Participating in that funeral service made me think about my music, to which I have been listening in recent days. On the way to the funeral and back home several days ago, I played during my trip to El Paso all of my studio recordings (33 songs). Since then, I listened to all of my home-recorded songs that I have created between October, 1999 until now. The "Larry's New Originals" playlist features another 72 songs.
I supposed as the "songwriting parent" of those songs, I should be proud of all of them. There might be a few I would change, and I know that some songs bear similarities to others in terms of melody and chord progression.
What I realized is that, for nearly every song, I can remember where I was when I wrote it and/or why I wrote it. Most songs were the result of a life event, a challenge that I was facing or that someone I knew was trying to meet with courage and resolve, current happenings in the world, or a specific encounter with a passage from the Bible or Jewish tradition that led me fashion a melody for a time-honored text.
The songs I have written are, first and foremost, a chronicle of my life, my soul, the events happening around me, and changes going inside me.
And I would admit that, first and foremost, I am writing for myself. I approach my songs like the articles and sermons I create, as messages that communicate values that are essential to my heritage.
In a few cases, a song has resonated enough for someone else that he or she has chosen to adopt it for a setting in which he or she is leading prayer or offering a musical sentiment at a community gathering. I am honored and touched when that happens.
I am not sure how I might approach writing a song that I would want other people to sing. People listening to my music and, as a result, singing along is a welcome by-product of my own creative process.
The 100-plus songs that I have written are like a book, an autobiography, turning what is inside of me into an "open secret," because songs are often a form of self-disclosure for the songwriter.
I will be turning 65 later this year. I have not decided whether or not to make at least one more trip to the studio to bring some of my music to life with broader instrumentation, harmonies, and the brightness that the recording process adds to a song.
In any case, the various places where my newer songs are available--on Reverbnation, Soundcloud, YouTube and on this website - offer a glimpse at the remainder of my life story as expressed in music.
Keep listening and, if you so choose and feel moved to do so, sing along, even just a little, so that we can share my songs and my story.