ache, and art

One of the remarkable things about being a musician is that there are no rules. There’s no right way or wrong way to be one. You can experiment with every aspect of making up a song, and there’s no one way to listen to it.

ache

But I do follow one rule: to honor the difference between an ache and a work of art.

An ache in itself is just that. It can affect you or you can ignore it.

But the art that treats the experience that made me ache is something altogether different. The aching is transformed, it’s alchemized: by a period of sensitivity, a moment of clarity, and a certain objectivity that doesn’t surrender the emotion but gives it form.

I could write a song about something that has gone wrong in my life, but it would not be a good song until it went through this alchemy. Otherwise, it’s not a song, really, it’s just complaining.

All my songwriting is an attempt to talk about the aching, whatever the cause. I never want it to ease; I don’t believe it’s meant to. I don’t care to master it. I just want to free it:

It’s up to the song to weep all my tears, and embrace everything with its ache.