I have a room in my house that functions as my music studio. My instruments are in there. My computer and recording gear is in there. My desk is in there. Everything music related is in there. But somehow, I never seem to get around to organizing it or giving it much love. It remains a bit of a mess on a regular basis. What I find instead is that I work all over other parts of the house, inside and out.
For example, my dining room table is probably my favorite place to write out music and do research. My backyard has lately been my favorite place to practice, come up with new ideas on the guitar, or write in my journal. Soon I will likely start recording vocals in my bathroom. I keep giving myself the goal of cleaning and organizing my studio but I never do it. Maybe it’s because I lived in New York City for so long in small apartments with barely enough room for a music studio that makes me want to spread out. Maybe it’s because I’m a procrastinator. Maybe I’m just a mess maker. Who knows.
I’ve started noticing that the places I end up working in are the same places in my house where my kid is playing. Right next to his train set in the living room. Right next to his dirt garden outside where he runs his trucks around. He doesn’t play in his room either. His toys, as you can see in the pictures above, are usually spread out all over the house. Maybe this means my work feels more like play. Maybe I can’t work in a space with four walls and a desk. I wonder if I make my work area seem more like a play area if I’ll be inspired to create in it. I think it’s time to bring the outdoors and a different set up to my studio. I’m thinking plants, flowers, a dining room table, and an Adirondack chair. Maybe also a sand box? What do you think? I’d love to know.
That’s all folks. Hope you are having a great week and enjoying your summer, wherever you may be. Before I sign off, did you know I have a new Instagram account just for RachelLeeWalsh music? Find me there at RachelLeeWalsh if you want to connect.
I’ve been making new friends this week. Musician friends that is. I went to play with a new ensemble, went to hear a great New Orleans jazz band in Oakland, and scheduled a few upcoming meet ups to play with a couple of piano players and other bands. I took this little amp and some new songs with me to play with the new jazz ensemble.I’ve also been doing more research on renditions of songs I’m including in my set list. I went back to one of my all time favorite jazz standards,How High The Moonand my favorite rendition of it by Mary Ford and Les Paul. I just love Mary’s voice on this version and if you watch the video you can see Les Paul using some early multitrack recording tactics, which he pioneered. I’ve also been listening to some older Norah Jones songs. I might have to add my own version ofCome Away With Me to my set.
That’s all folks. Have a great week. See you on the flip side.
As you know, I’m in the process of putting together a jazz ensemble. I’ve been digging around, figuring out songs to put on the set list. In the process, I’ve been re-discovering some songs I really just love. Songs like “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” by Cole Porter and “My Funny Valentine” by Rodgers and Hart. Below are my 66 of my favorites! Why 66, you ask? Well, it’s just how many were really moving me this week. It also had such a nice “Route 66” ring to it! There are probably 1 or 2 on the list that aren’t officially jazz standards (Nina Simone), but I couldn’t resist including them. What are your favorites? Have any recommendations of songs I should add to this list and maybe add to my live set?
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
I Could Write a Book
My Baby Just Cares for Me
It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
I also recorded a song I rarely ever play out live. It’s called “All That I Need is You”. I wrote it a few years ago as part of a songwriting group I was a member of. We would come up with a weekly word or idea prompt for a new song. One week during December the assignment was to write a holiday song. This is what I wrote. Check it out right here.
Lastly, yes, a song about being pissed off with God. It’s called “Oh Lord”. I wrote it after hearing a man speak on the news who had just watched his whole house be blown away by Hurricane Katrina. Check out my YouTube performance of it right here. The song was also on my last EP “The Singles”. You can listen to the recording with a full band and buy it too by going to my main website at www.RachelLeeWalsh.com.
A friend I’ve known for many years requested that I do an old song of mine called “Baby Blue”. I wrote it years ago back when I first branched out my own as a solo artist. I’ve had the song rolling around in my head for a couple of months now so finally decided to play it here for 52in52. Check it out on my RLW YouTube page. This one goes out to Jennifer.
I also uploaded a couple of other songs last week, including covers of “The Wayfaring Stranger” and “The One I Love is Gone”. I was cat sitting at a friend’s place in San Francisco and didn’t have a guitar, so ended up doing some a cappella performances with a bit of hand percussion.
Thanks for listening. Hope you enjoy. See you next week.
I started working on “Man on The Wire” a couple of years ago after seeing the film “Man on Wire“, a 2008 documentary about the high-wire artist Philippe Petit walking on a tight rope strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. It’s an amazing story about preparing for the walk, getting to the top of the buildings in secret, and the walk itself. I have an intense fear of heights that I’m always pushing myself to get over, so watching his story was beyond inspiring to me. I will certainly never do a tight rope walk between two buildings as tall as the Twin Towers, but I can at least work toward getting up to the top of high mountains, which is what I wrote the song about.
I’ve recent months I’ve been attending songwriting workshops with a chapter of West Coast Songwriters. I played this song recently at one of the meetups and changed it a bit based on the groups input. I’d love to hear your insight as well.
This time last year, I was living in NYC and it was ZERO degrees. Now I live in California and it’s pretty darn sunny and warm, basically around 65 degrees. I’m guessing this is why my brain went to doing a cover of the song “You Are My Sunshine”. It’s also a song that I sing often to my toddler so it was swirling around in my head.
I’ve started to experiment a bit with accompanying myself on other instruments besides guitar and piano including hand percussion and even children’s musical toys like my child’s xylophone. This week I tried having some fun with rhythm eggs and a small ankle tambourine, pictured below (along with a chalk sun drawing of course).
This week I was in the mood to do a cover of a Patty Griffin song called “Trapeze”. I find the lyrics of the song to be so beautiful and inspiring, so much that at one point I thought of getting a tattoo of the chorus. I didn’t end up doing that…yet.
A couple of years ago I wrote a 30 second song as a writing challenge with The Ignition Lab, a group of songwriters I got together with to write. The goal was to come up with a short song that could be used in a TV commercial. I ended up writing something I thought could be used for a home improvement store. I revisited the song again this year and tweaked it a bit. You can see the video on my RLW YouTube page.