I was given an amazing opportunity this week. I've been working as an intern at the Arts in the Gap summer program hosted by Lincoln Memorial University, and during this final week we hosted an acoustic music festival led by Steve Gulley. Participants got to learn from world-renowned bluegrass musicians, teaching everything from guitar to dobro, and I got to join in on Steve's songwriting class for the week. Steve has written songs for Blue Highway, Kenny & Amanda Smith, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and the song "Through the Window of a Train," which Steve co-wrote with Tim Stafford, was voted IBMA Song tf the Year for 2008. The man has both talent and experience in the industry, so it meant a lot when he told me and the other 4 students in the class that the song we had written was production worthy. We even got the opportunity to perform it live in front of a crowd on the last night of the festival. I enjoyed the class so much that I wrote another song on the side. I showed Steve the lyrics at the end of the week, and he told me that he would like to have me come to his studio to try and have someone record it for possible production. Obviously, this is a tremendous honor, and I am deeply grateful.
The reason I brought all this up is because, before last week, I hadn’t even considered song writing. My writing has mostly been focused on novels or nonfiction pieces like these articles or critiques, and the closest I’ve ever come to songwriting are some silly parodies. I played percussion in high school, but it was bass drum which, as most marching band members know, meant I was valued more for my back muscles than my musical ability. I wouldn’t say I’m musically inept, but I definitely never considered that someone would tell me I have talent for creating music. More importantly, I never thought I’d have so much fun writing music. I’ve talked before about my struggles as a writer, and it’s been a while since I’ve been as excited to share a project I’d been working on as I had been from this song. There’s this feeling of eagerness to hear someone’s reaction to my work, and an immense satisfaction from someone else appreciating my craft. It's a great feeling, one that all artists should get to feel more often.
So if you’re feeling bored with whatever you usually find passion in, I encourage you to pick up something new. It will help you reignite that spark, and you might find something you love even more.