reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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old friends. [k.s. friday]

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my sweet momma used to quip, “make new friends, but keep the old.  one is silver and the other’s gold.”  i believe it came from her girl scout leadership days.  a song, those are wise lyrics.

OLD FRIENDS appears in two versions on my first album RELEASED FROM THE HEART.  as track 3, OLD FRIENDS is a longer composition, a wide passionate spectrum of emotion.  as track 13, OLD FRIENDS REVISITED is shorter, quieter, more reflective, even wistful.

about my very oldest friends i feel both ways.  i am passionate about remembering (always remembering) my long island friendships, susan and marc and crunch and joe-z, especially.  times spent growing, talking, arguing, debating, adventuring, laughing, camping, driving, beaching, traveling, listening to music, frisbee-ing, making apple pies, biking, boating, scuba-diving, fishing, living life.  i look back in my mind’s eye wistfully and am filled with love for them.

about my old friends and my new friends i feel both ways.  i am passionate about how they stand in it with me.  they each know who they are reading this.  they will recognize themselves when i thank them for times spent together.  for the times they supported me when i needed it, for the times they supported me when i didn’t need it.  for the times they have listened and talked when i needed it, for the times they have listened and talked when i didn’t need it.  for adventures, laughter, good food, coffee and wine.  for playing music, scouring around for fun stuff to do, antiquing, dancing, pontoon-boating, playing games, potlucking, sharing opinions and challenging assumptions, giving and receiving words of wisdom, and the telling of our stories.  so much life; i know it would be impossible to do without them and i am filled with love for them.

we are fortunate, we human beings.  we are aware of our friends, the ever-giving gift of  friendship. remembering.  always remembering.

and we know the value of silver and gold.

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OLD FRIENDS from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 


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watershed. [k.s. friday]

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watershed definition

i can feel it.  it’s not something i can put words to.  it’s mysterious and undefinable.  but it’s coming.  there is a turning point.  right around the corner.

i walk into this new year and there’s something different…there is an underlying vibration i can feel – viscerally – a pulse, a quivering – that is present.

when it was time to pick a piece of my music for this week’s studio melange, i was drawn to this one….full of angst and wonder and sedimentary layers and mica and minor…..full of questions.

2019.  it has been nine years since i recorded a full-length album of any sort and seventeen years since a full-length vocal.  is it time?  to record?  to let it go?

i can feel it.  it’s not something i can put words to.  it’s mysterious and undefinable.  but it’s coming.  there is a turning point.  right around the corner.

a watershed.

download AS IT IS on iTUNES or on CDBaby.com

read DAVID’S thoughts on WATERSHED

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WATERSHED from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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figure it out. [k.s. friday]

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in all the chicken-scratch-notes i have about this piece of music, i have written in the presence of a heartbeat.  the pulse that spans the entire 6 minutes 14 seconds, this heartbeat starts the piece. it is throughout the piece.  it ends the piece.  it is no accident that this composition seems interminable, ever returning to the theme; figuring “it” out often seems that way, a curse of perseverating analysis paralysis, depending on what “it” is.

i just erased what i had next written about this.  i couldn’t help but talk about my repeated use of a rising leading tone gesture in the theme, f# to g, f# to g, off the beaten major root path, but instead the path of starting on my ever-loved ninth in the e minor key, a key that resonates so often with people.  then i thought, “blahblahblah!!” geeeesh.  that’s way too much information.  so i erased it.  (yes…there were even more details before i erased it!)

i composed this at a time that was laden with things to sort, to figure out, to resolve.  it is one of the longest pieces i have recorded.  there are moments you can hear the almost-there-ness of it, but, like life, it reverts back to the initial themes, the initial questions.  and then, punctuating it, from time to time, a firm melodic gesture (f#-g-f#-e) where you can hear the lyrics in your head, “figure it out.”  much easier said than done, eh?  but our hearts keep beating.

purchase the album RIGHT NOW or download FIGURE IT OUT on iTUNES or CDBaby

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FIGURE IT OUT from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

 

 


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longing. [k.s. friday]

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i first wrote and recorded this piece while i was working on the twin LET ME TAKE YOU BACK albums.  performing the tunes of the 60s and 70s made me feel wistful; memories flooded every note.  i’d remember dancing to a song at a prom or listening over and over to another in my room in the basement.  they made me picture the windows rolled down in my little blue vw driving on the open roads out east on long island and they brought me the sweet smell of warm sand on crab meadow beach with my red round ball and chain transistor radio.Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 4.44.47 PM  they had me thinking about the songs coming from my sister’s room and the songs my big brother would play on his guitar.  so it wasn’t a stretch to write a piece that was all about longing and reminiscing and memories, stories that were deeply set in my heart, times that had gone by.  later on we orchestrated this piece for the album AS IT IS.  i still associate it with the twin retro albums; the cello line gets me every time.  it makes me want to take out all my photo albums and set up a white sheet in the living room to watch the carousels of 35mm slides my poppo called “film funnies”.  longing.  indeed.

download LONGING track 13 from AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

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LONGING from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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and goodnight. [k.s. friday]

andgoodnight song box

when i saw aly a few weeks ago she was holding her sweet baby boy landon in her arms and she told me that every night he goes to sleep with this album playing.  ian joked that landon doesn’t make it much past the first three pieces, so maybe they should start it in the middle so they would be able to hear more of it.  either way, hearing snippets or the whole hour of lullabies, i am touched that this little boy is gently going off to sleep with this music playing him into dreams.

i recorded this album after many others.  i had already recorded six original cds, three christmas albums, two retro 60s/70s albums, two hymn albums and several singles by this point.  but many of the shops stocking my albums and listeners who had purchased albums asked me about a lullaby album.  it was with the picture in my heart of rocking (or walking) my own children to sleep that i researched lullabies, wrote a couple original pieces and spent time in the studio at yamaha artist services in nyc recording this.

some of my most precious memories are of My Girl or My Boy drifting off to sleep as i sat in the rocking chair in the nursery watching the seasons change out the window.  i would read goodnight moon and sing quietly to them.  then i would tiptoe out of the room, careful to avoid the spots in the old wood floor that would creak under my steps.

and so, it is an amazing thing knowing that there are moms and dads out there in the world, rocking tenderly or softly slipping out of their nursery with my album AND GOODNIGHT playing their cherished baby into sweet sleep.

 

download the album AND GOODNIGHT on iTUNES or CDBaby for your nursery iPOD

read DAVID’S thoughts about this K.S. FRIDAY

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AND GOODNIGHT from AND GOODNIGHT-A LULLABY ALBUM ©️ 2005 kerri sherwood

 


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the chase. [chicken marsala monday]

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dogdog drags babycat across the wood floors through the house with babycat’s head in his mouth.  at first, when dogdog was new to the family, it really frightened us and we admonished dogga for dragging the cat around.  but then we realized that it was a game.  if dogdog wasn’t playing, babycat would slap at dogdog with his claw-paw and make the chase start.  it mattered not who “won” the match, for there was no obvious winner. (although i must say that it appears that babycat is indeed the alpha in the house.)  most important for the two of them was the chase.  just having fun.

it’s the same with anticipation.  i can clearly remember having great anticipation for something-or-other, relishing that feeling, the adrenalin rush, the quickening of heart, the excitement i could feel.  when the actual Thing happened, it wasn’t nearly as delicious as what led up to it – the anticipation, the process, the chase to it.  the Thing was almost anti-climactic, a sort of denouement of all the details getting there.

albums are kind of like that.  the process of writing, practicing, the anticipation, the work, chasing the perfect recording.  and then, the tying up of loose ends, the post-project letdown. as much as i wish i could, there is no way i can control what the ‘catch’ will be, whether or not the music will resonate with listeners, whether or not the album will do well in the market.

as an artist, it is all the magic in the middle that matters to me.  the chase.

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it’s not the catch, it’s the chase that matters ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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in transition. [k.s. friday]

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in pondering what to write about this piece,  i took out the jacket for the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART.  my first full-length album, released in 1995, an hour of my original solo piano compositions, i dedicated it to my big brother wayne who i had lost a few years prior, but whose presence i could feel as i worked on this project.

in the jacket notes, next to this piece IN TRANSITION, i wrote “many changes for many around me.  changes give us time and impetus to sort through (and feel) the stuff of our lives – the transitional time.”  that would explain the minor, a key that invokes going inside.

i guess i will have to defer back to that.  it’s no different now than it was then.  there are still “many changes for many around me”.  i would have thought that things would feather out on the change seesaw, maybe leveling out a bit.  but now, 23 years later from those moments of recording remotely on stage in an auditorium at northwestern university, i see that life continues to be fluid, change continues to happen, we still have to sort and feel and go with the flow, we are still learning, growing, changing, we are ever on that seesaw.  still in transition.

 

purchase the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART or download IN TRANSITION track 8 on iTUNES or CDBaby

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IN TRANSITION from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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pulling weeds. [k.s. friday]

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a number of years ago i planted a small seedling of lavender in my backyard garden over by the fence.  i was wanting to tend this carefully and, eventually, be able to go outside and snip sprigs of lavender – for vases, for the pillows of visiting family or friends.

it was slowwww.

soon after, i found that the patch of black-eyed susans was entering the spot where the lavender was.  black-eyed susans are beautiful and happy flowers, so i hesitated to do anything about this.  i pulled the weeds in the garden and continued to hope for a flourishing lavender patch living side by side with what-would-be bright yellow blooms.

but then i talked to a friend.  she told me that as diligent as i was about pulling the weeds, i also needed to pare back the black-eyed susans.  she said the lavender needed space and air, its own dirt.

i followed her directions and carefully dug down to the roots of the black-eyed susans and transplanted them away from the lavender.  i could almost feel the lavender breathe.

later, in the summer, with clippers in hand, i walked outside, over to the little garden by the fence, vase in hand, and, in the midst of a heavenly scent-cloud, snipped healthy sprigs of purple.

then i added this piece to the track line-up for the album RIGHT NOW.

PURCHASE the album RIGHT NOW on kerrisherwood.com or DOWNLOAD the track PULLING WEEDS track 8 from RIGHT NOW on iTUNES or CDBaby.com

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PULLING WEEDS from RIGHT NOW ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood


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count on you [k.s. friday]

count on you song box copy

i drove back and forth and back and forth to nashville when i recorded this album, each time returning with a cd of the work we had done on the album.  i’d play it numerous times, taking notes to share with my producer, re-writing, practicing, sometimes sharing the songs-where-they-were-at-the-time with others.

joan was the one who told me i needed a “strong woman” song included on this album.  so i walked across the street home, directly into my studio and wrote one.

now, this isn’t my favorite song – it’s a little kitschy if you ask me – but i have had many tell me how much they like it and one of my favorite performances of it was when beth’s students sang it.  (i was long-term-subbing for her. she’s a dear friend and an amazing choir teacher in a middle school in our district.)  those kids really rose to the occasion and kitschy fell by the wayside in favor of strength and power and belief in themselves.

recently d and i listened to some of my first recordings.  they were from 1979-80 and recorded in a studio in a town called port washington on the north shore of long island.  i had found a cassette (now isn’t that retro word dating me!) and we have a boombox (another retro word) that plays cassettes so we settled in to listen to the three songs on what would now be called an EP.

one of the songs is called leaving and is a song i wrote for my parents as they retired and moved from our long island home to florida.  i remembered that song well.

the other two?  well, it’s funny.  i could sing every word, but i didn’t remember the intense emotion behind them.  THESE were my #metoo songs, i discovered (rediscovered?) as i listened.  one of these days i might share these songs, not because they are great songs but because they are truth and every artist has songs that are life-defining.  not the ones necessarily that chart (although those are lovely, indeed!) but the ones that speak from deep inside, with lyrics or music that must be spoken.  these two songs were written by a vulnerable (and pretty angry) young woman who wanted to unleash the power of her crayon and live out loud, who definitely wanted to live without fear, who tried hard to break away from an experience i still would rather forget and who prayed – alone at the time – beseeching words.  all this is what i wrote about in this week’s melange.

my heart goes out to all those women who are also card-carrying #metoo survivors.  the out-loud ones and the silent ones.  my wish for each of you: unleash your crayon, live without fear, break away, pray with another, count on you.

from this song of today’s melange post COUNT ON YOU, which may be more #metoo and less kitschy than i thought,  “just move forward and then believe – you gotta trust…in you.”

DOWNLOAD the song COUNT ON YOU track 12 AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTUNES or CDBaby or purchase the CD on kerrisherwood.com

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COUNT ON YOU from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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peace. as it is. [k.s. friday]

peace song box

i distinctly remember recording this.  i was at yamaha artist services in nyc and it was winter.  the word “peace” was on a list of words i wanted to use as titles for pieces.  “peace” is a big word for me….i’ve talked about how there are peace signs and the word peace all over our home and it was no different when i wrote this.  the trouble with writing and using a big word is that you feel an imperative to make it count.  there is a kind of heavy emphasis on this choice to use THIS word as a title – that you write well enough to support such a big word, that you do it justice, that it FEELS what the word feels like.  it’s super-charged with self-induced pressure.

but the moments i spent composing this were extraordinarily special and i was wrapped in a cloak of peacefulness and love.  it is not a complex piece of music; it has a repeating theme and, like a song with lyrics, returns to that theme again and again.  like statement-question-answer-lift-statement-question-answer-lift structure.

“it’s fine” ken, in his infinite wisdom, orchestrated this so my heart weeps with gratitude each time i listen.  cello lines and strings and french horn pull the simple melody out of the place of simplicity and reach, for me, a depth of being.

every artist has compositions that are their favorites, the ones that really express who they are. maybe it’s because i can so distinctly remember initially recording this.  maybe it’s because i remember being back in the studio in chicago with ken as he tracked the other instrumentation.  maybe it’s because it’s THAT word, the piece with THAT title.    regardless of the reason, THIS is one of mine.

download PEACE track 5 on AS IT IS on iTunes or on CDBaby

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PEACE from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood