Friday, May 23, 2008

Girlyman Rocks! On Concerts and Music

Girlyman is a trio of folk-rock singer/songwriters, originally based out of New York City but now living in Atlanta. I describe them as a cross between Peter, Paul, and Mary and the Indigo Girls. They've actually opened for the Indigo Girls and Dar Williams (which is where we discovered them).

The first time I heard their music, I loved it! They have gorgeous harmonies, clever lyrics, and toe-tapping beats. Last week Mike and I went to hear them in concert at Mississippi Studios, which is a tiny, hip musical venue on very happening N. Mississippi Street in Portland. We went with two other couples, and as we were leaving the concert, one of the guys and I agreed that if we were to be in a band, Girlyman would be the type of band that would appeal to us--the beautiful harmonies, eclectic styling, and sheer fun of it all.

Not only are they amazing singer/songwriters (they write almost all of their own music), but they are also lively performers. I've never attended a concert where there was more spontaneous silliness. When the women were tuning in between songs, Nate would start composing--on the spot--one of his zany tuning songs, and the women would then start harmonizing, while they were still tuning!! Ty and Doris play several different instruments (the aspiring mandolin player in me was captivated by the mandolin playing), and they included several really silly songs, including tributes to all three major presidential candidates (without expressing their preference for one).

They have three studio CDs out and have just produced a live album, which includes concert banter and some of the tuning songs. If you haven't heard Girlyman, I highly recommend that you check them out!

In recent weeks I've been playing in a band with other musical members of my highly unconventional, progressive Lutheran-Catholic church. We are called "Consorting with Papists." We have been recruited to perform at two retirement parties for our priest. It's been great fun, but it has made me realize how much I enjoy music and need to focus more of my energy on becoming a better musician. I've always taken music only half seriously, which has not allowed me to advance my skills much.

I've been playing the guitar for 33 years, and I'm contemplating the purchase of a new guitar. I've never owned a new--or even near-new--guitar in my whole life. Taking up mandolin has been a blast, too, but I really need to find a way to practice both of them more. And maybe I will even get back into song writing. The last time I wrote a song was for my wedding, 18 years ago!

Girlyman inspires me to make music again...and to make better music!

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