Since late August I’ve been co-writing songs with Rebecca Reynolds (aka “Becca” here on the RR). As a songwriter, never prolific, and often completely mired in a swamp of doubt
when writing, I have read many books on art and creativity; Art & Fear by Bayles & Orland, The War of Art by Pressfield, On Writer’s Block by Nelson, On Writing by King, Walking on Water by L’Engle, The Music Lesson by Wooten, along with books like The Success Principles by Canfield, and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey. In talking with Rebecca I quickly became interested in her research on creativity and how it operates, due to my personal search and frequent sense of lack in certain areas.
The first fact I noted was that her findings on creativity were similar to the principles of reliance, surrender, and trust I’ve found to be crucial in living the Christian life. Secondly, I realized that in certain areas I had applied these principles, but in songwriting I had not. I was still mired in Romans 7: “The songs I want to write, I’m not writing. The songs I don’t want to write, I keep writing.” Wretched songwriter that I am!
Rebecca has patiently hammered all those principles right back into my creativity where they belong. Romans 7 is the self-effort chapter, a chronicle of a self trying to be good by its own steam, rather than faith in the Source. In my creative life in the past few years, I had been on the same treadmill from which I’d been freed in other areas.
The main thing I have learned to do is relax, rest, “be of good courage,” and leap into the dark.
Rebecca comes up with some beautiful images culled from years of sensory input and reflection, especially from nature. These images are often subtly combined with Biblical allusions. Since August we’ve written the 12-14 songs for my next recording, a largely secular bluegrass and acoustic music collection, plus many more. I’m still learning how to do “frequent songwriting” rather than grabbing an inspiration or two once every six months and being primarily a player, but I’ve learned a lot.
This song may be used in the future on another cd, but I did this quick demo in my studio just for fun with two guitars and vocal to put on on Facebook and the Rabbit Room.
For guitar and recording geeks, the guitars were recorded with a pair of Neumann KM54s, through a Millennia Media dual preamp, a Millennia Media EQ, using Black Lion converters. The Black Lion converters were the best thing I could have done for my studio.
Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he's not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin' on audiences around the world, he's taking care of his donkey named "Trash" and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.