This week, I had the pleasure of listening to the ultra-talented Ben Webb, a performer whom I’d never heard of before, but whose music instantly reminded me of several other artists. Webb’s music is dynamic, multi-faceted, and speaks of people’s many transitions through life.
Just like driving, I have a very hard time trying to write a scene without music playing unless its a very specific scene that requires silence. In the car, I need there to be some other noise besides the rolling of tires on asphalt, the rush of air as cars pass, and the obnoxious honking of other vehicles wanting you to get out of their way. And just like when your driving, it’s good to find the right music for your mindset and the trip you’re about to take. In my current project, Night Time, Dotted Line, the entire novel is about two characters traveling from one coast of the United States to the other and the things they come across along the way. The whole novel basically takes place on the road. In my search to find good road music, I came across a song that I’d almost completely forgotten about who fits both of the characters perfectly, Brandi Carlile.
There are many songs that have really inspired me while working on my situational comedy novella, Night Time, Dotted Line. Most of these pieces are indie, folk, and a couple pop songs. It amazes me though that almost everyday, I hear something new that just seems to jive with everything happening in the manuscript and with the two characters. Night Time, Dotted Line is a dramedy about two characters who’ve just met one another who have agreed to go on a 3000 mile road trip across the country together. Along the way they run into several strange situations and people, but also have to contend with one another. The journey allows them to find the faults in themselves and one another and ultimately, try to heal from experiences that have been haunting them. This is a huge change from most of my other works which are much, MUCH darker. But it also allows me to listen to much more upbeat music during the darkest time of the year in Maine; winter. While working my way toward the end of the second draft, I’ve come across a wonderful band with deep lyrics but also that feel good vibe that makes fantastic road music: Kings of Convenience.
I’ve never known a band that would remind me of the sun as much as Fleet Foxes. No matter what song I’m listening to by them, there is always a scene with a gentle sunlight bathing the scene. It’s refreshing and light during a time of the year that can be hard to get through because of the snow and cold. This week after the recent snowpocalypse, I’ve been craving this folksy-bluesy music, dreaming of the spring and summer to come, of flowers, wearing skirts and spending afternoons perusing through shops with no hurry to be anywhere later in the day. I miss this. And when I listen to Fleet Foxes, I can see the scenes in my head as clear as I can see this computer sitting in my lap. I’m thankful that I was introduced to Fleet Foxes a few years ago by a friend from work. New Years Day, as we drove in her car over frost-heaved roads late at night to get the spare apartment key from my parent’s house (because I’d locked myself out), I listened to White Winter Hymnal and was forever grateful for that first exposure. Today, I’ll be sharing five songs with you and what I see when I listen to them. Enjoy.
I’m going to be open and honest with you. It is my belief that some video games are works of art, call them interactive works of art. I’m picky about them in that they must have some form of a story or progression and that it is unique, the atmosphere must be gripping (including visuals and music), and that the gameplay should really make one think, make one deal with psychological puzzles and decisions. When I find such a game that I’m excited about, I’ll watch a playthrough or walkthrough on it on the mighty Youtube. Recently, I’ve been swept up in the hype that is Tell-Tale’s The Walking Dead game. Having released its final episode of the first season, the conclusion blew everyone away, including me. I cried. Hard. I wasn’t the only one. Nearly every major Let’s Player that I’ve seen has also ended the game bawling their eyes out. Adding to the heart-breaking moment was an emotionally driven song from an artist I’d never heard of before, Alela Diane. I quickly searched her on Spotify and folks, I now have a new favorite singer.
Alela Diane is an American singer/songwriter from Oregon. Most of her songs are soft indie pieces that really drill you in the heart. Her style reminds me of a fusion of Dido and Patty Griffin. When she sings, she even sounds at times like Sarah McLachlan (which is saying allot!) I’ve found that while listening to her, it’s very easy to get into the heads of characters needing (but not necessarily wanting) to make a change for their own survival. You sense that quiet desperation in Diane’s voice when she sings the following six songs that I’ve selected. I’ve been inspired to work on not only my apocalyptic novel, but also my western/horror series, and even parts of a historical fiction that I abandoned long ago! Below are a selection of songs by Alela Diane and what I’ve imagined when I listen to them.