on songwriting and community
“Writing songs is a strange thing. Lonely in its own way, so often done in a bedroom, in stolen moments of introspection. It can change your life a little, or simply keep you dreaming all day long, staring out the window, moving around words in your head. And then, once you’ve written songs, you gotta spend your money or someone else’s to record them, and then suddenly you’re driving around the cold snowy country, playing shows to nobody, or to not nobody… All for songs, that seem as ever both so ephemeral and so important.
And yet in this, there is a whole other thing. Friends. The community of people I have come to know through music, songwriters flung across my city, my country. It is always a joy to me to think of friends, their lives, conversations, moments we have shared. And then too, to think on their music, how it illuminates and shapes them, rising above and out of strange flows and eddies of their own peculiar hearts. A whole aspect of that person that there could be no other way of knowing. A creation of will and also a little compulsion, or maybe of no reason at all. A funny thing sometimes, somebody’s music. You get used to it, almost, but you forget that not everybody has this thing, trailing them around. Like a shadow, or maybe the opposite of a shadow…
And so when I travel, and people compliment what I do, I always want to introduce them to my friends. And I began this project in part to make those introductions. I also began it to simply to have fun, to learn from those I consider to be the best, to make less lonely that lonely process of writing songs. To allow other people to enter them, to change them. To go into other people’s songs and change them myself. A duet is a dynamic thing. You see it one way, but what about the way I see it? What happens if someone else walks into the room? Who are they, and what have they got to say? To who? What does it mean, this conversation? Isn’t that everything?
Or perhaps I am doing this simply to sit at the kitchen table with these people that I care for, with a sheet of paper, and try to create something, simply because we can, and it would be fun to do, and because we’ve got guitars, and a little recording setup in the basement…” – Tamara Lindeman