It's become an annual ritual. The last days of January, I start to prepare myself for doing the February Album Writing Month at FAWM.org. I met FAWM's director, Burr Settles for the first time last summer and was very impressed with his quiet steadiness and willingness to get downright goofy on occasion. When I went to FAWMstock this past July on the heels of my employment crisis at the time, I got to meet several FAWM folks in person whom I never could have met otherwise, notably the Canadian gang. FAWM has become part of my life over the past seven years. It has brought me much happiness.
I moved to Central Mass this past June from several years living on the South Shore. When I started FAWM, I was still living in Taunton, Mass but my songwriting really got going when I started regular attendance at the Catbird Cafe open mike at the New England Wildlife Center. Catbird has always been the laboratory where I have tested out my FAWM songs. In 2011, I asked two musician friends from Catbird, Stephen Martin and Colette O'Connor to help me with my first 5-song EP and all of those songs were from the February, 2011 FAWM. I was also fortunate to get some assistance from four of my friends from FAWM: Debs Linden, Robyn MacKenzie, Expendable Friend (Jacqui) and Nancy Rost.
This year, while I will probably return to Catbird sometime in the Spring, I will probably make more use of my closer local resources for testing out the songs. Right now, this is the Rose Room revue in Upton, Harvest Cafe in Hudson, Blackstone Valley Music here in Uxbridge, Mediator Stage in Providence and the RISA showcases in Providence and elsewhere in RI. I also need to continue to devote time to my partner, Diane and so I don't think I will be as active as before. And while my work situation is better now, I still need to make things more solid on that front.
Karan from Germany said a couple days ago that FAWM is like returning to an home where all your friends are staying. I was frustrated that I couldn't share more of that with more people while living in the Boston area (although Beth DeSombre and Tim Riordan are usually around) but that is something that has to take care of itself and I can't force it to happen. For me, all that is needed is my guitar, my songwriting notebook and my IPhone for recording, maybe break out the Yamaha piano for a couple songs, too. I am usually at 14 by the third week of February so I don't worry about getting across the finish line.
On my mark, getting set and on February 1st, here I go....