Monday, November 16, 2009

Echoes of songs: PHASE ONE of writing

After I finish an album, there is an intimidating space.
I've talked and written about and played and played the last album,
and there is only silence ahead for the next.
Every time I wonder , "How did I do that?", and then I remember.
I went into the garden and stared.
I stared, for the hours I set aside for music, as long as I needed to.
To get over the fear, to be in the space, to stop trying.
To let things float in.
This time, I wait for my baby to come.
I have hours to spend, with tiredness, dreaminess, tears, contractions that pull me into a deep dark.
I remember to lift off the pressure of writing anything "usable".
Just sound
Just play.
And of course, press record.

I just worked on a piece, the piano sounding loud in G, singing, singing.
and then stopped to drink water and pay some bills.
As I answered an email, the song comes back to me in echoes,
It echoes like a distant siren, music from inside another house.
And I want to open it again, and add to it.
I am happy that I remembered how to do this!
The biggest and most joyous part of writing,
Letting ideas evaporate off of me, without my mind involved at all.
The first phase, just letting it out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Touching Review from the Feminist Review

Feminist Review
The Feminist Review is a great bunch of writers and editors from around the world who review books, albums, by communities that remain on the margin. I'm really liking their recommendations and am honored to be included in their reviews. This one brought tears to my eyes, it's hard for me to hear about others' losses, to know that they keep going in the world. But I am so honored to be any part of a healing process for that. Feels good.


It’s a treasure to stumble upon new music that for one reason or another resonates deeply within you. I selected Crepusculo after learning that Petracovich singer Jessica Peters Malmberg had made the album while pregnant, and then tragically lost her son shortly after he was born. Grieving a recent miscarriage myself, Crepusculo did for me what only those rare special albums can: it comforted me, let me cry, helped me heal, and taught me to create a place in my heart for what I had lost.

Crepusculo (Spanish for “twilight”) utilizes the standard drums, guitar, and bass setup and is richly textured with a multitude of other instruments, including piano, cello, trumpet, harmonium, and banjo. Described as folk pop, this latest album from Petracovich accomplishes an earthiness that brings each song to life. The songs are powerful, thanks to masterful lyrics and Malmberg’s stunning voice that is at times soaring and smooth and later hushed and reverent.

“Heaven Help the Day” is the opening track, and it begins with an upbeat piano that propels the song to a quick crescendo. It’s a perfect match for the empowering lyrics about an absent father. Malmberg warns the father to beware coming back to the family, and if he does, she sings “I’d make you love me then I’d leave you all alone.” A compelling and driving banjo opens “Sleep It Off/Lie Down,” in which Malmberg sings out a challenge to “try to make me unsad/just try making me glad.” It’s a song that wonderfully depicts embracing sadness and revels in the beauty of fully experiencing human emotion.

While Crepusculo undeniably deals with painful losses, the beauty of the album is that there’s a sense of lightness and fun throughout the record. For example, in “San Rafael,” Malmberg dreamily imagines floating above traffic and “over dew and honey grass and sleeping deer; over rollers, hills with backs like dinosaurs.” A sense of whimsy threads itself through many of the songs.

What the music in this album accomplishes is a spirit of graciousness. It’s a snapshot of what it means to be alive, and that is a welcome solace. Crepusculo is an album for everyone that offers an unforgettable joy listening to each song as it magically unfolds.

Review by Beverly Jenkins-Crockett

Comment on Review HERE

Monday, November 9, 2009

Secret Songsketch: You Waited For Me

Download You Waited For Me

I wrote this song for Max's wedding, ( Max, the excellent drummer for Petracovich.) It was an honor to be asked to play, and to write a song for your friend that isn't total cheese is no easy task, but I love how it turned out.

This tune a mix of inspirations of Max and Ashley's 10 years and my own love story (I met my husband in Europe when in a wheelchair and he was the crazy guy climbing on everything.) It's all done on one mic on my home piano, captures a summer moment, and all my gratefulness for my dear love. Free DOWNLOAD

Heather, the wonderful cellist, and I played it on a beautiful July day in the redwoods with speakers 100 feet up the trees, the sounds coming down from the heavens, it was like fairyland.