The release of "Bird on the Wing" means finally, Lynn Adler's music can fly home where it belongs - in the hands of friends and fans of this self-proclaimed "singing writer."
Lynn Adler used to joke about being a singing "waiter." Like so many artists, this performing songwriter has seen her source of paycheck as being at odds with her source of passion; always the reason to put off taking her music seriously for one more day. Then one day she decided to "fish or cut bait" as they say out her way in East Texas. She found a balance that suits her, and is now serious about being a singing writer.
As a freelancer for design firms, ad agencies and corporations, Adler writes scripts, speeches, ad campaigns, web content, billboard copy and annual reports. She's ghostwritten a motivational book for women, written feature articles for Performing Songwriter magazine, and co-written the theme song for the PBS children's television series "Wishbone." As a musician, there's the occasional commercial to write or sing. So when she speaks at writing workshops, the singing writer addresses the literary and musical aspects of the writing life she leads.
"I don't know any songwriter who wouldn't rather be living for the music than making a living doing something else," Adler admits. "But the reality of a musician's life is that most of us supplement our income somehow. I once used my writing career as an excuse for songwriter's block. I'd whine and complain how after writing all those words for other people, I just didn't have any creative energy left for myself. Then I recognized my fears, and wrote past them. With the help of mentors along the way, I learned the secret of taking breaks from my paycheck writing to write from my passion instead.
"I discovered my years of writing practice had quietly transformed me into a better crafter of songs. The writing for my clients became easier and better too, the more I created time for this personal source of joy and healing; telling my own stories and singing my own songs. That was a revelation."
In "Bird on the Wing's" track nine, "That Voice" reveals Adler's revelation. One poignant line from the song is written in the sky on the CD's cover - "You'd think I'd know that voice by now after all these years..." The song goes on to say "...of keeping it to myself - prisoner of my fears. That voice...I know that voice from somewhere." Adler says writing "That Voice" helped her break through a "song barrier." "I'd written my share of songs years earlier in life,'" she smiles. "But I'd spent a lot of years 'wondering around in the bewilderness.'
"It's taken time and everyday life for me to come to my own conclusions about things like love, faith, music, family and the universe as a whole. It's a constant challenge though - keeping songs in check with how I feel. For too long, I wrote to please others or to measure up to some standard. But the best songs can defy the formulas. I define a great song by how deeply it stirs my heart or how hard it makes me laugh. For me, good songwriting isn't about getting a hit; it's about being human."
During the process of producing a record on her own label, one way Adler lived up to her CD title has been in migrating from the city to the country. Actually, "Bird on the Wing" is part of a line from her song "Big City." It was in Dallas that she once worked full-time in the world of words. But as the song says, "Bird's gotta sing... I fell for the city. About lost my way. It's a nice place to visit. But you know what they say..."
Adler's work as a freelance writer and performing songwriter has freed her to relocate to the country. "My home used to be in the neatly manicured Dallas suburb of Lake Highlands, within earshot of the traffic on I-635," she sighs. "Now I live on a farm-to-market road. It has traffic too, but it's deep in the Pineywoods outside Winnsboro - a very small town once known, appropriately enough, as Crossroads."
Adler's place - Spring Hollow Organic Song Farm - bears the same name as her record label, Spring Hollow Records -- both created alongside life partner Lindy Hearne (listen to Lindy at cdbaby.com/lindyhearne). Now Lynn lives in a hollow - in a refurbished, old fishing cabin with its own spring pond and secluded lake, which history notes is the former site of one sugar cane mill, numerous Saturday night baths and Sunday baptisms, and endless fish stories.
Adler has winged her way home to live in what she considers "a sacred place" - surrounded by ancient pines and pastures, the sounds of singing birds and other "wild folk" that share their space with her there.
"Bird on the Wing's" lyrics and liner notes reveal the heart of a writer whose voice was lost, and found. Adler admits, "It used to be I only knew how to write songs - or anything else for that matter - with sugary mildness, maybe a little spice; and rarely anything sour or bitter or strong. Too many things unsaid. And just dancing around things gets old. Now I hold life close, like a tango. And I care less who's watching."
Adler penned all songs on "Bird on the Wing," except for one aptly chosen cover of a Yarrow and Yardley song, "If I Had Wings," featured on Peter, Paul and Mary's 1967 recording "Album 1700." She recorded at the famed Palmyra Studios south of Dallas, and co-produced with Lindy Hearne and studio owner/engineer Paul Middleton, who's been Bonnie Raitt's on-the-road engineer for 16-plus years. In addition to Adler on guitar, piano and lead vocals, Hearne on guitar and vocals, and Middleton on bass, the CD boasts a choice ensemble of players that includes Don Conoscenti on flute, banjo and vocals; Darcie Deaville on fiddle and octoblaster; Max Dyer on cello; Terri Hendrix on vocals; Lloyd Maines on dobro, papoose, pedal steel and vocals; Martin McCall on percussion; David Lee Schloss on flute; and Sam Taylor on organ and accordion.
Adler placed twice (as soloist and as a duo with Adler & Hearne) among the top-ten finalists in the 2001 Wildflower Festival Performing Songwriter Competition. In that same year, she was among the final 10 to perform in the Annual B.W. Stevenson Memorial Songwriter Competition at Dallas' Poor David's Pub. Adler is a two-time Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk semifinalist and has been an ASCAP composer since 1980. Adler & Hearne have opened for or shared the stage with such artists as Albert & Gage, Barton & Sweeney, Rachel Bissex, Ruthie Foster & Cyd Cassone, Cliff Eberhardt, Bob Franke, Denice Franke, Steve Fromholz, Richard Gilewitz, Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kimberly M'Carver, Tom Paxton, Bruce Robison, Still on the Hill, Eric Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Jack Williams and Bruce Robison.
In November of 2005, Adler & Hearne founded Crossroads Coffeehouse & Music Co. in historic downtown Winnsboro. Housed in a 100-year-old former hardware store turned music sanctuary, the venue hosts weekly Saturday night concerts featuring nationally touring artists. Visit Crossroads online at: crossroadsmusiccompany.com or at myspace.com/crossroadsmusiccompany.
To schedule a concert or interview, to schedule Adler & Hearne for a writers' gathering or songwriting workshop, and for more information, contact:
P.O. Box 979
Winnsboro, TX 75494
voice (903) 365-2713