I find myself in flux so frequently, hovering like a hummingbird, collecting nectar wherever I can find it.
It feels so good to finally release this record, THE LAST OF THE CARTOON VAGABONDS. But when asked the question, "What kind of music is this?" I struggle.
This is similar to the question, "Who do you sound like?"
I couldn't give you one genre or one artist. It might be easier, overall, if I could just label. This is bluegrass music. Or Celtic music. Or Folk music. And it may be unfair to listeners who like to know exactly what they are purchasing. Or at least what's in the store.
When in need, the sighting of a Target Store can bring relief.
Somehow, I just haven't fit in. I was given an unpronounceable name- Fjaere (Fee air uh) that was butchered by teachers and kids alike. I am left-handed, and have struggled with right-handed devices, though it never occurred to me not to play a right-handed guitar. I have also felt like a hybrid of cultures, having moved frequently, and having accustomed myself to either not making friends, or trying too hard to be liked.
I suppose not fitting in has its benefits. If you are outside the circle, those within it can't reach to judge you. You are somewhat remote, and that makes for good time to be alone.
I don't mind being introverted any more, though when I was a child, I was horribly afraid of making mistakes and alienating people.
The COVID pandemic set up the challenge of making my own album, with some help from drummers (Adam Steinberg, Jamie Douglass, Dave Kemp), a great sax player (Frankie Mooney), and of course, Matt Forger, a friend and industry professional who knows how to spit and polish, making songs shine.
I wrote about people I have known who don't fit in. People who are shy, have foot-in-the-mouth problems. A fangirl who obsesses on the suicide of her rock star. Unrequited love. Love that doesn't give up. Lonely moments you can feel in crowds. Or when you feel no one gets you. Or when you feel you just don't get the world. I don't see any of these Vagabonds as victims. We just saunter on. We're the Charlie Chaplin hoboes of the Soul. We can be clumsy, but we are real, and tend to believe in the good. I didn't want to make weep-in-your-wine music. And at some point, I think I just got swept up in the whole affair of putting sounds together. It was exciting, and fun.
As musicians (and if you are one, you get this) we are tortured by trying to get attention, trying to fit in to an algorithm, trying to be Spotify-friendly, or to be liked on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.
We can compare and compete and despair and feel like we have failed if we don't manifest great numbers of likes. The worst of it is that a lot of time we just don't make an income, and have to depend on others to support us.
So there's the contradiction: to be that unique unicorn who breaks boundlessly through, yet to fit into
a world that opens its doors because it knows what to do with you.
If you, like me, tend to be a bit of a loner at times, and if you are seen as a bit eccentric or different, I want you to know that I wrote this album for you. I hope it can be an imaginary friend for you. Someone who says, "Hey, it's ok. You're cool. Just as you are. Don't try to analyse. We'll never figure it out. "
The way truth is.
A hummingbird that seems to have no home. Yet owns the world.