Once upon a time I had a discussion with a friend that ran a songwriter’s group. During that discussion we spoke about another mutual friend who was a bass player and how he sang and played bass at the same time.
Part of that discussion led to the idea of slap n pop, which is a technique used by some bass players to create more interesting rhythms for bass lines. I had mentioned the same technique could be used for guitars and be quite interesting.
The response was that it wouldn’t be possible.
Of course, I decided to grab a guitar and started messing around with playing a slap n pop style. What came out was a little progression that I wrote a song called “Falling In” too. Where obviously I’m singing over a slap n pop guitar part.
The irony, it won me an award a year later.
During this same time I was attending a large amount of songwriter events. Some were performances, others were song share type things, some judged, some for fun. One particular event was at a coffee shop in southern California.
At this event a song consultant guru type from Nashville was the moderator / leader for the evening. He was having people get up and play one song and he’d give some feedback. Kinda a performance thing, mixed with a little judging coupled with fun for hanging with other songwriters.
Everyone up to that point that had played, had played their song and gotten some great feedback on their song. Not much was said about anyone’s performance. Pretty standard fair as these things go.
Then I got up to play Falling In.
I proceed to play the song and something was very different about the venue once I got to the first verse. The room went dead quiet. For everyone else, there was some minor banter, not the kind of din that a musician couldn’t be heard over – but now… Silence.
When I got done, the moderator / guru / leader, aka Marc-Allen Barnette took a moment to think and then said “You are quite possibly a victim of your own coolness.”
I sat there for a moment wondering what the next words would be as I waited, like everyone else to hear what he had to say. Because what do you follow that up with?!?
He went on to explain how lovely he thought the song was. How the melody was really catchy and was already stuck in his head, but he was overtaken from enjoying the song itself by getting mesmerized in how it was being played on the guitar. He felt the actual performance of it was just as amazing to watch. Specifically with my hands, the movement and the stretch required to play it.
That was the first really wild thing said about that song, but it wasn’t the last. Though it was far from the craziest thing ever said about any of my music.
Needless to say, Falling In has been one song that tends to elicit some pretty amazing results with audiences. Whether it’s their rapt silence or their exclamations about how it’s played. Never ceases to amaze me how people react to it.
All because I was told it wasn’t possible to do something.