I was googling “telling stories” (doesn’t everyone google themselves?) when I found two music groups very different from each other. Telling Stories: Music and Essays is a troupe of professional classical musicians and writers who are working to make music and literature a little more fun.
The other Telling Stories is an Austin, Texas band that is a collaboration between songwriters Julie Nolen and Terry Dossey and a changing roster of musicians. I listened to a few songs on their Myspace page and liked what I heard so I contacted Julie Nolen to ask a few questions.
The lyrics to the songs seem like personal stories. Julie said that her songs are about whatevers going on in her life and at the same time she tries to keep it general so the listener can relate. Her songs are about emotions and she said “writing music on guitar is therapy.”
I asked where she gets her inspiration and she said, “Inspiration is a magical fairy that comes to you and you don’t know why.” At this point her songs are mostly personal but she’s “looking for the perfect political song.”
She enjoys writings short stories in her songs and said she “don’t have patience to write a novel” but nevertheless is working on a memoir.
When asked what comes first the words or music, Julie said it depends on the song. The collaborative process usually begins when Julie gets and idea for a song and writes verses (how you want to tell the story) with chord progressions and then Terry will write the “hooks” or choruses.
Austin is a great music town being host to Austin City Limits Outdoor Festival and South by Southwest. You can catch Telling Stories at various venues around town or in an online show in Second Life where they stream live concerts from their home studio. Julie said it’s a great way to generate fans for the band.
Telling Stories has two albums out and they are starting work on an acoustic album. They record and produce their music under the 13th House Records label. You can hear some songs from their long-awaited second album, “Dirty Little Secrets,” on their website. The album is available on CD or as a MP3 download.
And don’t forget to listen to the stories being told.