today, tapebox tuesday brings you "piano", from 2014.
for as long as i've been writing songs and recording music, the process has almost always served as a necessary outlet for emotional release and self-examination. i'm not a religious person, but in some ways it can take on certain devotional characteristics: it can focus me, it can motivate me, it can teach me things i didn't know about myself. it can rejuvenate me when i feel spent. it can find me when i get lost.
the majority of my songs actually start out as piano compositions, which is ironic given that i never really learned how to play piano, technically-- i'm self-taught, and in such a way that i assume most piano players would scoff at. i play everything by ear, and in a fairly simplistic style. mostly just chords.
my songs generally start on piano because it's easier to find the subtleties of sound there, for me. the keys on a piano are somehow more accessible than the strings on a guitar, even in the limited capacity in which i play them. but through that simple understanding of the keyboard, i have found a surprisingly deep connection to my creativity, and it's been an invaluable asset to me. a stabilizing force in an unstable world.
i bring all of this up because the years from 2012 to 2015 were difficult for me. there were a lot of reasons, none of which really bear going into here, but suffice to say that it was a tough stretch of time. and during that tough stretch of time, things were worsened for me by a strained-- and at times impassable-- relationship to my music.
Beginning late in 2013, and throughout 2014, i was really at a loss. i wrote music, but it was angry music. it was frustrated music. it was music that was full of uncertainty, and hopelessness, and discord, and bitterness. and, perhaps not coincidentally, it was almost all written on the guitar. don't misunderstand-- i have a long, and affectionate history with my guitars. but it's just... different, somehow. i had really come to think of composing music on the piano as the purest way to reach into wherever it is that music comes from, even if the songs might ultimately end up being recorded with guitars-- the composing happened on my piano. but i had just stopped doing it. for nearly 2 years, i didn't.
so today's clip, "piano", was the first thing i wrote when i finally did decide to go back to my piano and try to make amends. it's about as simple a progression as you'll find, but that's not really the point-- it was a statement of re-connection; an admission of longing to go back to making music the way i had always made what i considered to be my best music-- quietly, thoughtfully, at my piano.