If the book I am going to draft for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a soundtrack, I wouldn’t mind if Brandi Carlile’s new album, Give Up the Ghost, was it. I just can’t listen to it when I’m actually putting pen to page.
Let me explain. I think it’s part of my ADHD that listening to music during the act of writing doesn’t work for me. After much experimentation, the only music I can safely count on to leave me in a safe writing zone is cello music.
During all other times, I find music to be essential. Part of what makes writing such a great way to live is that writers, if they are doing their job well, are always observing, thinking, and imagining.During those hours between actually putting pen to paper, the right music provides a doorway. Everything from jazz to Mozart to heavy metal can express and in turn, provoke, all the thoughts and moods that novelists are challenged to put into long strings of full sentences and paragraphs.
As an angsty teen, it was Carly Simon and Carol King whose songs whispered with the pain, love and sincerity of a favorite novel. They were the first female singer/songwriters I loved. More recently there’s been Shawn Colvin and Mindy Smith. Now Brandi Carlile joins my list of “keepers.” Her clarion singing and songwriting voice has the same rare ability to sweep me into a world of emotional possibility.
Carlile’s music is a little bit country,a little rock n’roll. She has a musically talented, kick ass band. On one of my favorite songs, Pride and Joy, the way she uses her voice makes my arm hair stand on end. On this same track, powerful orchestrations meet, but don’t overwhelm her singing voice.
For every song that starts out as something that could stay a little too folksy and left of mellow for my taste, there is an amazing guitar solo, an energizing piano line (particularly on Caroline with piano accompaniment by Elton John) or lovely Beatle’s-like harmony (check out Oh Dear, another personal favorite ) This musical roller coaster doesn’t hurt my middle aged back. It didn’t surprise me one bit, when I read in the publicity materials that Carlile herself has ADHD.
To top it off, my two musical teenage daughters and I agree on something to listen to when we’re all together.
Dreams, the album’s first single, is one of the songs from this album that seems to have taken a bit of a hold on me as I enter writing mode. (as you may know, two of my recent posts have been about one vivid dream in particular)
How long, can you hold your breath?
Can you count to ten, can you let it pass?
To keep, can you keep it in?
Keep it behind lashes, can you make it last? – From Dreams
I’m headed over to iTunes to check out Carlile’s first two albums as well. I’m sure I’ll be listening to Give up the Ghost in the coming weeks. Just not while I’m writing! And, Brandi, if you’re out there, could you please come to the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach?
* Thanks to the One2One Network for providing me with Give up the Ghost, and introducing me to this fabulous artist. For anyone who wants to a taste of Carlile’s single, Dreams, there is a widget at the bottom of my sidebar.