2010 was my least prolific songwriting year of the last decade. I think I know the reason: I did not write much. The only way that good songs are going to come is to go through the process of writing butt-cringingly dreadful crap. Then, at some point something good will come out of it. I tried to kick start things over the Christmas break. Our family took a quick trip up to Monterey to spend the night and go to the aquarium. It was a beautiful drive up the 101. Green hills and dark clouds. The section from SLO to just south of Salinas is great. There is little traffic, great scenery and lots of cool little towns. We got off in Chualar and took the back roads towards Monterey. It was nice to get out of Dodge. When I drive through that section it makes me want to just take photographs, write songs, and eat good Mexican food.
Anyways, the following morning in Monterey I went for a jog. The wind was cold and strong off the ocean and there were a few sprinkles. I jogged in a neighborhood above Cannery Row and at some point I got hit with a whiff of chimney smoke mixed with saltwater air. That is a smell that immediately transports me back to the days of traveling and backpacking in Chile. It seems we all have those smells that catch us off guard and take us to a place. It is instantaneous. It is such a great feeling.
I took the Chimney smoke and sea catalyst and started writing a song about it. I spent a few days trying to edit the song and put music to it, but to no avail. The narrative fell flat. It was wordy, rife with cliches, and not very compelling. Oh well. I might revisit it and try to shape it. But at least I tried which is more than I can say for the better part of the last year.
And by the way, my wife and I have a show set up for Saturday, January 22nd and Downtown Brew. We are opening up for Diego’s Umbrella. They are a great, eclectic Gypsy Folk act. Kind of a toned down version of Gogol Bordello. Korie from Downtown Brew called and asked us to play. We have not played Downtown Brew as an electric Duo for at least two years. It should be fun but it means we have to get our shit together. Take care of the kids, go to work, clean the house, exercise, cook, shop for provisions, and somewhere somehow find time to practice.