws and accentuate my better features.

What does it really do for ME?

All the rules make me wonder…can’t a girl just wear a t-shirt and jeans with no makeup if that’s her cup of tea?

Believe me, I know the answer is “yes”. I’m over 50 and every year that goes by I care less about following these rules.

But I’m concerned for the girls and young women who hear this stuff in various forms day after day, year after year. It is TOXIC to their self-image and self-confidence. I noticed when my daughter was in 5th grade that some other girls were already wearing foundation, for heaven’s sake. What were they trying to cover?

And by the way, when is the last time you heard someone in men’s fashion talk about “vertical stripes elongating the body”? (I’m not saying men don’t have their challenges…I have a son, so I know some of those challenges).

So, by all means…. wear the vertical stripes if you want. Or wear the horizontal stripes. Or no stripes at all. But just don’t let society’s fashion “rules” rule over you.

grandpa's piano

 

I love this old out-of-tune piano….

I fell in love with it when I was little. I’d go to Grandma and Grandpa Cunningham’s house and listen to Grandpa play. He was self-taught and couldn’t play anything fancy but that didn’t matter.

He would play and sing little ditties he had picked up over the years. I would sit on his lap, put my hands on his hands, and pretend it was me playing. There was nothing in the world like sitting at Grandpa’s piano. 

Within a couple of years my parents bought me a piano and I started taking lessons. Oh, geez I hated lessons…I hated reading NOTES. I just wanted to listen to the radio and try to play by ear. I loved that.

A few years later I got in my first band. We learned the music by taping a song when the DJ played it on the radio (I’m really dating myself by saying “taping” and “DJ”). Then we would listen over and over. Play, stop, rewind. Play, stop, rewind.

I remember someone telling me to listen to the bass line and it would tell me how the chord progression went. That was the key!

I went on to other bands after that first one. Then studied music and music therapy in college. Now I have been a music therapist 32 years, and a music therapy professor for 25 years. And my lifelong love affair with music (and the piano) continues every day.

Grandpa’s piano was the start of it all. I wish every kid had one.

Coffee is Life

 

 

Inhale…..exhale…. ahhhhh….

No I’m not doing meditation. I’m enjoying the aroma of my morning coffee. How do I love thee…let me count the ways…

I DO love my coffee. It’s not just the caffeine boost (athough that is much needed on some days). It’s the taste, the smell, the feel of a warm stoneware cup in my hand, the signal that my day is beginning. Ahhh, coffee is life!

Yes… I’m a coffee snob. I want bold, dark roast, fresh coffee. Black. Maybe a splash of cinnamon. On a special day I might add Bailey’s, a touch of sugar, and some whipped cream. I might even chase it with a cube of dark chocolate occasionally. But 90% of the time, I like it straight.

I think way back when I started drinking coffee I was concerned that if I started putting sugar and cream and other stuff in it that it would add too many calories and I’d get used to having it that way. Then Starbucks came along and I was very happy I was a black coffee drinker…it’s expensive enough as it is (which is why it’s my “once a week treat” to myself). Glad I don’t get frappes and such.

And when I decide to indulge in a sweet treat, like tiramisu or coconut cream pie (drool), there is NOTHING like black coffee alongside it… Fresh black coffee (dear waitress…don’t bring me that stuff you made 4 hours ago. Seriously. I’m worth a fresh brew).

Recently I heard Travis Meadows, a fantastic singer-songwriter, perform his song called “Black.” It’s about his grandpa who told him that real men drink their coffee black. I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment but I do agree black coffee is awesome.

And the song is really not about the coffee, anyway. Take a listen…Black

Coffee is life…it’s one thing that brings us together. And we could certainly use a little more of that. Sugar and cream optional.

 

You’ve Got a Friend….A Natural Woman…Will You Love Me Tomorrow…The Loco-Motion…

These songs are a big part of the soundtrack of my childhood. And they were written (or co-written) by Carole King.

I was a little girl when the “Tapestry” album came out…what a HUGE record it was and still IS. Not only was the music fantastic, but it was a WOMAN songwriter, singing her own songs. And…playing the piano.

I found a resonance with her music. Her style of playing, the warmth of her voice, the melodies and real-life lyrics (which meant more to me later…after I hit adolescence!) Her voice is raw and real; so expressive and emotive. Her chord choices are like a warm blanket on a chilly winter day. I don’t know how else to describe them…they just feel so perfect and comforting.

I started to say that I like her style of playing because it’s similar to mine. But who am I kidding?? I like her style of playing because I’ve been trying to emulate it all these years. It suits me and feels authentic to who I am probably because I’ve listened to her so much!

Some of the songs she wrote were very bold for their time. Like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”. It was banned from radio for a time because of the suggestion of a sexual encounter in the lyrics. Wow…how times have changed.

And, she was 17 when she wrote that song (OK Gerry Goffin wrote the lyrics, but come on! a 17 year old wrote that music!!). Lemme just say…Carole King is Queen!

Would someone just give her a crown, please?? She IS the queen of women songwriters/performers to me. I have lots of others I admire, but she is at the top of the list.

I want to be like her… I want to write great songs that move people. I want little girls (and women) to hear themselves in my lyrics and be inspired by seeing me perform now that I’m not a spring chicken. I want my music to still be moving people long after I’m gone.

So this week I’m going to spend a little time studying her songs again. And maybe I’ll write one that is a tribute to her. Long live the Queen! 

Check out this Rolling Stone article: “10 songs you didn’t know Carole King wrote”

 

New Website!

December 16, 2019

 

With the release of my new CD, “Superwoman Blues,” I finally decided to get a new website! I love the look of it and hope you do too. Can’t wait to connect with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Writing and Performing

December 2-5, 2019

 

How cool it was to get to write with a couple of my favorite writers, Pete Garfinkel and Ron Oates!

Pete and I wrote at the NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) office which is housed in the historic building that once was The Music Mill, where Alabama created a lot of hits!

Ron and I wrote at his beautiful white Yamaha piano.

I also got to sing a round at Douglas Corner, one of the great listening rooms in Nashville.