although I did make it down to the campus yesterday just in time to lead my “workshop” (yes, I have mixed feelings about that word)–which consisted of my revisiting the Dylan Songs as Nobel Literature debate, though this time I came armed with the last paragraph of Bob’s acceptance speech (“Nobel Lecture”), in which he pretty much says the same thing that I and many others have said–basically: thanks for this, it’s cool, I appreciate it, but don’t forget the difference between songs and literature–song lyrics are just a part of the form; and the intention of the work itself matters a lot. That’s a bit of a bad paraphrase; here’s the link to the whole thing, which I recommend: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/dylan-lecture.html
I also recited my favorite Denis Johnson poem from memory (terrifying though I’ve known it for years), talked about poems and how the white space on a poem’s page matters as much as negative space in a painting–unlike, say, a printout of lyrics to a song (though yes, those spaces between verses do mean something, though more mechanical). Recited a Japanese haiku, and followed with a James Wright poem in which some of those same “eastern silences” are employed.
It was a little awkward–I had my laptop with semi-prepared remarks on screen, up on a podium, along with a couple of books. When I stopped to play a song to illustrate a point, I’d walk over, and sit down in a chair and play. Then stand back up, go to the podium, and start talking again. (I did this with Dylan’s “Jokerman”, and Chuck Berry’s “Nadine”–speaking the lyric (meant to be sung), then picking up the guitar and singing it. Saying some things about how the instrumental part of the song could not just be forgotten (in the name of calling song lyrics “poetry”)–that that music positively informed those words, as great as they are, with rhythm, with melody, with energy.
I had a hard time relaxing, simply because I don’t do this lecturing/workshop thing much–but was able to settle down when I did just sit down and play a couple of my songs (“Colfax”, “Saint on a Chain”, and a small bit of “GTO”) and talk about theme. Took plenty of good questions, and tried my damnedest to answer them generously, though it’s hard when you feel like some of your own creative process still remains a mystery to your own self, all these years later. For me, that mystery is part of what keeps this fun. I don’t want to know exactly what I’m doing all the time, when I’m writing. For me it’s always about what’s there leading you to what’s next–and that what’s next is something you didn’t know or think about previously. Plenty of self-help books about creativity as self-discovery out there–though I guess I’m restricting my view here to what I’m working on–the song, or the poem. Or the blog post, ha ha. Not necessarily: me. Though the spirits know I could use some revision, too . . . .
I left the building and hunted down some horrible fast food (I was that hungry)–came back here to the hotel and decompressed. Happy to have done what I think was a pretty good job, and glad to have so many polite, smart folks there listening. I ended up staying in, though–not going to the open mic reading at Bartola’s, the venue I’ll be playing this evening, starting early, around 6 I think. My new friend Ethan, who I’ve yet to meet in person, will open the show.
Instead of going out, I caught up on some work–some writing I need to do for the upcoming publicity campaign. Walked across the parking lot to the Casey’s and bought one beer, some baked Lay’s, a bag of pistachios, and an apple of still-undetermined quality. Turned on the television long enough to get disgusted with the behavior of yet another member of the president’s cabinet (didn’t take long!), then settled in and read more of the James Wright biography, by Jonathan Blunk, that I’ve been raving about lately. Slept soundly from midnight til 3, when I woke up from a “mild” nightmare. Wrote in my journal for twenty minutes, then fell out again, til about 8.
I’m going to now get my ass up, get dressed, and go hear what Bobbie Ann Mason has to say, over on campus.
The funding campaign has been going exactly a week now; THANK YOU so much for your participation. (This just in: Level 7 is now SOLD OUT!) In 7 days we’ve raised almost $8K in sponsorship contributions. I am humbled and honored by your appreciation of what I do. If you missed the blog post last week, where the different levels of sponsorship are laid out, here’s a link to it: http://kg.kevingordon.net/sponsor-the-new-release-now-kg-upcoming-shows/ We’ll be moving that info to its own page here on the site very soon. More soon–gotta run.
Happy Friday, everyone,
This morning I’ve immersed myself in the relative solitude and total squalor that is my little man-cave at the back of the house–a room built onto the main structure some decades ago, long before we got here. Sunporch? Mudroom? Whatever its original purpose, (in addition to still being a mudroom; dang, just take a look at the floor over there) it’s now my primary listening environment, where the really good speakers and DAC (digital audio converter) plugged into an iMac are; it’s also the location of two filing cabinets, most of my poetry books, music books, the “real” stereo, vinyl collection, and storage of art inventory for my little gallery business/obsession. Amps in a corner, guitars hanging on the wall, and other music gear here and there. And then there are the random piles of “miscellaneous”–whose beginnings can’t be remembered by the pile-er, me, and whatever guiding logic was used in the grouping of said objects remains ever-elusive. Plenty of dusty mystery, ripe for a sort-file-toss operation. Life is rich!
One big show this week: Right here in East Nashville, this Saturday, March 31, I’ll be splitting the early show at The 5 Spot with my pal Stuffy Shmitt; I’ll play at 6pm, and Stuffy and his fabulous band will follow at 7. The cover–a lousy five bucks. Cheap, baby! So bring yourself, and a friend or three, and let’s throw down.
KG at Southern Literary Festival: Next week I’m thrilled to be a guest presenter at the Southern Literary Festival, held this year at the University of Tennessee at Martin campus. I’ll be conducting a workshop on Thursday afternoon, April 5, at 2pm, and performing a solo show on Friday evening at 5pm. It’s always fun to step out of the routine and be a part of events like this. Check the link for more info and a schedule of events: http://www.southernliteraryfestival.org/
SPONSOR THE NEW RELEASE NOW!: I’ve been getting emails from you. Texts. Comments spiked with profanity made through open windows of passing cars when I’m out walking. “I want to send you money for the new record–hurry up already!” And other less pleasant remarks. Okay, friends. It is time. Issues and decisions concerning the new record’s release are picking up in number and pace with each passing day. We are planning on an early July release date, which in Music-Business-Land, is back around that last corner, yesterday. Lots to do quickly to make this happen, and yes: you, my friends, can help the cause. After initially considering using only the PledgeMusic platform for the campaign, I’ve had to face the fact that the “homegrown” approach has substantial benefits: revenue comes in in real time, just like expenses–with PledgeMusic the funds raised are not available until after all “rewards packages” have been delivered. Practically speaking, that’s just not feasible, since most, if not all, remaining costs are cash-on-the-barrelhead transactions–no “net 30” here; “prepaid” is the keyword. My goal is to offer you something special in return for your sponsorship purchase–access to exclusive content, and items that can be delivered in a timely manner. (AND, hint, hint–there’ll be a little something extra coming soon, for the first 50 email list subscribers who purchase a sponsorship package!) We’re gonna keep it simple, with any handmade/home-built items being limited in number (and therefore more valuable!). Payments are processed through PayPal; if you have an aversion to PayPal, you can certainly send a check/money order payable to Kevin Gordon, to Kevin Gordon Music, PO Box 60493, Nashville, TN 37206. Please include your email address so that we can promptly notify you that we’ve received your payment. If you want to send funds via Venmo, email me for information: firstname.lastname@example.org
All packages include exclusive sponsors-only early access to a soon-to-be-published page on my site, where you can see images, video, and read a recording journal, all about the new baby–which will be updated until the official release date. Also, to state the obvious: you are participating in a PRE-SALE campaign, which means of course that you are buying these items before they are available. Products will be delivered by sometime in June. Being that this is also a campaign to fund the production of the new release, there are no refunds. And yes, friends, the “rewards” below may change; if so, you will be notified, and whatever is substituted will be of equal or greater value than the original item. The campaign will only run til June 1. If you have any questions, suggestions, etc. please email me: email@example.com
LEVEL 1: Standard DOWNLOAD of the new release, prior to official release date. $10
LEVEL 2: High-res DOWNLOAD (96kHz/24bit sample rate files; better-than-CD quality) of new release, prior to official release date. $20
LEVEL 3: Signed CD of new release, delivered prior to official release date. $25
LEVEL 4: Signed CD of new release, and unisex T-shirt w/related design. $50
LEVEL 5: Signed vinyl LP of new release (w/standard download included), and T-shirt. $60
LEVEL 6: Signed LP(w/standard download included), signed CD, and T-shirt. $75
LEVEL 7: Signed CD or vinyl LP(w/standard download included), plus T-shirt, plus handwritten lyrics on acid-free paper, to any KG song. $100 (ONLY 10 available)
LEVEL 8: Signed CD or vinyl LP(w/standard download included), T-shirt, plus a signed, numbered, limited-edition book containing the lyrics, as well as my comments on the songs on the record. $200 (ONLY 10 available)
LEVEL 9: Solo house concert plus signed CD or vinyl, plus a t-shirt. I’ll play a show in your living room; minimum of 2 45-minute sets. If you know me, you know that I tend to go long . . . . $1500 + transportation/lodging costs (I’ll drive it if 500 miles from Nashville or less, or if it can be scheduled during a regular tour–either way, coordination with my team will be crucial.)
LEVEL 10: Trio house concert (KG plus bass & drums); signed CD or vinyl, and a t-shirt. We’ll play a show in your living room; minimum of 2 45-minute sets. If you know me, you know that I tend to go long . . . . $2500 + transportation/lodging costs (I’ll drive it if 500 miles from Nashville or less, or if it can be scheduled during a regular tour–either way, coordination with my team will be crucial.)
Want to do something different? Happy to oblige. Build your own package! Just email me and we can talk: firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU for your enduring and motivating support, material and otherwise. I could not do this without YOU.
3/14/18 Good evening from the sofa. I’m here with the Mrs. and a snoring (again) dog; I’ve got one eye on Netflix, one here on the “page”. Thinking, thinking. Having some red wine with the kale salad I made (my cooking is, unfortunately for, and unfairly to, my spouse, a rare thing). We’re just back […]
Feels so good when the fever breaks. But it did give me an odd perspective on the world in front of me—I was totally captivated by the simplest things: the smell of a just-ripped-open banana, cool rush of damp breeze rattling the window screen and blowing across my face as the storms rolled in Saturday […]