Who was I back then? How do art, authenticity & experience change over time? (stumbled upon old tracks & felt so odd)

Who was I back then? How do art, authenticity & experience change over time? (stumbled upon old tracks & felt so odd)

When I listen to the tracks from Adele’s new album, I remember writing songs with such abandon & emotion. . . I am completely delivered to that place of raw emotion and expression from my early twenties. No censors. . . Just the emotion, the melody and the drive to write with no regard to consequences of what the songs may reveal. . . There is something so powerful about those years as an artist. There’s nobody out there to tell you where you’ll be in a year or twenty and you are discovering yourself and your infinite potential as a human, a lover, an artist, a student of life. . . What a magical time of life. So angst filled and yet, so pure in emotion and expression.

I just stumbled upon a batch of songs that were recorded live between

Deceit. . . hand written back in the day. . .

2001 and 2004 with me and Reese Perkins on lead guitar. . . I uploaded 4 that stood out to me to my Patronism Site. No, they don’t sound anything like Adele’s big, baddass production, but there’s something raw that resonates with the early 20’s person in us when we hear them. . .

One is a B-side that never made an album called “Deceit.” It’s a total exercise in alliteration and angst. “Your Latest Host” a heartbreaker of a ballad I wrote in 1997 about discovering that someone you love is a human parasite. Listening to it today, I was really caught off guard by what a courageous writer I was back then. . . Must’ve been my liberal arts education hard at work. . . The other song is one that was released on “RED” but this version of “Something New” is really raw in its loveliness. “Middle Ground” is so honest. I am transported back to that feeling (maybe because old habits die hard and I’m still so fickle!).

Listening to these tunes brought me back to the person I was when I was writing them. It’s a really surreal experience remembering the people, places and situations that inspired these tunes. . . These were the days when my tunes were literary (though rarely literal) and autobiographical. . . no real toying with fiction in them as I have done in the past few years of writing. . . Interesting reflections, for sure.

I wonder sometimes if it’s possible as an older, more experienced artist to reclaim that energy, or if the songs one writes are made more authentic by their life experiences or lack thereof. When you’re young and struggling throug the first crushing heartbreak you may brush up against mortality for the first time in that heartbreak. . .

Me & Hannah Vincent at our first live recording. . .

I’m not sure that can be reclaimed or repackaged after growing a thicker skin through years of added life experience. . . Am I jaded or am I just being honest about the time and place for authentic songwriting. . .

Perhaps it is worth an experiment. . . Thoughts?

If you’re interested in hearing the tracks and becoming a patron (easy, opt-in, you-set-the-value) visit my patronism page. www.patronism.com/wendycolonna

2017-02-09T14:50:53+00:00August 30th, 2011|


  1. pete August 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Things seemed a lot simpler back then; I had a lot more confidence in my opinions and that made it easier to write. I don’t think anyone is looking for for literal truth in songwriting, but still…After being wrong enough times, there is (at least for me) a tendency to hedge my bets.

    This is probably stupid, as my opinions on things are not likely to be anywhere influential enough to make them worth hedging.

    Maybe we all get cautious as middle age approaches, and then, in old age, revert to not giving a damn.

    Interesting topic, though. It’s something I think a lot about when I write. Or, more precisely, when I think about writing.

  2. wendy August 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    you nailed it on the head, pete. i remember thinking YOU were such a badass- do you still tickle those ivories? Such a talent. . . And how you’ve blossomed as a writer!

  3. Reese Perkins August 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I think the music we made together was pretty magical. Seemed pure and all about being creative. I still think Red stands out as a really great album with really unique dynamics and I’m proud of the work we did together. Geez, did you know that I recorded almost all of the 100’s of shows we did from 2001-2004 featuring our duo shows and various incarnations of the band. haha. A closet full of mini disc recordings, all pretty good quality. Let me know if you would like a copy of any of the shows from that time.

  4. wendy August 30, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    totally, reese. I was listening to a few of the ones I have and thinking about you and that album. I’m so grateful that we worked those years together. Minidisk madness, eh?

  5. Reese Perkins August 30, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Minidisc, haha, shorted lived recording media ever. I just got an ipad2 and I can record instruments directly into it, so I’m using it in part to record my upcoming 4th album. Regarding getting back to ‘that feeling’ and what’s real and truly creative, I think I’ve finally returned to that pure place and I am having the best time recording my new album. We should jam/hang out soon, its really been way too long. Maybe a good old fashioned pow wow like we used to do could do us both good.

  6. wendy August 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    ooh. “that feeling” i love it. . . wow. maybe i need an ipad. I have nothing to record into except my phone. REALLY?!!? that’s so friggin cool. yes, lets get some coffee soon or go for a walk when it cools a tad. 😉

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