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Inspiration: Suggestions? and Suggestions! 8.20.10

Posted by Sound Semantics in (not our) shows, allie's thoughts, inspiration.
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Nobody likes a whiner who doesn’t take steps to make things better.

I went on and on about feeling stuck and unsure how to move forward. I will now indulge in a brief update about what I’m doing to try to rekindle the flame, so to speak, and get moving. These are things that have worked for me before. These are things I’d recommend to anybody struggling to keep their artistic selves alive through a creative drought.

I would *love* to hear what your strategy is.
How do you keep yourself going?

Here’s my starter list…

  • Get inspired!
    There’s nothing to get me moving like hearing/seeing/reading/watching/understanding the products of other inspiration artists. This week I’ve been listening to some new music during the slow hours at work, courtesy of npr music’s First Listen … including S. Carey’s “All We Grow” and Ray LaMontagne’s “God Willin’ And The Creek Don’t Rise”.  Calling the albums “inspiring” seems insufficient, and calling them “music porn” seems inappropriate… so I guess they are somewhere in between. I don’t think they deserve a review from me because I’m not eloquent enough… but I do think they deserve a listen when you have time to check them out.  Also, reading is great!! I had forgotten or neglected the wonderful feeling I get from a great book. I recently read Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, whose writing I love. A lot. What are you reading? Listening to?
  • Get playing!
    Just because I’m self-exploring doesn’t mean we can’t stage-explore at the same time. The process of playing is incredibly cathartic and educating–both in practice and on stage, in different ways. We’re playing this Saturday morning at the Alberta Street Fair, and again for Labor Day weekend in Corvallis and then in Portland. It will be great to play for friends and strangers. From a performer perspective, I’m excited because it’s been a while and I love it. From a more personal perspective, I’m excited to step on the stage having accepted the challenge I’ve posed to myself–that is, to get back in the game, and more importantly get my heart back in it. 🙂  (By the way, you’ll find info for those three shows on our website.)
  • Get connected!
    Some of the best lessons I’ve learned don’t come from my own head, but come from watching other artists (or really, other humans) do what they love, sharing experiences with them, and learning as much as I can from the exchange. I have a tendency to shrink and hide when things are getting a little scary or uncertain. Screw that! I will laugh in the face of being busy, broke and frustrated, and I will get out there and participate in the community I love, the community that supports my passions. Even when I’m feeling shy. What better time to challenge myself! I wrote a bit about the music we heard and will hear this week at the bottom of the post.
  • CREATE!
    One of the hardest parts of the ‘funk’ is being afraid to face it. But.. let me reiterate possibly the most direct part of this post… screw that! I’m going to write more, and I don’t just mean these rambling blogs. This is an official statement. Next time I hear Eran’s guitar through the basement floor, I won’t put a pillow over my head and go to sleep. I’ll be a part of it! It’s been a while since I trusted myself enough but I’m tired of waiting. (By the way, I should mention that Eran is kicking-my-ass in the create department. He’s almost done with that animated video for Birdsong and we can’t wait to show it to you guys 🙂 )

In summary:
-I’m done whining!
-What do you do when you’re searching for inspiration?
-There’s a ton of great music out there, esp. in Portland.. esp. this week!
-I LOVE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!

Thanks for reading. ‘Til next time… 
❤ allie

Music & Shows
Earlier this week we heard some friends (old and new) play at The Know.   We came for Rainbow Jive Hammer, who opened up the evening. Their whole set was fun but I have to say I’m a sucker for “The Money” and “About Burning Bridges.” They could play those two songs 5 times each and I’d stay for the whole set. We were treated then to Cloud’s Rest, friends of a friend who were on tour from San Francisco. It feels great to support a touring band, knowing first hand how meaningful every friendly face is when you’re away from town. The lovely/trippy cello sounds caught my attention, clever lyrics kept it (“Sh!t Got Jacked” might be my favorite). I hope the rest of their journey goes well and that they make it back sometime. Night ended with A Cautionary Tale, whose name I’ve been hearing/reading for a while but hadn’t seen live until this week. They played a great set–accessible but never boring, original with a beautiful mix of sounds. I hope I get to hear them again soon when I’m more awake and can make it through to the very end.

Last night we heard Elke Robitaille play at East Burn. What a beautiful voice, and she & JP even managed to save my favorite song, “I’m Doing Fine,” for after we arrived. Thanks Elke 🙂  These two are really kind, and a lot of fun to listen to. Experiencing somebody else’s enjoyment of their own craft is the most convincing selling point for me, the audience member. Second to good music, which they have.

This weekend we’re going out to the Portland Folk Festival on Sunday to hear some of folk’s finest. On my wish-list: Thao & Mirah, Laura Gibson, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, and hopefully lots of other folks who I may never have heard before. I guess that links back in to “get inspired.” 🙂

Oh oh oh! And this is a bit off in the distance compared to the rest of the post, but on August 28th our friend Dillon Warnek will be coming down from the Seattle area to play at The Waypost here in Portland. If you didn’t hear him at out CD release (or even if you did), I strongly encourage you to come out for a coffee for a beer and listen with us. We’re not the only people who like him. Apparently The Seattle Weekly is catching on to  “baby-faced Warnek,” too.

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