dB’s Holsapple Blogs For NY Times

 

Goin’ fishing for
tunes with one of America’s
preeminent songwriters.

By Fred Mills

 

What do you get when you pair up a brainy, literate, but
passionate, songwriter with an open forum for songwriters? Why, Peter Holsapple
blogging for the New York Times, of
course! Holsapple — aka one-fourth of pop mavens The dB’s, Chris Stamey’s
partner-in-penmanship, solo performer, and a noted sideman (R.E.M., Hootie
& the Blowfish, etc.) — was the latest in a stellar assemblage of
songwriters to be asked to author the paper’s “Measure For Measure: How to
Write a Song and Other Mysteries,” an ongoing blog series that has thus far
included the wisdom (and frequently the wit, too) of Rosanne Cash, Andrew Bird,
Suzanne Vega and Darrell Brown.

 

The Times describes
the blog thusly: “With music now available with a single, offhand click, it’s
easy to forget that songs are not born whole, polished and ready to play. They
are created by artists who draw on some combination of craft, skill and
inspiration. In the coming weeks, the contributors to this blog — all
accomplished songwriters — will pull back the curtain on the creative process
as they write about their work on a song in the making.”

 

And, indeed, Holsapple’s lengthy installment posted last
week
fit the bill perfectly. “I found a new song swimming around in my head
yesterday afternoon,” he writes. “I’ve landed it and will prepare it before
you. I’ve fished these parts for years, and I know that once I identify what’s
on the end of my line, we can proceed.” Proceed he does, taking the reader down
the path of a tune’s creation, along the way unspooling interesting tidbits and
factoids about his life as well as his friends Stamey and Mitch Easter.

 

There’s also a fascinating trifecta of MP3s: “Like Wow,” a
Holsapple composition from his early Winston-Salem,
NC, band Rittenhouse Square; “Big Black Truck,”
from a rare solo EP he issued prior to joining Stamey’s dB’s; and “Black and
White,” one of his classic dB’s tracks. (Caveat: the Times’ MP3 players appear to be somewhat buggy.)

By the end of his blog entry, Holsapple has crafted a good chunk of his new
song for the readers but it’s getting late and he realizes it’s time to let it
rest until morning (a strategy most any writer of any stripe will tell you is a
good one). “Play the chorus again. Still that landing feels so unsure and
insecure. There’s got to be a better chord than F there, but I’ll be damned if
I can find it at this hour. So I’ll go to bed, humming the chorus, thinking of
alternate lines, waiting for that lightning bolt of inspiration that may or may
not arrive in the night. I’ll keep the notebook by the bed, even though most of
my mid-sleep epiphanies have been unintelligible instructions and drawings thus
far.”

 

Good luck finishing the song Peter. Can we hear the demo when you’re done?
Signed, your friends at BLURT.

Peter Holsapple on MySpace

 

The dB’s Official Website


 

[Editor’s Note: Both the dB’s and
Stamey & Holsapple have new albums in the works. Watch this space for
details.
]

 

 

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