“Her Song,” the B Side

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I wrote “Her Song” in June of 2005 when my oldest daughter was 11 and entrenched in the challenges of middle school navigation. “Her Song” is a look into the mind and feelings of a young girl on the brink of adulthood for whom I care deeply but could not always reach or understand.

I recorded “Her Song” this past summer in Dave’s studio. Again, Dave did an amazing job helping to refine the arrangement. He also added a bass line and acoustic guitar solo that are right on the money. I have thought of this song as a good B Side to “Flowers.” I can picture it on a Vinyl 45 Single. Maybe someday.

Enjoy listening and let me know what you think.

The Benefits of Blogging and Gigging….

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As I woke up this morning reflecting on my first GIG with Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy, I asked myself what was so fun and rewarding about this type of experience. Over the past week, I had also been contemplating why I was enjoying writing the blog and what I realized was this. There were some common threads that pulled me towards both.

The thing about blogging that is different than writing an essay or more formal paper is that it allows you a space to jot down ideas in a variety of ways without the pressure of having to be “perfect.” It is a journey rather than a destination and as journeys often go, there is no real ending or final product to worry about, mistakes happen (and it’s ok), ideas evolve, unexpected events occur, and if you allow it, the path may lead to a place of discovery that you would not have found had you tried to over plan it.

Gigging can offer the same freedom to grow and evolve. Getting out and playing in front of an audience on a regular basis allows you the opportunity to try new things, to make mistakes, to perfect your technique and presentation, and to connect with others. It offers you the chance to put aside fears of failure or not being perfect in favor of embarking on a journey where the unexpected is the norm. The key is to keep moving, keep evolving, keep listening, keep playing.

Last night, as we performed to an intimate audience, we realized the benefits of embarking on this musical journey. Through some hard work, commitment to creativity, support of one another, and a willingness to take small risks, we were able to put out some music that made people smile, groove a little, and connect to some great tunes. What could be more fun and rewarding than that?

Fortini's

Peter and I with Fotini (One of the Owners of Fortini’s Restaurant, Bolton, MA) after the show.

Pulling Together Some Last Minute Tunes ….

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Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy will be playing this Friday night at Fortini’s Restaurant in Bolton, MA. Our goal has been to begin booking gigs after the New Year, but this one came along and we are really excited! We realized, however, we needed to add a few more songs to our list in order to fill up the 2 1/2 hours. This is what we came up with..

(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone, written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and made famous by Paul Revere & the Raiders, who recorded and released it in May of 1966 on their Midnight Ride album. The Monkees also released a version in November of 1966 which made it to the top of the charts. I recently heard Steppin’ Stone when I went out to see my brother-in-law’s band over Thanksgiving weekend. They did a splendid version and I immediately knew it would be a good one for us.

The other song we added this week is Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift. Covering Taylor Swift is not an easy task but after many requests from my 18 year old daughter, we thought it would be fun to try. We chose Everything Has Changed because it is not only a beautifully written song, but it also features British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran. This vocal and guitar duo seemed like a perfect combo to cover.

If you have the chance, come down to Fortini’s Restaurant (544 Wattaquadock Hill, Bolton, MA) this Friday night, December 12, and check out the rest of our music. We’ll be starting at 7.

In the Studio with “Flowers”

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I wrote “Flowers” in the winter of 2006 while taking a course in Craniosacral Therapy. As we explored the deeper parts of ourselves, I came across a space within myself that held an old and elusive memory of my father, who died when I was only 2.

The song “Flowers” is about the importance of my relationship with my dad, but how quickly it ended and the difficulty in holding on to the memories. Sometimes they surface and hint at a rich connection, but always, they quickly fade.

This summer, I had the privilege of working with a talented musician and friend, Dave Parker. We worked through a couple of my original songs and chose two to record, one of which was “Flowers.” Dave made some insightful additions to the song as well as created and played drums and bass on the recording. Oh yeah, he also recorded the song in his new studio, an amazingly talented guy. Thanks, Dave!

Here is the final recording. Let me know what you think.

A Note About Bob Dylan. “The Tunes They are a Changin”

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Bob Dylan

I had the good fortune to see Bob Dylan and “his band” perform at the Orpheum Theatre last Friday night, November 14. As you can imagine, the environment was warm and intimate, the volume and tone masterful, the crowd nostalgic, and Bob, well Bob was and continues to be, “Forever Young.”

The Band played a combination of old favorites like “Tangled up in Blue” and “Simple Twist of Fate” as well as many songs that I did not recognize from his newer albums (the man is still cranking them out). Bob was in classic form, cool and collected and although his vocal cords were showing wear, he still managed to belt out his poetry with the same heartfelt soul that attracted attention in the early 60s.

The magic of the show was not surprising. After all, Bob Dylan is one of the most acclaimed artists of all time and he undoubtedly has access to some of the best supporting musicians and creative staff in the world today. What did surprise me about the performance, however, was how differently he approached some of his old classics.

I have had this conversation many times with my musical friends. Is it more valuable to cover a song detail by detail so that it sounds as close to the original as possible or better to put your own twist on it? I have always been on the side of adding my own spin. After all, I have mostly covered larger band songs with a two part act and substituted the traditional male lead with my female vocals. There is no way I could sound remotely like the original presentations, even if I tried. However, the main reason I strive to “cover” not “copy” a song is that I believe that music is a merging of the art and the artist. I am not Bob Dylan so I will never deliver a song like Bob Dylan. The best renditions, in my opinion, come when the musician is able to connect on a soul level with the essence of the composition. The best songs are those that have such a universal essence that they are easily interpreted in as many varied ways as there are different people interpreting them.

As I sat listening to Bob and His Band play “She Belongs to Me” early in the first set, it took me a minute to recognize the song. The rendition was so completely different than the original version I was use to hearing. Bob was reinventing his own music in a way that was refreshing and new. The crowd loved it, because by changing the tunes and the delivery, Dylan was revealing a new part of himself. A true gift that we all appreciated.

“She Belongs to Me” by Bob Dylan,
Covered by Wendy and Peter
(song)

“She Belongs to Me” was one of the first songs Peter and I attempted to play together and one that came out in our own unique way without much effort. Ours is a very different version than those played by Bob Dylan or anyone else for that matter. But, that is exactly how we want it to be. Enjoy listening!

Slaters, Bolton, MA – November 13, 2014

Peter and I have been working hard putting together a couple of sets that we can take out after the New Year. Had the chance to play 4 at Slater’s in Bolton Thursday night, two Bill Withers tunes, an original, and Whipping Post.

Check out this version of Whipping Post we recorded during a practice session Wednesday. A little rough but with more practice and tweaking, know this one will continue to be a blast to cover.

PS…Love the open mic at Slater’s on Thursday nights. Warm atmosphere, great crowd, good musicians, and tasty brick oven pizza!

What’s in a Name?

I was born on January 1,1964 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Jane and James Wright. My mother named me Wendy, after the protagonist in the Disney fairytale, Peter Pan. She says she wanted me to keep my youthful spirit and playful nature throughout my life. So far, I have.

Not only did my mother give me my name, but she also gave me the gift of music. She was a music teacher and violinist and got me started on many instruments. It wasn’t until I took her folk guitar class, at age 11, that I realized how much fun the guitar could be. A few chords, some words, and an enthusiastic group of comrades, and the world was yours. As long as I had music to play and songs to sing, I would never have to grow up!

I got more into electric guitar and rock music when I was in high school, and even tried my hand at writing, but it wasn’t until my late 30s that I became more committed. I began taking lessons, found other musicians to play with and started playing out at local festivals, farmer’s markets, and other events. Over the last 10 years, I have written over a dozen songs and recently finished recording two of them.

Just this summer, I started playing music with an old acquaintance who has since become a good friend. I had no idea how well he could sing and play!! and guess what? His name is Peter. Currently, we are putting together a couple of sets and are planning to hit some local venues within the next few months. When we realized we were Wendy and Peter, we couldn’t resist choosing a name from the characters in Peter Pan. After some careful thought, we are going with “Wendy Darling and the Lost Boy,” which can change to “Boys” if we add more musicians. Our goal is to put together some music (covers and originals) with a contagious groove, great harmonies, outstanding solos, a variety of sounds and instruments, and of course, to never, never grow up!