In late October, Billie in the Woods tracked in New Orleans. The tracks are almost complete but in a little trouble. Less than $500 costs are remaining to mix/master the songs and make the music sharable to the world. Please consider giving a donation to Billie in the Woods today. This will help us considerably in getting these songs to Sundance Film Festival on time, increasing our chance of getting serious filmmakers’ attention.
Would you love to save Billie’s songs and get executive producer credits on the record?
Click HERE to contribute securely to Billie’s NOLA tracks. Be a patron of this project and join us in the studio as an Executive Producer. Any money raised beyond production costs will be directly contributed to Busker’s Bunkhouse, a shelter for homeless artists in New Orleans.
When I was 12 years old I wrote my first love song, titled “I Believe That You Can Love Me, I Will Always Love You” ironically written to the exact melody and chord progression as “House of the Rising Sun”, an anonymous and dark ballad telling of a life gone terribly wrong in arguably a brothel or a prison somewhere in New Orleans (up for interpretation, as there are more than 2 ways for lives to go wrong in New Orleans). *grin* This rising sun blues was the only song I knew how to play on the guitar (thanks Mama Jan).
Despite my 21 years of experience writing love songs, I remain the average idiot of romantic love and the “intolerable neural itch” of the muse at hand, mouth and thy. How I do it: I make a place to sit down, sit down, shut up and dream of love experienced, then wait. Something catches in the hook eventually and the moment of inspiration (or drip of dopamine) moves the pen to the page.
I love science, especially biology. Read the science of love and you may find love beginning to look more like a mental handicap, formed from the same neurological machinery that drives craving for chocolate or Lady Gaga’s weed. Fundamentally, our deepest desire is to be seen as someone of value, to be loved. This need to be appreciated drives a songwriter to perform on stage. Perhaps it is the need to fulfill another’s desire for love that drives me to write love songs.
After much thought on this today, I conclude that I believe I write love songs, not simply to be appreciated or to appreciate, but rather to be together. I write love songs to feel less alone.
Here’s the lyrics of what I think is the best love song I’ve ever written:
"Dust n’ Delirium"
If the stars are soon to fade away
Their faces, colors fade to gray
May they grin at the delight we make
Outta dust n’ delirium
Searching for a flickering light
That promises to leave one night
When no one will suspect her flight
The wisdom of the lightning bug
No one knows when she’ll be leaving
No one knows when she’ll return
All these angels are made for flying
Between the ocean and the sun
The life you have, it has to end
And everything will pass again
The stones you throw,
They hold your name
They’ve already been everything
Even dust n’ delirium
When I first encountered business and its evil sidekick marketing, I was disgusted. My narrow view of business was an image more nightmarish than Death of a Salesman. In my imagination, business bore the black heart of fairy tale villains, its pale flesh wrapped in oxford cloth and khaki, wreaking of artificial fragrance and starch. I ran with my childish spirit as far from the beast as possible. Or so I thought.
When I opened Art Box Records in April 2004, I quickly realized the beast of capitalism had found me. I was a 23 year old entrepreneur and I about to bankrupt my first company.
I looked to the icons of counter culture for ideas that would save me from the fate of the commercial world– I followed artists into the woods. Their mythic lives, originally fed to me through the lens of MTV and VH1 Behind the Music, seemed to rise above the bullshit of business. Most of all, artists appeared to expose the wizard of marketing, unmasking the manipulators and liars of the propaganda machinery.
And like any great fairy tale, the hero faces the beast. And the first battle changed everything; especially the hero, especially the beast.
I am proud to announce I have officially launched my third company this week- StoryWork, Inc, a new media marketing and ad agency focused on storytelling strategies developed by me and my business partner and Vice President, Faye Petree.
Third times a charm.
"Start where you are." - Pema Chödrön
I am allowing myself to love painting again. Slow painting, almost Venetian mode, inspired by the art adorning a Virctorian home I was blessed to inhabit while on the road with Gypsy Fiddle, Faye Petree. On the walls were Renoir studies and sketches of civil war generals. After two days of staring into those paintings and the John H. Belter chair, her gesture and lines full of grace and nostalgia, I was compelled like a force of nature to paint her. The following morning Faye agreed to model the Belter chair. Pictured above is the work in progress. The gesture of the woman is a morning conversation. Faye is a skilled model and the chair is divine. I believe I will love this painting.
With the fall is the changing of the season, and the beginning of a new chapter of creative life. Follow this blog and follow the progress of my totally random creative life.
Love and fare thee well,
"Art has no right answer. The best we can hope for is an interesting answer" - Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?
We live in a new economy: a connection economy. In this new paradigm, the work of artists is more valuable and more needed than ever. As an artist, I have both successfully connected with an audience and repeatedly failed. Failure is something I’ve had to learn how to accept in my life. Failure has become fuel where it once was a wash of shame and hesitation.
I say, “Fail, my dears!”. Fail often and fail fast. Test out your ideas and move through the moments of disconnect. Try not to let your mind linger in the muck. Keep going. You got in this art game because you have great taste. Stay in it because you have the grit to push through your failures.
I love you.