Ever feel like you've been army-crawling through the desert without a cool drink of water when you happen upon an oasis paradise? I won't lie- Starting my music business, which balances creation, performance, and education, while figuring out how to be a single mom and trying to maintain some semblance of personal balance nearly took me under. It did take me under a few times. Thank god for my friends, family, and support networks who helped me through the toughest times.
This past weekend I was visited by such a thunderstorm of blessings that it felt like a healing salve for my soul. I've been working on a cover album of Mother Hips songs with Tim Bluhm, who has been recovering from a paragliding accident for the past year. It's been a magical project which helped reconnect me to my authentic musicality and voice, and connected me to an amazing community of songwriters and music makers. We are working with Pat Sansone of Wilco, who is laying down some gorgeous symphonic Mellotron arrangements of strings and other instruments behind my piano/vocal arrangements. Dave Schools of Widespread Panic and Hard Working Americans tracked Bass on one of the songs, and I recorded vocal doubles and harmonies over the past couple of weeks in studio. I hadn't heard the results of the last few sessions yet. It was the first Friday of Summer Vacation, and my mother, daughter and I were headed to the Mendocino Woodlands for Folk Dance Camp.
My parents met in this lovely folk-dancing community who have been dancing together for 40 years, and it was a full-circle moment to be heading there with my mother and 7 year old daughter. As we were about to hit the road, the new tracks from the Mother Hips cover album started coming through, and the sounds were beautiful and exciting.
The weekend with my family in sacred woodlands surrounded by music and community was full of love, connection, family, and people dancing and making music together for all the right reasons. Because they love it. Because it makes them feel alive. Because it connects them and brings them joy. Because it creates more love in the world. Playing, Singing, and Dancing for Love.
After a Macedonian singing workshop I sat in a sunny meadow and channeled the sounds of middle eastern scales into a song of my own. My daughter magically found a friend from school at the camp, and watching them dance along the forest paths playing make-believe reminded me of my childhood in those same woods. It was a sacred weekend of connection, love, family, music, and creation.
One of the very first songs I wrote with the guitar (my dad's old nylon string), Open, drew on these Balkan and Middle Eastern sounds. Below are videos of Open and a snippet of the song I started writing in the meadow, still in progress. I hope these songs inspire you to do a little playing for love of your own. If you do, I'd love for you to share your inspiration with me.
Alison is a Musician, Writer, Teacher and Mother. She lives in rural Sonoma County with her daughter, Ella.