A Curious Child is a podcast about being curious. It's about songs, the behind-the-scene stories of their making, a sprinkle or two of my homespun journey-man minstrel wisdom and, a little lesson on the creative process thrown in for good measure.
If you have ever seen me perform you’ll know that I like to sing songs and tell stories… and this podcast is pretty much that. Each week I set up a few microphones and with guitar in hand I choose a song I have written, I click the record button and, do my thing, just as if I am performing a solo show for someone sitting in my living room.
Today’s Podcast “It’s Always You” explores the song (It's Always You) and the subject, of searching out the precious moments in every day life. I stumble upon these moments today while playing music, on stage, in the studio, in the midst of a crowd or by myself… in the same way that I might do in a quiet contemplative prayer time. It is in the practical process of making music that I find an entrance into a spiritual domain; simply through the picking of a few notes, the strumming of a few chords, the humming of a simple melody. A day or two without these moments, these precious real moments of wonder, my soul begins to murmur, like the rumbling of a tummy… ‘feed me’ it says. It’s within a moment of being alone that a new song like this one can be birthed, a creation that sounds fresh, a piece of art that is life giving. It’s nothing like the music I might play in the noise of expectations, within the clutter of the market place or the likes and approvals of what already is. Without the true precious moments, I am merely a poor carbon copy of another's invention… and, if I am not careful, I become trapped in the prison of someone else’s thoughts or experiences and, I lose the ability to imagine, to experiment, to create something of my own. For in my own precious moments I am fearless… to be me.
Feeling young or useful… that we still have something to contribute, that we each have something of value for others, for our communities, for the world around us, is as important as breathing air. And this goes for young, old and all those in between. This is the subject of my latest ‘A Curious Child Podcast’… during which I discuss ageism, it's effect on us all, a few different perspectives on beauty, the wonder of singing and, why it is that we each need something in our lives… that restores our souls in the heat of life's battleground. And of course, I break down a song I wrote about all of this and, tell a few stories of my own journey as an aging singer songwriter.
My grandparents had this old shed in their back garden. It had a tin roof. And when it rained there was no better place to be than inside that shed. The sound of rain beating down on tin is hard to beat. And oh, the smell of the earth, the red dusty clay of our neighborhood, when the rain started to fall after a dry spell. It was as if the dirt was saying 'thank you, thank you, thank you'. I think many of us are wandering around, a bit lost in some desert experience. And so in this podcast I sing bits and pieces of my song 'I Can Hear the Rain'... I break down the song, with a conversation about the writing of it.. a little minstrel wisdom about escaping the desert in search of rain and, a bit of songwriting chatter thrown in for good measure.
I hate it when I catch myself whining don't you? I filled as many complaints as was possible into the lyrics of this song... in attempt to showcase just how stupid my negative behavior can be at times... with a hope that my soul could one day rise above it all. This podcast explores this subject a little deeper, with, a discussion on the writing process of the song. I had fun making this song. In the early stage, this involved the creation and manipulation of a whole bunch of musical loops. It was a departure from my usual process of writing and recording but I could not be happier with either the journey of discovery or the final mix. And, every time I listen to the lyrics I feel convicted to let go of some other whiny thought. I hope it helps you too.
I watched two dear friends endure a tough season, during which they were treated intolerably by so called friends. They never once retaliated with anger, harsh words or deeds but rather, to everyone's surprise, turned the other cheek. It was a lesson well learned by all who sat by on the sidelines and watched and for me, well it inspired the writing of this song, Good People. The song became a low flying hit with steady airplay on US college radio which, would open many doors for me to write and collaborate with and, produce the music of other indie artists. This small taste of fame also allowed me tour around the world with my own band. I owe a lot to these good people for showing me the way and, for inspiring the song and so... in this episode, I share some of their story, my own struggles with 'loving my enemy' and, some of the writing and production process of this particular song.
Have you ever had one of those days when you felt a little strange? You’re not sick or ill or dying… but you’re not quite your fun loving self. And, for the life of you, you don’t know why. It's almost as if you are living in alternate universe and the ‘real world' seems to be running as per usual… without you. Your friends, family and co-workers are all doing what they do and are, perhaps, too busy to notice that you are ‘missing in action’. If they did stop with all their business long enough to look you in they eye and ask: ’Are you OK’… you’re not sure what you’d tell them.
I wrote a song about this for the Disney movie Freaky Friday called, Not Feeling Myself. In this podcast I tell more of the backstory of the writing of the song, I break open the song structure to see what’s inside and, I explore the subject of watching the world pass by without us.
Another conversation about songwriting, the journey of a troubadour and, the universal quest for inner peace. In the midst of a heavy tour schedule I had a day off and spent most of it walking in a forest. During those glorious few hours I found a quietness that was new to me, one that inspired a song and a practice of seeking out this quietness, even in my noisy home town of Los Angeles. I also found a new pathway for the writing songs of a different kind (both style and genre) and this too opened up a whole new world for me, both for my own enjoyment... and a new listening audience.
As with all Curious Child podcasts, I break down a song, how and why it was written and to whom... and, the stories of my life and others that help to stir up the writing and production of songs like these. River Child was inspired in part, by this strange hybrid instrument I am playing. Made almost entirely out of steel, this dobro-eque guitar conjures up the delta rhythm and blues roots that lie somewhere in my subconscious... laying a foundation for the emotionally charged gospel vocals by my friends in the Rhythm Gospel & Blues Band.
After hearing the troubled journey of another recording artist I wrote a song for them. I soon realized that the song was for me too. It's about letting go of the hurts and the lies we hold onto, that weigh us down... and how much healthier we are when we find the strength to let go. I break down the song, tell a few stories, rant about some beautiful guitars I am playing and go down some glorious rabbit holes.
I was asked to write a song for feature film about addictions. I had a kind of left field view of the subject, and according to the producers, a 'quirky' idea for a song. I break down some of the writing process, play a few different versions of the song and, share some of my life stories on how I evolved into this kind of songwriter.
Each episode includes a story or two on the writing of songs and in this episode I break down some of the process of songwriting and, discuss the notion that we are so much more creative when we let the inner child lead the way.