If you’re reading this website, chances are you and I share similar tastes in music. The similarities don’t end with the way the music sounds, it includes how the music is made, who is making it, and where it is being performed. The artists who I pay attention to, I mean really pay attention to, especially within Pittsburgh, are more likely to have day jobs, perform in smaller clubs tucked away in neighborhoods, self-release most of their music and work hard at their craft anytime life is not predestined to interrupt them. This isn’t an elitist notion about what type of music is valid in my “critical” mindset. This is the description of the type of music that compels me to write about it on a semi-sporadic basis.
With this lifestyle in mind, Burr Settles, a Lawrenceville resident, releases February Album Writing Month out into the world, inspiring thousands of musicians from all over the world to complete 14 songs in 28 days. In this the seventh year of the event, there are currently 3597 musicians registered on the FAWM website, who are racing toward the goal to double 2009’s output of 7,000 plus songs. Glance through the list that tracks every registered musician’s progress toward 14 songs and you will see folks from Michigan, Germany, The UK, New Zealand, and Pittsburgh to name a few. What kind of musical output is expected to arrive from this immense creative task? Frankly, I am anxious to see.The website extensively catalogs all of the songs created (413 at this point), filling in a robust “jukebox” feature with music that is literally all over the dial. The picture above is from the album cover of FAWM 2009, featuring tracks by “several FAWM all-star super-groups,” and I assume this year’s month will produce yet another compilation.
In the press release I received for this event, a Jack London quote appeared: “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” That is a potent idea, and one that isn’t as pervasive as it should be. The creation of art, especially music, embraces those who carve out spaces in their lives to work on their craft on a daily basis. This event appeals to anyone who has to juggle life in order to savor their passions. FAWM is a shot of adrenaline to the artistic endeavor, snapping people out of the day to day malaise of late January and connecting them with a global community dedicated to making music. Mr. Settles, you sir are the champion of a noble cause.