Joseph Mancuso (josephmancuso) wrote,
Joseph Mancuso

Well-Timed Encouragement

So far, much of my work on this project has been administrative. Sure, i've been working to try to get my playing back into shape, as well as crunching on some newer material. A lot of my recent activity, however, has been focused on getting some infrastructure in place for the relaunch, now scheduled for 04 July.

As nice as it is to make progress on that front, hacking on website details and tightening video script revisions doesn't exactly make me feel like a musician. As silly as it sounds, part of me feels like i can't quite reclaim that title in the present tense without a little more substance.

I'm very happy to report that a little such substance has just come along. Last week, on Saturday evening, i started noodling with the basic beginnings of a song. Tonight, exactly one week later, i put the last finishing tweaks on a full version and cut myself a rough. Even when i was at the peak of my songwriting game, this would've been something of a rare accomplishment. Only a very few songs come to mind that went from zero to believable in as little or less time.

Of course, i can't really take too much credit for this. Music comes as it comes. It always has. I can take certain steps to listen for it, invite it, and maybe even coax it out enough to catch it and refine it, but there's usually no getting something from nothing. The seeds have to be there, in one form or another. ... and they have to grow when planted.

In this case, it started with my guitar, which is actually less common for me. With a few exceptions, most songs i've written start with a fragment of melody or lyrics, or at least a general concept that suggests a structure or energy. Here, it was just a very simple, elementary play upon the top two strings. I didn't think much of it, but i kept playing, and somehow it led me into a set of chord progressions. I took a few quick recordings, and slept on it.

While i wasn't crazy impressed with the first few snippets, i let myself play with them, and things grew. Over each of the next few nights, the idea moved forward just enough that i decided not to give up on it. By the latter half of the week, i had distinct melodic sections, a rough sense of overall form, and a precious few lines of starting lyrics. Thanks to some well-timed inspiration from a friend, i used my train commute time to expand on lyrical ideas from there.

Late yesterday, i put the last finishing touches on the lyrics (including a stubborn chorus that needed a little hammering), and set the roadmap. Tonight, i played through the whole thing for the first time. After adjusting a few transitions, i decided i really liked it, and cut a rough. In needing to name the file, i finally gave the song a title: "Surrounds Me".

It's know it's still very new, but i'll admit that i'm pretty excited about it. It's up-tempo, alternately dark and bright, fairly aggressive, lyrically playful, and not too far off from performable technically. I'm looking forward to putting this one on the menu for the first few picks of new material to release.

Most of all, i'm just very grateful. Especially now, this kind of kick to my musical momentum is a very welcome gift.

Tags: news, progress, songs, writing

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