Springtime for Songwriters

For many students throughout Minnesota, Spring Break has begun, and for once it actually feels like spring. The ice shanties are long gone from the lakes, most of the ice has melted, and snow is now just another 4-letter word to file away for a rainy day. I've spent the last couple of weeks in my hometown of Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California. The purpose of these trips was partly to see friends and family, but like with every trip I take, was also to gather new inspiration for songwriting and music-making. While I have devoted much of the last couple of years not to writing new songs, rather to finishing existing works, I'm eagerly seeking a return to the creative role that I embrace with great curiosity and unquenchable interest. Writing new songs is like discovering a mysterious package of seeds in the gardening closet. You aren't sure when you bought them or if someone left them laying around. But you go through that package of seeds and examine each tiny little specimen, planting the lot and tending to the garden all the same, to see what fruits come from your labor. 

So far it's mainly larger concepts and song "universes" I want to create within. There's no timeframe, no recording or release strategy. The return to Springtime is also a rebirth of seeing the world and one's surroundings from a position of discovery and play. For now, I'm enjoying the notes on the guitar, and the words from my pen as all the unhurried sounds of a forest. Birds sing without stage, and florae and fauna go through their days searching instinctually only for what allows them to thrive and grow. There is only the stress of being, not of a thousand unseeable pressures that crowd the minds of modern life.

Late last summer, my Dad - a lifelong musician - and I produced an album of his music; songs that he knew and loved that I basically forced him to record. It was a fun process - I got to find some of my favorite musical peers and convince them to come track some tunes in a makeshift recording studio I set up at a local church. Over the course of that fall, I edited and added a few overdubs to the sessions and just this last week, Frank Koza made his debut performance introducing his first album, the 7-song EP Family Roots.  

We got to perform together and were joined in support to a packed (albeit small venue) audience of family and friends. It was definitely a highlight in a career that I continue to be surprised by in so many ways. When it comes down to it, I am beyond grateful to have the privilege of sharing music in this life with so many other wonderful human beings.  

Ramping up to the performance, we took a mini-rehearsal trip to the Oregon Coast and between drilling the songs, we found a little time to take advantage of the salty air, the meditative waves and postcard-perfect scenery. 

Now I'm off to sail the Pacific with some of my best friends old and new. Sounds more adventurous than it really is - we'll likely troll conservatively around in a marina until I barf - but technically, we'll be on a sail boat in the Pacific Ocean. I guess I like to keep my stories open-ended. 

But before that, I have one more Acoustic Cabin Video to post as of now. There'll be more coming later in April and beyond that I'll have some new things to share, including new music/video from my band Rogue Valley, and a special-secret-side-project that nobody knows about..



1 comment

  • Dave Polus

    Dave Polus Portage, MI

    Chris! Where can one find your dad's debut EP??

    Chris! Where can one find your dad's debut EP??

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