Wow! This has been a month. While I’ve written literally hundreds of songs throughout my life, I’ve never taken the time to write a complete, coherent album on my own. Not only that, I’ve never written this much music in a single month. So far I’ve got 12 songs written (about 45 minutes of music), two fairly complete ideas to use still, and three studio tests which I’m really proud of. I’ve begun working out the final album structure, moving songs around and listening to how all of it fits together. It’s really interesting to see how these songs are beginning to relate to one-another as I look for ways to connect the dots.
One interesting theme that keeps popping up is peace and reconciliation. One reason why I started writing a Motown-ish album was that I had learned Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Help Us All” to play for the Songwriter Showcase and I was so impressed at the feel and message that I wanted to keep working in that same vein. While I’ve stuck to many of the pop themes that classic Motown songs used (love, heartbreak, city living) I also keep coming back to the struggles people live with today: a military wife waiting for her husband to come home, a kid growing up in East L.A. with gang life all around him, the tragedy of Haiti, and the poverty and apathy in our own neighborhoods. I didn’t want to write a political album, but as I dove into the library of Motown music from the mid 60s and early 70s, I couldn’t help but pick up the undertone of discontent in regards to civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and the breakdown of urban communities. The stories I’m telling aren’t the stories of black America from that time – they’re my own and they’re relevant to here and now – but they’re also timeless in the sense that the situations we’re living with right now are so similar.
Amy and I are working out some way for me to record the album in the next few weeks. I think we’ve come to a deal that will get the album finished with the possibility of an album release party soon. Stay tuned for more!