Liner notes from SHOW UP AND SHOOT!, but it pretty well defines my approach to the craft.
This (Show Up and Shoot!) is a songwriter’s offering, a diverse collection of music performed by an equally diverse selection of artists. You see, I’ve always enjoyed the utter variety of music (much to the chagrin of agents, managers, buyers, etc.), it will be pretty hard to drop this one into any particular stylistic bin. I started writing mainly because I loved music, but as the sixties disappeared into the rearview mirror, I heard less and less of anything I actually liked, so naturally, I tried to create what I felt was missing. My first attempt was called "Moonshine", circa 1965. It had 3 chords and one word: "Moonshine". I’d been steadily adding words and chords since then, but it has only been a handful of years now where I figured I had any kind of handle on what I was attempting to do. The Mavericks, in town for a show at the Orpheum a few years ago, announced a song "with a whole bunch of chords in it". The bassist (a friend of mine since ‘84), quipped: "Sounds like a Gary Rue tune". That was the end of my ‘adding chords and words’ period. I learned the lesson of brevity. I aspire to the quality and musical economy of Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, Lennon & McCartney, Roy Orbison, The Louvins, Gershwin, Mercer, Porter, etc. There’s a lot of ‘popular’ music out there whose mass acceptance baffles me; so many songs, so little shared experience. It seems to me that if we all listened a little more closely, and didn’t use music so much as wallpaper for our daily activities, we might make different listening choices. But, having said that, the world is what it is, it’s not perfect, and I love living here, and since it’s all we’ve got, who cares if this is not a perfect world? My sincere thanks to all who have contributed to this project and supported my work through all of these mad, mad years: Peter Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Prudence Johnson, Jeff Willkomm, the illustrious Johnny Hagen (ProTools certified), and, of course, the lovely and intrepid Laura (MacKenzie, who provided objectivity to a very subjective undertaking. The rest of you, please forgive any inadvertent omissions, you know exactly who you are.
PS: A word about the title, SHOW UP AND SHOOT (explaining the role of the vocalists on this recording). Laura mentioned it while relaying a story about a recent performance of hers. Intrigued and wildly entertained by the phrase, I asked for specifics. She explained that, as she was handing out an equal share of the proceeds to all concerned (including herself, even though she was the producer), one of her fellow musicians protested, saying "Laura, you figure out how to rob the bank, the rest of us just show up and shoot." They showed up and shot. Man, did they ever. Gotta love it.
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