Amy Mantis
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Posts tagged singer/songwriter
Acoustic Guitar and the Phrase "Singer/Songwriter"

My relationship with the acoustic guitar is one that blossomed in earnest over the past four months.  It really began about a year ago when I bought my Taylor, but it probably wasn't until at least six months after I bought it that I really began to develop a true love of the acoustic guitar.  Now I love playing the acoustic guitar.  These days I play it more than I play electric which is a surprise to me as much as it is to anyone who knows me.

See, when I first began playing guitar, I didn't want to be another girl that could play a few chords on her acoustic guitar.  I wanted to be the real thing.  So I solely played electric guitar (save for borrowing friends' guitars) for more than six years.  And even after I got my Martin I still wasn't terribly keen on the acoustic guitar.  It didn't hit me the way the electric guitar did at the outset.

It was a cliche.  And I didn't want to be a cliche.

I didn't want to be a singer/songwriter self-indulgent repetitious dink.  

The phrase "singer/songwriter" is thrown around too casually for my liking.  I love singer/songwriters.  But the real ones.  Carole King is a singer/songwriter.  James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young (he's everything), CSN(Y), those people are singer/songwriters.  The guy down the hall from me in my dorm at Berklee, a singer/songwriter?  Technically, if he sings and writes his own songs, yeah, he is, but is he really?  Bruce Springsteen is.  Taylor Goldsmith is.  Laura Marling is.  I feel like there's a level that needs to be ascertained before using the phrase "singer/songwriter."

I don't consider myself a singer/songwriter for a number of reasons.  Do I write my own songs?  Yes.  Do I sing them?  Yes.  Am I singer/songwriter?  Again, technically, but no, I'm not.  I'm not comfortable with calling myself that out of respect to those who came before me and truly are singer/songwriters.

I know, I know.  I know it's silly, but maybe in a little while (or a long while) I'll be more welcoming of the phrase "singer/songwriter."  But for now, I'm not.

While I'm Here, Let's Talk About Jackson Browne

October 25, 2013 (the date is for tumblr purposes)

I love Jackson Browne.  I legitimately love him.

I've been a fan for a while, but more recently I have REALLY taken to him.  This all coincides with my solo performing (which I am thoroughly enjoying, I must say).  I don't know when my newfound love it began, but it was recent.  

The funny thing is, I met Jackson about a year and a half ago.  Canary had a gig at a fundraiser event.  It was put on by our then-singer's uncle who happened to be buddies with Jackson - whose schedule enabled him to be a guest performer at this event.  Canary opened for Jackson Browne.  It was wicked cool. 

Since I knew he would be there, I went prepared.  I brought my vinyl copy of Running On Empty for him to sign.  At some point during the night, I went to my green room to do something.  Change shoes, grab CDs, whatever it was is irrelevant.  As I was walking into my room, Jackson was walking out of his room with John (the guy in charge/my singer's uncle/Jackson's friend).  I was caught off guard!  I asked Jackson if he'd sign my record, and he said he'd be glad to or something like that.  I ducked into my room, grabbed my record and a pen, and he signed it:

To Amy - make the road your own, Jackson Browne 

It only took me about 18 months to follow his advice, but it's better late than never! 

His record sits on my desk for me as a constant reminder.  I'm not done with Canary or anything, but I am taking control of myself a bit more.  It's felt good.  Really good. 

And I owe it all to Jackson. 

Joni Mitchell - Part One of Probably Many

February 2, 2013

I decided to dive into Joni Mitchell late last year.  Definitely one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.  She’s in a class all her own and is one of the most influential artists of all time.  We’re all fans of Joni.  Be it directly of her or someone she has influenced.

Joni has such an expansive body of work that it’s almost terrifying.  I really haven’t listened to that much of it extensively.  I’ve devoured the obvious records - Blue and Court And Spark.  I’m also partial to Hejira, which is still obvious.  Maybe they’re all obvious because she’s so obviously incredible.

And it’s not just because her lyrics and melodies are flawless.  She stands up for what she believes in.  She has a backbone.  She’s cut from a different cloth.  She’s fearless.  I strive to be like Joni Mitchell.  She was one of the biggest influences on Led Zeppelin.  If that’s not enough of a reason to adore her then I don’t know what is.

I need to read more about her to talk about her without hesitation, but she’s nothing shy of an incredible force.

And she dated the best looking guy in CSN and CSNY - Graham Nash.