Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New York City's Very Own Guitar Pull

What comes to mind when you think of music? Is it dancing? Is it a night out on the town? Maybe it's seeing your favorite artist perform live or singing karaoke with your friends. Or, perhaps, it brings back a memory, eliciting an emotion or feeling. There are many many many types of music, accompanying all sorts activities and invoking various kinds of feelings. But what happens when you strip away all of the accompanied noises? You have words.

When I think about music, I think about lyrics. I'm a lyric person. I listen to understand, to feel something, to connect. And there's nothing more special to me than to fully understand why a song was written and hear it performed in its purest form. That's exactly what you get when you attend a guitar pull. It's the most country-sounding term, and rightfully so - it's roots are in country music. But for all you other singer-songwriter aficionados, it just might be your new favorite thing. 

By definition, "the 'guitar pull' is a tradition unique to country music, and it probably originated in a living room or out on a back porch. Typically, several would-be singer- songwriters would gather at a friend's house and take turns singing songs they wrote or playing old favorites."

Well, ladies and gentlemen, last night I attended my very first guitar pull, and in New York City of all places. I had the pleasure of hanging with Brian Falduto, Molly Adele Brown, Adam Melchor and Leanne Weiss for an evening and was pleasantly surprised. The setting at Brother Jimmys was very relaxed, yet very comforting. It felt like I was amongst a bunch of friends, though I'd never met any of them. Leanne accurately described it when she said "I feel like I'm in the middle of Nashville." They took turns performing songs they either wrote or loved, and shared insight to the songs meaning or background. Here's what you missed:

Molly Adele Brown's emotional song about her dad passing away made me think about how therapeutic music really is. It has the power to heal - whether you're the one writing it, performing it, or on the receiving end in the crowd. And her cover of Ring of Fire was pretty great. Adam Melchor's rendition of Laundry Room by the Avett Brothers had me convinced he wrote the song. He sang it with such conviction and emotion, I believed every word he was saying. And if his voice wasn't impressive enough (yes, some unexpected high notes!), the guy can kill it on the guitar, and has a personality that makes you want to be his best friend. Blown away. It was Brian Fadulto's first time performing his songs to the public and I was glad to be there to witness it. The songs he shared were all very relatable (because we all go through breakups) and I admire his courage to do so. I was not expecting that deep voice of his, and I'm still trying to figure out who he sounds like. He also organized the entire event which speaks volumes about his passion. Leanne Weiss performed her new title track, Momentum (amongst many other kick-ass songs) and I loved it. It's a motivational song describing someone fearlessly in pursuit of their dreams, lighting the fire in your soul. I also remember thinking the entire time that she sounded so much like Sara Evans, and that's not a bad thing in my book.

There were songs about breakups, lost loved ones, life stories, pain, sadness, happiness, good times, bad times, and about being strong and fearless. For a solid hour, I was captivated. And I'd be here all night if told you about each and every song, because I loved them all. But I learned something very important from the artists that I must share. Chase your dreams. Watching each of them up on stage performing their songs, doing something they love really resonated with me. It made me think of E.E. Cumming's quote, "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are," and I've never believed that more than I do now. So, if nothing else, today have some courage. Try something you've always wanted to do. These four people did, and I'd say they look pretty darn happy.

I could write all night long about each of the talented artists. But instead, I'll let you check them out for yourselves. If you missed it, don't worry. I have a feeling this won't be the last of its kind. Right, Brian?

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next thirty years