Books and Music

On my way home from a book club in Westminister MD today, I was listening to The Coffee House on Sirius Satellite Radio.  The Coffee House plays mellow music by new and well-known singer-songwriters.  Original music is interspersed with covers, and the station has the intimate, acoustic feel of a small venue; thus, the name, Coffee House. 

Love it.  Can’t say enough about it.

Anyway, The Coffee House has a series calld “Artist Confidential” where musicians discuss the evolution of their music, the songwriting process, their intent, and the always elusive and unpredictable Muse. Today’s artists were The Indigo Girls.

The Indigo Girls are a folk rock group that evolved from humble beginnings in bars and peddling cd’s out of the back of their cars, to a well-respected group with their own label and a huge, loyal following.  They have a gift for blending their ideas and voices, and have been together for more than twenty years.  They belong to that class of artist that, for me, equals genius.  Not only do they sing their own songs and play their own instruments, but they write their own music.  To be able to do all of those things and do them well is such a gift.  They are also activists for a lot of causes, and whether or not you agree with them, you have to admire their passion and dedication to their beliefs.

Another up-and-coming singer-songwriter I love, who I interviewed on an earlier post, is Dave Tieff.  I had the pleasure of attending his CD release party in Annapolis this weekend and was blown away by his music.  Dave comes from a difficult past growing up as a witness to domestic violence, and has dealt with his own addictions as a adult, but has emerged from his painful past with tremendous positivity and power.  He has translated his journey into some great songs, and is trying to raise one million dollars for charity.  His music can be downloaded for FREE from his website, and his song Lavendar Road has just been selected  by Oprah’s Angel Network for a CD. 


I’m always interested in the relationship between music and writing and art.  For me, they are almost impossible to separate.  I use classical music to urge on my writing.  I see paintings that help me conjure images to use in my scenes.  I feel the rhythm and motion in the words I choose in my novel writing.  It’s a plait–each section disappearing into the next, holding up the others for support, and working together in harmony.



2 thoughts on “Books and Music

  1. Kelly says:

    Wow–crazy. I wrote a ryhming poem today and couldn’t stop thinking of the connection between writing and music. Which means, girl, that you and me are on that vibe. Sweet. Do you know about I have a station created around the indigo girls, the be-good tanyas and the wailen jennys–check them out I think you’ll totally dig them. Ok gonna facebook you cuz I want a follow up to last week and I want one soon.


  2. nstodard says:

    I thought of your post when I was reading an interview of Wynton Marsalis from last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. Marsalis, who is co-founder and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, talks about the intersections of life and music, and he does so in a very literary way. He states:

    “There’s the importance of developing and finding your own perspective and having pride in yourself. That’s what we call a solo. Swing is about learning how to negotiate, and how to be flexible. Then there’s the improvisation, which teaches us to use our intelligence and all the things at our disposal to respond appropriately to the moment at hand. The blues recognizes tragedy, but always with optimism. Things might be tragic, but they’re going to get better. Optimism that is not naive in the face of adversity–something is wrong, but we’re going to make it better.”

    In my most recent post on Drama, Daily, I wrote about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the 70’s punk band Joy Division, who was very interested in poetry, particularly Romantic poets such as Wordsworth. It seems as artists we often have a primary calling that is informed by a number of secondary art forms.

    Congratulations on your success with your novel! I’m so proud of you! I need to include it on my summer reading list–you can skip that one 😉

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