I'm not particularly into political activism but that incident last week can't go unchecked.
I was shocked and saddened to hear about the latest school shooting in Oregon. What drove that young man to do what he did no one will ever know, but he had access to thirteen guns, which beggars belief. How the gun laws in the US can remain as they are after so many incidents eludes me. If the gun lobbies are so passionate about their right to bear arms then license the damn bullets.
Like I said, I'm no politician, my ammunition is music. We live in a world where a message can go around the world in seconds. We should create a powerful message.
I've been playing around with ideas for songs for a little while, but this just hit a nerve. The Project Motown song I'm writing about the shooting, 'Open Arms', may or may not get released, but if there's support I'd like to. I'll happily donate the proceeds to a charity supporting the victims of gun crime. I'll happily listen if you think you can contribute somehow. If you don't think you can, maybe you can share this message so it gets heard.
We have a right to reply to this madness, so let's reply.
A little while ago I published a short audio test that I carried out whilst investigating a sound for Project Motown. While I've enjoyed Motown songs for years I wanted to get down to the nuts and bolts and write new songs in a way that's faithful to the Motown sound of the sixties and seventies. I also want to do this publicly so anyone who's interested can come along for the ride. It's a 'just-for-fun' project, i.e. there's no budget, but I'm open to conversations, lyrics, collaborations, remote recording if you have a particular talent, even fully formed songs if you have them. If (like me) you just want to understand more about the history of the Motown sound, then you are most welcome too.
After setting up a Twitter account for the project (@ProjectMotown) a well known Motown historian commented on what I'd done:
I was overjoyed! This is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. So, I basically have to channel James Jamerson? A bit of a challenge as he was a truly unique player, one of the Funk Brothers who formed the backing band on most of the well known Motown hits. I won't give a full history of Jamerson here but if you're interested his Wikipedia page is a pretty fascinating read:
A quick search gave me a starting point, Stevie Wonder's 'I Was Made To Love Her'.
Another recommendation from Adam in the form of The Four Tops' 'Bernadette' and I really started to get a feel for Jameson's style.
This afternoon I watched a documentary on The Funk Brothers, which gives a huge amount of info on Jamerson and everyone else in the group, as well as an insight into the playing styles of each musician. Well worth a watch!
It's coffee time here at I-Can't-Believe-I-Do-This-For-A-Living Towers...I'm working on a huge but currently secret project (ssh), and hopefully I'll be able to share details soon.
In other news, 'Project Motown' has just started. I tend to have something else on the go when I'm working on TV stuff, variety helps the brain to switch off from one thing and onto another, and Motown couldn't be any further away. The idea is to write and record brand new songs but in the classic Motown style. I'm open to collaborations, and will definitely need vocalists at some point. It's all for fun, so let's see where it takes us!
I'll be posting updates to the Facebook page periodically so head over there if you want to stay up to date.
Right, back to the grindstone - Happy Friday one and all!
The ramblings of a music man.