WHERE DO SONGS COME FROM? LESSONS IN SONG WRITING CONNECTICUT MUSICIAN PENS UNIQUE BOOK ON “MAKING MUSIC WITH A MESSAGE”
(WEST SIMSBURY, CT)- March 21, 2011 - Since its formation in 2008, the Connecticut-born band LittleHouse has scored a fierce following. The band is known for its unique venue (it performs in a refurbished barn) … for its American-heritage brand of Heartland Music, and most of all, for the songs themselves, written by LittleHouse bandleader Joe Patrina.
The most common question asked of singer/songwriter Joe Patrina is “Where do you come up with all of these songs?” Patrina answers that question, neatly, in his forthcoming book, SONGS: Where Do They Come From?
“It may be a first of its kind,” Patrina ventures. “I try to give the reader a bird’s-eye view on the whole process of writing, arranging and producing songs, and I describe my own journey toward being able to do this. I can’t claim it portrays every songwriter’s world, but it probably comes pretty close,” he suggests.
Patrina grew up sampling just about every kind of American music including rock, country, jazz, blues, gospel, punk, honky-tonk, folk and finally old time music, something he learned about from Janette Carter of the famous Carter Family. In 1996, Patrina managed to track down a phone number for Ms. Carter, and surprisingly received an invitation to visit and learn a thing or two about songwriting from the daughter of the legendary A.P. Carter.
“Son, you better get down here soon, ‘cause you ain’t gonna be writin’ those grownup songs like
ya wanna, ‘cause, poor thing, you don’t even know what a song is,” Carter informed Patrina.
“She taught me not to focus on myself, but to look for important glimpses of truth out there that everyone shares. ‘Ya learn by revealing truth through song,’ Janette told me.”
But inevitably, Patrina often falls back on his personal experiences to give voice to his songs. In 1988, his wife of 12 years died after an 11-year battle with cancer.
Well there it is; life goes on.
And better days will surely come.
And all my tears they must be gone.
But I’m going home;
I’m going home without you.
Later, when Patrina eventually remarried, he and his second wife honeymooned in South America. This sharpened his senses to the liberties enjoyed back home in the United States, and to the opportunities afforded by his American upbringing. This experience took its place among many others to shape the American-heritage-based genre of music he calls “Heartland Music.”
“I am always on the lookout for that glimpse of the truth, something compelling, an engaging musical structure, a vivid lyric, a riveting title, or simply an important idea – maybe even a newspaper headline or a line uttered in conversation,” Patrina shares.
“Then I contemplate and entice the song; I let the song come to me,” Patrina says, as he believes that songs already exist, and that it is his job to let them present themselves. But it is still a difficult art. “A song can’t really present itself if the ‘song writer’ does not have the musical/literary know-how to provide for it”, he adds.
Besides explaining his methods for deriving inspiring lyrics and music, Patrina also walks the reader through the process of performing, recording and distributing songs, his personal singing secrets, and the goings-on inside a typical band”.
The writing style of Songs: Where Do They Come From? is fast paced and engaging. “You really get the lowdown fast,” Patrina assures the reader.
The book, which also includes a partial catalog of Patrina’s lyrics, is available through www.littlehouselive.com and is being released simultaneously with a CD entitled LittleHouse – Carter Family Roots, which follows his writing progression from Old School compositions to more modern structures. The book/CD package costs $20.
LittleHouse was recently featured in the New York Times Sunday edition. The group has several upcoming concerts in major performance venues across CT, including April 23rd at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville, and April 29th at The Kate in Old Saybrook. The group also recently performed to a sold-out crowd at the Warner Theatre’s Nancy Marine Studio in Torrington, which benefitted the Lupus Foundation of America.
LittleHouse is a 7-member group formed in 2008 and comprised of musicians from across CT. Patrina is a lifelong musician who moved from CT after graduating from Trinity College to pursue a career on Wall Street in New York City. From the ground up, he built a multi-million dollar financial software company. In 2006, Patrina sold his company and moved back to CT to pursue his lifelong passion of music.
LittleHouse’s music is available on iTunes. Live performances can also be sampled at www.LittleHouselive.com. -- STS