Peace and Tranquility – Let the Music Lead You

When playing guitar, I go into my own little world. There, I let the music guide my every move.

Nothing else is like playing and creating music. That’s the way it is for me. When I have my guitar in my hands, I allow the music to flow through me. This is my way, whether I'm in a large crowd of hundreds or just a group of five or ten. The music flows so every note I play is coursing throughout my body. The music leads me, and it affects my listeners. When the night is done, the audience looks at me with pleasure. Some have said, “Man, that was one hell of a show.”

I go home with a tranquil sense of peace. I’m glad my music gave my audience the same kind of feelings it gave me. And it’s a good bet there are some of them who carry a tune with them, that evening, and maybe for days afterwards. This, I’ve been told by several people as a fact.

I write song lyrics the same way. I let whatever that music is guide my every action. Whether it’s composing the music or writing the lyrics to a song, let every note you play, and every word you write/sing flow through your heart and soul.

Writing a musical tune is never easy. But when it comes to writing the lyrics, I have a writing partner, and we research the parts that need accuracy; we do this with our poetry, our stories, and our songs.

Several years ago I wrote a poem about the Cherokee Removal and the Trail of Tears. I researched it for hours before writing a word of it. I dedicated it to my partner, Jerriann Law. The reason I named it, The Place Where They Cried, was because in my research, the first thing I did was look up the Trail of Tears, and found its Indian name meant, “the place where they cried.”

First came the poem, but about three years later, I decided to make it into a song, and took the poem and rewrote it. I added the chorus at that time, and later my partner made the song into a video. We have it on Facebook and on YouTube. If anyone is interested in hearing it here's Abbot Grivich and I as the Carolina Duo performing the song. I have played that song several times on stage as well as online and always receive positive feedback. I still play it almost every day. It’s a sad bluesy-type song. But to this day, it fills me with peace and tranquility.

But for most of the songs, this is how I write. I walk into my study and as soon as I strum one chord on the guitar, whether it’s a G, D, E, or another chord, when I stand up again, I’ll have a new song written. But like with any creative endeavor, it will take a lot of work to polish that rough draft into a finished piece. I’m dedicated in working hard to achieve not just a good song, but the best song it can be.

Once I’m finished, it becomes a song my friends, family, and fans will want to hear, repeatedly. And that’s one of the many reasons why I play music. I love getting that sense of peace and tranquility from my music.

Let music lead you, too, my friends. You’ll be surprised how relaxed you’ll feel, letting music surround you. It will take you much farther than you’d ever imagine.

-JD Couch - MU Columnist
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