I FINALLY HAVE MY NOTES DONE!
First, thanks for reading this, second, I really hope that you check out this CD and third, if you do, let me know what you think.
Also, my website should be up and running in January or February, but if you try it now you won't find me..
How else to begin these notes but to jump right in? I am originally from Richmond, VA, but haven't lived there in many years. I am one of those people afflicted with that restlessness that makes it tough to stay in one place for very long. I've lived in so many places, and I've been lucky to know a lot of great people in all of them, but I can't ever seem to grow roots. Possibly that's because my heart home will always be on the St. Lawrence River up in 1000 Islands, NY.
Right now I live in Nashville, TN. It's been good to move here. Nashville is a cool town and pretty much fun so maybe here I'll stay.
It wasn't until I got out of college that I began to think seriously about learning the guitar. When I was going through high school, my older brother played really well, and many of his friends did too. They would tolerate me as I was always hovering around the edge of their jam circles, trying to figure out how to find the chords on guitar, or messing around with some other instrument, either a mandolin or harmonica. Sometimes, if it were an exceptionally late and loose party, I would try my hand at fiddling. (Tolerance levels would go down a notch or two...) Eventually, I got okay enough on the guitar to follow along a bit. Then instead of merely tolerating me, my brother and his group began to include me by letting me sit in with them from time to time. Man, I loved that. I started getting more and more interested, but not yet completely absorbed.
The summer after college I went across Canada with three friends in an old station wagon, $250 each, and a 12 string guitar that had only six of them on it. The only songs I knew by heart were Neil Young's "Helpless" and "Teach Your Children"... I think that was it. But I pounded those songs out over and over until I drove everyone nuts, including myself. Somewhere in Alberta we saw this girl playing in a bar by herself, so many of my favorite songs, and I then I became truly intrigued. I wanted to do that so badly. I remember my friend Shawn saying "You can do that, Meredith. Why not?" So I did. I began learning all I could on the guitar. When I returned to 1000 Islands at the end of the summer, I had my plan. I got okay enough to accompany myself for lots of cover songs by artists such as Bonnie, Joni Mitchell, Hank Sr., Linda Thompson, and just a bunch of miscellaneous stuff that caught my ear.
My entire life I have been intrigued with words, rhyme, meter, double entendres, obscure meanings, and ALL of that stuff. The first time I actually wrote a poem, I remember how weird it was because I didn't even really feel like it was me who wrote it. It just sort of appeared somehow out of the pen in my hand and onto the paper. I guess I was about 7 or 8 years old, and in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner with my family, I abruptly stood up, left the table, went to my room and began writing. All of a sudden there was this poem that appeared. Honestly, it was so strange. Not that the poem was any great work of art, but just that I was on some sort of automatic pilot. As a kid, I really felt awestruck by whatever had just happened. I was hooked on the writing thing.
I might be dragging this out a bit, but it really is where my songwriting began. I just didn't realize it at the time. Much later, in college, I had a creative writing professor ask me why I was always writing in rhyme and meter. He encouraged me to be less structured and conventional, which ended up being a whole lot of fun for poetry. However, my writing would consistently fall back into the lyrical style that I found so comfortable. Yet, I still hadn't touched on the idea of me, myself, writing a song.
The year after I got back from Canada, I went to Hawaii to visit a friend for a couple of weeks. I ended up staying for almost a year and it was during that time that I finally really put music with words. It's funny that it took so long for this idea to occur to me, but I guess I just never had been around many songwriters. . . plenty of musicians and plenty of poets, but not many who actually wrote songs. Those people were only records and they were somewhere out of my realm of reality, possibility, ability, or whatever. Songwriters were magical to me. Then one day, not long after I got to Hawaii, I suddenly had the idea that I should see if I could write a song. I took my guitar up on the roof of our stone hut and began strumming, strumming, strumming, and before long, words sort of came up in the right places and I had a song. I was once again completely hooked. And that's all I wanted to do. That's all I thought about. I sought out other songwriters, went to any open mic I could find, became the "girl with the guitar" at pretty much any party or anyplace that somebody would either jam with me, write with me, listen to me, etc. I loved songs, songwriters, and songwriting. And I wanted to do it for real.
So it's taken a long time for me to get around to making an album, but here it is and I am so happy to finally have it done. I owe many thanks to my friend and producer, Barbara Lamb, for being such a strong supporter and encouraging friend. She's such a talent. Her fiddle playing on the record is great. She has a bunch of CDs. I'll add her website link ASAP.
I hope you check out ITALIAN SHOES and that you like it. Let me know. I'm pretty good at writing back.
Thanks! Meredith W.Gould
PS:I want to find that creative writing professor and send him my CD. I finally have an answer to his question. Michael Glaser from St. Mary's College of MD. Maybe he's still there.
PPS: I make myself write a bunch, and make myself finish pretty much anthing I write, even when it's not very good; but, every so often I get one of those "auto-pilot" inspirations and they are like the best trip ever. It still leaves me feeling the same way it did when I was so young, but as an adult, I have a different appreciation for it. On my CD, "River Song" and "Love is a Key" were both written in one of those states. "River Song" is my absolute favorite song on this CD. Favorite.