Archive for the Category »Our thoughts «

Welcome, 2012!

2012.  Hard to believe, ain’t it?  Aztec legend has it, this will be the world’s final year.  If that’s so, we have a lot of work to do.  If not, we have even more work to do.  Lots of people are making lists right now… Maybe you’re one of them.  Lists of things to accomplish this year, lists of things to avoid this year, lists of places to go, people to meet, pizzas to eat, etc.

Thornfield is making a list, too.  And we need your help to check off each item!

1. Find new venues.  We’ve been extremely honored to take the stage at CityGrounds coffee bar in Lincoln Park nearly every month in 2011.  Our residency there has expanded not only our love for performing and our steadily growing setlist… It has also expanded our wee little fan base and our love for each of you.  We still hope to make occasional visits to CityGrounds to perform, and lots and lots of visits to drink their incredible coffee.  But we also hope to broaden our experiences and exposure by exploring some new stages this year.

2. Record an actual album.  ha!  Oh yes, the wonders (and freeness) of Garage Band have kept us happy with not-bad live recordings to share with all our friends and mothers, but we would absolutely love to send our dear fans home from concerts with something tangible.  We’re still unsure as to whether this will involve one full-length album, or a few smaller EPs, but we’re excited to start the process and see where it takes us.

3. Share our music with more people.  We believe fiercely in the power of music to soften or quicken or lighten hearts.  Music is such a strong, beautiful gift, something to be given and received by everyone.  We also believe that each of our songs has a purpose in this world (Yes, even Dinosaur!), whether that be to expose injustice, to offer hope or to simply induce giggles.  Thus, we really want more people to hear it.

4. Travel.  Unfortunately, a full-out quit-our-jobs-and-buy-a-big-VW-van tour is not financially possible for us right now and may never be, but we do love a nice little road trip.  In December we had the pleasure of driving up to the cheese-headed heartland of Wisconsin for a wedding reception gig, complete with strange accommodations and very bad dancing (on our part, that is)… and we had a BLAST!  Chicago holds our hearts, but we also like stars, so you can count on our looking more regionally, if not internationally, for a few shows this year.

That’s our list as it stands right now.  But you may be wondering, What does this have to do with me??  Ah, you’re brilliant.  Thank you for asking.  Here’s what you can do:

A. Tell us where you want to see us play.  Whether in Chicago or in the Midwest generally, we want to know where you go to hear good live music.

B. Once we have an album, please buy it.  We can’t afford to make good recordings if we know there will be no return.  We’ll be sure to make it available at your favorite digital music sources, too, so have your Paypal account ready!  In the meantime, if you feel so inclined, you can help the recording process along by clicking on the Tip Top just over there (–>).  Every dollar helps!

C. Tell your friends about us.  And your children, and your parents, and your grandparents, and your priest, and your coworkers, students, teachers, acquaintances, random dudes on the street, etc.  We do not have a record label to promote us; we depend on you!

Thank you for letting us into your hearts and speakers in 2011.  And thank you in advance for continuing your support in 2012.  Whether it’s the end of time or not, it’s still just the beginning of Thornfield.

(And yes, I have been watching too much Doctor Who.)

Cheers,

Carrie

Category: Our thoughts  2 Comments

Creative Sunday: songwriting together

(by Jenna)

Hi friends! Just wanted to fill you in on what we’ve been up to since our last gig a couple weeks ago.

Though Eric, Carrie and I have been performing together for about 9 months, we usually do our song writing separately and bring (mostly) finished products to the table to share with the rest of the band. We decided that as part of our evolution as a band, we should bring our forces together for a Creative Sunday Afternoon. We weren’t exactly sure what would happen—would our claws come out? Would defensive tendencies crush the creative process? Would we experience joint writers’ block? Would someone’s guitar end up impaled on someone else’s melodica?

I am glad to report that it was not a disaster. With the help of some wine and coffee (as well as some fabulous lyrics from Eric’s brother John), we got into a musical mood and made it happen.

The lesson for us: we are able to work together in the creative process! And also: creating is hard work. Gratifying work—but not easy.

After 5 ½ hours together messing around with 3 guitars, a keyboard, a melodica, a djembe, a harmonica, a recorder and an egg shaker, we have three quasi-finished songs that we’re going to be polishing up to perform at our next gig.

By the end of the evening, with Carrie slouched on the couch in sheer exhaustion and Eric packing up his keyboard, I decided it was prime time to do a mini interview with my two bandmates. Catch ‘em while their defenses are down—that’s my motto.

So how has each of you affected the other’s songwriting?

C- Well Eric is a goofy person, and so it’s hard for me to be melancholy when he’s being so ridiculous.

E-She’s made me focus more on the melody and the singability of the song rather than harmonic or rhythmic flourishes.

C-Does that make me more of a folk writer, and you’re more of a classical writer?
E- I think my instincts are more classical and yours are more singer songwriter.

C- Also, a lot of my melancholy songs are pre-marriage. Maybe I was just a sadder person back then.

So what is this ‘Dinosaur’ song actually about?

C-Yes, yes, it is about something . . .  oh crap, I forgot.

E- John actually said something about the song a while ago . . .

C-Wait, I need to think about the lyrics . . . shoot, I really had a theory about this . . . Eric, sing it!

[Eric sings]

C- Um . . . oh . . . this conversation is showing the true character and unintelligibility of the artist.

How do you feel after you’ve written a song?

C-It depends on if it’s good or not.

 

Do you know when it’s good or bad?

C-I mean, I have my own spectrum of beauty, I guess . . . everyone has their own. Does that sound stupid? I mean, I can tell if something I’ve written is bad, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else is going to agree on what I think is ‘good.’

E-I was probably pretty excited about ‘Eloise’. (we performed this for the first time at our last gig; lyrics below)

C-‘Cause it came in one sitting, most of it. We thought of two short lines, Eric just started playing piano, and I started singing those lines. Then for a couple of weeks it didn’t go anywhere, and then we just sat down and started playing it and all the song came in one hour. It was 9:30 and I was like, “we’re just going to mess with this until 10 because I don’t want to mess with this all night,” and then I looked at the clock and it was 10:30 when we were done. I didn’t even think of stopping once we started going. I don’t think it’s like anything else that we have—that’s what makes it exciting.

Who is this Eloise, anyway?

E- It’s based on a real individual that we know. For obvious reasons, we won’t say who it is.

C-You’re making us sound like really mean people.

E-She certainly wouldn’t recognize herself in it, however.

How about the new song we just worked on, ‘Love is Home’?

C-This was unique, because we already had the words from George MacDonald and the music from Eric—we just had to marry them.

E-It was interesting, because I’ve actually set a lot of MacDonald’s writings to music, but this melody was written without thinking of MacDonald. So it was unlike the music I would have thought up if I had started with the words.

C-But it was good.

E-I’m glad to finally have that tune finished and out of my hair, though. An unfinished tune just does not leave you alone.

C-And they lived happily ever after. I’m happy with the song writing process as long as there’s some progress. But it is hard work . . . do you not think of it as hard work? What’s wrong with me? Do I have a bad work ethic?

E-It’s like swimming being hard work—it doesn’t feel like hard work.

C-It’s hard for me to get momentum going. Maybe that’s why we needed wine and coffee.

And for your reference, here are the lyrics to ‘Eloise’—come to our next gig and we’ll make sure to sing it for all y’all.

Eloise

 

Whatever you want, she’ll do as she pleases.

Eloise is… on her own.

You try to get close, but that’s when she freezes.

Eloise is… made of stone.

 

She’s soft as silk and hard as steel,

You might just wonder if she’s real.

She isn’t one to sit and pout.

She’ll kiss your feet then spit you out.

 

Your heart is a toy she ruthlessly teases.

Eloise is… awful deep.

She’ll cuddle up sweet, then leave you to Jesus.

Eloise is… not for keeps.

 

She will not rest until you’re hers,

And then, oh baby, how she purrs.

But once her claws are in real tight,

She’ll pull ‘em out and then she’ll bite.

 

Your future is dark, but you can’t resist it,

Eloise has… got ya good.

You know if you do, she’ll tear you to pieces

Eloise is… misunderstood.

 

She’ll pierce your eyes with hers until

You won’t do what you say you will.

There ain’t no use a’turnin’ back.

She’s on the prowl and she’ll attack.

 

And once she’s cozy on your knees,

Makin’ you a’ hug and squeeze.

She’ll make you cry for “Mercy, please!”

Naughty, naughty Eloise!

 

 

Category: Our thoughts  Comments off