You have no idea how long I’ve been holding that subject title in. And if my sudden use of puns shocks you for some reason – well just take a glance up at my blog title and remember who you’re reading. Also – I will post the winner to this weekend’s giveaway later this week once I total up all the entries and account for all the bonus points people earned. Keep your eyes peeled!
So last week I talked about my classical background and how I’ve come to admire artists who can make those songs approachable to a modern audience. This week I’m going to a different end of the spectrum. As much as I talk about liking certain genres it honestly comes down to what individual artists do with the music for me. I’ve also mentioned in interviews and in conversations with friends how a good song is like a good story – the only real difference is it’s more concise and structured differently than the sorts of things a novelist or short story writer would pen (Truly, I’m envious of songwriters. I wish I could be that concise yet poignant).
A good song (like a story) should evoke an emotional response from the listener. A really good song can be interpreted in multiple ways that differ from person to person and even from the artist’s original intentions. The story in a song doesn’t necessarily have to be narrative. The beautiful thing about being human is that we relate to sounds and metaphors so even veiled references and half-formed ideas in a three or four-minute piece can trigger empathy and cause our imaginations to fill in the blanks. And for me, G Tom Mac (aka Gerard McMann) is amazing at producing songs that tell a story and evoke an emotional response.
For those of you skittering off to hit Wikipedia I can guarantee that you’ve heard something by him. Best known for the featured song in the movie The Lost Boys (Cry Little Sister), his songs have also been featured in television (Scrubs and Witchblade among others), films (Emerging Past, Chasing Amy, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and ten thousand others). He’s done music editing and arranging, as well as written songs for the likes of Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey, and many have covered his work (everyone from KISS to Carly Simon, and he won a Grammy in 2011 for work on Eminem’s Recovery album). He’s pretty much done everything in the whole wide world and rocks at it.
His music happens to be great stuff to sew to (not sure if he’d take that as a compliment or not but there you go…) and as I’m stuck behind a machine for a good 9-15 hours a day depending on the time of year, I listen to his music a lot. For me, at least, I never really think of the songs as “oh this one came from this movie…or this is obviously about that…” They’re great prompts and soundscapes for my own imagination. Truly, the only time I may have flung one of his CDs across a room in a fit of irritation was when I was in the middle of the health scare a few years ago and songs on his self-titled album cut a little too close to some of the emotional turbulence I was feeling. Now, looking back, I have no idea why they bugged me…I have a completely different take on that same exact set of songs. This is the mark of a fantastic songwriter – that same exact group of tunes totally made me think in vastly different directions depending on where I was at personally at the time. They’re timeless in that respect. At the moment every time I listen to different tracks I get inspired to start plotting and pre-writing a novel I’ve been scared to approach until recently.
I’ve had the good fortune to meet G a couple of times and see him play live. He’s a lovely guy and great fun to listen to – if you get a chance to see him at a con or even to listen to his interviews on blog talk radio I highly recommend it. The anecdotes and observations that come out of his mouth are killer. When I saw him perform he was doing an acoustic set with him on guitar and vocals and Lost Boy cast member Brooke McCarter on percussion – and they nailed it and kept on nailing it. I’m always highly skeptical of really stripped-down versions of rock songs because I’ve seen many done so very badly. I shouldn’t have worried. Both guys were flawless and the whole show thrummed with small venue intensity and good music.
I have a few of his albums and they get played quite a bit…except for when people sneak into my domain and steal them because they are fantastic (the albums, not the people who walk off with them). I still can’t figure out if G’s just led a hell of a life and embraced every experience with open arms and a pen or if he’s that good at tapping into how people feel about the littlest of things. Besides the writing, the instrumentation he uses and sounds he captures are so textured and glorious I can’t stand it! He’s funky, he’s rock-based, but so melodic at the same time. And I still marvel at how effortless his vocals are.
G has a new album coming out Tomorrow April 10 so if you need an excuse to get into his music right now – here it is! And because he’s such a good guy I really want to help get the word out about his new album. We all know that I love to promote the things I love and his music definitely falls under this category.
And because this is a music post and great big embedded things entice people to click on them more than little links – here are some previews of what you have to look forward to:
And if you’re one of the lucky that are near the Virginia Beach area or are going to Blood on the Beach on April 20-22 G will be performing there as well!