Songwriting and my alter ego

I wrote some songs when I was in high school and a few in college, then maybe one or two since. I haven’t written a complete song in at least 30 years. Until tonight, when I finally finished a song I’ve been working on for about two months.

I had the initial lyrics written pretty quickly on a warm July evening, but the music was much harder. I bought a new guitar this spring and have been playing it every day (that streak is now 143 days and counting). As they say, “practice makes perfect,” and while my playing is certainly not perfect, it has gotten a lot better and I’ve learned quite a bit about chord progressions and combinations. All of which contributed to the final version of the music for the song that I finished this evening. I’m pretty happy with it.

The song is called “Evening Star,” and it’s the story of a brief romantic encounter along the shore of Lake Michigan. I’ll be recording a demo version of it shortly and will post it here. But I also wanted to mention that I’ll be playing live – on the intarwebs – soon. Days and times will be coming and will be mentioned here as well as on my performing alter ego’s site: TommyOddsen.com.

A few of you saw Tommy play just before COVID chased us out of bars, along with his partner in crime, Ty Evenson. Both Ty and I have Norwegian roots, so when we were trying to come up with a name for our duo, I chose “Oddsen” as my surname because it pairs up nicely with his real last name and we became “Evenson|Oddsen.”

“Odd” is a real Norwegian given name (as is “Even”), so “Oddsen” would be “son of Odd.” My actual Norwegians are Hansens, but I couldn’t pass up the even/odd connection, and now I’ve adopted it as my stage name.

More to come!

Open to interpretation

I used to teach acting at a community college. The department where I taught was called “visual and performing arts.” The performing arts were vocal and instrumental music, dance, and theater.

While “performing arts” is no doubt an accurate description of what happens when the artist is in front of an audience, I prefer to think of them as “interpretive arts.” I like that term because music and theater performances require a two-step creative process. This is different from photography, illustration, painting, sculpture, and other visual arts, which involve a single artist producing a finished work based on a concept or idea they have devised themselves. There’s seldom a team involved in creating a work of visual art.

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