Kate Rusby : Sweet Bride
(this is long and quite possibly, incredibly boring. So if you are in a hurry, the jist is I miss creating music. This song is absolutely lovely and one my trio does a nice version of, despite my singing backup vocals ;) It has been in my head for a week, taunting me, saying “You wish you could write something like this… but alas, it’s not in your season..” It’s making me feel.. creatively/musically constipated.)
I realize that my last bazillion posts or so are completely about my children or motherhood. I really do still exist somewhere inside of all this, and I’m going to try to post about that small sliver in there. I may have to squint though…
When I joined the BC, my first celtic band, it was a huge and surreal experience. They were already established, recorded, and had a huge presence on the music scene in the southeast. There were tons of gigs - pubs, concerts, festivals, we played them all and it was a dizzying, fantastic ride. Then I migrated south o’ the border and had to quit.
Funny, when I would cry about leaving the US to give birth, the thing I was the most upset about was leaving the band.
When I came back they still had their new fiddler, so the guitarist and I started a trio with his daughter, just side things. Parties, small pubs, etc. It was terrifying because now there weren’t four other people to cover me up - I had to play whole sets without the singer and there was nowhere to hide, plus I was singing backup now. I had to find (the hard part) and learn a huge new repertoire, which was daunting but ultimately really exciting and rewarding. I was creating. It felt so, so good. It reminded me of my college days where I took my guitar everywhere I went, writing song after song and playing open mic every week at the Brickhaus. Except the music I played with the trio was less angry and actually worth listening to (though I adore every friend that would come with me, cheer and support - I was a lucky girl for sure!).
A bit later, I rejoined the BC again, but there weren’t as many gigs. And there was drama here and there, and schedules made it impossible to get together to write new material and record. And there just weren’t that many gigs any more - pubs were closing, concerts were farther in between. When I did play with the trio, it was always almost a cathartic experience - there was no drama, it was me and the guitar and voice, creating, improvising, having a ball making music. It was absolutely wonderful.
I had to leave it all behind again when we moved last year, but I got to go back and play a festival with the trio this summer. They’d learned a lot of new material with the fiddler who had replaced me so it was tough work (and I’m rusty), but standing up there on stage, dancing around the melodies, leading the guitarist and knowing he could follow ANYthing I threw at him (he’s SO unbelievably good - the best I have and will ever work with. DANG.) was such a uplifting, amazing experience.
I asked him why the BC weren’t playing much and his reply was that NOone was playing much. Was it the economy? I figured - but no, he said the tide had just shifted. A few years ago, when Riverdance, Braveheart, and Lord of the Rings were all coming out, celtic music became very much in demand, so bands started popping up. But it’s just not the “in” thing right now, so bands are breaking up and having to compete each other for gigs.
It made sense to me - I’d felt the slow drying up processes. So now I’m thinking - what’s the “in” thing now? Indian? Alaskan? Justin Bieber? Should I try to jump on another bandwagon? I miss being creative. I miss the feeling of freedom and terror that comes with improvising and composing, not just regurgitating someone else’s sound. People often ask me why I don’t just go play in an orchestra, and that’s why. It’s against my nature to blend in with 16 other violinists. It’s really, REALLY hard and I’d rather expend my energy making my own music.
Of course, after playing with my last guitarist, no one will ever come close. So I have no one to create with, and that limits things. I got a new computer with some fancy schmancy recording and looping software so I could create that way, but it’s not all completely hooked up l and I can’t get my other half to help me with it since we’re tag-teaming our offspring every minute we’re at home together. And trying to write music with children climbing you is incredibly… frustrating. I canNOT multi-task, so the kids get mad or the music stinks.
So I try to ignore those urges to create because there’s just no time or opportunity, but then this song pops into my head and I can’t shake this physical need to play, collaborate, even (heaven help me) sing. It is sweet, ethereal, and addicting. I feel like a junkie, jonesing for another hit. Not just any hit - that perfect place with amazing people where the music just starts coming from some other place and it feels like you’re standing outside of it, watching this magic happen almost on its own. I miss music.