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Posted May 16, 2012
SWITCHING THINGS UP
"Where do you get your ideas?" -- I'm often asked. Of course ideas are everywhere.
I recently visited Chattanooga Market. It's a great place to go on Sunday afternoons because I can usually find fresh food, great plants, organically grown vegetables, artwork, pottery, friends, and entertaining musicians. This time, I heard a group I'd never heard before. Let me introduce you to Moors and McCumber:
"James Moors and Kort McCumber are an acoustic duo that crafts beautiful story songs that walk the line between rootsy folk and melodic pop. The two songwriters met at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in 2005. Sitting around a campfire swapping songs, they each heard something in the music of the other that just fit. The two have been performing and writing together ever since. Having collectively sold more than 15,000 copies of independent releases from the stage, the duo has now released two of their own full-length albums.
"Squarely rooted in Americana music, the new Moors & McCumber release Gravity weaves fine storytelling with an infectious, melodic mix of folk, bluegrass and acoustic pop sounds."
I was really interested in this group because every other song, they switched instruments. One of the instruments--I'd never seen before. So when I returned home, I Googled them to determine the name of the peculiar instrument and found out the two musicians played all of the following: acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, upright bass, cello, piano, dobro, and bouzouki.
Did I read that right? They knew how to play a bazooka? Closer look told me no, it was a bou-zou-ki. And I might need to change the strength of my peepers to industrial. However, thanks to Wikipedia, I found out the bouzouki is a "musical instrument with Greek origin in the lute family. A mainstay of modern Greek music, the front of the body is flat and is usually heavily inlaid with mother-of-pearl." (photography of bouzouki by Wikipedia)
And then it hit me. I could write about a Greek character who plays the bouzouki. Or perhaps I could write about a character from another country who plays an Irish bouzouki. Never know. But the main thing I learned is this: Having a character play an unusual instrument makes things more entertaining. Different. I can always switch things up to make a story more interesting. Moors and McCumber have switching things up down to an art so if I do ever write about a musician, I might be wise to follow their lead.
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